KINGDOM (PROPHECY) AND GRACE (MYSTERY) GOSPELS
One of the greatest inaccuracies, of all Biblical suppositions is the standard practice of dividing or designating the Bible into two sections, namely (1) the Old Testament and (2) the New Testament. Again we note the definition of the Greek Word “thee·ah·thee”, which is translated both covenant and testament, which denotes both a contract and will. Technically speaking, when we look at the messages of the Bible the designations Old and New Testament or covenants could not possibly represent the entire classifications of covenants or contracts that God made with men as He set forth the terms of His relationship with mankind down through the ages of time. The covenant of the Mosaic Law (later called the old covenant or testament) was not made until approximately 2500 years of human history had elapsed. So there was no law covering the period from Adam to Moses because the Law was not given until God delivered it to Moses. So prior to the formal decrees of the Mosaic Covenant God related to mankind in a less formal way through His moral principles. Thus, note, the covenants of the book of Genesis, i.e., the Edenic, Adamic, Noahic and Abrahamic, could currently be called the “Old” Testament or Covenant, which is actually the designation of the Mosaic Law, which is the covenant (contract) that God made with the nation Israel.
Now this means that there is actually not one word of the Old Testament in the book of Genesis. Indeed, Israel did not even emerge as a nation until her deliverance from Egypt as described in the book of Exodus. Thus she operated under the Abrahamic covenant (contract or testament) until Moses received the Law with its oracles and ordinances from God upon Mt Sinai. Accordingly it is only technically correct to confine the writings of the Mosaic Covenant (contract), beginning with the documentation of god’s directives as outlined in the writings of Exodus chapter; as the “Old” Testament. As we consider the term the “New Testament” or “New covenant”, we note that the terms “old” and subsequent “new” covenant or testament originated in the prophet contextual messages of the Prophet Jeremiah (chapter 31). These prophetic writings basically contain the details of the implementation of the promises of the Abrahamic covenant. Thus this message defines the establishment of eternal blessings (both natural and spiritual), given to Abraham in his contract with God. The promises of these blessings are further confirmed through other prophetic messages as given to others, i.e. Moses which is defined as the Palestinian covenant as God reiterates Israel’s permanent establishment in the promise land as well as the eternal Kingdom on earth as given to David through the Prophet Nathan; which prophetically speaks of the eternal rein of one (Jesus Christ) upon David’s throne in Jerusalem. This is further testified to by the prophetic messages of many others as God outlined His plan in a futuristic viewing of His eternal workings as He moved upon the Holy Prophets to write that which they did not even comprehend.
Again we note the futuristic nature of the prophetic writings as we observe that these prophecies all occurred in an era wherein Israel was yet under bondage and yet under the Law or old covenant, with the implementation of these promises scheduled for a future “day”(time). We also note that the New Covenant or Testament which is the enactment of these promises was not possible until the spiritual death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in Hebrews 9:15, the Apostle Paul states (KJV) “He is the mediator of the new testament, “theea thee kev” (covenant) that by means of death, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Remember, it is in the shadow of the Cross-, as our Lord communed with His disciples, that He said, “This cup is the new testament (covenant) in my blood which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). Thus, no aspect of the New Covenant or New Testament could be effectuated until after Calvary. Historically speaking, this means that the greater part of the four gospels records (Matthew, Mark Luke and John), actually fall under the auspices of the Old Testament rather than the “New Testament”. So the ministering of the introduction of the Kingdom gospel (the kingdom is at hand) as preached by John the Baptist and our Lord (Jesus) as well as the 12 disciples and the 70, actually occurred under the Old Covenant at that time. It should also be noted that both the actual Old and New Testaments though they have some universal principles or applications that do affect us as members of the body of Christ in this grace age, yet they were all made with and re directly applicable to the nation Israel. So the Kingdom gospel which details the New Covenant or New Testament simply promises that Israel will one day conform to the obedience or conditions required of her under the Mosaic Contract or the Old covenant or Old Testament as defined in Deuteronomy 5:1-3 and implemented in Jeremiah 31.
