Paul’s “Mystery”

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the secrets of God (1 Corinthians 4.1).

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the secret which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 16.25).


God laid the groundwork for the creation of the Jewish race with His call of Abram. After Jacob and his sons moved to Egypt they multiplied and Israel became a populous people. After they escaped Egypt, they became a nation under Moses with a government based upon the Mosaic Law. All God’s dealings with mankind were mediated through Israel from Abraham to Paul. Based upon the Abrahamic Covenant, God’s blessings to Gentiles were to come through Israel. And all blessings to Israel were to come through the Messiah. How could God bless Gentiles when the channel of blessing, Israel, had rejected their source of blessing? The Old Testament had no answer to this question. God had revealed no plan to bless Gentiles apart from Israel.

When God saved and commissioned Paul He began a new program. With this program, He could bless Gentiles despite Israel’s rejection of their Messiah. In short, God instituted a salvific revolution. With Paul’s commission, God created the Church, the body of Christ, and brought in a new age, the Church age. The Church would not operate under Law as Israel had but under grace (Romans 6.14). Paul stands at the headwaters of this new program. As such, Paul is the founder of Christianity. He is THE man for the Church as Abraham and Moses were THE men (racial and national heads) of Israel. Only when one understands this truth can one begin to understand Christian theology.

Saul to Paul

Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11.13), had one of the most remarkable lives in history. God transformed him from being Jesus of Nazareth’s greatest enemy to become his most vigorous servant and evangelist. But of much greater significance than Paul’s personal transformation was God’s change in His program. God revealed truths to Paul that He had kept secret. Jesus, during his three-year ministry on earth, never revealed these teachings and the Twelve knew nothing of them, even after Christ’s resurrection. Christendom’s greatest theological error has been its failure to recognize or understand Paul’s unique apostleship. Because of this, vast theological confusion and error exist within the Church. On the one hand, perhaps we should not be too hard. Peter, at the end of his life, struggled with Paul’s teachings. Shortly before his execution, he wrote:

14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things,in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3.14-16).

But on the other hand, we should not be too easy. We have had 2,000 years to understand the theological change God worked through Paul. Sadly, the vast majority of theologians, scholars, and teachers throughout Christendom remain ignorant of or refuse to acknowledge this great fact.

Luke introduced Saul of Tarsus as one present at Stephen’s trial. Saul held the clothes of those who stoned Stephen (Acts 7.58). Stephen, one of the first deacons (Acts 6.1-5) of the Jewish church, had been arrested by the Sanhedrin. He had become a thorn in their side for none of their scholars could cope with his miracles or his wisdom (Acts 6.8-10). One wonders if Saul (since he was from Cilicia) was one who had argued with Stephen (Acts 6.9-10) and if this had something to do with Jesus’ statement to Saul, “it is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26.14). We have Luke’s court record of Stephen’s trial in Acts 7. Stephen defended himself with a brilliant summation of Israel’s history. In so doing, he turned the tables on his judges and put them on trial. He accused them of resisting the Holy Spirit, killing God’s prophets, and failing to keep the Law (Acts 7.51-55). When he stated he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7.55-56; Psalm 68.1), the enraged Sanhedrin seized and stoned him. This action violated the Mosaic Law (Acts 7.54-60).1

After Stephen’s execution, Saul’s zeal for Judaism drove him to arrest, torture, and kill those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah (known as τῆς ὁδοῦ, the Way, Acts 9.2). Paul recounted his opposition to Jesus in Acts 22.1-21 and 26.1-29. Because of Saul’s intense persecution, Jewish believers feared him greatly (Acts 9.13-14). Not content to arrest those who had believed in Jesus within the borders of Israel, Paul obtained documents from the high priest which allowed him to extend his persecution of Jews into Syria. But on his journey to Damascus, a remarkable event occurred. Nearing the city, a brilliant light from heaven shone around Saul and he fell to the earth. Luke recorded,

and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” (Acts 9.4-6).

Nothing in Paul’s experience could have prepared him for this shock. Jesus of Nazareth, the one against whom he had directed all his energies, revealed He was the Lord God of Israel, the YHVH (יְהֹוָה) of the prophets.

Paul and the Twelve

The Twelve were commissioned and taught by the Lord during his earthly ministry. They looked forward to the promised kingdom and their role in it (Matthew 19.23-28). After Judas revealed himself a traitor, the first thing the apostles’ recognized they must do was to fill his position. They believed that the kingdom was about to be established (Acts 1.6-7, 16-26) for that was what they had been taught for the past three years (Matthew 3.2, 4.17; Mark 1.15; Luke 17.21). The kingdom could not come without a full complement of twelve apostles. As the Scriptures indicate, Matthias filled the vacancy left by Judas (Acts 1.23-26). Some have maintained Peter and the other apostles were precipitous and should have waited for Paul to fill this position. Such a view ignores the text. The Scriptures reveal their actions were under the control of the Holy Spirit and that to qualify as one of the Twelve one had to have been with the apostles since the ministry of John the Baptist and be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1.21-22). Would Saul of Tarsus/Paul have qualified? Hardly.

While the Twelve were commissioned and taught by the Lord for three years during His earthly ministry, the ascended, heavenly Lord commissioned and taught Paul for three years (most of which was probably spent in the Arabian desert, Galatians 1.17-18). The Twelve were commissioned within the borders of Israel. Paul was commissioned beyond the borders of Israel. After the ascended Lord commissioned Paul He revealed doctrines to Paul He had never revealed to the Twelve.

Differences Between the Jesus and the Twelve and Paul
The TwelvePaul
Proclaimed repentance and water baptism for salvation (Acts 2.38)Proclaimed “believe” alone for salvation (Romans 4.5-6; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4)
Proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4.17; Acts 3.19)Proclaimed the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24)
Saved and commissioned within Israel’s borders (Matthew 16.13, 16-17)Saved and commissioned outside Israel’s borders (Acts 9.3)
Were taught in Christ’s earthly ministryWas taught in Christ’s heavenly ministry (Galatians 1.1, 11-12)
Ministered to Jews only (Matthew 10.5; Galatians 2.7-9)Ministered primarily to Gentiles (Romans 11.13; Galatians 2.7-9)

The most logical thing for Saul to have done following his conversion would have been to return to Jerusalem and consult with the Twelve. Imagine what a meeting that would have been! Saul, the great persecutor of the Way (Acts 22.4), had become a believer–and in such a dramatic manner–by the direct confrontation of the Lord in glory. It didn’t happen (Galatians 1.16-17). God had other plans for Paul. He insulated him from the Twelve and like what He had done with Moses, sent him to Arabia–into the desert–most likely to Sinai. Why?

The Rise of Paul

Peter is the primary personage for the first dozen chapters of Acts. Luke recorded Paul’s salvation in chapter 9. Peter reappears in chapter 15 at the Jerusalem Council and assisted Paul in his argument (Acts 15.7-11) over the issue of whether Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be saved (Acts 15.1, 5). Worth note is Peter was not running the Council–James was. This James was not James the Apostle, one of the Twelve (Acts 12.2), for he had been executed by Herod Antipas (Acts 12.1-2). This James (a.k.a. James the Just) was Jesus’ half-brother. By the time of the Jerusalem Council (51 A.D.), Peter’s authority and the authority of the Twelve had declined to the degree that a second-order apostle was running things. James was an apostle in a secondary sense for he did not meet the qualifications for apostleship as did the Twelve (cf. John 7.5 cf. Galatians 1.19; 1 Corinthians 15.7, Acts 1.21-22). After Luke’s account of the Jerusalem Council, the Twelve drop out of view and the remainder of Acts is all about Paul. Why?

God had revealed Gentiles would be blessed by the Jews (cf. Isaiah 42.1, 6; 49.6; 60.3; Zechariah 8.23; Luke 2.32). These promises were based on the assumption the Jews would accept their Messiah. How could Gentiles be blessed if Israel refused their Messiah? They couldn’t since all blessing was based upon the Messiah. God had revealed no other plan. But God in His sovereignty always has a plan, even though he may keep it secret (Deuteronomy 29.29). God knew Israel would reject Him and made provision for it.

The Lord commissioned Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9.15-16; Romans 11.13; Ephesians 3.1; 1 Timothy 2.7). No Biblical record exists Peter and the Eleven ever had a ministry to Gentiles. The Twelve made an agreement with Paul to confine their ministry to Jews while Paul would go to Gentiles (Galatians 2.7-9). Even though Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, he first witnessed to Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. In Acts, the record reveals Paul first approached Jews and then turned to Gentiles when the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah (Acts 13.46; 18.5-6; 28.24-28 cf. Romans 1.16-17; Acts 9.15).

Paul’s argument with the Twelve at the Council demonstrated a change of evangelistic program had occurred. Jesus had commanded His disciples to go to all nations, i.e., Gentiles (Matthew 28.19). This never happened. When it became clear Israel would not repent (the crisis point was the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7), God commissioned Paul to minister to Gentiles. During the thirty years Paul faithfully served the Lord, the Lord revealed to him secrets (μυστήριον) He had not revealed in His own earthly ministry nor at any time to the Twelve.

The Mystery (μυστήριον)

The word translated “mystery” is the Greek word μυστήριον. This unfortunate translation has confused most of Christendom. The word μυστήριον does not mean “mystery” as we think as in “strange,” “enigma,” “weird,” etc. It means a “secret”–something kept hidden, something previously unrevealed. Paul used the term to describe the body of doctrine the risen, ascended, glorified Lord revealed to him. God alone can keep a secret and He had kept these revelations hidden until He chose to disclose them. Paul called these doctrines “secrets” for was what they were. What were these secrets that Peter and the other apostles knew nothing about?

1. The Secret of the Gospel of the Grace of God

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery [secret] which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith (Romans 16.25-26).

Paul preached the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20.24). Time and again Paul proclaimed that the gospel he preached was his gospel (Romans 2.16; 16.25; 2 Timothy 2.8; Galatians 1.11-12, 2.2). Did the Twelve not preach this gospel? The Scriptures reveal they did not–until they learned it from Paul (cf. Acts 15.1, 5, 6-11). Paul declared his gospel was, “kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested.” Paul wrote that by revelation he went to Jerusalem to communicate the gospel he preached (Galatians 2.2). It was a “secret” until the ascended Lord revealed it to Paul and it was a secret until Paul revealed it to the Twelve. What gospel did John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve proclaim? They preached the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4.23; 9.35; Mark 1.14-15). Its message was that God’s earthly kingdom, which the prophets had proclaimed throughout the Old Testament, was at hand. For it to come upon the earth required repentance and baptism. Even after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, Peter continued to preach the gospel of the kingdom (Acts 2.38; 3.19-21). This was a completely different gospel than the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24) that Paul preached.

What was the content of the kingdom gospel during the ministry of Jesus and afterward? Salvation was based upon believing Jesus was Israel’s Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16.16; John 11.27; [Acts 8.37]). No mention was made of believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection even after His resurrection. Peter did not tell the Jews he addressed on the day of Pentecost to believe Jesus died for them and rose from the dead. He told them to repent and be baptized (Acts 2.38). Immediately after Paul was saved he too preached this message: Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9.20). Paul did not begin to preach his gospel (Christ died for us and rose from the dead) until after he returned from Arabia. Why not? Because God had not yet revealed it. Not until after Paul returned from his three years in Arabia did he preach this gospel. During that time the ascended Lord revealed to Paul the meaning of His death and resurrection (Galatians 1.16-19, 2.1-2).2

Paul’s gospel of the grace of God was the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Paul wrote the Corinthians,

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15.1-4)

Do you see the difference in Paul’s gospel? Where is repentance? Where is baptism? They are not there. Salvation according to the gospel of the kingdom was to repent and be baptized, believing Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16.16-17; John 11.25-27; Acts 2.38). Salvation according to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24), Paul’s gospel, is to believe Christ died for us, was buried, and arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). According to Paul’s gospel, only one thing is necessary: trust in the death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Do you believe it? If so, you are saved from sin and death. This is God’s promise.

Peter told the Jews was they had murdered their Messiah and needed to repent and be baptized (Acts 2.36-38, 41). Did Peter or the Twelve preach Christ crucified for salvation? No. The cross for Peter was something to be repented of, not a message of hope and salvation (Acts 2.22-24; 2.36-39; 3.13-20).

Not until the Jerusalem Council (51 A.D.) did this change. After much argument, Peter, who had remained quiet during the debate (what a character change!) made a remarkable statement. We read:

After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” 12 All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles (Acts 15.7-12).

At the critical moment, God the Holy Spirit moved Peter to recall the time he had visited the house of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, a Gentile, many years before (Acts 10.1-48). Peter, who had been listening to the arguments, rose to Paul’s defense in the quarrel over whether Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be saved. Had it not been for Peter, Paul’s evangelism would have become much more difficult. What was most remarkable was Peter’s statement: “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” What a switch! Jews saved like Gentiles, not Gentiles like Jews? Amazing! What was the result? The Jews who had argued against Paul became silent and listened to Paul and Barnabas.

Lest anyone doubt that Paul’s gospel was a new gospel, he explicitly declared it so in Ephesians 6.19. Paul wrote the Ephesians:

18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery [secret] of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Ephesians 6.18-20).

In verse 19, Paul stated his gospel was a “secret.” This verse parallels Romans 16.25. The gospel of the kingdom, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, was no secret. It had been proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and Peter along with the Twelve. What was secret? It was that Christ had died for our sins and had been raised from the dead for our justification and that by trusting in this alone one can have salvation. Until God revealed this truth to Paul, this great fact was unknown. No one knew the significance of Christ’s death on the cross–that it paid for our sins–and no one knew that one could obtain salvation by faith alone until Paul proclaimed it. Paul’s “secret” gospel contained no works such as baptism, which had been required for salvation by the gospel of the kingdom (Acts 2.36-38; cf. Mark 1.4, 16.16). Paul’s gospel was faith + 0–a totally new revelation.

2. The Secret of the Blinding of Israel

Paul wrote in Romans 11.25-27,

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery [secret]—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

God laid the groundwork for His creation of a new race of people, the Jews, with His call of Abraham. Through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God began to reveal Himself. From that point, until the time when the ascended Lord commissioned Paul, God dealt with mankind through the nation of Israel. To the Jews belonged the Word of God, adoption, glory, and covenants, etc. (Romans 3.2, 9.4; Ephesians 2.12; Acts 3.25). God had revealed His prophetic plan through the Jewish prophets. This plan is summarized in Psalm 2:

Psalm 2Comment
Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”The 1st Advent–Rejection of the Messiah by Gentiles (nations) and Jews (the peoples). Also prophetic of the attitude of mankind before the 2nd Advent.
He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'”The judgment of God, i.e., the tribulation or the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Matthew 24.1-51; Jeremiah 30.7).
“But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.Establishment of the Messianic Kingdom of God (the OT has hundreds of verses describing this kingdom).
“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.The resurrection of Christ (cf. Acts 13.33) is when He was “begotten.”
10  Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!God warns of judgment to the world (Jew and Gentile) and blessings for those who trust in the Lord.

Notice the psalm made no mention of the temporary blinding of Israel and God’s creation of the Church, the body of Christ. These truths are found nowhere in the Old Testament. Why? Paul declared these things were a secret. A partial hardening–not total and not forever–would last until the fullness of the Gentiles (Romans 11.25) occurred, i.e., until the body of Christ was complete. After that, all Israel, i.e., the entire nation, every single Jew alive on earth who will recognize Jesus as the Messiah, will be saved (Matthew 23.37-39; Isaiah 66.8; Zechariah 12.10, 13.6; Acts 2.36, 38). Peter understood the need for the whole nation to repent. In his sermon on Pentecost, he demanded every single Jew repent (Acts 2.36, 38). This had been taught by the prophets (Isaiah 66.7-9, 25.9; Zechariah 12.10, 13.6) and was known. Paul quoted Isaiah 59.20. What was unknown was when and how. Paul revealed that following Israel’s rejection of their Messiah the nation’s salvation would not occur “until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in.”

At the end of the Tribulation, at the end of the great Day of the Lord, all Jews will believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. They will go into the promised kingdom (Acts 1.6; Romans 11.16 cf. Isaiah 66.8, Matthew 6.10). Unlike the generation of Jesus’ day who failed to repent and experience the kingdom, the Tribulation generation will respond and believe Jesus is Messiah (Matthew 23.39, cf. John 10.16, the “other sheep.”). God is sovereign and has promised through his prophets that Israel will enjoy the kingdom (Romans 9.29 cf. Deuteronomy 28.1-14). God will keep His word.

3. The Secret of the Rapture or Resurrection of the Body of Christ

The “rapture” is the resurrection of the Church, the body of Christ. In this divine event, members of the body of Christ will receive resurrection bodies. When the body of Christ is complete, God will take His body unto Himself. Paul called this the “fullness of the Gentiles” (Romans 11.25) since the body of Christ is composed primarily of Gentiles. The word Paul used for the Rapture was ἁρπάζω which means “to seize” or “to snatch away.” Our English word “rapture” comes from the Latin “rapiemur” which is the word Jerome used in the Latin Vulgate to translate ἁρπάζω. Paul revealed the secret of the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15.51-53:

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery [secret]; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Paul elaborated on this event when he wrote the Thessalonians about the order of the resurrection of the body of Christ:

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4.13-18).

In the passage above, Paul reiterated his gospel–Christ died for our sins and rose again. Having this belief gives the believer confidence to know he will be with the Lord. Paul gave the resurrection sequence for the body of Christ: those who have died will be raised first. Those who are alive will be raised second, i.e., given a resurrection body. In other words, the latter group, those who are alive, will not experience physical death. Both groups will meet the Lord in the air. This whole transformation will take place “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” The words for “moment” and “twinkling” are ἄτομος and ῥιπή. The thought here is that this will occur instantaneously.

This return of the Lord is an entirely different event from His return to save Israel and the nations at the end of the Tribulation. In the first return, the Lord will meet the body of Christ in the clouds (a heavenly return for a heavenly people, Ephesians 1.3). In the second return, the Lord will return to earth, (an earthly return for an earthly people, Zechariah 14.4). The Rapture is the “blessed hope” (Titus 2.13) of the body of Christ and was Paul’s personal hope (Philippians 3.11, ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκνεκρῶν).

Paul had to correct false teaching constantly. Someone, posing as Paul, wrote the Thessalonians that the Day of the Lord had occurred. They denied the Rapture–what Paul had taught them when he was with them–that believers would be delivered from the Day of the Lord. Paul addressed this error with the following words in 2 Thessalonians 2.1-5:

1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?

No one wrote about the Rapture except Paul because no one knew about it. It was a secret the glorified Lord revealed to Paul alone. Jesus never mentioned it in his earthly ministry and the Twelve never mentioned it in their writings. All non-Pauline writings of Christ’s return speak of His return to earth at the end of the Tribulation.

In Jewish theology, before the first advent of Christ, the Jews knew of only one advent. They understood a few passages spoke of a suffering Messiah and most spoke of a ruling Messiah. They could never put these ideas together nor understand there would be one Messiah but two advents (1 Peter 1.10-11). In the same way, the second advent will have two parts. The first part will be Christ’s return in the air for his body, the Church (the Rapture). The second part of Christ’s return will be his return to earth for a repentant Israel (Matthew 23.39; Zechariah 12.10) and the Gentiles who remain alive (Matthew 24.22). The two advents are noted in the chart below:

First Advent (Rejection and Suffering)–Revealed in Old Testament
Second Advent (Mercy and Judgment)
Phase 1: Unrevealed until Paul

God’s mercy to the Church (the Body of Christ) to save it (by the Rapture) from the wrath to come

Phase 2: Revealed in Old Testament

God’s judgment upon a Christ rejecting world and the return of Christ as King to save a repentant Israel

Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets warned of a time called the “day of the Lord.” The “day of the Lord” was a time in which God would pour His wrath upon the nations. It was a time in which God would release His wrath against the world for its evil–for a world that will reject the true God and worship the Antichrist. References to the day include the following: Isaiah 2.12-21; 13.9-13; 26.20-21; 34.1-2, 8; Ezekiel 30.1-8; Joel 1.13-16; 2.1-3, 11; 2.23-32; 3.12-18; Amos 5.18-20; Obadiah 1.15-17; Zephaniah 1.7-18; 2.1-3; Zechariah 12.2-10; 14.1-20; Malachi 4.1-3. It will be a day of “wrath,” “darkness,” “gloom,” and “wailing.” Jesus described the day in Matthew 24.1-51 and John in the book of Revelation. Included in this day is Israel’s deliverance, which Paul foretold in Romans 11.26 when “all Israel,” i.e., the entire nation will be saved.

Paul taught a different day, a day unrevealed by the prophets, by Jesus, or by the Twelve. This day Paul called the “day of Christ” or the “day of the Lord Jesus.” It stands in contrast to the “day of the Lord.” Paul wrote of the “day of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 1.8; 5.5; 2 Corinthians 1.14; Philippians 1.6, 10; 2.16. The “day of Christ” is a day of deliverance, not a day of judgment. The “day of Christ” is the return of Christ for his body, the Church, or the Rapture. Associated with this day of deliverance is the judgment of the believer’s works. Paul wrote the Corinthians about this in 1 Corinthians 3.13-15. See the author’s study on the Day of Christ.

4. The Secret of the One Body

Paul alone taught the Body of Christ. How did Paul learn about it? The ascended Lord revealed the truth that the Church (1 Corinthians 12.12-27; Ephesians 1.22-23; Colossians 1.18, 24) was His body and that its nature was that Jew and Gentile were equal in Christ (Galatians 3.26-29). The Lord did not reveal this truth to Peter or the Twelve. Search the Scriptures–one will find no word about the body of Christ from anyone but Paul. Paul wrote the Ephesians:

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery [secret], as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery [secret] of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery [secret] which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; (Ephesians 3.1-9).

Notice the points Paul made:

  1. Paul was the prisoner of Christ for the sake of Gentiles.
  2. By revelation, he received the secret (μυστήριον).

As the passage above states, this secret was not known to other generations. But the secret became revealed to his holy apostles and prophets. Who were these? Certainly not the Twelve. They never mention the body of Christ. Peter and the Twelve learned about the body of Christ from Paul after the Lord revealed this secret to him. What was this secret?

The secret was that Gentiles who believed Paul’s gospel were fellow-heirs and members of the body of Christ with Jews who believed Paul’s gospel. Before Paul, beginning with Abraham, by means of the Abrahamic Covenant, Israel held priority in God’s program. The prophets revealed Gentiles would be blessed through Israel. But nothing indicated equality. That Gentiles were now equal with Jews was a revolutionary shift in God’s plan. Consider. Jesus, in his earthly ministry, commanded His disciples not to go to Gentiles. Matthew recorded:

These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10.5-6).

Could words be more plain? Don’t go to Gentiles! Jesus made two exceptions to His rule in His earthly ministry: a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15.22-28) and a Roman centurion (Matthew 8.5-10 cf. Luke 7.1-10). He responded to them because of their exceptional faith. See the author’s study Two Remarkable Healings.

All this was new. We know about it from Paul alone.  It is helpful to recognize what is not in the Scriptures as well as what is in them. Pay particular attention to the verses below that Paul wrote (quoted above in Ephesians 3.1-9):

  1. “of which I (not Peter, not the Twelve) was made a minister.”
  2. “according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me (not Peter, not the Twelve) according to the working of His power.”
  3. “To me, (not Peter, not the Twelve) the very least of all saints, this grace was given,”
  4. “to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery [secret] which for ages has been hidden (Peter and the Twelve knew nothing of it) in God who created all things.” It was Paul’s ministry that revealed this secret which God had kept hidden.

Paul wrote similar words to the Colossians,

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. 25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery [secret] which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery [secret] among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1.24-27).

We see the same points again:

  1. The Church is the body of Christ.
  2. Paul (not Peter, not the Twelve) was made a minister of this new body, the Church.
  3. God bestowed this stewardship upon Paul (not Peter, not the Twelve).
  4. The revelation of the Church as the body of Christ was previously hidden (the Twelve knew nothing of it).
  5. This secret includes Christ being in the believer which is the hope of glory.

Paul wrote the Corinthians regarding his ministry,

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3.10-11).

God gave Paul the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24). This was wholly different from the gospel of the kingdom which had begun with John the Baptist. Like a wise master builder or chief architect, Paul built the Church on the foundation: Christ. The above passage teaches that Paul, not Peter, not the Twelve, was the architect of the Church. The Lord gave Peter charge over the Jewish church in His earthly ministry. This was the church that existed on the day of Pentecost. Gentiles did not participate in this church. Paul reminded his Gentile believers in Ephesus that prior to the revelation of the secret of the body of Christ they were excluded from Israel and all the benefits Israel enjoyed:

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2.11-22).

Paul illustrated the body of Christ with the human body. Thus,

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ (1 Corinthians 12.12).

Becoming a member of the body of Christ, the Church, is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is not a sensory experience. It occurs when one believes the gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4).

12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12.12-13).

Paul wrote that each part of the body is vital:

14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable,on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it (1 Corinthians 12.14-26).

Paul’s conclusion was, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12.27). As the human body is a whole and each part is important, so too the body of Christ. Every believer is important and has a vital function in the body of Christ.

