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« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2008, 08:06:42 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VI.
THE MINISTRIES OF THE TWELVE
AND PAUL COMPARED


CHART COMPARISON
THE TWELVE APOSTLES
THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE TWELVE APOSTLES:

Representatives of the Nation Israel - 12 Tribes - 12 Men - 12 Thrones - Matthew 19:28.

Called by CHRIST on Earth - Luke 6:13.

Knew only CHRIST on Earth - Acts 1:9.

Sent to Israel and the Nations - Matthew 10:5-6, Luke 24:47-48.

Sent to Proclaim GOD'S Prophesied Program - Salvation of Gentiles through Israel's Rise - Acts 3:24-26.

Agree to confine their ministry to Israel after raising up of Paul - Galatians 2:1-9.


THE APOSTLE PAUL:

Representative of THE BODY OF CHRIST - One Man - Both Hebrew and Roman - Reconciled - Ephesians 2:16.

Called by CHRIST in HEAVEN - Acts 9:3-5.

Sent to All Men Everywhere - Romans  10:12; 11:32.

Sent to Proclaim GOD'S Secret Purpose - Salvation of Gentiles through Israel's FALL - Romans  11:7-33.

SUPERSEDES Twelve as Apostle of Gentiles as Israel REJECTS KINGDOM - Galatians 2:1-9.
_________________________


The basic cause of the confusion which prevails in the professing Church doctrinally is the failure to recognize the distinctiveness of Paul's message and ministry from that of the twelve.  The majority of even sincere believers seem not to have asked themselves the question: Why Paul?  They seem not to have taken in the striking fact that after our Lord, in His so-called great commission, had sent the other apostles into "all the world" to preach "the gospel" to "every creature" (Mark 16:15) and make disciples of "all nations" (Matthew 28: 19) -- after this, He raised up another apostle, and the twelve through their leaders, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, entered into a solemn agreement with this other apostle that he should go to the Gentiles while they confined their ministry to Israel (Galatians 2:7-9).  Thus some years after the "great commission" to the eleven (made twelve in Acts 1:15-26), Paul could declare:

"FOR I SPEAK TO YOU GENTILES, INASMUCH AS I AM THE APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES; I MAGNIFY MINE OFFICE" (Romans  11:13).
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« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2008, 08:08:51 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VI.
THE MINISTRIES OF THE TWELVE
AND PAUL COMPARED

Paul himself constantly emphasizes the distinctiveness of his apostleship and message.  Three times he speaks of "my gospel" (Romans 2:16, 16:25, II Timothy 2:8) and repeatedly he uses similar phrases, such as: "the gospel which I preached," "the gospel which was preached of me" and "that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles" (I Corinthians 15:1, Galatians 1:11, 2:2).  Again and again he makes it plain that his message was received from the Lord (I Corinthians 11:23, 15:1, I Thessalonians 4:15) by direct revelation (Galatians 1:12, Ephesians 3:1-3).  He even pronounces a curse on any who would preach to the Gentiles any other gospel than that which he had preached.  This is why we also find him saying again and again (though in varied phraseology): "Follow me" (I Corinthians 4:16, 11:1, Philippians 3:17, I Thessalonians 1:6, II Thessalonians 3:9).

This means, as pointed out in the preceding chapter, that the prophetic program, of which the "great commission" was a part, was interrupted by the dispensation of the grace of God through Paul.  Hence the importance of distinguishing Paul's message and ministry from that of the twelve.
 

THE TWELVE APOSTLES



In comparing the ministries of the twelve and Paul in this chapter we will number our statements concerning the twelve apostles so that they may be compared with those concerning Paul.

1.  The twelve were chosen by Christ on earth (Luke 6:13).

2.  At the time when Paul was raised up the twelve had known only Christ on earth. They had not even seen Him enter heaven at His ascension, for, "a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9).

3.  They represented the nation Israel--one for each tribe.  This is clear from our Lord's promise to them.

"Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, YE ALSO SHALL SIT UPON TWELVE THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL" (Matthew 19:28, cf. Luke 22:29,30).

The sincere and thoughtful student of the Scriptures should take careful note of the fact that the number twelve has no connection whatever with the body of Christ, but that it is constantly found in connection with Israel. "Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs" (Acts 7:8).  From these sprang the twelve tribes of Israel.  These tribes had twelve princes over them (Numbers 1:16).  Even when Israel was ruled by kings there were still to be princes to reign with them over each of the twelve tribes (I Chronicles 27:22).

All this, of course, had been disrupted by the captivities, but now the long-promised King was in their midst--He who was to "restore again the kingdom to Israel." And as He goes forth proclaiming "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matthew 9:35), He chooses His twelve princes for the twelve thrones over Israel's twelve tribes (Matthew 19:28).

4.  These twelve were first sent forth to proclaim the kingdom of heaven at hand (Matthew 10:7, cf. Daniel 2:44) and then, later, to offer it to Israel with a view to carrying the message to all the world (Acts 1:6-8, 3:19-26).

