Divine Outline of History # 2
THE DISPENSATION OF ISRAEL: THE INNER COURT: THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD:
GOD’S CHOSEN NATION
The Jewish Age is related to the nation of Israel. The Jews became a nation when God led them out of Egypt, completing that transitional age of the patriarchs in which He established the Jewish race. As in the age of the Patriarchal priesthood, the human race still consisted of a large population divided into many languages, cultures, and nations. As before, all four Divine institutions remained in effect, namely, volition, marriage, the family and the national entity. And as before, Salvation throughout the world continued to be by faith in Christ as He was revealed. But with the Exodus God established one particular nation to represent Him as His missionary agency on earth. The Spiritual heritage of Israel continued, as it had begun through the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: the Jews expressed their faith in Christ as they offered the Passover lamb. (Num 9:12; John 19:36) This chosen nation would be given a Divine legacy in writing and would manifest God’s essence as never before in history. (Deut 4:6-8; Deut 1:1-21) God chose Israel to be a blessing to the entire human race. (Gen 12:2-3) He made this nation the recipient, custodian and communicator of the written canon of Scripture. Not only would Israel furnish the human authors of the Old Testament canon, but the history and function of Israel herself would be recorded forever in Scripture. The God of Israel, who is Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, (Luk 1:68) Personally ruled the Theocratic kingdom. There was no division between Spiritual and civil. This was demonstrated to Moses before the Exodus, (Exo 3:1 thru Exo 4:1-31) reiterated to Joshua upon entering the Land, (Jos 5:13-15) and mourned over when the apostate people clamored for a human king. (1Sa 8:1-22; Hos 13:11) To communicate His grace to mankind through His chosen nation, God gave Moses a code of law for Israel. (Exo 20:1-19; Deut 9:10) The Mosaic Law is a remarkable legal system that defined freedom and civil responsibility in Israel for believers and unbelievers alike. The Feasts and offerings also set forth the precise Spiritual ceremonies by which the Jews would worship God. (Lev 23:1-44) Because their God was also their King, it was the responsibility of everyone in Israel to observe the Mosaic Law as part of Jewish national life, although the Spiritual provisions were properly meaningful for believers only. As a single, integrated whole, the Spiritual life focused on the Tabernacle, “and later the Temple” where the Presence of God resided. Offerings, rituals and holy day observances conducted there, anticipated the day when God would become flesh (Isa 9:6) as the Promised Messiah. For the orderly conduct of these rituals and for the oral communication of God’s written Word, God instituted the Levitical priesthood. (Deut 31:9-13; Deut 33:10)
Codex one of the Mosaic Law was a new phenomenon, a thorough system of private and public duty in Israel under the immediate rule of God. Many of its provisions echo Divine Commandments given in the Dispensation of the Gentiles when no chosen nation existed. This continuity exists because the ethnic heritage of Israel originated in that preceding age and because Divine guidance for each epoch of human history comes from the same unchanging source; God Himself. The term is designated the ritual plan of God, for the way of life for the citizens of Israel; in contrast to the protocol plan of God for New Covenant Church Age believers. The rituals prescribed by the Mosaic Law were a dramatic “shadow of what was to come.” (Col 2:17; Heb 8:5; Heb 10:1) They were types and teaching aids portraying Christ, Salvation and fellowship with God. The Levitical priesthood’s function and every individual’s daily life included participation in ceremonies that depicted these tremendous Doctrines. When Christ later came in the flesh; the Reality fulfilled the shadows, making this magnificent heritage of rituals suddenly obsolete. (Heb 8:13) A new code was required, and a new code was provided. Now in the Church Age the believer’s way of life manifests the all-powerful Reality of Spirit and Truth worship, (John 4:21-24) rather than the shadow. The ritual plan of God remains part of Scripture, documenting God’s faithfulness and describing Christ’s Person and work. Israel demonstrated and communicated the grace of God, the greatest expression of which was that she would be the nation through which the Savior would be born into the world. The sequence of Promises that guarantee the coming of Christ, beginning with the “Seed” revealed to Adam and Eve (Gen 3:15) and continuing with the Promises made to Noah, (Gen 9:26) proceeded to become more specific. The Messiah would come from the race of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; from the nation of Israel; from the tribe of Judah; (Gen 49:8) from the family of Jesse; (1Sa 16:1) from the Royal lineage of King David. (2Ch 13:5) Since the founding of the Jewish race, the Promises of the messianic line coincide with the Covenants between God and His chosen people.
DIVINE COVENANTS WITH ISRAEL
The nation of Israel is defined by five Divine Covenants. The first two Covenants, sworn during the age of the patriarchs, prepared the way for founding the nation. God made the remaining three after the Jewish race had become the Jewish nation.
1. The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:1-3; Gen 13:16; Gen 22:15-18; Gen 26:4; Gen 28:14; Gen 35:11; Exo 6:2-8)
2. The Palestinian Covenant (Gen 13:15; Gen 15:18; Gen 26:3-5; Gen 28:13-15; Gen 35:12; Exo 6:4-8; Num 34:1-12; Deut 30:1-9; Jos 1:2-4; Jer 32:36-44; Eze 11:16-21; Eze 36:21-38)