Another illustration Paul used about the body of Christ was marriage. Paul wrote:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery [secret] is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5.22-33).

The Christian husband is head of the wife in the same manner as Christ is Head of the Church, the body of Christ. Husbands are to 1) love their wives as Christ loved the Church (v. 25) and 2) love their wives as their own bodies (v. 28, 33). Paul declared the relationship of Christ to the Church and husbands to wives was a secret (μυστήριον). No one knew it or taught this before Paul.

We learn from Paul alone that Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church (Ephesians 1.22; 4.15; 5.23; Colossians 1.18; 2.19). In the age of grace, Christ is nowhere called the “king” of the Church. That is His title for Israel. A king has subjects. We have Christ as our Head, not our King. We are integral to Him. We are joint-heirs with Him (Romans 8.17). A joint-heir enjoys a different kind of relationship than a subject to a king. A joint-heir is one who shares everything belonging to the heir. This is grace! We know this from Paul alone for it, again, was a secret Paul received from the risen Lord.

5. The Secret of Heavenly Citizenship

From Paul alone do we learn that the believer in the body of Christ has a heavenly position and heavenly citizenship. Peter and the Twelve looked forward to an earthly position, not a heavenly one. The Jew knew nothing of heavenly blessing. He looked forward to the kingdom on earth. This is why Jesus instructed his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6.10). Consider Peter’s question to the Lord and his answer in Matthew 19.27-28:

27 Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” 28 And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Where will Jesus sit on His glorious throne? In Jerusalem. This made perfect sense to Peter. Had Jesus answered any other way, Peter would have found the reply incomprehensible and at odds with the teachings of the prophets. Only by Jesus’ ruling in Jerusalem can God fulfill the Davidic Covenant, His promise to David. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 2.8 of the conversation between God the Father and God the Son:

‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

Zechariah declared:

And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. 10 All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11 People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security (Zechariah 14.9-11 cf. Zechariah 8.2-3; Daniel 7.14, 27).

When the disciples asked the Lord how they should pray, he answered them:

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen’ (Matthew 6.9-13).

Is anything heavenly here? Jesus told his disciples to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth and for His will to be done on earth. Jesus knew His Old Testament. He knew He would reign as David’s greater Son (Luke 1.32).

But God has given the Church, the body of Christ, different promises from those He gave Israel. God’s promises to the Church are heavenly 3 not earthly. Thus, Paul wrote the Ephesians:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” (Ephesians 1.3)

and in Ephesians 2.4-6:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Unlike God’s promises to Israel of an earthly kingdom and citizenship, members of the body of Christ, the Church, have promises of heavenly citizenship. Paul wrote the Philippians:

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself (Philippians 3.20-21).

Speaking of our resurrection body, Paul wrote the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 5.1-3:

1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

6. The Secret of His Will

The secret of his will is God’s plan to gather together in one all things in Christ. Only Paul revealed this truth. Paul wrote the Ephesians in Ephesians 1.9-10:

He made known to us the mystery [secret] of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

A parallel passage of this truth is from Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say,whether things on earth or things in heaven (Colossians 1.19-20).

7. The Secret of the Grace of God

Paul revealed that grace, not Law, is the realm in which the believer in Christ operates. Paul began every letter with a grace salutation to remind believers of his gospel of this new relationship. No word more clearly identifies Paul’s ministry that the word “grace.” It is the Greek χάρις and means “favor.” God gives us what we do not merit or deserve. When someone receives God’s grace by believing the gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4), God begins His transformative work to enable us to love God and seek after His righteousness. God’s goal is that every believer becomes transformed, conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8.29; Philippians 1.6). Paul was the epitome of God’s grace. Before his conversion, Paul exercised all his power to destroy those who were believing in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. Yet God did not destroy him. He saved him. From that moment Paul became the world’s foremost follower of His Savior (1 Timothy 1.15).

The word χάρις appears 156 times in 147 verses in the New Testament.  Paul’s usage accounts for 103 verses (70%). They are the following:

Romans 1.5, 7, 3.24, 4.4, 16, 5.2, 15, 17, 20, 21, 6.1, 14, 15, 17, 7.25, 11.5, 6, 12.3, 12.6, 15.15, 16.20, 24; 1 Corinthians 1.3, 4,  3.10, 10.30, 15.10, 15.57, 16.3, 16.23; 2 Corinthians 1.2, 12, 15, 2.14, 4.15, 6.1, 8.1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 16, 19, 9.8, 14, 15, 12.9, 13.14; Galatians 1.3, 6, 15; 2.9, 21; 5.4, 6.18; Ephesians 1.2, 6, 7, 2.5, 7, 8, 3.2, 7, 8, 4.7, 29, 6.24; Philippians 1.2, 7, 4.23; Colossians 1.2, 6, 3.16, 4.6, 18; 1 Thessalonians 1.1, 5.28; 2 Thessalonians 1.2, 12, 2.16, 3.18; 1 Timothy 1.2, 12, 1.14, 6.21; 2 Timothy 1.2, 3, 9, 2.1, 4.22; Titus 1.4, 2.11, 3.7, 15; Philemon 1.3, 25; Hebrews 2.9, 4.16, 10.29, 12.15, 28, 13.9, 25.

Paul (not Peter, not the Twelve) revealed that Christians are not under the Law of Moses but are under grace (Romans 6.14; 7.2-6; 8.2-4). He alone revealed man is justified by faith alone apart from works (Romans 3.28). He revealed Christ is the end or goal (τέλος) of the Mosaic Law (Romans 10.4). No other writer of Scripture revealed these things. They are all part of the “secret” the ascended Lord revealed to the great apostle.

8. The Secret of Identification with Christ

All who believe the gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) have been identified with Christ.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again;death no longer is master over Him (Romans 6.3-9).

When a person believes Paul’s gospel he is baptized into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12.13). Paul spoke of this baptism as being “buried” with Christ. This was a metaphor for God seeing us as having died with Christ and identified in his death.4 We have been united to Christ in his death and also have been united with him in his resurrection. As Christ will never die again, we will never die. In terms of living the Christian life, this has immediate practical benefit. Paul wrote the Romans,

10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6.10-14 cf. 8.1-39).

Since Christ died to sin and we are united to Him, Paul wrote we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. In this way, we can defeat our Adamic nature’s inclination to sin.

Writing the Galatians, Paul expressed identification with Christ:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2.20)

Paul wrote the Colossians about this identification and spoke of the “secret of God” (Colossians 2.2):

10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.(Colossians 2.10-14).

9. The Secret of Lawlessness

Paul revealed the “secret of lawlessness” to the Thessalonians:

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery [secret] of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2.3-12).

Paul wrote the secret of iniquity (KJV) or lawlessness (ἀνομία) was already at work. Paul used the term ἀνομία in a generic sense for all that is opposed to God and godliness. The personification of this “secret” will be the “lawless one”, (ἄνομος) the one who will become empowered by Satan, the Antichrist. John wrote about this individual in Revelation as did Daniel, yet how he will be able to come to power and operate is unknown. What Paul revealed was that what restrains (κατέχω) or holds back this individual is the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote this monstrous personage cannot appear “until the one who is now restraining is taken out of the way.” This is the Holy Spirit, specifically, the Holy Spirit who indwells believers in the Body of Christ. Paul’s primary purpose in writing his second letter to the  Thessalonians was to correct a claim from a purported letter from him that the Thessalonians were experiencing the Day of the Lord. The claim was that the persecution they were enduring was the Tribulation. Paul wrote to assure them this was not the case. He declared reminded them that believers will not experience the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1.10, 5.9) and before it can occur, the body of Christ must be removed. When God removed His Church, His restraining power will be removed. Satan will be free to bring his man to power.

10. The Secret of the Faith

In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he wrote:

8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9 but holding to the mystery [secret] of the faith with a clear conscience (1 Timothy 3.8-9).

What was this “secret of the faith?” This phrase is a genitive of apposition, thus, “the secret which is the faith.” It was the body of doctrines the risen Lord had revealed to Paul, which he communicated to the Church, the body of Christ. Faith was never a secret. The teachings of Paul were. As we have noted in examining the doctrines above, none of these doctrines were known to the prophets, revealed by the Lord in His earthly ministry, or communicated by the Twelve. These were Pauline doctrines–secrets.


The risen, ascended, glorified Lord revealed a vast amount of new information to Paul. Paul referred to these revelations as “secrets.” God had revealed none of these things to the prophets. Jesus had not revealed these truths in His earthly ministry or to the Twelve. From Paul alone do we learn the truths of Christianity: about Christ’s work of our salvation, our sanctification, our rescue from a Christ-rejecting world, and our destiny. Holding to Pauline truths has always been a hard-fought battle. Satan knows when these truths are taught and believed the Church is strong, He therefore constantly fights to keep them hidden and to keep believers occupied with tradition and false-teaching. At the end of his life, Paul wrote Timothy, “You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1.15). This was a tragic statement. Paul had expended tremendous effort and had experienced great suffering in Asia. Paul’s declaration provides insight into how theology took the direction it did and what is wrong with the theology of Christendom. Many Church Fathers were fairly orthodox but they also held unscriptural views, especially in their abandonment of Paul. Tragically, little has changed. Most churches spend the greatest portion of their time in the Gospels and Old Testament, rather than in Paul’s epistles. This was contrary to what Paul taught (2 Corinthians 5.16). And when Paul is taught, his doctrines are mixed with Scriptures that pertain to Israel and vice-versa. The result is confusion and contradiction. Nothing is wrong with the Gospels. Nothing is wrong with the Old Testament. But we find nothing of the Church there. Only through studying Paul and his writings do we learn about God’s work, purpose, and destiny for the body of Christ, the Church.

The Sanhedrin was set off by Stephen’s vision of seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7.55-58). Numerous passages speak of Jesus seated at the right hand of God (Matthew 22.44; Mark 6.19, 12.36; Luke 20.42, 22.29; Acts 2.34; Hebrews 1.13, 10.12, 12.1; Psalms 110.1) but in this passage alone Jesus is revealed as standing. Why would Stephen’s statement convulse the Council? They knew their Bibles. The Psalmist had revealed God’s standing was a sign He was ready to leave heaven and exercise judgment (Psalms 68.1, 3.7, 10.12, 74.22, 82.8).
In Galatians 2.2, the NASB has translated ἀνατίθημι as “submitted.” This is a poor translation for it connotes Paul submitted his gospel to the council for their review and approval. A better translation of ἀνατίθημι is “set forth”, “presented,” “declared”, or “communicated.” Paul received his gospel directly from the glorified Lord (Galatians 1.12, 1.7-9). The last thing he would have done was “submit” it for men’s approval.
While the Church’s promises are heavenly, some earthly application seems to be associated with them. Paul wrote the Romans (Romans 8.17) that members of the body of Christ are joint-heirs (συγκληρονόμος) with Christ. A joint heir shares in an inheritance. The Lord will inherit the nations (Psalms 2) and rule over them. It would seem, therefore, that members of the body of Christ may have some responsibilities in this realm.
Romans 6 has no water. The baptism Paul taught in which the believer is identified with Christ in his death (burial) is dry. Those who associate this baptism with water do so without Scriptural support. See the author’s study on Baptism.

©2010 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.

Updated April 24, 2016

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276 thoughts on “Paul’s “Mystery”

  1. Ed Carter

    I have been studying and praying for quite a while to get a clear understanding of the body of Christ, what In Christ meant, and the difference between the bride and the body. Whether the Word is spiritual or literal in application, if there was an actual rapture or if it was spiritual in nature. I don’t know how I found this site, but I know that I was led by the Spirit. I must tell you that for me, this has been truly a revelation in the understanding of the Word, one that I have searched for and prayed for a long time. Thank you for your work on Paul’s mystery. I will continue to study this site.I would like to encourage you in your work because for me it has been an answer to prayer. Ed

  2. Bob

    Don, Can you give me the scriptures that Paul uses about being in the desert for 3 yrs. I get this question asked a lot.This time frame seems to be when the mystery was revealed to him. If this is incorrect please let me know.


    Bob G.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author


      This comes from Galatians 1.16-17. We cannot be sure exactly how much time Paul spent in Damascus and how much time he spent in Arabia. The total time from his conversion to going to Jerusalem was 3 years. It seems reasonable Paul spent a good portion of the 3 years in Arabia since the Lord in His earthly ministry spent 3 years teaching the 12. During this period, I think the Lord revealed the “secrets” to Paul but whether he received them all is unclear.

    2. S. Spedding

      ‘Arabia’ meant the then Arabian peninsula which included what is now Jordan. A city of about 50,000 inhabitants lived in a remarkable city called Petra about the time of Paul. It was located about five miles from the rock that was said to have been struck by Moses and from which sprang water. Although uncertain of its exact location Mount Sinai could not have been very far away, leading some Biblical scholars to surmise that Paul received the ‘mysteries’ there.

  3. Jonathan


    Thanks for writing this article, I learned alot from it. What is still a mystery for me is the meaning of the word “heaven” in the gospels. You talk about the disciples thinking about a Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, but Jesus use the word heaven in many different contexts. And isn’t it a thread in the gospels that the disciples are misunderstanding Jesus so often? What about Jesus saying on the cross that the criminal next te him will sit next to him in heaven? Or the various parables where the concept of heaven plays a role? Or do you read the gospels as if heaven is a temporary place for Jesus (and others?) to reside untill the second coming when the Kingdom of Heaven will be grounded here on earth and the followers of Jesus will be bodily resurrected?


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      If you read the Old Testament you will find the Jews had no concept of dying and going to heaven. They looked for an earthly kingdom (cf. Isaiah 2.1-4, 11.1-10, Zechariah 14.9, etc.). Paul wrote, “For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers” (Romans 15.8). If you read Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus it is full of this concept. When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven, this is a genitive of source, not a genitive of location. In other words, a kingdom whose source is heaven, not a kingdom located in heaven. Thus, when Jesus answered Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18.36) He meant it was not sourced (did not come from the power) of this world but was from heaven. Jesus told the thief that he would be with Him in paradise, a.k.a. Abraham’s Bosom, not heaven. Paradise was under the earth and was the place believers went. In the creed we say of Jesus, “He descended to hell.” That was not torment, but Paradise which Jesus emptied following his death and resurrection. Read Luke 16.19-31. Hope this helps.

      1. Elaine

        Hi doctrine…can you elaborate on what you replied to Jonathan on the 6th Jan 2014…hopefully you still read these older comments to see if there are new ones added. You said near the end “Paradise was under the earth and was the place believers went. In the creed we say of Jesus “He descended into hell”. That was not torment, but paradise which Jesus emptied following His death and resurrection. Read Luke 16. 19-31. Hope this helps. Can you please tell me brother why you have asked Jonathan to read Luke 16. 19-31 as I do not see the relevance of reading this scripture with regards to what you are saying…I dont get it. What has the “rich man and Lazarus” parable got to do with your reply. Please forgive me if to you its apparent but to me, sorry, I dont understand. Please read the “rich man and Lazarus” by L. Ray. Smith, It is very enlightening. Jesus is revealing in this particular piece of the 5 step parable, (which starts at chap 15), the shift in positions between the Pharasees and the ordinary man on the street which the Pharasees, being in their position, should have hepled , but now whom God helps, which is the meaning of the name Lazarus.
        Once again forgive me brother. Look forward to your reply. Also please can you let me know what you think of L.Ray Smiths thinking on the “rich man and Lazarus”. Thank you

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          “Hell” was divided into two parts: paradise and torment. The rich man went to torment, Lazarus to paradise. When Jesus descended into hell, He did not go to torment but to paradise. This is what he told the thief on the cross.

          1. Elaine

            Doctrine, thanks for your brief answer to my question, but your answer still doesn’t answer my question. What has the “Rich man and Lazarus” got to do with your statement that “hell” was divided into two parts, are you baseing your assessment of, “two” parts, on the parable in Luke chap 16 v 19-31 and the thief on the cross comment and coming up with this belief (all this being said with respect brother). When you say Jesus went to paradise and took the thief with Him can you please then tell me, was it Jesus body ONLY that expired for mankind or was it Jesus HIMSELF, He, the whole being, soul, essence, awarness. Scriptures tells us that Jesus in Luke chap 23 v 46 cried “Father, into THY hands I commend my spirit” ( ie Ruwach/Pneuma = breath, God being the One who would be able to give it back again) and having said thus, He gave up the ghost, or in other words expired, died.
            I do know Jesus said, “throw down this temple and in three days I will raise it up again” but as He, Jesus, being one with the Father, it would still be God/He that was rasing Jesus from the dead as Himself being of the Godhead.
            As Jesus said, the body counts for nothing, but the soul of the man is what counts, its whether that “soul” or living animated “thing” will be alive again as in Nephesh/psyche= soul = life, alive, living thing, animated being with the Ruwach, pneuma, ultimate true breath of everlasting life. The scriptures tell us that Jesus said to Mary in John chap 20 touch me not for I am not yet ascended to My Father, so are you saying that theres a place under ground where Jesus went with the thief and stayed there for 3 days and 3 nights before ascending to the Father and this is where those two combined answer meet. Did then the thief stay there after Jesus was resurrected or what? please dont think Im being awkward I just want a more detailed explanation of what your saying coupled with scriptures.
            The word “hell” was not in the original Hebrew or Greek scriptures but Sheol and Hades were, also Gehenna (often wrongly translated hell because it didnt mean back then what it means now, gives the ones reading that word a different concept altogether) used by Jesus to a Jewish audience, would have known and understood totally as to what He was getting at. Nowhere in the old testament is there even a hint of torment for those who are dead in the grave/sheol, in fact the dead are not aware of anything at all, and as the word soul means living thing, you, it cannot possibly go off elsewhere and the spirit ie breath, goes back to the true God who gave it. All these thing that we are talking of here are words spoken by Jesus, born into the tribe of Judah under law. The Jews would never have any idea or concept of a place of extreme torment because it was never taught by Jesus or anyone else in the O.T.
            I hope you have understood where Im coming from.
            I look forward to your answer, I value you insight. Thank you brother.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Jesus taught eternal torment. See my article, Hell and Judgment. Hell is located in the heart of the earth, which is where Jesus spent his 3 days/nights. He was with OT believers such as Lazarus. It was called Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom. It was separate from the other side of hell, which was torment as indicated in Luke 16.

  4. Ron G

    Thank you for this article.
    Can the meaning of “mystery” include that the prophets formally wrote about these things but no one up to Paul could apply correct meaning to them?
    Or are you saying that “mystery” means that until Paul’s 3 year encounter with the risen Lord, nothing in any of the Old Testament scriptures was written about these things?
    And finally, how do you understand the following:
    Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; (Romans 1:1-6 NKJV)
    Doesn’t this passage infer that in fact the gospel that Paul was called to be an apostle to proclaim (the gospel go God) was promised previously by the prophets in the Old Testament.
    Ron G

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The word “mystery” is really “secret” and means just that. Those “secret” doctrines were unknown to the prophets and the Twelve. They are just not found in the OT, in Jesus’ earthly ministry, or in the ministry of the Twelve. In Romans 1, Paul used the term “gospel” in a generic sense of “good news.” It was always God’s intention to bless the world, including Gentiles, through the Messiah. What was new, however, was Paul’s gospel: the proclamation that Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead and that by believing this alone one could be saved. We know the Twelve knew nothing of this gospel: they couldn’t even grasp it (see Luke 18.31-34; Mark 9.31-32).

      1. Ron G

        In Daniel we read:
        “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4 NKJV)
        Isn’t Lord saying through Daniel that the things he has written won’t be fully understood until some future time near the end. If they are sealed up they would be a mystery until the time ordained by the Sovereign Lord when men, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, in the context of the days in which they live, would through thorough bible study(run to and fro) understand the mystery. Therefore, could this not in the same way apply to OT and even NT Gospel passages. Paul, given the revelation from the risen Lord, applied correct interpretation to the OT scriptures that previously were hidden. This seems to fit the passage from Romans 1 above better than saying Paul is only referring to the gospel of God in a generic sense.
        What are your thoughts?
        Ron G

          1. Ron G

            I am a little confused by this last reply.
            Paul said:
            All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16, 17 NKJV)
            I understand your distinction that Paul writes “to” the church and the rest of scripture is “for” the church but I struggle to see from this that all prophecy relates only to Israel.
            Paul himself exhorted us to watch(1 Thess 5:1-6).
            He warned of the coming apostasy(2 Thess 2:1-12).
            So my point is that we the body of Christ can understand the things that Daniel wrote about and the things Jesus said in Mathew 24 , because the seal has been removed in the days we now live. Thus they are not a mystery anymore.
            The prophecies may be “about” Israel but they still “affect” the church. How? Because as we the church are faithfully watching, expecting to be raptured at any moment, we are encouraged that the “blessed hope” is close because the signs of the “tribulation
            ” are close.
            Surely our doctrine regarding these things are supported by these scriptures from Daniel and Jesus!!!
            Ron G

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              All true. The only “prophetic event” related to the Church is the Rapture. Everything else pertains to Israel and the Gentile nations left on the earth following the Rapture. We are to study and know about these things but we will not experience them–thankfully!

    2. tracy hubly

      There are references to the’ Mystery’ spoken of by Paul…God calling, setting aside, bringing out from them ‘ a people, I.e. body of ‘Christ’ i e the church-gentiles” I think it’s in Hosea. Les Feldick shows this repeatedly & very clearly in Old Testament. God and speaking of Israel’s idolatry and sins and shows where they’ll be set aside for a time being until the fullness of the Gentiles and then God will bring them back Hosea 6:2 something’s going on—the church age Age of Grace while, God is waiting for the time to deal with the Jews in the end times. There also can be translated a allusion to the ‘Rapture’ in that the body is “out of way,” Feldick’s teaching walk one very clearly back and forth from Old Testament to New Testament and dealing with this mystery that was revealed to Paul

  5. al

    Everything you say I get – except one thing: the veracity of Paul’s teaching is based on what? His personal testimony? How corroborated? What if he was deceived as Jesus said: many would come after him saying ‘I am the Christ’ (in the wilderness) like Paul’s conversion; and they would practice ‘lawlessness’? Sounds like grace? My question is: are the words of Jesus ALONE not sufficient for us to inherit eternal life, as in what he said to the young lawyer ‘do this and you shall live’? Did Jesus allude to Paul as John alluded to Jesus – that someone else was coming to tell us more things? Did Jesus say his message was incomplete and that ‘another gospel’ was coming to shed more light? Paul and Jesus taught divergent things – granted. Why should we believe Paul, and not Jesus himself and the twelve who walked with him?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The risen Lord Himself appeared to Paul, gave him the commission to go to Gentiles, and gave him the gospel Paul preached (Galatians 1.11-17). Peter confirmed Paul’s message in Acts 15.11 so much so that he declared Paul’s gospel replaced the gospel the Twelve had received from Jesus. Jesus ministered to Israel, not to Gentiles (Romans 15.8). The gospel the Twelve preached required baptism, circumcision, and keeping the Mosaic Law for salvation.

    2. tracy hubly

      Wow how can you question the veracity of Paul? You would also have to question the veracity of John or Mark or Peter, Luke or James or Moses or Hosea or Isaiah? You cant….Because they were all written by the Holy Spirit through these men. (Also Luke didnt walk w/ Jesus) also no where does it say Jesus taught everything….. he knew … and there was something he didn’t even know and that was when the end what exactly come .PS Peter vouches for Paul and his teaching in 1 or 2 Peter.

  6. al

    You assume the risen Lord appeared to Paul. How do you know that? Did Jesus not warn us “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many?” How do you know that Paul’s vision was NOT a deception (a spirit sent to confuse) or not a deliberate attempt to enter the early church with ‘another’ gospel? Surely this line of enquiry must be pursued and examined? True, he did manage to confuse the twelve (or did he – James didn’t seem to but Paul’s line very much).

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Why do you trust the Gospels? How do you know the Bible is not deception? Why would you not trust Paul’s writings? The burden of proof is upon you to demonstrate why some parts of the Bible are trustworthy and others or not.

  7. al

    I guess it is because of the change of focus in the teaching! This always causes a problem (I know this as I am a teacher by profession myself – students get confused and begin to lose faith in you). And also because Jesus himself warned us that ‘other’ doctrine would come – that would not be his. But primarily because if I had a bible with just the words of Jesus and nothing else in it: no interpolation by a third party – I would think his words alone should be sufficient enough (or should it). But not according to Paul! If the plan of salvation is ‘justification by faith alone’: why was this not the focus of the master’s teachings – even to the Jews who must also (by the same criterion) be justified by faith! This mixing up of the message is disturbing to me. And in addition I do not take the whole bible of face value as true – I am sure, as a library of books, some of it is reliable and historically accurate and others less so. It is our job to be forensic in our analysis of it. Where there are inconsistencies – we must investigate and reconcile (somehow) – but not blindly by faith – this is bad faith based on unsupportive belief – which I have seen ‘fail’ in so many occasions in life. ‘Belief is not enough’ – you can believe there are ‘fairies at the bottom of the garden’ or that ‘money grows on trees’ or that ‘babies come in the stork basket’ but it will not make it so. Surely we have to grow up in our understanding of these things. I cannot think that on a matter as important as salvation of mankind through the millennia – the plan of its execution is so contradictory and ambiguous. That just does not sounds like good parenting to me. We’ve got to do better than this!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Whom did Jesus address? Jews or Gentiles? Why would you think Gentiles would have anything to do with Jesus’ message when his audience was Jews? He specifically commanded his disciples not to go to Gentiles in Matthew 10.5-7. Everything Jesus did pertained to Jews. He came to announce that the King had arrived in fulfillment of the prophets. One can hardly turn a page in the OT without encountering this promised kingdom. That is why He came to Israel.