5.  They were given power to work miracles (Matthew 10:8, cf. Mark 16:17,18).

6.  Their ministry was based upon the covenants and prophecy (Isaiah 60:1-3, Luke 1:70-75, Acts 3:22-26).

7.  Therefore they were sent to the Jew first and looked for the salvation of the Gentiles through regenerated Israel (Matthew 10:5,6, Luke 24:47, Acts 3:25,26).

8.  They ministered in Palestine only (Acts 10:39, 21:17-20). [1]

9.  In their message and ministry they anticipated Israel's acceptance of Christ as King and His return to reign.  This was what they labored, hoped and prayed for (Acts 1:11, 3:19-21).

10.  In the "great commission" to the twelve, water baptism was required for salvation and miraculous signs were the evidences of salvation (Mark 16:15-18, Acts 2:38).
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« Reply #47 on: April 28, 2008, 08:10:30 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VI.
THE MINISTRIES OF THE TWELVE
AND PAUL COMPARED


THE APOSTLE PAUL


The reader is urged to take the time to refer to the numbered paragraphs in the preceding pages and compare Paul's ministry with that of the twelve.

1.  Unlike the twelve, Paul was chosen by Christ in heaven (Acts 9:3-5, 26:16).

2.  He knew only Christ in heaven, having never seen Him on earth (Acts 26:16, I Corinthians 15:8).

3.  Paul, as one apostle, represents the body of Christ. [2]

Here again the thoughtful student of Scripture will notice that whereas the number twelve is never associated with the body of Christ, the number one is consistently associated with it: "We being many, are one body in Christ" (Romans 12:5), "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body" (I Corinthians 12:13), "There is one body" (Ephesians 4:4), etc.

Moreover, the body is made up of enemies, reconciled to God through the death of His Son (Colossians 1:21,22).  What a perfect example Paul was of this!

Further, Paul was both a Hebrew and a Roman.  He was a born Hebrew (Philippians 3:5) and intensely so (Philippians 3:5,6).  But he was also a Roman, a born Roman, and intensely Roman.

When the magistrates at Philippi sent word that Paul and Silas were to be released, Paul refused to go, saying:

"THEY HAVE BEATEN US OPENLY UNCONDEMNED, BEING ROMANS, AND HAVE CAST US INTO PRISON; AND NOW DO THEY THRUST US OUT PRIVILY? NAY VERILY; BUT LET THEM COME THEMSELVES AND FETCH US OUT" (Acts 16:37).

Here they demanded an apology from the Roman magistrates and, mark well, the magistrates "came and besought them, and brought them out" (Verse 39).

Later, at Jerusalem, while the soldiers bound Paul for examination by scourging, Paul said to the centurion that stood by: "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?" (Acts 22:25).

When this question got back to Lysius, the chief captain who had ordered the scourging, he suddenly became friendly with Paul, explaining that it had cost him a great deal to obtain Roman citizenship.

"And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. AND PAUL SAID: BUT I WAS FREE BORN" (Acts 22:28).

At this his would-be examiners suddenly departed.  They did not wish to get into trouble with the Roman government for their mistake. "The chief captain also was afraid . . . because he had bound him" (Verse 29).

Paul was a native of Tarsus, "no mean city" in the eyes of Rome (Acts 21:39).  In fact, so high was his rank as a Roman, that he had the right to appeal personally to Caesar for trial.  This was confirmed by Festus and the Roman council at Caesarea after conferring on the matter (Acts 25:10-12).

Why does the Holy Spirit thus stress the apostle's Roman, as well as his Hebrew, citizenship?  Simply because he, a reconciled Hebrew and Roman in one person, represents the body of Christ, the Church of this dispensation, which is composed of Jews and Gentiles reconciled to God in one body, by the cross (Ephesians 2:16).
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« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2008, 08:12:35 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VI.
THE MINISTRIES OF THE TWELVE
AND PAUL COMPARED

4.  Paul was sent out to proclaim "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24, Ephesians 3:1-3).  While he confirmed the fact that Jesus was Israel's Messiah, he never proclaimed the kingdom at hand or offered it for Israel's acceptance.  Nor had the twelve until then ever proclaimed the gospel of the grace of God.

5.  While at first Paul had "the signs of an apostle," his power to work miracles was withdrawn in connection with his God-given message (Romans 8:22,23, I Corinthians 13:8-13, II Corinthians 4:16, 5:1-4, 12:7-10, Philippians 2:26,27, I Timothy 5:23, II Timothy 4:20).

6.  Paul's message was not based upon covenant promises or prophecies but entirely upon the grace of God (Romans 3:21-28, Ephesians 1:7, 2:7).  It was a mystery, kept secret until that time (Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:1-3) and gradually revealed to and through him (Acts 26:16, 22:17,18, II Corinthians 12:1-7).

7.  In his message the Jew and the Gentile stood on the same footing before God (Romans 3:22,23, 10:12,13).

8.  Paul's chief ministry was among the Gentiles (Romans 11:13, Ephesians 3:1,2).  When he would have ministered at Jerusalem the Lord forbade him to stay, saying: "Depart; for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles" (Acts 22:21).