3. The Mosaic Law (Gen. — Deut.)
a. Codex I: The Freedom Code (The Decalogue, or Ten Commandments)
b. Codex II: The Spiritual Code (Including a complete shadow presentation of Christ and His saving work, Christology: Who He Is; and Soteriology: what He did)
c. Codex III: The Establishment Code (Civil statutes for Israel)
4. The Davidic Covenant (2Sa 7:8-18; Psa 89:20-37)
5. The New Covenant to the Church, and Israel in the Millennium, began on the day of Pentecost AD.30 (Acts 2:1-11; Jer 31:31-34; cf. Heb 8:8-13; Heb 10:15-18)
How do these Covenants define the nation of Israel? God’s Covenants to Abraham identify God’s elect people and the land He will give them. Designated the Abrahamic Covenant and the Palestinian (Or Real Estate) Covenant, these two Divine contracts were the basis for God’s deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian slavery and for the founding of the nation in the Promised land. (Exo 6:2-9) The Mosaic Law established policy for ethical, Spiritual, and civil life within the Old Testament nation of Israel. The Davidic Covenant designates the ruling dynasty of Israel. And the New Covenant Promises restoration, a new Spiritual life for the nation under Divine discipline, and guarantees eventual fulfillment of all the Covenants. (Eze 11:17-21)
CONDITIONAL AND UNCONDITIONAL COVENANTS
Three of these Covenants are unconditional and eternal; two are conditional and temporal. God will execute the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, to believers in Israel with no conditions attached. He Promised to do certain things, and He will. His immutable essence guarantees His faithfulness. But since the fulfillment of these Covenants will last forever, (Gen 13:15; (2Sa 7:13-16; Jer 31:34) who could be the beneficiaries? Only someone who personally possesses eternal life can be a recipient of eternal blessings. Therefore, the original definitions of God’s elect people answers this question of beneficiaries: God established the Jews as a regenerate race, founded through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as believers in Christ. Not all Israel is Israel. (Rom 9:6-8) What Abraham did in the power of the sin nature, (Gen 16:3) was not the way they would receive the Promise. (Gen 15:4) Isaac is the son, God Promised, (Gen 17:18-19) and they had to believe it. (Rom 4:18-22; Heb 11:11) Then they would be made alive sexually, as Jews and Gentiles who believe in the Son Who has come; would be made alive Spiritually. (1Pe 1:23) A standard for Salvation (Gal 3:26) and as in this case, Spiritual maturity! (Gal 4:19-31; Rom 4:20-22) Being genetically, culturally or religiously a Jew does not provide entrance into the unconditional Covenants in the Millennium; that last forever, unless they personally believe in the Promised Messiah. His person and work are revealed in the two conditional Covenants. The Mosaic Law and New Covenant contain conditional clauses. If the Jews would do their part, then God would do His part. (Exo 19:3-6; Jos 1:7-8) The Mosaic Law is a single whole, which can be studied under three categories: Codex I, the freedom code; Codex II, the Spiritual code; and Codex III, the establishment code. Codex I protected the Jew’s ability to make decisions; Codex II presented the most important decision he faced; Salvation, and Codex III prescribed the environment most conducive to making good decisions. The Spiritual aspect of the Mosaic Law proclaims the grace of God as the way of Salvation and identifies faith as the non-meritorious manner of entering into the eternal blessings of all the unconditional Covenants. Specifically, Codex II of the Law presents the Messiah and explains His role as Savior and the system He would use to construct His Spiritual life, declaring God's Thoughts and Virtue. (Heb 1:3) And that the nation of Israel could use to reach Spiritual maturity. He is depicted in animal sacrifices, in the precise construction and furnishing of the Tabernacle; and represents building our Spiritual life. (1Pe 2:5) http://dictionaryofdoctrine.com/files/Buildup of Humility.jpg
The ceremonial clothing of the Levitical priesthood and the rituals that the priests performed showed Israel how to be in fellowship with God (1Pe 2:9-10) and grow to Spiritual maturity. (Exo 40:30-32; John 13:10; (1Jn 1:9) This is the same as the Spirit and Truth worship of today. (John 4:21-24) The Feasts, and later the gates of Jerusalem, represent the progressive stages of the Spiritual life, which Christ and the Jews used. (Php 3:3) We have the gates of the New Covenant Spiritual life.
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Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a New Covenant, not of the letter [Mosaic Law] but of the Spirit; [The New Covenant] for the letter kills, (Deut 27:26) but the Spirit gives life. (Rom 8:11) But if the ministry of death, [Condemnation of the natural sin nature] in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit [Emphasizes Christ's Resurrection Life] (Heb 13:20) fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation (Rom 8:3) (The old sin nature, cannot be Holy) (Rom 7:18) has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness (Rom 8:4) [The Spiritual life in us is Holy] abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. (2Co 3:5-11)
The New Covenant now, and until the end of Millennium is conditional, after we believe in Christ, (John 3:18; no believer will go to the Lake of fire. (Apart from living in the Tribulation period and taking the mark of the beast; Rev 14:9-12) But just like in the Old Covenant, God has shown us alternative endings to our personal story, based on obedience to His plan. (1Ti 2:4) The amount of blessing in time, and Eternity depend on if we reach Spiritual maturity now! (Mark 4:15-20; Luk 12:42-48; Jud 1:12-13) If any Jew believed in Christ, then God not only would grant Salvation to that individual but in the same instant would also make him party to the unconditional Covenants. Authority and civil Statutes supported the central thrust of the Jewish nation. Codex I defined human freedom; Codex III revealed the Divine laws of establishment for Jewish government, jurisprudence, military service, economics, diet, hygiene, soil conservation, quarantine, and for every other significant aspect of life in Israel. If the citizens of Israel would obey the Commands of Codices I and III, then God would temporally bless them as individuals and the nation as a whole. (Deut 28:1-14) With God as its source, this Divine Covenant far surpassed contemporary systems of national law; all Divine Covenants to Israel will be executed by the Lord Jesus Christ. At present, only the Mosaic Law has been fulfilled completely. In His first advent Christ fulfilled the entire Law, including all three codices, by His sinless life and substitutionary death for the sins of mankind. (Matt 5:17; Rom 10:4; Heb 10:9) In His Second Advent He will fulfill the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenant when He returns to earth to restore Israel and rule over her. Even at the peak of Israel’s glory under Solomon, the unconditional Covenants were not fulfilled. Israel has never occupied all of the vast lands granted by the Palestinian Covenant. But God has not forgotten His people; He will keep His Promises. (Gen 28:14) Both in the Millennium and in eternity, Israel will enjoy a glory she has never yet known.