  8. al

    Yes indeed – he addressed the Jews – then there seems to be a change in the programme – go into the entire world – and then the teaching changed (acts 15). I still wonder why Jesus himself, in teaching the kingdom, did not allude to justification by faith? The Law and Faith are two mutually exclusive positions: they cannot be reconciled – that is why Peter and Paul had their confrontation – and Paul publically rebukes Peter: it is not necessary for Gentiles to become Jews under grace.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Yes. But the 12 never went into all the world. Why? Because the nation of Israel did not repent. Instead, God saved and commissioned Paul for that role as the apostle of the Gentiles. God gave Paul the gospel of grace, justification by faith alone. Before that time, justification by faith alone was unknown. See my article, Faith and Works in James: Resolving the Problem. Beginning with the Abrahamic covenant all blessings to Gentiles had to come through Jews. But all blessings to Jews had to come through the Messiah. If the Jews rejected the Messiah, how could God bless Gentiles? The OT prophetic answer was, He couldn’t. But God, in His grace, selected Paul for this job. Paul was a Jew and typified Israel. That is why Paul said he was “untimely born” (1 Corinthians 15.8).

    2. Ajoa

      Just chanced upon this and I am blessed by this. Inherent in Jesus’ teaching was justification by faith I think…He asked so many times..”do you believe I am able to do this’? without belief and faith in him, how were the blind men going to receive their healing? Mathew 9 -28-29. Our whole christian walk is based on faith, and nothing more.

      I think our justification by faith is the basis of Christ’s ministry. He was always heart, the pharisees were about works, without heart. Go into the entire world came after resurrection, when the work was done, now the whole world had to know about It! ..My two Cents!

      1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

        Faith has always been required to have a relationship with God (Hebrew 11.6). The problem is we have too many examples of works also being required for salvation. Jesus told the rich young ruler to keep the commandments for eternal life. Mark 1.4, 16.16, Acts 2.38 states baptism was required for salvation. In Acts 15.1, 5 circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law was required for salvation. Salvation by faith alone is a doctrine taught only by Paul. It originated with the risen Lord’s revelation to him that this was the way of salvation for those who would believe Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) and become members of His body. Salvation by faith alone was new.

  9. Al

    Enjoyed the article – there was a change of focus – another teaching. But you mention because the ‘nation of Israel did not repent’? Please explain. Even given all you say is true – it is a hard pill to swallow that even the 12 did not know this – even though they had walked with the master himself. So, the words of Jesus ALONE are not sufficient unto salvation? (Not without Paul anyway).

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Ah. The words of Jesus ALONE are sufficient. The 12 received the words of Jesus in His earthly ministry. Paul received the words of Jesus in His heavenly ministry. The message of John the B., Jesus, and the 12 to Israel was “repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Peter preached this same message even after Jesus had been crucified and risen from the dead. For the kingdom to come required Jewish repentance. In addition to the Gospels, read especially Acts 2-3.

  10. al

    Come on: you can’t have it both ways! There are two gospels! They can’t be both right? Even if you slot in the different timeframes? I can’t believe that the inconsistency if inspired – see Duet 13:1-5 — anyone who seduces you from following the Law, even if his prophecy comes true, is a false prophet. Ouch! I only wonder how Paul managed to swing it with the other apostles – this amazes me. So Paul contradicts the salvation doctrine of the Law and Prophets — what he calls the Old Testament. You need to prove how come God changed the programme? And why did Jesus not allude to it?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Bible is quite explicit about this. We have the “gospel of the kingdom” and the “gospel of the grace of God.” The first was proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve. The latter, by Paul. See Matthew 4.23, 9.35; Acts 20.24; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4. The first gospel was to Israel. The second was primarily to Gentiles (Galatians 2.7-9). The gospel of the kingdom required faith + works. The gospel of the grace of God requires faith + 0. Jesus did not allude to it because He was dealing with Israel, not Gentiles. Paul “swung it” by the Holy Spirit. This was God’s doings, not man’s. We have to examine ALL Scripture not just part.

  11. Al

    what’s your take on this:
    Paul’s words to Ephesis
    “Paul, an apostle of Yahshua by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus,” Ephesians 1:1 (note: Paul is saying he is an apostle)
    Paul had trouble at Ephesis
    “And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the way (teaching against the law) before the multitude…” Acts 19:8,9
    Paul makes this statement to Timothy.
    “This you know, that all those in Asia (includes Ephesis) have turned away from me.” 2Timothy 1:15
    Now John receives the Revelation
    “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Revelation 1:10,11
    Words of Jesus to Ephesis
    “I know your works, your labor, and your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles (sounds like Paul) and are not, and have found them liars.” Rev. 2:2

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The letters to the seven assemblies were spoken by the Lord Himself. These assemblies were Jewish, not Gentile. The occasion was the “Day of the Lord,” a day of God’s wrath, which had been prophesied throughout the OT. The body of Christ has nothing to do with this day (1 Thessalonians 1.10, 5.9; 2 Thessalonians 2.1-2). See my article Understanding the Book of Revelation.

  12. Al

    How many churches were there in Ephesus then? A Gentile one and Jew one or more? Or just one? What does Paul mean when he says ‘all Asia turned away from me’ – he is self- confessing that the churches in Asia rejected him. Why? Jesus says in Rev 2:2 that ‘false apostles’ were found out – Ephesus was in Asia? Paul also talks a trial he went under that ‘put a death sentence on him’ 2 Cor 1:8-9. Ephesus was a leading city in Asia. They clearly rejected him, -just as Jesus said in Rev2:2. Paul’s claim of being an ‘apostle’ was his one conviction – it was not from the 12 – in other words he bore witness of himself contrary to Jesus who said: ‘If I bear witness to myself – my witness is not true.’

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      We don’t know how many churches were in Ephesus. We can safely say at least two, Jewish and Gentile. Paul is talking about believers rejecting him, not unbelievers. They most likely rejected Paul because of the influence of the Judaizers from the Jerusalem church. This is why Paul wrote Galatians. We have the background to this conflict in Acts 15. In other words, the churches in Asia followed the doctrines of the Twelve, not Paul. Thus has remained unchanged for 2,000 years. Paul declared the gospel he preached as his own, i.e., “my gospel” and the Christ would judge men by it–not the gospel of the Twelve.

  13. Al

    And there in is the weakness of Paul! Doubtless they may had found him out as a wolf in sheep’s clothing – the Benjamite who did away with the Law: who would do signs and wonders and teach anomia (lawlessness). The very one Jesus warned about: ‘beware of the leaven of the pharisees’. And so to go back to the earlier discussion – is there anything wrong with just following Jesus’ words alone? – NO – it would, however, be foolish not to. Paul may never have been designated an apostle by Jesus or the twelve – he is not among the 12 mentioned in Revelation – there is not a 13th apostle – he was an apostle by his own confession – and was then rejected by the churches in Asia once they had found him out! One wonders how he crept into the canon? Of course the implications of Paul being a false prophet: the one Jesus talked about in Rev 2:2 – the one that was on trial in Ephesus, is far more profound thatn that!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      I think you have to decide whether you believe the Scriptures or not. The Lord Himself commissioned Paul and Peter recognized this and told his readers to go to Paul, not to James or even himself. Paul’s doctrine has been authenticated by 2,000 years of Church history and men and saved by Paul’s gospel, not the gospel of the kingdom.

    2. Eli "Hoss" Caldwell

      I think Peter knew more about the authenticity of Paul than us, and he acknowledges Paul as a brother that Christ gave wisdom to.

      2 Peter 3:
      [15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
      [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

  14. Al

    I just find it strange that Paul is greater than the 12 or even Jesus himself in this context! I am not sure Paul’s writings are ‘scripture’ – they are letters, sometimes ramblings, with teachings, to his churches in the regions. Paul did not pass the test of an apostle – as delineated by the apostles themselves: one that ‘had been with them from the beginning’. In fact Paul never met Jesus: so whom do you trust. Those how had been with him since the beginning; or a new interloper who had no personal knowledge of the Lord, or his teachings, whilst he was here? If he’d heard Jesus in the flesh- he might not have had the theology he had. Certainly, the 12 knew Jesus – who you would vote for, if you were on a jury in a courtroom for a character reference, those who’d been with Him from the beginning or someone who had never been with him, and was not recognized by those who had. This is Woody Allen stuff see see it from 2.26 onwards.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      For your argument to have credibility will require you to demonstrate two things: 1) make a convincing case that non-Pauline writings are reliable as opposed to Paul’s letters and 2) make a convincing case for the unreliability of Paul’s letters. Once you do that I will be happy to continue the conversation. But apart from your demonstrating this I see no virtue in continuing the discussion. No one has asserted Paul is greater than the 12 or Jesus. Paul did not know Jesus in the flesh; Paul knew Jesus as the glorified, ascended Lord. Paul did not meet the qualifications of being one of the 12 apostles; he met the qualifications of being an apostle for he beheld the resurrected Lord and the Lord Himself selected him, just as He had the 12. The larger issue is on a personal level. Paul declared that the Lord will judge humanity on the basis of his gospel (Romans 2.16). The personal issue is whether you will believe Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). If you do, you will have no doubts about Paul.

      1. JWH

        While I certainly do not agree with Al I respect his understandings more than I do the vast majority of Christendom. Al at least sees the difference between Paul’s gospel (given to him by the ascended Christ) and the gospel of the kingdom (given to the 12 during Christ’s earthly ministry. Christendom foolishly says that Paul is saying the same thing as the 12. This is dishonest bible handling. Al, you have made the decision to reject Paul and I ask you to reconsider that decision. But you have the honesty in your studies to see the difference. I hope this makes sense. I certainly do not support Al’s rejection of Paul’s gospel for his very salvation depends on believing it. I just give him credit for being honest in seeing the difference. Al, the answer to your dilemna is to read, believe, and apply II Timothy 2 :15 using the KJV! God bless!

  15. Al

    The fact it has been accepted is not evidence of authenticity (you seem ‘locked’ into the proposition – what if you and many others are just ‘wrong’: we have to go back to source. The Orthodox Church did not accept Paul. Peter did waver, however, as he had done before – but certainly James, who was the head of the church at that time, gave a rebuttal! You still haven’t explained rev 2:2 – who were the false prophets? Accepting Paul is not a question of faith or who you believe: belief can be wrong, and has been proven to be so in other areas of life. We need to do better than this, if we are to set an institution or system of faith. Can we face the prospect that the very foundation of our western evangelical traditions may be wrong and on shaky ground: what a thrilling and challenging prospect! We have room for change – or a getting back to how it really was meant to be. But this blind faith is just prejudice. I should know – I got the chip inserted at a very early formative age!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Where your argument leads is to a rejection of 2,000 years of Church history and that Christianity is invalid. Apart from Paul, Christianity does not exist. Why do you think the orthodox church did not accept Paul? Such a statement is self-contradictory. The orthodox church is Paul. We have no Church apart from him. Paul revealed the Church, the body of Christ after the risen Lord revealed it to him. Having said this, I really can see no virtue or benefit to this line of inquiry. We cannot know specifically whom John had in mind in Revelation 2.2. We know that Paul encountered and warned of false teachers (Acts 13.6; 2 Corinthians 11.13, 26; Galatians 2.4). Peter warned of the same (2 Peter 2.1-3) as did John (1 John 2.18, 22, 4.3; 2 John 1.7).

  16. al

    Where your argument leads is to a rejection of 2,000 years of Church history and that Christianity is invalid. Apart from Paul, Christianity does not exist.”

    Have you considered that possibility? I have. Painful as it is. What if Jesus said to you: ‘Paul was not an apostle’ – what would be your defence? 200o years of history – of course not. You need to step outside the box to see this clearly. Open yourself….this is not the end of the road – just a new beginning! Think of the play ’12 angry men’.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      This is an argument of nihilism, not a new beginning. Without Paul, we have no Christianity, no knowledge of a substitutionary sacrifice, no hope of heaven, etc. The only thing that would exist would be Judaism and Gentiles would be proselytes under the Mosaic Law–not the 10 commandments but the 613 commandments Maimonides identified.

  17. Al

    We can deal with that later but first we must establish the status of Paul.
    What is an apostle? Peter tells us ‘someone who was with Jesus during his ministry’. Paul does not have that qualification. John writes to the church of Ephesus that they are to be congratulated for identifying false apostles (saying they are apostles and are not). (Rev 2:2). Can we find evidence that Paul was rejected by Ephesus – a city in Asia? Do we have any evidence? 2 Tim 1:15 – ‘all they in Asia turned away from me’. He was rejected (just as Rev 2:2 says). We have mounting evidence that Paul is the one the scripture is talking about,unless there is another exaplanation? Do you have one?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Your presupposition is that the texts of Jesus and the Twelve are reliable and those of Paul are not. Why? You pick the Scriptures you like and reject the others. If you only choose the passages you like and reject the others, you can prove anything. You reject Peter’s testimony about Paul. No amount of evidence seems sufficient for you–not Peter, not Luke, not Church history, and certainly not Paul’s writings. Have you ever asked what Paul’s motivation would have been to have made it all up? He lost everything–family, wealth, reputation. He suffered more than all the Twelve put together. What a deal! Who could turn that down–unless what he wrote was true. You have concluded Paul was a false apostle even in the face of considerable Scriptural evidence of who the false teachers were. If Paul was such a false teacher don’t you think he would have been named by name by Peter, James, John, Jude, etc.?

    2. Chuck Fyock

      Hello Al,

      If we understand early church history correctly, Paul had already been dead for 20 to 30 years when Revelation was written so this would have been very old news to proclaim if Paul is in fact who Jesus was talking about in Revelation 2:2.

      The funny thing is though, the very thing Jesus had against this group in Ephesus was their lack of “love” and the most condemning evidence for your position against Paul is that their lack of love was also the exact same thing Paul charged them with in the book of Ephesians.

      Jesus spoke of a plurality of “apostles” in Revelation and how the church at Ephesus had rejected “them”. You however, have made the willful decision to set your sights on just one person where Jesus did not. If Paul was the false apostle spoken of in Rev. 2:2, Jesus would have said “him” and not “them”.

      You are clearly an advocate of the “Jesus words only” movement so let’s just deal with that issue.

      If you were to actually pay attention to “Jesus words only” you would have sold all of your possessions, moved to Jerusalem and began promoting and practicing Messianic Judaism which includes keeping the entirety of the Law of Moses. You would be living in a commune with like minded believers until the entire city was converted just like the early Jewish believers did in fact attempt to do. They were following “Jesus words only” to the letter.

      Do you have a savings account, investments or a 401K? If so, you are in direct violation of the earthly teachings of Jesus and must immediately liquidate all of the assets you have in store “where moth and rust can corrupt” and where “thieves are able to steal” and give the proceeds to the poor so that your treasure in heaven will be great. Don’t worry though, in the kingdom “Jesus words only” ensure that He will supernaturally supply all of your needs.

      He also said if anyone asks you for anything you possess, give it to them and do not expect to be repaid. So…I could use a few thousand bucks to spruce up the kitchen a bit. If you truly are in favor of following “Jesus words only”, I’ll let you know where you can send the check.

      The fact that Israel would fail to accept Jesus as their Messiah is well documented throughout the OT. In the parable of the vineyard tenants, Jesus warns of the turning away from Israel, perhaps for the last time. The first prophetic warning that God would forsake Israel and turn to another nation, “a foolish nation to provoke the people to jealousy” occurs way back at the golden calf event in Deuteronomy.

      If you reject Paul you must also conclude God’s warnings to Israel in the OT, as well as Jesus warnings in the gospels, were nothing more than empty threats.

      What an insult to the character and integrity of God!

      You must also conclude that Luke was a liar in his historical account regarding the conversion and calling out of Paul and his acceptance by the Jewish 12 in the book of Acts. This would necessarily invalidate Acts and the gospel of Luke as well in adhering to this assumption. If this is so, the inclusion of gentiles in Acts is also out the window because in the gospels Jesus directly commanded His disciples NOT to go to gentiles. The OT prophesies require the 12 tribes of Israel to be reunited as one nation instead of the divided houses of Israel and Judah and that’s what Jesus actually meant when He told his disciples to go to “every nation”. Gentiles were not included in the so called “great commission”. Peter being reluctant to go to the house of Cornelius is the proof and the negative reaction of the Jewish believers after the event provides further evidence of this fact. According to numerous OT prophesies, the gentiles don’t come in until AFTER the return of Christ and when they do, they come in as “servants” who are not equal to the “priests and kings of Nation of Israel”.

      How do you reconcile the position given to Peter, by Jesus in the gospels, as the chief apostle of the Jews when he endorses Paul in his second epistle. This also invalidates the gospel of Mark as he was Peter’s scribe. John Mark was most likely taking dictation directly from Peter, so two of the four gospels you hold dear have to be tossed out with your belief system.

      The Jews “didn’t get” the full impact of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as it related to the practices of Judaism and OT prophesy. None of the 12 apostles were part of the Jewish priesthood or scholars of the Law. Saul being a Pharisee was, and there is no doubt in my mind that God used Paul to connect the dots and put 2 and 2 together from the OT to the new for the Nation of Israel in the book of Hebrews.

      While clearly not written by Paul, Hebrews was most certainly Pauline revelation in origin as you can take bits and pieces of his epistles and construct the same narrative as the book of Hebrews. So if you like Hebrews…it’s out too and you had better be adhering to the Law of Moses.

      In conclusion, God warned Israel throughout the 1600 year period of the Law that if they didn’t get with the program, his judgment would fall on them. He also warned of going to a different nation in both Deuteronomy and in the gospels just to name two abundantly clear references but there are many more. Because of their persistent failures, God finally did make good on His warnings and He suspended the prophetic program with Israel. He cut off the unbelieving branches to provoke them to jealousy with a radically new and different program called “the gospel of the grace of God” revealed through the apostle Paul.

      The parallels between the life of Joseph and Jesus are well documented. Joseph took a gentile bride and according to Paul… so did Jesus.

      The “Jesus words only” movement is in direct contrast to the direct words of warning to Israel by God in the OT and His wondrous grace in this dispensation.

      In the same way it is recorded in Acts – some of the followers of Judaism believed Paul’s gospel and some did not…this same scenario continues to this very day in you.

      1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

        Good comments but John wrote Revelation long before Paul died. See my article, Understanding the Book of Revelation. Paul wrote in Colossians 1.25 (DARBY) that he would complete the Scriptures. 2 Timothy completed the canon.

        1. Chuck Fyock

          Hi Doc,

          I realize the timing of the completion of cannon is up for discussion and I like you, happen to believe the whole thing was completed prior to 70 AD.

          Knowing that this is a whole different discussion, I quoted the mainstream dates which range from 80’s to 90’s simply because what you and I believe about Paul are already under the gun by Al’s camp. So…I used dates closer to the published date of 95-96 AD which appears in most NIV and ESV bible commentaries (which I rarely ever use) simply to avoid the topic on this thread.

          I want to thank you for the work you have done on this website. You have provided a wealth of information here!!!

            1. Larry Orr

              Please show me the scripture that says this.
              I have never heard of this before.
              Jesus has never married.

              As written by Chuck
              The parallels between the life of Joseph and Jesus are well documented. Joseph took a gentile bride and according to Paul… so did Jesus.

  18. John Deacon

    Dear Doc:
    Respectfully ‘Paul’s Mystery’ only creates a divide where there isn’t one.
    The Old Testament anticipated the kingdom’s including the Gentiles and Paul himself routinely referred to passages from Isaiah and Hosea to say so. His claim to his ministry being a light to the Gentiles is a direct quote from Isaiah 49:8 and his identifying Abraham’s seed as a blessing to all nations is again found in the Old Testament.
    So clearly Paul recognized that God’s extension of the kingdom beyond Israel to include the Gentiles was as much rooted in the Old Testament as Christ’s messiahship was.

    As enlightened as Paul was, he would be the first to admit that his teaching paled in comparison with Christ’s. He repeated several times that there wasn’t a revelation he had that he hadn’t received from Christ himself.
    There were matters of certainty he’d write about rooted in the Lord’s own words, but other words where the best he could admit to, was thinking that he might be inspired by the Spirit.’ (see I Corinthians 7 on his teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage.)

    Paul’s Christology was incredible but it took the gospel of John to bring it fully into view.
    For it is John who identifies in Jesus the light that lights everyone who comes into the world, a grace and truth which supersedes all things – not just the Mosaic law, but all doctrine. For Christianity however well articulated by Paul or anyone else is subject to the person of Christ himself, the same yesterday today and tomorrow, of whom the writer of Hebrews identifies as God’s full expression. Paul would admit to being a faithful messenger but never to being the Message itself.

    Clearly you must know you are talking foolishness when you insist Paul didn’t teach or preach about the need for repentance. In Athens, in one of Christianity’s most compelling sermons, Paul speaks of God calling all humanity to repent (Acts 17)
    In Romans he writes of the kindness of God leading us to repentance.
    His doctrine of grace hinges on his unrelenting teaching that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Why would he take us there? To quantify that the need for repentance and regeneration has no exclusion clause for anyone, Paul included.

    I don’t believe as some do, that Paul twisted Christianity into something Jesus wouldn’t recognize. What he did however was ensure that Christianity didn’t become just another Jewish sect. He prided himself on building on the already established cornerstone of the church: that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, on which he alone (Christ, not Paul) would build his church. As significant as Paul’s revelation of the Church’s being ‘Christ is you, the hope of glory’ it was no different than Jesus identifying that his kingdom is within us. (Luke 17:10)

    Paul would be the first to admit that although blessed with many revelations he too was seeing through a glass darkly and that he too only knew in part. (see 1 Corinthians 13:12)

    Your eschatology is just the latest twist of Darbyism.
    Paul never talked about a rapture, never talked of a 2nd and 3rd coming of Christ – first for the church and then for Israel. That pernicious doctrine began in the mid 1800’s and fortunately is going the way of the dodo bird. Paul’s eschatology is succinctly stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 with some added remarks in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11. We need not add any more.

    Don, I think you’re trying a little too hard to concoct your own personalized theology as though at long last after 2000 years God has raised you to let his church know that we have missed the mark. Somewhat presumptuous, don’t you think?!

    I assure you for all the church’s waywardness, Christ is still in charge. All authority is his – in heaven and earth – as it has been in every generation way since his resurrection and will be so until he returns again.
    True there are times and seasons, times when he seems less in charge than others, but his word remains intact: ‘All authority has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:16-20)

    A basic primer in Christian theology is sufficient to explain why Jesus was sent to ‘the lost in Israel.’ Such was necessary to fulfill all righteousness.
    But with his resurrection, it is He who commands his disciples to go way beyond Israel, it is He who send his disciples including Paul to the Gentiles. We know that Paul was less reticent than were the others, but nonetheless, church history indicates that most if not all of Christ’s first disciples engaged in ministry well beyond ‘the lost sheep of Israel.’

    You have made Paul more mysterious than he deserves. He is not the Founder of Christianity. He is only one of its servants. There is only one Founder, and no one articulated that better than Paul himself. No need to make anything more of Paul than that.
    He didn’t. In fact at the end of his ministry, he identified himself as the worst of all sinners. That’s how well he understood the difference between he a faithful messenger though deeply flawed and the Message himself who is alone, the way, the truth and the life.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Scriptures never contradict themselves. Gentiles were always in view in God’s plan but not as the Church, the body of Christ. That was a new revelation. According to the OT, Gentiles would be blessed through an obedient Israel. Paul’s “secrets” were just that, secrets. A secret is a secret. God revealed them to Paul, not to Peter, James, John, etc. Even a casual reading of Acts 15 should reveal that the 12 understood little of Paul’s ministry and that they were at odds with Paul’s teaching of salvation by faith alone. Paul received ALL his information from the risen, glorified Lord. Paul emphasized repentance for believers not for unbelievers. The point is one of emphasis. Paul only used the term once in his letters for unbelievers (Romans 2.4). Compare that to the Gospels and Peter’s words in Acts and you find a dramatic difference. To deny Paul taught a Rapture of believers is to deny to Word of God itself. Paul’s teaching is explicit about this event. To deny it is to reject the Scriptures and to reject the Holy Spirit for it is a denial of the God’s resurrection of members of the body of Christ. Lastly, Paul was not the worst of sinners. This is another error that has been perpetrated throughout Church history by those who do not understand Paul’s ministry. The word Paul used in 1 Timothy 1.15 is πρῶτος and Paul always used it to mean “first.” See my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners?

  19. Al

    You write: – “That was a new revelation.
    God revealed them to Paul, not to Peter, James, John, etc. Even a casual reading of Acts 15 should reveal that the 12 understood little of Paul’s ministry and that they were at odds with Paul’s teaching of salvation by faith alone.”