9.  With the raising up of Paul Israel was concluded in unbelief.  The Lord Himself said to Paul: "THEY WILL NOT RECEIVE THY TESTIMONY CONCERNING ME" (Acts 22:18).

Hence Paul's message, unlike that of the twelve, was based upon Israel's rejection of Christ, and explained His continued absence (Ephesians 1:18-2:6, Phil 2:9, Colossians 3:1-3, Hebrews 2:8,9).

10.  Neither water baptism nor miraculous signs were included in Paul's special commission, nor did either have anything to do with salvation under his ministry.  It is true that Paul at first did baptize some; that he circumcised at least one; that he had "the signs of an apostle," but this was the economy under which he was saved and from which he gradually emerged.  Moreover, he states clearly that he did not preach circumcision (Galatians 5:11), was not sent to baptize (I Corinthians 1:17) and that the miraculous powers he himself possessed would pass away (I Corinthians 13:8-10).
 

PAUL NOT ONE OF THE TWELVE


Occasionally the disciples are charged with acting in the flesh in choosing Matthias to fill Judas' place as the twelfth apostle.  It is said that the disciples had no business choosing a twelfth apostle in the first place.  It is further argued that they first arbitrarily chose two candidates and then asked the Lord which of these two He would have to fill the vacant position.  Those who make this charge generally argue that Paul, not Matthias, was God's choice for Judas' place.

This charge, however, is not based upon a careful reading of the account in Acts, nor a very thorough knowledge of the Scriptures bearing on the subject.  Let us examine the record:

1.  The apostles, with Peter as their chief, had been given authority to act officially in Christ's absence (Matthew 16:19, 18:18,19).

2.  It was stated in the Psalms that another should be appointed to Judas' place (Psalms 109:8, Acts 1:20).

3.  The twelfth apostle had to be chosen before the kingdom could be offered at Pentecost (Matthew 19:28). Note how Peter stands up with the eleven in Acts 2:14.

4.  Their action was literally bathed in prayer.  They did not proceed until after many days of united prayer (Luke 24:49, cf. Acts 1:12-15), and when two candidates were found they again prayed and left the final choice to God (Acts 1:24-26).
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« Reply #49 on: April 28, 2008, 08:14:26 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VI.
THE MINISTRIES OF THE TWELVE
AND PAUL COMPARED

5.  It is probable that no more than two (Matthias and Joseph Barsabas) were eligible for the office, for only those could qualify who had followed with Christ all during His earthly ministry, "beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that He was taken up . . ." (Acts 1:21,22, cf. Matthew 19:28, Note: "Ye which have followed Me").  Surely there could not have been many such.

6.  For this reason Paul would not have been eligible.  He did not even see Christ until after His ascension.

7.  Paul was not even saved at that time.  Indeed, after that he "persecuted the church of God and laid it waste" (Galatians 1:13).

8.  The final and conclusive proof that the eleven acted in the will of God in this matter is found in the fact that the Scripture clearly states that Matthias "was numbered with the eleven apostles" (Acts 1:26) and that,

"THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST" (Acts 2:4).

Most assuredly, if the disciples had been out of the will of God in so important a matter they would not have been filled with the Holy Spirit.  Nor would Matthias have been filled with the Holy Spirit if he had not been divinely chosen for that particular position.  A man out of the will of God is never filled with the Holy Spirit.

This, of course, indicates that Paul's apostleship was separate and distinct from that of the twelve.  Paul cannot be considered as one with the twelve, for just as eleven apostles would have been too few for God's kingdom plans, so thirteen apostles would have been too many.  There will be twelve thrones (besides Christ's) in the kingdom, not thirteen.  Hence Paul belonged to another program and was sent forth to proclaim another message.

It is significant in this connection, that Paul also speaks of the twelve as a separate body of apostles when he says that the resurrected Christ was "seen . . . of the twelve" (I Corinthians 15:5).  This inspired reference to twelve apostles between the resurrection and ascension, is further proof that Matthias was, by God, considered one of the twelve from the beginning.  Apparently he was with the apostles when the risen Christ appeared to them (Acts 1:21-23).

Indeed, Paul consistently speaks of his apostleship and that of the twelve as distinct from each other.  In his letter to the Galatians he says:

"But I certify you, brethren, that THE GOSPEL WHICH WAS PREACHED OF ME IS NOT AFTER MAN.

"FOR I NEITHER RECEIVED IT OF MAN, NEITHER WAS I TAUGHT IT, BUT BY THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST" (Galatians 1:11,12).

"NEITHER WENT I UP [IMMEDIATELY] TO JERUSALEM TO THEM WHICH WERE APOSTLES BEFORE ME: BUT I WENT INTO ARABIA . . ." (Galatians 1:17).

"AND I WENT UP BY REVELATION, AND COMMUNICATED UNTO THEM THAT GOSPEL WHICH I PREACH AMONG THE GENTILES" (Galatians 2:2).

