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Author Topic: Hear the Word of God...Rightly Divided  (Read 18683 times)
The Crusader
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« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2004, 05:56:38 AM »

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD

Imagine sitting down to a fine meal at a friend's house. On the table before you are many delicious dishes: steaming roast beef, snow-white mashed potatoes, deep brown gravy, golden corn, fresh salads and delicious desserts. After the giving of thanks, you prepare to dish up a generous helping, but the host stops you and begins placing each item in a large blender. After thoroughly blending it, he places a large glass in front of you and fills it with this unappetizing mixture. Doesn't sound too good, does it? And yet this is exactly how many people study the Bible.

The Bible is unique in that it not only tells us the truth about God, it also includes instructions on how to properly understand it's contents.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles [KJV: rightly dividing ] the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15).

Unfortunately, these instructions are often ignored, and the result is confusion. The religious rituals of Israel are often mixed with the no works faith of the Body of Christ. The sign gifts of tongues, healings and miracles are attempted in this no signs age of grace.

The solution, of course, is to recognize that while all Scripture is for our learning (Romans 15:4), not all Scripture addresses us in the present dispensation (see Exodus 19:6; Matthew 10:5, 6; James 1:1; etc.). We must come to acknowledge that Paul is our apostle for today (Romans 11:13; 2 Timothy 1:11), and that in his letters alone we find the hope, calling and instructions for the Church, the body of Christ. Then, and only then, our Bible study becomes enjoyable and truly nourishing!

—Joel Finck

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The Crusader
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« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2004, 04:36:51 AM »

Rightly Divide the Word of Truth

Nancy Paulson

(2 Timothy 2:15 KJV) Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
When Paul wrote to Timothy he mentions a method in which one ought to study, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Webster's defines divide as: to separate into two or more parts, areas, or groups.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Words says it is from the Greek word "orthotomeo" which means to cut straight (orthos, straight, temno, to cut); the meaning is passed from the idea of cutting or dividing, to the more general sense of rightly dealing with a thing. What is intended here is not dividing Scripture from Scripture, but teaching Scripture accurately.

We need to rightly divide the Word of truth according to the twofold plan and purpose of God:

Prophecy - the nation of Israel
Mystery - the Body of Christ
In order to rightly divide the Word of truth we need to make correct, acurate divisions in God's Word. This is important because God's Word records more that one program in God's overall outworking of His plan and purpose, prophecy and mystery. These programs are distinct and separate from one another.

The Apostle Paul tells us to rightly divide the Scripture based on a threefold time factor written in Ephesians.

(Ephesians 2:11-13 KJV) Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; {12} That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: {13} But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
(Ephesians 2:7 KJV) That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Time Past
Time past is when God is dealing with Abraham and his seed, the nation of Israel. The Gentiles were without God in time past. Notice the state of the Gentiles in time past:

without Christ
aliens from the commonwealth of Israel
strangers from the covenants of promise
having no hope
without God in the world
Notice the state of the Jews in times past:

(Romans 9:4-5 KJV) Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; {5} Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen
Adoption
The covenants and law
The service of God
The promises
Whose are the fathers
Of whom Christ came
It is during the time past the middle wall of partition, the Law, was keeping the Jew and Gentile separate. When the wall was up it kept the Gentile without God in the world. They had no hope (no confident expectation) that it would ever change.

We need to note that Paul also states that they were without Christ. This is significant because at what time would the Gentiles have been without Christ? It would have to be when Christ was on the earth. The Gentiles were without Christ during His earthly ministry.

(Romans 15:8 KJV) Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
Who was Jesus a minster to? He was a minister of the circumcision. Why? To confirm the promises made unto the fathers (this refers to the nation of Israel not the Body of Christ).

Everything that we find recorded in the four Gospel accounts refers to time past; a time when God is dealing with the nation of Israel and the Gentile nations are excluded.

But Now
In the timeframe, but now, we see a contrast to time past. One notices that a change has taken place.

(Ephesians 2:13-16 KJV) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. {14} For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; {15} Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; {16}And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
Now refers to now, this present time. In verse 13 we see that a change of status has taken place. Now both Jew and Gentile are one, they are all on the same level. This is for the purpose of creating a new creation (one new man), which is the Body of Christ. Now reconciliation is taking place.We are no longer under the Law, but grace.

The program with Israel is put in abeyance. Israel has temporarily been set aside and God is now doing something that was not made known to men in past ages.

(Ephesians2:17 KJV) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
Christ had come back unexpectedly and raised up the Apostle Paul.

(Ephesians 3:1 KJV) For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Paul was called to give the dispensation of Grace to the Gentiles. This dispensation began when Jesus came back from heaven (calling of Paul) and will end the same way (rapture). The dispensation of grace has a beginning and an end. When it ends the program with Israel will resume (age to come).

Age to Come
(Romans 11:1 KJV) I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
(Romans 11:25-27 KJV) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. {26} And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: {27} For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
God has not cast away His people for good; we, today, are not spiritual Israel. The setting aside of Isreal is only temporary. When this dispensation of Grace is over God will resume and fulfill the program with Israel.

Romans 9, 10, and 11 tell what happened to Israel and what God is doing with Israel in the outworking of His plan and purpose.

In time past it was not known by the prophets that the program with Israel would be interupted and the dispensation of Grace (the making of one new man) would happen.