    Can you not see how far out these propositions are? Jesus spent 3 years training people up (the disciples)- ‘to give them the secrets of the kingdom’ unto THEM it was given ‘to know the secrets of the kingdom’ and when He (Jesus) said that he was referring to His words ALONE – not someone else’s words who was to come (Paul)!
    So according to your words – the disciples were not saved until they heard Paul’s teaching? Despite Jesus saying ‘now you are clean through the words I have spoken unto you’ (not Paul’s words). Are not Jesus words ALONE sufficient unto salvation?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Twelve were saved believing WHO Jesus was–the Messiah, the Son of God. The gospel of the kingdom focused on the identity of Christ. Paul’s gospel focused on the work of Christ: that He died for our sins and arose from the dead. Paul’s gospel was unknown until the ascended, glorified Lord gave it to Paul. Notice that immediately following Paul’s conversion, he did not preach that Christ died for you and arose from the dead. He preached Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9.20). At the Council of Jerusalem, Peter understood Paul’s gospel and declared that from then on, Jews as well as Gentiles could be saved only by Paul’s gospel (Acts 15.11).

  20. Al

    Yes – except the Jesus in Revelation is like the Jesus on the earth (forbids the eating of meat sacrificed to idols as the law demands unlike Paul who abrogated it) – the revelation Jesus does not seem to know this change in plan that, and I agree here, the apostles seemed to ‘partly’ have legitimised Paul in Acts 15 – as you say. It could even be argued that Jesus on earth (as a Jew practising the law of Moses) was not part of the plan either! So Jesus on earth and Jesus in Revelation are not aware of the grace gospel. Yet the Jesus on the Damascus road is! This I find hard to grasp!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Keep the time perspective in mind. God knows everything all the time. But Jesus in His earthly ministry had not revealed the program He would reveal to Paul. His earthly ministry concerned only the Jews (Romans 15.9). Jump to Revelation and the Church, the body of Christ is gone. The body of Christ has been made complete and God has removed it (Rapture). After this, God will finish His program with Israel, i.e., the prophecies of the Day of the Lord, the 7 years God revealed to Daniel, etc., which He interrupted due to Israel’s unbelief. The disciples had no idea of the Church. All they knew was the prophetic program and Peter expected the Day of the Lord to come shortly after Pentecost. This why he quoted Joel (Acts 2.14-21). Obviously, the sun turned to darkness and the moon turned to blood have not happen. These events remain future. But Peter had no idea they would be delayed. Jesus told His disciples when they asked Him about end times (see Matthew 24.14). No contradictions with God. But we must keep events in their context and in their appropriate timeframes. When we do that, everything fits.

  21. Al

    The thing is – we have to present (to the world) a message of the gospel. But what is it? ‘Repent the kingdom of God is here’, ‘by faith you are justified’, ‘you will be judged according to your works’, ‘the blood cleanses us from all sin’; ‘the kingdom of God is here’, ‘the kingdom is coming’. These mixed messages are confusing, not just to us – it presents an inconsistent message to the world – the timeline thing (explaining the big picture) is a retrospective analysis – we need to represent the gospel in ‘real-time’ – but what is the gospel (for today, yesterday and for forever)? What is the ‘eternal’ message (timeless message) of the gospel? Explain?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The gospel has changed several times over history. Abraham wasn’t saved the same way David was. The Twelve were not saved the same way David was. God has changed his gospel message several times but has spelled it out. He has given us a brain to see these things. When John the B. arrived, the gospel of the kingdom began. That was a new gospel. It was in operation until Acts 15.11. For a short period of time both the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of the grace of God were valid (about 14 years). From that point through now, nearly 2,000 years only one gospel has been valid: Paul’s gospel which is that we are saved by faith alone, believing that Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead. I would argue that nearly 2,000 years is adequate prep time for us to understand the gospel. So there’s no excuse for confusion.

  22. Ron G

    G’Day Don,
    Earlier in one of our exchanges you said
    Prophecy relates to Israel, not the Church. Michael communicated concerning the Jews not the Church (see Daniel 12.1).”

    Now I have just finished reading an article by Justin Johnson of Grace Ambassadors …”Is Prophecy Being Fulfilled in the Dispensation of Grace?”
    In this article he states that “no prophecy is being fulfilled in this current dispensation”.
    Now I get that the OT prophets spoke of things pertaining to Israel and that they did not prophecy re the Body of Christ. However, surely 1948 and the rebirth of the Nation Israel is fulfilled prophecy that has occured in this dispensation.
    The rise of Russia and its alliances with Iran, Turkey etc in this day would also seem to be the beginnings of the Ezekiel 36, 37 prophecies.
    What is your position on this claim by Justin Johnson of Grace Ambassador’s?
    Ron G

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      What we’re seeing is the stage setting for God’s renewed program with Israel. It does not relate to the Church, but to Israel. I do not mean that no prophecy cannot be fulfilled during this age only that it does not pertain to the body of Christ.

  23. cig

    You state in an earlier post that there is only one saving gospel.

    Could it not be that the kingdom gospel still applies to the Jews (which will keep the OT prophesies valid until and thrift the time of tribulation) while Paul’s gospel is for the gentile (or believing Jew)?

    Do you have an article or reference that shows the timing of all the letters and epistles that show the dates written and how the heavenly gospel takes over (with the 12 apostles adjusting their message)?


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      From the time of Peter’s declaration of Acts 15.11, only Paul’s gospel became valid. Paul confirmed this in Galatians 1.6-9. See my article The Great Commission.

  24. Karen F

    On another article’s comments which I can’t find you recommended reading Cornelius Stam. Who was the other writer you recommended?

  25. corinth


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The OT stated Gentiles would be blessed by Israel. However, the doctrines of Paul are not in the OT: temporary blinding of Israel, salvation by faith alone, Jew and Gentile equal in Christ, the Rapture, etc. None of these were revealed by the prophets nor by Jesus in His earthly ministry. Paul knew the Law but stated he received direct revelation from the Lord as to his doctrines. As for the 12 tribes, WE don’t know who and where they are but God does. In Ezekiel 37.11, 39.25, God promised He would bless the WHOLE house of Israel: that’s all 12 tribes.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The “secrets” of the kingdom Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13.11 are a different category of “secret” from Paul’s secrets. Everything Jesus taught concerned national Israel (Romans 15.8) not the Church, the body of Christ. Jesus began to teach in parables to HIDE his message due to the hardness of heart of the religious leaders (Matthew 13.12-15). The parables were pictures of the kingdom God would establish on earth (Matthew 6.10). Matthew is unique int his terminology of “kingdom of heaven.” This phrase has been misunderstood thinking it describes a heavenly kingdom. But the phrase is a genitive of source, meaning the source of the kingdom is in heaven. Israel had no hope of a heavenly kingdom. Their hope was resurrection and an earthly kingdom.

  26. cig

    From Acts 15 on, the apostles wrote their letters as well as Paul.

    Were these letters uninspired, since they were were proclaiming the kingdom gospel, or were they making attempts to expound on Paul’s gospel?

    A timeline of the books would be must helpful.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The letters are inspired, or more properly, expired (θεόπνευστος). Peter’s letters read more like Paul than his sermons in Acts. He focuses on the redemptive work of Christ and faith + works is not present. This is not the case of James, who wrote of faith + works, since he wrote before the Council of Jerusalem.

      1. Ron G

        G’Day Don,
        I have been looking at a number of timeline charts at various web sites that teach similar dispensational point of view as does your blog. At one of them, the chart shows that the epistles to the Hebrews through to Revelation have been written for Israel to cover the period from the start of the 7 year tribulation until the new heavens and new earth. What are you thoughts on this especially in light of your discussion with cig above?
        Ron G

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          These books serve dual purposes. They were written for their 1st century audience and they will serve a future generation. When the events of the Tribulation occur they will reveal the accuracy of the Scriptures to anyone who is willing to understand. For the Jews, they will have an “aha” moment and it will all come together. As a result, they will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23.37-39) and the Lord will return.

  27. Glen Correll

    Dear Mr. Samdahl,

    I thank you and I thank the Lord for your wonderful efforts and insights! Although I’ve been a Christian for 63 years, I’m all too frequently shocked when The Spirit shows me another of my many errors and areas of ignorance. He used this article on Pau’s secrets to again humble me — Thank God, and praise His Holy Name!

    Until reading this, I thought of Paul as a specially chosen and converted 13th apostle relegated to minister to the Gentiles; I did not realize that the revelations given to him were so extensive and that Christ’s mandate to establish His church was included in those revelations. The material in this article clarifies many things to me:
    That The Church really is a new, wonderful, blessed Dispensation
    That the early ministry of Jesus was exclusively for the Jews and thus Jesus was sometimes rather curt with Gentile petitioners
    That Jesus fulfilled and ended the Mosaic Law, and members of the Church must be saved by grace through faith alone
    That the gospel of Paul was indeed a new gospel and that it should be recognized as separate from the writings of the Old Testamendt and the apostolic gospels.

    I could go on and on, and probably already have, but I want to thank you and encourage you and bless you.

    In The Name of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth,

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you for your kind comments and encouragement. Isn’t it wonderful to see these things?! You might also enjoy Paul: Chief of Sinners? and Why Paul? Grace and peace.

  28. Greg Linder

    To Al and Glen. Did not Luke write through the Holy Spirit the book of Acts. Would he not also be a witness to testify of the apostleship of Paul as Peter did by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? This dispensationalism is new to me but I believe is clearly opening my eyes in some areas. Thanks!

  29. Michael E. Thompson, Sr.

    Your article “Paul’s Mystery” states: How could God bless Gentiles when the channel of blessing, Israel, had rejected their source of blessing? The Old Testament had no answer to this question. Not true at all. The Old Testament doesn’t have the answer; but the Law and the Prophets do. The answer is there for all to read.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      What are the Scriptures that support God’s blessing Gentiles apart from Israel? Where do you find the Law and the prophets if not in the Old Testament, i.e., Genesis-Malachi?

      1. Michael E. Thompson, Sr.

        Your article asks, “How could God bless Gentiles, when the channel of blessing, Israel, had rejected their source of blessing?” Your article then states, “The Old Testament has no answer to this question.” To restore the scattered Tribes of Israel, is the answer of the Law and The Prophets. Two questions:
        1. In your opinion, what is the Old
        2. In your opinion, what is the New
        Contrary to popular belief, both Old and New Testaments are found in the Law and The Prophets. To answer your question, “What are the Scriptures that support God’s blessing Israel apart from Israel?”: There aren’t any Scriptures to support this because it’s not in God’s plan to bless the Gentiles apart from Israel. First Israel’s restoration, then Gentiles blessed. You seem to believe otherwise, only to explain Paul’s “mysterious Gospel”; to the point of totally ignoring what is written in the Law and in the Prophets.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Technically, the Old Covenant is the Mosaic Law and the New Covenant is the New Covenant. By convention we refer to the books of Genesis-Malachi as the Old Testament. The New Covenant was foretold by Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the Lord initiated it at the last supper. The manifestation of the New Covenant began at Pentecost. However, it has never reached fulfillment as foretold by the prophets. It will not reach fulfillment until Israel repents and the Lord reigns as King (Zechariah 14.9). From the time of Abraham, the only way God would bless Gentiles was through Israel. This was the plan and explains his words of Acts 1.8. But the apostles never went to the “uttermost part of the earth.” We see this in Acts 8.1. Therefore, Israel failed. However, God in His grace determined to bless Gentiles through means He had not revealed by the prophets. He chose Paul as “the apostle of the Gentiles” for this purpose. Thus, the doctrines the Lord revealed to Paul were not found in the prophets because they were secret, held in the mind of God. Thus, in my article, none of the truths Paul called “secret” were revealed in the Law and the Prophets for they were secret. That is why the Church, the body of Christ, does not exist in the OT. The prophets knew nothing of it. After Israel repents (Matthew 23.37-39) and the Lord reigns as King (Zechariah 14.9), Israel will become that source of blessing they failed to be in Jesus’ first coming (Zechariah 8.18-23). It is at this time that the New Covenant will reach complete fulfillment for Israel will have the Law written upon their hearts according to prophecy.

          1. Michael E. Thompson, Sr.

            The Mosaic Law is not the Old Covenant; nor are the books of Genesis through Malachi. It is described in Exodus 24:3-8. The Old Covenant is this agreement between God and the Nation of Israel.

            The New Covenant is also an agreement between God and the Nation of Israel, found in the Law (Deuteronomy 30:1-8) and in the Prophets (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:24-27) Obedience to God’s Law is guaranteed by God Himself in the New Covenant, by means of His Spirit (His circumcision of the heart). If you believe Christians have entered into this Covenant, then you must also expect them to be obedient to God’s Law.

            Concerning these “secrets” revealed to Paul, held in the mind of God; but not revealed to the Prophets; believe the word of God spoken through Amos. Amos 3:7

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Exodus 24.3-8 confirmed the Law Moses received from God which is revealed in Exodus-Deuteronomy. As you state correctly, it was for Israel, not Gentiles. So too the New Covenant. It was for Israel. God revealed no blessings to Gentiles except through Israel. God made no covenants with Gentiles. From the time of Abraham He dealt with Jew only, with few exceptions. This status characterized the Lord’s earthly ministry also (Matthew 10.5-7). Amos 3.7 states God reveals secrets to His prophets. It does not state He reveals all secrets to all prophets at the same time. God keeps certain things hidden. For example, see Luke 18.31-34. God kept the secrets Paul revealed secret until He wished to reveal them. When you talk about being obedient to the Law do you meant the whole Law or part of it?

  30. Michael E. Thompson, Sr.

    So is the Old Covenant the Mosaic Law, the Books of Genesis through Malachi, or the agreement found in Exodus 24:3-8? Is the New Covenant described in Deuteronomy 30:1-8, Jeremiah 31:31-34, and Ezekiel 36: 24- 27? Are Christians now participating in the New Covenant? Will the Holy Spirit (God’s circumcision of the heart), forbid Gentiles from obeying God’s Law? Does Amos 3:7 say that God reveals secrets to His Prophets; or does it say that God will do nothing, without revealing His secret to His Prophets? Does Luke 18:31-34 prove that God keeps certain things that He will do, hidden from His Prophets, or does it prove that the Apostles didn’t know what was about to happen? When talking about being obedient to the Law, I mean all of God’s Laws that apply to one’s everyday life. Please answer all of the above questions.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      It will do little good to answer your questions if we’re not talking about the same thing. I think when you speak of the Law you mean the moral law. The moral law applies to all mankind. But God gave Israel more than the moral law. God gave Israel 613 commandments (as categorized by Maimonides) which we call the Old Covenant or Mosaic Law. It was a unity. To pick up a stick on the Sabbath was an offense just as murder was. The Scriptures state the Old Covenant was given to Israel alone as was the New Covenant. But the New Covenant is the Law written on the heart (Hebrews 8.7-13). Christians are beneficiaries of it by virtue of the work of Christ in solving the sin problem and the indwelling Holy Spirit when one believes Paul’s gospel. Paul taught we are not under the administration of the Law (as were the Jews) but keep the Law through the administration of the Holy Spirit. The Mosaic Law was weak because it was subject to man’s fallen nature (what Paul called the flesh). It’s primary purpose was to reveal sin, not keep one from sinning. Sin’s power is the Law (1 Corinthians 15.56). The only way to keep the Law is through a different power–the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8.1-4). Amos 3.7 and Luke 18.31-34 state that God reveals secrets when He wants to and not before. Amos had no more idea that Jesus would die on a Roman cross than did the disciples. The Messiah’s death and resurrection was shrouded in secrecy. The prophets understood none of it.

  31. Michael E. Thompson, Sr.

    Compare your attitude towards observing God’s Sabbaths with the attitude of the Holy Spirit (notice, Gentiles are included). Isaiah 56:4-7 58:13:14

    Compare what you say about God’s Law with what the Holy Spirit says. Psalms 119 (entire chapter)

    Why the difference? Could it be that the same Spirit that motivated the writing of these inspired scriptures, and the one motivating your thoughts are different?

    I invite you to actually DO what the people of Berea did (whom Paul considered honorable) Acts 17:11 Compare ALL of Paul’s writings with the the Spirit-inspired writings contained in the Law and in The Prophets; and believe God.

  32. Michael E. Thompson, Sr.

    Again, compare your attitude towards God’s Law with that of God’s Spirit revealed in Psalms 119. One motivated by the Spirit of God would have the same attitude. How many man-made rules have we submitted ourselves to over the years? Probably as many, if not many more. My job doesn’t require me to work on Saturday, and I can take days off, if necessary, to cover the annual Sabbaths.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      What I read by your reply is you choose the laws that you wish to obey. The Law says no work on Saturday, not whether you have a job that requires work on Saturday. You fail to understand Paul’s statement that the power of sin is the Law. The only way to keep the Law is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Apart from Paul’s gospel one is without Christ, without hope, without eternal life, and without the Holy Spirit.

  33. Michael E. Thompson, Sr.

    No, it appears that’s what you want to believe. You state, “The only way to keep the Law is through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Exactly! How many times have I brought Ezekiel 36:27 to your attention? The Holy Spirit will cause anyone; Israelite or Gentile; to keep God’s Law. How is the Law of God the power of sin? If the power of disobedience to God’s Law, is God’s Law; then what is the power of obedience to God’s Law?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Then you should have no problem with Paul for that is exactly what he taught. You claim he taught against the Law and was a false apostle. I pointed out Paul did not teach against the Law, that the Law was holy righteous, and good but we are NOT under its ADMINISTRATION. Grace is greater than Law for grace works by love and the power of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the Moasaic Law was to reveal sin, not make one good. Law has NO power to make one good. The Law is the power of sin for it exacerbates sin. It makes sin come alive. The problem is not with the Law; it is with us. Our Adamic nature rebels against the Law. That is what Paul meant. What did Peter call the Law? Read Acts 15.10 cf. Galatians 5.1. Read Romans 6-8. You may have to read it several times because it is not easy. In addition, Paul wrote the whole book of Galatians to explain the Law. I cover this in my article Paul and the Law. You have a choice: to be self-righteous or to be righteous. The latter is achieved only by believing Paul’s gospel.

  34. Scott Madden

    Is Paul’s gospel of grace the same thing that Joseph Prince and Andrew Wommack are teaching? I watch a lot of these two and also Jimmy Swaggart who preaches the cross. If you ask Swaggart they will say that these two don’t preach the gospel of grace. I find some similarities with all three but Swaggart says Joseph Prince doesn’t believe in asking for repentance all the time. For example if we have a bad thought come into our head which we know is from the devil should we go around and ask for repentance for this. It seems that we would be continually asking for forgiveness. Joseph Prince says no and Swaggart says yes. Andrew Wommack believes that when we are born again that we have salvation, and healing alone with deliverance. So if we get sick or a disease it comes down to us just receiving our healing which we already have when Jesus paid the debt on the cross. To receive this we just have to take what we have in the spirit and transfer it to the physical by believing. I just want to be sure i’m not following doctrines that are false. Please let me know your thoughts.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      I do not know of Joseph Prince or Andrew Wommack. For forgiveness, see Ephesians 4.32; Colossians 2.13. Forgiveness is an accomplished fact. Scriptures do not support the view that healing was included in Christ’s work on the cross. God can heal but do not neglect seeing a doctor. Paul, while he could heal in his early ministry, i.e., through Acts 28, could not after than. He traveled with a personal physician, Luke.

      1. Scott Madden

        Isaiah 53:4-5
        4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
        5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
        I don’t see how what he did on the cross does not destroy sin? is sickness and disease from the devil or god? If they are from Satan and Jesus defeated Satan at the cross why wouldn’t we have healing because of the cross? It would seem we would be only teaching half the gospel if the cross only meant salvation.
        James 5:14-16, which states, Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Peter is making this declaration in relation to Isaiah 53:5, and in his declaration, he changes the phrase “and with His stripes we are healed” to “by whose stripes ye were healed.” The reason for this was that Isaiah was looking forward to the cross approximately 600 years before it happened, and Peter was looking back to the cross after it had been accomplished.
        God CANNOT choose whom He will heal anymore than He can choose whom He will save! We receive healing the same way we receive forgiveness of our sins: by believing with all of our heart!

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          The Scriptures do not support such thinking. Christ’s death solved the problem of sin of which disease is a result. Christ’s death also solved the problem of death. But one cannot claim “life” in the sense of never dying physically. Death is the final extension of disease–the result of Adam’s fall. Ultimately, God will heal believers from sin, disease, and death based on the work of Christ but this will not occur until God gives us new bodies. We can ask God to heal but to think He is obligated to heal is wishful thinking and a misreading of Scripture. James wrote to believing Jews, not to Christians. James wrote, “if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” Paul wrote our sins have been forgiven. Which is it? Is forgiveness future or past? It is imperative to interpret a passage in context: when was it written, to whom was it written, what were the circumstances surrounding it, etc. Consider John 14.13. Is every prayer of yours answered? If not, why not?

  35. Sue

    Thanks Don for your wonderful work.

    What then does John 14.13 mean and to whom is it speaking. Were their prayers answered re healing.
    Are you saying that believing Jews are healed only ( Isaish 53 ). When will they get new bodies?
    Wow, Don, you have opened up a whole new way of thinking here.
    I grew up believing healing came through the cross for all and was to be expected in our experience , but quite rightly you said ‘one cannot claim ‘life’ in the sense of dying physically.

    Much food for thought.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Sue, Jesus spoke these words to the Twelve. His words were fulfilled in early Acts. We find no indication of sin among these believers (except with Ananias and Sapphira which the Lord dealt with promptly) and healing and miracles occurred associated with the Twelve. Christ in His earthly ministry dealt only with the nation of Israel, not the Church. We can’t take His words and interpret them in association with the Church. Ultimately, every believer, whenever or however he believed in Christ will receive a glorified, resurrection body. This body will not be subject to sin, disease, or death. But all do not receive resurrection bodies at the same time. See my article, The Resurrection, for more on this.

      1. Henry

        At first, I didn’t quite understand some of your teachings but as I carefully take the time to go through most of your writings and replies, I just had to ask to be fully clear: Here are my convictions:
        1.Grace does not mean we have no part to play though; Yes, at the foundation, we can’t claim to be of God because of our good works but what happens when you are saved? Am I to not yield to the Spirit because God has done it all when He , for example, tells me NOT to : “covet another’s property in my heart?” Does such feeling just vanish overnight because I am now born again? Is the Holy Spirit doing a continuous work of Grace in me or I am now a robot, fully righteous? That is how people like Joseph Prince see Grace. It is all done, no matter what you do now, it doesn’t matter. Once saved, always saved. So, throw more light on it. It seems that is what alot of people are asking indirectly.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Grace is always present in God’s dealings with mankind. What is different is the Church is under the administration of grace (Romans 6.14). Sanctification is an ongoing process. God is conforming us to the image of Christ (Romans 8.28-29). As long as we have Adam’s nature we will sin. Victory in the Christian life is by faith. See my article, Identification With Christ.

  36. Charlie

    Hi Don,

    First, let me commend you for writing this article, for using ample scripture and most especially for being willing to answer comments. A few questions:

    1. The Mysteries of Paul: Is the list provided above exhaustive? I have, in addition to the ones mentioned, the following as the mysteries entrusted to Paul:
    — Incarnation (1 Tim 3:16)
    — The Bride of Christ (2 Thess 2:3-8)
    — Indwelling Christ (Col 1:25-28) , [I guess this can be joined to the one of the Church in Eph 3:3-5)

    2. There was mention of blessings flowing to Gentile believers through Israel in the original plan. I agree with this but I was hoping there were other verses that were a bit stronger as the ones provided could be made to seem like the process would be simultaneous, not consecutive, in that it could be referencing blessing coming from the Messiah to both Israel and Gentiles as opposed to Israel and then the gentiles, through them. These are the verses in question: Isaiah 42.1, 6; 49.6; 60.3; Zechariah 8.23; Luke 2.32. While I think Acts 1:8 works, I’d like a reference in the old testament if possible.

    3. When trying to “rightly divide the Word” (2 Tim 2:15) as it relates to doctrines pertaining to Israel and doctrines pertaining to the church, I often get Romans 11:17 thrown in as a counter-argument for people to say that everything that what was promised to Israel is now also equally applicable to the Church. While I know this is not true, I can’t seem to articulate this well in an argument. Any thoughts on how to present this?

    4. It is quite difficult to tell someone who does not hold the view that Jesus’ ministry was focused on Israel and Paul’s mainly on the Gentiles that they need to reconsider. Often times, I’m not sure where to start. I’ve tried using Exod 19:5 a starting point to show the origin of God’s conditional promise to Israel of being a Kingdom of priests, etc but wondering if there is a better approach. It will likely feel like the rug or their biblical foundation is being removed from underneath them which means pride will be in the way and it will be delicate. Trying to figure out a logical step-by-step framework to break it down that’s a little more digestible.

    This last one is just a comment
    5. I’m glad that you pointed out that ‘King’ is not a fitting descriptor for the relationship the Church has with Christ. One may hear it in sermons or songs but it isn’t biblically accurate. The same goes for saying that God died on a cross. God is spirit (John 4:24) and spirits can’t be nailed to crosses. And the Word was made flesh (John 1:14— i.e. Jesus), God was manifest in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16—i.e. Jesus), …Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (1 John 4:2 i.e Jesus), the holy Child shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35 i.e. Jesus), He is the (visible) image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15 i.e. Jesus). All these emphasis physical traits, visibility, sensory aspects. These distinctions as in ‘King’ is important to keep us from muddy waters.


