The Church (the Body of Christ)


What is the Church?  When did it begin?  The answer to the second question depends upon the answer to the first. Seven key passages in the New Testament describe the Church. They are the following: Ephesians 1.22-23; 2.11-22; 3.3-9; Colossians 1.24-27; 1 Corinthians 12.12-13; Galatians 3.26-28, and Romans 16.25-27. These passages provide the needed information to answer these questions.

The Traditional View

The traditional and majority view of Christendom is that the Church, the Body of Christ, begin on Pentecost. This study rejects this view. Below is the argument for the traditional view.1

  1. The Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1.22-23; 1 Corinthians 12.12-13; Romans 12.3-5; Colossians 1.24).
  2. Membership into the Body of Christ is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12.13; Galatians 3.27).
  3. The Church was future from Christ’s pre-cross ministry (Matthew 16.18).
  4. The Church was future from Christ pre-ascension ministry (Acts 1.4-5).
  5. The Church was born on the day of Pentecost with the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.1-4 cf. Acts 11.16-17).
  6. After Pentecost, the term ἐκκλησία, which had occurred previously only in Matthew 16.18 and 18.17, becomes common, e.g. Acts 5.11, 8.1, 8.3, 9.31, etc.–23 times in Acts and 115 times outside of the Matthew passages.

The logic for the traditional view is the following: The Church is the Body of Christ. Membership into the Body of Christ is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred at Pentecost. Therefore, the Church began at Pentecost. The logic of this argument is well-reasoned and appears strong. However, when other Scriptural data are considered the traditional view collapses.

Problems for the Traditional View

Three major problems exist for the traditional view. The first is God explicitly stated through the apostle Paul that the Church, the Body of Christ, was a “secret,” (μυστήριον). This presents a serious problem for the traditional view because Paul made this declaration long after Pentecost.

The second problem confirms the first point. No Biblical evidence exists to support the view that anyone at Pentecost recognized that the Church, i.e., the Body of Christ, had come into existence. On the contrary, the Scriptural evidence indicates at Pentecost the Twelve knew nothing about the Body of Christ. Peter only addressed Jews. But Paul declared the Church was that organism in which Jew and Gentile are equal. Peter obviously did not know this else he would have addressed Gentiles. Furthermore, only Paul wrote about the Body of Christ (Romans 12.5; 1 Corinthians 10.16, 17, 12.12, 13, 18, 25, 27; Ephesians 1.23, 2.16, 3.6, 4.4, 12, 16, 5.30; Colossians 1.18, 2.17, 19, 3.15). Such terminology is absent from the Gospels and the letters of Peter, James, John, Jude.

Lastly, Peter and the Eleven were looking for the fulfillment of prophecy, i.e., the kingdom of God on earth which God had revealed through the prophets, not the beginning of a new “Church” age. The Old Testament contains not a word about the Church, the body of Christ. The prophets, John, and Jesus had revealed nothing of the fact that Jew and Gentile would be equal in Christ in a Body. On the contrary, Peter quoted Joel and expected the “sun to be turned into darkness and the moon into blood” (Acts 2.15-21). Peter expected the Lord to come in judgment and to establish His kingdom.

The logical argument for rejecting the traditional view that the Church began on Pentecost is the following: Paul stated the Church, the Body of Christ, was a secret. This means that the Church as the Body of Christ was an unknown entity. Paul declared this long after Pentecost. Nothing from the record at Pentecost indicates the Twelve knew anything about the Body of Christ. Peter and the other disciples knew only about the coming earthly kingdom of God. They knew nothing of Jew and Gentile becoming equal in the “body of Christ” seated in the heavens with heavenly citizenship (Ephesians 1.3; Philippians 3.20; Colossians 1.5). Therefore, it is impossible for the Body of Christ to have begun at Pentecost.

The Meaning of Έκκλησία

Before proceeding further we should examine the Greek word ἐκκλησία. Whenever a word is used in the Scriptures its use must be examined in its context. Just because the same word is used does not ensure that it always has the same meaning. A careful examination of the Scriptures reveals that when Jesus and the Twelve used the word ἐκκλησία it referred to a group of Jews who believed Jesus was the promised Messiah. When Paul used the term, however, it meant the Body of Christ, i.e., equality of Jews and Gentiles in Christ.

The word ἐκκλησία is usually translated “church.” But it is also translated as “assembly” or “congregation.” These were the common translations in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word most often translated into ἐκκλησία is קָהָל which is usually rendered as “assembly” or “congregation.”

A good example of this sense is found in Acts 19.32, 39, 41. When Paul went to Ephesus, he aroused the anger of the silversmiths and other tradesmen whose were in the idol business. One of the silversmiths named Demetrius stirred up a riot against Paul. Each of the verses below contains the Greek word ἐκκλησία. Nowhere do we find the word translated as “church.” In each case the word is translated “assembly.”

  • “So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and the majority did not know for what cause they had come together” (v. 32).
  • “But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly” (v. 39).
  • “And after saying this he dismissed the assembly” (v. 41).

From the context, we can see that in verses 32 and 41, “crowd” or “mob” would serve as a better translation of ἐκκλησία. In verse 39, “court” would be a better translation. Therefore, while ἐκκλησία is usually translated “church” in the New Testament, it need not be. The basic sense of ἐκκλησία is an assembled group.

The Body of Christ: A Secret

The Church, the Body of Christ, was a new creation, a “secret” (μυστήριον) God revealed to Paul. As such, it did not exist before Paul (Ephesians 3.3-9; Colossians 1.26-27; Romans 16.25-27). Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the Body of Christ. He declared it was a secret God had revealed to him alone. Paul wrote:

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, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery 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 which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things (Ephesians 3:1-10).

Paul wrote the Ephesians that “by revelation” the “secret” was revealed to him (v. 3) and that this secret was unknown to “other generations” and “sons of men” (v. 5). What was this secret? It was, “Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body” (v. 6). What body did Paul mean? He meant the Body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12.13).

One might be tempted to conclude that when Paul wrote “it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets” that God had revealed this secret to the other apostles, the Twelve. Reading further into this passage reveals this was not the case. Paul had declared this secret was to him (v. 2-3) and that God gave him the grace to preach to the Gentiles the “unfathomable riches of Christ and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God” (v. 7-9). The Twelve learned about the “secret” of the body of Christ through Paul. No Biblical evidence exists to support the view that they knew of it before Paul. The doctrine of the Body of Christ is unique to Paul. No other Biblical writer mentions it. The passages in Acts which recorded the events surrounding Pentecost provide evidence the Twelve knew nothing of the Body of Christ. God did not reveal this “secret” to them. Consider Paul’s 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 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 among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1.24-27).

Note carefully Paul’s words. Paul wrote, “of this church I was made a minister” (v. 25). Which church did Paul mean? Did he mean the Jewish church to which the Twelve had been ministering? No, he meant the Body of Christ. Notice the personal pronoun “I.” Were Peter and the Eleven ministers of the Body of Christ? They were not if we accept what Paul wrote. This was a ministry the ascended Lord gave to Paul, not the Twelve. More evidence of this fact is in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Paul wrote:

But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised (Galatians 2:6-9).

Paul met with the Twelve and declared his gospel to them (Galatians 2.2). He revealed God had commissioned him as the “apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11.13; Ephesians 3.1) and that his gospel was the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20.24). The Lord did not appoint the Twelve as apostles to the Gentiles and had not been ministering to Gentiles (Matthew 10.5-7; Acts 11.19). They were apostles to Israel (cf. Matthew 19.28). No scripture indicates the Twelve ever had a ministry to Gentiles. They did not preach the “gospel of the grace of God.” They preached “the gospel of the kingdom.” In their meeting with Paul, the Twelve officially recognized and set as policy that Paul would go to the Gentiles and that they would go to the Jews. It is helpful to pause and consider when this occurred. Paul was probably converted about 37 A.D. He spent three years in the desert in Arabia. In about 50-51 A.D. the counsel in Jerusalem met (Acts 15). After this, Paul wrote Galatians–perhaps in about 54 A.D. Therefore, a considerable amount of time had passed when Paul met with the leaders of the Twelve. During this time the Twelve had never evangelized Gentiles (with the exception of Peter’s meeting with Cornelius–Acts 10). The reason they had not done so was because they were operating under the kingdom program. They were still operating under the instructions the Lord had given them earlier:

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. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matthew 10.5-7).

The Twelve ministered to Israel and preached the gospel of the kingdom. They knew Israel must repent for the kingdom of God to come and that it would be in this kingdom that Gentiles could be blessed according to prophecy. They knew nothing about “the Body of Christ” even after Pentecost. Outside of Peter’s going to the house of Cornelius in Acts 10, no Scripture supports the view that the Twelve ever had a ministry to Gentiles. Luke’s account of Peter’s visit to Cornelius reveals Peter did not initiate the visit and that the Twelve were outraged when they learned he had gone to a Gentile’s house. Only when Peter recounted the entire story of how he came to go to Cornelius’ were they silenced. But even after Peter’s defense before his fellow apostles we read,

“So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone” (Acts 11.19).

Could words be more clear?

What Was Pentecost?

Pentecost was a Jewish feast day which occurred fifty days after Passover. It was the time that Jesus told His disciples to await and remain in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit (Luke 24.49; John 14.16-17, 26, 15.26; Acts 1.8). The coming of the Holy Spirit was a key component of God’s prophetic program to Israel (cf. Isaiah 44.3, 59.21). It was not the birth to the Church, the Body of Christ for nothing in the Old Testament spoke of the Church. Rather, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was an essential part of the fulfillment of the New Covenant which Jesus had initiated at the Last Supper (Matthew 26.27-28). God had promised through His prophets that He would make a new covenant with them different from the old or Mosaic covenant. Jeremiah had written:

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31.33 cf. Ezekiel 16; 37).

Jesus initiated the New Covenant at the Last Supper. During the three years prior to this event He preached that the kingdom of God was near. His death and resurrection fulfilled all that was required to atone for sin. He had risen from the dead. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended and Jewish believers were baptized. Israel was at the threshold of achieving all that the prophets had foretold. Only one thing was required: the nation had to repent (Acts 2.38; 3.19a). If they would, God would establish His kingdom on the earth (Acts 3.19b-21; cf. Matthew 6.9-10).

Peter and the apostles understood the great prophetic plan was unfolding according to the Scriptures. The great hope of the prophets was the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus had preached that this kingdom was near for three years. The disciples understood this clearly. The last question they asked Jesus before he ascended was about the kingdom. In Acts 1.7 they asked, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” And why not?  Jesus had promised they would rule over the twelve tribes of Israel in this kingdom (Matthew 19.28; Luke 22.30). Wouldn’t you have done this same?

Who was Peter’s audience at Pentecost? Pentecost was a Jewish feast day. The nation of Israel had assembled for Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon them as John and Jesus had prophesied. The result was that they spoke in unlearned, foreign languages. What also happened? They received power as Jesus had told them in Acts 1.8. What was this power? They were able to perform the same kind of miracles Jesus had performed in his earthly ministry to authenticate His messiahship. These miraculous powers confirmed their ongoing divine message and program that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah and that the kingdom was near if the nation would repent. What was Peter’s message to the Jews? He said,

19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3.19-21).

He told the Jews that if they would repent God would send the “times of refreshing.” What was the “times of refreshing” but the prophetic and covenanted promise of the kingdom of God on earth. This was the first clear offer of the establishment of kingdom of God to Israel. Prior to this time, the kingdom had been “near.” This message was still “all Jew.” No Gentiles were in view. Therefore, it makes no sense for the Church, the Body of Christ, to have begun at Pentecost when Peter continued to preach the prophesied “kingdom of God” to Jews only following Pentecost.

Had Israel repented and accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the apostles would have begun to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28.19-20). Gentiles would have found salvation and blessing through Israel in fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant and the other prophetic Scriptures. This was the whole point behind the Great Commission. Israel refused to repent, however. But the plan and will of God cannot be defeated. One day Israel will repent. The prophesied kingdom the prophets, John, and Jesus proclaimed will be established. But for now, in this present time, according to Paul, Israel’s transgression has resulted in placing Gentiles into the place of blessing (Romans 11.11-12) and has brought reconciliation to the whole world (Romans 11.15). Had Israel obeyed God, the Gentiles would have been blessed through the success of Israel. But in grace, Gentiles are being blessed due to the failure of Israel. Men fail but God is gracious. Our God is indeed awesome.

Removal of Jewish and Gentiles distinctions that characterized the Jewish program clearly did not occur at Pentecost. Peter addressed only Jews in Acts: “men of Judea,” Acts 2.14; “men of Israel,” Acts 2.22; “brethren,” Acts 2.29; “all the house of Israel,” Acts 2.36; “men of Israel,” Acts 3.12; “brethren,” Acts 3.17; “you who are the sons of the prophets and the covenant which God made with your fathers,” Acts 3.25. We have no hint that Gentiles were included in Peter’s message. The apostolic focus continued to be the prophetic plan, i.e. repentance and preaching the kingdom of God that had begun under John the Baptizer and Jesus.

The Jewish or Prophetic Program

All of the attention of the gospels and the first half of the book of Acts (including Pentecost) is upon Jews. Gentiles are hardly in view. Matthew 18 provides a good example of how the word ἐκκλησία should be interpreted prior to Paul. Jesus said,

15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (Matthew 18.15-17).

In this passage, Jesus instructed His disciples on how to deal with a sinning brother. He enumerated a series of procedural steps to follow. One of these restorative steps for the sinning brother who continued to be recalcitrant and unrepentant was to take the problem to the church, (ἐκκλησία). If the sinning brother refused to listen to the church, then he was to be regarded as a “Gentile and a tax collector.” This statement only makes sense in a Jewish context. It make no sense whatever in the existing Body of Christ. Jesus clearly maintained the distinction between Jew and Gentile. Such a distinction is now over. How do we know? Paul revealed that the Church is composed of both Jews and Gentiles and that they are equal in Christ.

Some may be troubled by the fact that Jesus made a distinction between Jew and Gentile and that under his teaching the Jew had priority. This priority had been God’s plan ever since God chose Abraham from among the Gentiles to be the father of a new race through whom He would reveal Himself and establish covenants. By means of this calling, God chose to reveal Himself through the Jewish people to the Gentiles. When Jesus came, He preached repentance to Israel and presented Himself to the nation as her Messiah. Establishment of his kingdom was contingent upon Israel’s repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Messiah.

