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nChrist
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« Reply #105 on: April 30, 2008, 10:55:44 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XIV.
THE RELATION BETWEEN PROPHECY
AND THE MYSTERY



Much harm and loss has come to the church because God's "workmen" have failed to note the distinctions and divisions in the Word of Truth.  But serious harm can and does also result from a failure to recognize the unity of God's great plan for the ages; from a failure to observe connections as well as distinctions.

Extreme dispensationalists see many distinctions in the Scriptures  --  even distinctions which do not exist!  --  but they fail to see some of the most important connections.  And, strange to say, in seeking to establish non-existent distinctions they frequently blunder back into the camp of the traditionalists and likewise fail to note some of the most basic distinctions!

An example of this is found in the contention that Paul, when he wrote his early epistles, had not yet come into his special Gentile ministry; that at that time he preached practically the same message as the twelve; that at that time he dealt primarily with the Jews; that his early epistles were addressed primarily to Jews and that during that time he offered the kingdom to Israel  --  but that after Acts 28 his ministry had no connection whatever with that of the twelve!

The fact is, that from the beginning Paul's apostleship was clearly separate and distinct from that of the twelve.  He was called and commissioned far from Jerusalem, on the road to Damascus.  His appointment was "not of men, neither by man," but by the glorified Lord Himself (Galatians 1:1).  Moreover, he was, from the beginning, called to a different ministry than the twelve: "to testify the gospel of the grace of God," to "preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Acts 20:24, Ephesians 3:8 ).  But it must not be supposed from this that there was not, at the same time, a connection between the ministry of the twelve in Acts and Paul's ministry at that time, or even between the Acts ministry of the twelve and Paul's post-Acts ministry.

To begin with, Paul represented the same God as the twelve, against whom Israel was now rebelling.  He represented the same Christ, whom Israel was now rejecting.  And "the salvation of God," which Israel had refused, was now being "sent unto the Gentiles" (Matthew 1:21, Acts 4:12, 13:26,46, cf. Acts 28:28 ).

Furthermore, the apostles at Jerusalem soon came to realize that because Israel was now refusing the risen, glorified Christ, God had chosen Paul to preach salvation to the Gentiles through Israel's fall and, in a solemn covenant, their leaders gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, agreeing to confine their ministry to Israel while Paul went to the Gentiles.

Paul's ministry was not merely the starting of another program separately from the church at Jerusalem.  It was the next step in the program of God, and unless we see the development in the whole program we miss a great deal.

This development is best demonstrated by some of the very passages which extreme dispensationalists use to prove that Paul's Acts ministry was "a Jewish kingdom ministry" in fulfillment of the prophetic program.  We deal with some of these in the following pages.
 

SO HATH THE LORD COMMANDED US


"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

"FOR SO HATH THE LORD COMMANDED US, saying, I have set Thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that Thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth" (Acts 13:46,47).

Because of Paul's words: "for so hath the Lord commanded us" and his quotation of an Old Testament prophecy, it is contended that this ministry of Paul to the Gentiles still had the kingdom in view and was in no way connected with the mystery.  Let us see:

When the Jews at Pisidian Antioch contradicted and blasphemed "those things which were spoken by Paul," he and Barnabas "waxed bold and said:"

"It was NECESSARY that the word of God should first have been spoken to you."
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« Reply #106 on: April 30, 2008, 10:57:14 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XIV.
THE RELATION BETWEEN PROPHECY
AND THE MYSTERY

Why was this necessary? The answer is found in Peter's words to the multitudes at Jerusalem:

"Ye are the children of the prophets, and of THE COVENANT WHICH GOD MADE WITH OUR FATHERS, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

"Unto YOU FIRST God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities" (Acts 3:25,26).

The great Abrahamic Covenant guaranteed the blessing of the Gentiles through Israel; therefore Israel first must be saved and blessed.  The whole prophetic program is founded on this great covenant.

This is why our Lord said to the Syrophenician woman: "Let the children first be filled" (Mark 7:27).  This is why He said to the Samaritan woman: "Salvation is of the Jews." This is why He commissioned the eleven to begin their ministry at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8 ).  And mark well: Peter explicitly states, in Acts 3:25,26, that God had sent Christ to bless Israel first because of the covenant made with Abraham.

As we have seen, Paul went to the Jew first, during his early ministry, confirming the fact that "Jesus is the Christ" and seeking to win his hearers to personal faith in Christ.  He did this because God had not yet officially postponed the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.  God was still stretching forth His hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people.  He was not going to leave them with any excuse for rejecting Messiah.  But let us continue with Paul's statement to the Jews at Antioch:

"It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: BUT . . ."

Does not this "but" indicate that there is to be a departure from the prophesied procedure?

