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Lesson 7, Part One - Of The Bride And BODY OF CHRIST

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How Is The BODY OF CHRIST Different From Other Believing Bodies?. . .

1. Commentary . . . A woman in California cuts off her right hand according to { Matthew 5:30 } because it was cause for an offense [ she felt it had led to a sin ]. A group of folks in Tennessee meet to handle poisonous snakes as a sign of their faith according to { Mark 16:18 }. Another congregation in Texas watches as a man is baptized for the remission of sins according to { Acts 2:38 }. On and on it goes as we consider the various practices and beliefs of professing Christians. To the woman who literally obeyed { Matthew 5 }, folks shake their heads in unbelief. The authorities of Tennessee seek to arrest those who handle poisonous snakes as part of their religion. Many voices are raised against the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

2. What is the cause of such confusion and difference of interpretations of the Word of GOD? How can it be avoided? The answer is simply to understand the difference between what GOD wants for the BODY OF CHRIST in this age of Grace, and what GOD wants for the nation of Israel, which will be His future millennial "Kingdom of priests and 'disciples [ Followers' ]." If the confusion exemplified above can be avoided with no more effort than that, why isn't it? The principle reason is lack of care for following what GOD has said. We have all heard it said at one time or another, of some issue, "I couldn't care less. It is this care-less attitude of the LORD's Saints that results in the failure to realize fundamental distinctions to be made in Scripture.

3. Many Christians are concerned about the broad issues of Scripture but never get down to the equally important details of a systematic study of GOD's Word. It may be possible to get by with generalities, but if a person is to advance in his understanding of the Word and discover the grand beauty of GOD's purpose and work, he must deal with the specific distinctions of Scripture as well. The cry that world evangelism is often used as an excuse to avoid dealing with specific teachings of the Bible. There are those who take pride in the fact that they fail to get involved in doctrinal questions. Their calling is evangelism! However, a successful world-wide evangelistic program for all people of the earth without national and ethnic privileges depend on recognizing dispensational principles of the Word of GOD. Didn't CHRIST once issue the restrictive commandment to the Jewish people, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, { Matthew 10:5 }?" Is this commandment to be obeyed today?

4. What authorization then do we have to go to the nations with the Gospel of justification by faith? It is only because of the very basic difference between GOD's plan for the BODY OF CHRIST, and GOD's plan for the Israelite Body of Saints of the Millennial Kingdom. Another reason of failure to distinguish between the BODY OF CHRIST and Israel is the desire to reconcile the promises of prophecy with what GOD is doing today. There is often a desire to borrow and apply for today promises and blessing given to the nation Israel in the prophetic Scriptures. These promises can be more easily appropriated for today by studying, comprehending, and dispensationally teaching that which distinguishes between the BODY OF CHRIST and Israel.

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5. Commentary . . . There are three prominent views regarding the relationship between Israel and the BODY OF CHRIST. Though there are many ramifications of each , these seem to be the basic positions most often held. The Liberal position which is the position taking the loosest view of Divine revelation. These folks teach that the promises and plans of GOD for Israel have been set aside as illustrated as follows: This view teaches that the prophecies to Israel are only of historical importance and do not pertain to us today or to any future purpose of GOD and that the BODY OF CHRIST has replaced Israel and has a completely different structure. This false view does not say that CHRIST's BODY is to be held in contrast to Israel, but that the LORD's BODY is GOD's replacement for Israel.

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6. [ 1 ] Liberal Position "Israel," "BODY OF CHRIST: Commentary . . . "The traditional point of view which is the 'false' view held by many major denominations. They teach that the BODY OF CHRIST today is the spiritual fulfillment of Israel and in fact consist as a whole as "spiritual Israel." This point of view holds the promises of the prophets to be fulfilled in a spiritual way in the LORD's BODY, and also suggests that GOD is working in two stages. First, that He worked through the physical nation of Israel and second, that now since the Cross, He is working through "Spiritual Israel" in the form of CHRIST's BODY.

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7. [ 2 ] Traditional Position "Israel" BODY OF CHRIST: Commentary . . . This true Dispensational view recognizes that GOD has made definite and specific promises to the literal nation Israel and believes that these promises will all be fulfilled in a literal sense through this same nation. This point of view notes that the BODY OF CHRIST is neither the replacement for Israel nor the continuation of Israel in a spiritual sense. Instead, the LORD's BODY, is understood to be completely distinct from GOD's purpose and program for the Hebrew people. The Dispensational view understands that GOD's dealing with Israel were suspended when He took up dealings with the BODY OF CHRIST. See the illustration below. This view also recognizes that the Dispensation of the Mystery for the BODY OF CHRIST will come to a conclusion with the Rapture, at which time GOD will resume His dealings with national Israel. This third point of view has the abundance of Scriptural evidence to support it .