Failure to recognize the nature of Jesus’ mission has led to serious interpretive errors. Tragically, many people have been taught that Jesus came to found the Church. Even a cursory reading of the Gospels reveals this is false. Jesus did not come to found the Church; He came to present Himself to Israel as their Messiah-King (cf. Romans 15.8). His message to the nation was one of repentance because the kingdom of heaven was near, i.e., the King was present. Repentance was the basis on which the Messianic kingdom, prophesied by the Jewish prophets for hundreds of years, was to be established. God’s prophetic program was “Jew first.” Once the Jewish nation repented and accepted Jesus as their King God would establish his earthly kingdom. Israel would then fulfill its destiny as the source of blessing to the Gentiles (cf. Zechariah 8.20-23; Isaiah 42.6-7; Luke 2.32; Acts 13.44-48). Because of this prophetic plan, Jesus ordered his disciples not to go to the Gentiles (Matthew 10.5-7).

Jesus rarely interacted with Gentiles. One exception was the Roman centurion Matthew recorded in his gospel in chapter 8. Another was the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15.21-28. Jesus told this woman when she confronted him, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Could words be more clear? If Jesus commanded his disciples not to go to Gentiles He could not have been forming the Church, the Body of Christ, in which Jew and Gentile are equal. Jesus made an exception with the Canaanite woman. He yielded to her plea to heal her demon-possessed daughter because in the midst of an unbelieving and obstinate Israel, a Gentile woman responded in faith to Jesus. She followed the pattern of Jacob, who refused to turn loose of the God-man he wrestled at Peniel until he was blessed, and Ruth, who refused to turn loose of Naomi. Even though the woman wasn’t Jewish, even though she didn’t fit into Jesus’ immediate mission, Jesus made an exception to the divine plan of “Jew first” and responded to her because of her great faith. Jesus said to her,

“‘O woman your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed at once” (Matthew 15.28).

As late as Acts 10, long after Pentecost, Peter and the apostles had gone to no Gentiles. In Acts 10, God gave Peter a vision and a specific command to go to the Gentile Cornelius’ house. Peter obeyed, but not joyfully. Luke recorded,

14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky (Acts 10.14-16).

27 As he talked with him, he entered and *found many people assembled. 28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean (Acts. 10.27-28).

How did Peter’s fellow apostles respond to Peter’s action?  Did they say, “Wonderful! God has sent you to the Gentiles to preach the gospel!” Hardly, Read Luke’s record:

1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them” (Acts 11.1-3).

They “took issue with him.” In their view, Peter had abandoned the divine program. Only after Peter related the entire episode did his fellow Jews quiet down and accept him. Peter concluded:

17 Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11.17-18).

Jesus proclaimed the prophetic plan of God. This plan had been manifested and prophesied throughout the Old Testament by the prophets. God further revealed the plan through his covenants with Israel. But God also had a μυστήριον or “secret” plan unknown and unrevealed until he disclosed it to Paul. God revealed his “secret” following Israel’s rejection of the Messiah. Paul wrote about this in Romans 11.25-27:

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—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 ZionHe will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” 27 This is My covenant with themWhen I take away their sins.”

The Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Church but His earthly ministry was to Israel, not the Church. Paul is the founder of the Church, the Body of Christ, because God revealed this new program through him. The Lord Jesus as the foundation of the Church is its Head and Lord (not King) and this relationship is heavenly, not earthly.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

We have noted that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred at Pentecost. Was this the same baptism that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 12? According to what Paul wrote the Corinthians, the Holy Spirit is the baptizer of the Church:

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).

The Holy Spirit is the person of the Godhead who baptizes us into Christ as the Body of Christ. In the Jewish program for the Jewish Church present at Pentecost, Jesus is the baptizing agent, however. He is the baptizer of Israel (Matthew 3.11; Mark 1.8; Luke 3.16; John 1.33 cf. Acts 1.4-5; 11.15-16).  John the Baptist prophesied saying,

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is  coming after me is mightier than I, and I, and am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3.11).

According to John the Baptist’s testimony, Jesus was the one who was the baptizer of believers at Pentecost. Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit before his crucifixion (John 14.16-17, 25-26; 15.26-27; 16.5-15). After his resurrection he told his disciples:

“for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1.5).

Christ’s Death As Good News

Peter’s message in Acts was a message of repentance. His message echoed the message of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve except that it followed Jesus’ resurrection. Peter did not preach the death of Christ as a glorious victory over sin but as a cause of condemnation for Israel. As for Christ’s resurrection, it offered the nation a renewed opportunity to accept their King and bring forth the promised kingdom. Not until Paul was Christ’s death and resurrection preached as good news and the message of reconciliation declared (2 Corinthians 5.18-21). For Peter, the kingdom of God, proclaimed throughout the gospels, was still the plan of God. He called upon the nation to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.38). Paul’s message was “believe and be saved” not “repent and be baptized.” Paul’s gospel is the message for the Church today.

All Goods Common

Notice also in Acts 2 that the believers in Jerusalem sold their possessions and held them in common. Such was the character of the Jerusalem church.  Jesus required this for citizens of the kingdom of God (cf. Matthew 19.21; Mark 10.21; Luke 12.33, 18.22). The disciples, obedient to Jesus, left everything to follow Him (cf. Matthew 19.27; Mark 10.28; Luke 5.11, 28). How many sermons have you heard a preacher tell his congregation to sell their possessions and give the money to the church? Paul never told believers to leave everything, sell their possessions, and give them to the Church. A new and different order began with Paul–the Church, the Body of Christ.

The Church and Israel

The Church is composed of all believers who have put their trust for salvation in the death and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Unlike Israel, the Church is not under a covenantal relationship with God. Prior to the calling of Abraham, God made a covenant with mankind through Noah in which he promised never again to destroy the world with a flood cf. Genesis 9.9-17. After God created the Hebrew race he made covenants with them (see the Covenants of Israel). But God never made a covenant with the Church. God’s relationship to the Church is grace alone and is not under the Law of Moses. The Church does, however, share in the blessings of the New Covenant as the blessing of this covenant are spiritual rather than physical (as are the blessings of the other covenants).

The Church is separate and distinct from Israel. The below chart outlines the key differences.

Established by and under covenantsEstablished by grace alone (a “secret”)
Has earthly promisesHas heavenly promises
Operates under LawOperates under Grace
Is a KingdomIs a Body
Has a KingHas a Head

Israel was established by a covenant God made with Abraham who became the father of the Jewish race. Subsequent covenants followed. The final covenant was the New Covenant. The Church’s life is Christ as his Body. The Church was a creation held secret in the mind of God until God revealed the secret to Paul (Ephesians 2.11-22; 3.3-9; Colossians 1.26-27). Both Israel and the Church are beneficiaries in God’s plan under the “eternal covenant” (Hebrews 13.20-21). This covenant was not made with either Israel or the Church.  The Eternal Covenant was sovereignly made by God the Father and God the Son in eternity past as the means of redeeming fallen mankind, solving the problem of evil, and bringing glory to God.  The Church’s domain and destiny is heaven (Philippians 3.20). Israel’s promised realm is earth (Matthew 6.9-10). God promised Israel an earthly kingdom (Acts 1.6). The Church has no earthly kingdom. The operative means of life for the Church is grace (Romans 6.12). Throughout most its history the nation of Israel operated under the Law of Moses and Jesus operated under the Law (Matthew 8.4) during his earthly ministry. In a future day, under the New Covenant, Israel will have the Law written on their hearts (Jeremiah 31.33). The Church is described as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12.12-13, 27). Israel is described as a kingdom.  Jesus is the Head of the Church, i.e., the Body of Christ, (Ephesians 1.22). He is never called the King of the Church. Jesus is the King of Israel (Luke 1.31-33). Ironically, the Roman governor Pilate, a Gentile, recognized Jesus’ Jewish kingship (Matthew 27.37; Mark 15.26; Luke 23.38; John 19.17-22 cf. John 18.33-39) even though the Jews rejected His title (Matthew 27.29-31; Mark 15.17-20; Luke 23.35). In the Messianic kingdom, Jesus will rule as Israel’s King in his role as David’s greater Son. In this role he will fulfill the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, Sabbatic, and New covenants.


God established the Church, the Body of Christ, with the conversion and commission of Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles. It has the following characteristics.

  • The Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1.22-23; 1 Corinthians 12.12-13; Colossians 1.24).
  • All who put their trust in Christ in this age are members of the Body of Christ, i.e., the Church (1 Corinthians 12.12-13).
  • Membership into the Body of Christ, i.e., the Church, is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12.13; Galatians 3.27).
  • One is baptized by the Holy Spirit when one exercises faith in Christ (Galatians 3.26-27).
  • Members of Christ’s body, i.e., the Church, are indwelt by Christ (Colossians 1.27).

In order to understand what “church” means one must make Scriptural distinctions and understand where one falls in God’s plan. A “church,” an ἐκκλησία, in the broad sense of an assembly of those who have put their trust in YHVH or Jesus. In Jesus’ day, the “church” or “assembly” was composed of those who repented, were baptized, and believed that He was the promised Messiah. This was the requirement to be a citizen of the Messianic Kingdom. After Paul, however, God created a new entity, the Church, the body of Christ, in which no distinction exists between Jew and Gentile. This was a “secret” God revealed to Paul alone. Paul was commissioned as the “apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11.13) who revealed this new Church, the Body of Christ. These key verses describe the Church: Galatians 3.26-29, 1 Corinthians 12.12-13, Ephesians 1.22-23, Ephesians 2.11-22, Ephesians 3.1-10, Colossians 1.24-27.

For further reading about other “secrets” God revealed to Paul alone, see the author’s article, Paul’s “Mystery”.

1 S. Lewis Johnson, “The Birth of the Church.” Dr. Johnson’s excellent lecture is online. The text above summarizes Johnson’s argument. Dr. Johnson went to be with the Lord, January 28, 2004. He now knows the Church, the Body of Christ, began with Paul, not Pentecost. Given his wit and humor, this revelation must be a source of mirth to him.

©1999 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.

Updated April 25, 2015

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226 thoughts on “The Church (the Body of Christ)

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Apostle Paul received the last revelation regarding the Church from the risen Lord. It is not outdated because it is the last word.

  1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

    Paul’s gospel was the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24) or faith + 0. Paul’s gospel was different from the gospel the Jerusalem church and the Twelve preached. All one has to do is read Luke’s record of Acts 15 to see the difference. Before Paul, no one was saved by faith alone (except Abraham). The Twelve preached the “gospel of the kingdom” which had begun with John the Baptist. They did not preach Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). That gospel came from Paul who received it from the risen Lord (Romans 2.16; 16.25; 2 Timothy 2.8; Galatians 2.2, 7; Galatians 1.11-12). Peter recognized this at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15.11). Only after Acts 15 was Paul’s gospel the only legitimate gospel. This is why Paul could write such strong words to the Galatians (Galatians 1.6-9). Finally, Paul alone had a ministry to Gentiles and he alone taught that no difference existed between Jew and Gentile. The Twelve had no clue of this. They knew nothing of the body of Christ apart from Paul. The Twelve ministered to Jews, to Israel following the work of the Lord in His earthly ministry (Romans 15.8).

    1. Ezekiel J. Moses

      praise the LORD, thank you for your comment, really paul’s gospel is true **gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of the promise in ** CHRIST JESUS ** THROUGH THE GOSPEL HE REVEALED THROUGH HIS PREACHING **THE UNFATHOMABLE RICHES OF CHRIST ALL THAT THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD ** AMEN -HALLELUJAH- THE COMFORTER CHARITABLE TRUST-MINISTRIES -CHENNAI-SOUTH INDIA.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Scriptures give no support for your statement. Abraham was the father of Isaac, who was the father of Jacob, who was the father of the twelve tribes who are Jews. Read Matthew 1.1-17, 2.2, 27.37.

  2. Sue

    Hi Don,

    You said that no one before Paul could be saved by faith alone ( only Abraham was).
    What about Enoch?
    Does that mean no one could be saved during the time of the Law of Moses other then Jews who practiced sacrifice?


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Trying to put one’s finger on how people were saved in the OT is difficult. We do not have enough information. What is clear, is that salvation by faith alone was unknown before Paul (obvious exception Abraham). This is why the Jews had such a problem with Paul’s gospel (see Acts 15). We know some Gentiles were saved during the time of the Law of Moses, e.g., Rahab, Ruth, the citizens of Ninevah (Jonah).

      1. Chuck

        First of all Don, I want to say thank you a thousand thanks for this article as well as the may others on your website. I plan to use this article as the foundation of a bible study I am leading tonight.

        I just wanted to chime in on the issue of gentile salvation prior to grace. Is it possible that salvation, or one’s eternal destiny is a separate issue than having the blessings of God available to a non-Jewish person during the course of their life?

        Romans 2 tells us that gentiles have a conscience and their conscience is their only law as it relates to their eternal destiny. However, if a person wanted to receive the blessings of God during their life on earth, they must convert to Judaism and keep the Law.

        I get hit with this question all the time…”what about people who have never heard the gospel”? In this case, the question would be, what about those who knew nothing of Judaism?

        Doesn’t the bible say all man have a conscience and what can be made known of God -IS- known and therefore, all of mankind is without excuse.

        The house of Cornelius is a good example. He wasn’t a Jew, he probably knew little or nothing of the Law, yet he prayed to God and gave alms. That appeared to get God’s attention.

        I realize the H.of C. has a much larger issue at it’s core, but I believe it can be used as an example of a gentile outside of Judaism fearing and respecting the one true God.

        What do you think.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Thank you. The basic premise of all salvation is the goodness of God. He wishes all to be saved (1 Timothy 2.4). Given this fact along with the fact He knows every heart’s desire, I think God does everything possible to ensure the salvation of every person. Why are some saved and others lost? Because God can see the heart. What was it about the Ninevites that God saw and sent Jonah? They “had never heard” but there was enough there that God grabbed Jonah (reluctant as he was) to preach to them.

  3. Eli "Hoss" Caldwell

    Again, great study. Too bad so many people don’t realize that the Body of Christ started with Paul. It would eliminate so much false doctrine. I believe some people may have sentimental reasons for not accepting it because passages like John 14 are all things they have always thought was about them and not Israel. Keep trying to “make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery”!
    Some of the opposition to believing the Body of Christ started with Paul is the use of the “term in Christ”. Here are my notes on that, hope it helps anyone that is in doubt of the Body of Christ starting with Paul.

    1. Vanessa

      I cannot believe I have just read this. I had just asked my hubby the very question on why people dont grasp Pauls Gospel and began opening Dons site and there was you explanation. Talk about good timing or how about the Holy Spirit answering me hot off the press. I am amazed.
      Don do you think that 2 Cor 4 is speaking of believers.

      Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

      2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

      3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

      4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

      5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

      1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

        Satan certainly blinds unbelievers. As for believers, he has power to confuse, tempt, and deceive since we still have a sin nature. Paul mourned he lost believers in Asia (2 Timothy 1.15), probably to those who wanted to bring believers under the Law. This was the beginning of conflation of law, works, and faith and departure from Paul’s doctrines. Only the Scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit can keep us in the truth.

        1. Vanessa

          What you have just said is very powerful Don, Quote “Only the Scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit can keep us in the truth.” It took me some time to “Let Go” of Jesus of Nazareth and it was painful. Mans traditions had kept me in blindness and I dont mind telling you I wept when I found out how lost had once been. Just as I was once lost now I am found which came about by desiring the truth at all costs. What I did find was the Glorious Risen Lord and now I am free and happy. Thank you always from the bottom of my heart for the many answers but we thank the Holy Spirit more for sending men like you across our paths.

          1. Derrick

            Wow, this “transition” in many ways describes what I have felt in the last several months. The analogy of letting go of Jesus of Nazareth to embrace the Glorious Risen Lord resonates with me in a profound way. The further I understand the mystery, the more astonished I become at how traditions can blind the eyes of men…including Pastors! Honestly, it sickens me at times to see how people seemingly refuse to believe what is clearly written in the Word.

            As for this quote: “Only the Scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit can keep us in the truth.” Amen. AMEN!

            1. Bobbi

              I say Amen too! I surely understand truly the power of the “Word of God” as effectively working in us. 1 Thessalonians. 2:13.
              Col. 3:12-16. Verse 16 “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with Grace in your hearts to the Lord.
              The more we read the truth preferably everyday, the more power it has! I think the truth, as we are directed to know it, in our epistles, is a huge part of our armour. It guards our hearts and minds from deceitful and false doctrine.

      2. Louis Dean Chambless

        Our Christian Bible tells us that faith without works is dead. Can’t give you the location at this time but I am sure that you can find it . Works are a!so necessary for salvation as we are also told to bear fruit or be tossed into the fire.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          This passage comes from James. James wrote to believing Jews (James 1.1), not to the Church, the body of Christ. Salvation by faith alone in the death and resurrection of Christ (Paul’s gospel, 1 Corinthians 15.1-4) was unknown before Paul. Paul stated it was a secret (Romans 16.25; Ephesians 6.19; 1 Timothy 3.9). Works are the result of salvation in Paul’s gospel (Ephesians 2.8-10) not a requirement for salvation. See Romans 3.22, 26, 28, 4.5. My article, Faith vs. Works in James: Resolving the Problem may be helpful.

  4. Ron Scott

    I once believed as you do,these are some of the verses that changed my believe on the subject. 1Cor 12:13, Rom 16:7, Col 3:11, 1 Cor 7:17-19,Gal 6:15,1 Thess 2:14,Rom 1:16,also a careful study of Acts ch 11 through ch 14 will show that the Christians in 11:26 are Jews only,follow Pauls journey(remember there was an Antioch in Syria(Acts 11:26) and an Antioch in Asia Minor,when Paul returns to Antioch in Syria in Acts 14:26&27 then Paul tells them how God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (nations).also see Gal 2:8 and 1 Peter 4:16. A careful study of the above will show that the Body of Christ started at Pentecost and was all Jewish and that Jewish believers were first called Christians(to the Jew first)but since the nation of Israel rejected Christ and their commission to evangelize the world,God in his grace called out Paul to go to the world(both Jews and Gentiles “nations”) and now we are all placed into one body that started at Pentecost by one Spirit.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The problem with this is the definition of the Church. The Church, the body of Christ, is that creation in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. Peter addressed only Jews at Pentecost. He had no interest in evangelizing Gentiles. He demonstrated this in his reaction to going to Cornelius’ house in Acts 10. The revelation of equality of Jew and Gentile was unknown until the Lord revealed it to Paul. The Church, the body of Christ, began with Paul, not at Pentecost. Paul declared he was the first member of the Church and it architect of the Church. See my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners? for more.

      1. Tommy

        It should be noted that the Acts of the Apostles is a transitional book from the focus on Israel to the focus on the whole world (Jews and Gentiles). Peter and the other apostles after the Lord’s ascension up to glory after his command to reach out to Jerusalem first had only revelation from Genesis to Malachi as well as what the Lord taught them while he was on earth, so all they could do is preach what was given to them. By verse 47 of chapter 2, the apostles managed to win many souls unto the Lord, here it says “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Is this the body of Christ or Peter’s little flock? To find out, we must compare spiritual things with spiritual. In Acts 5:13 (Before Paul), it says “and believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)”, and in chapter eleven (after Paul’s conversion), “…much people was added unto the Lord.” (v24). Two chapters earlier (chapter 9), you have the Lord calling unto Saul, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (v5). According to the context, Saul of Tarsus was persecuting the saints wherever he could find them, and the Lord tells Saul that it was he, his body who he was persecuting.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          The Church, the body is not mentioned in the Old Testament. The Church is defined as that body in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. Peter addressed only Jews at Pentecost. In Acts 11.19 we read evangelism was to Jew only. This was several years after Pentecost. The Church, the body of Christ, was a secret God revealed to Paul alone as he explained in Ephesians 3. Peter and the Twelve had no idea about it. For them, the OT plan was that Gentiles would be blessed by Israel in the kingdom. The Church was an entirely new program.

          1. Tommy

            If you and I were having a discussion and suddenly I pulled my pocket knife out of my pocket and revealed it to you, it doesn’t mean it was never there , it just means you were not aware of it being there. Even Paul didn’t know about the body of Christ until the Lord revealed it to him and he revealed it to the 12. Just like the pocket knife, it was still there.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              The Church was a “secret” the ascended Lord revealed to Paul. The Twelve knew nothing of it until they learned about it from Paul. Almost all of what we read in Paul’s letters was new, “secret” information that God had not revealed through the prophets. The Twelve had great difficulty understanding Paul and at times opposed him. Even at the end of his life, Peter found Paul’s doctrines difficult to comprehend (2 Peter 3.14-18). But Peter knew enough to instruct his readers to look to Paul for doctrine. We have a whole new program beginning with Paul. He is the founder of what we call Christianity.

            2. Vanessa

              Hi Tommy, If the Body of Christ was there why did the Lord still need to call Paul out in the first place. Not only did he call Saul/Paul out, the Lord dwelt with him for 3 long years. Why bother with Paul if the Body already existed.

                1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

                  Jesus told Saul he was persecuting Himself. This is not a problem in respect to the Church, the body of Christ. The Jews were to believe Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. That had nothing to do with the Church. For salvation today one is not saved by believing in the identity of Christ, i.e., He is the Messiah, the Son of God, but in His work, that He died for our sins and rose from the dead. Jesus is the Savior and Lord of both Israel and the Church but these constitute two distinct programs.

              1. Tommy

                Vanessa, the body of Christ existed , like doc. says it was hidden , a secret , a mystery. The Lord needed someone to make it known so he chose Paul and he revealed it to the 12. Why did the Lord still need Paul ?? Act 9:15
                But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

                1. Marty Nichols

                  I suggest Tommy that your argument fails because you posit that the BOC existed though not revealed; but if that were so, all the prophetic scripture, and the teaching of Jesus while on earth becomes practically a lie since it had
                  not mentioned the BOC existing. In other words—
                  Israel cannot have two separate destinies, one to live forever in the heavens, and two— to live on the earth in New Jerusalem. Why would God lie to Israel about their future?

        2. Faith

          The difference here Tommy is that the Jews that acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah (before Paul) also attached works with faith. Paul was preaching a different message “one of faith without works; one that emphasizes belief only that Jesus died for our sins and we do not have to work for it anymore”.

          One thing I do notice with many of my fellow believers is that I do not hear them talk about the Holy Spirit being the One who stirs within us the desire to do His work. When we do surrender our desires with His the Holy Spirit is LOUD- we can actually hear Him. When we try to attach our works as being enough to please Him, His voice is quiet and we don’t notice. I do not know if what I am saying is clear, but that is what I have noticed in my own life as I grow closer to Jesus.

      2. Bobbi

        The word ecclesia is part of the confusing thing about this subject.
        The fact that it is used in conjunction with God’s believers from the past as well as now for The Body. It is used for “the Church in the wilderness” in Acts 7:38. It is used as “the Church of God” in 1 Cor. 10:32, 11:22, 15:9. Also called “church of God which is in Corinth in 2 Cor. 1:1,2. It seems it is used in a sense of all believers.
        Paul States he persecuted “the Church of God” in Gal.1:13 and many other passages.
        Nonetheless, The difference is the terminology and that Gentiles were not in it before, and that Jew and Gentiles are on the same ground, as one new man.
        In Ephesians 1:3, 1:20, 2:6, 3:10 Paul says we are blessed in heavenly places and are seen by principalities and powers so they might know the manifold wisdom of God.
        Was really been stuck here for awhile. I see more clearly but it can be confusing.
        I am clear that the Body is Christ’s. We belong to Him and are in Him. It’s clear it was not called the Body until Paul.

        1. Bobbi

          Hi Don and all brethren! Just want to share I got clarity on this.
          In studying the Body of Christ doctrine, it brought me to study what is “the revelation of the mystery” and the “fellowship of the mystery” in depth. It is definately for this dispensation. For in it lies the deep wisdom of God that is very confounding to study. It is hidden wisdom where God has shared His eternal will with us. It is the most blessed thing to learn of. Fellowship with God through Christ and the Holy Spirit. It (The Body) could not have been formed before Lord Jesus was risen from the dead! For because He is risen now He fills all things:) It is a game changer so to speak. It is how we are made One Body:) Duh! Lol. Thank you Don for all the questions you help with.
          Grace and Peace and Love to all brethren.

          1. Vanessa

            Hello Bobbi,
            It sounds as if you have stumbled across the In Christ position. When Vernon shared it with me some many years ago whist we were still under the Charismatic movement I had the “light Bulb” experience. I knew something had changed in my walk with the Lord after I heard what it meant.
            We are so happy you see and understand who you are In Christ. In truth I still dont understand the things of God let alone the mysteries. I will soon when I get raptured. Take care.

  5. Joe

    Were the believers in Acts 21:20 church age believers? These believers were ‘zealous’ for the law. Were both gospels in operation? Is it possible these ‘ believers’ in Jerusalem had not heard Paul’s gospel and were ‘believers’ under the fading Kingdom Gospel?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      These Jews had been saved by believing the gospel of the kingdom. Luke does not report when they were saved but certainly before Acts 15. Both gospels were legitimate until Acts 15 but after this only Paul’s gospel was valid. This explains Paul’s strong words in Galatians 1.6-9.

      1. Joe

        First…thanks for working for us on Christmas day….

        my comment: Please believe me when I say I’m not being obstinate.. I’m just trying to get my head around the events during the gospel(s) transition from Kingdom to Grace. …Question:

        Immediately after the Acts 15 meeting with Paul what would the remaining 12 offer a non believer on the street in Jerusalem as the gospel? Peter declares in his second epistle his lack of understanding of what Paul taught…and this appears to be much later than the Acts 15 meeting. Did Peter and the others continue the Kingdom gospel or transfer over to the Gospel of Grace as presented by Paul? I’ve always assumed that Paul was allowed to go do what he was instructed to do by the revelation he had received from the Lord. … but the 12 and the others in Jerusalem went back to doing whatever it was they had been doing all along with the Jews. Am I wrong? The 12 were COMMANDED to only go to Jews and preach the Kingdom Gospel (Matt. 10). When was that commandment rescinded by the Lord? Are there any instances in scripture where the 12 after Acts 15 delivered the gospel of grace to anyone? I’m assuming Acts written at about 63 and II Peter around 65

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          The problem in answering these questions is that we simply do not have enough information. One thing that is clear is that after Acts 15 only one gospel was valid: Paul’s. I do not think the 12 preached to Gentiles but to whomever they preached the only gospel valid was Paul’s. Peter got it (Acts 15.11). I think what he had in mind by his statement 2 Peter were Paul’s other secrets: the Rapture, the blinding of Israel, being under grace, not Law, Jew and Gentile equal in Christ, etc. I cover most of these in my article: Paul’s “Mystery.”

          1. Joe

            thanks again, I’m not being argumentative with what could be considered repetitive questions. I guess I need things to fit into neat little boxes.
            I think we’ve agreed that Les Feldick is on the right track. I record all of his programs and watch them when i can. With all the holidays and family I’m about 30 programs behind but I’ll catch up in some upcoming marathon watching sessions. Les seems to indicate that the Kingdom message may have continued onward at least until Paul’s final return to Jerusalem Acts 21: 9 and maybe beyond. That verse speaks of the believing Jews being ‘zealous’ for the Law. At this site it appears the consensus is the Kingdom message ended at Acts 15 and that the Kingdom message itself was even warned against in Galatians chapter I. If anyone can find a message chronologically after Acts 15 that can help please send it along. FF Bruce and Picirilli put Galatians before Acts 15. If that is so then it’s a clue. But there is argument as to the dating of Galatians. And there is some fuzziness as to the Jerusalem visit in Galatians 2 passage not being associated with the Acts 15 visit but with the Acts 11 famine relief visit….but we’re getting too far into the weeds. If anyone can help I’d appreciated it. thanks again and Doctrine is going great work.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              I do not understand the argument that Galatians was before Acts 15. How anyone can read Galatians 2.1-10 and not see the account of what transpired at the Jerusalem Council is beyond me.

  6. Gary

    Hi Don,
    As a new believer I am extremely thankful for your writings. I have a son who has been part of what I can only characterize as a strongly fundamentalist “cult” for a year now. He has used scripture to justify his departure from family to live a life that is devoid of all worldly influence (give up all possessions, not subscribing to anything that is worldly), etc) He describes his small group of followers as purely biblical and that they subscribe to Paul’s Christ. What am I missing?

    God bless you,

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. I’m not sure you’re missing anything. Paul wrote we should live godly lives but he never wrote we should give up all worldly possessions (as the Jerusalem church did). True following of Paul’s doctrines will lead to fellowship and harmony.

  7. Joe

    Dear Doctrine

    Famine relief vist vs. Jerusalem conference… From my comment/your response above: How can it be you ask?
    1. My KJV Criswell 1979 (old but good)edition says in the footnotes Gal 2 was the famine relief visit….