Note, however, that it was not unfaithfulness on God's part, but their own unwillingness to accept the fulfillment of God's promise, that caused this change in the program  --  a change which God, foreknowing all things, had accordingly planned in His secret, eternal counsels.

"SEEING YE PUT IT FROM YOU, AND JUDGE YOURSELVES UNWORTHY OF EVERLASTING LIFE, LO, WE TURN TO THE GENTILES."

Here let the reader carefully and candidly answer the following questions: Is salvation here being sent to the Gentiles because of Israel's acceptance of Christ, or because of her rejection of Christ?  Is it going to the Gentiles on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant or by grace?  Is it going according to prophecy or according to the mystery?

There is but one answer to each of these questions.  Paul at Pisidian Antioch departed from the prophetic procedure and began to do something never once prophesied, for the salvation of the Gentiles through Israel's rejection of Christ is never anywhere predicted in the prophetic Scriptures (See Romans 11:11,12,15,25).

But why, it may be asked, does Paul then add:

"FOR SO HATH THE LORD COMMANDED US, SAYING, I HAVE SET THEE TO BE A LIGHT OF THE GENTILES, THAT THOU SHOULDEST BE FOR SALVATION UNTO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH" (Acts 13:47).

Paul does not mean here that the Gentiles are now to receive salvation according to the program outlined in prophecy, for we have already seen that the opposite is the case.  The blessing of the Gentiles through Israel will have to wait until a future day.

The apostle simply points out here that God had "set" Christ to be "a light to the Gentiles" and "for salvation unto the ends of the earth" and that He would have it so, Israel notwithstanding.  Since Israel refused to be the channel of blessing to the nations, God was now to bless the nations directly through Christ, apart from Israel, and Paul had been "commanded" to proclaim this fact.
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« Reply #107 on: April 30, 2008, 10:59:47 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XIV.
THE RELATION BETWEEN PROPHECY
AND THE MYSTERY


NONE OTHER THINGS


"Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying NONE OTHER THINGS than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come" (Acts 26:22).

Extreme dispensationalists have probably used the above passage more than any other to prove their "two body" theory.  This passage, in their opinion, is conclusive proof that until the close of Acts, Paul had preached nothing which the prophets and Moses had not already foretold, confining his ministry entirely to the proclamation of God's prophetic purpose.  Thus in effect, they have Paul preaching "the gospel of the circumcision" which, according to his own testimony, had been committed not to him, but to Peter (Galatians 2:7).

To teach from Acts 26:22 that Paul thus far had taught nothing that the prophets and Moses had not already foretold is manifestly contrary to the record.

As we have seen, neither the prophets nor Moses had foretold anything concerning the salvation of the Gentiles through the fall of Israel.  Nor had they foretold "the gospel of the grace of God," in which neither circumcision nor the law was to have any part.  Nor had they even hinted that Jews and Gentiles would be baptized into one body by the Spirit.  Nor had they said or even known anything about believers being "caught up" to heaven by "the Lord Himself." Yet all of this was proclaimed by Paul before the close of the Acts period (Romans 11:11,12, Acts 20:24, I Corinthians 12:13, I Thessalonians 4:16,17).

And had not Paul plainly spoken of "the mystery" and its associated "mysteries" in his early epistles?  (Romans 11:25, 16:25, I Corinthians 2:6,7, 4:1, 15:51). Is the mystery, then, to be found in prophecy  --  that which was "hidden" and "kept secret," in that which had been "made known"?

Indeed, even if we were to admit that Paul proclaimed the kingdom during his entire Acts ministry, he would then still have taught more than "the prophets and Moses did say should come," for even under the gospel of the kingdom our Lord uttered things which had been "kept secret from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 13:35); truths which neither the prophets [1] nor Moses had even known about.

What, then, did Paul mean by saying to Agrippa that until that time he had witnessed "none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come"?

The answer is simple when we read on:

"That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles" (Acts 26:25).

In other words, Paul's testimony that Christ had died and risen, and that He was to bring light to Israel and the Gentiles, was nothing but what the prophets and Moses had said should come, and we find from the preceding context that it was because Paul had preached the risen Christ to the Jews and "then to the Gentiles," that the Jews now sought to kill him.

The answer is as simple as that, and the misinterpretation of this simple passage shows how much confusion and loss can result from using one verse in disregard of its context.
 

THE HOPE OF ISRAEL


". . . FOR THE HOPE OF ISRAEL I AM BOUND WITH THIS CHAIN" (Acts 28:20).

The above is another passage which extreme dispensationalists frequently use to prove that Paul's Acts ministry was primarily to the Jews and that "to the end Acts deals with the gospel of the kingdom."