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8. [ 3 ] The Dispensational position: "Israel" - "BODY OF CHRIST" - "Israel" An Evident Distinction: Commentary: Shortly after the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter invited the people of Israel to repent and be converted. He declared that if they would repent as a nation, the "times of refreshing" and the "times of restitution" would come { Acts 3:19-21 }. These "times of restitution of all things" had been spoken by the mouth of all of GOD's holy prophets since the world began, { Acts 3:21 }. And then, In { Romans 16:25 } the Apostle Paul talks about "the preaching of JESUS CHRIST according to the revelation of the Mystery, which was kept secret since the world began."

9. There is certainly a distinction to be noted between these two portions of Scripture! One speaks of that which had been spoken since the world began and the other speaks of that which had been kept secret since the world began! This distinction between prophecy and Mystery lies at the heart of the difference between Israel and the LORD's BODY. GOD's intention to bring blessing through Israel as a nation was a theme of His prophetic design. On the other hand GOD's plan to the offer of blessings to both Hebrews and Gentiles alike is exclusive to His secret plan, which concerns "this present Mystery Dispensation."

10. A significant commentary . . . "We have spoken of all this before and will likely mention it in future messages, but it seems that Christians today cannot get away from Assembly doctrine and back to Bible doctrine long enough to understand today's present program. GOD's once secret plan now revealed is described in { Ephesians Ch. 3:2 } it is spoken of as 'the Dispensation of the Grace of GOD.' In { V. 9 } it is referred to as the 'fellowship [ or Dispensation ] of the Mystery.' The Bible calls several specific truths to our attention concerning this Dispensation of the Mystery. And, we repeat this truth . . .

11. { Ephesians 3:2-3 } reveals that Paul was chosen by GOD to be the messenger of the Mystery. On numerous occasions the Apostle Paul speaks of "my Gospel." In { Romans 11:13 } he speaks of himself as the "Apostle of the Gentiles" and magnifies his office. { Ephesians 3:5 } teaches that the revelation of the mystery was not made known to mankind in other ages. this statement could not be made of GOD's prophetic purpose through the nation Israel. "In { Ephesians 3:8 } Paul says it was given to him to preach the unsearchable riches of CHRIST." The term "unsearchable" could be translated literally "untraceable." The truth concerning the BODY OF CHRIST cannot be traced out or followed in the writing of the O.T. prophets!

12. Another difference to be noted is found in { Ephesians 3:6 } The revelation of the Mystery shows the Gentiles being made joint heirs of a joint BODY. A person would look in vain for suggestion of this in the writing of the Old Testament prophetic Epistles. The prophetic writings do speak of Gentiles being saved and blessed, and of them partaking of the good things of GOD, but only through the blessing and establishment of the nation Israel. Nowhere do we find mention in the Old Testament of the Gentiles being blessed as equals with the nation Israel. { Isaiah Ch. 2 }: outlines the emphasis of the O.T. prophets and the blessings that follow during the future Kingdom reign of CHRIST the MESSIAH on this earth. We read . . .

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13. { V. 3 } Scripture: "And many people [ during the future Millennial Kingdom reign of CHRIST as the King and MESSIAH ] shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the GOD of Jacob; and He [ MESSIAH the CHRIST ] will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem,

14. { V. 4 }: And 'He [ MESSIAH' ] shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke [ and judge disputes between ] many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, '[ peace from now on ],' { Isaiah 2:3-4 }." [ Some Distinctions we need to understand are . . .

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15. Commentary . . . The Millennial Kingdom Versus the BODY OF CHRIST . . . GOD's plan through Israel involved the establishing of a Kingdom on earth over which CHRIST will reign as King. In { 2 - Samuel 7:12-16 } GOD promised David to establish a Kingdom through his family line. The prophets of Israel expanded the testimony regarding this Kingdom. Israel looked for a literal Kingdom and a literal King. When Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he said, . . .

