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Dispensationalism - The Two-Fold Aspect of the Mystery

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The Two-Fold Aspect of the Mystery

 

Mr. Stam tells us:
The Greek word musterion, rendered mystery in the Authorized Version, has a two-fold meaning.  It may mean merely what is kept hidden, or it may mean something understood only by the initiated.  It may also mean both at the same time.

The original word is perhaps closer in meaning to our word secret than it is to mystery in its modern usage.  We may speak of keeping a thing a secret, i.e., not telling it out, or we may speak of the secret of a man's success, i.e., the key, the clue to his success.

The great mystery revealed through Paul is spoken of in both ways--sometimes both together:

1.  The mystery is a truth which was intentionally kept hidden until revealed to and through the Apostle Paul: He says it was "kept secret since the world began" (Rom. 16:25), "in other ages . . . not made known," "from the beginning of the world . . . hid in God" (Eph. 3:5,9), "hid from ages and from generations" (Col. 1:26).

According to what the writer says, Paul alone revealed the mystery of the gospel. In reading the scriptures he gave, I can see nowhere where Paul states that he was the sole possessor and deliverer of this gospel. In fact Paul states in Rom. 16:25 that it was preached by Christ, In Eph.3:5 He states it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets, NOT BY PAUL, but by the Holy Spirit. In verse 7 Paul says "Whereof I was made A minister, not THE minister. In verse 8 He proclaims only that he was made a minister of this grace to the Gentiles so that all men, Vs.9, not just the Jews would see what is the fellowship of the mystery. And in Col.1:26 Paul tells the church "but now is made manifest to his saints", NOT JUST TO PAUL, again in verse 23 he calls himself a minister not the minister.

Mr. Stam tells us:
All this was gospel, or good news, but what was "the mystery of the gospel;" what was the secret of the good news?  How could a holy and righteous God proclaim good news to sinners?  How could He justly offer them good things to come when, as sinners, they deserved His wrath?

The answer to this is found in the epistles of Paul. 

The answer to this is also found in many other sections of the Bible. The only way this could be possible was through the sacrificial, substitutionary, death of Christ. Isa.53:4-6+10, John 1:29; 3:14-16; 6:53-59; 10:11-18; 12:23-27, Luke 18:31-33. The disciples did not understand at this time vs. 34, because the Spirit of God had not yet revealed it unto them, but the Holy Spirit gave them understanding later, as we see promised in John 16:13-16 and Acts 1:4+5. This promise came to pass at Pentecost (Acts 2:1), and preached as the way of salvation by the disciples from that time on. (Acts 2:36-38; 4:10-12; 5:30-32; 8:31-35; I Pet.1:1-4; 18-23; 2:21-25, Rev.5:5-9.) 
 

Mr. Stam tells us:
Some suppose that Satan sought to prevent the crucifixion, but we must not presume that Satan understood how the cross would accomplish his defeat and our redemption.  We read distinctly that "Satan entered into" Judas (John 13:27).  Satan thought that the crucifixion of Christ would destroy Him.  How he must have congratulated himself on his success as our Lord died in shame and disgrace on Calvary's cross!

The author has as little scriptural evidence for his conviction as those who believe that Satan knew of the significance of the cross. We do know that Satan understands the scriptures better than any man. He remembered the promise God made to Adam and Eve in the Garden. He watched as the children of Israel time and time again offered up the innocent lamb as a type of the coming Savior. He knew the scriptures David wrote depicting the suffering of Christ on the cross in Psalm 22, he understood the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. Sure he entered Judas's body, he had no choice, scripture had to be fulfilled, (John 17:12).

This is one of the aspects of God's sovereignty- Although the writer, as well as many other theologians, believe God knows but does not control, a careful study of the scriptures will prove to any student that God is omnipotent, He not only knows, He alone plans and carries out His plan, using any part of His creation He deems fit to use. THE BETRAYAL OF CHRIST WAS NOT SATAN'S IDEA IT WAS GOD'S IDEA, LOOK AT MATT.17:22; 20:18; 26:2; ALL OF THESE STATEMENTS WERE MADE PRIOR TO CHRIST'S BETRAYAL, SATAN KNEW THE PLAN OF GOD AND HE HAD TO DO HIS PART IN IT BECAUSE HIS CREATOR COMMANDED HIM TO!!!