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. In the article, I wrote about doctrines in which the word μυστήριον is used. If you read Paul carefully, pretty much everything he wrote was unknown to the Twelve. Blessings to Gentiles according to the prophetic plan could only occur after Israel accepted their Messiah according to the prophetic plan. This is what the OT verses you noted reveal. On promises, Israel was promised a land. The Church is never promised a land. Israel’s promises were earthly; the Church’s are heavenly. The concept of dying and going to heaven is completely alien to Jewish theology. It’s center-stage in the Church. Totally different. With regard to Jesus’ earthly ministry, read Matthew 10.5-6. Read what Jesus said to the Canaanite woman. Read the first two chapters of Luke. Read Romans 15.8. If these will not convince, nothing will. My article, Are the Gospels Christian? might be helpful.

      1. Henry

        I totally agree on this. Many christians have not known this. They are hoping for an earthly land, healing and prosperity. Those things are optional. God can choose to but they are NOT eternal promises given to the church. Thanks for these truths.

  37. Kim Nguyen

    You wrote:

    “From Paul alone do we learn the truths of Christianity: about Christ’s work of our salvation, our sanctification, our rescue from a Christ-rejecting world, and our destiny. Holding to Pauline truths has always been a hard-fought battle. Satan knows when these truths are known and taught the Church is strong and therefore constantly fights against them.”

    You are exactly right. I am no bible scholar but after reading your excellent article, my spirit tells me it’s on the right tract. Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles, the apostle of grace and of the church. What Paul has received from the Lord and revealed to us in his epistles is critical to the well-being of the church. But there is so much mixture out there, i.e. law and grace, Israel and the church, Paul’s gospel and other gospels creating confusion. Your article has cleared up a lot of things for me and I am so grateful. God bless.

    Again, thank you so much for this article.

  38. Becky

    Hi Don,
    I have a brother with whom i have shared a couple of your studies. He was resistant to them. I left it at that. He then recently wrote me this:
    —-“Earlier in the Book of Acts Peter had a revelation from God (the mystery revealed) that the Gentiles should be included in God’s plan of salvation, Chapter 11. In chapter 15 verse 7 God commissioned him to preach to the gentiles by his own mouth. This is the same message that Jesus gave to Paul to teach.”—-
    I would appreciate your instruction and input, if you dont mind? 1) I believe my brother is incorrect in calling what Peter received from God a “revelation” 2) One thing that caught my eye in Acts 10, where Peter went to Cornelius, is this verse- Act 10:28  And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
    Why would Peter say it is unlawful for him to come unto one of another nation when Jesus had specifically commanded him and the other apostles to go to all nations? It is obvious that when Jesus gave him this command, Peter “didnt get it.” Otherwise, he would have said, “But the Lord Jesus (not “God”) commanded me to go to all nations to preach the gospel.” And even then, he said “God” showed him not to call any man unclean, not “Jesus.” To me, Peter’s eyes were not truly opened until Cornelius told him why he sent for him. 3) in Eph 3 Paul says, “…which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit…” Could it be he is including the 12 because at the time of this epistle their eyes had finally been opened to the mystery?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      A careful reading of Acts 10-11 and 15 will reveal the following: 1) Until this time Peter and the other 12 had no ministry to Gentiles, 2) Peter did not want to go to Gentiles and protested to God, 3) Upon arriving Peter told Cornelius it was unlawful for him to associate with him but that God had revealed to him not to call any man unclean, 4) Peter was shocked when the Holy Spirit came upon Cornelius, etc., for they were saved unlike the Jews at Pentecost, which required water baptism for salvation (Acts 2.38), 5) When Peter returned to Jerusalem he was upbraided for his action. All this took place several years after Pentecost. So no ministry had been done with Gentiles. Most significantly, this occurred after the salvation and commission of Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles. We have no indication the 12 had a ministry to Gentiles after this. Acts 15 is a decade later (51 A.D.) and the Jerusalem Church (the 12) disagreed with Paul’s gospel. They stated Paul’s Gentile converts could not be saved apart from circumcision and keeping the Law. Paul went to defend his gospel of faith + 0. After much argument, the Holy Spirit moved Peter to remember how he went to Cornelius’ and that he was saved apart from circumcision and keeping the Law. Peter was able to help Paul. He stated that from henceforth, only Paul’s gospel is valid (Acts 15.11). The main reason God sent Peter to Cornelius was He foresaw years in the future when Paul would need Peter’s help in defending his gospel of grace to Jewish believers. Peter’s comment, as well as the rest of the account in Acts 15, reveals the Twelve and Paul preached different gospels. See my article, The Great Hinge, for more on this.

      1. becky

        Thanks, Don. This is just amazing. So much fog to clear out. I am going to print and study your answer until it sinks in and I can make the connections. And I will definitely print out The Great Hinge.
        When you say Peter was upbraided for his action, was that what Gal 2:11 was all about? That actually came to mind while I was studying Peter’s visit to Cornelius.
        Also, can you explain Acts 15:21 to me? I’ve spent a lot of time in previous years trying to understand this and have yet to even find anything other than speculation in the commentaries I have read. With my new understanding, it sounds like he is trying to make sure the Gentiles dont offend the Jews? or vice versa?

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          The Jews in Jerusalem were unhappy with Peter’s going to Cornelius (Acts 11). Yes. James feared believing Gentiles would offend Jews so he wanted them to abstain from certain things against the Law (v. 20). James never got beyond the Mosaic Law (Acts 21.20-21). Paul’s doctrines were beyond him.

      2. Ding

        Acts 2 talks about the day of Pentecost where Peter preached and 3000 come to Christ. The Bible says people were from all languages. And not just Jews

        1. vanessa

          Hi Ding,
          Just like you I use to think they were not all Jews till I discovered that Jews would never socialise with Gentiles unless they were converted (proselytes).
          Why did Jesus at first refuse to speak to the Canaanite woman? We know He had no problem crossing gender and racial barriers, as seen e.g. in The Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42).
          Why did He refer to her (and presumably all Canaanites and probably all Gentiles) as “dogs”? I say that He was referring to all Gentiles because He contrasted helping her with Israel, when He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
          When you do a study on this you will be shocked to discover that all at Penecost were Jews.
          Then do a study on Pentecost and when it began and why.
          Hope you enjoy your search. Take care.

  39. John Calkins

    Good article. I was taught that as long as Christ was alive he was also bond by the law. Grace had to be kept secret because if satan had known of it he would have done his best to keep Christ from fulfilling it. Satan thought, as the apostles first thought, that the Law would still have to be obeyed after Christ death. He as knew as God knew the Law was impossible keep.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thanks. The Law continued for Jews until 70 A.D.–until Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed (cf. Acts 21.20). The Law’s requirement for salvation for Jews ended at Acts 15.11. Gentiles were never under the Law (unless they became proselytes of Judaism before Paul). Paul’s doctrines governed Gentiles and became the governance of Jews officially in 51 A.D. and finally, in 70 A.D. Satan, while knowledgeable about many things, is also ignorant of many aspects of God’s plan. He clearly had no knowledge that Christ’s crucifixion was his defeat. He does not know of the events recorded in Revelation and how they will lead to his ultimate doom.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      See Paul’s “Mystery”. He is talking about the gospel of the grace of God or salvation by faith alone.

  40. Malcolm

    I really like your writing and what I have read so far, I agree with. I even asked a friend to study with me. She did for a bit but she got upset with Salvation without repenting. Can you explain this to me in simple terms so that I can expalin it to her.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Paul’s emphasis upon repentance was for believers. He only used repentance in terms of the unbeliever once in his letters–Romans 2.4. Paul’s emphasized “believe.” Do a study of these words and you will see how many times Paul used believe, faith, trust. Paul did not tell the Philippian jailer when he asked what he must do to be saved to repent. He told him to believe (cf. Romans 3.22). My task is to teach what the Scriptures teach, not what one may want them to say. When one examines the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus, the Twelve one finds a much greater emphasis upon repentance. They ministered to Israel. Paul ministered primarily to Gentiles and God revealed to him an entirely new program based upon salvation by faith alone. Repentance is a change of mind. One cannot believe Paul’s gospel without a change of mind. One must recognize he is a sinner without hope apart from Christ.

  41. Roger Spielmann

    At the beginning of this article you write, “Christendom’s greatest theological error has been its failure to recognize or understood Paul’s unique apostleship. Because of this, vast theological confusion and error exists within the Church.” You follow that up with, “We have had 2,000 years to understand the theological change God worked through Paul. Sadly, the vast majority of theologians, scholars, and teachers throughout Christendom remain ignorant of this great fact.” Hmmm…are these theologians, scholars and teachers truly ignorant or are they formulating legitimate questions about Paul that are difficult for orthodox Christians to defend? I would suggest the latter.

    Here’s the way I see it. Remember that these ideas are not new and not mine, but I believe they are worthy of consideration. Paul’s religion was certainly more attractive than Jesus’ Jewish-based requirements to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. It fit right in with all the other exciting and entertaining Roman mystery religions and deities. Within a decade of Paul’s “vision of Christ,” he had attracted thousands of followers, many of them quite wealthy and influential (not that wealth and influence matter…). It must have made Paul’s head spin to see how quickly his religion had become so popular.

    The irony of it is stunning.

    Long after Paul’s death in 64 A.D., the movement he began had all the bells and whistles and strategies required of any successful business. In present day business terms, his movement continued to grow exponentially over the next three centuries, culminating with the Roman Emperor Constantine’s declaration that Christianity was the official religion of the Roman Empire. Paul’s brand of Christianity had the product: a welcoming, easy-to-follow religion. It had a complex communication network made up of bishops scattered across the known world who were in pretty much constant communication with each other. And, of course, it had the Roman Emperor’s imprimatur. What could possibly go wrong?

    Nothing went wrong. His new religion was a tremendous success and eventually evolved into what we see today in the 21st century. But does this a priori mean that it’s true? Or good? I don’t think so.

    Here’s another take on what happened.

    Twenty years passed since the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Now his followers were getting older; some had already died. ‘Where is he?’ many wondered.

    Theories abounded about why God was taking his time in sending Jesus back to establish his kingdom on earth. It’s quite clear that Jesus believed that God was going to send him back after a few short months or maybe a few years at the most. To Jesus’ credit, when his followers had asked him when he would come back to display all of God’s glory, he told them, ‘I don’t know. Only my Father knows when He’ll send me back.’ But he certainly lead his followers to believe that it would be within their lifetimes, as Paul’s letters attest.

    So after twenty years or so Jesus’ followers started writing things down, just in case it was going to be a longer period of time than they expected. And, to be fair, it has been a long time; over 2,000 years and counting.

    As the years rolled by, his followers began to write down details about his life, ministry and teaching, just in case he didn’t come back soon and people began to forget these things. When that happened, the Messianic movement Jesus had started began to get weird. His simple message of loving God, loving others as you love yourself, taking care of the poor and down-and-out types, what he promised about life after death; it all started to become a mishmash of teachings, some true, some made-up.

    What happened then was nothing short of disastrous, at least from the perspective of the twelve: the formation of different Messianic cults, early forms of what came to be known as different brands of “Christianity,” and now we all know the history of the Christian church on earth right up to the 21st century. Not a pretty picture: over five thousand different Christian denominations, each holding on to what they respectively consider to be the “Truth.”

    One person, as we now know, can change the course of history: Alexander the Great, Constantine, Napoleon, Hitler; the list goes on and on and on. But the one man in the first century, Paul of Tarsus, changed the greatest message ever given to humankind.

    Paul’s message had nothing to do with Jesus the Jewish rabbi’s teaching about the Kingdom of God within the context of Judaism and observing the Torah. For Paul it was just, “Believe that Jesus is God and you will have eternal life.” And that, in a nutshell, is what passes for Christian orthodoxy today.

    To conclude, as Christians I believe we have a big decision to make. Do we accept that God actually chose Paul of Tarsus to begin a new religion, or do we return to the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth? Few would argue that orthodox Christianity today is fraught with strife. Is this really part of God’s plan? Perhaps it is, but that would seem to implicate God as the author of confusion, would it not?

    I write these things with trepidation; my intent is not to divide us as brothers and sisters in Christ, but to challenge us all to know why we believe what we believe.

    Thank you for your patience.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      During Paul’s lifetime he was constantly having to defend his apostleship. Before his death he wrote that all in Asia had abandoned him (2 Timothy 1.15). His letter to the Galatians was his effort to combat this. What became “Christianity” was a syncretism of Judaism and Paul’s doctrines. That is what I call the Christian Myth and what Constantine legalized. It what is practiced in most churches today. Go to any church and 90% of the time the message will be out of the Gospels–which are all Jewish–no Christianity. The reformers recovered the Pauline truth of justification by faith alone but failed to understand Paul’s doctrines of Christ, the church, identification with Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Rapture, etc. Peter and the other apostles ministered to Jews alone. They never ministered to Gentiles. The only God-appointed minister to Gentiles was Paul.

  42. Roger Spielmann

    Thank you. I do appreciate your well thought-out responses. Your post makes me wonder: everything we believe (as human beings) ought to based on some kind of “evidence.” What evidence supports your belief that Paul was actually chosen by God to receive special revelations that we should deem trustworthy? Is it merely because Paul claimed authority based on his Damascus Road experience? In other words, from where does Paul derive his authority? Why should we believe him? Countless individuals throughout the centuries have claimed “special revelation” from God, yet most reasonable people discount them as egotistical frauds. Why believe what Paul wrote and taught is more authoritative than what others have written and taught, say, Joseph Smith or William Miller? In reading his letters, replete with out-of-context quotes from the Old Testament and often times couched in vicious caricatures, what evidence does he provide for believing him to be appointed by God? There were reasons for him constantly defending his “apostleship.” Perhaps exploring those reasons would provide us with insight for why so many of his peers regarded him as a “false teacher.” Perhaps he was. How are we to know? Adventists uphold William Miller as a “Prophet of God,” despite the fact that his prophecy of Christ’s return in the Spring of 1844 was (to any reasonable person) just plain wrong. How is Paul any different? You write, “The only God-appointed minister to Gentiles was Paul.” How do we know that God appointed him to do or be anything?

    Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      We have several evidentiary bases. One is Paul’s conversion. Something dramatic clearly happened to him. His life turned 180 degrees. Why would Paul do what he did? Who goes from being wealthy, respected, a rising star, etc. to being beaten, suffering hardship, and finally death? Another is his relationship with Peter. At the Council of Jerusalem Peter sided with Paul against the rest of the apostles. See my article, The Great Hinge. Even though Paul upbraided Peter after this (Galatians 2.14) to whom does Peter tell his readers to go to: to Paul (2 Peter 3.14-16)–not John, not James, etc. Another is Luke’s relationship. Luke was with Paul throughout his missionary journeys. He alone was with Paul at his death (2 Timothy 4.11). Luke knew him and stuck by him. If he were false, does it make sense he would do this? Finally, examine Paul’s writings. No other writer exalts Christ to the degree of Paul. No other writer exhorts believers more to holy righteous living than Paul. No other writer expounds on the blessing of Christ to the believer more than Paul.

  43. Roger Spielmann

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. Your knowledge of the Bible is amazing. I’ve been asking God for the past year to bring someone into my life who I could talk about things with; someone who wouldn’t judge me or distance him/herself from me for being a nutbar (or worse). In the interim, I believe, God led me to this wonderful discussion group. Thank you for hosting it.

    It does get complicated (in my mind) and your response to this and other questions is helping me to crystallize my thinking about these important matters. Please give me a gentle reminder if I get argumentative or redundant. I believe that God led me to this site to help me better understand why I believe what I believe.

    One question presses: by what criteria do we accept “revelation” when it’s revealed to an individual? My sense is that we judge the legitimacy of a person’s “private revelation from God” by comparing it with the scriptures. But I’m not exactly sure how that works. Since Paul wrote Galatians, for example, before the gospels were written, how do we know that his “revelations” are legitimate? Many individuals over the centuries have been willing to die for their beliefs, but that in itself does not legitimize their beliefs, I don’t think. I have a Christian friend who told me that God revealed to him that the universe is teeming with intelligent life on other planets. Am I to take him at his word because he is a Christian? I don’t think so. I told him that the Bible is silent on that matter, but he insists that he now knows it is true because God revealed it to him.

    So, upon reflection, my questions is: How would you respond to my friend’s claim of “divine revelation” and how would your response apply to Paul’s personal “revelations”?

    Please forgive the circuitous nature of my question(s). I’m kind of thinking as I write this morning. I’ll try to be more careful in the future to construct more succinct questions. Thank you for your patience with me.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      All Scripture was written by Jews (Romans 3.1-2) and Paul completed the Scriptures (Colossians 1.25). That’s one criterion. The “test” for a true prophet was that the prophecy came true (Deuteronomy 18.20-22 cf. 1 Samuel 3.19-20). A good case can be made from 1 Corinthians 13 and Colossians 1.24 that the gift of prophecy has ceased. Revelation or Scripture must accord with other Scripture. While an individual may mean well, I place no confidence in “personal revelation.” Paul’s revelation was in one sense “approved” by Peter at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). God had sent Peter to Cornelius’ house, not only so that Cornelius might be saved, but that Peter might come to Paul’s defense 14 years later. Later, what Peter wrote in 2 Peter, approved Paul’s writings.

  44. Roger Spielmann

    Thank you. I’m ready to move on to other articles. I just would like a response to one thing you wrote. You said that, “All Scripture was written by Jews.” To my understanding, Luke was a Gentile and made a significant contribution to the New Testament. Is that not true?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Luke was not a Gentile. He was a Jew. The idea Luke was a Gentile is based upon paper-thin arguments. One is his name: Luke. Jews frequently had Graeco-Roman names. Paul was one. The whole region became Hellenized after Alexander. Another argument is that Luke’s theology is Gentile. One can only wonder what led to this idea. How anyone who has read Luke can reach this conclusion is beyond me. The only argument with any substance for Luke being a Gentile is Paul’s statement in Colossians 4.10-11. The argument is that Paul’s phrase “of the circumcision” referred to Jews and since Luke wasn’t included, he wasn’t a Jew. But Paul’s phrase was not meant to identify racial Jews. Rather, it was to identify men from the “party of the circumcision” (τοὺς ἐκ περιτομῆς, Galatians 2.12-13) who had joined Paul’s ministry. Paul used this phrase to identify men of the Jerusalem Assembly (cf. Acts 15.1-5). If Luke was a Gentile he would be the only non-Jew to write Scripture. This would be in opposition to Paul’s statement in Romans 3.1-2. Furthermore, Luke was far too familiar with Jewish law, tradition, and the Scriptures, and employed too many Semitisms, Jewish idioms, to be a Gentile (see H.F.D. Sparks, “The Semitisms of St. Luke’s Gospel,” The Journal of Theological Studies, vos-XLIV n175-176 (1943): 129-138).

  45. Roger Spielmann

    Hi, Don. You make a good point. On the flip side of the coin, I’m sure you’re aware that the consensus of evangelical (and other) biblical commentaries agree that Luke was, indeed, Gentile and that their reasons for believing this are quite compelling (at least from my “learner” position). No need to list those scholars and their arguments here; just making an observation. The deeper issue has to do with supporting your argument with Romans 3:-12. It cuts to the core of how we view inspiration. How does one reconcile a compelling argument (e.g. that Luke was Gentile) with the fact that Paul implies he wasn’t? You’ve been very careful thus far not to let your theology dictate your hermeneutics, which I appreciate If the argument for Luke being a Gentile is compelling (with the consensus of commentators supporting it), then you have a problem. My only conclusion is that just don’t agree with all those biblical scholars, which is your prerogative. But are you really comfortable saying that Luke cannot be Gentile merely because Paul says that all scripture was written by Jews? Perhaps this matter really belongs to your “Inspiration of Scripture” article. My point is, using Col. 4:10-11 to argue that Luke could not have been Gentile seems to me to be quite thin when compared with the consensus of evangelical biblical scholars, wouldn’t you agree?

    Please don’t think of this as me challenging you I’m really interesting in understanding what you write. Perhaps I’ll re-read the “Inspiration of of Scripture” article before talking about things that I’m still not sure of.

    Keep up the good work!

  46. George

    Don, could it be that Luke was a body of Christ member writing about the kingdom gospel, just like Moses writing about Adam and Eve’ dispensation?
    Also you indicated when Peter realized that the Jews were saved as were the Gentiles, did that qualify Peter for the body of Christ as it did Paul? Previously you told me that Paul was the exception, but can you elaborate on the passage where Lydia showed Apollos A MORE EXCELLENT WAY, I can only conclude that this more excellent way was the jump from the kingdom gospel into the body of Christ, what are your thought concerning these 2 points. thanks

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      I think those saved in the kingdom program stayed in that program. I can’t prove it, but the Scriptures give no evidence they became members of the body of Christ. Paul was saved under the gospel of the kingdom program. Because of what he wrote in 1 Timothy 1.12-17 about being “first” and a “pattern” or “prototype” it seems he was the first in the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 3.10-11 also supports this. See my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners? What Aquila and Priscilla told Apollos is unclear. But at the least, they told him Jesus the Christ had died for our sins.

      1. Chris Clanton

        Thank you, I really appreciate this website, helping us rightly divide the word of truth.
        You said that you couldn’t prove it but you think those under the law stayed under the law.That’s been my understanding and I think Paul shows this when he says”don’t flaunt your liberty and be a stumbling block” if they were no longer under the law then there’d be nothing to flaunt.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Thank you. The Law had been in operation for 1,500 years. It was almost incomprehensible for a Jew not to be under it. Paul, the Pharisee, would have never have gotten there except by direct revelation.

  47. Launie Martin

    Thank you SO VERY MUCH for all of this information; truth. I spent 30 years in total confusion until I learned about dispensations; then, it all clicked, the light bulb came on, and WOW. My first emotions were excitement, praise, and thanks in Christ Jesus for leading me to truth. Then, my emotions went to anger because of realizing just how many pastors (whom I consider leaders in the church today) are NOT teaching this, and keeping people in the bondage of confusion. I truly believe and endorse, that before a new christian even thinks about studying the bible, they first must be taught dispensations according to scripture and how it applies to learning of scripture. I really want to thank you again for all the hard work you’ve put into this information; it’s really great !!! See you at the rapture !! Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus be with you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. Yes, it’s wonderful to understand God’s Word and learn how wonderful He is. And it’s tragic so many pastors refuse it and keep people in spiritual darkness.

  48. Greg Wilson

    Don: you state that the Church began with the commission of Paul. However, Paul states that he persecuted the “church of God”, certainly suggesting that it pre-dated his salvation. 1 Corinthians 15:9 KJV
    [9] For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The word “church” is ἐκκλησία and means an assembly. The “church” of Act 2.47, for example, was composed of Jews who had believed the gospel of the kingdom. This was not the Church which is the body of Christ in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. That was a Pauline revelation, unknown to the Twelve. Please see my article, The Church (The Body of Christ) for elaboration.

  49. Laurel Mosby

    I was watching a video on youtube and while reading the comments came across this link, I just wanted to say Thank you for your work and making this so easy to understand. I quit going to church years ago because of the teachings and now just study on my own while watching a few select pastors on the internet. I believe I was led here for a reason. God bless and keep you, your sister in Christ Jesus!

  50. Vanessa

    Hi Don, When the Holy Spirit came down for the first time tongues of fire was seen above there heads. Yet today we dont see that. Why do you think that is? And yet fire speaks of judgement but in this case something else was happening. Had they received the Holy Spirit in the same manner as we do I would understand but I battling to reconcile the night they received tongues of fire with rushing wind. Please dont think me foolish but the manner in which they received the Holy Spirit is very different in which we do today. I wrestle with this. The Holy Spirit came upon them whether they wanted The Holy Spirit or not. They had no choice. This is driving me crazy and I cannot find any subject on this matter on Google. Just because we call ourselves Christians today we assume we have the Holy Spirit but many do not have that assurance. Hence the tongue movement saying the evidence of the Holy Spirit living in you is Tongues. I have so many questions. I simply cannot wait to be raptured and then finally all will be revealed and I can hear myself say “Yes of course Lord, why did I not think of that.” Thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Pentecost was all Jewish and indicated the beginning of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36 and Jeremiah 31. We KNOW we have the indwelling Holy Spirit because the Scripture explicitly says so (2 Corinthians 1.22, 5.5; Ephesians 1.14). It is a matter of trusting God, not having an experience. For us, when a person believes Paul’s gospel God saves the individual and indwells him with the Holy Spirit (no choice). It’s part of the salvation package. The problem with the tongues folks is they elevate experience above the Word of God and faith. For us in this age of grace everything is BELIEVE. This is why Paul quoted Habakkuk 2.4: The just shall live by faith.

  51. Joe

    Doctrine, back in an earlier answer you said this:

    Satan, while knowledgeable about many things, is also ignorant of many aspects of God’s plan. He clearly had no knowledge that Christ’s crucifixion was his defeat. He does not know of the events recorded in Revelation and how they will lead to his ultimate doom.