THE CLIENT NATION
The Covenants that God made with Israel created a particular relationship of blessing between God and the nation. Israel was and will be the unique client nation to God, His especially protected representative on earth. (Exo 19:5-6; Hos 4:6) Definite responsibilities belonged to the Old Testament client nation under the Mosaic Law. Codices I and III protected human life, freedom, privacy, and property. Codex II charged individual believers and communicators of God’s Word with accurately presenting the Gospel and Teaching Truth within the nation. And missionaries from the client nation were to carry the Gospel and God's Spiritual Thoughts to non-client nations. (Deut 4:6-9; Jon 1:1-2) Client-nation Israel was answerable directly to God for the custodianship of His Word. Now the Church inside ALL nations is used by God, until the Millennium. Woe to any outsiders who dared to persecute the Jews. God committed this protective Principle to writing in the anti-Semitism clause of the Abrahamic Covenant.
And I will bless those who bless you. And the one who curses you I will curse. (Gen 12:3)
This solemn clause is part of an unconditional Covenant and, therefore, remains in force to this day. God protects the Jewish people through every generation of history so that He can ultimately fulfill His Covenants with them. The privileges enjoyed by client-nation Israel implied responsibility. Not only were the blessings greater, but so was the potential for national Divine discipline if Israel refused to obey Divine Commands. (Lev 26:17) Woe to the Jews or anyone, (Psa 73:27) if they do not fulfill their responsibility as God’s representatives on earth! (Hos 4:6) Israel’s history is a panorama of successes and failures in relation to her client-nation responsibilities. A series of five Jewish client nations evolved, as presented in the categorical outline of the dispensations. This sequence ended when the long-anticipated Messiah arrived in the flesh.
The virgin birth of Christ marked the beginning of a new dispensation. By the time of our Lord’s birth in 4 B.C., Israel no longer functioned as a client nation to God. Instead, she had distorted the Law into a tyranny of religious legalism. Petty, corrupt, and self-righteous, she had lost her Spiritual vigor. She could only chafe under the political and military domination of the Roman Empire. This moralistic degeneracy in Israel continued throughout the Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union and extended into the Church Age until finally God placed the nation under maximum discipline in AD. 70. Divine discipline to Israel may be traced from 63 B.C. when the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple by entering the Holy of Holies. In 54 B.C. Crassus pillaged the Temple. During the Parthian invasion of Palestine in 40 B.C., Herod escaped to Rome and was appointed King of Judea by the Roman Senate. The Jews refused to recognize him as king, but after three years of fighting he captured Jerusalem and purged the Sanhedrin. In 15 B.C. Agrippa visited Palestine on an inspection tour for the Emperor Augustus to insure that Rome’s interests were being served. Herod, who was not a Jew, rebuilt the Temple, dedicating it in 10 B.C.
The year in which Christ was born was an unsettling one in Jewish politics. The Pharisees attempted to overthrow the government, Herod died in a rage, and his son, Herod Archelaus, became the governor under Rome, inheriting the part of his father’s domains that included Samaria, Judea, and Idumea. In A.D. 6, Rome deposed the inept and aggravating Archelaus. Judea was then absorbed into the Roman Empire as part of a third class province with Coponius as its first imperial procurator, or governor. The Jews were angry, under a succession of procurators, among them Pontius Pilate, whose administration began in A.D. 26.
The Roman province of Judea had long since ceased to function as a client nation to God. Throughout the dispensation of Christ’s first advent, from approximately 4 B.C. to A.D. 30, Judea was a dominated nation in Spiritual degeneracy. She continued to exist only to make a decision regarding Jesus Christ as Messiah. Having rejected Christ, the Spiritually and politically rebellious Jewish state survived for forty years under the Principle of grace before judgment. Then, in A.D. 70, four Roman legions destroyed Jerusalem.
HYPOSTATIC UNION DEFINED
There are two conditional Covenants the Mosaic Law, and the New Covenant. Three priesthoods, and they fall into three categories: The Patriarchal priesthood, the Levitical priesthood and the Royal priesthood, Present and Eschatological: Future. We have just described the two Theocentric dispensations — the dispensation of the Gentiles and the Age of the Jews — which occurred before Christ came in the flesh. With the virgin birth of Christ, the Christocentric ages began and continue until after the Millennium; the Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, the Church, Tribulation and the Millennium. Is the victory of God in human history! Because of Who Christ Is and His victory; (Col 2:14-15) and our relationship to Him; (Heb 6:1-20) we are in the Holy of Holies seated with Christ! The completed Spiritual life on the victory side of the Cross; Satan is defeated and we are to grow up, and destroy the control of the old sin nature, and rule with Christ forever! (Rev 3:21) The “Hypostatic union” is the Theological term for the incarnate person of Christ, the union of God and man. At the virgin birth, God the Son took upon Himself true humanity and became a new person — the God-man, the unique person of the universe. (John 1:1-14; Rom 1:2-4; Php 2:5-11; (1Ti 3:16) The Greek word hupostasis means “substantial nature, essence, actual being, Reality.” Christ unites in Himself the essence of God and the essence of man, forming a new hupostasis, a new united essence, called the hypostatic union. In the Person of the incarnate Christ, two natures are inseparably united but without loss or mixture of separate identities, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes. The union is both personal (The God-man IS One Person) and eternal. (He will BE the God-man forever) Undiminished deity took upon Himself true humanity in order to be the Savior, (Heb 2:14-15) the mediator between God and man; (Job 9:2; Job 9:32-33; (1Ti 2:5-6) the Great high priest representing man before God; (Heb 7:4-28; Heb 10:5-14) and the human king of Israel in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. (2Sa 7:8-16; Psa 89:20-37) The hypostatic union will continue forever in resurrection body, (Heb 1:8-13) but I designate the approximately thirty-three-year period of our Lord’s first advent the time period of the Hypostatic Union because this period of history began at the resounding moment in which God became the God-man. (Heb 10:5) The Hypostatic Union is the epoch recorded in the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament. This period began with the virgin birth of Christ and terminated with His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