There is also scriptural evidence that Satan did not want Christ to go to the cross because it spelled his defeat. Christ makes a statement to Peter which shows that Satan was trying to prevent the cross in Mark 8:31-33- "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And HE SPAKE THAT SAYING OPENLY. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him. But when he turned about and looked on His disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of man."

Even the demon's knew that they were defeated, in fact, the scriptures even imply that they knew the time of their defeat. (Matt.8:29) If such is the case, would not the prince of demons know?

This is the one thing that is hard for the sinful pride of man to handle, the fact that he does not control his destiny, it has already been set down and foreordained by his creator, man is but clay in the master's hand molded for one purpose and that is to glorify God. And all actions which take place in the universe whether good or evil work toward that end. Prov.16:4.

Lets look at this in three aspects:

1. In light of nature:

2. In light of the world

3. In light of the believer

Most believers will agree that God controls nature, He causes it to rain then stops the rain and drought ensues. Being the creator, He knows exactly what actions will produce what results, and they are at His command to bring about whatever action in nature He desires.

I disagree with the writers belief that the storm on Galilee was an action of Satan, (page 73 first paragraph), I believe it was an action of God to show the disciples that Christ was the creator and had control over His creation. Matt. 8:26-27, Psa. 107: 25-31. Its amazing that even the stones, the most inanimate objects known to man, would have cried out to Christ as he entered Jerusalem had not the people proclaimed His kingship, (Luke 19:40). Our pride as humans has placed us in such a state of mind that we believe we should be equal to our creator, that we are special enough by our own merit to be called the children of God. The Pharisees had this same problem and John the Baptist told them that God had the ability to raise up children to Abraham even from the stones laying on the ground, (Matt.3:9, Luke 3:8).

We need to understand, especially as believers, that all men have been created and live toward one end, the glorification of our creator, (Rom.9:17-23)

Christ being the creator lights every single soul that comes into the world (John 1:9). He knows our every part while we are still in our mother's wombs (Psa. 139:14-16). He separates us from our mother's womb and causes us to breathe on our own. (Psa.71:6; 22:10). He grants each and every breath that we take for the continuation of our lives (Psa.104:29). He knows at our very conception whether we will be a part of His kingdom or the kingdom of the world and throughout our lives, whether saved or unsaved, he directs us towards the ultimate glorification of His Name as we saw in Rom.9.

2. He uses sinful man toward this aim. In order to understand this more fully we need to grasp the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, concerning the lost. We know from scripture that due to man's disobedience in Adam, he has completely lost the ability to please God, in fact our sin places us in the position where we cannot even seek out or desire to know our creator, (Psa.14:1-3, Rom.3:10-18). If left on our own we will continue to get progressively more evil until we wipe ourselves completely off the face of the earth. Such was the case in the days of Noah (Gen.6:5-7; 12-13). Because of this tendency God, through His Holy Spirit, controls men in different degrees and through the pricking of their conscience keeps them under reign, so-to-speak, not allowing their sin nature to draw them to the depths of depravity that it would bring them to if left unchecked, unless He so desires (Rom.1:26-32, Neh.9:20, Psa. 139:1-13, Zech.4:6).

Thus we see God placing the sinful men of the world in positions where they will be used to further His kingdom, which will ultimately bring glory to His name.

Some examples: Pharaoh: Ex.7:2-5, Rom.9:17, Sennecherib: Isa. 37: 21-35, Nebuchadnezzar: Dan.4, King Ahasuerus: Esther, Haman: Esther

Some of these people meant evil for God's people but in the end their actions always brought glory to the Lord. As we look through history we see men whom God has placed in strategic places, men who have seemingly degenerated to the lowest possible state of sin. They have plunged the world into war, denying God, and persecuting His people, yet out of these ashes of a seemingly destroyed church rose children of God, who rather than being destroyed were purged by the tribulation which came upon them, and the church, the body of Christ was stronger because of it. God's people coming to the full realization that Christ alone, through them, would win the victory.

3. We also see God's children used by God to bring glory to His name. First He calls us out of every tribe and nation of the world. (Matt.28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8), He calls us to Himself (Rom.1:6; 8:28-29; 9:23-24; I Cor.1:9,24, Gal. 1:6). Sanctifies us and makes us a new creation in Christ (II Cor. 5:17). At this point in our lives we have the fellowship that Adam had before the fall restored with God, through the work of Christ on the cross and the activity of the Spirit of God in our hearts.