    With all the bibles available why hasn’t Satan read Revelation? What am I missing? thank you

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Just as our military and intelligence entities hide sensitive operations, I am sure God has methods to hide things from Satan. Just because we can read Revelation doesn’t mean Satan can. If we can encrypt communication and authenticate data with public/private keys God certainly has far more sophisticated methods to keep His plans secret.

  52. Joe

    Doctrine, a second question related to the one above…I Cor 2:8 says ‘which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory’.

    Are the princes spoken of here humans or Angels? thanks again,

  53. Curt

    I noticed that you stated above “From Paul alone we learn that the believer in the body of Christ has a heavenly position and heavenly citizenship. Peter and the Twelve looked forward to an earthly position, not a heavenly one.”

    My question is this: Were not Peter and the other disciples also members of the body of Christ? Were they not indwelt with the Holy Spirit as was Paul. And will enjoy their part as well in a heavenly citizenship. Blessings!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Peter and the other disciples were not members of the Church, the body of Christ. They were indwelt with the Holy Spirit. One does not have to be a member of the Church to have the Holy Spirit. Their destiny is earthly, not heavenly (Matthew 19.28).

  54. drumbo

    15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 17So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”…

    I’m no scholar of scripture, but I am indeed a seeker of truth like so many here. I want nothing more than to know, and be pleasing to our Almighty Father, and our Messiah, and am willing to learn all I can and to do what’s right, WHATEVER HE may ask. I keep running into folks who want to convince me that Paul was a false teacher and that I should be converting to a hybrid form of worship as a jew/ nazarene because I won’t get grace, if I don’t keep all the laws and feasts, sabbaths, etc. Is this gift free or not? Did our Savior pay for our salvation or not? I understand that one can’t just roll in transgression like a pig and expect salvation, of course, but if we were still to be keeping the letter of the law, why would it be so cryptic? Even a perfectly law-abiding person can still have an evil and vengeful , hateful heart…this I know for a fact. If that’s the case that Paul’s assertions are false then how could ANY of the scriptures be trusted? Hopefully I’m not in error but above my comment is a quote of Acts 9:16. If I’m not mistaken… isn’t it commonly asserted that the writer of Acts, also wrote Luke ( Luke?…lol) So if we throw out poor old Paul…. don’t we have to throw out Luke too, being that he would have lied about this divine word to Ananias about Paul? Not happening for me… because if not for Paul, I wouldn’t have the strength to even try and walk this road…. I relate SO MUCH to him…. his words have been a GIFT to me from our Savior. If it’s a lie, then my transformation from an immoral sin seeking scumbag, to a humble, loving student of God’s Son and the unbelievable things I’ve “seen” are a true testament to my own insanity…. so insanity is healing me? I can’t believe that. I really enjoyed this article, and forgive my not so vast knowledge as of yet, and my lateness of this comment in this discussion… but it seems like common sense to me that one bit of untruth makes for an entire lie. Why would our loving Father allow any of us, who are legitimately seeking truth to serve HIM correctly,to be led astray by the only tangible thing we have in this dying world to guide us into knowledge ( scripture) … then destroy us for not being ” smart” enough to realize that we were wrong about things and people we never saw, heard, witnessed? HE wouldn’t, He’s trying to SAVE US ALL!. All will be revealed soon enough. My two cents. I’m noone special, just someone who’s life has made a complete turn around because of these gospels and the Spirit given to me because of them, anyone else relate?…lol. Great article Doc…great discussion brothers and sisters ( all of you). Love to you all. Be kind to each other.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. Paul is the example par excellence of the glory of God’s grace. If God could save Saul of Tarsus, He can save anyone. Paul never forgot what he had been and what God had done for him. After his salvation, he had one goal: to tell the world of the wonderful salvation of God available to all and guide believers to be faithful to Christ. Grace and peace.

  55. Pankaj

    I would like to know when exactly was the Mystery revealed to Paul. Book of Acts ends with Paul preaching the Kingdom of God – the entire book has no mention of Paul’s testimony about the Mystery which we find in Romans to Philemon. This means that either Luke who wrote Acts did not know what Paul was preaching or more correctly that Paul never did preach anything as radically different as he explained in Romans to Philemon till Book of Acts ends. What I would like to know is the timeline of Book of Acts and then correlate with how Paul would subsequently write the letters the way he did to cities that he had already visited during Acts while not having preached the Mystery. I hope I made my thoughts and question clear enough.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The mysteries, i.e., doctrines unknown to the Twelve, began to become known to Paul most likely when he was in Arabia (Galatians 1.17). Please read my article, The Purpose of the Book of Acts. Acts was written to explain why the kingdom of God did not come and the fall of Israel. For this reason it’s emphasis is Jewish, not Christian. The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24) was “secret.” So was the Church, the body of Christ. Paul taught these things throughout Acts but they are not emphasized. For a good timeline see

      1. Pankaj

        Thank you for your prompt response, I am most heartened to have a “sounding board” like you to whom I can voice all my queries arising out of my limitations relating to the only book of Truth, the Bible. I have one nagging issue that I would like your views on and that is the True name of the Creator Father and our Messiah his Son. I am convinced that Lord and God are titles only as they are used extensively by pagans, secularists, atheists and the like. Bible believers need only look at the following verses among many more I am sure, to realise that Lord God and Jesus are not the proper ways to address the Father and / or the Son:

        Isaiah 42:8 I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

        The “Lord’s prayer” as it is popularly known says “hallowed be thy name” in Matthew 6:9, if his name is hallowed the least we should do is get to know it and its right pronunciation, again my personal view.

        Acts 26:14 and 15 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.

        How can The Son be speaking Hebrew and saying the name “Jesus”, so He should be using a Hebrew/Jewish name.

        My conviction after my own research is the that the Father’s name is YAHUAH and the Son’s name is YAHUSHA , whereby it is obvious-
        1. The Son comes in the Father’s name – quite literally (YAH being short for the Creator’s full name Yahuah as in Hallal-u-Yah)
        2. SHA is short for YASHA which means will save, so Matthew 1:21 will now make sense- And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name YAHUSHA: for he shall save his people from their sins.
        Because he saves his people from their sins he is named what he is, the more popular Jesus has no such connotation.
        There are of course many verses which attach immense importance to the name of both Father and Son which I am not reproducing here and I am sure you are aware of.
        In conclusion I just want to know why this True name issue is not so much a passionate one as other discussions such as baptism, law etc. and also your views on this.
        Thank you once again for your website and the wealth of information therein that I am currently sifting through with great joy.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          The short answer to your question is that I do not find the Scriptures emphasizing your point. The Lord Jesus Christ is the God of Israel, the YHVH revealed in the OT (John 8.57-58). You might enjoy my article, Who is Jesus Christ?

          1. Pankaj

            Well, I guess we have to agree to disagree on this then. You say that you do not find the Scriptures emphasizing my point. My point just to put it slightly differently this time, is that the name of the Creator Father and His Son are significant just because they are, this has to be beyond debate and I do not think we even need Scripture to emphasize this (even though they do – sorry but I could not help stating that based on so many verses….Joel 2:32 and our apostle Paul quoting Joel in Romans 10:13 just to name 2 more). As such any names, not just the two most significant ever, have to be transliterated not translated or otherwise changed based on alleged linguistic limitations i.e. Pankaj will remain Pankaj whether written in English, Arabic, Persian or Sanskrit.
            I thank you again and rest assured I am going to read all the articles on the website, currently I am reading up on 1Thess 1&2. So I guess I will keep coming back to you on different issues I am facing to better understand The Truth.

        2. Tom Bittman

          Hello Pankaj,

          All I can say to you is that 36 years ago when I spoke the name “Jesus” all alone in my living room at home, with a yearning heart that He alone could see and know, He immediately came into my life and changed me forever! So apparently all His names and titles referred to in the Bible aren’t nearly as important an issue with Him as is our faith. God bless you!

  56. Larry Begley

    Quote “the twelve never ministered to the Gentiles”? reread chapter 15 of Acts were Peter had to take up for Paul. remember the centurion. chapter 10 of Acts.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. I changed the wording from “ministered” to “ministry.” Please see my article, The Great Hinge. No Biblical record exists any of the Twelve ministered to Gentiles and Peter only ministered to one family: Cornelius’. Why people have the idea the Twelve evangelized Gentiles is hard to understand. It is not in the Bible.

  57. Anette

    Now i understand the mysteries and the mystery of the rapture. The 2 differrent Happenings, rapture and the 2nd coming now make sense and can be understood! At Jesus’ time the rapture mystery had not been revealed and too many now only go by the end time teachings of Christ in the Gospels. This is why they think the church may have to go through the rapture. Thank you now ” I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;”

  58. Tom Bittman

    Hi Don,
    The more I share this topic and read about the confusion people have about the difference between the gospel of the kingdom that John the Baptist, the 12 apostles and Jesus Himself preached and Paul’s gospel of the grace of God to the Gentiles, the more I am reminded of how it takes the Holy Spirit Himself to open our hearts to this truth! And when we honestly ask Him He delights to do it. And once He does oh how everything else in His holy word begins to fall into place perfectly like a hand in a glove. Studying the scriptures becomes so enjoyable and exciting!
    I think that in my case it was around 10 years or so after my spiritual rebirth before I got to the point where I was so confused by conflicting teaching from authors, teachers, pastors and theologians that I finally cried out to Him for clarity. And when He graciously opened my eyes to this truth it was the greatest day I had ever had since I had been reborn and saved! It takes the Lord Himself to do this. Praise and honor to our God for His patience and His faithful guidance into all truth!

  59. Jerry Shaw

    Because of this, vast theological confusion and error exists within the Church. I am studying and learning as best I can the difference between the Kingdom and Grace Gospels.
    Like most of us all you hear in church is the four Gospels with everything else mixed in. The fact that the Truth is being set aside is bad enough.
    “Because of this, vast theological confusion and error exists within the Church.” Can you help me with identifying more of the errors and confusion that you have found? I know they are there and I know you can name them, not being argumentative. Just looking for a way to show my classes the inherent damage in not seperating what Jesus taught from what He taught Paul. Thanks so much….

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The basic problem in the Church is its mixing of Paul’s doctrines with those of the OT, Jesus’ earthly ministry, and the ministry of the Twelve. I have written of the differences of these programs in several articles, such as Paul’s “Mysteries”, The Great Commission, Jesus vs. Paul, etc. Paul’s writings revealed doctrines previously unknown, even if he did not specify all of them as “secrets.” For example, where does one learn about man’s identification in Adam, that in Adam all die but from Paul? Or our identification in Christ in His death and resurrection, or our heavenly citizenship, or that believers are not under Law, etc. What Paul wrote was NEW. The risen Lord revealed doctrines kept hidden. Paul is to the Church what Moses was to Israel. Paul was also like Abrahram as he was the founder of the Church and revealed its doctrines of grace. The reason why there are 40+k denominations is because the Church refuses to recognize this reality. If it would, 98%+ of theological problems would disappear instantly.

      1. Jerry Shaw

        Thanks for your time and excellent work. I have been reading many additional articles on this site and my question has been answered many times over. Perhaps the problem in understanding the difference between the errors in our present church’s teaching is like mine…Lack of study. Bless you
        Ever consider putting your efforts in a book form for publication?

    2. Tom Bittman

      Hi Jerry,
      One thing to always keep in mind as you study God’s word, as Don has covered here in many of his wonderful studies, is that Israel is God’s earthly nation with earthly promises waiting for an earthly kingdom where the Lord Jesus Christ will rule and reign for a thousand years as their earthly King. The church, the Body of Christ, is composed of a heavenly people with heavenly promises who are already seated in heavenly places in Christ and are just waiting for the day when Christ will return for them at the rapture and we will put off this mortal body and put on immortality.
      I don’t know if you have heard of Les Feldick. He has a long running TV program called “Through the Bible with Les Feldick” which is carried on many different TV channels. It was primarily through learning from him that the Lord really opened my eyes to understand how to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Now I study with Les and Don and I’m enjoying God’s Word more than I ever thought possible! And also, I’m not blown around by every wind of doctrine anymore and I praise our great God and Savior Jesus Christ for showing me these things!
      My fervent prayer is that everyone who truly knows Him will allow Him to open their eyes and hearts to His rightly divided truth especially as we see the day of His return quickly approaching.
      Grace and peace,

      1. Jerry Shaw

        Thanks Tom,
        I have long been a student of Les, but only recently Don. I can add Matthew Mcgee and Mike Stadler at the Bereans as excellent also.
        I seem to understand it all(really), my difficulty is in explaining it to my classes. Poor retention, I guess. But i do appreciate your taking the time to respond.

        1. Tom Bittman

          My pleasure Jerry,
          Maybe your biggest obstacle will be attempting to get your students to unlearn what they think they already know.
          I would just love to host a Bible study here at my home and use Les’ programs as a catalyst for study, discussion and fellowship. But my wife of 53 years is not a believer and until the Lord Jesus solves that dilemma it’s not possible right now, and it makes life extremely difficult on many levels. Please pray for Jo Ann.
          Thanks for the additional resources and may God bless your ministry! :-)

  60. Jack S.

    Hello Tom and Jerry,

    My day usually begins with spending time at Doctrine.Org reading articles and, assuredly, the Recent Comments posts, followed by Bible reading.

    My wife and I host a Tuesday Bible study in our home and we recently began holding a church service on Sundays in our home. I also watch the Les Feldick DVD’s and most recently have found Joel Finck, an author and Pastor. Joel’s book The Mystery can be read/downloaded at . Joel recently come out with a Mystery version for beginners that is shorter and more condensed than the original book.

    All of these sources Rightly Divide the Truth and it is refreshing to read them since we seem to be in a spiritual desert in the Boise, ID area.

  61. Carole

    Doctrine, your articles are so easy to understand. I, too, pray you will put them into a book form, both hard copy and on-line (maybe kindle). I have read many, many other teachers of correct doctrine, but yours is the most condensed and most clearly understood. They have lit the lightbulb in my mind far more often than anything I have read elsewhere.

    I also enjoy reading the questions and answers and learn so much from them. Perhaps there is a way to re-phrase no-name questions and your answers to them at the end of articles in the book.

    What a marvelous teaching tool this would be!

    Thank you.

  62. Tom Bittman

    That’s a beautiful way to start any day Jack.
    We are said to be in a spiritual oasis here in Colorado Springs but I have yet to really see it. I would love to pass out a questionnaire as people leave our Bible studies and services etc. and be able to delve deeper into what they really believe even though I suspect that it may be somewhat shocking. Talking to some of them individually has been enlightening but for the most part very disheartening. It tears at my heart sometimes to hear what some of them say. But it’s not really surprising given what is usually taught from the pulpit and/or group studies. The music is mostly funereal and the people seem to just groan along with it. There doesn’t seem to be much real joy, true heartfelt praise, or worship in spirit and in truth. Grace is sometimes casually mentioned but it doesn’t seem to be really emphasized and subsequently misunderstood. Oh, how I yearn for God’s unfathomable grace to be taught and preached in the power of His Holy Spirit! What a beautiful transformation would occur!
    I am so tired of religion. But thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ for men like Les and Don and all the other faithful teachers of God’s grace who rightly divide His Word. I believe it’s the bedrock of everything He has done for us through our faith!
    We only continue to attend there because it’s the only congregation that my wife will attend and I’m hoping that by the mercy of God she will one day hear something that will cause her to open her heart to the Lord Jesus and be saved. And occasionally God gives me the opportunity to share with someone what He has graciously shown me and that makes me happy.
    It could be discouraging to be surrounded by so much false, weak and perverted teaching, but we know that God is working all things together for our good, and He also warned us in His word about what it would be like in these last days. So we press on taking any all every opportunities to share His grace with others until He comes.

  63. victor cassar

    a very deep insighted spiritual material . No wonder we have so much seperated churches and congregations that have failed to see such truth . Paul’s baptism was a spiritual one which needed no water . But may i ask why he only baptized one person only in his life’s ministry with water?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Paul baptized more than one person (1 Corinthians 1.14-17). Paul’s mission was not to baptize but to proclaim the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24). Water baptism ended by the time of Paul’s Roman imprisonment (Ephesians 4.5).

  64. Carlton Hughes

    Great article! I too ran across Les Feldick a few years ago and have been a every since. His teaching taught me more in a few months than decades of Sunday School classes and church services. I now share this insight in the class I teach. I too prayed for the Lord to lead me to a teacher of the word that would help me in understanding His truths in a deeper and less confusing manner. It is a joy to read God’s word when the confusion is removed. Still many pastors today, well meaning pastors, continue to confuse the masses by mixing law and grace. They do not understand Paul’s unique apostleship to the Gentiles. I now enjoy reading my Bible more than ever. I truly believe He lead me to Mr. Feldick.

    1. tracy hubly

      Yay I just ran across Len Feldick too. He is awesome in the Lord love it I believe the Lord led me to him as well. My spirit agrees with his spirit

  65. Roberto

    We get into a bother when there is no reason for it, sometimes. What Apostle Paul wrote & taught will never contradict what Jesus our Lord taught. It all lines up and Paul was given the fuller revelation of it. He was given a thorn in the flesh “because of the abundance of revelations given me” , he said. He was buffetted by Satan as the Lord Himself permitted as was told by the Lord “My Grace is sufficient”. Apostle Paul was persecuted beyond what is really humanly possible to be without dying from them. He lived the supernatural.

    However, I believe the Lord Jesus alluded in His ministry on earth to all the revelations & mysteries Paul was given in one form or another & certainly in action on the Cross.
    As Paul himself mentioned in Corinthians that he was building only on the foundation already laid, Jesus Himself.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      You are correct that what Paul wrote does not contradict with what our Lord taught. But I think you are thinking of His earthly ministry. What Paul taught was what the Lord taught from His heavenly ministry. The Lord made no allusion to the Church, the rapture, the blinding of Israel, the gospel of salvation by faith alone, etc. in His earthly ministry. He ministered to Israel under the Mosaic Law. Paul taught that believers are not under the Law, but under grace. This is an entire different and new program.

      1. Roberto

        I agree with what you teach Doctrine.
        I believe those denying the bodily pre-trib rapture border on the sin of even perhaps denying the Faith & the Lord that bought them, when they should know better.
        But, you better check again….The Gospels clearly teach about the Bride & the Bridegroom….(Jesus’ comments in relation to fasting)?
        Jesus said
        “On this rock I will build my Church & the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”?
        Jesus taught revelation knowledge as Paul did. He used parables deliberately to veil hidden knowledge.
        He said;
        “In My Fathers house are many mansions”?
        “With the baptism that I will be baptised you will also be Baptised”?
        Etc etc.
        He said in His eschatalogical teaching “Pray & Watch that you may be counted worthy to escape ALLthese things”…. Which was a preamble of sorts about the coming formation of the Church..
        I believe He said here escape ALL these things i.e. In the tribulation.. Ref also Revel 3:10.

        That the Disciples were somewhat slow to catch on to many things He taught, that Israel didnt recieve Him, yes, but Jesus taught with the Church in mind aswell. One other thing is that Paul taught that the Gospel was preached to Abraham….& this was Pre The Cross.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Jesus ministered to Jews. He did not have a ministry to Gentiles. The Church did not exist. The Church is the body of Christ in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. Jesus commanded His disciples NOT to go to Gentiles (Matthew 10.5-6). He told the Canaanite woman, a Gentile, He was sent only to Israel (Matthew 15.24). If Jew and Gentile were equal the Lord would have ministered to Gentiles and would not have COMMANDED His disciples NOT to go to them. Nothing in the Gospels is written to the Church. The gospels are Old Testament and concern God’s covenant promises and earthly kingdom to Israel (Romans 15.8). Throughout the Scriptures Israel is the wife/bride of Christ. See my article, the Bride of Christ.

          1. Roberto

            Its interesting isnt it..?
            You present good arguments however the Gospel was preached to Abraham beforehand, Pauls revelation is that Faith (As Abraham showed in The Promise) came before the Law did & that this ‘previous’ Covenant Could Not be Anulled by Moses’ Law which was subsequent. Jesus came and preached to His house first however they rejected Him as He preached repentance & faith in Himself, a stumbiling block for the Jews as a Nation at His time who were holding on to the Law & to this point in time.

            Paul also taught that we (the Gentiles) have been grafted in to the True Olive tree by Faith in Jesus. The Old testament saints looked forward to the Cross, we who have believed look back to the Cross.

            The Gentiles were without God, Doctrine, “Aliens from the Common wealth of Israel; Stangers from the Covenants of Promise” that belonged to Israel Alone,
            (Eph: 2:12)

            “But Now in Christ we have been brought near by His Blood” (Eph: 2:13)

            Paul even warns that as we were grafted in we must take care as we could be broken off.

            The true Olive Tree is Israel & the Jews..(This is taught by Paul in Romans chpt 11) However its in the Context of Salvation by Grace through Faith which has always existed as long as God had given Promises, which He did to Abraham. Abraham believed the Promise given Him & this was 430 years before the Law!

            We follow in the steps of Abrahams Faith in the Promise (Those of the Promise are counted (reckoned) As Seed not those of the Law.

            God imputes righteousness and Fully
            Justifies Jew & Gentile alike
            On the same principle of Faith through Grace for both, there is no distinction.

            Paul taught that if any Jew is broken off from the True Olive Tree then it is because of unbelief, nothing else.

            This is what Jesus preached as well.
            “only believe” “believe on the one that
            The Father has sent” etc etc.

            This Faith that saves is Gods gift so Paul admonishes against self-righteousness as it stems from a presumptuousness that we have somehow merited our salvation.

            God Bless.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Please see my article, The Gospel. The “gospel” has changed over time. Abel was saved because he brought a blood sacrifice to God. Cain refused. Abraham was saved by faith alone but his faith was not believing Christ would die for his sins and rise from the dead but believing what God told him: that he would be the father of countless descendants (Genesis 15.5-6). A Jew of David’s day was saved by believing the animal sacrifices covered his sins and keeping the Law. Jews were saved in Jesus’ day by believing He was the Christ, the Son of God, keeping the Law, and water baptism. From Paul we learn that we are saved by believing Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-5). No one understood salvation by faith alone until God revealed it to Paul who revealed it to us. See my article, Faith vs. Works in James: Resolving the Problem. The Jews at the Jerusalem Council had no understanding of this (Acts 15.1, 5), hence their quarrel with Paul. See my article, The Great Hinge. The content of the message of salvation has changed over time depending on what God has revealed. The Olive Tree is not Israel, it is God’s program of blessing. God is the root who blessed Israel the natural branches. They have been broken off temporarily and Gentiles, wild branches, have been grafted into God’s place of blessing. See my article, The Olive Tree. Grace and peace.

              1. Roberto

                I appreciate you Doctrine, I really do…You r spot on on the Rapture or catching away of the church and many other teachings,
                You wrote: “Abraham was saved by faith alone but his faith was not believing Christ would die for his sins and rise from the dead but believing what God told him: that he would be the father of countless descendants (Genesis 15.5-6).”
                Paul The great Apostle clearly taught that The GOSPEL (theres only ONE GOSPEL) quoting Apostle Paul from Galatians. You know this Doctrine…?
                That the Gospel was preached to Abraham by the Lord Himself before, God foreseeing that He would eventually also Justify the Gentiles by Faith, apart from the Law.
                Hence Pauls calling and commission to go to the Gentiles.
                There were glimpses of this in the old testament, Rahab, Ruth etc
                The Great Apostle Paul taught all the Churches that this made Abraham the father of us all in terms of Justifying Faith.
                Theres only one Gospel of Grace through Faith through time immemorial.
                It would be irresponsible of God to not have had it so.
                This is Apostle Pauls argument in Romans Chpt 3 & 4… This is sort of basic. Because the Promise given to Abraham was the Same given to the Church now.
                Galatians chpt 3, “So that the Blessing of Abraham might come upon the GENTILES through Christ JESUS.”
                That Abraham had to wait some time before actually ‘legally’ being born again, Granted, yes he probably did & Jesus went to Paradise to tell them that full remission had been accomplished once for all through His own blood & probably breathed this breath of life on them & took them home to heaven (leading Captivity Captive)
                But Abraham already believed this & was just waiting for its fulfillment In everything else Abraham was Blessed. The Spirit came on him to accomplish the promise But this was on the basis of the Death & Ressurection of the promised Messiah, Gods Own Son. Abraham understood all this…..
                Apostle Pauls revelation given to him was that when Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac, the Son of Promise, Paul states in the book of Hebrews that Abraham understood what the Lord was going to have to do…? Thats why Abrahams Faith was so solid.
                God in turn would have to send His only Begotten Son Jesus to earth in a human body! To Die For Our Sins & be raised from the dead!
                Abraham not only ‘saw’ this revealed to Him from the Lord, but because of this Abraham understood that God would have raise Isaac again from the dead bodily if he was sacrificed. Abraham knew God & that He could not lie.
                Abraham therefore saw the sacrificial Spotless Lamb of God that God would eventually send..!
                Abraham said, “God would provide for Himself a Lamb..” (I.e. Worthy enough to die on behalf of Us)
                God allowed Avraham to see into the future, but to Abraham & to God it was as good as Done. This was his Faith & that thru Grace…
                In other words, if the Promise given to Abraham was to eventuate fully starting with Isaac of course (i.e. Become The Father of many Nations) Notice its Nations, not only Jews! Then Abraham understood that God would have to Send His only Begotten Son to die for Our Sin (The Sin of Adam) if the Promise was to come to full fruition & Paul bears out in his teachings that Abraham understood that God too would resurrect His own Son from the dead, bringing Life. Abraham saw this spiritually in type because the Lord showed him in his obedience. This was on mount Moriah Doctrine…?
                Abraham in other words understood the GOSPEL, Doctrine…
                Abraham understood;
                Its Promise by The Spirit, he understood the need for a Spotless sacrifice for Sin(the Sin of Adam passed on & death). He understood that God was going to do this As it was asked Of him (in type) with Isaac his only begotten on Mt Moriah, Doctrine..
                He understood God would raise Him from the dead.
                Wow Im surprised, read Romans Chpt 4…..
                Because of his faith God Justified Abraham with imputed righteousness. All that needed to happen is for God to do it in truth through Jesus, but God had showed Abraham already. Abraham believed this as the foundation for the promise given him that he would be the father of an innumerable multitude both naturally & spritually because of his Seed, Christ the Messiah.
                How else would a 100 year old man & his wife of 90 years be able to start procreating again?? The Spirit of God came on them every which way…
                Eternal Life through faith in Jesus(Messiah). Faith in His spotless blood. The Blessing of Abraham includes the born again experience (Eternal life in Christ Jesus & the baptism of the Holy Spirit) While else would Paul teach this….????
                All Gods sacrifices in the sacrificial Law system pointed to Christ the Messiah for the forgiveness of Sins & Eternal Life. The Jews could have appropriated this reality by faith as Abraham did even under the Old Covenant. Many did and these believers comprised the Old Testament Saints which Jesus lead away captive from Paradise to Heaven when He eventually accomplished & purchased redemption, remission of Sins. But these Saints had already appropriated this through Faith. Abraham, David, the prophets etc.
                The sacrifices themselves couldnt save But what they meant and pointed to Did absolutely. They All Pointec to Jesus.
                They were sacrifices signalled By The Lord & everything had to be Perfect as the Lord commanded Moses. The perfection pointed to Gods own Son who would eventually fulfill the Law while on earth & then go to the Cross because the Law demanded a Perfect Sacrifice. Had Christ failed in his earthly Ministry He would be disqualified from going to the Cross to accomplish full remission of Sins under the Law for Us. But He didnt Thank God, Jesus made it for Us.
                My prayer is you see this.
                God Bless.