"AND WHEN JAMES, CEPHAS, AND JOHN, WHO SEEMED TO BE PILLARS, PERCEIVED THE GRACE THAT WAS GIVEN UNTO ME, THEY GAVE TO ME AND BARNABAS THE RIGHT HANDS OF FELLOWSHIP; THAT WE SHOULD GO UNTO THE HEATHEN, AND THEY UNTO THE CIRCUMCISION" (Galatians 2:9).
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« Reply #50 on: April 28, 2008, 08:15:49 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VI.
THE MINISTRIES OF THE TWELVE
AND PAUL COMPARED


QUIZ


1.  What is the basic cause of the confusion which prevails in the professing Church doctrinally?

2.  How do most believers view Paul in relation to the twelve?

3.  What striking fact have they overlooked in this connection?

4.  What solemn agreement did the leaders of the twelve make with Paul as to ministering among the Gentiles?

5.  Why is it important to distinguish between Paul's ministry and that of the twelve?

6.  Explain why there were twelve apostles of the kingdom and only one apostle of the grace of God.

7.  Give an example to prove that other "apostles" associated with Paul were apostles only in a secondary sense and were not considered equal as apostles with him.

8.  Explain how Paul was a particularly fitting representative of the body of Christ.

9.  In what land alone did the twelve minister as far as the record in Acts is concerned?

10.  What relation did water baptism and miraculous signs have to salvation under the "great commission"?

11.  What relation, if any, do water baptism and miraculous signs have to the gospel of the grace of God?

12.  During what period of his ministry did Paul baptize and work miracles?

13.  To what program did these things belong?

14.  Was Paul sent to baptize?

15.  What happened to Paul's miraculous powers?

16.  What did Paul do about the kingdom message which the twelve had been proclaiming?

17.  What charge is sometimes made against the eleven for their appointment of Matthias as the twelfth apostle?

18.  Give five reasons why Matthias, not Paul, was God's choice for the apostleship left vacant by Judas.

19.  How did the raising up of Paul affect the kingdom program?

20.  Give three Scriptures emphasizing the distinctiveness of Paul's ministry.
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« Reply #51 on: April 28, 2008, 08:18:27 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VII.
PETER AND PAUL AS WITNESSES



In addition to the distinctions between the ministries of the twelve apostles and Paul, the Scriptures also clearly distinguish between the ministries of Peter (as leader of the twelve) and Paul.


VISIONS AND VOICES

A STATEMENT BY PETER


II Peter1:16-18
"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were EYEWITNESSES of His majesty. "For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such A VOICE to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."AND THIS VOICE . . .WE HEARD, when we were with Him in the holy mount."


A STATEMENT BY PAUL

Acts 22:7,14,15
"And I fell unto the ground, and HEARD A VOICE saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" "And he [Ananias] said,The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will,and SEE that Just One, and shouldest HEAR the voice of His mouth."For thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast SEEN AND HEARD."


A comparison of the above passages reveals the following similarities:

1.  Both Peter and Paul saw the Lord in glory.

2.  Both heard voices from heaven.

3.  Both were witnesses of what they had seen and heard. [1]

Yet there are distinct differences between the circumstances and significance of their experiences.

1.  Peter saw the Lord in His glory on earth.  Paul saw Him in His glory in heaven.

2.  Peter saw Him in His kingdom glory.  Paul saw Him in the glory of His grace at the Father's right hand.

3.  The voice Peter heard had the acceptance of Christ in view (cf. Matthew 17:5, "Hear ye Him").  The voice Paul heard had the rejection of Christ in view ("Why persecutest thou Me?").

4.  What Peter saw was a demonstration of "the power and coming" of Christ.  What Paul saw was a demonstration of the grace that caused Him to delay His coming (cf. II Peter 3:9,15).

5.  Peter's experience harmonized with his position as an apostle of the Messianic kingdom.  Paul's harmonized with his position as the apostle of the grace of God.
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« Reply #52 on: April 28, 2008, 08:20:02 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VII.
PETER AND PAUL AS WITNESSES


PETER ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP


In Matthew 4:17 we read:

"FROM THAT TIME JESUS BEGAN TO PREACH, AND TO SAY, REPENT: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND."

Matthew 10:5-7 tells how the Lord sent His twelve apostles forth with the same message: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

How was the message received? Matthew 16:21 answers this question:

"FROM THAT TIME FORTH BEGAN JESUS TO SHOW UNTO HIS DISCIPLES, HOW THAT HE MUST GO UNTO JERUSALEM, AND SUFFER MANY THINGS OF THE ELDERS AND CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES, AND BE KILLED, AND BE RAISED AGAIN THE THIRD DAY."

Imagine the apostles' feelings now.  They were already discouraged over the poor response to their proclamation of the kingdom.  And now the opposition of the rulers becomes more intense and their Lord begins to talk about being killed!