We once again become free moral agents having the ability to obey God, by allowing Christ to work in and through us, or disobey God by allowing our sinful nature to be in control Rom. 7:18-23. A battle ensues, the spirit of sin verses the Spirit of God which indwells us. In the end when we have taken our last breath only those things which were done by the Spirit of God will be counted for gain (I Cor.3:11-15) and those things done through the flesh will be lost. In other words, Christ alone will receive the glory. He will receive the honor and the praise for the times he worked in our lives to do the will of God and even if, being saved, we do nothing for the Lord He will still receive the glory as we see in verse 15, because our salvation is also totally of Him.

The question may now arise, if this is the case then why not sin and enjoy the pleasures of this world since we are going to be saved anyhow? The Bible answers this question, since we are no longer of the world we will find no enjoyment and peace doing the things that this world has to offer. If we desire true peace and happiness we will find it only as we present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God all other actions will result in emptiness and grief. (Rom.12:1-3; 7:24-25; 2:9-10; James 5; I Pet.2).

Thus we see God acting through His creation to bring glory to Himself, through nature, through the unregenerate man- NOT causing him to sin but placing him in the place where his sinfulness will be used to further the cause of Christ, and finally through the believer, calling out a people from the world of sin, bringing a change in their lives as a testimony to a lost and dying world that Christ alone can make the difference in a man's life, all to the glory and honor of God.

Mr. Stam tells us:
Doubtless it was a great shock and disappointment to him when Christ arose from the dead, but imagine his dismay when he discovered that he had tricked himself by crucifying Christ

Again the writer takes the crucifixion of Christ and makes it a deed of Satan. CHRIST'S CRUCIFIXION WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED BY ANYONE OTHER THEN CHRIST HIMSELF, IN HIS PERFECT COUNCIL HE PLANNED IT, HE DESIRED IT, AND HE BROUGHT IT TO PASS. NO ONE TOOK HIS LIFE HE LAID IT DOWN! (Matt.20:28, Mark 10:45, John 10:14-18; 19:30).

Mr. Stam tells us:
We must be careful not to assume that predictions concerning the crucifixion are the same as "the preaching of the cross" or that "the preaching of the cross" has nothing to do with the mystery simply because the crucifixion itself was prophesied.

Preaching and prophecy are the same thing. When Isaiah prophesied against Israel and the nations he was preaching the truth of God to the children of Israel. The same is true for all the Old Testament prophets, they used future events (prophecy) as the basis for their sermons, (Isa.6:7-13, Jer.1:1-10, Ezek.2:1-7, ect.) to warn, edify, and call out a people for God. In the New Testament we see the same thing. Paul prophecies of the sure return of Christ, and this prophecy is the main theme in many messages to warn, edify and call out a people who will serve and glorify God (I Cor.15:51-58, Phil.3:17-21). John the apostle also uses this prophetic hope (I John 3:1-3), as well as Peter (I Pet.1:7-16).

Mr. Stam tells us:
Predictions concerning the death of Christ are to be found in numerous Old Testament passages as well as in the four records of our Lord's earthly ministry, but never were the merits of Christ's death proclaimed as the ground of salvation until Paul.  The difficulty is that so much has been read into these passages which is not there.

The scriptures will show that time and time again Christ's death WAS proclaimed as the ground for salvation. Lets look at some of these passages and see if we can arrive at this truth solely from them without "reading into the passages something which is not there" as the writer claims is done.

Isa. 53:10- "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when THOU SHALT MAKE HIS SOUL AN OFFERING FOR SIN, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

vs. 8 "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? FOR HE WAS CUT OFF OUT OF THE LAND OF THE LIVING: FOR THE TRANSGRESSION OF MY PEOPLE WAS HE STRICKEN.

VS.5 " BUT HE WAS WOUNDED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, HE WAS BRUISED FOR OUR INIQUITIES, THE CHASTISEMENT OF OUR PEACE WAS UPON HIM; AND WITH HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED.

Can we understand the plan of salvation from these verses without adding anything to them? Substitutionary atonement, salvation through the death of Christ alone, shouts forth unmasked from these verses of scripture.