Thus the division of the Bible are not actually two-fold, (old and new covenants), but seven as defined by the divers dispensation of administrations of God’s policy-dealings with mankind doing the ages. So the Bible should be divided as outlined according to dispensations and covenants as outlined in the appended charts entitled:
1. Dispensations and Covenants
2. Dispensational Arrangement of the Books of the Bible
As we view the above information, we note that the most important division in the bible is between the dispensations of the Kingdom (millennium) age or Kingdom gospel as defined by the New covenant or New Testament proclaimed prophecy as it is distinguished from the grace (church age) or gospels as defined by the Mystery that was revealed to the Apostle Paul. The basic difference is that the domain of one message, i.e. (Kingdom) is confined to the earth thus it entails eternal earthly blessings whereas the domain of the other is unconfined s it entails eternal spiritual blessings that are heavenly. In other words the elect of the Kingdom are the recipients of the eternal earthly Kingdom promise, while the elect of the grace age are members of the body of Christ and thus the recipients of eternal heavenly spiritual promises.
Now it is a very striking fact that the actual opening words of the Bible as recorded in Genesis 1:1 reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth”. Then the focus shifts immediately to God’s purpose concerning the earth, which is quite distinct and different from His purpose concerning the heaven(s). Again we observe that the Lord’s purpose concerning the earth and the rein of Jesus Christ upon it, is the subject or context of the prophetic messages of the Kingdom Gospel as proclaimed by the prophets. It was introduced by John the Baptist and then preached and taught by our Lord Jesus and his disciples as recorded in the Synoptic Gospel (Matthew Mark Luke) as well as the gospel of John. Thus the context of all that is conveyed in this gospel (kingdom) is relegated to the blessings (both spiritual and naturally) of the earth. The first seven chapter of the book of Acts deals specifically with the offering of this kingdom on earth to Israel as it was officially offered on the day of Pentecost, recorded in the Kingdom Apostle Peter’s sermons of Acts chapter two and three.
The Grace Gospel Church Ministry officially states our doctrinal belief and position that the Kingdom Gospel is neither our gospel nor the gospel for the Church in this present dispensational age of grace. Now this statement, when taken out of context seems to be stating that the writings of the Old Testament (Genesis and Malaki) and that which is arranged prior to the emergence of the Apostle Paul (Matthew, Mark Luke, John and Acts 1:8) is irrelevant to the elect of this age. But this is not the intent of our statement, neither is it our belief. As we consider God’s message (the Kingdom) in the Synoptic Gospels and the first seven chapters of Acts, we note that it is parallel to the message of the implementation of the New Covenant as it is obvious that this Kingdom will operate on the basis of strictly enforced laws or principles that are written on the hearts of those who are subjects in this future dispensation. Here we observe again that all the truth that is pertaining to this Kingdom has been given to the nation Israel and its establishment is initiated only after Israel receives her Messiah. Thus its enactment is still in the future. Accordingly, while the truth regarding the Kingdom is factual and inert it is not written as a directive nor is it intended to serve as a guideline to those who abide in this age of grace.
Now as we scan these foregoing messages of the Bible prior to the revelation given to the Apostle Paul, we believe that they have not been directly addressed to us as members of the body of Christ, the Church in this grace age. To briefly place into perspective what is addressed for us but not specifically to us, we again note first that which was spoken to Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:16-17). Second the Bible records that which was spoken to Noah (Genesis 6:14; 7:4). Third, there is an account of God’s covenant with Abraham through the promises that were spoken to him (Genesis 12:1-3). Fourth we observed the documentation of how God delivered and administered the Mosaic Law (Exodus 19:3-20; 20). Fifth, we have the record of Jesus’ ministry in the Synoptic Gospels and the Holy Spirit’s ministry of the Kingdom message in the first eight chapters of the book of Acts. Thus, having positively affirmed that these aforementioned portions of the Bible have not been addressed or written to believers under the dispensation of grace, we absolutely acknowledge that God has placed these messages in His inspired, infallible and inerrant word, for the encouragement of our hope. In Paul’s epistle to the Romans (Romans 15:4), he states, (from the Greek Text), “For as much as was previously written, it was written for our teaching, in order that through the patience and through the comfort of the scriptures we might have hope”. Here the Greek phrase “o·sah gahr pro·ehgrahphee”, rendered “for as much as was previously written”, refers to all that had been written prior to the revealed message to the Apostle Paul. In explaining the reason why these things were written in the Bible Paul states, “ees eemehtehron theethahskahleeas”, rendered “for our teaching” or unto the end of our “instruction and information”. Notice that these writings or messages conveyed their primary purpose to their addresses in their respective eras, thus our main focus in observing them is limited to the purpose so stated, i.e. that is, it was “for our teaching”. So for our sakes, they are included in the Bible, that through the “ee·po·mo·nees”, rendered “patience” or “endurance” and the “pah·rah·keh·lee·seh·os”, rendered “comfort” or “encouragement” of the scriptures we might have hope. Here the thought is that reading the scriptures (messages), which were written prior to Paul’s message (Mystery Truth); would incite us to greater endurance and encouragement resulting in a strengthened hope.