But what does the apostle mean by "the hope of Israel"?  Does he mean that which Israel hoped for (i.e., the kingdom), or that which gave her reason to hope (i.e., the resurrection)?  Does he refer to the object of their expectation or their basis for it?  Those who teach the "two body" theory have concluded in favor of the former.  They are sure that Paul meant the promise of the kingdom when he spoke of Israel's hope.
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« Reply #108 on: April 30, 2008, 11:02:09 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XIV.
THE RELATION BETWEEN PROPHECY
AND THE MYSTERY

But they are wrong.  Paul had not been imprisoned for proclaiming Israel's kingdom promises.  The Jews had opposed him so bitterly for preaching to the Gentiles a risen Christ whom they were rejecting, while Peter, who represented the kingdom promises, and sought still to bring Israel to Messiah's feet, remained free in Jerusalem.

The very point of Paul's statement here is that the truth of the resurrection of Christ, which the Jews so feared and hated, and which was now taking hold among the Gentiles, was actually "the hope of Israel."

The hope of Israel is the risen Christ.  Thank God, for Israel's sake, that the Sadducees proved to be so utterly wrong when they sought to convince themselves and others that the resurrection of Christ was an impossibility and a delusion; that Christ was dead.

Had this been true, Israel would have been forever without hope.  With the only One who could possibly have been their Messiah dead in a tomb, how would they have been any better off than the followers of Buddha or Mohammed?

What other hope is there for Israel?  Could another son of David arise and be identified now?  Could he arise in time to fulfil the time prophecies of the Old Testament?  And if he could, would that mean that he must still first be "cut off," as Daniel had predicted (Daniel 9:26), before delivering his people from their enemies?

To fit the Hebrew Scriptures concerning Messiah, such an one would have to suffer, die, rise again and ascend into heaven before coming in power and glory to reign.  But it is too late to talk about that now, for no messiah could appear in the time predicted, or even be identified as David's son.  No, if the Christ whom Israel crucified nineteen hundred years ago is not risen and living today, then Israel is utterly and eternally without hope.

That this is what Paul had in mind when he said he was bound with a chain for the hope of Israel is clear from other passages in Acts on the same subject.

In Acts 5:31, for example, we find Peter pointing to the resurrection of Christ as Israel's hope:

"Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

Paul, of course, had a further revelation concerning the risen Christ, and proclaimed Him as Savior of Jew and Gentile alike  --  as the hope of fallen mankind.  This is what hurt the jealous Jews.  Nevertheless Paul insisted that the risen Christ was the hope of his nation too.

In Acts 23:6 we find Paul before the Hebrew council:

"But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: OF THE HOPE AND RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD I AM CALLED IN QUESTION."

Note clearly that it was for "the hope and resurrection of the dead" that he had been "called in question," and note the connection with the phrase: "for the hope of Israel am I bound."

In Acts 24:14,15 again the resurrection is the point at issue:

"But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

"AND HAVE HOPE TOWARD GOD, WHICH THEY THEMSELVES ALSO ALLOW, THAT THERE SHALL BE A RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, BOTH OF THE JUST AND UNJUST."
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« Reply #109 on: April 30, 2008, 11:04:17 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XIV.
THE RELATION BETWEEN PROPHECY
AND THE MYSTERY

In Acts 26:6-8 his argument is the same again.  There he stands before Agrippa and carefully points out just why he is being tried:

"And now I STAND AND AM JUDGED FOR THE HOPE OF THE PROMISE MADE OF GOD UNTO OUR FATHERS:

"Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.  FOR WHICH HOPE'S SAKE, KING AGRIPPA, I AM ACCUSED OF THE JEWS.

"WHY SHOULD IT BE THOUGHT A THING INCREDIBLE WITH YOU, THAT GOD SHOULD RAISE THE DEAD?"

Here note carefully that the promise referred to was that of kingdom blessing, while "the hope of the promise" was the resurrection of Christ, which was the very foundation of Paul's message.  For this "hope's sake" Paul was "accused of the Jews." Thus it was that the apostle could say to the Jewish leaders in Rome: "For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain."

That this was in fact why Paul had been "called in question" and "accused" and "judged" and "bound with this chain," is borne out even by Festus who informed Agrippa that when Paul was brought before him the Jews "brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:

"But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one JESUS, WHICH WAS DEAD, WHOM PAUL AFFIRMED TO BE ALIVE" (Acts 25:18,19).

Thus in the book of Acts alone we have overwhelming proof as to the particular point at issue between Paul and those who had had him "bound with this chain." And that point was not his proclamation of the kingdom promises, but his distinctive and powerful proclamation of the resurrection of Christ, which, he maintained, was the hope of Israel.  Had these facts been noted in time in the recovery of the Pauline message much of the confusion of extremism could have been avoided.
 

AS IT IS WRITTEN


Attention should also be called, at this point, to Romans 15:8-16 where, after pointing out that "it is written" (Ver. 9) "again" (Ver. 10) "and again" (Ver. 11) "and again" (Ver. 12) that the Gentiles were to be saved, the Apostle Paul points out that God has appointed him "the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles" (Ver. 16).