(Romans 11:11-12 KJV) I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. {12} Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
Today, we are not seeing Israel in her fulness. It is only when God has finished what He has planned for the body of Christ that He will resume what He had planned for Israel.

Genesis through the early chapters of Acts - God is dealing with the nation of Israel.
Romans through Philemon - God has set aside Israel and is making one new man, both Jew and Gentile form the Body of Christ.
Hebrews through Revelation - pertains to the Age to Come which refers to the time when God resumes and fulfills His program with Israel.

We need to recognize all of God's Word rightly divided and His Word is laid out in the very order in which His plan and purpose is unfolding.

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« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2004, 10:10:54 AM »

My sole purpose, is to help others fully understand the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 20:24). And as the Apostle Paul, my goal is that many might attain "unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God" (Colossians 2:1)

Your friend and brother

The Crusader
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« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2004, 04:46:28 PM »

 "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
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The Crusader
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« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2004, 04:48:32 AM »

"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24

Yes Ambassador, my Gospel also. Amen

Your friend and brother

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« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2004, 06:12:45 PM »

One of my FAVORITE Studies
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Seven Basic Bible Facts
Every Christian Should Know and Believe
By Robert C. Brock

Editor of the Journal of Pauline Dispensationalism


FACT NO. 1—That the Bible MUST be rightly divided in order for it to make sense. Notice what it says: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the Word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). This is one of the cardinal rules for interpreting the whole Bible. Neglect of this rule or a faulty use of it will lead to only one result, CONFUSION, since our God is not the author of confusion.

The reason for a right division of the Bible is because of God's two distinct purposes: (1) His purpose concerning Israel and the world according to PROPHECY, and (2) His purpose concerning the Gentiles in this present age according to the MYSTERY revealed to Paul. God doesn't want us to confuse the teaching of these two purposes. He has very graciously given us the key for a proper understanding of this.

FACT NO. 2—That the DISTINCTIVENESS of Pauline truth is a most important doctrine of the Bible. The risen Lord Jesus Christ revealed His heart and His mind to the Apostle Paul: "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" (Gal. 1:11,12). "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward; how that BY REVELATION He made known unto me the MYSTERY..." (Eph. 3:2,3).

This proves conclusively that Paul did not preach what the 12 Apostles preached. Rather he went up to Jerusalem to TELL THEM of the special gospel of grace that Christ gave to him (Gal. 2:2). He preached Jesus Christ according to the REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY which was kept secret, hid in God (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:9). He was the Apostle to the Gentiles and magnified his office (Rom. 11:13).

FACT NO. 3—That the gospel we are to preach is called the Gospel of the grace of God. "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD" (Acts 20:24). This is God's only message for the lost in this present age. We are to follow Paul as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1). In his writings ALONE do we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the Christian.

Some other important aspects of grace are:

1. We are saved by GRACE—Eph. 2:8,9.

2. We are justified freely by His GRACE—Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7.

3. His GRACE is sufficient for us—II Cor. 12:9.

4. We are not under Law but under GRACE—Rom. 6:14,15.

5. This age is the age of GRACE —Eph. 3:2.

6. We are to approach the throne of GRACE in prayer—Heb. 4:16.

FACT NO. 4—That the Bible definitely teaches that water baptism was and is a part of Israel's religion (Heb. 6:1,2; 9:10). It was for the remission of sins and was by sprinkling (Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38; Ezek. 36:25).

In this age there is only ONE baptism, not two: "One Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM" (Eph. 4:5). This baptism is the placing of the Christian into the Church, the Body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit: "For by one SPIRIT are we all BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (I Cor. 12:13). This baptism takes place once for all at the time of salvation.

The Apostle Paul was not sent to baptize with water: "For Christ sent me NOT TO BAPTIZE but to preach the gospel..." (I Cor. 1:17). Only a change in God's purpose would necessitate a statement like this. There is no importance attached to water baptism, today. It is not a part of Christianity and only causes confusion.

FACT NO. 5—That we must understand the two-fold ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. During His earthly ministry He ministered exclusively to Israel: "But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL" (Matt. 15:24). His whole ministry to the Nation was under the Law of Moses (Matt. 5:17; Gal. 4:4,5). Christians are not under the Law so we are not to live according to Israel's teachings.

During His present ministry in Heaven, He is ministering according to what He revealed to the Apostle Paul. He is saving men according to His gospel of Grace. He is at the throne of grace making intercession for us (Rom. 8:34). We are to live in Paul's epistles where pure Christianity is found. This is not to say we should neglect the rest of the Bible. It is ALL for us but not all TO us (I Cor. 10:6,11).

FACT NO. 6—That SIGNS belong to the Nation of Israel and its religion: "For the JEWS REQUIRE A SIGN, and the Gentiles seek after wisdom" (I Cor. 1:22). Speaking in tongues is a SIGN: "Wherefore TONGUES are for a SIGN, not to them that believe but to them that believe not..." (I Cor. 14:22).

In Jesus' day, those who sought after signs were called an evil and adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39). The eight miracles of the Gospel of John are properly called SIGNS, which included the rising of Lazarus from the dead; and in the commission of Mark 16:15-18, water baptism is associated with SIGNS. This is proved in the book of Acts because everywhere water baptism is mentioned a SIGN is mentioned in the immediate context.