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16. Scripture: "And in the days of 'these [ final ten' ] kings { Daniel 7:24 } shall the GOD of Heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the Kingdom [ and its sovereignty ] shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever, { Daniel 2:44 }." See { Isaiah 9:6-7; - Luke 1:31-33; - Daniel 7:14-18; - & - Revelation 11:15 }.

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17. Scripture: "And [ as for ] the 'TEN HORNS' out of this kingdom are 'TEN KINGS' that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be 'diverse [ different' ] from the first [ i.e., former ones ], and he shall subdue [ and put down ] three kings, { Daniel 7:24 }."

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18. Commentary . . . During the great Tribulation Period that begins almost immediately after the Rapture of the BODY OF CHRIST, there is to be ten final national groups of nations that will consist of the Antichrist Kingdom that takes over the world. This is called the One World Government that many are trying to bring about at this present time. The plan is to force the present nations of the world to relinquish their sovereignty to a world leader and become a ten nation republic under a One World Government! The nations are to be classified as the following TEN . . . [ 1 ]: America, Canada, and Mexico to become one nation. [ 2 ]: All of south America, as the second nation. [ 3 ]: Australia, and New Zealand, to become the third. [ 4 ]: Western Europe, as the forth. [ 5 ]: Eastern Europe, as the fifth. [ 6 ]: Japan, as the sixth. [ 7 ]: South Asia, as the seventh. [ 8 ]: Central Asia, as the eighth, [ 9 ]: North Africa and the Middle East, as the ninth nation. And, [ 10 ]: The rest of Africa, as the tenth nation!

19 This will be the ten nation - World Confederacy as we understand - that is planed at the present time, and all controlled by the World leader Antichrist! And, according to the above text, three of these nations will be subdued by Antichrist which will leave a seven nation World Government! Naturally this confederacy will be short lived because - the returning MESSIAH will change everything at His coming. Right now, there seems to be a plan to build a super highway corridor of twenty some lanes that will stretch from Canada through the United States all the way to South America. We understand that it is already being built through Louisville, Texas and as soon as funds are appropriated the work of construction will go on. No wonder our secret government leaders are not very interested in a fence between the United States and Mexico sense the three nations are to become a one nation entity. Why worry about Mexican people crossing our borders when it is all planed ahead of time? We suggest that the reader read the whole seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel.

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20. The other kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar's dream were literal, historical kingdoms. The Kingdom which GOD will establish through the descendants of David will also be a literal Kingdom. The LORD will raise up unto David "a Righteous Branch" and a King [ Who ] shall reign and prosper { Jeremiah 23:5. } The LORD JESUS CHRIST is the 'Righteous Branch' and the prosperous King! As the MESSIAH of Israel He will surely deliver the people and be established as King, study { Isaiah 9:6-7 }. GOD's plan for the BODY OF CHRIST in this Dispensation is different. It involves the calling together of a 'Spiritual Organism' to a Heavenly citizenship.

21. Today, CHRIST is 'NOT' ruling on an earthly throne as King. He is now seated at the right hand of the FATHER in glory as LORD and is bringing together Hebrew and Gentile into ONE BODY of Saints. CHRIST is the Head of this spiritual BODY. According to { Ephesians 1:22-23 } as the Head of the 'Christian BODY, [ Ekklesia' ] He is the director of all Saints. See { Colossians 1:18 - & - Ephesians 5:30 }. There is, therefore, a great difference between the visible organization of the Kingdom and the invisible 0rganism of the BODY OF CHRIST. CHRIST's role as King differs from His role as Head of the BODY. The Kingdom on earth is different from the BODY OF CHRIST which is blessed with all spiritual blessings in the Heavenlies, { Ephesians 1:3 }."

22. Commentary . . . We have already mentioned the difference between { Acts 3:21 - & - Romans 16:25 }. One passage speaks of something spoken by the prophets since the world began and the other speaks of something which was hidden since the world began. Searching the writings of the prophets of Israel will uncover NO mention of the BODY OF CHRIST. As we have already stated, there was reference to Gentiles being saved but only as proselytes through Israel's blessing, Israel was to mediate i.e., teach and convey a gift of salvation to the nations of the world by the voice and actions of the priest and prophets. Today the Gentiles can be saved apart from the priesthood of Israel, not as proselytes but as direct Children of GOD the FATHER! And, NOT by the works of the old Mosaic Law, but by faith and the free Grace of GOD through the shed blood of JESUS CHRIST!