But here, as in Acts 13:46,47, we simply find again the connection between prophecy and the mystery.

It had indeed been prophesied that the Gentiles would one day rejoice with God's people Israel.

But, as Paul declares to the Romans, Israel herself refused Christ.  How then could the Gentiles be blessed through her?  It is because of this difficulty that the apostle exhorts the Gentiles at Rome:

"NOW THE GOD OF HOPE FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING, THAT YE MAY ABOUND IN HOPE, THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST" (Romans 15:13).

And then the apostle speaks boldly, not expounding the Scriptures he has just quoted, but declaring his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ:

"Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort [in a sense], as PUTTING YOU IN MIND, BECAUSE OF THE GRACE THAT IS GIVEN TO ME OF GOD,

"THAT I SHOULD BE THE MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST TO THE GENTILES, ministering the gospel of God, THAT THE OFFERING UP OF THE GENTILES MIGHT BE ACCEPTABLE, BEING SANCTIFIED BY THE HOLY GHOST" (Romans 15:15,16).
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« Reply #110 on: April 30, 2008, 11:07:22 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XIV.
THE RELATION BETWEEN PROPHECY
AND THE MYSTERY

Here again we have God sending salvation to the Gentiles, not in the manner prescribed in prophecy, but sending it nevertheless.  We might paraphrase the apostle's argument thus:

"That the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy is written again and again and again.  You say that Israel, through whom the blessing should flow, is rejecting Christ?  Then just trust and rejoice in God, and let me speak boldly and remind you of the grace given to me, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.  And my offering up of the Gentiles is acceptable to God, too, for it is being sanctified by the Holy Spirit."

How beautiful this passage is!  Those who would understand the plan of God should read it again and again until the blessed truth of it is fully comprehended.
 

HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE



A final word in this connection should be written for those who stumble over such phrases as "Abraham's seed" and "heirs according to the promise," applied to Gentile believers in Paul's early writings.

Is not Christ Abraham's seed?  Are not we members of Christ?  Do we not fall heir to all things in Him?  True, we became heirs through God's secret, eternal purpose, when the promise seemed to have failed, but the fact remains that we Gentiles have become heirs. [2]

Moreover, we have become heirs "according to the promise," for the promise was to Abraham and his seed and we, being in Christ, are indeed Abraham's seed.  Thus Israel, to whom the promise pertained (Romans 9:4), did not become heir, while we, the members of the secret, unprophesied body have become heirs in Christ.  This, however, does not nullify the promises made to the nation, Abraham's natural seed.

Those who stumble at such phrases as these should certainly have difficulty with many phrases in Paul's later epistles, where we read that we are "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" and made "partakers of His promise in Christ, by the gospel" (Ephesians 1:13, 3:6, cf. Galatians 3:14,22,29).  But these passages are no stumbling block when we take proper note of the relation between prophecy and the mystery.
 

QUIZ


1.  Give three indications that the apostleship of Paul, from the beginning, was distinct from that of the twelve.

2.  What connection was there between their ministries?

3.  In what solemn agreement between the Jerusalem apostles and Paul, are both the distinction and the connection emphasized?

4.  Name three passages of Scripture often used by extreme dispensationalists to prove that Paul did not begin preaching the mystery until after Acts 28.

5.  Why had it been "necessary" to preach the Word of God to the Jews first?

6.  How did the Jews at Pisidian Antioch respond when Paul brought the Word of God to them first?

7.  What did Paul do then?

8.  Was this according to prophecy or according to the mystery?

9.  Name three unprophesied truths proclaimed by Paul before Acts 28.

10.  What had he preached that was in strict accordance with what the prophets and Moses had said should come?

11.  What is "the hope of Israel"?

12.  Explain the difference between "the promise made of God unto the fathers" and "the hope of the promise . . . ."

13.  Was Paul imprisoned for proclaiming the promise or the hope?

14.  Did Old Testament prophecy predict the salvation of the Gentiles?

15.  Did it predict the salvation of the Gentiles through Israel's fall?

16.  Has God sent salvation to the Gentiles?

17.  Has He sent it in the manner prescribed in prophecy?

18.  Did He send it through the twelve, under the "great commission"?

19.  Did He send it in connection with Israel's rise or fall?

20.  In what sense are believers today Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise?
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« Reply #111 on: April 30, 2008, 11:48:55 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XV.
THE LORD'S SUPPER



Many sincere believers feel that to be consistent, those who claim that water baptism is not in God's program for this age should cease gathering at the Lord's supper too.

Here extreme dispensationalists and denominationalists stand together, their only difference being that while the former believe that neither the Lord's supper nor water baptism should be observed during this dispensation, the latter believe that both should be.
 