INTERPRETING THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST
These four books chronicle a unique era in God’s plan for human history. The Gospels reveal our Lord’s sinless life and saving work, but the record of His earthly ministry also includes His proclamation of the long-awaited New Covenant kingdom of God in Israel, His Prophecy of Israel’s future persecution, and finally His announcement of a Divine administration of New Covenant Truth, that is significantly different from that of Israel. These diverse teachings coalesce in a dispensational framework. The period of Christ’s first advent relates to all believers in the transition period, for Christ to fulfill one Covenant, and start a new Eternal Covenant, (Heb 9:15; Heb 13:20) for all people Jews and Gentiles! Israel was to continue in the communication of the Word of God, but when they rejected Christ as Savior, Christ made a change. (Matt 21:43) Now the Church in ALL nations have the custodianship of the teaching of God's Thoughts to man. The Old Covenant kingdom in Israel was racial, political, and Spiritual. The New Covenant kingdom is ONLY Spiritual until the Millennium, when they will have the Personal rule of Christ Jesus our Lord. (Eze 43:7; John 4:21-24; (1Co 4:20) And is for all believers! (Gal 3:8; Gal 3:28) And ALL believers are Royal priests! (1Pe 2:9) With absolute authority Jesus Christ presented Himself to Israel as the Son of David, the King of Israel, and the Messiah. (Matt 1:16; Matt 22:41-46) His presentation took many forms, which Matthew in particular recorded. Christ fulfilled Old Testament Prophecy. (Matt 1:5-6; Matt 2:17-18; Matt 4:14-16; etc.) He performed miracles which drew attention to Himself as the Savior of mankind and the King of the Jews. (Matt 4:23-24; etc.) He announced Policy for His Spiritual kingdom. (Matt 5:1-48) He explained His identity from Scripture. (Matt 11:25-30; Matt 12:1-8) He described His own death on the cross as the “blood of the Covenant. [The Mosaic Law]” (Matt 26:28; Matt 5:17; Rom 10:4; Heb 10:1) In fact, Christ came to fulfill all five Divine Covenants with Israel — conditional and unconditional alike. (Heb 9:15) Our Lord’s sinless life and respect for human freedom fulfilled the Commandments in Codex I of the Mosaic Law. His sinlessness and substitutionary death for the sins of mankind were the Realities long anticipated by ceremonies in Codex II of the Law. His love for Israel demonstrates His fulfilment of the establishment laws in Codex III. (Matt 22:21) Only He could perfectly execute the entire Law. He came to fulfil every jot and tittle of the Law. (Matt 5:18) whether or not the Jews accepted Him as their King-Savior. (Zec 9:9) The Old Testament Scriptures proclaim two advents of Christ. (Zec 9:9-10; Dan 9:26-27; Matt 23:37-39) Christ therefore Prophesied the future. (Now thru the Millennium) in His magnificent Olivet Discourse. (Matt 24:1) thru (Matt 25:1-46) In this discourse He painted a vivid picture of the Tribulation and His own return to deliver His people and fulfill the remaining three unconditional Covenants in His millennial reign.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE UNDER GOD’S PLAN
God genuinely offers His grace and desires that everyone accept it! (2Pe 3:9) But He is never threatened by man’s refusal. In fact, human negative volition may elicit extraordinary demonstrations of Divine power that glorify Him throughout the earth. (Exo 9:16; Rom 8:32; Rom 9:17) In the workings of sovereign God even “For the wrath of man shall praise You.” (Psa 76:10)
The issue of free will lies at the heart of the angelic conflict. And here at the crux of human history — in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ — the Bible lucidly documents that God extends genuine options to man. While Divine sovereignty remains supreme; man’s responsibility is real. (Mal 3:18) The grace of God toward man not only expresses His love but also forces Satan and the fallen angels to remember that God’s infinite goodness was poured out to them as well. Human and angelic free will are comparable. Divine grace and human responsibility remind Satan again and again that he bears the full blame for his own revolt against God. Human history as the appeal trial of the angelic conflict reveals the essence of God. He is gracious, but because He is also sovereign, His plan must go on. Sovereignty implies that His patience toward mankind in delaying judgment and His kindness in granting opportunity after opportunity to accept His grace; cannot go on indefinitely! As powerfully illustrated in the first advent of Christ, when Christ turned away from unbelieving Israel and founded the Church — sovereign God must ultimately proceed with His perfect plan. Satan, fallen angels, human unbelievers and carnal believers will ultimately suffer the full and eternal consequences of revolution against sovereign omnipotent God, (Psa 73:27) while this same God proceeds to bless POSITIVE believers now; and forever in the eternal state. (Psa 73:28) Given every opportunity to believe in Christ as Savior, the Jews adamantly refused. Certainly there were remarkable exceptions. The disciples, the three Marys, and even Nicodemus show that a remnant of believers can be found in every generation of every dispensation. But the remnant in Israel was too small to counterbalance the vast majority. (Matt 13:10-17) Israel’s rejection of her Messiah does not mean that Jesus Christ’s mission on earth ended in failure. As the Prophet of the Church, He was the first to announce the mystery Doctrines. (Spiritual Thoughts for the New Covenant Spiritual life) (John 14:1-31) Thus, in the Upper Room Discourse our Lord unveiled something entirely new: The protocol plan of God for the New Covenant. Because of the believers acceptance in Christ, (Rom 4:25) the Church Age demonstrates God’s magnificent grace and infinite power as never before in history!
ACCURACY IN INTERPRETATION
DIFFERENT MESSAGES FOR DIFFERENT AUDIENCES.