    2. FF Bruce in both his books on Paul and the book of Acts says ,” …Galatians makes no reference to the Apostolic Decrees, the Council’s decision that Gentiles need not observe Mosaic ceremony, which is understandable if such a Council had not transpired yet. Further, this would explain Peter’s misguided action at Antioch (Gal. 2:11-14), which might be hard to conceive if it came after he so staunchly defended Gentile liberty at the Council”
    3. And there’s the question as to whom the letter was written. The southern Galatian churches, which names of churches are listed, adding weight to the early date of Gal….or to the unnamed northern churches visited on later journeys.
    4. Gal 2:1…”I went up again to Jerusalem”…meaning he had been there earlier….Paul visited Jerusalem the first time after conversion after leaving Damascus in the beginning of his ministry. This may indirectly mean his second visit (famine relief)

    It sure can get complicated but it’s a fascinating study.

    I’m looking for an instance of a saved Kingdom Gospel believer teaching the Gospel of Grace to anyone anywhere in the New Testament after Acts 15. If that individual(s)can’t be found then I’m assuming those Kingdom believers continued w/o change since Acts 21:9 says the believers in Jerusalem were Zealots for the Law….

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      If Galatians was written before Acts 15 then the Jerusalem Church was under God’s curse for they proclaimed a gospel different from Paul (Galatians 1.8-9). How does Dr. Bruce handle this?

  8. Joe

    I do not know the answer Bruce offers but here is a summary of another bible study from

    A Summary of the Evidence

    In summary, when the evidence is taken into account, though the standard interpretation of Galatians 2:1-10 has been to see it referring to Acts 15, it seems best to refer the Galatians’ passage to Acts 11 and the famine visit. There is both solid evidence for this view as well as no insurmountable problems.

  9. Joe

    Hey, I’m just a lonely layman out here reading all the different takes on the subject trying to make sense of it all. No, I don’t think it’s funny. If Galatians was written before the Jerusalem Conference it is what it is.

    FF Bruce says (page 184; Apostle of the Heart Set Free, 1977…)” In fact, an argument for the early dating of Paul’s letter to the Galatians,which has been followed here, is that if the Council of Jerusalem, as reported by Luke, had already taken place, Paul could hardly have refrained from mentioning its decision on the main issue with which the letter is concerned…a bare statement of historical fact would have been an effective argument for the cause which he was defending. “—–maybe Bruce is wrong?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      My point was that if one is going to make a serious argument for Acts 11, he must deal with the anathema issue. Neglect of this cannot be considered scholarship. Anyone who states “no insurmountable” problems exists to this view without dealing with the anathema issue is not doing serious study even if he is F. F. Bruce.

      1. Chuck

        I have always concluded the famine relief journey was in Acts 21 where Paul and his message of Grace is rejected by the Jews in Jerusalem and it was James, the brother of Jesus who led the charge. History records that James was in the temple daily offering prayers, sacrifices and interceding for the sins of Israel until the day he was killed by the high priest Ananus II in 62 AD. How can we reconcile this with the doctrine presented to the Hebrews in the book of their namesake?

        The book of Acts tells us many times that some people believed Paul’s gospel and some did not. I don’t see any indication that James ever did accept Paul’s revelation.

        Acts 21:20-25

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Based upon Acts 15 it seems James accepted Paul’s gospel. But beyond that everything is murky. It seems he could not accept that the Mosaic Law was over. Whether he grasped any of Paul’s “secrets” is questionable. Peter found them difficult (2 Peter 3.16) but understood that Paul’s was God’s man going forward.

          1. Bea

            I once thought that Acts 15 and Galatians 2 were two different occasions of Paul and Barnabas’ meeting with the Jerusalem Council. But I had clarity when I really compared the two and realized that Acts 15 gives more of Peter’s explanation/response as well as the Council’s response and letter to Paul’s charge during the meeting; and Galatians 2 is mainly of Paul’s charge against Peter and Paul’s charge concerning the “false brethren” telling the Gentiles they must also ‘follow the Law of Moses.’

          2. Bobbi

            I’ve often wondered in Acts 21, vs. 17 says that the Jerusalem brethren received Paul and those traveling with him gladly. So where were the Jerusalem brethren when Paul was mobbed there 7 days later? Why did they not come to his aide…?
            Where were they?

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Good question. Where were James, the elders, and the thousands of Jews zealous for the Law? They abandoned him.

  10. george

    Hi brother,
    I have a question for you; could a man saved from the kingdom gospel be put into the body of Christ at a later date, let’s say like Apollos, or maybe even the apostle Peter or Philip the evangelist. All these men had most probably learned and knew Paul’s mystery doctrine, did they join the body of Christ or did they stay saved in the kingdoms gospel, which after acts 15 was to be a cursed gospel to be preached, thereafter, up until the rapture, so to speak? Also Do you think that Paul got saved by the kingdom gospel, immediately preached Hebrews to the Jews and then probably in Arabia became the first body of Christ member and architect of the mystery kingdom.? If this is true then Paul switched from one gospel to another regarding his salvation and what he preached. finally I wanted to say that your article on Esther was great. dispensationally I think vashti represented the end of the church age, Esther is Israel restored to her King at the end of the tribulation, I would like to know what you think, God bless you in your ministry, and thanks for your help…

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. I doubt Apollos is in the body of Christ. Paul was saved under the kingdom gospel and is the beginning of the body of Christ. Since he began God’s new work, he is an exception. The gospel Paul preached upon his salvation was the kingdom gospel (Acts 9.20). He knew no other gospel until he returned from Arabia. I think he wrote Hebrews while imprisoned in Rome. If you look at how Acts ends, Paul wanted to sum up the issue for the Jews. After this we no longer find Paul going to Jew first. He learned his lesson (Acts 22.18 cf. Ephesians 3.1).

      1. Chuck

        Hi Don,
        I once thought Paul wrote Hebrews but I no longer hold to that idea and here’s why.

        Hebrews 2:3 says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by -THEM- that heard him”…

        The key to understanding this is the statement, “them that heard Him, and the word “us”. Clearly there is an -US- and a -THEM- in the passage.

        Certainly Paul heard from the Lord, so I find it very difficult to attribute this letter to his hand.

        This being said, I do believe the entirety of the content and theme of Hebrews is Pauline revelation, and he was most likely the original source of this information. 2nd Peter says Paul wrote to “them” (presumably Jewish believers) in an epistle. This letter (Hebrews), much like Polycarp’s letter to the Philippians, is a reiteration of Paul’s original message.

        Being a student of Gamaliel, he had a depth of understanding the Law which the other apostles most likely did not. The Lord Jesus chose the right guy for this incredibly important job of putting OT prophesies concerning Christ into proper perspective for the believing Jews who were still trying to keep the Law after the assention.

        Paul most likely understood everything the risen Lord Jesus revealed to him during his time in the desert and reacted with a resounding …Oh Wow…how cool is that!!!…over an over again.

        Can you just imagine…

      2. Bobbi

        I wonder if Paul was saved under the Kingdom gospel. Matt.12:31
        Paul said he did blaspheme… 1 Tim. 1:13. Wasn’t the stoning of Steven blasphemy of the Holy Ghost? Acts 7:55
        He also said he was first to be saved by…1 Tim. 1:16.

        Just a thought I’ve had for some time.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Paul was clearly saved under the kingdom gospel. After his salvation, this was the gospel he proclaimed in the synagogue (Acts 9.20). But he was also the “first” of the Church. Paul is like Abraham, the father of the Jews but not a Jew. Paul began the new program. See 1 Timothy 1.12-14 regarding Paul’s sin.

        2. Vanessa

          Good Morning Bobbi and Don,
          Its amazing. I had just listened to a sermon on Paul this morning and what I noted was that Paul blamphemed in unbelief and Ignorance. 1 Timothy 1:13. And he obtained Mercy from the Lord. Isnt the Lord so wonderful for his mercy endureth forever.

  11. Sam House

    Your web site is an answer to prayer. I pray God blesses you for all the work you’ve done. It is nothing short of remarkable.

    Even after reading your treatise on the church starting with Paul, I have difficulty. It seems to me that when Christ breathed on the disciples, the body started since He breathed His spirit. At Pentecost the Spirit came upon the 120, they were born-again at that point. Ephesians 3:6 says, “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel.” You use that scripture as proof of the beginning of the church, yet the bible teaches the Gentiles became fellow-heirs at that point. I read that as their being added to something that already existed. Are you saying that the Jews who were born-again at Pentecost are not part of the body of Christ? I’m trying to understand why the distinction as to why the church started with Paul versus the original followers of Christ. Does a person being a Jew mean they aren’t part of the body of Christ, that they are really part of the assembly of the Jewish nation? Am I not understanding Eph. 3:6 correctly as their being added to the church versus added to the assembly? I hope I’m making sense?

    Thanks, Sam

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The promise of the Holy Spirit was a Jewish promise (Jeremiah 31.31-34; Ezekiel 36.26-27). Jesus ministered to Jews alone in His earthly ministry (with a couple exceptions). His mission was to fulfill the covenant promises to Israel (Romans 15.8). The Jews at Pentecost were not part of the body of Christ. Peter addressed Jews alone at Pentecost. The definition of the Church, the body of Christ, is that body in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ and baptized by the Holy Spirit. If the Church began in Acts 2, why did Peter not address Gentiles? Peter addressed Jews alone to fulfill the command of Jesus and the promises of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Paul alone taught the body of Christ for Peter and the rest of the Twelve knew nothing of it. This is why Paul wrote in Ephesians 3 that this truth was a secret of which God had made him the minister. Even as late as Acts 10 Peter did not want to go to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. We have no record the 12 had a ministry to Gentiles. The OT promised Gentiles would be blessed through Israel. But the idea of equality between Jew and Gentile in Christ was an alien concept to Peter. The doctrine of the Church is confused in Christendom because Paul is read into the Gospels. But the Gospels are Old Testament. They concern Israel and Israel alone. The Church, the body of Christ, was a new revelation, taught by Paul alone. My articles, The Great Hinge and Paul’s “Mystery” might be helpful to understand all this.

  12. Kim Nguyen

    I would appreciate your reply to these questions to help me understand these issues:

    1. Did Jesus take his own blood to heaven?
    2. After the rapture, where is the church? in heaven?
    3. Where are the raptured believers during the 7-year tribulation?
    4. Where is the church during the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth? after this 1,000 years? in the New Jerusalem? (Revelation 21), in the eternal state?

    Thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      1. I don’t know. Christ’s shed blood secured salvation. It depends how Hebrews 9.12 is read–literally or figuratively.
      2. The Church is with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5.8; 1 Thessalonians 4.17. Ditto.

  13. Kim Nguyen

    Is membership in a local church a biblical mandate?

    Do born-again Christians “have to join a church” and become a member, not just an attendee, – which may require: attending classes, making commitments to tithe and to serve, be loyal to the church and be approved by elder board after an interview…

    Thank you for your response. Your website is so helpful!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. Believers should encourage, teach, and help one another. We are part of the body of Christ and all parts of the body are important to its proper function. As to joining of a church, that is between you and the Lord. Let Him be your guide.

  14. Joe

    Les Feldick made an attempt to address this today but I’m still a little confused. In I Tim chapter 1 vs 18 (I think) Paul uses the word ‘King’ addressing Christ. As I understand it the Church is the body of Christ and not his subjects. Please explain why Jesus Christ is not our King as church age believers. thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Paul referred to the Lord as King in 1 Timothy 1.17, 6.15. He is the King of kings for all creation. I think Les’ point was one of emphasis. His kingship is emphasized much more in relationship to Israel. For us, He is Lord and Head and we are joint-heirs with Him (Romans 8.17).

  15. Sue

    Hi Don,
    What did Jesus mean in Matthew 16:18 ” I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church …”?
    Which church did He mean? Kind regards

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Throughout the Bible Jesus is referred to as the Rock or Stone (1 Corinthians 10.4; Numbers 20.8; Mark 12.2; Daniel 2.45). Peter recognized Him as such and confessed He was the Messiah. On the basis of this confession Jesus stated He would build His “church,” “assembly.” In this context, He meant the Jewish church or assembly composed of Jews who believed, as Peter had, that He was the Messiah. Later, Jesus would reveal another Church, the body of Christ, to the apostle Paul. This church was unknown and unrevealed in Matthew 16.18.

  16. adam

    There is much information you have provided and I, like many were of the traditional view that the Gospels were part of the New Testament. Your teaching has really enlightened me and caused my study to expand. Regarding the beginning of the Church, it was clearly revealed to Paul but in my thinking it began at the ressurection of Christ. Albeit the Apostles did not know including Paul until as scripture states Jesus reveald it to Paul, but I think it clearly had to begin at the Ressurection because without the ressurection, there could not have been a revelation of the secret.. My thoughts are just because it wasnt revealed untill later, in Gods plan it began at the ressurection.. Much like salvation has been paid for (past tense) but many still have to have their eyes open to see the truth.

    I copied this portion of your study as reference.. Thanks for all you do.. God bless..

    Jesus had initiated the new covenant at the Last Supper. During the three years prior to this event He had preached that the kingdom of God was near. His death and resurrection had fulfilled all that was required to atone for sin. He had risen from the dead. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended and Jewish believers were baptized. Israel was at the threshold of achieving all that the prophets had foretold. Only one thing was required: the nation had to repent (Acts 2.38; 3.19a). If they would, God would establish His kingdom on the earth (Acts 3.19b-21; cf. Matthew 6.9-10).

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. Please see my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners? The Church, the body of Christ, began with Paul. It was not known until the Lord revealed it to him (Ephesians 3.4-7).

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Yes, I’m familiar with this work by Ironside. In it, he denied serveral things he himself had taught formerly. The best analysis of it is Cornelius R. Stam’s book, The Controvery (Holding Fast the Faithful Word).

  17. michaelm

    Hi greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ . I have to disagree and say that the Body mentioned in Corinthians may not be the THE Body , but a body of Christ . A body of believers . THE Body of Christ , as you rightly point out , was a secret hid in God until revealed to Paul some years after the Corinthian letter . In the Corinthian body you might notice that members can include the eye of ear of parts of the head .But in the Ephesian Body of Christ HE is the head and WE are the members other parts of the body .
    If this secret was revealed to Paul some years after he wrote Corinthians , then again what Paul says in Corinthians may not refer to what he said in Ephesians and Collosians ?
    I hope you may see this and perhaps correct what you say in your script, or tell me why you will persist ? Love in His grace to you and all the readers :) michaelm

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      You’re pushing the illustration too far. Paul’s point was Christ is the head and we are parts of His body. How many “bodies” of Christ would you have? Paul wrote 1 Corinthians around 57 A.D. So then, only a few years later, when he wrote the Ephesians, another body of Christ is created? Paul declared he was the apostle of the Gentiles who laid the foundation (singular) of the Church (1 Corinthians 3.10-11; 1 Timothy 1.15-16). All who believed Paul’s gospel after his salvation are members of the body of Christ. See my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners? Grace and peace.