This present age is a signless age. We have been blessed with all SPIRITUAL blessings in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph. 1:3). This is where the emphasis lies for the Christian.

FACT NO. 7—That the COMMISSION the Church, the Body of Christ, is to work under, is found in II Corinthians 5:14-21 and Ephesians 3:9. The Kingdom commission of Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-18 does not belong to God's present grace purpose. The message of reconciliation has been committed to US, the Body of Christ.

RESULTS:

1. The Christian would begin to perceive and grasp the deep things of God (I Cor. 2:10-12).

2. There would be a wonderful growth into spiritual maturity and adulthood (Eph. 4:12-15).

3. He would become a faithful steward of the mysteries of God (I Cor. 2:7; 4:1,2).

4. He would possess the Biblical answer to Satan's false cults like Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Unitarians, Modernists, etc. They all borrow some aspects of Israel's religion.

5. A mighty revival would take place if Christians would get back to Pauline truth.

My friend, if you are not saved, the grace of God invites you to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. You are a sinner and need to be saved (Rom. 3:23). "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31). "...now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:2). It is infinitely better to receive Him and spend eternity in Heaven than to reject Him and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire!
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« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2004, 10:14:50 PM »

Quote
1. We are saved by GRACE—Eph. 2:8,9.

2. We are justified freely by His GRACE—Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7.

3. His GRACE is sufficient for us—II Cor. 12:9.

4. We are not under Law but under GRACE—Rom. 6:14,15.

5. This age is the age of GRACE —Eph. 3:2.

6. We are to approach the throne of GRACE in prayer—Heb. 4:16.

Oklahoma Howdy to Ambassador4Christ,

AMEN BROTHER!

This is a beautiful picture of GOD"S MATCHLESS GRACE AND LOVE FOR US. We can plainly see GOD'S AGAPE LOVE when we study these precious truths. Jesus Christ and HIM crucified on the cross for us is the ultimate example of "AGAPE LOVE".

Love In Christ,
Tom
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The Crusader
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« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2004, 05:13:45 AM »

Now that was some real meat to chew on. Amen

Some other important aspects of grace are:

1. We are saved by GRACE—Eph. 2:8,9.

2. We are justified freely by His GRACE—Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7.

3. His GRACE is sufficient for us—II Cor. 12:9.

4. We are not under Law but under GRACE—Rom. 6:14,15.

5. This age is the age of GRACE —Eph. 3:2.

6. We are to approach the throne of GRACE in prayer—Heb. 4:16.

And Amen

Your friend and brother

The Crusader
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The Crusader
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« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2004, 06:21:26 AM »

THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE

The Bible is the world's most marvelous book, all because it is God's book. It is wonderful that God wrote a book, even more so that He has preserved it intact through history and has even provided for it to be translated into the languages of the nations. We have His Word, preserved for us and translated into our own language so that we can hold it in our hands, read it and see for ourselves just what God has said. This is all a marvelous blessing! But there is more.

It is important to recognize that God has also provided us with a divinely prescribed method for understanding it. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable," II Timothy 3:16 declares. But if we are to gain the profit from God's Word that He has placed there for us, we must approach it in His way. Thus II Timothy 2:15 instructs:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Clearly our study of the Word is for the purpose of showing ourselves "approved unto God." This is to be our one great goal, our objective: to have God's approval to be workmen who have no need to be ashamed before Him. But how is this objective to be reached? The answer is given with equal clarity: "Rightly dividing the Word of truth." This is the key to having God's approval on our service for Him-the key to understanding His Word.

"Rightly dividing the Word of truth" is a reference to the dispensational approach to studying the Bible [footnote 1] and it is clear that this is the correct approach if we are to have God's approval on our lives and ministries.

It is important to notice that Paul says, "rightly dividing the Word." The clear implication is that there is a wrong way to divide it. Paul does not, as many seem to suppose, simply say we are to make divisions in God's Word. No. We are to make right divisions-correct, proper distinctions. Great care is called for at this point for, remember, it is God's Word we are handling. This is not the Word of a doctrinal statement, a church, creed, or tradition of human viewpoint; this is the Word of Almighty God!

As we approach it, therefore, we want to approach it in God's way, properly recognizing the distinctions He has made in it. Just how to do this-that is the important question!

Since it is Paul who instructs us to rightly divide the Word, it would seem safe to ask Paul just how this should be done. So, instead of going to Darby, Scofield, Larkin, Hodges, Calvin, Strong or the like, let's turn to Paul and see if he can help us understand just how God's Word is to be "rightly divided."

1. Lit., "cutting straight" (Gk: orthotoinounta). Perhaps because of a failure to appreciate the dispensational nature of Scripture in general and the immediate context of II Timothy 2:15 in particular. many modem translators and commentators unfortunately have abandoned the Greek reading and have followed the Latin Vulgate which reads, "rightly handling."


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A THREE-FOLD DIVISION
God Himself never changes. In His person, essence and character He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:Cool. His dealings with man, however, have undergone various changes down through history-changes made necessary by changes in man himself. Identifying these changes is a basic issue in studying the Bible dispensationally [footnote 2] for a dispensation is a particular program that God administers (or dispenses) for man's obedience.