The Truth taught by Jesus Christ applies to all New Covenant believers, but there is a difference between a legitimate application from a passage of Scripture and the precise interpretation of that passage. There may be many edifying applications that greatly benefit believers in a devotional or practical way, but the objective of rigorous scholarship is a precisely accurate interpretation. Interpretation attempts to discover what the passage means. Each passage must be interpreted in its context in terms of those to whom it is addressed.
Who is the audience to whom Christ speaks in the Gospels? The Gospels can be accurately interpreted only when Christ’s ministry to Israel is understood:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door [Fulfill the Mosaic Law being born under the law; Gal 4:4-5] into the fold of the sheep, [Judaism] but climbs up some other way, [Energy of the old sin nature] he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a Shepherd of the sheep. [The Perfect God-man] To Him the Doorkeeper opens, [God the Father] and the sheep hear His voice, [Believe] and he calls His own sheep by name [Believing Jews] and leads them out! [Of the Old Covenant ritual plan] When He puts forth all His own, [Believing Jews] He goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice. [The Word of Truth] A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. [The religious leaders of Judaism] This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. So Jesus said to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. [The Messiah, The Savior] All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, [False teachers] but the sheep [Believers] did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, (John 14:6) and will go in and out and find pasture. [Truth to more Truth] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; [Mix, sell and corrupt Truth] I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. [Grow to Spiritual maturity] I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (John 10:17) He who is a hired hand, [He Sells Truth] (Matt 25:9) and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, [Persecution, temptation and affliction] and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. (Matt 12:30) He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” I am the Good Shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, [The New Covenant, Jews and Gentiles] (Acts 26:22-23) which are not of this fold; [The Old Covenant, Judaism, Jews and believing circumcised Gentiles] (Exo 12:48) I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; [Believe] and they will become one flock (Gal 3:28) with One Shepherd. (John 10:1-16) cf. (Matt 23:10; John 6:45; Matt 10:38)
And distinguished from His ministry to the Church. Several illustrations will emphasize the dispensational orientation required in analyzing the Gospels. In both the Olivet and Upper Room Discourses, Jesus was speaking to the same twelve men, His disciples. He delivered both of these great messages after Israel had rejected Him as Messiah. And both are Prophetic. But there are significant differences. The immediate context of the Olivet Discourse deals with Christ’s Prediction of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was the focal point of Jewish worship, and the disciples, as Jews, were concerned about the Promised future of their nation. They asked Christ the same question they would ask Him again just before His ascension: When would He establish His Millennial kingdom? (Matt 24:3; Acts 1:6) When would He fulfill God’s unconditional Covenants with Israel? The Olivet Discourse answers a specific question about Israel and guarantees a future for Israel by announcing the Tribulation and the inauguration of the Millennium. The events Christ mentions fulfill the Old Testament Prophecies of Israel’s future. (Zec 13:7-9; Matt 24:15-31) They center in Judea. (Matt 24:16) They recognize the Jewish Sabbath. (Matt 24:20) And they anticipate false applications of the Second Advent. (Matt 24:23-27) The context and content of Christ’s message is in a context concerning Divine discipline against the Jews for rejecting the Messiah. (Matt 23:1-39) In contrast, Christ addressed the Upper Room Discourse to His disciples as the nucleus of the approaching New Covenant age. (John 17:20-21) These same twelve Jewish men were now considered separate from the nation of Israel, which Christ identifies with “the world” that rejected Him. (John 13:33-34; John 15:18) thru (John 16:4) In context He anticipated His betrayal and announced His glorification. (John 13:31-32)
This message of His glorification reveals unprecedented assets for the Church Age believer, which will indeed glorify Him to the maximum. The content of this discourse is new. Nowhere in the entire national heritage of Israel was any believer personally in union with the Messiah and indwelt by Him, as described in this final discourse before the Cross. (John 14:17-23; John 17:21-26) An hour of momentous change had arrived. (John 16:1-2; John 16:32) The New Covenant was in view. This sweeping change, fully presented in the New Testament Epistles, departs from God’s original Covenants with Israel. By definition Israel was consecrated and separate from other nations, (Deut 7:3) but now Jews and Gentiles were to be indistinguishable in Christ. (Col 3:11) God is not contradictory. The conclusion is that Israel was no longer the client nation. (Matt 21:43; Luk 17:21) She had rejected her Messiah. God remained true to His Word by not permanently rejecting her, (Isa 66:12) but He was taking the initiative by turning her refusal into an opportunity to demonstrate His grace even more in the Church. As a result, His future entry into His kingdom as the Son of David will be all the greater. In terms of Divine administration, God had shifted His historical focus to a new body of believers, the Church. This famous Prophetic discourse by our Lord perfectly meshes within a dispensational framework. The Church must be alert for the triumphant Second Advent of Christ. (After the beast is revealed; 2Th 2:8) (Matt 24:42) thru (Matt 25:13) The Church, not Israel, is responsible for utilizing the new outpouring of grace that glorifies the physically absent but indwelling Christ. (Gal 2:20)
TEACHING FOR PRESENT AND FUTURE HEARERS.
Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1-12) further illustrates the need for careful interpretation. This was not a private discourse with the twelve disciples, although some of them were present. To whom was this sermon addressed? To every believer! (1Co 14:33) Jesus was speaking to the large crowd of believers gathered around Him on the mountainside. (Matt 5:1; Matt 7:28) His ministry to Israel was underway because He had not yet been rejected by His people. (Matt 12:37) He was sitting before true, regenerate Israel clarifying the character of God’s kingdom, righteousness, and contrasting the Mosaic Law’s real purpose with the legalism of the Pharisees. Christ was not presenting a way of Salvation. His message concerned the believer’s post-Salvation way of life, to reach Spiritual maturity. All the beatitudes in the opening lines of the sermon were the way to Spiritual maturity that Christ had accomplished! But if the Messiah spoke these “blessings,” the listeners could take comfort, fully confident that all could be accomplished, by reaching Spiritual maturity.
