Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dispensationalism Makes Sense...part 4


You said, ‘Bearing in mind that not only did Peter, James & John all think the 2nd coming of Christ would happen in their lifetime…’  You’re right about that.  Peter, James, John (the three main apostles for Israel) and Paul (the one unique, distinct apostle and spokesman for God today in the dispensation of grace) all thought that the Lord would imminently return during their particular program.

They all thought that, because that was the hope God gave them.  Even when the dispensation of grace began, the Apostle Paul figured that the rapture which will end the age of grace would be in his lifetime.

1 Thessalonians 4:17
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up

Paul evidently didn’t realize until near the end of his 30+ year ministry that he might die before the Lord returned; but even then he didn’t know that it would be 2,000 years.

2 Timothy 4:6
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

If you were to ask the Apostle at the end of his life before he died in Rome at the hand of the despicable Nero, he would have told you that the Lord was coming soon.  That is what he told Timothy.  But God the Father extended the dispensation of grace for nearly 2,000 years.  It could end today, or it could end in another 1,000 years; it is up to God the Father.  No one knows; that’s the point.  By the way, the angels don’t know either. 

Mark 13:32
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

1 Peter 1:12
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things [what God was doing with Israel] the angels desire to look into.

Paul says that the angelic host learns about the dispensation of grace through the body of Christ.

Ephesians 3:10
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

So the angels don’t have all knowledge.  They understand things only as God reveals them.  That is the whole thing about rightly dividing the word.  What God has revealed through the Apostle Paul and his 13 epistles (Romans through Philemon) called the mystery of Christ, was a secret that God kept in himself

Ephesians 3:5
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 [through spiritual gifts];

Ephesians 3:9
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:

Romans 16:25
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

The information given to Paul, everything associated with this dispensation of grace, was a secret.  Obviously since the age of grace has lasted this long, it is a part of God’s plan and purpose to add members to the church the body of Christ for the heavenly places.  Even Paul didn’t know all the details, including the timing of the rapture and the length of the age.

…to be continued.
Click here for "Dispensationalism Makes Sense, part 5"

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