If His "defeatist" attitude bewildered them, they must have been completely at a loss to understand His reference to being raised again.  Indeed, the account in Luke 18:34 states in three different ways that they did not have the slightest idea what He was talking about.  Apparently they could only conclude that He was conceding defeat, for in the next verse of Matthew's account we read:

"Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee" (Matthew 16:22).

Undoubtedly this attitude on the part of the apostles was one great reason for the transfiguration of our Lord.

While telling the apostles of His rejection by Israel and His approaching death, He nevertheless wished to reassure them as to the final outcome.  Hence He took the three who were closest to Him and gave them a glimpse of the glory and majesty that would one day be His.  The incident is described for us in Matthew 17:1,2:

"AFTER SIX DAYS JESUS TAKETH PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN HIS BROTHER, AND BRINGETH THEM UP INTO AN HIGH MOUNTAIN APART,

"AND WAS TRANSFIGURED BEFORE THEM: AND HIS FACE DID SHINE AS THE SUN, AND HIS RAIMENT WAS WHITE AS THE LIGHT."

That day Peter, James and John became "eyewitnesses of his majesty" and heard the voice of God Himself, confirming what they saw.  Come what may now, they had no reason to ever doubt that Christ was God's Anointed and would eventually reign in glory.

Some thirty years after the ascension, while Christ still remained away, Peter referred back to this experience, as we have shown above, assuring his readers that he, James and John had not "followed cunningly devised fables" when they had proclaimed Christ's "power and coming," but "were eyewitnesses of His majesty," and had heard the Father's "voice from heaven" confirming what they saw.  Thus Peter saw the Lord in His glory indeed but, be it noted, in His kingdom glory on earth, and he himself associates the vision with our Lord's "power and coming."
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« Reply #53 on: April 28, 2008, 08:21:37 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VII.
PETER AND PAUL AS WITNESSES


SAUL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS


The Lord also appeared to Paul in glory, but under very different circumstances and for a very different purpose.

As we know, Peter and the eleven did not succeed in bringing Israel to Messiah's feet.  Indeed, the opposition of Israel's government to Christ became even more bitter than it had been before the cross until, finally, the blood of Stephen was shed, and then more blood and more and more.

This is where we read of Saul of Tarsus, for it was he who inspired and led the "great persecution" against the Pentecostal believers.

Concerning the murder of Stephen we read: "And Saul was consenting unto his death," and in the same verse: "And at that time there was [arose, R.V.] a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1).

That Saul was the chief persecutor is certain, for the Scripture record of the persecution places him in the foreground.  Acts 8:3 says: "As for Saul, he made havock of the church" and the next chapter finds him "yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1).  The Damascus believers spoke of him as "he that destroyed them which called on this name" (Acts 9:21).

Paul himself acknowledged years later: "I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women" (Acts 22:4), "and many of the saints did I shut up in prison . . . and when they were put to death, I gave my voice [vote] against them.  And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities" (Acts 26:10,11).  In his letter to the Galatians he sums all this up in the words: "Beyond measure I persecuted the church of God and wasted it [laid it waste]" (Galatians 1:13).

In all this Saul was the personification of Israel's spirit of rebellion against Messiah.  But when the persecution was at its height; as Saul, breathing threatenings and slaughter against Messiah's followers, traveled toward Damascus to "destroy" still more of them, the rejected Lord Himself intervened and Saul, like Peter, saw the Lord in glory and heard a voice from heaven.

But how different the circumstances!

Peter, as the Lord's apostle, had seen, heard and proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ.  Saul was Peter's bitterest enemy for proclaiming that fact.  Peter was the leader of the Pentecostal church; Saul was the leader of the persecution against that church.

Moreover, Paul saw the Lord, not in His kingdom glory, as Peter had, but in the glory of His grace, exalted "far above all heavens."

There are two facts in connection with Saul's experience on the road to Damascus which deserve particular attention:

First, it should be noted that the Lord's rejection by Israel was now assumed.  Before the stoning of Stephen and the raising up of Saul, God had offered the kingdom to Israel on the assumption [2] that she would repent and accept her Messiah.  But now, with Israel waging war against the church (of that day) and Saul of Tarsus making havock of the church, the rejected Lord calls from heaven: "Why persecutest thou Me?" After that the kingdom was never again offered to Israel so far as the record is concerned.
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« Reply #54 on: April 28, 2008, 08:23:11 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VII.
PETER AND PAUL AS WITNESSES

Secondly, we should notice that while Saul was Christ's bitterest enemy on earth, yet the Lord dealt with him in grace.  Instead of judging him, He saved him!

All this is deeply significant, for, since Israel had turned to be God's enemy, God was now to conclude her, along with the Gentiles, in unbelief, "that He might have mercy upon all" (Romans 11:32).

Looking back, years later, Paul refers to himself as one "who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious," but he goes on to say:

"AND THE GRACE OF OUR LORD WAS EXCEEDING ABUNDANT, WITH FAITH AND LOVE WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS.

"THIS IS A FAITHFUL SAYING, AND WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION, THAT CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS, OF WHOM I AM CHIEF.