Mr. Stam tells us:
How much, for example, could Adam and Eve have understood about the plan of salvation from the statement recorded in Gen. 3:15?  If they even understood from this that the coming Redeemer would die, they understood more than the twelve apostles did 4000 years later while working with the Lord Himself and preaching "the gospel of the kingdom" (Luke 9:1-6; 18:31-34).

Adam and Eve could have understood the plan of salvation perfectly if it was revealed to them as it has been revealed to us. The Holy Spirit alone reveals God's plan to man whether it be to Adam or the last believer on the earth. To argue that Adam did know did not know is to argue on silence of the scriptures. Adam and Eve knew Satan was a defeated foe, and that his defeat was going to be through the work of Eve's seed. They also knew that the seed would be bruised by the working of Satan but he in turn would bruise the serpent’s seeds head, from this verse of scripture. What Moses does not tell us is what else God told them , we do know he must have demanded an offering or else Cain and Able would have not had reason to bring one. There is no reason that I know of why God would not have revealed his plan to them. He revealed it to the prophets (Luke 18:31). He revealed it to Abraham (John 8:56). He revealed it to the twelve tribes of Israel (Acts 26:6+7). Moses and Elias knew of it and spoke about it during Christ's transfiguration (Luke 9:28-33). To be sure, it was not revealed unto the disciples while Christ walked on the earth, but God had a reason for this. We know he did reveal it to them at Pentecost as he had promised (John 16: 12-16).

The disciples themselves were told to explain how the kingdom of God was to be ushered in all they were to preach was that it was at hand.(Matt.10:7).

Through faith they earnestly set forth this message, and God in His time showed them the how and why.

Mr. Stam tells us:
And what about Isaiah 53?  Is Christ not portrayed here as bearing the sins of the world?  Those who suppose so have again read something into the passage.  Verse 6 reads: "All WE like sheep have gone astray . . . and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of US all."

Since the prophet says "all we," the thoughtful student of Scripture will naturally inquire, "all who?" And he will find in verse 8 that Isaiah speaks as a Hebrew prophet concerning his own people:

"For the transgression of MY PEOPLE was He stricken."

So, first of all, the prophet speaks here of Messiah's death only as it relates to the nation Israel.3

The writer makes two errors in interpretation to arrive at this conclusion:

1. In order to understand what Isaiah is speaking about we must put these verses in the context of the message. As we look at chapter 52 we see that Isaiah is speaking of the sprinkling or cleansing of many nations vs. 13-15.

2. The second mistake is one of grammar. In order to understand what a pronoun refers to, you do not go forward you go backward. A pronoun refers to a noun which has already been stated, not one that is to be stated. In order to see what the all we refers to we need to go BACK to verse 3. "He is despised and rejected of MEN;". All encompassing, not just Israel but men in general are referred to in this statement. Also look at verse 10 "when thou shalt make his soul and offering for SIN" again not just the sin of Israel but sin in general.

To be sure the statement Isaiah makes in verse 8 is true, Christ was crucified because of the transgression of Israel, its understandable to see him make this statement, Israel the ones chosen of God to further His kingdom are guilty of transgressing the very law they were called to establish. They are not free but are just as guilty as the rest of the world.

Even in this last statement the writer refutes what he has been stating all along. His premise throughout the book has been, the death burial and resurrection of Christ as the atonement for sins, is a mystery not known by anyone until Paul. Yet in this statement he clearly conveys that he believes Old Testament prophecy tells of Christ's substitutionary death for the children of Israel's sins.

Mr. Stam tells us:
It is true, of course, that we Gentiles have also gone astray and that the Lord has also laid our iniquities upon Christ, but that is not the question here.

The tone of Isaiah 53 is another factor which must not be overlooked.  The prophet does not proclaim the death of Christ as good news, or offer salvation through its merits, as it is our joy to do today.  On the contrary, he begins with a tone of disappointment.  Who will believe his report?  A tender plant . . . a root out of a dry ground . . . no form nor comeliness . . . no beauty that we should desire Him . . . despised . . . rejected . . . a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

As we begin to read the first few verses of Isa. 53 we see Isaiah touching upon a subject which has no merit for joy in man, that of his total depraved condition. Naturally, as Isaiah begins to tell his listeners of the coming Saviour, as the Spirit of God reveals to him the suffering that Christ must bear and the total inability of man to acknowledge his creator. This will not make any one leap for joy but always results in sorrow of the heart.