23. Blessed Israel Versus Fallen Israel: According to prophecy, the Gentiles were to receive salvation through the rise and blessing of Israel. { Zechariah 8:22-23 } speaks of the "people of the nations [ Gentiles," ] seeking the LORD in Jerusalem, through the Jews! Notice in { V. 23 } what the people of the nations will say during the Kingdom age . . . Scripture: ". . . We will go with you, for we have heard that GOD is with you." [ This is different from the truth found in "{ Romans 11:11 }: Scripture: "I say then, have they stumbled that they fall? GOD forbid: but rather through their [ Israel's ] fall, salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them [ the Israelites ] to jealousy." This difference is that under GOD's prophetic plan, the nations are to be blessed through Israel's rise, and under the plan of GOD in the BODY OF CHRIST, Gentiles are blessed aside from Israel and as a result of their fall. A promise that a great nation would proceed from his descendants was given to Abraham { Genesis 22:17-18 }. This "great nation" is the revived nation of Israel. The place of supremacy is further stated in prophecy, such as the following . . .

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24. Scripture: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house 'shall be [ firmly' ] established in the top of the [ highest of the ] mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it, { Isaiah 2:2 }."

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25. Commentary . . . In { Isaiah 2:1-12 } Is a prediction of Israel's future Kingdom. The prophet in { V. 2 } refers to { Zechariah 14:16 }. Jerusalem was described as the capital city of the world in a time of peace rather than war, a future time when MESSIAH will rule over the whole world. { Isaiah 2:3-5 } is a picture of the fulfillment of the prophecy in and during CHRIST's Millennial reign. Scripture elsewhere also speaks concerning the "mountain of the north" and of the "Congregation in the sides of the north" which is in Jerusalem. The old devil has always coveted Jerusalem and the whole land of Israel. The mountain of the LORD which will be again exalted refers to the nation of Israel during the Millennial Age. There is a sharp contrast in the passage below that describes the BODY OF CHRIST as a "Spiritual creation. " Notice in the following 3 verses that there will be NO Gentiles or Hebrews in the BODY OF CHRIST. All are distinguished as Children of GOD! There is no race lineage present or notable! . . .

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26. { V. 9 } Scripture: "Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the 'old man [ old sin nature' ] with his deeds;

27. { V. 10 }: And have put on the 'new man [ i.e., the new CHRIST like nature' ] which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him,

28. { V. 11 }: "Where there is neither 'Greek [ Gentile' ] nor Jew, 'circumcision [ Jew' ] nor 'un-circumcision [ Gentile' ], barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, { Colossians 3:11. } . . .

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29. The above 3 verses paraphrased in commentary form . . . { 9 }: Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old unregenerate self and left it behind with its evil practices. . . { 10 }: And you have been clothed with the new CHRIST like nature which is always in the process of being renewed and remolded into a fuller and more perfect knowledge upon knowledge, after the image . . . the likeness . . . of CHRIST Who created it. See { Genesis 1:26. } . . . [ 11 ]: In the new creation i.e., the BODY OF CHRIST all distinctions vanish; there is no room for and there can be neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, nor differences between GOD's Saints whether they had been barbarians or Scythians who were the most savage of all, nor slaves or free man; CHRIST is all and in all Saints. He as the Omnipresent GOD is everywhere at the same time, and can when He wishes communicate one way or another with all men!: The members of the BODY OF CHRIST are Saints without distinction of persons!

30. Concerning Israel, "Commentary . . . The conclusion is that GOD's prophetic plan calls for Israel to be supreme as a "great nation." GOD's secret plan in the BODY OF CHRIST places Jew and Gentile on equal ground regardless of race to a [ New Creation ] of the [ "ONE NEW MAN ]." . . . MESSIAH's Return Versus The Rapture of CHRIST's BODY of Saints . . .

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31. Scripture: "And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives . . . " { Zechariah 14:4 }." See { Acts 1:9-11 } This Scripture speaks of the Second Coming of CHRIST to the earth. The LORD Himself describes His coming as follows . . .

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32. Scripture: "For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be, { Matthew 24:27 }."

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33. Commentary . . . His coming will be a literal return to the earth. It will be evident to all the world. Never do we find anything concerning the Rapture of the BODY OF CHRIST in the Book of Matthew. A difference develops when we read again the following two verses which does portray the Rapture of today's Saints . . .

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34. { V. 51 } Scripture: "Behold, I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. { V. 52 }: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed, { 1- Corinthians 15:51-52 }."