In Ephesians 2 the Apostle Paul gives us a panoramic view of his understanding of the way God's dealings with mankind have been divided. He does this by making a clear, distinct and easily identifiable threefold division: Time Past (vs. 11, 12), But Now (v. 13), The Ages to Come (v. 7).

Time Past:
During "Time Past" there was an unmistakable distinction made between the circumcision and the uncircumcision, between the nation Israel and the Gentiles:

"Wherefore remember, that YE BEING IN TIME PAST GENTILES IN THE FLESH, WHO ARE CALLED UNCIRCUMCISION BY THAT WHICH IS CALLED THE CIRCUMCISION IN THE FLESH MADE BY HANDS;

"THAT AT THAT TIME YE WERE WITHOUT CHRIST, BEING ALIENS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL, AND STRANGERS FROM THE COVENANTS OF PROMISE, HAVING NO HOPE, AND WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD" (vs.11,12).

The terms circumcision and uncircumcision identify a basic physical, racial and social distinction; one that was "in the flesh" and "made with hands." It was, in fact, so real and intense that they were obviously "calling" each other names! But there was more:

In this "time past" status, the Gentiles were also spiritually alienated from God and thus said to be "without Christ." This is said to be their condition because they were "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise."

Thus the physical distinction only pointed to the more important spiritual alienation the Gentile masses occupied in Time Past.

The basic issue in Time Past is this division between the circumcision and the uncircumcision, between Israel and the Gentiles. When you find this issue governing the way God was working with men, you know immediately you are in Time Past.

But Now:
Ephesians 2:13 indicates that in the But Now period all this has changed. No longer are Gentiles considered "far off" but rather this distinction has been eliminated and now "those who were far off are made nigh."

"BUT NOW IN CHRIST JESUS YE WHO SOMETIMES WERE FAR OFF ARE MADE NIGH BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.

"FOR HE IS OUR PEACE, WHO HATH MADE BOTH ONE, AND HATH BROKEN DOWN THE MIDDLE WALL OF PARTITION BETWEEN US" (vs. 13,14).

So there is a Time Past, the basic characteristic of which is the separation between the circumcision and the uncircumcision, between the Jew and the Gentile. Then there is But Now where they are dealt with on an equal basis and in the same manner. During But Now there has been a change in the way God deals with the nations, for "the middle wall of partition" has been "broken down." There is one remaining section:

The Ages to Come:
much is to come in the future as God brings His purposes to fruition and hence the final division:

"That IN THE AGES TO COME HE MIGHT SHEW THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE IN HIS KINDNESS TOWARD US THROUGH CHRIST JESUS." (v.7)

So we have Paul's three-fold division: Time Past, But Now, and the Ages to Come. How can the Word of God be laid out according to this? Let's see.

2. It is readily apparent that God's program for man has changed from time to time: Compare Exodus 31:15 with Col. 2:16; Leviticus 11:7,8 with I Timothy 4:4; Matthew 5:19 with Romans 6:14; Psalms 51:11 with Ephesians 4:30; Genesis 17:11 with Galatians 6:15; etc.


End of Part 1 of 3
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« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2004, 06:24:25 AM »

THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE -
Part 2

TIME PAST

Time Past is marked by the basic characteristic of the separation between circumcision and uncircumcision. We know where circumcision came from. It began with Abraham as a sign of the covenant God made with him and his seed after him.

In Genesis 17 the Lord confirmed His covenant with Abram, changed his name to Abraham and instituted the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant-circumcision:

"And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations

"This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; EVERY MAN CHILD AMONG YOU SHALL BE CIRCUMCISED.

"And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and IT SHALL BE A TOKEN OF THE COVENANT BETWIXT ME AND YOU.

"And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

"He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, MUST NEEDS BE CIRCUMCISED: AND MY COVENANT SHALL BE IN YOUR FLESH FOR AN EVERLASTING COVENANT.

"AND THE UNCIRCUMCISED MAN CHILD WHOSE FLESH OF HIS FORESKIN IS NOT CIRCUMCISED, THAT SOUL SHALL BE CUT OFF FROM HIS PEOPLE; HE HATH BROKEN MY COVENANT" (Genesis 17:9-14).

Thus "circumcision in the flesh made by hands," was a sign of the special status given to the seed of Abraham by God. It was an outward sign of the spiritual privilege God had given to them and was a required mark of their identity and covenant privileges.

So the division between the circumcision and the uncircumcision began in the book of Genesis. It was there, with Abraham, that God began to erect "the middle wall of partition" between Jew and Gentile by giving to Abraham and his seed circumcision as "the sign of the covenant." In Genesis 22:17,18 God states His purpose in that covenant and in thus separating the nation Israel from all other nations of the earth:

"That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

"And IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED; because thou has obeyed by voice."

Numbers 23:9 declares concerning Israel's special status:

"... LO, THE PEOPLE SHALL DWELL ALONE, AND SHALL NOT BE RECKONED AMONG THE NATIONS."

God not only erected this "middle wall," He also reinforced it by the giving of the law through Moses:

"Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

"Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

"FOR WHAT NATION IS THERE SO GREAT, WHO HATH GOD SO NIGH UNTO THEM, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

"And WHAT NATION IS THERE SO GREAT, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day" (Deuteronomy 4:5-8).

