Archive for May 2010

Israel’s Great Commission, Part 10

May 25, 2010

Grace

One should take particular notice that not once in all five of the “Great Commission” passages does the word “grace” even appear. This is not to say, of course, that God did not have grace during this time, for He did – as He always does – for it is an attribute of God’s Own character and nature. If it had not been for grace Noah could not have been saved (Genesis 6:8). Yet we must remember that there is a difference between the grace of God as a part of His nature, and “the dispensation of the Grace of God” where the administration of all of God’s dealings is conducted in full and total grace (Ephesians 3:2).

In other words, there is a difference between the grace of God in a dispensation and “the dispensation of the grace of God,” a difference between God’s attribute of grace and grace being the ruling principle.

That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto age-lasting life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21).

Grace did not reign in Noah’s day, for God did not at that time show grace to the rest of the world – only to Noah and his family. The world perished. Grace was then, for that time, selective and limited. Only small rays of God’s grace broke through. Now, during this present age, God’s grace is immeasurably released.

Under Israel’s “Great Commission” there is not even one single reference to “grace” – let alone to “the Gospel of the Grace of God.” The fact is that it was still hidden at that time. The free gift of God’s grace, as well as the Jews and Gentiles in one Body were not to be found anywhere in this commission. These were all still yet unrevealed truths. None of them were known or preached until Paul (I Timothy 1:16; Galatians 1:25). Paul received them by revelation (Galatians 1, 2) from the heavenly Christ.

The plain truth of the matter is that God, in Paul’s epistles, has given us a complete and independent body of truth for this dispensation in which we now live (Romans 2:16), and a “much more” blessed commission than that found in “the Gospels” (II Corinthians 5:14-21; Ephesians 3:8-9).

Let us recognize that our position today is not that of being “witnesses” under Israel’s “Great Commission,” but instead of being “Ambassadors for Christ” of the evangel of the grace of God – God’s Grace Commission (II Corinthians 5:20). We have the “ministry of conciliation” given to us (II Corinthians 5:18), and the “Word of conciliation” committed to our trust (II Corinthians 5:19).

There is a two-fold purpose of God: the heaven and the earth. Israel is God’s instrument of His earthly purpose, and we the Body of Christ are the instrument of His celestial purpose.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 1989, 2010

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Israel’s Great Commission, Part 9

May 25, 2010

Witnesses of What?

You shall be witnesses unto Me (Acts 1:8).

Under the “Great Commission” Israel’s Apostles were to be “witnesses’” but “witnesses” of what? Before we deal with the answer to that question, let’s first find out what a witness is.

Noah Webster defines the word witness as a person who knows or sees anything; one personally present. So, to be a witness, one must have firsthand knowledge concerning the thing which is being witnessed. Of what were the Twelve actually witnesses? On this the Scripture is abundantly clear.

Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day … and you are witnesses of these things (Luke 24:46, 48).

Wherefore of these men … must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection (Acts 1:22).

This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses (Acts 2:32).

Whom God has raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses (Acts 3:15).

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus … and we are His witnesses (Acts 5:30-32).

And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; Whom they slew and hung on a tree, Him God raised up the third day, and showed Him openly; not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead (Acts 10:39-41).

And He was seen many days of them which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses unto the people (Acts 13:31).

How clear are all these verses! The “Great Commission” was for those who had been actual eye-witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry, death resurrection.

What if you read in your local newspaper of a horrid crime which had been committed in your community, but one that you had not personally witnessed? Then suppose that you showed up at the trial and offered to testify and were subsequently placed on the witness stand. While on the stand you vividly and accurately describe the details of the crime as they had been recorded in the newspaper article. During the cross-examination you are asked, “Where were you when you saw this crime committed?” To which you would respond, “Why, I didn’t see the act, but I did read all about it in the paper.”

Your proclamation of the details of that crime may be true, or not, depending on the accuracy of your source; but one thing is certain: your testimony would not be accepted because you simply did not witness the event. Your witness would be thrown out as inadmissible evidence.

We never witnessed the death, burial or resurrection of Jesus Christ. We heard His Word and believed its message (Romans 10:17). Although we cannot bear witness to the resurrection, we can proclaim it. We are teachers of this wonderful truth and all that it means.

We can give witness and testimony to God’s wonderful work of salvation in our own lives, but we can never fulfill the “Great Commission’s” duty of being “witnesses chosen before of God.”

(To be continued …)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 1989, 2010

Israel’s Great Commission, Part 8

May 24, 2010

Remission of Sins

Whosoever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them (John 20:23).