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35. Above two verses paraphrased in commentary form . . . { 51 }: "Take notice! I tell you a mystery - a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of the LORD. We whom are Children of GOD and belong to the BODY OF CHRIST shall not all fall asleep in death but we shall all be changed, transformed as a "metamorphoses." . . . { 52 }: In a moment, in the 'twinkling of an eye [ i.e., in 11 one hundredth of a second' ], at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound and the dead: bodies of those members of the BODY OF CHRIST whose souls and sprits have already went to Heaven previously will be raised from their graves imperishable, free and immune from decay, and we Children of GOD that are still living at that time shall also be changed likewise into new spiritual heavenly bodies."

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36. Commentary . . . Here we have a resurrection which will take place in a moment and in the twinkling of an eye. This could hardly be the Second coming of the LORD visualized by all the people on the earth. { 1- Thessalonians 4:13-18 } states that CHRIST will meet the BODY OF CHRIST both the living and the dead in the air as contrasted with His return to the earth at His Second Coming { Jude V. 14 }. This is an important difference between the prophetic return of CHRIST to set foot on the earth and the other prophetic teaching of the Apostle Paul of the meeting in the air described as "a mystery" in { 1- Corinthians 15:51-52 }. Many teach that Paul never referred to prophetic events but this prove that he did! See { 1- Thessalonians 4:16-18 } also written by Paul. And, Paul also prophesied concerning the future Antichrist portrayed in { 2- Thessalonians 2:3-9 }. The LORD's first 12 Apostles versus the one Apostle for the Gentiles . . .

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37. Commentary . . . Another important distinction is the choice of 12 Apostles who were followers of CHRIST while He was here on the earth in person to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom as opposed to the choice of the one Apostle Paul to make known the message of the Mystery. In { Matthew 10:5-7 }, the 12 are sent to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" to preach that the "Kingdom of Heaven was at hand." Later, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter and the eleven continued to witness of the promises of the kingdom revelations to Israel as recorded in Joel's prophecy { Acts 2:14-17 }. See also { Joel 2:28-32 }. The prophet Joel certainly never prophesied anything like this about the BODY OF CHRIST of this age of Grace! The 12 Apostles received the promise of reigning with CHRIST over the twelve tribes of Israel { Matthew 19: 28 }. We cannot separate them from the purpose of GOD in and through the nation of Israel on earth.

38. In { 1- Corinthians 15:5-10 }, The Apostle Paul distinguishes himself from the twelve by saying that after the LORD appeared in resurrection to them and others, that "last of all He was seen of me also, as one born out of due time { 1- Corinthians 15:8 }." Paul does not speak of being commissioned to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. Instead he speaks of having been given the Dispensation of GOD concerning the Gentiles being blessed in CHRIST { Colossians 1:25-29 }. In { Ephesians 3:1-5 }, we see that Paul was given the "Dispensation of the Grace of GOD." This was something not made known unto any of the sons of men until that time. Paul speaks of the unique ministry given to him when he states . . .

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39. Again we repeat this verse, Scripture: "I neither received it of men, neither was I taught it, but [ received it ] by the revelation of JESUS CHRIST." Read { Galatians 1:10-17 },

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40. Commentary . . . "Paul's special apostle-ship was not a matter of sharing in the ministry of the 12 Apostles on behalf of the Millennial Kingdom. JESUS called him to be the Apostle to the Gentiles and to make known the revelation of the secret concerning the BODY OF CHRIST. How important it is to distinguish between the ministry of the twelve Apostles of the Kingdom and the ministry of the one Apostle of the BODY OF CHRIST.

41. The various gifts of the HOLY SPIRIT listed in such portions as . . . { 1- Corinthians Ch. 12 - & - Romans Ch. 12 }, can be divided into at least two types. [ 1 ]: Sign gifts are those, as the name implies, which serve as signs or demonstrations of GOD's working. [ 2 ]: Ministry gifts are those which relate to the effective ministering of the Word of GOD and the encouraging of the people of GOD. The sign gifts include such gifts as prophecy, and supernatural knowledge given directly from GOD to Man, tongues i.e., foreign languages spiritually bestowed upon man, and the spiritual gift of healing. In { 1- Corinthians 13:8 } we are told that many of these gifts were only temporary and would one day pass away. The question is "Why were many of the sign gifts given such as the unknown languages?":

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42. Scripture: "Therefore tongues are for a SIGN NOT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE, BUT TO THEM WHICH BELIEVE NOT: but prophesying serves 'NOT' for them that 'believe NOT,' . . . 'but for them which believe,' { 1- Corinthians 14:22 }."