We see from this that what is generally referred to as the "Old Testament" is in fact part of Time Past. But when does the change occur? When do we move into the But Now status? And what about the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Paul sheds real light on this latter question when he writes:

"Now I say that JESUS CHRIST WAS A MINISTER OF THE CIRCUMCISION for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers" (Romans 15:Cool.

Note well that the character of our Lord's earthly ministry is defined as His being "a minister of the circumcision." Thus we learn that the period covered by the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is in fact part of Time Past. The distinction between the circumcision and the uncircumcision still formed the basis of God's dealings with men at that time.

There is no way one can read the records of our Lord's earthly ministry and fail to see this basic fact. For example, in His first great commission to His Apostles, He declares:

"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, GO NOT INTO THE WAY OF THE GENTILES, AND INTO ANY CITY OF THE SAMARITANS ENTER YE NOT:

"BUT GO RATHER TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL" (Matthew 10:5,6).

Later when they besought Him to work a miracle for a Gentile woman, He pointedly told them:

"I AM NOT SENT BUT UNTO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL" (Matthew 15:24).

Further, John 4:22 records His words to the woman at the well in Samaria:

"Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: FOR SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS."

Too often such passages are simply ignored- no doubt because they are not properly understood. Such plain words, however, cannot be gainsaid or mistaken. They mean what they say and their implication is clear: the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ demonstrates itself to be a part of Time Past. Thus the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are properly placed in the Time Past division when we "rightly divide the word of truth."

The same is true of the early Acts period. In His post-resurrection commission our Lord clearly maintained the advantaged status of the circumcision:

"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM" (Luke 24:47).

After some 40 days of personal instruction from their resurrected Lord in things "pertaining to the kingdom of God," the apostles understood that the program of God still focused on Israel and her coming kingdom:

"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, LORD, WILT THOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE AGAIN THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?" (Acts 1:6).

That this understanding was in no way a mistake of human frailty is borne out by the fact that on the day of Pentecost, Peter, speaking "as the Spirit gave [him] utterance," three times specifically limits his message to the nation Israel:

"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, YE MEN OF JUDAEA, AND ALL YE THAT DWELL AT JERUSALEM, BE THIS KNOWN UNTO YOU, AND HEARKEN TO MY WORDS:

"YE MEN OF ISRAEL, HEAR THESE WORDS..."

"THEREFORE LET ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL KNOW ASSUREDLY..." (Acts 2:14, 22, 36).

Thus the understanding of Peter and the eleven as to just where they stood in the program of God gives clear evidence that they still functioned in the Time Past division, when Israel was still in the place of honor and advantage.

Peter is identified in Galatians 2:8 as the apostle of the circumcision and as such preached "the gospel of the circumcision" (Galatians 2:7). It is in this capacity and with this message that he declares to his nation:

"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 EVERYONE OF YOU FROM HIS INIQUITIES" (Acts 3:25,26).

Throughout their ministry as recorded in Acts the Pentecostal believers declare their testimony that

"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

"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" (Acts 5:30-32).

In fact, Israel's special privileged position extended even after they were scattered from Jerusalem by persecution, for Acts 11:19 tells us:

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, PREACHING THE WORD TO NONE BUT UNTO THE JEWS ONLY."

The record is clear: The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the early part of the book of Acts properly belong in Time Past.


End of Part 2
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« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2004, 06:26:17 AM »

THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE -
Part 3 of 3

BUT NOW
When, then, does the change to the But Now position occur? When did the circumcision and the uncircumcision being reconciled into one body begin to take place? Ephesians 3 supplies the answer:

"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

"IF YE HAVE HEARD OF THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN ME TO YOU-WARD:

"HOW THAT BY REVELATION HE MADE KNOWN UNTO ME THE MYSTERY...

"WHICH IN OTHER AGES WAS NOT MADE KNOWN UNTO THE SONS OF MEN, AS IT IS NOW REVEALED UNTO HIS HOLY APOSTLES AND PROPHETS BY THE SPIRIT;

"THAT THE GENTILES SHOULD BE FELLOW HEIRS, AND OF THE SAME BODY, AND PARTAKERS OF HIS PROMISE IN CHRIST BY THE GOSPEL" (Ephesians 3:1-3,5,6).

From the record it is evident that the Apostle Paul was the instrument our ascended Lord used to initiate the program of grace for the Gentiles by way of a message he calls "the mystery"-a secret purpose which God kept "hidden" in Himself until He revealed it to and then through the Apostle Paul.

With the raising up of Paul we move from Time Past into the But Now section and cross what in fact is the most important boundary line of the Bible-that between prophecy and the great mystery proclaimed by Paul. It is into these two great subjects that the Bible is basically divided.

Manifestly there is a great difference between Peter's preaching of that "which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21) and Paul's proclamation of that "which was kept secret since the world began" (Romans 16:25).

This secret message has to do with the breaking down of the middle wall of partition and the placing of Jew and Gentile into one body on an absolutely equal basis through simple faith in the cross-work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:13-22). How is it that this "mystery" message can now go to the Gentiles without regard to Israel's former status? Romans 11 answers:

"I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather THROUGH THEIR FALL SALVATION IS COME UNTO THE GENTILES, for to provoke them to jealousy."

"...THE CASTING AWAY OF THEM [IS] THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD..."

"For I WOULD NOT, BRETHREN, THAT YE SHOULD BE IGNORANT OF THIS MYSTERY, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that BLINDNESS IN PART IS HAPPENED TO ISRAEL, UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN" (Romans 11:11,15,25).