So in order for God’s elect of this dispensation to understand His message and purpose for us, we must draw a distinctive line of demarcation between the two most important messages in the Bible, namely the difference between the Kingdom gospel, which is manifested through the revelation of the Mystery, which was given to the Apostle Paul. Now the key to understanding the difference between the two gospels (Kingdom and Grace) is a follows:
(1). God’s eternal purpose concerning the earth and Jesus Christ’s millennium and everlasting rein upon it, is the subject of prophecy, which has been placed on hold and is the future gospel of the Kingdom. It is identified in the Synoptic Gospels, as introduced by John the Baptist, preached by Jesus and his disciples, and offered to Israel by Peter and the other Kingdom Apostles on the day of Pentecost as documented in the early chapters of the book of Acts. The root of this Kingdom message (gospel) is found in the Prophetic Covenants (Palestine, Davidic, and New) of the Old Testament, which was prophesied or proclaimed by the Prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc). Again we note that this gospel was rejected by Israel and is presently placed on hold and thus should not be preached as though its principles are implemental in this age of grace.
(2) God’s eternal purpose concerning the Heavens and our glorified bodily abode in Him, i.e. in Christ; is the subject of the “the Mystery” or “Mystery Truth”, which is the present gospel for the dispensation of grace as documented in the 14 Epistles written by Paul (Romans through Hebrews). The Apostle Paul identifies this message as “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), “my gospel” (II Corinthians 4:3; I Thessalonians 1:5; II Thessalonians 2:14). Now the root of this grace message (gospel) is traceable exclusively to the eternal body of Christ, which was kept secret by God and unknown to all creatures, both men and angels (I Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:5,9; Colossians 1:26), until it was made known by revelation to the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 1:9;3:3-5; Colossians 1:27). The administration (dispensation) of this grace message was committed to the present day Church by the authoritative epistles written by Paul and other epistles, which are in alignment with his writings. The grace dispensation was committed to Paul (I Corinthians 9:17), who was the Apostle primarily to the Gentiles (Acts 18:6; Romans 11:13;15:16; II Timothy 1:11). Thus the gospel of grace is distinguishable in that is it is offered to the Gentiles as well as Jews (Romans 3:29; 11:11,13; II Timothy 1:11). Also, the uniqueness of the body of Christ is that it is comprised of both Jews and Gentiles (I Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:13,14,16; Colossians 3:11).
Lastly if we are true ministers who are led by the Spirit of God, we will acknowledge that Paul’s gospel (Mystery Truth) is the commandment of God for this dispensation (I Corinthians 14:37). Thus we are instructed not to preach any other gospel in this present dispensation (including Kingdom) (Galatians 1:6-8; I Timothy 1:3;6:3). It is certainly proper to maintain that when one teaches from the Bible he is teaching the truth in general. The basic principle of the Bible contents is truth; no account of any action or event recorded therein should ever be doubted or disputed. However, in order to obtain proper instructions, we as students of the word must be able to distinguish the principles that are applicable to us (the elect) in the grace age. The Grace Gospel Church Ministry, without a doubt defends the absolute truth of all principles of the Bible, as we have complete confidence that it is the infallible word of God. But we distinguish the principles of truth found in the epistles of Paul as the primary instructions and directions for the Church in the dispensation of grace (Ephesians 3:3-9).
There are those who are determined to formulate doctrinal teaching and direction for God’s elect in this dispensation, outside the boundaries of the epistles of Paul. They assert that the book of Acts establishes and charts the course and direction for the Church, choosing to ignore the fact that Paul’s truth is distinct and different from that given in the Kingdom message. They also assert that Paul’s writings are not more significant than those found in the other New Testament epistles. The value rating of the non-Pauline epistles and of John’s writings must be determined by their alignment to truth for the Church as recorded in Paul’s epistles. Note that none of the writers boldly affirm, like Paul does, that they have been given a special revelation of truth for the Church, the body of Christ (Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3-9).
The Grace Gospel Church Ministry believes that as these epistles and the writings of John align with the distinct revelation of truth for the Church and to the extent that they are saying the same thing as the Holy Spirit is saying through Paul; they are to be diligently studied and mastered by all members of the body of Christ. However, the main focus is and must remain on the “Mystery”, i.e. the grace of God as revealed to the Apostle Paul. Those who follow this course of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15) will avert the confusion that is encountered by many when they are attempting to understand the Bible.