AN UNSCRIPTURAL ASSUMPTION


But both of these groups have based their arguments upon a wholly unscriptural assumption  --  that water baptism and the Lord's supper belong together in God's program.  This is pure tradition and it is surprising that extreme dispensationalists, of all people, should accept it as truth.

Well do we remember how a startling misquotation of Colossians 2:14 first led us into a study of this subject.  A Bible teacher had quoted it thus: "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances, that was against us, leaving two, baptism and the Lord's supper!" When we began to search the Scriptures as to this we soon discovered that water baptism was an ordinance, but that the Lord's supper was emphatically not an ordinance, in the Scriptural sense of that term.

We must be Bereans and search for ourselves to see whether water baptism and the Lord's supper are linked together as ordinances either for Israel or the body of Christ, and if we find that they are not so linked, we should settle it in our minds and forever be done with the unscriptural notion.

The fact is that there are definite distinctions and even contrasts between baptism and the Lord's supper.

Water baptism was an Old Testament ordinance.

The Lord's supper is a New Testament celebration.

Water baptism, like all ordinances, was "imposed."

The Lord's supper was never imposed.

Water baptism was a requirement for salvation.

The Lord's supper, never!

Water baptism was associated with our Lord's manifestation to Israel.

The Lord's supper is associated with our Lord's rejection and absence.

Water baptism denotes an unfinished work.

The Lord's supper speaks of the finished work of Christ.

Water baptism was a single act.

The Lord's supper is celebrated again and again.

Water baptism was not included in Paul's special commission.

The Lord's supper was included in Paul's special commission.
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« Reply #112 on: April 30, 2008, 11:50:28 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XV.
THE LORD'S SUPPER


THE LORD'S SUPPER
A NEW TESTAMENT CELEBRATION



As we have seen in our discussion of water baptism, that rite was distinctly an Old Testament ordinance.  The Lord's supper, however, is distinctly a New Testament celebration.  It is disappointing to find some well-meaning extremists calling the Lord's Supper "the Passover," for surely Luke 22:14-20 proves conclusively that after the Passover our Lord instituted a "remembrance" of His death.

When Paul recounts what our Lord did and said at the Lord's supper he mentions only the bread and the wine, while at the Passover there was more than this.

The Passover, like water baptism, was an Old Testament ordinance, but the Lord's supper is as distinctly associated with the New Testament.

"FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT . . ." (Matthew 26:28 ).

The Passover, like water baptism, spoke of an unfinished work, for it is impossible that either the blood of beasts or the washing of water should take away sins.  Both were shadows of the blood and water that flowed from the Savior's side.

Because so many stumble over the fact that water baptism was practiced even after the Cross, we repeat that the full results of Calvary were not manifested until "due time," through the Apostle Paul.  Circumcision, the sabbaths and the Levitical feasts likewise spoke of an unfinished work, yet they were all observed after the cross.  This is simply because the time was not ripe for the unfolding of God's, secret purpose and the gospel of the grace of God until the raising up of Paul, and even then its unfolding and the passing away of the old order was a gradual matter.

BUT, whereas the Passover and water baptism were Old Testament ordinances, the Lord's supper is a New Testament celebration.

The celebration of the Lord's death should never be classed with ordinances, for while these all spoke of an unfinished work, the Lord's supper is clearly a celebration of the FINISHED WORK of Christ.

At least three times the Lord's supper is stated to be "in remembrance" of our Lord's sacrificial work.
 

HOW THE NEW COVENANT
CONCERNS US



Since the New Testament, or Covenant, was specifically made with "the house of Israel and with the house of Judah" (Jeremiah 31:31), some have concluded that it can have no relation to the Gentiles and that therefore the Lord's supper should not be practiced today.

But this is an error.  The Old Covenant, like the New, was made with Israel, but it vitally affects the Gentiles.  See Paul's words in Romans 3:19,20:

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that EVERY MOUTH may be stopped, and ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God.

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall NO FLESH be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."

The Gentiles never were, and are not today, under the covenant of the law, but it would be a mistake to argue that the law does not affect the Gentiles, for it was given that the whole world might be brought in guilty before God.

Israel represented the world before God.  Israel was the only nation with which God still had dealings after He gave up the Gentiles.  When she finally fell, it meant that the whole world had fallen.  If God should demand from any group of people the righteous standards of the Old Covenant (Exodus 19:5,6), that group would surely be condemned.  That is why the New Covenant was necessary.
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« Reply #113 on: April 30, 2008, 11:52:01 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XV.
THE LORD'S SUPPER

After Israel's failure under the Old Covenant had become increasingly apparent, God promised to make a new covenant with them.  This New Covenant was to be made with the favored nation alone.  Jeremiah distinctly states this, as we have seen above.