  18. Crystal

    Thank you. This site has helped tremendously in answering so many questions ive been wresting with. However, there is one scripture Ive come across that seems to obfuscate many including myself. 1 Cor 15:1-11 v11 clearly states from Paul that it doesnt matter whos message his or the 12 aposles as they all have the same message, however, that does not fit the dispensatilism. What is your take on this scripture?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      They did not preach the same message until after the Council of Jerusalem (see my article, The Great Hinge) but both the gospel of the kingdom and Paul’s gospel were valid and effective towards salvation until then. Both messages led to salvation for a time (until the Council of Jerusalem). The time from Paul’s salvation until the Council was transitional and there was an overlap in terms of the gospel.

  19. Bruce W


    I don’t think Paul’s words or your words could be more clear…

    It’s obvious the vast majority of so-called Christiandom is preaching a false “accursed Gospel.” What about that?

    And churches that do preach the Grace Alone message still mix OT and Kingdom scripture in as pertaining to the body of Christ.

    With that said, explaining this whole concept to my Christian brothers has now put me in the “I’ve gone over the edge” category.

    So, let me get this straight. If kingdom believers were Not part of that body of Christ, then they were equivalent to OT saints?

    And if Christ’s body is heavenly, will it be here during the millennium ruling, administering and reigning with Christ?

    And after the millennium, we go where ever Christ goes, correct?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Yes, kingdom believers were OT saints. The gospels are Old Testament. Why, because what is the OT but the Old Covenant, i.e., the Law of Moses. Jesus ministered under the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law. Peter and the Twelve ministered under the Law. This is what caused the controversy Paul had to address at the Jerusalem Council (see my article, The Great Hinge). We are not given enough information to know where or what we will do during the Millennium. Paul simply stated we are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8). What that will mean during those 1,000 years is unknown except that it will be glorious. After the Millennium, God will create a New Heavens and a New Earth. The Heavenly Jerusalem will descend to the New Earth. Heaven and earth will marry, as it were. I don’t think we have the ability to comprehend what life will be like in a new universe with no entropy (1 Corinthians 2.9).

  20. Stephen

    The body of Christ is a spiritual body of believers who both live and walk in the Spirit. These are those sainted believers who have forsaken the ways of the world or outward man to live inward according to the will of our Heavenly Father. The body of Christ is a mystery revealed unto souls who live in Christ and Christ in them. The body of Christ is not an organized institution called church, nor a fellowship of likeminded individuals. The body of Christ is distinct, in that all believers who live and walk in the Spirit realm are united into Christ through His own Spirit who indwells them. The spiritual body of Christ cannot be organized, instituted, established, ruled-over or controlled. The spiritual body of Christ is a mystery that must be understood only by the revelation of the Spirit of Christ. You cannot join the body of Christ or be excommunicated from the body of Christ. Therefor, all man-made religion called “church” is a distraction to avert our attention away from Christ Himself. The Greek term εκκλεσια is not rendered “church,” but the “called-out-ones.” Who are the “called-out-ones,” but those who are called out from the world of flesh to the realm of the Spirit.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. All you write is true. The point of the article, however, was to highlight that the Church, the body of Christ, was unknown before Paul. It was a Pauline revelation. No one before Paul was of the body of Christ. That is the distinct privilege of those who have believed Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4).

      1. Stephen

        I cannot agree with you more. Only Paul, was taught by the Spirit of Christ and given the hidden revelations of the mystery of Christ. Therefore, our understanding of the truth which is found only in Christ Jesus must be given to us by His own Spirit and not the wisdom of man. The church and seminaries cannot teach us the deep things of God, but only the Spirit of Christ can reveal them to us as He revealed them to Paul. Hence, we must know Christ by the Spirit just as Paul also knew Christ by the Spirit and not the flesh. Amen!

  21. Vernon

    Hi Don,
    Jesus said to the disciples that on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit would “come upon” them and they would receive power etc. I understand that the Holy Spirit did the same with Samson, David, Saul, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha etc. in other words the Holy Spirit “came upon” them as a temporary measure. This is an Old Testament condition, whereas the “indwelling” of the Holy Spirit in the Christian is forever.
    Can I read into Acts 1:8 that this “coming upon” the disciples was the Old Testament version of our association with the Holy Spirit?
    Did the indwelling of the Spirit come some time after Pentecost, and if so can we know when? (Probably Paul?)

    God Bless you richly in Christ,

    Your brother Vernon.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      What the Jews experienced at Pentecost was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit promised in Ezekiel 36 and Jeremiah 31. It was a permanent indwelling. Members of the Church, the body of Christ are also indwelt permanently by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1.22; Ephesians 1.14). The Church began with Paul for it is a Pauline revelation. The Holy Spirit’s manifestation and power among the Jews was primarily in sign gifts. For us, power is in the gospel (Romans 1.16-17) and in Christ’s resurrection (Romans 1.4).

  22. Vernon


    When Peter preached to Gentiles they got saved because they received the Holy Spirit.
    Acts 10:44, 45 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
    Was this a Kingdom conversion or did they somehow see evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit?



    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      All your questions relate to what happened in Acts. The important thing to understand about Acts is it is a transitional book. It is not a doctrinal book. Everything in early Acts related how God was working with Israel. It gives a historical record of the fall of Israel and why the kingdom of God did not come upon the earth. We see in Luke’s record why God saved Paul and created the Church–Israel would not repent. Everything relating to Peter or the 12 involved kingdom conversion. Paul himself was converted under this program. What was different about Peter’s interaction with Cornelius and family was there was no mention of repentance and baptism to receive the Holy Spirit. They received Him and then were baptized. This was different from what Peter had proclaimed in Acts 2 and God provided this experience so Peter could defend Paul many years later (Acts 15). One is not saved by receiving the Holy Spirit. One is saved by believing what God has revealed (the gospel). Paul was saved on the road to Damascus when he believed Jesus was the Christ. God gives His Holy Spirit after salvation. The best source to understand Acts is Stam’s commentary on the book.

  23. Vernon

    Thank you Don.

    I know that what you teach is truth, but I am struggling to shake off my 30 years of error.
    As a result I am being as thorough as possible.

    God bless,


  24. GHCM

    Hi Don,
    Thank you for your works on this website, I know you’re on the right track in understanding God’s word just like Pastor Rodney Beaulieu of Grace Bible church Community. They are couple of topics I personally very interested in hearing are your takes on the Holy Communion and the Prayer of the Body of Christ. Under the Gospel of Grace, do we still need to pray? I know this is a strange question to many but Paul himself hardly touch on the topic of prayer and I found it to be quite misunderstood. In the dispensation of Grace is prayer still heard ?

  25. Vernon

    Hi Don,
    I hope you will not tire of all these questions.
    1Peter 1:3 – 5 says “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
    4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
    5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
    Now, if Peter preached the Kingdom Gospel, what was he preaching here?
    Sounds like the death, burial and resurrection message to me.


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      By the time Peter wrote this letter he had declared Paul’s gospel to be the only gospel (Acts 15.11). In his next letter, he commended Paul to the Jews (2 Peter 3.14-16). It seems Peter never fully grasped Paul’s revelations but he did understand Paul’s gospel of grace.

  26. Vernon

    Thanks you Don.
    Another niggley thought is found in 2 Peter.
    1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
    Here Peter is obviously speaking to Jews.
    But in 1 Peter 2:24, Peter says… “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
    This is more a grace message than a Kingdom message.
    I know that Peter acknowledged Pauls gospel. Perhaps he too mixed the two because his statement here appears the be a hybrid of two different gospels.
    Any thoughts?

    God Bless,


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Answering these kinds of questions is somewhat speculative since we have rather sketchy chronologies. Peter clearly was writing Jews (1 Peter 1.1). Probably many if not most had been saved in the kingdom program and were, therefore, a chosen, royal priesthood, based upon Exodus 19.6. Later, Peter had learned the meaning and significance of Jesus’ death on the cross and was exhorting his readers with this truth to his readers. He learned this from Paul, maybe at Paul’s visit to Jerusalem, maybe from reading Hebrews, which I think Paul wrote.

  27. Vernon

    Hi again Don,

    Again I have a question…Acts 26:19 – 22 “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
    20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
    21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
    22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:”
    Is Paul preaching the law here?
    I am seriously concerned!



    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Consider Paul’s audience as well as his circumstances. Paul was on trial for his life. King Agrippa understood the prophets and the Law. Paul appealed to him in the context of his understanding. Paul basically told Agrippa he was proclaiming the Messiah. Paul told the truth, just not all the truth. Consider also Acts 23.6.

  28. Randy

    HI Don,
    I read your site almost daily. What encouragement and joy! I am thrilled by how the “Resent Comments” column is growing larger. More and more are being enlightened! Thank you for your dedication to rightly dividing the Word of God.

  29. Franz

    Hi Don, thanks so much for all of your hard work, I’ve started to read your articles and there are so many new insights that I haven’t heard of before.

    I’m still having lots of questions though. Maybe the most pressing one in my head right now is not so much when the church technically started but rather: which teachings of Jesus are valid for us as the church and which ones not? And: when Jesus addresses his disciples, is that purely as representants of Israel, or also as pioneers of the church?

    You have argued very convincingly that the disciples’ mindset was the ‘Jewish’ or prophetic program where Jews were to repent and be baptized into the Messianic Kingdom.

    However, Jesus himself certainly knew that this was only one side of the coin. He knew that his death and resurrection were to be the victory over sin and the means of reconciliation, and he told his disciples so (Matthew 26:26-28). In Matthew 28.19-20 he explicitly sends them out to all nations (as the foreknown consequence of the fact that Israel had rejected him on a national / leadership level). He doesn’t say “wait until Israel repents” even though the disciples might have interpreted it that way and therefore they needed correction from Paul. Jesus also says that the commands he has given to them are valid and relevant for everybody.

    Would you agree with me that far?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      All Scripture is FOR us but all Scripture is not TO us. The Gospels are OT just as much as Jeremiah. Jesus came to fulfill the prophetic program revealed in the OT (Romans 15.8). All Church doctrine comes from Paul. The rest of the Scriptures are valuable for our learning (Romans 15.4; 1 Corinthians 10.11). In Acts 1.8, Jesus gave the order of evangelism. Compare it with Acts 8.1 and ask why the Twelve remained in Jerusalem. Why no Gentile evangelism? We have two conclusions: they were disobedient or they were obedient (they understood Jesus). See my article, The Great Commission, for more on that subject.

      1. Franz

        I see your point, but doesn’t that lead us into another huge problem? If I understand you correctly, you are saying that all that Jesus ever called the Twelve to do was evangelism according to the OT prophetic program. So then, he gave them this crucial evangelism command, right before his ascension, basically his legacy to them and the proclamation of their central lifetime calling after he had gone to the Father. But then shortly afterwards, God put the prophetic program on hold and would not take it up again for 2000+ years, thereby rendering the evangelism command to the Twelve obsolete and leaving them in no man’s land without further purpose (since the calling to establish the church went only to Paul)? What is worse, Jesus did so very knowingly – he had already foreseen that Israel would not repent and would be judged by God for that (Luke 19:41-44). I’m surely missing something in your argument?

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Jesus’ presentation of Himself and the kingdom (all the prophetic promises) was a bona fide offer. He knew they would fail, yes, but the offer was genuine. They had a choice. Peter’s quotation of Joel 2 at Pentecost indicated he thought the Tribulation (Day of the Lord) was just around the corner. The Twelve were to evangelize Jerusalem, then move to Judea, Samaria, and all the world. The difficultly in all of this is that the timetable revealed in the OT was sketchy. The Rubicon was crossed with Stephen’s stoning (Acts 7). That demonstrated Israel would not repent. In Acts 9 God saved Paul to begin a whole new program, putting the prophetic program on hold. Acts is a transitional book and moves from God’s prophetic program to God’s Church program. You might enjoy my article, The Purpose of the Book of Acts and my latest article, What Was Pentecost?

  30. Joe

    This is how I see it. The Apostles had been promised leadership roles in the Kingdom. They didn’t want to out of town when the Lord returned. The got all the local believers to sell everything and live communally waiting for the Lord’s return. They figured that following the return they would evangelize all of Jerusalem then the surrounding areas then the world. They heard what they wanted to hear. …..Maybe this is exactly what is going to happen. They never saw the Church age in front of them. Eventually accepting Paul’s ministry was probably both disappointing and confusing.

    However, if any part of Matthew 24 or Luke 21 was for them then it seems to me that they first should have been looking for the destruction of the temple. Was/is any part of Matt 24 or Luke 21 meant for the 12?….Possibly not, none lived that long except maybe John. Please help clarify. thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The difficultly with the prophetic program is the timeline. God stated what He would do things but not when or the order. Peter thought the Tribulation was near since he quoted all of Joel 2 at Pentecost. The Twelve only knew the prophetic program and the Church, the body of Christ, was not revealed anywhere in the OT. It all began with Paul. It was difficult for them because they had been operating under the prophetic program for 2,000 years and under the Law for 1,500 years. Paul came along and revealed a new program which suspended the old.

  31. Stacy

    Question? I understand we are baptized into the Body of Christ at salvation and that our citizenship is in heaven! So where are those saved prior to the existence of the Body of Christ? What will be their place during the millennium since they were saved under the Kingdom Gospel? Are those of us in the Body of Christ and those saved prior to the existence of the Body of Christ in Heaven together, if so will we remain there together?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The saved before Christ’s resurrection were held in Paradise (Luke 23.43), a.k.a. Abraham’s Bosom, where Lazarus resided (Luke 16). After the Lord was raised He emptied it and took those believers to heaven. All believers now reside in heaven awaiting resurrection.

  32. Stacy

    So Matthew 19:28 suggests that the 12 will rule the 12 tribes during the millennium. I assume the 12 are currently in Heaven! So does this verse suggest that once we receive our resurrected bodies those in the Body of Christ will remain in Heaven and those of the Kingdom Gospel will return to earth?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Scriptures do not explicitly reveal what our role will be. We know we are a heavenly people, joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8.17) and we will judge or rule angels (1 Corinthians 6.3) which lends itself to your thought.