Our Lord set the nation Israel aside during the Acts period and from heaven's glory introduced a new program through a new apostle. With the revelation of this new program we move into the But Now period and thus we read Paul now declaring:

"FOR I SPEAK TO YOU GENTILES, INASMUCH AS I AM THE APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, I MAGNIFY MINE OFFICE" (Romans 11:13).

Romans through Philemon are the books, then, that fit into the But Now division. These are the books that detail what God is doing during the present dispensation of grace.


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THE AGES TO COME
After the present dispensation is brought to a conclusion, there is still much that God has to accomplish. Since His prophetic program for tile nation Israel has currently been interrupted in order to form the Body of Christ, the first order of business would logically be its completion.

Appropriately, the grouping of books following the Pauline epistles is called the Hebrew Epistles. They, in fact, fit doctrinally into the Ages To Come. Consider Hebrews 2:3,5:

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, WHICH AT THE FIRST BEGAN TO BE SPOKEN BY THE LORD [Matthew through John], and was CONFIRMED UNTO US BY THEM THAT HEARD HIM [early Acts];"

"For unto the angels hath He not put into subjection THE WORLD TO COME, WHEREOF WE SPEAK [Hebrews through Revelation]."

The distinction between the circumcision and uncircumcision is also again in vogue in the Hebrew Epistles, and thus we find such things as:

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES which are scattered abroad, greeting" (James 1:1).

"BUT YE ARE A CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, AN HOLY NATION, A PECULIAR PEOPLE..." (I Peter 2:9).


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AN IMPORTANT QUESTION
Thus we see that the Word of God itself provides us with the key to its own proper understanding and right division:

Time Past: In Matthew through John we find the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ to the nation Israel. In the book of Acts we have the fall of Israel and salvation going to the Gentiles through the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

But Now: Romans through Philemon provide the doctrine for the present dispensation of grace.

Ages To Come: Hebrews through Revelation focus on the ages to come when God will bring to fruition His purposes for both the nation Israel and the Body of Christ.

We are not the only people in the programs and purposes of God. People in other ages need Scripture to instruct them in the specifics of God's dealings with them just as we do. Remember: All of the Bible is for us but it is not all to us nor is it all about us. If we fail to recognize this important fact we will never be able to properly understand just what God is doing today nor will we know just what He would have us do.

One important question remains: You are one of "the nations." The Apostle Paul says unequivocally, "I am the apostle of the Gentiles [i.e., the nations]." Who, then, is your apostle? There can be no answer but that Paul is our apostle, for he was raised up by our ascended Lord specifically that he "should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles" (Romans 15:16).

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, HE THAT RECEIVETH WHOMSOEVER I SEND RECEIVETH ME; AND HE THAT RECEIVETH ME RECEIVETH HIM THAT SENT ME" (John 13:20).

Thus it is in Paul's writings alone that we find the doctrine, position, walk and destiny of the Body of Christ.




by Richard Jordan
http://www.graceimpact.org/

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« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2004, 09:41:29 AM »

THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE

Oklahoma Howdy to The Crusader,

THANKS BROTHER! I had to copy this one for additional study. The Gospel of God's Grace becomes more loving and majestic every time I think about it. Almighty God has freely given us our Precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Thanks be unto GOD for HIS unspeakable GIFT!

Love In Christ,
Tom
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« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2004, 05:58:58 AM »

From: The Berean Worlman
http://www.bereanworkman.com/index.html

The Will of the Devil For You
(Part 1)

(2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV)  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, {25} In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; {26} And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Paul wrote to Timothy how to restore saved ones who are opposing themselves, living contrary to who God has made them to be in Christ. The way to recover such a person is to instruct them in meekness the sound doctrine that we learned from the Apostle Paul. Sound doctrine is what God will use to grant them repentance, a changing of the mind, to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.

Satan has a will for your life: to hold you captive so your life will not reflect the godliness that you have in Christ.

Satan wants to be like the most High, the possessor of heaven and earth. God has a plan for the heaven and earth (Eph 1:10 ; Col 1:16-18). Satan wants to take over what God has planned.

In Isaiah 14:13-14 we learn of Satan’s plan and in Ezekiel 28 what he does with the plan.

(Ezekiel 28:1-6 KJV)  The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, {2} Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:  {3} Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: {4} With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: {5} By thy great wisdom and by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: {6} Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;
(Ezekiel 28:14-15 KJV)  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. {15} Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Satan was the wisest, most beautiful creature God created. God gave him creativity and beauty in order to lead creation into the worship of God. However, instead of appreciation toward God, Satan turned his focus on himself; he becomes lifted up by pride and thinks that creation ought to worship him not God. He devises a plan to take over.

(Ezekiel 28:16-19 KJV)  By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. {17} Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. {18} Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. {19} All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
Then Satan took his plan and went out to the other angels and began to sell the idea that he can do it better than God. He convinces them to take over and undermine God’s authority. Rev 12 says that a third of the angels joined Satan in his plan.

God created hell to stop the rebellion (Matthew 25:41). He created a judgment of wrath that was so terrifying that it brought the rebellion to a screeching halt. He covered the universe in darkness (Gen 1:2). Then He creates light so they can see what He is going to do. He sets the earth up there and gets it functioning again. Then He puts somebody on the earth, something like the angels never seen before.