"HOWBEIT FOR THIS CAUSE I OBTAINED MERCY, THAT IN ME FIRST JESUS CHRIST MIGHT SHOW FORTH ALL LONGSUFFERING, FOR A PATTERN TO THEM WHICH SHOULD HEREAFTER BELIEVE ON HIM TO LIFE EVERLASTING" (I Timothy 1:14-16).

It is difficult to understand how anyone can read this portion of Scripture without seeing that God began a new dispensation with the conversion of Saul.  Rather than judging Israel and the world immediately, the rejected Lord demonstrated His infinite love by saving Saul and sending him forth with "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).  This "dispensation of the grace of God" by Paul is the dispensation under which we now live.  It will not be brought to a close until the Lord Himself comes to call the members of His body to heaven.  Then the prophetic program will again be resumed and the bowls of God's wrath poured out upon a Christ-rejecting world.
 

THE SUFFERINGS AND THE GLORY


The Lord's promise in Matthew 19:28 had left no doubt that the twelve were to occupy thrones with Christ in the kingdom, and what Peter saw and heard "in the holy mount" concerned the glory which he himself was to share at the reign of Christ.

What Paul saw and heard, however, concerned the Lord's suffering -- and his own.  The rejected Lord said to Saul: "Why persecutest thou Me?" but He also said to Ananias concerning Saul: "I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:16).  Christ was, in grace, to remain in exile, rejected still by the world, but Paul, the sinner saved by grace, was to bear the suffering and the rejection.

This explains Colossians 1:24, where the apostle says:

"I now rejoice in my SUFFERINGS for you, and FILL UP THAT WHICH IS BEHIND OF THE AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST in my flesh, for His body's sake, which is the church."
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« Reply #55 on: April 28, 2008, 08:26:11 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VII.
PETER AND PAUL AS WITNESSES

In what sense did Paul fill up that which remained of the afflictions of Christ?  Surely he could add nothing to the finished work of redemption.  The point is that, while Christ's vicarious suffering for sin was over, He was still rejected, and in grace chose to remain so for a time rather than proceed immediately to judge His enemies.  So, putting off "the day of His wrath," He saved Saul, His chief foe, and sent him forth to proclaim grace and peace to His enemies everywhere.  Thus the great persecutor now became the persecuted one, bearing the afflictions of Christ's continued rejection.  And as long as our Lord in grace remains away we, the members of Christ's body, follow Paul in this, as it is written:

"FOR UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN IN THE BEHALF OF CHRIST, NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE ON HIM, BUT ALSO TO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE.

"HAVING THE SAME CONFLICT WHICH YE SAW IN ME, AND NOW HEAR TO BE IN ME" (Philippians 1:29,30).

Such suffering, however, is sweet.  The apostle calls it suffering "with Christ" (Romans 8:17), "the sufferings of Christ" (II Corinthians 1:5), "the fellowship of His sufferings," and longs for this fellowship (Philippians 3:10).

It may be asked: Had not the twelve suffered for Christ too?  Yes, but always in the hope that Israel would yet accept Christ.  When Paul, rather than Peter, takes the place of prominence in the Book of Acts it is because Israel's rejection of Christ is recognized and assumed.  This is not to say, of course, that God immediately closed His dealings with Israel as a nation, for the sentence upon Israel is not officially pronounced until Acts 28:28.

Thus Paul was called to preach Christ in a Christ-rejecting world and to suffer for it.  He was chosen to fill up that which still remained of the sufferings of Christ -- and so are we, for He exhorts us, by the Holy Spirit: "Brethren, be followers together of me" (Philippians 3:17).

Christ is still rejected and still remains away and we bear, or should bear, in our flesh the sufferings of His rejection. In a world at enmity with God and His Christ we cry:

". . . 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).

Christ died in our stead, and we consider it a privilege to stand before men in His stead, though it frequently involves suffering. Like Paul, we plead with men and say: "Christ is not here; you did not want Him, but we are here in His stead to tell you that He loves you and died for you that you might be reconciled to God through His merits."


TWO MORE VOICES

PETER AT JOPPA

Acts 10:9-16
"On the morrow... Peter went up upon the housetop TO PRAY about the sixth hour."And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into A TRANCE," And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet, knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: "Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things,and fowls of the air." And THERE CAME A VOICE TO HIM, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat." BUT PETER SAID, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. "This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven."
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« Reply #56 on: April 28, 2008, 08:27:39 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VII.
PETER AND PAUL AS WITNESSES


PAUL AT JERUSALEM

Acts 22:17-21
"And it came to pass, that when I was come again to Jerusalem even while I PRAYED in the temple, I was in A TRANCE; "And SAW HIM SAYING UNTO ME, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning Me." AND I SAID, "Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on Thee:" And when the blood of Thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him." And He said unto me, "depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles."

Here again Peter and Paul each heard a voice; each while in a trance and each having been engaged in prayer at the time.  Peter's experience concerned God's purpose to go to the Gentiles; Paul's concerned His purpose to turn from Israel.  Both talked back to God.

