So, I earnestly solicit and covet the prayerful cooperation of every spiritual Child of God, who, appreciates The Gospel of God’s Grace, and, who really desires to receive and search the Holy Scriptures without the fear or favor of man or religious organizations. It is needless and useless to appeal to Children of God, whose denominational loyalty and pride or preconceived opinions, interfere with honest, intelligent and unprejudiced study of the Word of God. So this Bible study is for members and visitors to the Lion and Lamb Ministry, for you wouldn’t BE here if you were not a spiritual Child of God. And in making these statements, I think of two verses of Scripture: John 12:43 , and Galatians 1:10 , “They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”, and, “If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
It has become common knowledge that more than ninety-five per cent of church members permit church leaders to do their thinking for them, and that ninety-five per cent of their instructors have been so influenced by the traditions of church fathers and by denominational church creeds, that fewer than five per cent of either leaders or followers are willing, if able, to study the Bible with unbiased minds and with open and honest hearts. Let us ever bear in mind that no servant of Christ has any NEW truth to present. Progressive revelation ceased with the close of The Revelation more than 2000 years ago. Since that time, anything that is true is NOT new, and, anything that is new is not true, so far as the inspired Word of God is concerned.
No Child of God, or group of Children of God, receive any special revelation of Divine truth, or interpretation of truth, as did the holy men of old who were moved by the Holy Spirit to give to us the Holy Scriptures. The humblest, most ignorant member of the Body of Christ, the new-born babe in Christ, has just as much of the Holy Spirit as has the most gifted Bible teacher. Men are NOT led into truth by the Holy Spirit INDEPENDENT of the written Word of God. And most assuredly the millions of church members, who are in doctrinal error, have NOT been led by the Holy Spirit into the misinterpretation of the Scriptures.
Human systems of interpretation leave us with inconsistencies and seeming contradictions in the Bible, with unholy mixtures, which are displeasing to Christ. All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. However, all Scripture must be rightly divided for the true interpretation, appropriation, and application.
The Lion and Lamb Ministry First Principle in Bible Study
When we compare the statement of 1 Peter 1:10 , with the statement in Ephesians 3:9 , we at once see the importance of obeying 2 Timothy 2:15 , “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” We are told in 1 Peter 1:10 , that Israel’s prophets foretold the sufferings and glory of Christ. In Ephesians 3:9 we are told that the “Dispensation of the Mystery” and the “unsearchable riches of Christ” were hid in God and not made known to Israel’s prophets. All through the Book of Acts and through the Epistles of Peter, Paul, James and John we must differentiate between that which Israel’s prophets foretold would come to pass, and, that which none of them even hinted would come to pass, “not made known to the sons of men in other ages”; “hidden from generations.” Colossians 1:25-26 , and Ephesians 3:3-5 .
So, let’s right now put our thinking caps on. If there has been no change in God’s program since the Epistles were written to the Ephesians and the Colossians, then this is still the Dispensation of the Mystery. This means, that the Dispensation, of that which had been a Mystery until it was revealed by the RISEN glorified Christ to, and through, His Apostle Paul, is what we are still living in today. For the students of the Word of God, for the members of the Body of Christ, there should be nothing mysterious, mystical, or hidden concerning the Dispensation of Grace and the mutual inheritance of Head and members of the joint-Body, (the Body formed of both Jew and Gentile), made alive together, seated together in the highest Heavenlies, constituting the One New Man which God is now making, while His program and purpose concerning Israel have been temporarily PAUSED. Ephesians 1:9-22; Ephesians 2:4-17 . Aside from the Divine preservation of Israel in the world today, God has put on hold His covenants and promises with Israel, AND the other nations, UNTIL He has accomplished that which He purposed in Christ, ages BEFORE He made any covenants, concerning His Nation and their land of promise. 2 Timothy 1:9 ; Ephesians 3:11.