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He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, (Gate 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Realized their Spiritual poverty, and believed in Christ, and rebound when needed] (Gate 2) Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. [Truth in the soul shows the degeneracy of self, and the world] (Gate 3) Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. [Humility to follow Christ to Spiritual maturity and share all He has] (Gate 4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, [Maximum positive volition] for they shall be satisfied. [Will make it to Spiritual maturity] (Gate 5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. [You are now Spiritually caring about others more than self; motivational Virtue] (Gate 6) Blessed are the pure in heart, [Spiritual adulthood] for they shall see God. (Rev 22:4) (Gate 7) Blessed are the peacemakers, [Now, you can lead others to Spiritual maturity] for they shall be called sons of God. (Gate 8) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, [Now suffering for a blessing] for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Gate 9) Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. (John 15:18) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; [Staying in fellowship and Thinking with God's Thoughts, not human thoughts] but if the salt has become tasteless, [Quit being separate from the worlds way of thinking] (2Co 6:17-18) how can it be made salty again? (Heb 6:5-6) It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. [Stepped on by man, and disciplined by God, because we have become useless!] (Matt 5:2-13)
As we have seen in (Heb 11:1) thru (Heb 12:4) that the way to maturity is the same in every time period, the difference is the way of communication, and or the illustrations (Trees, wells, a ladder, names, the Tabernacle, Temple, Feasts, the Gates of the city etc.) that are being used. This shows continuity in the middle of change. (Heb 13:8) Christ was announcing Policy for His New Spiritual Kingdom the New Covenant Age. (John 4:21-24) But He was speaking to His current audience concerning not only the Promised kingdom but the immediate present as well. Before the kingdom would be established, He presented the opportunity for the Jews to continue as God's client nation, (For all to take part Jews, and Gentiles) (Luk 2:32) if enough of the Jews would accept Him as Messiah. Because the Church had not been announced and did not yet exist when Christ spoke on the mountainside, no part of our Lord’s Sermon is addressed specifically to the Church. but is used for all believers, Jews and Gentiles. (Rom 2:9-11) The correct conclusion is that the Sermon on the Mount belongs to ALL believers. For example, Epistles addressed to the Church contain comparable instructions about judging, (Rom 14:10-13; cf. Matt 7:1-5) logistical grace, (1Pe 5:7; cf. Matt 6:25-34) faith-rest, (Heb 4:1-10; cf. Matt 6:31-34) and the pivot of Spiritually mature believers, which is the invisible, stabilizing influence within a nation. (Eph 1:21-23; cf. Matt 5:13-16) Passages that directly address the Church establish Church Age Doctrine. This basic Principle of Biblical interpretation is derived from the very existence of dispensational distinctions in Scripture. This Principle respects those distinctions, balanced by an equal respect for continuities that relate the dispensations to one another. Church Age Doctrine is often illuminated by the ways in which God reveals Himself to other audiences in other passages on the same subject. Indeed, when the Epistles present a Truth to the Church, all other Biblical passages on that subject must be studied under the Principle of comparing Scripture with Scripture. Let’s take the first complete illustration, that teaches the Principle of the progressive stages of Spiritual growth, in the twelve son's and one daughter of Jacob.
Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, Because the LORD has seen my affliction; (Exo 3:7) [Salvation] surely now my husband will love me. Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, Because the LORD has heard (Deut 26:7) [And we can listen to Him] that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also. So she named him Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son and said, Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons. Therefore he was named Levi. [Humility] (Num 3:6) And she conceived again and bore a son and said, This time I will praise the LORD. [Worship] (Gen 49:8) Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing. Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die." Then Jacob's anger burned against Rachel, and he said, Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb? She said, Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children. So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son. Therefore she named him Dan. [Spiritual adulthood; vindication] (1Ti 3:16) Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. So Rachel said, With mighty wrestlings (Gen 32:24-32) [Dying to the human false thinking of the old sin nature and of Satan's world system] I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed. And she named him Naphtali. When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. Then Leah said, How fortunate! [Spiritual Maturity] So she named him Gad. Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. Then Leah said, Happy am I! [Sharing God's happiness] For women will call me happy. So she named him Asher. Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Please give me some of your son's mandrakes. But she said to her, Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son's mandrakes also? So Rachel said, Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes. When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes. So he lay with her that night. God gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Then Leah said, God has given me my wages [Reward for Spiritual maturity] because I gave my maid to my husband. So she named him Issachar. Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. Then Leah said, God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, [Live with God now and in the New Jerusalem] because I have borne him six sons. So she named him Zebulun. Afterward she bore a daughter and named her Dinah. Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, God has taken away my reproach. [Sin nature cut off] She named him Joseph, saying, May the LORD give me another son. [God will add more] (Gen 29:32) thru (Gen 30:24)
It came about as her soul was departing, [For she died] that she named him Ben-oni; [Son of sorrows] (Isa 53:3-4) but his father called him Benjamin. [Son of my right hand] (Gen 35:18) cf. (Rev 3:21) This last son shows our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb 10:12) and the final victory stage of Spiritual maturity. Now that we are Royal family; we have the invisible system, that is in the same basic form, and works the same way, Thinking with God’s Thoughts and staying in fellowship until we reach Spiritual maturity and then until death. (Prov 1:22-23)
God revealed Himself to mankind as never before in history — in the Person of Christ. In the Scriptures the life of Christ is recorded four times over, from four perspectives, unlike any other period of history. Second, God designed the incarnation of Jesus Christ to purchase Salvation for all mankind in every dispensation. From God’s Viewpoint this extraordinary period throws light across all of history; God’s design for the incarnation of Christ also included an unprecedented system of power, the completed Spiritual life, to pass every test Satan would be allowed to administer. (Luk 4:1-13) and then go all the way to the Cross! (Heb 12:2) This approximately thirty-three-year period is like a cornerstone or hinge that connects, yet divides, (Heb 9:15) two very different Covenants. (2Co 3:9) So we can use this completed Spiritual life to fulfill God's will for our lives, as believers Priority # 1 is to reach Spiritual maturity, and share in Christ's victory, (Col 2:15) just as when David defeated Goliath, and all Israel took part in his victory. (1Sa 17:50-54) We are on the victory side of the Cross. (Rom 8:32) The only way to lose is to quit. (Jer 17:13)
GOD REVEALED IN CHRIST
Dramatic change is the opening theme of the book of Hebrews. At the announced place and time, (Dan 9:25) God fulfilled His Promises, to send the Messiah. Divine Revelation came to mankind in the form of Christ Himself.