Peter, in his abhorrence of the unclean, objected that he had never eaten anything common or unclean.  Paul, in his eagerness to minister at Jerusalem and win his kinsman to Christ, argued that they all knew him as the former persecutor of the church.

In each case, however, the Lord insisted on carrying out His purpose.  To Peter He said, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common," and bade him go to the Gentiles "nothing doubting." To Paul He replied, "Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles."

We are well aware of the fact that Peter did not proclaim the mystery of God's purpose and grace to these Gentiles.  He did not even know it.  He did not even know why God was sending him and, when called to account, explained simply:

"What was I that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:17).  Furthermore, his ministry to Cornelius' household was accompanied by water baptism and miraculous signs.

Nevertheless Peter's mission was one of the first steps in the unfolding of the mystery, God's plan to bless the nations in spite of Israel's rejection of Christ.

While recognizing fully the kingdom aspect of Peter's message and Cornelius' conversion, we should not forget the following facts:

1.  The incident took place after the conversion of Saul, which was the first step in the introduction of the new dispensation (I Timothy 1:13-16).

2.  Peter was not sent to Cornelius under the so-called "great commission" but by a special commission; not because Israel had accepted Messiah but in view of the fact that she was rejecting Him.  It was not the next step in the carrying out of the "great commission," for according to that commission Israel must first be brought to Messiah's feet (see Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8, 3:25,26) and it had become increasingly evident that Israel would not accept Messiah.

3.  Here for the first time we learn that God has put "no difference" between Jew and Gentile (Acts 15:9).  This, as we have seen, was not so under the "great commission;" nor will it be so in the day of the Lord, when that commission is carried out (Matthew 24:14 cf. Isaiah 60:1-3).  But before the Acts period closes it is fully demonstrated that "There is no difference," either as to man's sin (Romans 3:22,23) or as to God's grace (Romans 10:12).

4.  It was on the basis of Peter's experience that Paul's ministry to the Gentiles was recognized by the church at Jerusalem (Read carefully Acts 15:7-35).
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« Reply #57 on: April 28, 2008, 08:30:00 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VII.
PETER AND PAUL AS WITNESSES

As to Paul's experience in the temple on that first return to Jerusalem after his conversion, it indicates clearly that Israel's rejection of Christ had now been assumed.  The message of the twelve having been spurned, Paul now supposed that they would listen to him, seeing he had once led them in their persecution of Christ.  But the Lord knew better and said: "They will not receive thy testimony concerning Me."

Again, let us remember why God thus broke off dealings with Israel as a nation.

"FOR GOD HATH CONCLUDED THEM ALL IN UNBELIEF, THAT HE MIGHT HAVE MERCY UPON ALL.

"O THE DEPTH OF THE RICHES BOTH OF THE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD!  HOW UNSEARCHABLE ARE HIS JUDGMENTS, AND HIS WAYS PAST FINDING OUT!" (Romans  11:32,33).
 

QUIZ


1.  Where did the "transfiguration" of our Lord take place?

2.  In what greater glory did Paul later see Christ?

3.  What did the voice from heaven say at the "transfiguration"?

4.  What was the significance of the "transfiguration"?

5.  What did the voice from heaven say to Paul when he first saw the glorified Lord?

6.  In what way was this significant?

7.  How did the details of the "transfiguration" harmonize with Peter's ministry?

8.  How did the details of the revelation of Christ to Paul harmonize with his ministry?

9.  What had been the apostles' reaction to Christ's prediction of His death and resurrection?

10.  How had Peter responded?

11.  How should the "transfiguration" have affected this situation?

12.  Give three Scriptures describing Saul's role as persecutor of Christ.

13.  How did God reply to Saul's (and Israel's) rebellion against Christ?

14.  Give one Scripture indicating that God began a new dispensation with the conversion of Saul.

15.  Give one Scripture indicating the relation between Christ's rejection and Paul's suffering for Christ.

16.  Give one Scripture indicating that we too are to suffer for Christ's rejection.

17.  Give three indications that Peter's mission to Cornelius was one of the first steps in the unfolding of the mystery.

18.  What was Peter's vision on Joppa's housetop intended to teach him?

19.  What was Paul's vision in the temple intended to teach him?

20.  What relation was there between Peter's visit to Cornelius and Paul's subsequent ministry among the Gentiles?
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« Reply #58 on: April 28, 2008, 08:56:16 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VIII.
PETER AND PAUL AS BUILDERS



PETER'S CONFESSION

Matthew 16:13-19
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?" And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. "He saith unto them, but whom say ye that I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said, "THOU ART THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD." And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." "And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH; AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT." "AND I WILL GIVE UNTO THEE THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: AND WHATSOEVER THOU SHALT BIND ON EARTH SHALL BE BOUND IN HEAVEN: AND WHATSOEVER THOU SHALT LOOSE ON EARTH SHALL BE LOOSED IN HEAVEN."