And God did make this new covenant with Israel and Judah  --  at Calvary (Matthew 26:28 ).  It was there that Christ procured for His covenant people what they could not attain to under the law.  It was there that Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled:

"For the transgression of my people was He stricken" (Isaiah 53:8 ).

It was on the basis of Calvary and the blood of the New Covenant that the kingdom blessing was offered to Israel at Pentecost, but that generation in Israel refused the blessing and the New Covenant awaits a future fulfillment.

But it does not follow from this that the New Covenant does not affect the Gentiles.

If the Gentiles come under the curse of the Old Covenant, they may also partake of the blessings of the New, for why was the blood of the New Covenant shed if not to remove the curse of the Old?

If by the Old Covenant with Israel God showed how the whole world stands condemned in His sight, then, by the New Covenant with Israel God shows how all may be justified in His sight. [1] Hebrews 2:9-16 says that Christ "took on Him the seed of Abraham." But why? "That He by the grace of God might taste death for EVERY MAN."

At Calvary God vouchsafed to Israel by solemn covenant: "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:34, cf. Matthew 26:28 ).  God did not make such a covenants with the Gentiles, but what He promised by covenant to Israel, we receive by grace.

The reader should carefully examine Jeremiah 31:31-34 and note that the blessings of the New Covenant are all spiritual.2 There is nothing about the land, the kingdom or the throne.  Do members of the body of Christ today receive the blessings outlined there?  Yes, all of them.  Has He not written His law upon our hearts?  Is it not our desire to obey Him?  Do we not "know the Lord"?  Is He not our God?  Are we not His people?  Has He not forgiven our iniquities?  Does He remember our sins against us?

We must not forget that "we have redemption through His blood"  --  that same "blood of the New Covenant." That blood saves us even while Israel gropes in blindness and staggers in unbelief.

But there are other important distinctions between water baptism and the Lord's supper.


A CELEBRATION IN HIS ABSENCE


Water baptism is clearly associated with the manifestation of Christ to Israel.  Consider the words of John the Baptist in John 1:31:

"AND I KNEW HIM NOT: BUT THAT HE SHOULD BE MADE MANIFEST TO ISRAEL, THEREFORE AM I COME BAPTIZING WITH WATER."

In contrast to this, the Lord's supper is associated with the rejection of Christ and was first given to His followers to celebrate in His absence, until God should make His enemies His footstool.

It was by revelation that the Apostle Paul subsequently made known God's wonderful purpose to delay the judgment and usher in a period of grace.  By revelation he declared that the Lord, in love to sinners, would remain away, an Exile, meanwhile sending forth ambassadors to offer to His enemies reconciliation by grace, through faith in His finished work (Ephesians 3:1-4 and II Peter 3:3,4,8,9,15).

Every believer today should have in his heart and on his lips the message which Paul so faithfully proclaimed, and which the church has since then so grievously confused and obscured:

"Now then we are AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you IN CHRIST'S STEAD, be ye reconciled to God.

"FOR HE HATH MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US, WHO KNEW NO SIN; THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM" (II Corinthians 5:20,21).

It was because of the continued absence of Christ that Paul, by revelation, "delivered" the Lord's supper as a celebration of our Lord's death "till He come" (I Corinthians 11:23,26).
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« Reply #114 on: April 30, 2008, 11:53:45 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XV.
THE LORD'S SUPPER


THE LORD'S SUPPER AND
SALVATION



We have seen that water baptism, both before and after the cross, was required for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4, 16:15,16, Acts 2:38 ).  With the Lord's supper the very opposite is the case for only those already saved are invited to partake of it.

Our denominational brethren should surely recognize this distinction, for while they make baptism a prerequisite to membership in most of their churches, rarely do they make the Lord's supper a prerequisite.  On the contrary, the Lord's supper is a privilege extended only to the saved; sometimes, indeed, only to the members of the particular churches in which it is "observed."

Like all other ordinances, because water baptism represented an unfinished work it was required for salvation.  No man could claim salvation without it.  But contrast this with the Lord's supper.

Matthew 26:28: "FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR MANY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS."

Though our Lord's words at the table were not yet fully understood, they nevertheless mark a vital distinction between baptism and the Lord's supper.
 

THE LORD'S SUPPER NOT IMPOSED


Water baptism was an ordinance; a yoke. It was "imposed."

Hebrews 9:10: "Which stood only in meats and drinks, and DIVERS WASHINGS [Gr. BAPTISMOIS], and carnal ORDINANCES, IMPOSED ON THEM UNTIL THE TIME OF REFORMATION."

This is why Colossians 2:20 says:

"Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye SUBJECT to ordinances?"