  33. Lindiwe Jele

    Good day, Wonderful writing, Thanks.
    please forgive me if this question is not related to this topic, but can you please look at these and assist me understand:

    Act 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
    Act 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
    Act 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
    Act 11:22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
    Act 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
    Act 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
    Act 11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
    Act 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

    1. after the stoning of Stephen, they scattered (who?), they spread the Word ……, the DISCIPLES were called Christians first in Antioch.

    now Paul is seldomly referred to as the disciple, he was brought by Barnabas and they assembled with the CHURCH……

    maybe we must first look at the original meaning of the word Christians and try to work out why were they named or called CHRISTIANS, I think its because of the life they lived, the miracles, the preaching etc they just imitated Christ as followers of Christ.

    2. the truth is the disciples preached to none but Jews, until Paul the Apostle to Gentile…., but I do believe after chapter 15 – after meeting at Jerusalem and Peter’s declaration, they slowly adapted to accepting Gentiles salvation too. the fact that some went to Indians …….it did not come easy but they must have did it after some time.

    3. I also believe that Paul, had initially preached the gospel of the Kingdom in His early preaching s – he assembled with the church = worshiped with them for some time before starting his journeys . just look at his first recorded sermon at Antioch in chapter 13, don’t you think it has some similarities to Peter’s sermon at Pentecost. that’s my view.

    4. one other silly question from me, Jesus came to serve only JEWS, he did not preach to any gentile (two exceptions), so everything he did in this world he did for the lost sheep of Israel, and NOT GENTILES. now would I not be correct to assume that even His dying on the cross was AIMED only for JEWS and not us gentiles? why do we today claim He died for our sins also. He had nothing to do with the gentiles, he ordered the disciples NOT even set their feet in gentiles houses……..
    we gentiles are just like the people from the highways in the parable found in the book of Mathew 22? This whole deal was meant for JEWS but because they rejected Him, he did us a favor = GRACE we are saved. That’s why Paul call it gospel of GRACE.
    when he talk about grace he talk about us not initially worth it, but just by grace after the rejection by the Jews.


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. 1. The assembly of Jewish believers (except the 12) were scattered. I don’t know what went into the designation of “Christian” but it is noteworthy that no one was called this until after Paul was commissioned. 2. We have no Biblical record of evangelism to Gentiles by the Twelve. , Tradition states Thomas went to India to minister to Jews, not Gentiles. 3. Immediately after Paul was saved he preached Christ was the Son of God (gospel of the kingdom) but after he returned from Arabia proclaimed the gospel of the grace of God. In Acts 13, the resurrection is central and the Law is not. The gospel of the kingdom required Law-keeping. This is absent in Paul’s address. 4. According to prophecy, (Isaiah 53) the “our” “we” referred to Jews. But God revealed to Paul that His death had far greater reach than just Jews. See my article, For Whom Did Christ Die?

  34. Joe

    2 Corintians 5:19. Paul says God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. To me, ‘the world’ means everybody…….even those who will never be saved. It appears sin is no longer the issue in salvation. In Romans Paul says we are reconciled by ‘his death but saved by his life’. To me that means salvation is believing in his resurrection. 1 Cor 15: 1-4. My bible says that at the Great White Thrown judgement where the unsaved are judged in Revelation 20:12…the unsaved are not judged for their sins….they are judged for their works. I don’t know languages. Maybe works in this instance means sins.

    Doctrine, does the word works in Rev 12:20 mean sins?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Christ died for every sin of every person. I deal with this in For Whom Did Christ Die? God has revealed varying rewards and punishments exist. There has to be a basis for this determination. From God’s perspective Christ’s His work satisfied divine justice. But for the individual who refuses His work it is of no benefit. Bottom line: I used to think works did not include sins. I am now of the opinion they do. Otherwise, how does God determine degrees of punishment?

  35. Joe

    I’ll probably never understand. Seems if sins of the world are forgiven then that settles it. But on the other hand if there are degrees of punishment then that has to be based on something. I can understand punishment as a means to reform. A child is spanked because he plays with fire. The spanking ends. The child learns and does not repeat. In hell the lost learns but the spanking never ends. What’s the point?

    I understand there are rewards for believers and that too has to be based on things we do or don’t do in time.

    thank you.

  36. freddy faria

    Nice article. Though I must mention that Romans 16:7 is not addressed. In this verse it is clear that Paul himself affirms that they were people in Christ before him, so the Church the Body of Christ did not start with Paul. Rather Paul was given first, the revelation of the mystery. Here is the bible verse in the King James version:

    Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. – Romans 16:7.

    Please commment. Thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. The phrase “in Christ” is not necessarily synonymous with the Church, the body of Christ. Paul used the phrase “in Christ” in redemptive as well as a dispensational senses. Romans 16.7 is the former. The Biblical evidence that the Church, the body of Christ, began with Paul is substantial. For more, see my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners?

  37. freddy faria

    Thanks for the response.

    Studying through the transitional book of Acts, it can be seen that the Peter, the twelve were instructed to be witnesses for Christ, the preaching of the gospel (notice the order) starting at Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth in Acts 1:8. However when Paul got saved, we see that God interrupted the “prophetic program” and changed the order (notice the order) in Acts 9:15 – they were to go to the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

    So it does tell me that the church started not with Paul and he affirms the same in Romans 16:7

    Appreciate your comments. Thank you & God Bless.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      In Acts 9.15, the Lord addressed Paul, not the Twelve. He was the one now sent to Gentiles, kings, and Israel. Paul taught a wholly different program than the Twelve. I cover this in Jesus vs. Paul, Paul’s “Mystery”, Why Paul?, Paul: Chief of Sinners?, and other articles. The Twelve never had a ministry to Gentiles according to the Scriptures. The “great commission” (see my article, The Great Commission) will be fulfilled in the Tribulation and Millennium, not in our age.

      1. freddy faria

        That is what I actually meant. The Lord addressed Paul in Acts 9:15 and not twelve. But what I am trying to show is that the church the body of Christ did not start with Paul. The Church marching orders first appear in Acts 1:8, but after the leadership of Israel rejected Jesus as the promised messiah, then God interupted the Prophectic program and in Acts 9:15 saved Paul and gave him the Mystery Program for the Church Age. The prophectic program will resume at the start of Jacob’s troubles after the “fullness of the Gentiles” come in after conclusion of the Church age.


        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          The Church, the body of Christ, is Jew and Gentile equal in Christ. If the Church began before that why were Gentiles not included? We do not find any Gentile evangelism until a few years after Paul was commissioned. What we have before Paul are Jewish assemblies, not “Church” and they believed in the identity of Christ, not in His death and resurrection which was Paul’s gospel. The Church came into being on the basis of the death and resurrection of Christ. Believers before Paul were of “the way.” They did not believe Christ died for them and rose from the dead for their salvation. They believed He was the Messiah, the Son of God. So it is impossible for the Church to have begun before Paul.

          1. freddy faria

            The Gentiles were to be included but they had to go through the Prophectic program offered to Israel first – Israel was to be the Channel of Blessing to other Gentile nations, that is why you see the order of the gospel to be preached is first found in Acts 1:8 Then that changed subsequently in Acts 9:15 and Pauls marching orders in Acts 26:18, because God interupted the prophectic program and gave Paul the Mystery program and that is because Israel after the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7) and their rejection of Jesus as the promised Messiah. Why did Paul write his epistle to the Romans? and to whom is was addressed to?

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              I’m not sure I follow the reasoning behind the question. Paul wrote Romans to the church at Rome, composed primarily of Gentiles (but had some Jews), to explain the great doctrines of justification, sanctification, glorification, God’s plan for Israel, and to encourage believers to live holy lives.

  38. Lindiwe Jele

    Hi, Thanks for your reply above.
    The name Christian started in Antioch while the Jewish believers (products/work of the twelve), Barnabas and Paul were still preaching the “gospel of the Kingdom”. I agree this was after Paul was commissioned but it was still before he had the Mystery of the “body of Christ” and before he returned from Arabia and proclaimed the gospel of the grace of God. Would I be not correct to assume that Christianity started long before Paul commission just that they were not yet known or called that NAME until in Antioch. and it was not because of Paul’s lessons or his teachings…., but the teachings of the twelve that made people see CHRISTIAN-SHIP in them. They imitated Christ in the way they lived, talked, taught, etc.

    Thanks a lot for your views and writings

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Both saved Jews and Gentiles constituted the church at Antioch. Some were saved under the gospel of the kingdom and some under Paul’s gospel. Notice that when Gentiles began to be saved, Barnabas went to get Paul. The Jews were flummoxed by Gentiles being saved even after what happened with Cornelius. Paul was in Tarsus, having returned from three years in Damascus and Arabia where he had received his gospel and doctrines (secrets) previously undisclosed. Paul taught for a year in Antioch the doctrines he had received from the risen Lord. It was after this that believers began to be called Christians. Therefore, it seems most reasonable that the term “Christian” resulted from Paul’s teaching.

  39. Joe

    Isn’t it interesting that the term Christian arose outside the borders of Israel?

    At the end of the 3rd journey Paul was given warnings not to return to Jerusalem. Agabus. But he did have a responsibility to deliver the collection to the poor there. If the warnings were from God then the $ would have not been delivered and Paul would not have wound up in prison where he wrote some of his letters. I wonder if the $ was delivered. It seems unreasonable to hold Paul in Caesarea for over two years. Was Festus expecting a bribe? Why would there have been warnings to Paul if ignoring the warnings resulted in the epistles in our bible…(which is good)?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Yes. I think Paul was wrong to go to Jerusalem since the Lord had told him the Jews wouldn’t listen to him. But Paul loved them disregarded the consequences. Had he not gone God would have still provided us with the doctrines we have in the prison epistles. Paul did finally “get it” for he wrote he was a “prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles” (Ephesians 3.1). He wasn’t a prisoner of Rome but of Christ. Paul never again tried to evangelize Jews. He learned his lesson–as Acts 28 indicates.

  40. Joe

    In response to an earlier post re: when the Church began. In early Acts Peter used Joel as his reference to what he saw happening. Paul said his mission was not disclosed in time. Paul’s mystery was established before time (before the foundation of the earth). It was a mystery until revealed to Paul. How could the 12 teach or promote something that was never revealed to them? The Church (The Body of Christ) was one of the mysteries only Paul reveals as far as I can tell.

    Doctrine, How many mysteries did Paul reveal? I’ve heard as many as 6 or 7.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      See my article, Paul’s “Mystery”. The fact of the matter is that while some of Paul’s doctrines are noted as “mystery” most of his teachings were “secret”, whether noted or not. His doctrines are not found in the rest of Scripture.

  41. Joe

    Just to add my 2 cents worth here is a quote from Sir Robert Anderson’s book, “The Coming Prince”.

    In a footnote on page 200 of his book The Coming Prince (2nd ed.) he wrote: “In Scripture the church of this dispensation is symbolized as the Body of Christ, never as the Bride. From the close of John Baptist’s ministry the Bride is never mentioned until she appears in the Apocalypse (John 3:29; Rev. 21:2, 9). The force of the ‘nevertheless’ in Eph. 5:33 depends on the fact that the Church is the Body, not the Bride. The earthly relationship is readjusted by a heavenly standard. Man and wife are not one body, but Christ and His church are one body, therefore a man is to love his wife ‘even as himself.’”

    1. Dakota

      Thank you Joe, I think God would say that is worth more than 2 cents to HIM for you to share TRUTH based on scripture.

      Jesus did tell Paul that he is the guy[ Acts 9] and Paul said he is the guy and Paul said Jesus is the HEAD.[1 Corinthians 9] Paul was sharing the O.T. rules as he described the guys in the O.T.. Paul described them in the right doing what they were doing and said I am the N.T. minister and I will be charged big time if I don’t preach, freely!! That way I can boast and not hinder the TRUTH. GOD wants the WORD to run swiftly. [2 Thessalonians 3:1] Paul goes on and says work night and day in the WORD. Work with your hands, not your mouth,to earn food & raiment, and then you can eat the TRUTH which is self-explanatory if we are doing the contrary while in denial. By that , we will not be aburden and we will not hinder the TRUTH. After all, what are we doing when we remember JESUS, the TRUTH. [1 Corinthians 11: 23-26] . Aren’t we constantly as individuals growing our faith in TRUTH. Also, no one else said they were the guy in the New Testament after the Testator dies[ Hebrews 9:16] So Paul must have written Hebrews with a final tone of clarification. Paul also magnified the absence of tithing in the N.T. in chapter 8 of Hebrews. Now, I have put my 2 cents in and I hope anyone that cares to ,when they see the validity of simplicity in JESUS, join us at a wonderful observational page called : Dakota4Reformation2016. It’s simply great!! Hallelujah!!! P.s. thank you for giving me a stage to voice my perspective on TRUTH which never fails me evemn though my memory of worldly things does fail me as I am older. Again, Hallelujah!!!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Yes, Gentiles would be the proselytes. Luke’s point is they were all Jews or followers of Judaism. Peter made no address to Gentiles as Gentiles.

  42. Elvie Manrique

    Hi Don
    Thanks for your reply. It means that the proselytes belong to Jewish assembly. What about in Acts 8, the Samaritans and an Ethiopian? Are they not belong to body of Christ?

  43. Dakota J. Plain

    Dakota J. Plain is my pen name. I use it and have been given it because of what I explained in an earlier post. Anyway, I have written some spiritual books before and after I got the Lord in me. The book I wrote before did not mention JESUS. After I got the LORD JESUS in me , the book I wrote has JESUS all over it. What happened? Anyway,my spiritual books my Lord gave me are for me so that is really why I don’t share them cause I believe there is only one book that is to & for us all. It’s the greatest book ever written to & for Christians. It is the best seller for about 2000 years a runnin’ and was completed in an unabridged 66 books by 40 authors about 400 years ago. It has no holes in it. All we need to do is break it down and know which part is to and for us and what part is for us only. It is best explained in the short video that happens to be the centerpiece of this true connection to , what I believe, is the opportunity for ‘THE WORD’ to run swiftly[2Thessalonians 3:1] and not be hindered[1Corinthians 9:12]. After all, what did the Apostle Paul express in [1 Corinthians 11:1]?