How many messages have you heard on this part of the “Great Commission”? Again this passage is clear; and was in perfect harmony with Christ’s earthly teaching ministry. For the Lord Jesus told Peter,

And I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19; c.f. Matthew 18:18).

Many believers, and even preachers, have been left perplexed and confused by failing to follow Paul’s instruction that we are to be “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (II Timothy 2:15).

Once again we are dealing plainly with the message of Israel’s Kingdom, during which the Twelve Circumcision Apostles would have authority in the Messiah’s absence.

(To be continued …)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 1989, 2010

Israel’s Great Commission, Part 7

May 24, 2010

Jerusalem

Both Luke chapter 24 and Acts chapter 1 make the geographical procedure of the “Great Commission” known. The twelve apostles were to start at Jerusalem – Israel’s capitol city – it was to the “Jews first.” The Jews were first, over the Gentiles, because they were in covenant relationship with God, and in the Kingdom gospel the Gentiles could be blessed only in Israel’s national rise (c.f. Genesis 22:17- 18; Isaiah 2:4; 60:1-3; 62:1-3). Therefore, under the “Great Commission” Israel must first accept the message before the Gentiles could be blessed.

All is different under the evangel committed to Paul for “the dispensation of the grace of God.” In “the gospel of the Grace of God” the Gentiles were to be blessed, not through Israel’s rise, but through Israel’s fall.

… Through their [Israel’s] fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 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 fullness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office (Romans 11:11-13).

How many of us have heard the interpretation “where you are is your ‘Jerusalem?’” What type of interpretation is that? If this is our “Great Commission” and we are to follow it literally, we would have to sell all of our possessions and go to Jerusalem with “the gospel of the Kingdom” (c.f. Acts 3:25-26; 13:46).

(To be continued …)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 1989, 2010

Israel’s Great Commission, Part 6

May 24, 2010

Miraculous Signs

These signs shall follow them who believe (Mark 16:17).

Again, the words of the “Great Commission” are unmistakable. Signs would follow the Jewish believers. It is not that they could follow them, but that they “shall.”

The Bible is explicit in its teaching that miraculous signs were for Israel.

The Jews require a sign (I Corinthians 1:22).

The signs belonged to Israel and their land.

We see not our signs (Psalms 74:9).

… for signs and for wonders in Israel(Isaiah 8:18).

References to signs in the Scriptures are always found in a Jewish setting. The first mention of miraculous signs should give any student of the Scripture a clear message of its relationship to Israel (Exodus 4:8).

The “Great Commission” had water baptism as a requirement for salvation with miraculous signs following. This is exactly what happened in Acts chapter 2 and in the early part of the Acts period.

(To be continued …)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 1989, 2010

Israel’s Great Commission, Part 5

May 24, 2010

Baptismal Salvation

He who believes and is baptized shall be saved: but he who believes not shall be damned (Mark 16:16).

Could this be any clearer? In the gospel of the “Great Commission,” baptism was essential for Israel’s salvation from that “untoward generation.”

Israel’s baptismal salvation was also found in John the Baptist’s message.

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4).

Peter understood well what the “Great Commission” said, because water baptism for salvation is exactly what he preached on Pentecost.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Because of the problems which many preachers have trying to make Israel’s “Great Commission” ours, they must begin to alter the text. This involves changing or explaining away certain words in some of the other passages.

(To be continued …)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 1989, 2010

Israel’s Great Commission, Part 4

May 24, 2010

Which Gospel Was Preached?

Preach the gospel (Mark 16:15).

Which “gospel” were Israel’s Apostles commissioned to preach? There are, in fact, a number of evangels in the Scriptures: “the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven,” “the gospel of the Circumcision,” “the gospel of the Uncircumcision,” “the age-lasting gospel,” “the gospel of the Grace of God,” etc.

The gospel mentioned in the “Great Commission” is denoted simply as “the gospel,” showing that it had already been defined in the so-called “Gospels” (i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

This “gospel” could not be “the gospel of the Grace of God” which was later revealed and committed to Paul (i.e., “my gospel – Romans 2:16; 16:25-26; II Timothy 2:8), for it was still hidden at this time.

Upon further study, one will note that the “gospel” of the “Great Commission” clearly is Israel’s “gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; Mark 1:14). It is the “good news” of the coming of their prophesied, literal, physical, earthly, kingdom. This gospel, which during this age has been put on hold, will be preached again one day by Israel after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (c.f. Matthew 24:14).

(To be continued …)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 1989, 2010


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