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43. The above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "Thus 'unknown tongues [ foreign languages' ] during the early Acts transition period were meant for a supernatural sign, "not for believers such as the average Jew - but for unbelievers that perhaps were at the point of believing. [ We must remember that Israel required signs and the Gentiles seek after wisdom: { 1- Corinthians 1:22; - & - Isaiah 8:18. } While prophecy, inspired preaching, and teaching directly from GOD's Word thus, interpreting the Divine will and purpose of the LORD is 'NOT' for unbelievers as were the 'Hebrew Sanhedrin' but for Saints of GOD!"

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44. Commentary . . . "In { 1- Corinthians 13:8-9 }, we see that knowledge and prophecy were "in part." When the perfect or complete had come, then the partial would be done away or cease. { Colossians 1:25 } indicates that the fulness of knowledge and prophecy came with the full revelation of the Dispensation of the Grace of GOD; even as it says, it "fulfilled the Word of GOD." Most of these particular sign gifts ceased when the Word of GOD was completed with the revelation of the Mystery. There was no longer any need for all of these manifestations now that the completed Word had arrived.

45. The sign gifts relate to the nation Israel. It is the Jews who required a sign { 1- Corinthians 1:22 }." From the very beginning of the ministry of signs and wonders [ GOD's deliverance of Israel from Egypt ], such signs pertained to the nation Israel. More than this, in { 1- Corinthians 14:21-22 } we are told that the sign 'gift of tongues' pertain not to the believing, but to the unbelieving of the nation Israel. { V. 22 }. Though sign gifts were temporary and pertained to Israel, the ministry gifts are never said to be temporary and are associated with the BODY OF CHRIST, { Ephesians 4:11-16 } makes this clear. Many sincere Christians are confused by undue stress upon the sign gifts given to Israel, while paying little attention to the ministry gifts given to the BODY OF CHRIST. This failure is another classic example of how people continue to confuse Israel and CHRIST's present BODY of Believers. John the Baptist said of JESUS . . .

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46. Scripture: "And I knew Him not: but that He should be manifest to Israel therefore am I come baptizing with water, { John 1:31 }."

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47. The above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "And I did not know Him and did not recognize Him myself; but it is in order that He should be "made manifest [ i.e., readily perceived by the eye or the understanding" ] and be revealed to Israel . . . and be brought out where we can see Him . . . that I came baptizing 'NOT IN' but: 'WITH' water."

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48. Commentary . . . John's baptism with water was of repentance for the 'remission [ forgiveness' ] of sins { Mark 1:4 }, and pertained to making CHRIST manifest to Israel. It is this very water baptismal Hebrew ritual which Peter preached on the day of Pentecost to that congregation of Hebrews . . .

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49. { V. 38 } Scripture: "Then Peter said to them, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of JESUS CHRIST, for the "remission [ forgiveness" ] of sins and you shall receive the HOLY SPIRIT.

50. { V. 39 }: For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our GOD shall call, { Acts 2:38-39 }."

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51. The above { V. 38-39 } paraphrased in commentary form . . . { 38 }: "And Peter answered them saying, repent . . . change your views, and purpose to accept the will of GOD in your inner selves instead of rejecting it . . . and be 'baptized [ cleansed, purified' ] every one of you in the name of JESUS CHRIST for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT. . . { 39 }: For the promise of the HOLY SPIRIT is to and for all of you Hebrews that will be called to GOD the FATHER and also to your children, and to all of the dispersed Jews that are far off in other countries, even to as many of them as the LORD our GOD invites and bids to come to Himself." See { Isaiah 57:19; - & - Joel 2:32. }

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52. Commentary . . . Today if one were to preach the necessity of water baptism for the remission of sins as many are erroneously doing such as the "A-millennial Church of CHRIST" and many other Amillennialist do to receive the HOLY SPIRIT, he would be frustrating the Grace of GOD. He would be teaching contrary to the message of GOD and make himself guilty of teaching false doctrine before GOD in this present day. Paul's letter to { Titus 3:5 } makes it very clear that we are saved "not by works of righteousness [ or performing rituals ] which we have done [ past tense ], but by CHRIST's mercy [ present tense ]."