  44. Angel

    Hi Don, Grace and peace.
    I have exactly the same question as Joe mentions in his comments above. In Act 21 it seems to me that James and the elders in Jerusalem were keeping the law. Even they said to Paul that the way to walk in order was keeping the law. It shows to me that both gospels were proclaimed at the same time. To me the church in Jerusalem never ceased to keep the law.
    Between Acts 15 and Acts 21 I do not know how much time passed but these vers in Acts 21 show that the Jerusalem church was still preaching the kingdom.
    Please could you explain what you see….were both programs “active”? and when the kingdom program ceased?
    Thank you for all the help in understanding God’s purpose in heavens and in the earth.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      James remained zealous for the Mosaic Law (he apparently never understood Paul’s doctrines) but was not teaching the gospel of the kingdom given Peter’s declaration in Acts 15.11. To have continued proclaiming that gospel would have placed him under a curse (Galatians 1.7-9). See my article, The Great Hinge.

  45. Marcia Mieritz

    My Bible Studt group is studying Ephesians. My understanding is that we were called out before the foundation of the world, that all are called, but few will respond to this election to reside in Christ. Are those who state they believe in Christ and attempt to follow in His ways, but don’t understand the special calling to be the Church which is His body, going to be inheritors of the Church which is His body. Or will there be certain levels in heaven, those who have responded to their special election to the Church which is His body, and another group who don’t share that understanding who will reside in heaven but not in the Church which is His body? This seems a bit confusing to me.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      All who believe Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) are baptized by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12.13) into the body of Christ.
      All members of Christ’s body have heaven as their destiny.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      It is not completely clear whom Paul has in mind but other references to apostles in Paul’s writings include the following: 1 Thessalonians 1.1, 2.6. Paul regarded Timothy and Silvanus as apostles. In Philippians 2.25 he called Epaphroditus an apostle. See also 2 Corinthians 8.23, 1 Corinthians 4.6-9, Romans 16.7. The following verses are the complete list of Paul’s use of ἀπόστολος: Romans 1.1, 11.13, 16.7; 1 Corinthians 1.1, 4.9, 9.1-2, 5, 12.28-29. 15.7, 9; 2 Corinthians 1.1, 8.23, 11.5, 13, 12.11-12; Galatians 1.1, 17, 19; Ephesians 1.1, 2.20, 3.5, 4.11; Philippians 2.25; Colossians 1.1; 1 Thessalonians 2.6; 1 Timothy 1.1, 2.7; 2 Timothy 1.1, 11; Titus 1.1.

  46. Charlene Berrie

    At the end of your article you stated an author you referred to earlier, Johnson, had died . It sounded as if you believe he(Johnson ) is already in heaven. Care to
    comment on that please?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      God sees every believer as positionally in heaven the moment one believes (Ephesians 1.3; Philippians 3.20). At death, the believer is immediately received into the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5.8).

  47. Charlene Berrie

    In 1Cor.15:52 it says the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable and we ( those who have not yet died) will be changed from mortal to immortal. Why would God need to resurrect a body that in some form was already in heaven?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      At death, our souls and spirits go to be with the Lord. The body stays on earth. God will redeem that body and transform it into a body like Christ’s, an immortal body uncorrupted by sin.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Jesus is the door for all but in the context, he was speaking to Jews. Sheep are always Jews (John 10.7). The Church did not come into existence until Paul.

      1. Jacob

        Thank you, Don.

        I was wondering about Acts 20:28, is that referring to the Jewish church? Or the Body of Christ? I’m a little confused by the term “flock” used in the passage.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Good question. It seems clear Paul was thinking in terms of a flock of sheep. Everywhere else I can think of, sheep were used only of Israel. So there are a couple possibilities. 1. “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock” refers to 2 groups “yourselves,” i.e., Gentiles and “flock,” Jews (same in v. 29) or 2. This referred to one group and is an exception in which this Church (composed of Gentiles and Jews) were referred to collectively as sheep. I tend to think the former, but am not dogmatic about it since this is the first time I’ve thought about it. But as for the particular question, this was the Body of Christ, not Jewish “church.” If you have insight, please let me know. Grace and peace.

          1. Jacob

            Is it possible that when God revealed Paul the secret that Jew and Gentile were equal in Christ in one Body, it meant that equality extended to having Gentiles categorically considered “sheep” from that moment forward?

            FYI…prior to reading your articles, I had the notion that John 10:16’s “other sheep” were the gentiles, the sheep in the fold were the Jews, and Jesus was foreshadowing the secret to be revealed to Paul. (Ephesians 2:11-18) Thus the last part, they shall be One Shepherd and One Flock was what I understood as the unity of the entire flock in the future.

            I can appreciate that prior to the secret revealed to Paul, Gentiles were not called or considered “sheep” but perhaps after the equality in Christ, there is truly no difference between Jew and Gentile, thus the Jew and gentile are sheep in the Lord’s eyes?

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              I think this unlikely since Paul said the Church, the body of Christ, was a secret. Since the Lord ministered to Israel (Romans 15.8) the one shepherd/flock referred to a united, believing Israel (Ezekiel 37.16-19).

              1. Jacob

                1. After Paul’s revelation of the equality of Jew and gentile in the Body of Christ, are gentiles considered “sheep” categorically from that point forward?

                2. In the future, when the Church is complete and retrieved by God and OT program resumes, will future gentile converts of the kingdom gospel/program be considered “Jews”?

                1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

                  No. Sheep is a designation of Israel. Converts in the kingdom will be saved under the gospel of the kingdom but will not be considered Jews. The will be saved Gentiles, just like in the OT, e.g., Ruth, Rahab, Naaman, etc. A Jew is a person related by blood to Jacob.

  48. David Ransbottom

    Is there anything to this so-called “Kingdom Church” that Charles F. Baker speaks about in his book, “A Dispensational Theology” ? He said that this Kingdom Church began on the Day of Pentecost.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      I don’t think Baker wrote the kingdom church began at Pentecost but that it existed at Pentecost. The so-called “kingdom church” (I would avoid the word “church” as it only causes confusion) began with the preaching of John. It consisted of those who believed the gospel of the kingdom, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and that the kingdom was near.

  49. Jacob

    Will gentile converts in the kingdom program be “sheep”? If not, I was wondering where they fit in the future according to Matthew 25:32-33

    32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. – Mt. 25:32-33

  50. Jacob

    Don, How do you address, individuals who preach and claim that they are the “only” true church, etc. and their particular religious organization is a restoration of the primitive church due to apostasy? Thanks…

  51. Jacob

    Dear Don,

    I was wondering what your thoughts are about the Roman Catholic Church, is it a surviving remnant of Paul’s churches?

    I don’t know if you have an article on this on or not but a history and timeline of the church from Paul’s day to our present age, would be great. (Including any schisms and break-offs)


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Little of Paul exists in the RCC. The RCC is based primarily upon the apostleship of Peter, not Paul. The history of churches is complex. There have been thousands of breakups resulting in the numerous denominations and churches. It would take a very long article to document this and I haven’t the interest or energy to write it. Grace and peace.

      1. Jacob

        Hi Don,

        I’m curious as to what happened to the churches Paul established?

        Did they somehow absorb themselves into the RCC through the centuries?

        Thank you,

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          God has always preserved a remnant and the gospel for men and women to be saved. Pockets of true doctrine have existed throughout the centuries. The RCC lost or distorted most Christian truth. But, for example, the Waldensians preserved some Christian truth. The sad fact is Paul wrote he lost all of Asia in his lifetime (2 Timothy 1.15). This is an incredible statement. Paul spent a huge amount of time ministering there. Thus, Paul lost the churches of Ephesus, Galatia, Laodicea, Iconium, Derbe, Lystra, Psidian Antioch, Colossae, etc. They abandoned Paul’s teachings. Christendom has amalgamated the OT, Gospels, grace, law, and Paul into a syncretic mess. This explains the apostasy and confusion in Christendom for the past 1,900+ years.

          1. Vanessa

            Don if Paul lost all those churches could one then ask were they ever saved or did false doctrine slowly creep in till they were lost.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              The book of Galatians provides the greatest insight into this loss. Paul’s conflict at the Council of Jerusalem was never fully resolved as is evident by James’ statement in Acts 21. The kingdom program mixed with Paul’s grace program ruined everything. These were believers but they could not understand Paul’s doctrines. The Galatians were believers but abandoned grace for the Mosaic Law. The poison that began in the 1st century continues today which explains why Christendom spends 90+% of its time in the Gospels.

              1. Vanessa

                Arnt then they accursed, even those who live today and what was that accursed. How can a believer be accursed? I tussle with this.

                1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

                  Paul placed a curse on any who do proclaimed a gospel different from his. He was not specific about the nature of the curse. It’s enough to know there is great danger for proclaiming a false, erroneous gospel. While Paul wrote to believers, this curse applies to both.

  52. Kyle

    I thought the New Testament did not start until atleast the death of Christ (Hebrews 9), for I beleieve during the last supper Christ was just illustrating the necessity of his death for the New Testament, not that He was initiating it during the supper. As well after the Jerusalem trial and the writing of Galatians, did the 12 stay faithful to the Kingdom gospel, but stopped evangelizing or did they start following Paul? I think that the Body of Christ increased while the Gospel of the Kingdom decreased, but those already following the Kingdom Gospel did not join Paul’s ministry but remained as the faithful true Israel. Can you please help me understand what happened to the 12’s ministry and the other points I adressed. Thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Scriptural answers to your questions are sketchy. We’re only given hints as to what happened. I doubt the 12 continued proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom after the Council of Jerusalem given Paul’s statement of Galatians 1.6-9 but do think they continued to teach law-keeping. They kept trying to bring Gentiles under the Mosaic Law. This is evident from the fear Peter had of these men who came to Antioch (Galatians 2.11-14). It is doubtful the 12 ever understood that the Mosaic Law was over/suspended by governance of the Holy Spirit. James was certainly enthusiastic about Jewish law-keeping (Acts 21.17-26). Paul had a tremendous fight on his hands which explains why he wrote Galatians. He lost that fight for he wrote all Asia (2 Timothy 1.15) had abandoned him (his teachings of grace). This battle has continued for nearly 2,000 years and explains why Christendom spends most of its time in the Gospels and why there is so much confusion. It explains why so many reject Paul. One only has to read the comments I receive to understand how many loath Paul. They call him a false prophet, a deceiver, an enemy of Christ, etc. The god of this world has blinded them (2 Corinthians 4.4) and they will not believe Paul’s gospel.

      1. Kyle

        Yeah it is sad to see people that are blind to the truth of Paul’s revelations and distort the grace doctrine. I was young when my mom told me the difference between protestants and catholics, i.e sola fide, but I never read the bible. All of my local churches that I have been to have never spoken clearly about the revelation of the mystery given to Paul versus the 4 gospels. I myself was blind to the clear grace doctrine. I began reading the Word for myself a few years ago and was so confused with all the contradictions and thought that I had to wait until I died to unsersrstand the contradictions. I went to various churches and every church seems to blend the clear apparent clear contraditctions between Jesus, James, and Paul leading to various denominations with various doctrines, like being saved by grace but one has to bear fruit or that one has to repent (turn from sins) and beleive the gospel, or your saved by faith but faith without works is dead. I never had any victory, I am so thankful that I can know the grace of God in truth.

  53. Vanessa

    Hello Don, Hope you are well. During the 1000 years what will the body of Christ be doing and will we be on Earth. I cannot find and scriptures to help me with question. Thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      We’re told we are joint-heirs of Christ (Romans 8.17), will rule angels (1 Corinthians 6.3), and 1 Corinthians 2.9. Imagine!

  54. Vanessa

    Hi Don, Thank you. After sending you the mail I went and read an article written by a person who rightly divides. He said what you said so thank you for this. The idea of me ruling Angels seems really humbling. The reality is also scary somehow, especially knowing that this is my future. Amazing and overwheling.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Yes, indeed. And we have the words of comfort from our apostle, who knew suffering (Romans 8.18; 2 Corinthians 4.16-18). This is our hope and destiny.

  55. Vanessa

    Hello Don, Which Angels are these. Surely its the fallen ones? But then arnt the fallen ones locked away till after the 1000 years. That then leaves the heavenly ones.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Yes, unfallen angels will be subject to us. Quite a thought. We are made lower than angels (as Christ was in His humanity, Hebrews 2.7, 9) for a time but as joint-heirs we will be their superiors. Satan saw us (rightly) as a threat and that is one reason he attacked Adam and Eve. The world had been his before (Ezekiel 28) and God had given it to Adam after He created him. Because of man’s sin, Satan regained control of the world and now runs it (Matthew 4; 2 Corinthians 4.4). Why is the world so corrupt? Satan is running it.

  56. TWR

    Very knowledgeable, but from a Christian point of view. The church had been in existence sine the laws were given at Sinai.

    Acts 7:38King James Version (KJV)
    38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

    The proper translation is assembly. Church is a word added later. There wasn’t a big deal made of the church because the only people present at Pentecost were Jews and dispersed Israelites who made the annual pilgrimage. They were the gentiles. If you would stop trying to relate everything to the pagan religion of Christianity your work would be flawless. Satan’s religions are his biggest means of running the world. The world rejected the Israelites. The nations did not want to be proselytized. When the world accepts the true Israelites and the finally know who they are, the world can change.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      When I write “church” I mean the Church, the body of Christ. It did not exist until God revealed it to Paul. Paul began the Church, the body of Christ. Paul wrote the Church was a “secret” God kept hidden (Ephesians 3.1-7). Paul wrote that he was the architect and the first in the Church. See my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners? The Church is nowhere present in the OT, in the gospels, or in the teachings of the 12. It was a Pauline revelation he received from the risen Lord.

  57. David Enoch Clark

    This is new to me. I beg your patience with me. If one is saved today by stating that they believe in God, his son, his atoning sacrifice, his resurrection, and state their desire and intention to be a disciple of Christ forever, then what possible difference can it make to know this “secret” that the church started with Paul? Does salvation and eternal life hinge on this understanding? Do we, can we, become better Christ followers by obtaining this knowledge?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Salvation does not depend on this understanding. The question really is one of correctly understanding the Scriptures. Is this important? If all one wants to know is how to be saved, it is not important. But if one wishes to grow in Christ, it is essential. All Church doctrine comes from the pen of Paul. Most churches spend 90% of their time in the Gospels. The Gospels are Old Testament. They snap right on to Malachi. They concerned Jesus’ earthly ministry and were written to Jews (Romans 15.8). Paul’s letters were written to Christians, to the Church, the body of Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and all Scripture is FOR us but not all Scripture is TO us.