Israel’s hope is identified with the sufferings and glory of Ya-hweh Yahuwshua, The LORD Jesus Christ, foretold by Israel’s prophets, and that hope will be realized when Christ shall be the Son of man on the throne of His glory. Matthew 25:31 . There the twelve Apostles will be seated with Him. Matthew 19:28 . The Son of man is coming in power and great glory, Luke 21:27-31 . He will bring about the restitution of all things. Acts 3:21 . Moses, Samuel, and all of the prophets, spoke of "these days". Acts 3:24 . "These days" were promised in the covenants. Acts 3:25 . At that time the Christ will govern the Earth from David’s throne. Isaiah 9:6-7 .
Now, pay attention, "These days" of Grace, "these days" of the Body of Christ, are NOT "these days" of Israel’s hope, foretold by Moses, Samuel, and others. "These days" (of Grace) were foreordained BEFORE the foundation of the world, but NOT, again I say NOT, foretold by Israel’s prophets. None of the twelve Apostles, in their “Acts” ministry, spoke of these days of Grace. They referred to a hope, and blessings promised by the pen of David, Joel, Amos, Moses, Samuel, and others. Therefore, let us be careful not to confuse prophetic promises with The Mystery. Let us not confuse the Hope of the Body of Christ with Israel’s Hope.
The first part of Philippians 1:10 says, "That Ye May Approve Things that are Excellent", however, the correct translation of the first command is, "test the things that differ".
Every student of the Word of God knows that in the Word of God there are things which differ; but very few of these students seem to know very much about TESTING the things that differ. Things in God’s Word differ...because God’s dealings with different people in His Word differed. Intelligent Bible study demands the recognition of the different dispensations in the Bible.
About SEVEN years, that's right SEVEN YEARS, after the death and resurrection of Christ, those apostles who had been in the company of the Lord Jesus from the beginning of His earthly ministry (Acts 1:22 ) glorified God because then and there God granted repentance unto life to Gentiles. Acts 11:18 . Then the leader of those Apostles, the Apostle Peter, said, in Acts 15:7-9 , "MEN AND BRETHREN, YE KNOW HOW THAT A GOOD WHILE AGO GOD MADE CHOICE AMONG US, THAT THE GENTILES BY MY MOUTH SHOULD HEAR THE WORD OF THE GOSPEL, AND BELIEVE. AND GOD, WHICH KNOWETH THE HEARTS, BARE THEM WITNESS, GIVING THEM THE HOLY GHOST, EVEN AS HE DID UNTO US, AND PUT NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US AND THEM, PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH.”
Now, up to that time it was unlawful for the Jews to keep company with Gentiles. Acts 10:28 . Some years later the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, wrote, “FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JEW AND THE GREEK: FOR THE SAME LORD OVER ALL IS RICH UNTO ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM.” Romans 10:12 .
Then the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, added, “BUT I SAY, DID NOT ISRAEL KNOW? FIRST MOSES SAITH, I WILL PROVOKE YOU TO JEALOUSY BY THEM THAT ARE NO PEOPLE, AND BY A FOOLISH NATION I WILL ANGER YOU.” Romans 10:19 . “FOR IF THOU WERT CUT OUT OF THE OLIVE TREE WHICH IS WILD BY NATURE, AND WERT GRAFFED CONTRARY TO NATURE INTO A GOOD OLIVE TREE; HOW MUCH MORE SHALL THESE, WHICH BE THE NATURAL BRANCHES, BE GRAFFED INTO THEIR OWN OLIVE TREE.” Romans 11:24 .
Then later on He wrote, in Ephesians 2:12 , “THAT AT THAT TIME YE WERE WITHOUT CHRIST, BEING ALIENS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL, AND STRANGERS FROM THE COVENANTS OF PROMISE, HAVING NO HOPE, AND WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD.” Then in Ephesians 2:17 it says, “AND CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHICH WERE AFAR OFF, AND TO THEM THAT WERE NIGH.”