                1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

                  The gospel of salvation by faith alone, believing Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead was unknown before Paul. How do I know this? I know it because the Bible says so. The reason believers and the 12 at the Council of Jerusalem had problems with Paul’s gospel is because they did not know Paul’s gospel. Read Acts 15.1, 5. These men were saved. But they told Paul that his converts, who had believed his gospel, were not saved. They said they had to be circumcised and keep the Law to be saved. In other words, works. If Paul’s gospel was the only gospel they would never had said this. To deny this is to say the 12 were not saved. Jesus never taught anyone to believe in His death and resurrection for salvation in His earthly ministry. The 12 had no understanding of it even when he told them this was what was going to happen (Luke 18.31-34). They had no clue He would rise from the dead (John 20.8-9). Lastly, Paul explicitly stated his gospel was a secret (Romans 15.25; Ephesians 6.19). The word “secret” is μυστήριον which means a secret. A secret is something unknown. Men have always been saved by faith. But the content of the gospel has changed according to what God has revealed. One cannot believe something he doesn’t know. If God told you to be saved you had to do 3 jumping jacks, faith would respond by doing 3 jumping jacks. Faith is believing what God had revealed. Faith is obedience to what God has said. Mark wrote that salvation required water baptism (Mark 1.4, 16.16). Peter said the same thing at Pentecost (Acts 2.36-38). Thus, we have two choices: 1) God is a liar and the Bible is full of contradictions or 2) The gospel the Lord revealed to Paul was unknown before Paul and Paul was the first to proclaim it. I have chosen #2. Grace and peace.

  66. Joe

    Doctrine, I don’t know how you do it. It must be so frustrating. You answer the same questions over and over. I would be pulling my hair out. You are doing a great service for us and I certainly appreciate it. If you were to hang a shingle up on your site that says you are taking a few days off we’d understand.

    Thank you,

    (the real) Joe

  67. Matthew

    I agree with Joe! Thanks for your faithfulness to the Word and your patience in dealing with those that either don’t want to see or can’t see. I enjoy the articless as well as your answering of all the questions.

  68. Roberto

    I love you in Jesus Doctrine, ur website is awesome, Keep proclaiming Jesus as ur doing, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this point.

    I can only leave scripture to speak for itself;

    ROMANS CHPT 1:1-4
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
    2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
    3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
    4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”

    Hebrews 4:2
    “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith”

    ” They” in above verse were the people under the Old Covenant.

    So the Gospel of Jesus Messiah who was to die & rise again was preached beforehand; that some didnt understand or comprehend what was to eventuate is another thing.
    That the Gentiles were going to be included and Grafted In is another thing aswell.
    Gods heart was always to bring Jew & Gentile together as One in Christ Jesus, thats why Grace & Faith were always the prerequistes.

    Peace & Blessings to you aswell

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      I have answered these objections many times. The problem with objectors is no one can answer the many, many Scriptural passages which testify that Paul proclaimed a gospel previously unrevealed. Paul’s point in Romans 1 was the gospel was the promise a Messiah would come to solve man’s sin problem. Did the prophets understand it? Absolutely not! They had no clue. Many prophecies and promises were given that were not understood. Genesis 3.15 was not understood but was a promise. Isaiah 53 was a promise but not understood. That is why the Ethopian eunuch asked Philip who was being discussed (Acts 8). In Hebrews, Paul was speaking as a Jew of the gospel of the kingdom. That was the gospel proclaimed in Christ’s earthly ministry and what the 12 proclaimed. Galatians 2.7 is another proof–the gospel of the Jews and the gospel of the Gentiles. How many gospels are in this verse? Not one, two. Here’s a simple challenge: can you find a single case where the Lord or any of the 12 declared Christ would die for our sins and rise from the dead and that by believing this one would obtain salvation? Even John 3.16 doesn’t say this. You can look from now until the Lord comes and you won’t find it. It’s not in your Bible. Why? Because Paul declared the gospel he preached was unknown before him. Something is not known and unknown. A is not non-A. Roberto, you have a choice. Scripture or tradition? Grace and peace.

      1. Roberto

        Hi again, these discussions are great! I enjoy them.

        Your arguments are fair enough, however I feel you are drawing a bit of a fine line Doctrine. What you propose in this particular instance is a ‘stretch’ as we say in Australia.

        I believe Paul was given a deeper & clearer revelation of what the
        Gospel is. Most would agree with this on balance. But the Gospel was Gods plan since before the foundation of the world? Paul revealed clearly our identification with Christ on the Cross & in resurrection for believers.

        In this we see Gods Attributes especially His Omniscience & Foreknowledge.

        Theres no doubt Jews were looking for the establishment of an earthly Jewish Kingdom in every sense of the word. They all knew the way that their forebears had made great stands against other earthly kingdoms. The valiant stand against the Romans at Mesada etc etc. King Davids & Solomons Kingdoms.

        However, they were mistaken in the way this would come about. (Its not by might but by my Spirit says the Lord); ( “Those that live by the sword die by the sword” declared Our Lord)
        (“the Just shall live by faith” Hab 2:4 from where Apostle Paul quotes from)
        Their own prophets such as Isaiah in Chpts 52-53 ( the gospel in the O.T.) & Jeremiah Declared a New Covenant would come to provide Righteousness in the heart.

        Ezekiel declared that by Gods Spirit the Stony heart would be taken out & exchanged for a soft pliant heart of flesh sensitive to the Spirit of God in conversion.

        This was thousands of years before Christ & Paul, yet it spoke of the New Covenant to come of which we believers have become beneficiaries.

        The Jews (all bar the remnant) still look for a homeland on earth which they have now and the reestablishment of their physical Temple worship.

        Believers in Christ look for and many O.T. Saints looked for a City whose builder and maker was God Himself. They were sojourners in the earth. The earth was not worthy of them. This was the case with the early Church as many were persecuted and martyred for Christ having forsaken Ceasar & the Roman Kingdom.

        The whole point about the New Covenant is that there will be the establishment of Gods Kingdom on earth for 1000 years after the tribulation but it will be one established on Heavens order with Christ the Messiah as King.

        In other words the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven IN ESSENCE are one and the same thing. As the relationship between soul and spirit is in man so are these Both Eternal, Distinguishable but not Divisable. Kingdom Righteousness must prevail in both. And there is only One True Righteousness, that of Faith in Christ Jesus & So Entrance into them.

        Only the Righteousness of Jesus will matter in Heaven & the “Kingdom”

        Jesus made the Good Confession before Pontius Pilot as Paul wrote to Timothy his son in the Gospel. If you have a look at what that Good Confession is Its where Jesus said to Pilot;

        “My Kingdom is Not of This World” when He was asked “Are you the King of the Jews “?

        Jesus knew that both Jew & Gentile were caught up and entrapped by their blind needs to have and follow a kingdom of the earth established according to their dictates and ideologies.

        So in short Im saying that the Kingdom of God & The Kingdom of Heaven are in essence synonymous.

        The Kingdom of God that will be established on earth for 1000 years one day will have as its core values those of Heaven.

        Jews generally and even the disciples mistook Jesus’ call to “repent and believe, For the Kingdom of God is at hand” as a physical earthly Kingdom like they had with King David & King Solomon.

        Paul used “Kingdom” “Kingdom of God”conservatively yes but he still used the term. Pauls concern was to preach the Righteousness of Christ by Faith and not any other as the condition of entrance into the Kingdom. The fact that its Gods & therefore of Heaven was understood.

        The futurity of the kingdom (the Kingdom to Come) is stated explicitly on several occasions by Paul;

        For examaple, in 1 Thess 2:12 Paul stated, “We encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory”

        With 2 Thess 1:5 Paul declared, “It is a clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you are also suffering”

        1 Cor 15:5
        “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption”

        Here Paul goes on to explain that basically believers in Christ must make the rapture and attain the Glorified Body for entrance into Gods Kingdom, an Eternal Kingdom. For the earthly Flesh & Blood body will not be able to enter. Paul ties all this in, in his other letters with that our Faith in Christ makes Us one with Christ ref, Rom chpt 6.

        Our oneness with Christ makes Us His bride if we continue steadfastly. Our oneness makes Us His own body on earth & hence entrance into the heavenly kingdom which one day will reign on earth. Paul teaches that while our bodies are still in an unglorified state we are nevertheless to believe this, and hence lay hold on Eternal Life.

        Be Blessed.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          I am not drawing a fine line. I am drawing a fundamental line. The word μυστήριον means a secret. A secret is something unknown. It is not a “deeper & clearer understanding” but something completely unknown beforehand. Most of what Paul taught was unknown by the prophets and unrevealed by Jesus in His earthly ministry. We have become so accustomed to reading Paul into the gospels and vice-versa that it is hard to see that the things Paul taught were completely unknown before. Paul explicitly stated his gospel was unknown (Romans 16.25; Ephesians 6.19). If words mean anything we have to accept this. Read Romans and ask where these things were taught in the OT or gospels, e.g., the gospel Christ died for our sins, salvation by faith alone, identification in Christ’s death, identification in Christ’s resurrection, explanation of being “in Adam,” the war between the new nature and the old, the body of Christ, etc. Try to find these truths in the prophets or in the gospels. They are not there. They were kept secret. This is fundamental, basic theology. Unless one understands these things sound theology cannot be constructed. Grace and peace.

  69. Roberto

    Agreed but its not another Gospel Doctrine, theres only one Gospel whether its the Gospel of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven? “This Gospel of the Kingdom” is the same as the ” My Gospel” that Paul preached.

    People will be confused & alienated otherwise.

    Prior to the 7 seals being Released in Revelations, Apostle John writes in Chpt 5 that he saw a Lamb In the midst of the throne of God & the elders as if it had been slain.
    This was all prefigured in the O.T. – The Old testament saints understood this.

    The Sanhedran, the pharasees & saduccees didnt understand this & Jesus confronted them many times.

    Pauls understanding was that Christ as Messiah was going to be the Head of all of it for Jew & Gentile alike, that there was no distinction. And Paul warned That Gentiles should not be highminded because they stood by faith in Christ, since he knew “Salvation is of the Jews”.

    Theres only one way to be saved. Thats through Faith in Christ Jesus by Grace. This afords Jew & Gentile the Righteousness of Christ dhould they believe the Gospel message, Romans Chpt 1-2

    The events in the Tribulation, aka, Jacobs Trouble & Daniels 70th week, will bring the Jews to repentance so as to be saved. God will do this to make them understand that the Messiah they looked for all this time was in fact Jesus(Yeshua) whom they crucified.

    God will do this out of Love for Jesus’ sake & the sake of the fathers, Abraham Isaac & Jacob.

    The Church is in a priviliged position because it knows all this and is saved because it knows this.

    However Pauls important point is that their (the Jews) time will come & that current believers especially Gentile believers should appreciate this as part of our Faith on which we think we stand.

    Zechariah 12:10
    “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

    The O.T. Is the New Testament Concealed (Foretold by The Lords Holy prophets)
    The N.T. Is the Old Testament revealed as mainly taught by Apostle Paul.

    Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel all foretold of the New Covenant to Come, where it is entered in by Faith in Messiah(Christ) because of Gods Grace.

    Thanks Doctrine.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of the grace of God were different gospels. Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) was unknown before Paul. John, Jesus, and Peter did not proclaim it. Even at Pentecost, after the Lord rose from the dead, Peter made no mention of it. He told the Jews to repent and be baptized with water (Acts 2.36-38). Water baptism was required for salvation in the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 1.4, 16.16). The way people were saved under the gospel of the kingdom was to believe Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16.16; John 11.27). Belief was in His identify, not in His work. They did not understand anything about Christ’s death on the cross and rising from the dead (Luke 18.31-34; John 20.9). Paul declared his gospel was a secret (Romans 16.25; Ephesians 6.19). A secret is something unknown. Had the 12 understood Paul’s gospel they would not have had the controversy at the Council of Jerusalem and Peter would have not said the words he said in Acts 15.11 (see my article, The Great Hinge). When he spoke those words the gospel of the kingdom ended. So we have a new, fundamentally different program beginning with Paul. We call it Christianity.

  70. Roberto

    How r u Doctrine..?

    The Jews are not exempt from being saved the same way as Gentiles.
    Apostle Paul taught that there is no distinction between these two groups.

    All have fallen short of the Glory of God, whether its the Jews & the Law
    Bringing knowledge of Sin, or the Gentiles without the Law but having their consciences accusing or excusing their actions.

    Apostle Paul states that there is not one righteous and as such the only possible way for Salvation for anyone is By Gods sheer unmerited Grace through faith in Christ (Messiah) who grants His own righteousness for believers.

    No one is saved by works of law or any other form of sacrament such as water baptism.
    What they point to and figure does, which is Christ Atoning for sin and or our identification in His death burial & resurrection.

    This is Pauls great argument with his own countrymen who harrassed & persecuted him because he preached the message of the Cross of Christ. Of faith in Christ Alone. This is the good news of the Gospel.

    Theres no point in sacraments or sacrifices unless accompanied by repentance from sin & faith & belief in Christ (Messiah). This is what all the Apostles taught.

    Faith is birthed in the heart by the Holy Spirit who applies the work of Christ on the Cross to our lives. The Holy Spirit convicts of Sin(unbelief), righteousness(the need for it) & Judgement(Death & then the Judgement)

    The fact that Gods Eternal plan for Salvation was revealed progressively to man in history by God, doesnt change the fact that its always been by Grace through faith in Christ(Messiah) for Jew & Gentile since before time began. (Eph 1:4).

    Be Blessed

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      All this is true but it was not known until Paul. It was Paul who taught no difference in Jew and Gentile. You will not find this in Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew 10.5-6, 15.24) and Peter did not teach it. Peter would not have gone to Cornelius’ house except by direct command from the Lord. He addressed Jews only at Pentecost. He certainly did not believe there was no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Not until Paul was this revealed. Paul’s doctrines were fundamentally different from those of the 12. They were apostles of Israel. Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles. Two separate, distinct programs. Salvation by faith alone was unknown before Paul and we have many verses that prove this. How much clearer can such passages as Mark 1.4, 16.16; Acts 2.36-38, 22.16 that water baptism was required for salvation? Do words mean anything? Grace and peace.

  71. Roberto

    Hi Doctrine,

    The REPENTANCE & FAITH accompanying “water baptism” Saves, not the “baptism”.
    Eph 2:8

    Romans chpt 6, teaches what you are trying to explain Doctrine. Here Paul states in Rom 6:17 “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”

    Its from the heart that you believe This great “Baptism”, because then we experience the Resurrection power of Christ, which will culminate at the Rapture. But for the time being His power still works Mightily in Us as we yeild to this.

    This is in essence the preaching of The Cross.

    The revelation recieved by Apostle Paul here was that “Baptism” was that work done by God Alone including all humanity In Christ due to His Death on the Cross which was Christs Humility in Identifying with lost humanity. ROM Chpt 6:3-4

    Im quoting the KJV but NIV has the tense correct, It was All
    Done by God on The Cross & therefore was a sheer act of Grace on Gods part!

    Its a One Time Event Done by God to include Humanity into Christ on The Cross.

    You can also say that the showing of Faith in This is also a “Baptism” as Faith causes us to experience this in the present and actually be incorporated into the Body of Christ.
    Very important, other you will not experience this and leave off Sin to be Saved.

    This “Baptism into His Death” however, which all were included into, was Christ identifying with Us to the uttermost, so that being now “Baptised” into His death anyone can be also Included in His resurrection upon a Faith response in Christ, apart from water baptism or any other sacrament or work, work of law.

    “Baptism” was that Work of God In Christ taking Us out of Adams identification & Planting Us with Christ at the Cross (Making Christ Now The Federal Head of Mankind)
    This is a Mystery as its Gods Work alone, we only recieve this reconciliation by Faith.

    Apostle Paul broke it all down in Romans Chpt 6, “Baptism” made Christ One with Humanity in our Death(separation from God) at a single point in time.

    God took humanity out of Adam at that Point in Time. This is Grace.

    Therefore God accepted the persons showing Faith in Messiah in the past, before the Cross. I believe He still does but has to work with people to get across to them that this Messiah already came and suffered the penalty for Sin also & accept that too as part of the deal to be saved, which He can do.

    No doubt the Church is in a very priviliged position because of Apostle Pauls teaching.

    “Baptism” therefore is a melding into one in essence & experience & goes to the core of our character.

    Its not so much the dipping into as the melding of essence of Character, so that as we knew the experience in Adam we can now know the experience in Christ!

    Believers come into the experience of Christ in every way. It extricates Us from Adams reality, Our former Federal Head. All this Work was Gods in Christ & is by Grace & anyone can experience it (Salvation) by a Faith response in this(i.e. Repentance)
    “I want to come out of Adams Order, Into Christs reality”

    This is being “Born Again” & Being Born if the Spirit.

    “Water Baptism” is just an outward demonstration in obedience to this truth.
    If this preaching doesnt accompany water baptism, its doubtful in & of itself that it will do anything. Its just religion without expecting A Fundamental Character Change. (Repentance & Faith). Sometimes this can occur in the water baptism IF the truth of the teaching is there & was recieved & Gods Spirit is moving. You cannot limit God.

    Be Blessed.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The problem here is you are reading Pauline doctrine into the gospels. Read Mark 1.4, 16.16, Acts 2.36-38, 22.16. These verses flatly state water baptism was required for salvation. The Church is not Israel. We operate under different rules. Paul made it clear in Ephesians 4.5 that only one baptism exists–baptism of the Holy Spirit. Romans 6 has no water. Romans 6 has to do with our identification with Christ and an aspect of being a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthian 12.13). It is spiritual baptism. No Scripture teaches water baptism is “obedience” to this reality. That is tradition and myth. The exercise of water baptism is no longer legitimate Christian practice. Churches continue to practice it because of tradition, not because of the Scriptures. I would urge you to read the Scriptures and not go by tradition. What has happened in Christendom, is what happened to Judaism in Jesus’ day. The scribes, Pharisees, etc., made rules beyond the Scriptures. This was one of the chief areas of conflict of the Lord with them. Men’s rules and traditions have overridden the Scriptures. Grace and peace.

  72. Roberto

    Hi Doctrine,
    With due respect to you & others who might be reading.
    What Scripture declares unequivocally, was known & preordained, purposed by God before the foundation of the World.
    This mystery was that God would bring together All things, in time by Christ Jesus.
    It included the Grafting in of the Gentiles to Israel to its blessings Spiritual & physical.
    This could not happen until Christ fulfilled all things Including All the Law!
    The Law excluded Gentiles as the Blessings were through Abraham & to his lineage & natural Israel. (Entrance by Circumcision & being born into one of the Tribes of Israel etc).
    This is what the Jews made a big deal of, especially the Pharasees, Sadducees & Sanhedrin.
    Surely you have read in the Gospel of John how Jesus confronted them?
    And how they were ready to pick up stones many times to kill Jesus.
    But God had already purposed Christ, Abrahams SEED & In Him This Wall of Separation was taken away on the Cross.
    This made the two opposed groups Now One in Christ by Grace through Faith.
    This is what was foretold by the Prophets in Part, until Apostle Paul was Commissioned……..
    This is The Gospel in Christ & Gives Gentiles that believe Access hitherto Not Possible Until Jesus Came.
    Gentiles were total strangers to the Covenants of Promise, with God (Adonai, Elohim, Jehova), unlike natural Israel.
    The full revelation was given to Apostle Paul to preach.
    However it is One Gospel & One Kingdom in Christ. The Kingdom of His dear Son. (Col 1:13)
    The error you make is to somehow say that because a full revelation was given to Paul, that this makes what he preaches another Gospel, which is not true.
    There is only One Gospel of Jesus Christ(Messiah). Totally Prefigured In Type & Shadow in the Old Testament.
    This is foundational.
    This is The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. Entrance into it is by having your sins forgiven through Faith in Christ(Messiah).
    God has given this revelation to man progressively, to assure Christs Lineage & birth into this world. That cannot & doesnt change the fact that Salvation & entrance into the Kingdom of God/Heaven is & was always by Grace through Faith in Jesus(Messiah) & that God had preordained it so since before time.
    Faithful Old Testament Saints had their Sins Forgiven because the Cross of Messiah was prefigured to happen in these previous COVENANTS given by Almighty God!
    Faithful New Testament Saints have sins forgiven, even remitted, Because the Cross of Christ did happen.
    Nothing was possible without the Cross of Christ being Promised by God in times past or the Cross of Christ having happened for Us now.
    It was always one Gospel despite The Various Covenants given by God Himself Because the Gospel was Prefigured & weaved into the Covenants by God until the NEW finally came.
    To try and claim that due to this there was therefore more than one gospel until Paul’s is just false. Then how could Old Testament Saints go to heaven & be Saved…..Whom Jesus lead this group to Heaven Himself at His resurrection/ ascendion?
    1 Peter 1:20 “He (Christ) was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake”
    Eph 3:2-6 “2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
    Eph 1:4-5 “4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance”
    Be Blessed.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      God has always known what He was going to do and how He was going to do it. But He has revealed His plan progressively. The OT prophesied Gentiles would be blessed through Israel. But no one knew about the Church, the body of Christ, until Paul. It is not in the OT, not in the Gospels, not in Peter’s sermons in Acts. There is not a single word in the OT or gospels or Peter’s sermons about making Jews and Gentiles equal in Christ. Paul stated this was a μυστήριον. A μυστήριον is a secret. A secret is a secret. A is not non-A. Something cannot be known and not known at the same time. Paul stated his gospel was a secret (Romans 16.25; Ephesians 6.19). We know there was more than one gospel because the Scriptures explicitly state there were (Galatians 2.7-9). John the Baptist, Jesus, the 12 proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom. This gospel was that Jesus of Nazareth was the King, the Son of God. That is what people had to believe for salvation. Paul’s gospel is Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. That is what one has to believe today for salvation. These are two different gospels. Had there only been one gospel Paul would not have had his argument with the 12 in Acts 15. The Jewish believers in the Council taught Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Law for salvation. Two gospels. At the end of the Council there was one gospel: Paul’s gospel (Acts 15.11). See my article, The Great Hinge. Let’s have no more talk that Paul’s secrets were not secrets, that they were always known, or that there has always been only one gospel. Such arguments are not Biblical and those who argue for this oppose God and His revelation. Grace and peace.

  73. Roberto

    Hi Doctrine,

    You fall into error trying to claim a two gospel theory.

    God always looked at the heart with respect to past Covenants He made.

    He is the same whatever revelation man may recieve & accepts persons when there is true repentance & faith in Him to remove or cover Sin.

    The previous Covenants were not other gospels. They were Covenants where the Gospel was Prefigured in Type & Shadow, such that when obedience was adhered to God Forgave & Covered Sin & imputed His righteousness.

    Repentance, Faith, Imputed Righteousness remain the Only ways that God could & can now save anyone. The fact that we have a full revelation thanks to Paul of Messiah Jesus cant change this fact.

    Christ was always interwoven & weaved into all Gods Covenants Since Adam. Thats why He could Forgive Sin….???????????