      1. David Enoch Clark

        Should we who wish to receive the gift of life eternal, endeavor to become disciples of Christ? Paul said for us to follow him as he followed Christ. So it stands to reason based on your comments (which I am weak on admittedly), that the “great commission” is not for me today and I don’t have to worry about making disciples and feeding sheep. I also am curious about me being Abraham’s seed by adoption thus making me an Israelite upon which a myriad of things apply. Thank you for your patience.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          The great commission was given to the 12 disciples to execute. It failed for Israel would not repent. It will begin again in the Tribulation and extend throughout the Millennium. It will succeed the second time. It is not for us today. Paul gave our “great commission” in 2 Corinthians 5.12-21. You are “Abraham’s seed” in the sense that Abraham was saved by faith alone (Romans 4.1-5) like we are by believing Paul’s gospel of grace (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). We don’t become Israelites. We become members of the body of Christ. Paul stated three categories of men exist: Jews, Gentiles, and the Church (1 Corintinas 10.32). All believers today are “Church.”

  58. Bradley Keefer

    Hey Don,
    When talking about the distinctions between Israel and The Body, would it be scripturally correct to say that there are distinctions between believing Jews and Gentiles when it comes to promises, covenants and Inheritances (PCI) For example Gen 17:7 and deut 7:9 among others talk about how the PCI are for the true seed and are eternal and last from generation to generation. So why would those PCI’s change for a believing Israelite in today’s dispensation? As we know from the Tanakh that there is always a faithful remnant of Israel, though they represent only a portion of the nation, they still represent Israel, not the body. Think of what Paul says in that true Israelites are those who have the faith of Abraham and the promise of Isaac (Rom 9 cf. Gen 17-18; 26). So my question is, how then are Jews who believe partakers in the heavenly things Paul spoke about (Eph 1; Col 1; Phil 3) when Israels are earthy primaries i.e. A king and land etc. basically I am saying that believing Jews today inherit the original promises and inheritances that God made to Israel and the Gentiles receive those of what Paul describe.


    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Abrahamic covenant remains in effect, which is why Paul wrote that he was “untimely born” in 1 Corinthians 15.8. Paul was “proxy Israel” for us Gentiles so we could be blessed according to that covenant. This is essentially the idea of the olive tree illustration of Romans 11. Having said that, God’s program for Israel is in suspense. All who come to Christ today are “Church,” not Jew, not Gentile. See 1 Corinthians 10.32. Therefore, Jews who come to Christ are members of the body of Christ, just as Gentiles. We (Jew and Gentile) have “Church” promises, not covenant promises. In the Church, no difference exists between Jew and Gentile.

      1. Bradley Keefer

        Agreed with the Paul factor (being born out of do time and being proxy Israel) but what I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around is, how can any promises and covenants cease temporarily if they are everlasting And to generation to generation? By that means, why should I, being a Jew (hypothetically) have to be left out of the all the covenants and promises that my ancestors were promised (to all those who have faith), because I was born in a different dispensation? That would mean that, no, the promises and covenants aren’t meant for all generations, but only select generations. Are you getting where my scripturally issue is rising? Despite the secret of the body being revealed to Paul, it doesn’t make sense that Jews, who were promised something do not receive those promises.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Two ways to look at it: 1) the promise of blessings is being kept thorough the Abrahamic covenant, and 2) since God has removed the designation “Jew” and “Gentile” when one comes to Christ, a Jew is no longer a Jew in God’s eyes but a member of the Church. Therefore, the promise cannot apply. In terms of gain, no one will be disappointed.

          1. Bradley Keefer

            Is there any textual evidence that the no distinction between Jew or gentile is simply in the sense of salvation only? I think about Paul saying, “to the Jew first then the Greek.” Showing precedence to Israel. Now, I am not jewish nor think I am or have become Israel, so I’m looking from an unbiased point of view.
            Thanks again Bro

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              See Galatians 3.26-29. Jewish precedence ended by the time Paul wrote Ephesians. We never again seeing him going to Jews first (Ephesians 3.1). That ended during his Roman imprisonment. Acts 28 was the last hurrah.

  59. David Ransbottom

    All through the Old Testament the believing jewish remnant is spoken of, my question is where does it fit or would it fit in the Body of Christ, as in Colossians 3:11

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Colossians 3.11 describes the Church, the body of Christ. It began with Paul. So OT believers are not part of it. They have their own program.

  60. Elaine

    Hi Don, hope I can remember what I wrote…here goes,
    Regarding the sheep in John 10 v 16, you said to one brother that questioned your good self, refering to the sheep, that it couldn’t be that the “other sheep” being referred to were gentiles because it was a secret… but at the time of Jesus saying that, it would still have been a secret, not a known quantity to His audience that were listening. Also in John, Jesus says in v 3 “to Him the porter openeth and the sheep hear HIS voice and He calleth His OWN sheep by name and LEADETH THEM OUT…out of what. Wouldn’t it be the old set up, indicating a time of change was coming, even if they didnt get the full inport of what Jesus was saying, which they clearly didnt.

    Luke chap 5 v 36-39 says, just after the comments about the bridegroon being TAKEN FROM THEM, “no man putteth a piece of new garment upon an old, if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and BOTH ARE PRESERVED. Again isnt that an indication of the shift in the whole set up and how very soon it was all going to alter. Even within the realms of the things Jesus said there is an element of secrecy, even though they had scriptures.

    Couldnt it be then that these scriptures could be used either way…if the jews repented and accepted their Messiah or rejected Him totally and the “secret” plan come to the fore? that revealed to Paul.

    Secondly, The bride of Christ…Israel became a divided nation, the splitting of the 12 tribes, 10 tribes northern kingdom under Jeroboam and 2 tribes, kingdom of Judah southern, including Benjamin, plus levites that would have been in their terrortory, under King Rehoboam. Around 200 odd years later the 10 tribe were taken into captivity by the Assyrians 722bc and were given a bill of divorce by God Himself, no longer viewing her as His wife, Jer 3 v 8 also Hosea chap 2 v 2, a bill of divorce, which by law had to be given to any women by a husband having a legitimate reason for doing so, as was the case with Israel, a continual whoreing with the nations, the rejection was complete. But Judah were never given a bill of divorce, this couldn’t happen as the Messiah was yet to come and could not be born out of wedlock. Jesus knew that He was going to be rejected by His own, even though knowing this, He still did everything in His power for this not to be the case. In Luke chap 15 and v 18 Jesus makes a very odd, seemingly out of place comment regarding divorce. “whoever putteth away His wife and marrieth another commiteth adultary, and whoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband commiteth adultary. Notice there is no mention of a bill of divorce, Jesus knows if theres no bill of divorce given there is no end to the marriage, the only other legitimate way that a marriage can end, is through death. Also, Deut chap 24 v 1-4 shows us the only way God could remarry is to die, this would free the whole of Israel totally, all 12 tribes, because according to Deut 24, you cannot remarry your former husband again. And that is exactly the way God completes the finish of his marriage, death, leaving Him totally and lawfully free to marry another.
    Now saying this I am still out on who the bride is…the body of Christ or Israel. Romans chap 7 v 1-4 seem to indicate its the church thats the bride, jew and gentile (jews would be free to be anothers) v 4 says “wherefore my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law (no longer applies, but Jesus had to fulfill the law for the law to be dead) by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, EVEN TO HIM WHO IS RAISED FROM THE DEAD, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Pretty compeling. But then I look at Rev chap 21 and it Has Israel written all over it! Sometimes for scriptures to marry up (excuse the pun) it seems as soon as I find one answer another question pops it head up. Take Gal chap 4 v 26 “but Jerusalem that is above (Rev 21 v 2) is free and she is our mother, corresponding to Sarah, inclusive of us gentiles, as we are children of the barren woman, through the promise, Jesus, we are far more children than the children of fleshy Israel, we are the church age, how many millions of us are there! So if shes my mother and I am born of the Jerusalem above, what am I, the bride or not? I am looking forward to your reply. Thanks brother. In Christ

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Had Israel repented the Church, the body of Christ, would not have come into existence. Gentiles would have been blessed by Israel according to the prophetic plan. What Paul wrote in Romans 7 about marriage was to teach that the Mosaic Law has nothing to do with the Church. The Church is under a new and different administration. The KJV translators translated “married to another” in Romans 7.4 but the word “married” is not there. It is γίνομαι which means “become.” Literally, the passage reads “to become to another.” This is the body of Christ, in which He is the Head. The sheep and “other” sheep are Israel and the wife/bride is Israel.

  61. Vanessa

    Dear Don, A reader from this site sent me an article claiming that God is not dealing with prophecy during the church period however if you take the prophecy of Ezekiel it brings us to 1948. I have the complete Mathematical prophecy on this if you wish to read. The article was very well written.

    “Then God said to Ezekiel,
    ‘Now lie on your left side for 390 days
    to show Israel will be punished for 390 years
    by captivity and doom.
    Each day you lie there represents
    a year of punishment ahead for Israel.
    Afterwards, turn over and lay on your right side
    for 40 days, to signify the years of Judah’s punishment.
    Each day will represent one year . . .'”
    (Ezekiel 4:4-6)

    What are your comments as this as it seems to me that God did deal with the land of Israel and the Jews in 1948. One would have thought the rapture would have been before then. Thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Prophecy concerns Israel and the nations (the Church is not found in any prophecy). Sometime between Stephen’s stoning and the destruction of Jerusalem God stopped the prophetic clock. Once God completes the Church, He will restart the clock. What we are witnessing today is the setting of the stage before the clock restarts. See my article, When Will the Lord Return?

      1. Bobbi

        I get the division of Prophecy and the Mystery, but Vanessa made a valid point. The Body of Christ had already begun when the destruction in 70 ad took place, which was prophesied as well. If we are as close as it appears why couldn’t they be running side by side for a time like when the Grace age began? The Kingdom gospel ran along side Grace gospel until Acts 15. Just pondering that.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          The prophetic clock stopped sometime between the stoning of Stephen and the destruction of Jerusalem. The intervening time, about 40 years from the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, was a period of testing. Would the nation accept their Messiah? The stoning of Stephen revealed this was not going to happen. The die was cast. But theoretically, it was possible until Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. So there is some flexibility in God’s plan. In this interim, God saved Paul and created the Church. Paul thought the body of Christ would end in his lifetime. He had no idea it would last 2,000 years.

  62. Tony

    Do you have any articles on “tithes?” I am looking through your collection and don’t see any. I would like to know your stance on whether the church today is responsible for tithing or was that a system under the Gospel of the Kingdom and the O.T. system?

      1. Tony

        Thanks much. I do believe this. It is just extremely hard to teach it to modern day churches. Hardly anyone in my denomination will listen to me regarding this stance. Thank you again for your ministry.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Christendom has become like the Judaism of Jesus’ day. It is largely based upon tradition. It fails to recognize God’s prophetic, covenant program for Israel and has brought this program under the Church. Because of this, massive confusion exists and most cannot even recognize this. The basic principles of interpretation (who wrote it, to whom was it written, the context of the message, etc.) are ignored.

  63. Dean

    A friend tells me that Israel will be saved, Go to Heaven, even though they do not accept Christ as savior. I am told that God is no respector of persons and that the only ones who will go to heaven is Christians who evidently accept Christ as their savior and accept Christ as the son of God and are members of his body which is the one Church, the Church that Jesus found in approximately 33 or 36 A D. What do you have to say about this?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Salvation today requires that anyone, Jew or Gentile, believe Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). The “all Israel” Paul wrote of in Romans 11.26 are all Jews living in the Tribulation who will repent and believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. That was the faith one had to have in Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew 16; John 11) to be saved. That was the gospel of the kingdom and it will be proclaimed again during the Tribulation (Matthew 24.14). I explain more of this in my article, The Great Hinge.

  64. George

    Hello bro Don, why does Paul encourage the body of Christ to sing psalms, when the psalms are geared more to the tribulation saints, we are to show grace and not revenge, what is your take
    On this issue, thanks!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      The Psalms primarily concern the praise of God, God’s care for believers, and how the unrighteous will not prosper.

  65. George

    Hello Bro Don, hope ur doing alright :)
    I was reading about the church in Antioch, Was this church a little flock kingdom church that propagated body of Christ doctrine, by sending out Paul to the gentiles with the gospel of grace. Wasn’t it Barnabas-a kingdom believer , who brought Paul to this little flock Antiochian church, to propagate the body of Christ message? Again I am somewhat confused, I would appreciate your insight thanks!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Doing fine, thanks. It’s somewhat difficult to piece the particulars together since the information in the text is scanty. Acts 11.19 states the Jewish believers who had fled Jerusalem due to persecution went to Phenice and Cyprus and evangelized only Jews. They proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom. Then in Acts 11.20 the text seems to indicate that the Jews from Cyprus and Cyrene who had believed came to Antioch and preached to Gentiles. The text states many believed. These Gentiles were saved under the gospel of the kingdom. Hearing of this, the Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to find out what in the world was going on. Barnabas discovered that these Gentiles were truly saved. He then took off to find Paul. One has to read between the lines that they knew Paul had been commissioned to go to Gentiles. Paul came back to Antioch with Barnabas and taught the believers there for a year. During that period, Paul began to lay out his revelation of the secrets and his gospel, etc. So while the Antiochan church began as a “gospel of the kingdom” group, it became more and more a Gentile church following Paul’s teachings.

      1. Bobbi

        Hello brethren,
        Acts is so full and busy of those years that Israel’s program was diminished and fell and God’s dispensation of Grace was brought in by the saving of Paul, that if one tries to base specific timing on these things it’s is to say the least complicated! I think the best explanation of the two events is best explained in Romans 9-11. I believe just as in 1 Tim. 1:16, that Paul was first in the dispensation of the grace of God.
        Though it is interesting to try to pinpoint events, more times than not, brethren that have tried to do this cause divisions…aka…positions that are unreliable and not in keeping with all the grace epistles. So I just try to keep my thinking within all combined information. There was also a provocation ministry to Jews I think during those times as well. I’m wondering if Israel national program was cut off at the stoning of Stephen, but individual Jews were being saved through the provocation ministry,
        as in “to the Jew first” times .
        1 Cor. 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
        Barnabas knew to go get Paul in Acts 11. That’s an eye opener.

  66. Jasen

    Hi Don I enjoy all your articles. Not to be contradictory but above you state that the twelve didn’t go to the gentiles. What do we do with Acts 8:14 that says that Samaria had accepted the word of God? Many thanks for your insights.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Thank you. The Bible never considers the Samaritans to be Gentiles. The Samaritans represented the ten tribes of Israel. The Jews in Judea and Jerusalem would have nothing to do with them because the Samaritans did not recognize their authority. The term Israel means all twelve tribes, so it included the Samaritans.

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