And this is why Colossians 2:9-12 shows our circumcision and baptism as having been accomplished for us by Christ, and adds:

"BLOTTING OUT THE HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES THAT WAS AGAINST US, WHICH WAS CONTRARY TO US, AND TOOK IT OUT OF THE WAY, NAILING IT TO HIS CROSS" (Ver. 14).

Many preachers have taught that God's children should "submit" to water baptism, but has the reader ever heard any one insist that we should "submit" to the Lord's supper?  The Lord's supper can never be classed with Old Testament ordinances.  It was never imposed or required for acceptance with God.  On the contrary, the Scriptures clearly present it as a celebration, a "remembrance," in which it is the believer's privilege to participate "as often" as he wishes (I Corinthians 11:26), though it is taken for granted that he will wish to remember in this way what his Lord has done for him.
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« Reply #115 on: April 30, 2008, 11:55:23 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XV.
THE LORD'S SUPPER


THE LORD'S SUPPER A TESTIMONY


Another sharp distinction between water baptism and the Lord's supper is that while the former was to be administered only once, the latter was to be celebrated again and again.

Without a shred of evidence or a single Scriptural proof, it is asserted by some that the purpose of water baptism is to bear public testimony to our death, burial and resurrection with Christ.  But then why should believers be baptized only once?  Is one testimony enough?  Can we tell by looking at a person whether he has been baptized or not?  If water baptism were meant for a testimony that the believer has been crucified, buried and raised with Christ, we should be baptized again and again, not just once before one group of people.

But the Scriptures do clearly teach that the Lord's supper was meant to remind believers and the world of the death of Christ.

"THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME" (I Corinthians 11:24).

"THIS DO YE . . . IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME"(I Corinthians 11:25).

"FOR AS OFTEN AS YE EAT THIS BREAD, AND DRINK THIS CUP, YE DO SHOW FORTH THE LORD'S DEATH TILL HE COME" (I Corinthians 11:26).
 

THE LORD'S SUPPER AND
PAUL'S COMMISSION



Baptism was not included in Paul's special commission.

"FOR CHRIST SENT ME NOT TO BAPTIZE, BUT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL . . ." (I Corinthians 1:17).

The context does not alter this fact in the least.  True, the Corinthians were puffed up and carnal, and for this reason Paul was glad he had not baptized more of them.  This, however, does not modify, it rather emphasizes the fact that he was not sent to baptize, and those who insist that he was sent to baptize, as John the Baptist and the twelve had been, should produce the evidence.

Our denominational brethren can easily prove that John the Baptist was commissioned to baptize.  They can easily prove that the twelve were commissioned to baptize, but they wholly fail to produce any Scriptural evidence that water baptism was included in the great commission which Paul received by revelation.  If I Corinthians 1:17 means anything, it means that water baptism was not included in that commission.  This does not mean that Paul did wrong in baptizing before Israel was set aside, any more than that he did wrong in working miracles or speaking in tongues or confirming Peter's message as God's Word to Israel. [3]

But the Lord's supper was included in Paul's special commission.

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread." These are the words with which Paul proceeds to "deliver" the memorial of the Lord's death to them (I Corinthians 11:23).  This was part of Paul's distinctive message.

Paul did not have a number of divergent gospels.  The various items of good news which he proclaimed were all part of one great message progressively developed in his epistles and called again and again, "my gospel," not "my gospels."

This is not to deny that He confirmed Peter's message.  It is simply to point out that even in his early ministry his great message was not "the gospel of the circumcision" as some would have us believe, but "the gospel of the uncircumcision" (Galatians 2:7), and that the Lord's supper belongs to this distinctively Pauline message.
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« Reply #116 on: April 30, 2008, 11:57:02 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XV.
THE LORD'S SUPPER


THE LORD'S SUPPER AND OUR
HEAVENLY POSITION



Frankly, it is difficult for us to follow the "logic" of some of our extreme brethren who reason that since our position and our blessings are in the heavenlies, we should not partake of the Lord's supper because it is a physical celebration.

They say: "Imagine a dead man eating!  Imagine one at God's right hand partaking of a supper down here!" But can this "logic" apply only to the Lord's supper?  Imagine a dead man, or one in the heavenlies, telling lies!  Imagine him stealing!  Imagine him traveling or held a prisoner!  Yet Paul, in his later epistles, exhorts brethren whose position is in the heavenlies not to lie and steal, and refers to his own travels and his bonds.

Those who forward the above argument against the celebration of the Lord's supper simply forget to distinguish between our standing in Christ and our state.  The apostle warns against "carnal [physical] ordinances," to be sure, since the mystery has been fully revealed, for now any former requirement, even if appended to faith, would be a reflection on the finished work of Christ.

But the Lord's supper was never a requirement for salvation and cannot be classed with the ordinances.  Nor does Paul ever teach, indeed he refutes, the error that physical things as such are incompatible with spiritual blessings.