53. Again, to the Ephesians Paul writes that only by GOD's Grace through faith and by reason of the shed blood of CHRIST are we granted salvation and the forgiveness of sins! See { Ephesians 1:7; - & - 2:8- 9 }. At least three ideas are involved in the doctrine of redemption: [ 1 ]: paying the ransom with the blood of CHRIST { 1- Corinthians 6:20; - & - Revelation 5:9 }; [ 2 ]: removal from the curse of the Law { Galatians 3:13; - & - 4:5 }; and [ 3 ]: release from the bondage of sin into the freedom of Grace, here and in { 1- Peter 1:18-19 }. Redemption is always through the shed blood of JESUS CHRIST { Colossians 1:14 }."

54. Who then was right Peter or Paul? The answer is both, for each was speaking by the inspiration of the HOLY SPIRIT. Peter was right in telling Israel that they must receive the baptism of repentance for remission of sins during their own kingdom Administration. They were to do this not for national redemption but for nation restoration. Paul was also right in preaching to the BODY OF CHRIST during this present Dispensation that through faith in CHRIST and because of the forgiveness of sins that every Child of GOD already possess through CHRIST's blood, Jew and Gentile alike that become saved are Spiritually baptized by GOD the HOLY SPIRIT into the BODY OF CHRIST. To teach ritualism for salvation is to make one guilty of teaching covenant theology for today, and this is a terrible sin that many pastors and other Assembly leaders are guilty of during this present age of Grace! And, now we repeat the following verse . . .

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55. And we repeat this verse . . . Scripture: "For by one [ 'HOLY ] SPIRIT' [ performing a spiritual baptism with no water involved ] are we all baptized into "ONE BODY," whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made 'to drink [ of living water' ] into one SPIRIT, { 1- Corinthians 12:13 }."

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56. The above { V. 13 } paraphrased in commentary form . . . "For by means of the personal agency of one HOLY SPIRIT we are all, who are now Children of GOD whether we were beforehand Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free, baptized by the HOLY SPIRIT, and by this SPIRIT baptism we are united together into one BODY of SAINTS, and are all made to drink of one HOLY SPIRIT."

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57. Commentary . . . "There is a great difference between a ceremonial ritual water baptism offer to Israel for the remission of sins, and the spiritual baptism of the individual into the BODY OF CHRIST. These are but a few of the basic differences between Israel and the BODY OF CHRIST. Making such distinctions is fundamental to "rightly dividing the Word of truth, { 2- Timothy 2:15 }."

58. Where do you fit into GOD's picture? Failure to distinguish between GOD's prophetic program for Israel and the Dispensation of the Mystery today, i.e., between Israel and the BODY OF CHRIST, causes many Christians to fail to understand their true spiritual identity. They are not aware of their own particular place in GOD's eternal purpose . . . and thus, fall short of their calling in CHRIST { Ephesians 4:1 }. Do not be robbed of the blessings and privileges which CHRIST has purchased for you as a member of His BODY of Saints { Ephesians 1:3-6; - & - Colossians 2:8-10 }. Know them, understand them, claim them by faith!

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59. { V. 9 } Scripture: "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and in all 'judgment [ i.e., discernment' ],

60. { V. 10 }: That you may approve the things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of CHRIST,

61. { V. 11 }: Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by JESUS CHRIST, unto the glory and praise of GOD, { Philippians 1:9-11 }.".

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62. The above { Vs. 9-11 } paraphrased in commentary form . . . { 9 }: "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in real knowledge and in all keen insight . . . i.e., that your love may display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment . . ., { 10 }: So that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value . . . recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences; and that you may remain untainted and pure and unerring and blameless. that . . . with hearts sincere and certain and unsoiled . . .and that you may approach the day of CHRIST, not stumbling nor causing others to stumble. . . { 11 }: May you abound in and be filled with the 'fruits of righteousness [ i.e, of right standing with GOD and right doing' ] which come through JESUS CHRIST, the Anointed One, to the honor and praise of GOD . . . that His glory may be both manifested and recognized."

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63. Commentary of the above 3 verses . . . The Apostle Paul now utters his inspired prayer for them. It is still the prayer of the HOLY SPIRIT for GOD's people. They had love, but he prays that their love may abound yet more and more. Thus, this abounding love is to be "in knowledge and all intelligence." Love must not and will not tolerate evil. If the 'heart [ mind' ] is fixed in the LORD JESUS CHRIST, then the Christian will manifest this love in knowledge and all intelligence, having discernment of good and evil. As CHRIST is contained in the heart-felt intellect of the Child of GOD thus abounding yet more and more in love, and He the LORD also "judges of and approves the things that are excellent as GOD's Children should also do!" When following this rule GOD's Children must do their best to be "pure and without offense till the day of CHRIST."