God, after He spoke long ago [In previous dispensations] to the fathers in the prophets in many portions [Of the written canon of Scripture] and in many ways, [Divine Communication to the prophets]in these last days has spoken to us in His Son... [Who] is the flashing forth of His glory and the exact representation of His nature... (Heb 1:1-3)
This long-awaited period of history, called “these last days” in, (Heb 1:2) is also called the dispensation of “the fullness of time.” (Gal 4:4) cf. (Eph 1:10)
But when the fullness of the time came, [A new dispensation] God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the [Mosaic] Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, [By living a sinless life so that He was a qualified substitute to receive Divine judgment for man’s sins] that we [Who believe in Him] might receive the adoption as sons. (Gal 4:4-5)
The uniqueness of the dispensation of our Lord’s first advent is also the subject of the first chapter of the Gospel of John. In terms of Divine Revelation, God's Thoughts: the written Word of the Old Testament passed the baton to the Living Word in the Person of the God-man, Jesus Christ.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, [God in the flesh] and we beheld His glory, glory as of the uniquely born One from the Father, full of grace and Truth... No man has seen God at any time; the uniquely born God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (John 1:1, John 1:14, John 1:18)
THE GREAT POWER EXPERIMENT
The Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union was also distinguished from previous dispensations by the system of power that God the Father designed to sustain the humanity of Christ in accomplishing man’s Salvation. A term was coined for this unprecedented sphere of power: The Divine Dynasphere = The Spiritual Life. According to the Father’s plan, Christ did not use the omnipotence of His own Deity to support His humanity. (Php 2:7-8) Instead, God the Holy Spirit constantly empowered and sustained the humanity of Christ amid the hostility of the devil’s world. (Matt 4:1; Matt 12:18, Matt 12:28; John 3:34; Rom 1:4; Heb 9:14) In addition to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Spiritual life also included powerful assets for the humanity of Christ to master and utilize by His own human volition. Our Lord used these Divine problem-solving devices in executing the Salvation plan of the Father. Because of the Spiritual life, the period of the incarnation of Christ, is the beginning of the new way of life. (Matt 9:17) And is a demonstration of a known Truth. The known Truth is that the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit and the perfect efficacy of Divine problem-solving devices were fully able to sustain the humanity of Christ. In the power of the Spiritual life, Christ perfectly fulfilled every demand of the Mosaic Law throughout His life and death. The Spiritual life proved effective even under the maximum pressure of being judged for all the sins of mankind! The Holy Spirit constantly sustained Him on the Cross, (Heb 9:14) and the problem-solving device that is called “Sharing the happiness of God” enabled Him to endure the judgment of all human sins. (Heb 12:2)
Christ bequeathed to every New Covenant Age believer, the very system of power that sustained His humanity! (John 7:37-39; John 15:10-11) Our Lord’s proven source of power is now available to the Church Age believer for executing the post-Salvation plan of God. “And His yoke is easy,” (Matt 11:28-30) “His burden is lite.” We use the Spiritual life to reach Spiritual maturity! Not die on a cross! (1Co 10:13; Heb 12:4) The Hypostatic Union (The God-man) establishes the precedent for the Church Age. Christ lived in the prototype Spiritual life; the Christian can live in the operational-type Spiritual life. The Church Age believer has the privilege of living by the system of Divine dynamics under which Christ lived, not by the ritual system of Israel which Christ totally fulfilled and abrogated. (Rom 10:4; Eph 2:15) We will discuss this precedent later. Obviously, the “known Truth” in the Church Age power experiment is that Divine power and problem-solving devices are capable of handling any situation that could possibly confront us!
GIVING DEFINITION TO OTHER DISPENSATIONS.
As already noted, a major purpose of Old Testament Israel was to anticipate the coming Messiah. Israel was custodian of a shadow Christology. Like the shadow of a person that appears around a corner before he does, Israel’s Spiritual life took its shape from the Reality of Christ who had yet to appear on the scene of history. Other dispensations also are patterned after the first advent of Christ. God took upon Himself true humanity to win the victory of the Cross, to be the substitute for man’s sins. Because God is forming the Church in honor of that victory, the glorified Christ is to rule each believer, as He was to rule Israel; by the believer submitting to Christ's Will and Thoughts, not our own thoughts. He is the Head of the Church. (Eph 4:15; Eph 5:23; Col 1:18) Also, Christ became true humanity in order to fulfill the Davidic Covenant to Israel, on which the Millennium is based. Because He will rule in the Millennium, Christ is called the Son of David. (Matt 1:1; Matt 12:23; Matt 22:41-46) Each of these dispensations — the Age of Israel, the Church Age, and the Millennium — is defined in terms of the First Advent of Christ. The resurrection of Christ is the first and, so far, the only resurrection in history. (1Ti 6:15-16) Other individuals have come back from the dead, but they were resuscitated, not resurrected. (John 11:43-44) Resuscitation restores an individual to his mortal body, but he subsequently dies again. (John 12:10) Resurrection gives the believer his resurrection body so that never again will he die. (1Co 15:54) The sequence of resurrections is introduced by the phrase “all shall be made alive, but each in his own order.” (1Co 15:22-23) The “orders” are dispensations. The resurrection of believers is dispensational. After this introduction, four phrases correspond to the final four dispensations beginning with the Incarnation. The Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union culminated with the resurrection of Christ, the “first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1Co 15:20; Rev 1:5) The Church Age will end with the harvest, or resurrection, (Luk 21:24; Rev 14:15) “those who are Christ’s” — who are next in line to receive resurrection bodies. (1Co 15:23) The Tribulation will conclude with the second advent of Christ — when He delivers up the kingdom, (1Co 15:24; cf. Rev 20:4) at which time all the believers from Adam to the Tribulational martyrs receive resurrection bodies. (Job 19:25-26) Finally, this progression of resurrections will culminate with the resurrection of all believers of the Millennium — when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. (1Co 15:52-55; Rev 20:13-15)
CHRIST THE CORNERSTONE.