    God Himself saw into the future in time & saw that He would send Messiah as suffering servant FIRST, to Die For Us on the Cross, before He would come again as Conquering King at the Second coming.

    Very elementary theology.

    Hope u r Blessed.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Please tell me what Adam believed to be saved? What did Abraham believe? What did David believe? Please provide Scriptures from the OT to support your answer.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Throughout the OT was the promise of God blessing Gentiles through Israel. But Israel refused to repent and fulfill that role. Paul became “proxy Israel” in his commission as apostle of the Gentiles. This is what he meant in being untimely born in 1 Corinthians 15.8 and ministering as a priest (Romans 15.16). Israel will fulfill the prophecy after it repents in the Millennium (Zechariah 8.20-23). Every Jew will become a priest in the kingdom (Exodus 19.6).

  74. Vanessa

    Good Morning All, Don just a quick update. We are still in the race and enjoy every moment of studying the word. Oh how we thank and praise God daily for our salvation and for you and your constant love you show the Brethren via your site. There is never a day that we don’t log on and read peoples comments and your articles. Its the only fellowship we have really. In addition we have just received a book from the States ‘The Bible Believers Guide To Dispensationalism” written by David E Wakler so we are looking forward in reading it soon. Vernon grows weaker but we understand “All Things work together for good.” We pray for the rapture hoping he will escape the taste of death. May you be blessed and I encourgae you to keep strong when you get rude and nasty replies from the Brethren who often are the first ones to hurt us. Take care and to your readers who are in the States we pray for your country as you go through dark days with whats happening and especially through these clown like elections. xxx

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. You and Vernon are in my prayers. May the Lord continue to enlighten in the Scriptures and in the blessed hope of His soon return.

  75. Jack S. Meridian, ID

    Brother Al,

    You have 2 choices: stick with your denomination and tradition, or, stick to the scripture.

    I know that it it very difficult to admit that one has been wrong about a position for 40 years and then admit their error and embrace the Truth, but that happens on this website on a regular basis.

    Like MOST of the people who read this website, we were originally part of the Covenant Theology/Replacement Theology that is predominate in modern Christendom. Through Bible study and the Holy Spirit, and the blessing of websites like,
    we have “heard” the Truth. Join us! Better late than never.

    Amazingly, the Bible will spring forth as a straight forward, understandable, God Breathed, Word of God distinguishing between Prophesy and Mystery. If one does not Rightly Divide the word as in 2 Tim 2:15, the Bible will be a source of contradiction and confusion.

  76. Roberto

    Hi All

    I read with interest as well, you can never stop learning thats for sure.

    Many find it hard to come to terms with the Apostle’s encouragements & exhortations to Holy & Righteous living on the basis of Christs work on the Cross.

    You need ask yourselves a few good questions.

    How is it that a Holy Righteous God is able to Justly pardon, forgive & remitt Sin? To be able to show Mercy to a sinner when His Justice & Righteous character deems that He actually punish Sin & the sinner?

    This is the basis for Apostles Pauls conclusions found in Romans chpts 1-3.

    If these questions are not reconciled within us then you will be forever trying to arrive at Truth & the Cross will be a distant, even irrelevant event that happened(thank God it did), but to be forgotten about rather than embraced daily in our walk. The Apostle Paul definately didnt teach this but even mentioned that some im his time were “enemies of The Cross”

    Good day to you all

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      I do not understand what you have written. Are you saying Paul did not address how God can forgive sinful man? Is there a reason you do not answer the questions I asked earlier: What did Adam believe to be saved? What did Abraham believe? What did David believe? Please provide Scriptures from the OT to support your answer.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Paul definitely embraced the cross. See my article, The Preaching of the Cross. Paul taught what he received from the risen Lord. The doctrines Christ gave Paul were much different from what He had taught in His earthly ministry. Christ’s earthly ministry was to Jews, not Gentiles. His ministry concerned Israel, not Gentiles (Matthew 10.5-6, 15.23-24; Romans 15.8). See my article, Jesus vs. Paul for some of these differences. The glorified Lord commissioned Paul to the the apostle of the Gentiles. It was through the teachings the Lord gave Paul that the Church came into existence and through Paul that we have the doctrines of Christianity.

  77. Roberto

    Hi Don,

    Apostle Paul simply was revealed the full plan, that was already decided from before the beginning by the GodHead.

    This is the awsome God we serve.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Yes, God knew all along Israel would reject the Messiah and that He would commission Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles to reveal the Church, the body of Christ. What is important in interpretation is to understand what and when God revealed things. Thus, the Church was unknown by the prophets and kept hidden by Jesus in His earthly ministry. Not until God commissioned Paul did He reveal the Church and the doctrines we call Christianity, which Paul called “secrets.” Paul’s great statement regarding God’s plan and timing is Romans 11.33-36.

  78. Roberto

    Hi Don,

    Its not so much that the Church was unknown or not.

    Obviously it was not around since after the Cross & after Pentecost, but the Prophets Foretold the Church.
    Prophecy most always has a present & future meaning.

    Israel therefore were meant to even go to the Nations (Israel had the Covenants with YWHY). They failed but nevertheless it was Gods will they be that Light. It was not a lie. What then if they fulfilled it?

    The foundation of the O.T. Therefore cannot be simply brushed aside.

    Isaiah prophesied of the Gentiles “coming in”
    Because thats what it is ” Coming into Christ” who was & is with the Jews.
    Isaiah 42:6-7
    ““I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

    Apostle Paul fulfilled this scripture.
    He was a Jew. Could another have done it? very much doubt it. The Gentiles were strangers to anything but their Idolatry, let Alone the True One God.

    Paul always had to fend off those of the “circumcision” wishing to pervert the Gospel of Grace, this was a motive of the Holy Spirit to write extensive apologetics through Paul in respect & At the same time clarify the Gospel & its doctrines as you say.

    David Also spoke of the blessedness of those whos sins are apart from any act or works other than sincere faith!
    What of this?
    Apostle Paul states it!
    Rom chpt 4:6-8
    “”6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

    7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    And whose sins are covered;
    8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”[c]

    So its not the Covenant that forgives Sins, its God Himself through Covenants He makes & keeps. This is what Abraham found. Rom Chpt 4.
    If God doesnt initiate the relationship then Man is doomed. Thank God He reached out to Us.


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Church is the organism in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. Nothing is in the OT and gospels about the “body of Christ.” The Twelve knew nothing of it. They did not learn about it until Paul revealed it to them. God revealed this truth to Paul alone. Paul stated it was a secret. Read Ephesians 3.1-9. The OT revealed Gentiles would be blessed through Israel. But nowhere was it revealed that Jews and Gentiles would be on an equal status or that there would be an entity known as the body of Christ! That is why Paul stated the Church was secret. Something cannot be known and unknown. See my article, The Church (The Body of Christ).

  79. VIKIE

    Seen the ‘THE JESUS CONSPIRACY – The Turin Shroud & the Truth about the Resurrection’. The authors claim there wasn’t a resurrection because there wasn’t a death. They claim the Lord Jesus was resuscitated after His crucifixion, proven by the Turin shroud. What do you think? If Jesus didn’t die as claimed, does it take away our salvation by reason of His death? Or can we still be rest assured that the shedding of His blood secured for us an atonement, once and for all? Also, does no Death, no Resurrection equals No Ascension?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      From the earliest days claims have been made that Jesus didn’t die. One can only wonder at the stupidity of such claims. We have detailed historical records Jesus was placed in a tomb guarded by Roman soldiers. Many saw Him die. It was a public execution. His disciples saw him alive after three days. Who is going to risk their life and livelihood for a fake? There was no “upside” for such a fraud. The greatest evidence of Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection is the lives of the apostles afterward. Furthermore, if His death/resurrection had been a fake the Jewish authorities would have exposed it. They desperately wished to kill any idea that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Festus began his rule in 60 A.D. By this date Paul had written Thessalonians, Corinthians, Romans, Galatians. Obviously, he wrote things that were not contained in Moses and the prophets. So, we have two choices: Paul lied or something else. I choose door number two. Paul was fighting for his life. Also, remember, Acts was written primarily to explain to Jews why the kingdom of God did not come. It is written from a Jewish perspective. So Paul wanted to stay on task. He knew Agrippa knew the prophets, therefore, he focused his message on Christ and the resurrection. He couldn’t go into the Church, rapture, etc. issues. It was the resurrection that made Festus go bonkers but Paul knew Agrippa knew all about the resurrection. Paul did not mean that he only taught what Moses and prophets taught but he taught what Moses and the prophets taught. Thus, better sense would be this: “I’m not guilty; I’m simply preaching things the prophets revealed.”

  80. Axel Gipson

    Excellent even superb docrinal teachings on the two Gospels in the Holy Scriptures you have set out here.
    Most of modern Christianity’s great stumblingblock in understanding this immense difference between the Church and Israel is that the house of Israel is 12 tribes and not just the tribe of Judah called the Jews.
    But just as we see in the book of Revelation the 12 tribes are seen returning to the Mighty God of Jacob the numbers of each tribe heard by John.
    Its seem clear to me that the church is not the subject of the book of Revelation but Israel is the prosiding subject and them returning in a second Exodus in the Great Tribulation back to the promise Land under at least seven of the nine plagues which fell upon Evypt in the first Exodus.
    I cannot see that as with the four Gospels themselves there a single word written about the church whatsoever!
    My two.pence worth.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. If people would follow the Scriptures rather than blindly follow tradition, much of this would be solved. Jesus’ problem with the religious establishment of His day was in their following tradition rather than the Scriptures. This was Saul of Tarsus’ life before he came to know the Lord (Galatians 1.14).

  81. Bobbi

    Why would it be important that whether or not Paul wrote Ephesians in prison in Rome ? I am getting this as an argument . I cannot even understand the argument .
    Why are some works of Paul cataloged in this way? I hope you understand what I’m saying lol.
    I am reading Stams book on different things but it isn’t clear to me.
    Thank you.

  82. Joe Geranio

    THe greatest error of the Body of Christ is MIXTURE of Law and Grace and old covenant and new. Pauls Gospel is the Only true Gospel. If you don’t see Jesus only came to Israel (His time one earth), in the gospels, you will be very confused. The 12 did not even start speaking to Gentiles with Cornelius in Acts 10 and Peter needed some coaxing to go to his first gentile convert. Acts 11 they ,the early Jewish believers only gave the gospel to Jews! . Acts 11:19 “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.” I believe the Gospel of the Grace of God must be revealed through the Holy Spirit. I love this x ref in DT 29:29. I have no reason to argue this one way or the other, except scripture is clear on this Gospel, could be your denomination or christian religion does not teach this truth? Start reading the Pauline epistles and ask the HS to lead you and guide you on this.

  83. Zach

    You should make an article ot what to do with the other writings from the apostles.. i get confused because when i read from peter he sounds like he is preaching the same gospel and even talks about the blood.
    Also what do you do with Hebrews, Jude, James, 1 2 3 John.
    It would be nice of you could do a detailed article breaking this down.
    Also that verse where it says, which has now been revealed to his holy apostles always makes me wonder too.
    Paul said they mystery was revealed to him but that doesnt necessarily mean he was the only one it was revealed too?
    Help me out please…
    This doctrine gets me because 99% of the body of christ doesnt see this and yet we all have the same holy spirit guiding us right?
    Im just very weary i guess. I dont want to ve held accountable for teaching false doctrine one day.. ive been studying this for a few months now and ive seen great arguements for it (your website being top) and also many arguements against it, which kind of make sense too. So im still kind of in the middle.
    Thats why i think an article on the other new testament books would be great. Who are they too, at what time were they written.. etc.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      It is really not that difficult. The other writers wrote to Jewish believers according to the kingdom program. We have explicit statements to this, i.e., 1 Peter 1.1; James 1.1. We know that the things Paul wrote about no one else knew about because Paul says so and they never mention them–except after they learned them from Paul. Acts 15 is a clear case. They had no idea salvation was based upon faith alone in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. See my article, The Great Hinge. The fact that 99% of the body of Christ doesn’t understand this is just a tragedy and is based on the fact that tradition has overwhelmed sound Bible study. This is no different than in Jesus’ day. Jesus had a problem with one group of people–religious professionals. And what was that problem? Tradition.

  84. Pingback: Site Title

  85. Bill

    Hi Don,
    I just want to say how much I enjoyed your Article about The Mystery.
    This is something I have thought about and Studied for a few years now. I really enjoyed it and got a lot from it. I will go over again, but take more time. I will Study it!
    I think one of the hardest things for most people to accept, is that we are now, Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven!
    I personally feel, most Church Groups are too caught up in Law, we have missed the most important thing —-Love!
    Well, thank you again, in Christian Love,

  86. Michael DeWitt

    I had difficulty reconciling the new dispensation of Paul until someone pointed out that if you think in terms of the actual New Dispensation beginning with the death and resurrection of Christ it all becomes clear. To me the Old Testament didn’t end until the Death and Resurrection on the Cross (mid Acts). Jesus fulfilled the old testament and the new Testament began with What God accomplished with Christ on the cross. Thank you for this well written article Doctrine!!

  87. Kathleen Johnson


    With the ‘two or three witnesses’ idea in mind….could Grace through Faith alone be confirmed not only through Peter’s confirmation in Acts 15, etc. but, also, in Genesis 15 with Abram? (Time before the law was given? A type & shadow of Grace?)

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Paul used Abraham as an example of salvation by faith alone in Romans 4. Abraham has two lines: those saved by faith and works (Israel) and those saved by faith alone (Church). See Genesis 13.15-16, the earthly line, and Genesis 15.5-6, the heavenly line. Members of the Church, the body of Christ, constitute the heavenly line, saved by faith. Israel constitutes the earthly line save by faith and works (keeping the Law). Their blessing is associated with the promise of an earthly kingdom (Matthew 6.10).

  88. Vanessa

    Good Morning Don and All fellow Believers,
    Eschatology is my passion so here is my question.
    Hope you are well Don. I wish to open the floor with a debate on Romans 11. Please understand it is not my intension to argue the issue but to seek the truth.
    Paul informs us that the hardening in part of Israel will last until “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” “Fullness” here implies the full measure, the full number of Gentiles that will be saved. Which means, after this time, no more Gentiles will be saved. My Dispensationalist friends (which I am one) believe that this will happen at the rapture when the church is taken to heaven: but after the rapture the focus moves away from the church to the physical nation of Israel, for seven years, and then the end comes. But even during these supposed seven post-rapture years that belong to the Jews, salvation is still open to Gentiles. Somehow, their fullness has not come in if the Gentiles are getting saved during the 7 years.
    What am I missing here.?
    Then I cannot ignore this scripture.
    I will make them jealous with those who are not a people (Deuteronomy 32:21);
    This can only happen after the rapture as God will not deal with the Jew and the Body together as was explained to me. God is going to make his people jealous with those who are not a people (Gentiles???).
    I also argue the point that the fullness may not be the body as yet there may still be a gap between the rapture and the start of the 7 years. If there is a gap what dispensation do we call it.
    I just wish Paul wrote like a simpleton (me) but I know why he wrote the way he did. So we can study to show ourselves approved. Thank you Paul for writing the way you did.
    Don as always thank you for your time. Take care.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Paul is talking about programs in Romans 11. Israel, nationally, has been judicially blinded due to unbelief. The blindness is “partial” in that a few Jews come to faith in Christ. The “fullness of the Gentiles” means when the program in which God has placed the Gentile would into the premier place of blessing ends. This does not mean no Gentiles will be saved in the Tribulation. See Matthew 25.31-36. Jesus will gather all nations (survivors) before Him to judge who will go into the kingdom. Only believers go into the kingdom so believing Gentiles will occupy the kingdom. If they didn’t then Zechariah 8.20-23 could not be fulfilled for there would be no source for Gentiles. Also, see Revelation 7.9. These are those saved in the Tribulation who have been martyred.

  89. vanessa

    Hi Don, Thank you for your reply. Where I kept getting stuck was on the word Gentile. Those of us before the 7 years and after. Ok so when do the blessing end when for the Gentiles. At the rapture?????

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The key thing to understand in Romans 11 is Paul is talking about programs. God has placed Gentiles, not just the Church, into the place of blessing. All Israel, believing and non-believing, had occupied this place previously. That will end at the Rapture, when God completes the Church, which is what Paul called, “the fullness of the Gentiles.” I think the confusing part is that while the Church is the key element of the “fullness of the Gentiles,” Paul is talking about all Gentiles. When the Church it complete, however, that program ends. God will return to His program with Israel and the gospel of the kingdom will be reintiated.

  90. 10th man

    It appears for you a major defining difference of Paul’s Gospel is it lacks a call to repentance. I don’t see this as a difference, but a matter of function. To explain; Repentance is a “U-turn”, turning away and back to something, in this case; God and His instructions. Therefore in this context, Jews have something to turn back to, whereas Gentiles never knowing God or having His instructions would be turning to God for the first time, therefore, no “U-turn” (repentance) needed, but rather a change in belief.

    However, that being said, in no way should be construed that God’s instructions were negated for Gentiles who have changed their beliefs.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      10th man,
      Repentance is implicit. One must recognize he is a sinner. Paul emphasized belief. Paul’s gospel was a new revelation for Jews and Gentiles. No one proclaimed Christ’s death and resurrection for salvation before Paul and no one proclaimed one was saved by faith alone before Paul. Paul’s watchwords were faith, hope, and love. Paul mentioned repentance with regard to unbelievers once in his letters (Romans 2.4).

      1. 10th man

        The teaching of a death of a Tzaddik (righteous one) atoning for those that believe in them is as old as Miriam the ashes of the red heifer. Paul knew this principle and applied it to the death of Jesus. If one has faith in the righteous one, they will emulate their life, thus the phrase “Follow Jesus”. This therefore covers a multitude of sins. Most modern reform or conservative Jews would rather not discuss this unless the subject is magic blood that forgives without repentance, in which case they’ll have a field day with it – because its not biblical. Therefore I’m glad to see you write; “Repentance is implicit.” – although I’d go even further and say it is required at least on some level.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          10th man,
          No one understood about a righteous one dying to atone for sin before Paul. Only one passage in the OT alluded to this: Isaiah 53. It was in such cryptic language that no Jew understood it. This is evident from Phillip having to explain it to the Ethiopian Jew. And it is clear Phillip did not understand its full significance. The 12 certainly did not understand it (Luke 18.31-34) and even at Pentecost Peter did not tell the Jews Christ had died for their sins and risen from the dead and that if they believed this they would be saved. Peter knew nothing of this. Peter viewed Christ’s death as a national sin for which the nation had to repent, not as a wonderful truth of His atoning for sin. The significance of Christ’s death and resurrection was a secret God revealed to Paul alone. No one knew of it before then.

  91. Dede

    Hi Doctrine,
    Thank you for the service you do unto fellow believers and unbelievers by presenting the Word rightly divided! I have a few questions about things that really confuse me. What I need a little more teaching about is when Peter and John talk about Jesus as a propitiation or atonement for sins. For example, 1 John 2:2. How did their take on Jesus Christ’s blood as atonement differ from Paul’s? Also, why did John in 1 John 2:12 say that their sins were forgiven when he said in 1 John 1:9 that they must confess their sins to be forgiven? On that note, if John taught that Jesus was propitiation for sins, why did John urge his audience to confess their sins for forgiveness? Lastly, I read something about how God wrote the law in the hearts of new testament believers in the Kingdom Gospel, causing them to obey His laws. If that is so, how could those believers then sin? Because they are told to confess their sins when they did. I guess that means that they could quench the spirit? Any feed back helps! I know I have quite a few questions so sorry about that. Thank you!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      These are good questions and I don’t think I can really answer them because we’re not given enough information about how the Twelve viewed Christ’s work. The things John wrote militate against his letters being written late, in the 90s as almost all scholars maintain. If he had knowledge of Paul’s teachings it seems incredible he could have written what he did since Paul’s teachings are so different. Paul adamantly taught we have been forgiven and never declared we are to confess or sins for forgiveness. Paul stated believers are to repent from sin but never is there a hint that this is for forgiveness. As far as the Law being written on the heart, this was a promise of the New Covenant but that Covenant has not been fulfilled. It will only be fulfilled when Israel repents. The Church benefits from the New Covenant–the indwelling Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sins. Paul stated he was a minister of the New Covenant but the complete fullfillment of the covenant remains future because it was a covenant God made with Israel. Our benefit is because Paul was proxy Israel, born out of due time, in which he could act as believing Israel according to the Abrahamic covenant in which Israel would bless Gentiles (see Zechariah 8.20-23). That’s about the best I can do.

    2. Bobbi

      Dear Dede,
      Hi sister:)
      Just want to share a couple things I thought of as I read your post. One of the things is when the apostles preached theirs was the gospel of the kingdom, the promised, prophesied kingdom ON EARTH, with the “son of David” on the throne. He came to “save his people from their sins.
      Paul was saved and given the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 This is also called the preaching of the cross, according to the revelation of the mystery. Rom. 16:25-26 The Lord Jesus Christ died for all who will believe the gospel. The Body which began with Paul, is not for the earthly Kingdom, but for heavenly places. Eph. 1:3, 20, 2:6, 3:10. We are not baptised with water as Israel was in Acts 2:38. We are
      Baptized by one Spirit into one body…1 Cor. 12:13… no water. We also are sealed, 2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13, 4:30.

      Part of the mystery gospel and doctrine that I have learned about is that Jesus was the prophesied redeemer of Israel, but it was not known that God would also reconcile the heavenly places through his death, burial and resurrection! 1 Cor.2:4-8. So if we can know there are two places the Lord reconciled to himself, it helps to understand the different teachings.
      Scripture also speaks of a time yet future when both things in heaven and earth in Christ, will be gathered together! Eph. 1:10, Col. 1:16-20
      It is a beautiful revelation in the scriptures, in Paul’s epistles for us in this dispensation of Grace. May the Lord bless you and enlighten all your studies in this area:)

      1. Vanessa

        Hello Bobbi,
        How Beautifully put and as I read it I was so grateful that I have come to know and understand the mystery that was revealed to Paul. Arn’t we so very very blessed. Thank you.

  92. Glen Elkins

    Hello Don,
    I just want to thank you for taking the time to explain Paul’s Mystery in such depth. I have struggled for sometime to try and seperate and understand the word of truth. Wow, such a revelation to what ive prayed and studied about for so long. Once you can understand the difference, it’s so quick and powerful! God has used you in a powerful way to proclaim this mystery. God Bless you brother!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you for your kind comment. Isn’t it wonderful when it all comes together! May the Lord continue to enlighten you in His grace.

  93. Kevin

    Why do you use the term, “church”? There is no such term in the original languages. It was inserted in place of “assembly” by the translators of the King James version by command of the king in order to promote the Church of England.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Wycliffe used the word “church” in the 14th century for his translation, long before James. No English words are in the original languages. The Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

  94. Robert Tanner

    I heard from a Bible teacher recently, that people who teach that you can’t mix Prophecy and Mystery are wrong. Is this correct?

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          God revealed His program concerning Israel and the nations through prophecy. This included the covenants. God revealed His program of the Church through secrets He revealed to Paul. Paul’s secrets are to the Church what Israel’s covenants were to Israel. Paul’s secrets contain doctrine to the Church. These are two separate programs.

  95. John

    Hi. I love your website and appreciate all of your hard work and obedience. I have read most of your articles. I have trouble reconciling Jesus’ statement that His kingdom is not of this world with the crux of dispensationalism that all kingdom references are to a physical, earthly Israel. Please shed some insight.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. Jesus’ statement that His kingdom is “not of this world” is a genitive of source not a genitive of location. In other words, the source of His kingdom is not from this earth. Hundreds of passages speak of the earthly kingdom and had Jesus proclaimed anything else His message would have contradicted all the prophets.

  96. Frank R

    Don, I just came across this site and know that the Lord spoke truth to you. More and more bible teacher’s are teaching the Gospel for the Body of Christ given to us by Paul in these last days. You have put this study together beautifully, thank you. The whole world needs to understand this and I pray that their eyes are opened and this truth is revealed to them. God’s plan is perfect, but the enemy is at work trying to confuse the whole world. He is the author of confusion, and many are, even well meaning pastors. God Bless You and all who read this site, may we all get to know each other after the rapture.

      1. Frank R

        Don, I will order your new book, thanks. Everyone should study the scriptures for themselves and see God’s Plan revealed so clearly. Many believers rely on second hand teaching from Pastors and Teachers that are teaching more church doctrine than the pure word of God. We need to rightly divide the word. I do see when you seek the truth, God does point you there.

  97. Danny Peels

    My church holds to an Acts 9 as when the body of Christ began, but how could it begin in Acts 9 if it was a mystery revealed to Paul only?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Paul was saved by the gospel of the kingdom. During the three years afterward, which he spent in Arabia and Damascus, God began to reveal to him the secret of the Church, the gospel of grace, and the other secrets which pertain to the Church. Paul declared he was the founder of the Church. See my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners? This is basically the Acts 9 position. He obviously could not be saved under the gospel of grace since the risen Lord had not yet revealed it.

      1. Samuel

        Dear Don,
        Even though i have been serving the lord since 1998, this revealed article through you was a secret to me as well, i am so blessed and press forward, God bless you.

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