(Genesis 1:26-27 KJV)  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. {27} So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Those angels watched what God was doing; they never saw anything like it before

(Genesis 1:28 KJV)  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
God’s response to what Satan did was to create man on the earth in the midst of the Satanic realm to be used by God in the thwarting and defeating of Satan’s plan. God put man on the planet for the purpose of restoring the earth back under His dominion, to take back the authority that Satan usurped.  

The first thing Satan did was go and enlist man over to his side. (Genesis 3) Satan sold his plan to man and immediately man sided with Satan.

(Genesis 3:4-6 KJV)  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: {5} For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. {6} And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
All of the heavenly host was watching. Satan sold Adam and Eve the same bill of goods that he sold to the angels: you can be as gods.

(Romans 1:21-23 KJV)  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. {22} Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, {23} And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Man believed the lie that they can becomes as gods. Satan thought he outsmarted God; when Adam and Eve believed the lie, Satan became the undisputed king and ruler.

(Luke 4:5-7 KJV)  And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. {6} And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. {7} If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
Satan tempted Christ by saying, ‘If you will make me God then I will give you the planet." Satan understood Christ came to reclaim the earth. Satan said, "I will give it to you, if you will worship me." The Lord Jesus Christ does not dispute that it was given to Satan. Why not? Because the fact that Satan had the crown on his head was true.

(Ephesians 2:2 KJV)  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Paul calls Satan the prince of the power of the air: chief ruler of the air, the invisible realm. Satan is prince of the heavenly realm just as he is prince of the earthly realm. These two titles describe him in relation of his usurpation of the territory.

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« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2004, 06:00:43 AM »

From: The Berean Worlman
http://www.bereanworkman.com/index.html

The Will of the Devil For You
(Part 2)

In Genesis 3, when Satan took the crown from Adam for the earth God made a promise in response to what Adam did:

(Genesis 3:15 KJV)  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
This promise tells us that God had a plan in response to Satan's usurpation of authority. We see God’s wisdom working here.

Bruising of the head = 1st coming of Christ
Crushing of the head - 2nd coming of Christ

God gives the promise of the seed of woman; it is through this seed that God will set up a kingdom to restore His rule over the earth. This seed line is vested in the nation Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham, which becomes the seed of David, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is through the Lord Jesus Christ that Israel will reign and establish that kingdom.

In prophecy, the purpose is the restoration of God's authority over this planet earth through the instrumentality of a kingdom given to the nation Israel. This kingdom and God’s use of Israel with Christ as their Messiah is how God will restore his headship over the planet and destroy all other kingdoms and have just His kingdom reign. This is the goal of prophecy.

(Daniel 2:44 KJV)  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
 God of heaven will set up a kingdom, a.k.a. as the kingdom of heaven. It can also be called the kingdom of God because the God of heaven set it up. Now, this in not talking about a kingdom in heaven but the kingdom of heaven that God sets up down here on the earth and it will stand forever. One day God is going to establish His kingdom and dominion on the earth over this planet and He will use the nation Israel to do that.

(Zechariah 14:9 KJV)  And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
The issue of the kingdom is man’s purpose to restore the earth and subdue it. However, man failed and joined the satanic rebellion and turned over the planet to Satan.

Since man failed to do what God intended for him to do God gives a promise the He will do it for man. God will accomplish plan to restore the earth through the nation Israel. This is why Satan opposes Israel so intensely.

Why would Satan have offered the kingdom to Jesus Christ? If Christ came to get the planet, then why would Satan give it to Him? The reason is if the kingdoms were taken away from Satan then Satan would lose his stronghold in the heavens also. The goal of prophecy is to restore the earth.

(Ephesians 1:9 KJV)  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
God made known to us the mystery of His will. His revealed will was to restore the earth. However, His will also had a secret. God had a secret purpose from before the foundation of the world.  Not only was God’s purpose in prophecy revealed but now He has made known to us a secret, something that He had always planned to do.

(Ephesians 1:10 KJV)  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
God’s plan is to gather all things in heaven and earth in one in Christ. Satan’s plan was to take the heaven and the earth. From Genesis until Paul, it was only God’s revealed will to restore earth through Israel. But now we know that He will restore the heavens also.

We, as members of the body of Christ, are a heavenly people. It is through the members of the body of Christ that God will restore the heavens.

(Colossians 1:16-20 KJV)  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: {17} And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. {18} And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. {19} For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; {20} And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Here we see what the "all things" are: thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. These are governmental authorities, all created in Christ and for Him. The blood of the cross is the means in which He will restore these things unto Himself.

In verse 18, we read that Christ is the head of the body. Why is this important? The Lord Jesus Christ is head of Israel: King of kings and Lord of lords over all the earth. He is made the head of the body so He might have preeminence in all things. If He were to be just head of things on the earth, He would not be head of all, all positions of rank and authority.

God will use Israel to restore the earth and the church, the body of Christ, to restore the heavenly places. God has a two-fold purpose that is really one purpose: to make the Lord Jesus Christ restore His headship over all things.

(Ephesians 3:9-10 KJV)  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: {10} To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Notice this is all being done to the intent those in heaven would know the manifold wisdom of God. You know what Satan wants to do with this?  2 Corinthians 4: 3  "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." Satan cannot overcome so he will try to hide what God has done.

Satan's will for your life is to keep you from understanding God's purpose is for you to restore God's rule and authority in the heavenly places. He is most successful in doing this by selling you the lie that all of God's promises and blessings to Israel (things pertaining to the earth) belong to you. His goal is to get you to follow the wrong set of instruction so that the manifold wisdom of God will not be known unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places.
 
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« Reply #44 on: March 05, 2004, 04:41:58 AM »

Responsibility and Discipline- or -2 TIMOTHY 2:15 IN CONTEXT
(Part 1)

How precious has 2 Timothy 2:15 become to sincere students of the Word of God! What joy they have found in practicing it!

This important passage of Scripture shows us how teachers of the Word may be "approved unto God," workmen not needing to be ashamed. To be thus approved, says the apostle, will require "Study," with a view to "rightly dividing the Word of truth." May God help us always to cherish this priceless passage as a motto in our service for Christ.

But while 11 Timothy 2:15 has become so precious to those who truly desire to understand and obey God's will, its context has been so sadly neglected that most believers, indeed many pastors and teachers, would hardly know off-hand what the preceeding and succeeding verses of this chapter are about.

In general the context, along with the verse itself, declares that the proclamation of God's Word is serious business, that the Bible is not to be diluted or weakened by shallow, foolish interpretations or conclusions. Thus the preceding context emphasizes the responsibilities of those who would serve Christ, while the succeeding context emphasizes the need for discipline in our lives. Where there is responsibility there must always be discipline-mostly self-discipline.

RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCIPLINE
THE POSTIVE SIDE

In Vers. 1-14 the apostle emphasizes the grave responsibilities associated with service for Christ:

Ver. 1: The man of God (This entire chapter offers special help to younger men of God Note: "my son" [Ver. 1; cf. 1 Tim. 4:12]).must be strong. Weaklings are no match for the world, the flesh and the devil. Yet he must not be strong in himself, flexing his muscles, as it were, in defiance of his enemies. Rather he must be "Strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Strengthened thus by grace there will be no reason to quail before the adversary, for "if God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).

Ver. 2: He must "commit" the truths he has learned to "faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." To stand alone is noble when necessary, but it is better for the man of God to prepare others to fight the battle with him and, possibly, to carry on the contest when he is gone.

Vers. 3,4: He must "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." Soldiers in this world's armies are often taught to be hard, but the good soldier of Jesus Christ must be willing to "endure hardness," as did our Lord and His Apostle Paul. Indeed, it has been well said that the measure of true greatness in a soldier is not how much he can "give" of injury and pain, but how much he can "take," how much he can endure, how much it will take to make him give up.

Nor will a good soldier of Jesus Christ "entangle himself with the affairs of this life." Rather, he will sacrifice himself and all he has to "please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."(See the writer's commentary on the Pastoral Epistles for an explanation of the words, "Him who hath chosen him.")

Ver. 5: He must follow the directions and rules laid down by God-and he will certainly not be "approved unto God" if he fails to rightly divide the Word of truth (Ver. 15), any more than the athlete will be "crowned" if he does not strive "lawfully," i.e., according to the rules of the contest.

Ver. 6: He must be willing to work if he would reap fruit from his labors. It is the "husbandman," or farmer who labors who gets to be the "first partaker of the fruits."

CONSIDER-REMEMBER

Becoming more specific in Vers. 7-10, particularly with respect to our responsibilities under Ver. 15, the apostle declares that we should clearly understand and proclaim the revelation committed to him, Paul, as distinguished from that which the twelve had been sent to preach, and that they must preach this no matter what the cost. Hear him exhort young Timothy:

" Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

" Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David (This is how Peter and twelve had preached Christ [See Acts 2:29-31]), was raised from the dead according to my gospel [cf., Rom. 16:25]:

" Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds, but the Word of God is not bound" (Vers. 7-9).

How glorious is the message committed to Paul with regard to the resurrection of Christ! Christ raised from the dead to confirm our justification (Rom. 4:25); we raised with Him (Eph. 2:5, 6; Col. 3:1-3), to experience "the exceeding greatness of [God's] power to usward who believe'' (Eph. 1:19). And this power is nothing less than the power. . .

" Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places,

" Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph. 2:20, 2 1).

" Consider" it well, Christian friend, and "remember" it carefully: this is the message committed to the Apostle Paul, and the message he enjoins us to proclaim faithfully whatever the cost. To him personally this great message was worth proclaiming from the housetops, be the cost ever so great (Ver. 10).

Finally, in Vers. 11-14, he admonishes young Timothy-and us: Only if we "be dead" with Christ (i.e., recognizing His death as our death, and thus having died with Him-Rom. 6:3), can we share in His resurrection life and His "eternal glory"; only if we suffer with Him will we reign with Him -and lest this be taken lightly, he adds: "if we deny Him, He also will deny us, i.e., deny us the privilege of reigning with Him. Yet He always "abideth faithful"; no one will ever suffer loss in that day because He failed to keep His word" (Vers. 11-13).

" Of these things," says Paul, "put them in remembrance," lest they neglect their responsibility to fulfil their commission and descend to "strife about words," and experience the inevitable results (Ver. 14). Also, he would have them accept these exhortations without petty quibbling.

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