The Bible describes our Lord’s relationship to the Old Covenant and to the New Covenant in several ways, but one example will suffice in this general study of dispensations. Jesus Christ is frequently described as “The Chief Cornerstone” (Psa 118:22; Isa 28:16; Matt 21:42; Acts 4:10-12; (1Co 3:11; (1Pe 2:4-7) This expression must be interpreted in light of the times in which it was written. What was a cornerstone in the ancient world? Two definitions come down to us, one regarding a building’s foundation, the other pertaining to structure above the foundation. A cornerstone was a stone laid at one corner of a foundation as the normal starting point for construction. A stone at the intersection of two walls, uniting them, was also called a cornerstone. Both meanings illustrate Christ’s relationship with Israel and the Church, (Eph 2:17-22) although this analogy by itself does not prove the relationship. Christ can be compared to both the foundation and the superstructure in a process of construction. According to this analogy, what is being built? And what is the construction schedule? As Paul declared to the Athenians, God “does not dwell in temples made with hands.” (Acts 17:24-25) He transcends the “world and all things in it” but has chosen to dwell among men (John 1:14) and in men. (John 14:20) Jesus Christ, the God-man, is the foundation for two invisible, Spiritual “temples” designed for worship of God throughout eternity. These two figurative buildings are Israel (Isa 28:16) and the Church. (1Co 3:11-13) Each structure is built of individual believers, not of the stone, brick, and timber normally associated with temple construction. This explains why no temple building will exist in the New Jerusalem. (Rev 21:22) But the names of the Tribes of Israel, and the Apostles are there on the same building. (Rev 21:12-14) Church Age believers, for instance, are described as “living stones being constructed into a Spiritual house for a holy priesthood” (1Pe 2:5) This also sheds light on the fact that the Tabernacle in Israel was only a “copy and shadow” of the Reality which is in heaven. (Heb 8:1-5) The two “temples” built of believers will be complete when all members possess resurrection bodies. The Church and Israel will become a Spiritual temple forever, and will be resurrected with believers who die during the Tribulation, at Christ’s Second Advent, (Job 19:25-26; Rev 20:4) except for all the Spiritually mature believers who go to the wedding feast. (Rev 19:7-9) And millennial believers will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium. (Rev 20:5) With all members in resurrection bodies the Eternal state will begin. (Rev 22:14) These living temples are built through evangelism and the communication of Truth. We are “constructed on the foundation [Christ] by means of the apostles and prophets.” [Writers and communicators of Truth] (Eph 2:20) In contrast to believers who form these temples, unbelievers stumble over the foundation stone. (Rom 9:30-33) The Jewish leaders in the Age of the Hypostatic Union are depicted as builders, (Acts 4:10-12) but they rejected Jesus Christ, their foundation. Therefore, work on Israel ceased, postponed until later. (Matt 21:42-43) In the meantime, construction of the second building, the Church, began upon that same shared Foundation Stone. (1Pe 2:7) The current situation finds the Church under construction while Israel remains a foundation with its superstructure incomplete. The building up of Israel came to a temporary halt while the Church is formed on earth. When the Church is completed, then construction of Israel will resume. The superstructure aspect of the analogy depicts Christ as the Chief Cornerstone. He not only connects two walls but divides them as well, separating the Age of Israel from the Age of the Church. As the Corner, the Age of the Hypostatic Union ends one wall and sets the Standard of Thinking for another. Israel and the Church share certain features, but one is not merely the continuation of the other. God’s administration of human history turns a corner in the life of Christ.
Israel and the Church are separate dispensations even though numerous continuities exist. The way of Salvation remains the same in both dispensations, after the pattern of Abraham’s faith. God loves both groups of believers, gives them eternal life, watches over them, and illustrates His relationship with each group by an analogy to marriage. Both are elect; both are called to grow up Spiritually; and both represent God in the world. But fulfillment of Divine Covenants to Israel is not found in the Church. God does not renege on His Promises. (Heb 6:18) Only the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) is fulfilled, and the New Covenant has started. (Heb 9:15) The three unfulfilled, unconditional Divine Covenants guarantee that Israel, as a distinct and permanent nation, will be a blessing forever to all mankind. (Gen 12:3) In contrast, Jews who believe in Christ during the Church Age are included in the Church through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, equal with all Church Age believers and not distinct from them. (Eph 2:11-22) Christians must “concentrate on Jesus, the Prince-Ruler, even the One who brings [Believers] to the attainment [Of Spiritual maturity] by means of Truth.” (Heb 12:2) He is the Cornerstone. Christ, not the Law that governed Israel, is the pattern of Thinking and Virtue for the Church Age believer, In the power of the prototype Spiritual life, Christ's life fulfilled the Mosaic Law, rendering it obsolete. (Rom 8:2-3; Heb 8:13; Heb 9:15; Heb 10:9) In the power of the operational Spiritual life, the Church Age believer advances Spiritually and acquires the Thoughts and Virtues of the humanity of Christ. (1Co 2:16; Gal 5:22-23; (2Pe 1:2-4) Virtue from executing the protocol plan of God meets and exceeds any demand for “human old sin morality” found in the Law. (Rom 8:4-8)
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