PAUL'S CLAIM

I Corinthians 3:10.15
"ACCORDING TO THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN UNTO ME, AS A WISE MASTER-BUILDER, I HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION, AND ANOTHER BUILDETH THEREON. BUT LET EVERY MAN TAKE HEED HOW HE BUILDETH THEREUPON." "FOR OTHER FOUNDATION CAN NO MAN LAY THAN THAT IS LAID, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST." "NOW IF ANY MAN BUILD UPON THIS FOUNDATION GOLD, SILVER, PRECIOUS STONES, WOOD, HAY, STUBBLE, EVERY MAN'S WORK SHALL BE MADE MANIFEST FOR THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT, BECAUSE IT SHALL BE REVEALED BY FIRE; AND THE FIRE SHALL TRY EVERY MAN'S WORK OF WHAT SORT IT IS. "IF ANY MAN'S WORK ABIDE WHICH HE HATH BUILT THEREUPON, HE SHALL RECEIVE A REWARD." "IF ANY MAN'S WORK SHALL BE BURNED, HE SHALL SUFFER LOSS: BUT HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; YET SO AS BY FIRE."


PETER AND THE MESSIANIC CHURCH


It should be carefully noted that it was Peter's confession that won for him the name Petros, A Stone, and it was upon this confession ("this rock", Gr. Petra) that Christ was to build His church.  In claiming that the church is founded upon Peter himself, Rome utterly disregards the context, exalts Peter above Christ and flatly contradicts the Word of God which says:

"OTHER FOUNDATION CAN NO MAN LAY THAN THAT IS LAID, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST" (I Corinthians 3:11).

But it should be noticed particularly that Peter confessed Jesus as "the Christ (Hebrews Messiah, Anointed One), the Son of the living God."

The twelve, remember, had been sent out to preach: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 10:5-7).  Christ Himself, of course, was God's Anointed Son, chosen to occupy the throne in this kingdom.

As the Lord, more and more rejected in Israel, now asks His disciples: "Whom say ye that I am," it is thrilling to hear Peter reply instantly and without qualification: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

This truth: Jesus as rightful King and Son of God, was to be the very foundation of the Messianic church1 and this is how true believers recognized the Lord at that time.

On another occasion Peter reaffirmed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah when he said:

"We believe and are sure that Thou art that CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD" (John 6:69).
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« Reply #59 on: April 28, 2008, 08:57:59 AM »

THINGS THAT DIFFER
by Cornelius R. Stam - Chapter VIII.
PETER AND PAUL AS BUILDERS

Nathanael recognized Him in the same way, and said:

"Rabbi, Thou art THE SON OF GOD; Thou art THE KING OF ISRAEL" (John 1:49).

Martha said:

"Yea Lord: I believe that Thou art THE CHRIST, the Son of God, which should come into the world" (John 11:27).

John, writing about our Lord's earthly life, closes his gospel record:

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book:

"But these are written, that ye might believe that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD; and that believing ye might have life through His name" (John 20:30,31). [2]
 

PAUL AND THE BODY OF CHRIST


We know, however, that Israel as a nation rejected Christ and the building of the Messianic church could not go on to completion.  Messiah, the Foundation and Corner Stone was rejected and the building, even today, lies in ruins.  Thus God is showing Israel that her house will not stand unless she recognizes Jesus as His Son and her King.

Meanwhile God is building another house, or at least another part of the great compound structure referred to in Ephesians 2:21,22.  The building of this house, the church of this age, was a secret which Peter and the eleven knew nothing about when they followed Christ as king and offered His kingdom to Israel at Pentecost.

The plans and specifications for the building of this church were committed to Paul by the glorified Lord Himself.  He says, by the Spirit:

"ACCORDING TO THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN UNTO ME, AS A WISE MASTER-BUILDER, [3] I HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION AND ANOTHER BUILDETH THEREON" (I Corinthians 3:10).

When Paul says: "I have laid the foundation," he does not mean that the church of this dispensation is not also to be founded upon Christ, for in the next verse he states clearly that no other foundation can be laid than Jesus Christ.  This is why it is so important that "every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon" (3:10).  Indeed, in Ephesians 2:20 he also says that we are "built upon the foundation of [laid down by] the apostles and prophets." That is, we are "built upon Jesus Christ."

The point in Paul's claim is that we now know Christ in a different way.  Whereas Peter and the eleven knew Him as the King to reign on earth, we know Him (the same Person) as the glorified Head of the body (Ephesians 1:19-23).

Paul, by the Spirit, indicates that a dispensational change has taken place, when he says:

"Wherefore HENCEFORTH know we no man after the flesh: yea, THOUGH WE HAVE KNOWN CHRIST AFTER THE FLESH, YET NOW HENCEFORTH KNOW WE HIM NO MORE" (II Corinthians 5:16).

Before that time men were expected to trust in Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the living God," the King to reign as God on David's throne.  But with the raising up of Paul, Israel's rejection of Christ was assumed and we trust the rejected King as our glorified Lord and Savior.  Hence Paul declares:

"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth JESUS AS LORD, and shalt believe in thy heart that God RAISED Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9, R.V.).
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