There are many physical privileges which, when rightly used, are translated into spiritual blessings.

We may eat and drink to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

We may bow our knees unto the Father (Ephesians 3:14).

We may study out of physical books and a physical Bible (I Timothy 4:13, II Timothy 2:15).

We may assemble with other saints on earth, generally in buildings (Hebrews 10:25, Colossians 4:15).

We may gather around a physical table and remember Christ's death with physical food and drink, and this table is called "the Lord's table" (I Corinthians 10:21, 11:23-26).
 

"I NEVER FELT MOVED"


Recently someone advanced the argument to us that the Lord's supper could hardly be for this age since, as he put it: "I never felt moved at the Lord's table."

But are we to go by feelings or by faith? by the will of man or the Word of God?

Many will testify that they were filled with joy and peace when they were baptized with water.  Does this prove that water baptism is in God's program for this age?  Many have been deeply moved by the robes, the chants, the beads and candlesticks of Rome.  Does this make these things Scriptural or pleasing to God?  Most assuredly not.  Faith rests only on the written Word of God.

Many do not feel moved at the Lord's table because its true meaning is not appreciated.  The Scriptures are as much against the legalistic manner in which many of the brethren observe the Lord's supper as they are against the practice of water baptism for today.  The Lord's supper is not a mass.  It is something infinitely more precious than that.
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« Reply #117 on: April 30, 2008, 12:02:01 PM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter XV.
THE LORD'S SUPPER


WHY THE LORD'S SUPPER


Every instructed believer today rejoices in the glorious fact that he has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ  --  yea into Christ Himself; that he has been given a position in Christ in the heavenlies.

But has it ever occurred to the reader that to accomplish this, our blessed Lord had to be baptized into the human race  --  become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh  --  one with us, yea one of us?  Before we could be baptized into Deity, He had to be baptized into humanity.  Before we could be baptized into His death, He had to be baptized into our death (Luke 12:50).  To lift us from earth to heaven; to bless us with all spiritual blessings, He had to take upon Himself a physical body, to be beaten and scourged and spit upon and crucified.

God would have us remember this.  He would make us more deeply conscious of it and more heartily thankful for it.  This is why He has given us one solemn and precious memorial of Calvary.  He would remind us again and again in this tangible way that

"You that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled,

"IN THE BODY OF HIS FLESH, THROUGH DEATH, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight" (Colossians 1:21,22).

And not only would He remind us of this stupendous fact and have us live in the light of it  --  He would have us show it forth to others as well.

"THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME."

"FOR AS OFTEN AS YE EAT THIS BREAD, AND DRINK THIS CUP, YE DO SHOW FORTH THE LORD'S DEATH TILL HE COME."
 

QUIZ


1.  With respect to the Lord's supper and water baptism, where do denominationalists and extreme dispensationalists agree and where do they disagree?

2.  Give three proofs that water baptism and the Lord's supper do not belong in the same class Scripturally.

3.  Prove from Scripture that the Lord's supper is not the same as the Passover.

4.  What is the relation between the Old and New Covenants?

5.  With whom were these covenants made?

6.  How do both affect the Gentiles?

7.  In what prophecy did God promise to make the New Covenant?

8.  When was the New Covenant actually made?

9.  When will it be fulfilled?

10.  What was the nature of the promises under the New Covenant?

11.  How do we come into the blessings of the New Covenant?

12.  Show from Scripture how water baptism was an ordinance, in the Scriptural sense of the term.

13.  Show how the Lord's supper is not such an ordinance.

14.  Were John the Baptist and the twelve sent to baptize?

15.  Was Paul sent to baptize?  Give Scripture.

16.  Was the Lord's supper included in Paul's special revelation and commission?

17.  Show from Scripture how the Lord's supper was meant to be a testimony.

18.  How would you answer the argument that the celebration of the Lord's supper is not compatible with our position in the heavenlies?

19.  Explain why God has given us this one physical "remembrance."

20.  Until when are members of the body of Christ to show forth the Lord's death in this way?

THE END
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(My Note: As Christians without any further labels or tags, we have countless reasons to Thank GOD numerous times every day, MOST SPECIALLY:)

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable GIFT, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour Forever!
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« Reply #118 on: January 02, 2010, 12:20:04 PM »

Excellent book. This book, I do believe, has been the most benificial in understanding the Word rightly divided.
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« Reply #119 on: January 02, 2010, 03:27:11 PM »

Hello BigD,

I see this is your first post, so welcome!


I hope you enjoy Christians Unite, and I look forward to having fellowship with you.

I agree with your assessment of "Things That Differ". Cornelius R. Stam is a dear man of God, and God has used Pastor Stam's ministry to touch the lives of countless others, including mine.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Isaiah 52:6-7 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Romans 10:14-15 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
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