From these Scriptures we learn that there HAD BEEN a difference, a REAL difference, between Israel and the Gentiles. The Gentiles had been “no people”, “a foolish nation”. Israel was the People of God; His chosen nation. Gentiles were the wild tree; Israel the natural branches. Gentiles were afar off. Israel was nigh. Gentiles had been aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; strangers from the covenants of promise. Then, concerning Israel, the Scriptures in Romans 9:4-5 declare, “WHO ARE ISRAELITES; TO WHOM PERTAINETH THE ADOPTION, AND THE GLORY, AND THE COVENANTS, AND THE GIVING OF THE LAW, AND THE SERVICE OF GOD, AND THE PROMISES; WHOSE ARE THE FATHERS, AND OF WHOM AS CONCERNING THE FLESH CHRIST CAME, WHO IS OVER ALL, GOD BLESSED FOREVER, AMEN.”. And in Acts 3:25 it says, “YE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE PROPHETS, AND OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD MADE WITH OUR FATHERS, SAYING UNTO ABRAHAM, AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE KINDREDS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.” . Then, in Romans 2:14 we read, "The Gentiles which have not the law."
So, we see that there was a difference between Israel and the Gentiles. While Christ was on earth He called Israel “sheep” and “children”. He called Gentiles "dogs". Matthew 15:21-27 . There is a great difference between children and dogs. But, THEN, about 25 years later, God declared that there was NO difference.
Now pay attention...
While on earth Christ said to the twelve Apostles, "go not in the way of the Gentiles". Matthew 10:5 . However, some years later the same, now RISEN, LORD Jesus said to the Apostle Paul, "I will send thee far hence to the Gentiles". Acts 22:21 . Test the things that differ.
Unto the Twelve was committed the Gospel of the Circumcision FOR the circumcision. Unto the Apostle Paul was committed the Gospel of the Uncircumcision FOR the uncircumcision. Galatians 2:7-9 . Test the things that differ.
"The Law having a shadow of good things to come." Hebrews 10:1 . There is a BIG difference between the shadow, AND, good things to come. Test the things that differ.
Israel was judged with respect to meats, drinks, holy days, and the Sabbath. Exodus 20:1-12; Hebrews 9:10 . However, the members of the Body of Christ are NOT to be judged with respect to ANY kind of religious ordinances or special days. Colossians 2:13-17 . Test the things that differ.
The New Covenant Ecclesia of Hebrews 2:12 , and Hebrews 12:23 , WAS mentioned by Israel’s prophets. Psalms 22:22. However, the Ecclesia, which is the Body of Christ, of Ephesians 1:19-22 ; Ephesians 3:6-9 , and Colossians 1:24-28 , was NOT mentioned by Israel’s prophets. Test the things that differ.
The sufferings and glory of the LORD Jesus Christ, were foretold by Israel’s prophets. 1 Peter 1:12 . However, the present Ministry of the RISEN Christ, as Head of the Ecclesia, which is His (joint) Body, and Christ in the Gentiles the Hope of Glory, was a Mystery (a secret) NOT made known to Israel’s prophets. Ephesians 3:8-9 . Colossians 1:25-27 . Test the things that differ.
The Son of man is coming to Israel with His holy angels, in the clouds, with power and great glory. Luke 21:27-33 . However, the members of the Body of Christ are to be called on high to appear with Christ IN Glory. Philippians 3:11-21 . Colossians 3:4 . Test the things that differ.
While Christ was on earth in the midst of Israel, and during the “Acts” period as well, while Israel’s temple in Jerusalem stood, and the Nation of Israel remained in their land; while God’s order was to the Jew first...there was a program of signs, visions, miracles, angelic visitations, healings, death judgments, and religious ceremonies. HOWEVER, AFTER the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declared God’s judgment upon Israel, in Acts 28:25-28 , about 63 A.D., there was a NEW order, ushering in the SIGN-LESS Dispensation of Grace. 1 Timothy 5:23 ; 2 Timothy 4:20 ; Philippians 2:2 .
The program of God for today is NOT one of Grace MIXED with signs and religion, BUT INSTEAD, a SIGN-LESS program of PURE Grace and NO religion. Therefore, always, Test the things that differ.
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 . BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )