Friday, July 30, 2021

Galatians | Session 5 | 1:15-20

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see Paul making it clear that the revelation that he had received from the Lord was exclusively given to him as evidenced by the fact that he did not confer with the Twelve, his persecution of the Jewish believers, and how grateful he was that God had separated him to the grace gospel. We also discuss in more detail when exactly Paul did receive the revelation of the mystery.

Verses 15-16: But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: He also told us that he was separated from his mother's womb in Romans 1:1-2 and that he was separated again in Acts 13:1-2. 

When he says that he was called by his grace, it  seems to point to his call on the Damascus Road around 34AD in Acts 9. And when he says that God had revealed his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen, it seems to be referring to the revelation of the mystery that occurred some later. So, the text is simply saying that he was separated at birth, called on the road to Damascus, and received the revelation somewhere between Acts 9 and 13.  

He also mentions that upon receiving the revelation of the mystery, that he did not confer with flesh and blood. The point is that he did not have to because they would not have known what he was talking about because it was given uniquely to him. 

Verses 17-19: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. He also makes it clear that he did not visit the Twelve in Jerusalem either regarding to the revelation that he had received, but instead, he went to Arabia and then to Damascus for a period of three years. This period is covered in Acts 9:19 when Paul returned to Damascus. He later did go to Jerusalem for fifteen days where he visited with Peter and saw James; therefore, he cannot be referring the council of Acts 15.  

Notice that verse 19 refers to James, the Lord's brother, as an apostle. He would have been one of those selected by men that Paul referred to back in verse 1 since Jesus did not appoint him during his earthly ministry. 

Verse 20: Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Why would Paul even say this? - Because apparently people were accusing him of being a liar regarding the revelation that he had received. The question that I have is when was the revelation given to him? Like I said, he was converted on the Damascus Road in 34AD and he apparently received the revelation sometime afterward. To me, it could not have been during the three years he was in Arabia or he would have mentioned it to Peter when he saw in in Jerusalem during his fifteen day stay. Again, to me at least, it had to have been sometime after the visit and before the Council in 52AD. That is a period of nineteen years. However, the verses here in Galatians seem to indicate that he received it prior to the visit with Peter (cf. verses 16-18).

In my opinion, Paul is merely looking back as he is writing. In other words, he is not giving a precise time lime at all. He is just saying that he was to receive the mystery to preach to the heaven. However, instead of getting lost in the weeds here, Paul's point is that the mystery did not come from Peter. 

Again, I believe that he received it during the fourteen years before he returned to Jerusalem for the council in 52AD as he mentioned in Galatians 2:1-9. Also, 2 Corinthians 12:7 seems to place this date around 46AD since that he when he wrote it. 

Also, another time indicator is that by the time he arrived at the Council in Acts 15, he mentions that there are churches that were made up of Gentiles in Syria, Silicia, and Antioch which is where he went after leaving Jerusalem. Again, a lot of conjecture there on my part, but compelling. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Breath of God, Part 2

I had the honor of being able to share part 2 of my message on The Breath of God at Calvary Chapel in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Galatians | Session 4 | 1:9-14

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see that Paul, in his effort to preach the Gospel of Grace, was trying to persuade men so that he might be a servant of Christ, that the gospel that he preached was not after man, neither received by man, but by revelation, and how prior to his conversion he persecuted the church of God.

Verses 9-10: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Like I pointed out earlier, As we said before, so say I now again seems to indicate that the him that called you in verse 6 might have been a reference to himself. 

Notice that Paul asks a question, do I persuade men, or God? Amazing how the different translations contort this verse. The verse is clearly saying that Paul is trying to persuade men and not God. However, others will translate it that Paul is trying to win the approval God and not men. In the end, I guess that either translation is in the positive and Paul remains a servant of Christ as a result. The point is that Paul did not spend his ministry trying to persuade God, but men. However, in so doing, he says that he will not be a man-pleaser, because to so would make him a servant of man and not of Christ. 

Verse 11: But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The word certify simply means to make known. Notice that he says that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. He said something similar is 1 Corinthians 15:1-6, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. The very fact that Paul emphasizes that he neither received it nor was he taught it by man, but instead received it by revelation makes it clear that it was something different than what the Twelve were teaching. Either that, or he was confused or simply arrogant. Sadly, most in the church today fail to pick this up. Think about it, why would Paul need to receive a revelation of something that had already been revealed? 

I am sure that some would say that his revelation was simply that the Gentiles were now part of the church. However, those who would say that would also say that the church was born in Acts and there were Gentiles there. What would be so new about that? However, Paul went on to say in Romans 16:25 when he said, Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, Paul said this was my gospel

What was the mystery? The Body of Christ made up of both Jew and Gentile. Of course, later he came to other revelations about the postponement of the kingdom, the rapture, of the church, etc. He refers to this in 2 Corinthians 12:1-7 when he said, It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  

Verse 13: For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: The Jews' religion was Judaism. The church of God was the kingdom church, because Paul never persecuted the Body of Christ. We see this persecution of the Jewish church in Acts 8:1-4, And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.. Notice also that as a result of the persecution that Paul wrought on the Jewish kingdom church, the Jews were scattered abroad preaching the word. Who were they teaching this word to? Jews only according to Acts 11:19, Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 

Understand that the kingdom church was made up of the Twelve and all those in Israel who believed that Jesus was the Christ. They make up what Luke calls the little flock in Luke 12:32 that would, and still will, inherit the kingdom. Only proselytized Gentiles were a part of this group, i.e., Cornelius and his family and those mentioned in Acts 2:10. No unproselytized Gentiles were involved, i.e., the Body of Christ. 

Verse 14: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. Paul excelled in Judaism.  He mentioned this in  Philippians 3:4-6 when he said, Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.