64. That day is not the Old Testament day of the LORD, when He as the MESSIAH is revealed on earth in power and glory to judge and to establish His Kingdom, but it is the day for the FATHER's Children when they meet Him in the air at the Rapture, and then appear before His judgment seat. And, such a walk produces the fruits of righteousness which are by JESUS CHRIST, unto the glory and praise of GOD. Thus it is seen that love is the source of everything in the life of GOD's Children.

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Test your knowledge concerning questions applied to the above lesson

that you may desire to ask or answer . . .

[ 1 ]: Some people hold that { Matthew 16:18; - 5:30; - & - Acts 2:38 } are GOD's order for today; others disagree. What is the solution for this disagreement?

[ 2 ]: What are several possible reasons why many sincere people fail to distinguish between the BODY OF CHRIST, and the Hebrew Millennial Body?

[ 3 ]: Compare the "literal," - "traditional," and "Dispensational" views regarding Israel and the BODY OF CHRIST.

[ 4 ]: How long had the subject of Peter's message in { Acts 3 } been foretold by GOD? See { Acts 3:19-21 }.

[ 5 ]: How long had the content of Paul's Mystery Gospel been kept secret? { Romans 16:25 }.

[ 6 ]: In your own words, what contrast most clearly distinguishes the truth for the BODY OF CHRIST?

[ 7 ]: What names are given to GOD's secret program, "the BODY OF CHRIST?" [ A ] { Ephesians 3:2 }, [ B ] { Ephesians 3:9 }.

[ 8 ]: Discuss several distinctions which characterize the Dispensation of the Mystery.

[ 9 ]: What does the word "unsearchable" mean in { Ephesians 3:8 }?

[ 10 ]: Contrast the Millennial Kingdom over which CHRIST will reign in the future, with the BODY He now heads.

[ 11 ]: According to prophecy, how were the nations to be blessed - and what will they do? { Zechariah 8:20-23 }. . . . How are the nations being blessed today? { Romans 11:11-13 }.

. . . . . . . .

[ 12 ]: Compare { Colossians 3:11 - & - Isaiah 2:2 }. Is GOD fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy today? . . . Did Paul teach any future prophecy?

[ 13 ]: How does { Matthew 24-27- & - Zechariah 14:4 } describe the coming for the BODY OF CHRIST in { 1- Thessalonians 4:13-18 }?

[ 14 ]: According to { 1- Corinthians 15:5-10 }, did Paul consider himself one of the Twelve Apostles?

[ 15 ]: What Gospel did the twelve Apostles preach in { Acts 3:19-21 }?

[ 16 ]: What Gospel did Paul preach according to { Galatians 1:10-17; - Ephesians 3:1-5; - & - Colossians 1:25-29 }?

[ 17 ]: To whom was Paul sent? { Acts 22:21; - Romans 11:13; - & - 15:16 }.

[ 18 ]: To what people were the first twelve Apostles sent? { Matthew 10:6-7; - & - Acts 2:14, 22, 36 }.

[ 19 ]: What do we mean by - "sign" gifts? What do we mean by "ministry gifts"?

[ 20 ]: How long were sign gifts to be in force? { 1- Corinthians 13:8 - & - Colossians 1:25 }.

[ 21 ]: For what people were the sign gifts specifically given? { 1- Corinthians 1:22 }.

[ 22 ]: For what purpose were the sign gifts given? { 1- Corinthians 14:21-22 }.

[ 23 ]: Why did John the Baptist baptize with water? { John 1:31 }.

[ 24 ]: Why were the people at Pentecost to be baptized in a water ritual? { Acts 2:38 }.

[ 25 ]: How many baptisms has GOD given for the BODY OF CHRIST of this Dispensation? { Ephesians 4:5 }. Describe that baptism from { 1- Corinthians 12:13; - Galatians 3:27; - Colossians 2:12 - & - Romans 6:3 }, is it SPIRIT or water baptism?

[ 26 ]: To summarize the study in this chapter, why is it necessary to know who we are, and where we fit into GOD's program?

Be Sure And Read Lesson Eight Of Part 0ne of the Bride and BODY OF CHRIST.

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