Paul went through the same thing when the Holy Spirit showed him his total worthless before God due to his sinful nature, and he cried out in despair "Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death." (Rom. 7:24). The agony of our total sinful nature and inability to stand before God always precedes the joy of our salvation which is completely of the Lord. Such was the case for Isaiah, such was the case for Paul, such was the case for David, and such is the case for every one of God's children. Isaiah's tone however changes, as is the case for all believers, when the Spirit of God opens his eyes to the fact that though we are unable to stand in God's presence, Christ, through His finished work on the cross, bridges the chasm between us and God. Promise of forgiveness as we see in verses 10-12 and joy causes him to break out in song as we begin the 54th chapter. Thus we see the complete action of salvation, despair when our hearts are convicted of their sin, the promise of God that because of the finished work of Christ on the cross we have forgiveness, and then joy in the salvation which is ours through Christ.

Mr. Stam tells us:
Who wants tender plants or roots out of dry ground?  Dress a man in gorgeous apparel, put a crown on his head, set him on a throne in a palace with a thousand rooms, and men will come from the ends of the earth to kiss his feet.  But such a character as Isaiah describes; who would do homage to him?

But, continues the prophet, He is bearing our sins.  We are the guilty ones, yet He goes as a lamb to the slaughter.

Note, in all of Isaiah's prediction there is nothing about trusting in the merits of the Crucified for salvation. 

Note also, in all of the Word of God, it is not our faith in the merits of Christ which saves us, we as sinful man have no such faith nor the ability to trust God, but rather it is the faith of Christ imputed to us which brings about our salvation (Rom. 3:22; 12:3, Gal.2:16, 20, Eph.2:8; 3:11-12, Phil.3:9, Heb.12:2, II Pet.1:1).

Mr. Stam tells us:
"There is substitution, to be sure, (which some consider to be the very acme of Christian truth) but substitution in itself is not the good news. Many an innocent victim has unjustly borne the penalty for the crime of another. Was this something to be rejoiced in or boasted about?

Substitution is, according to God's Word, the very acme of Christian truth.

a. Man in his sinful nature has absolutely nothing which he can offer to God that will atone for his sins, (Rom.3:11), He is therefore condemned to death by his own disobedience to the law of God. God, however, in his mercy and love offered up a substitute, one who bore the punishment that our sins required.

b. Being blinded by the sin in our lives we still can not see or understand our total depravity and God through His love and mercy substitutes the light of the Holy Spirit for that blindness and it is only through this, that we are brought to a saving knowledge of Christ (II Cor.4:4-7)

c. Having been regenerated through the substitutionary process of God creating and substituting a new creation or a new man where the man of sin once dwelt we find we still cannot live a life of obedience to God except by substitutionary faith of Christ moving in our lives where the man of sin once had dominion. (Gal.2:20).

The writer as we have seen thus far, in order to establish a doctrine which the Bible is in no wise clear on, has seen fit to take verses of scripture out of context and even gone to the point of twisting known rules of grammar to establish his ideas. He now must find it necessary to chisel away at a very foundational truth of the Word of God, that of the inspirational power of the Holy Spirit.

Mr. Stam tells us:
But did not John the Baptist know the secret of the gospel when he said of Christ:
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh [beareth] away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
If he did, why then did he proclaim "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins"? (Mark 1:4).

The Spirit of God reveals truth to men, John the Baptist, being filled the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb, acknowledged his Savior prior even to his conception. We read in Luke:1:41, that he leap in his mother's womb at the salutation of Mary. It is also interesting to note in this verse that it was the Holy Spirit filling Elizabeth that caused her to acknowledge Mary as bearing the coming Lord. Vs.42-45.

It is always the Spirit which gives us insight into the truth of God, but nowhere in the Word of God do we read of the Spirit using God's children as puppets causing them to say something and not also giving them the understanding of what they say. To do this would bring confusion into the heart and mind of the believer, and God is not the author of confusion.

Mr. Stam tells us:

If John understood what we now do about the death of Christ, why was not that his theme?

The answer to this is very simple, John was called to be the forerunner of Christ, directing people to the fact that the promised Messiah had arrived, who would save His people through the remission of their sins. (Luke 1:67-80)

This is the message he was called to bring and it is the one he brought. We read many times in the Gospels of Christ revealing something to someone and then telling them to tell no one else. He commanded the leper to keep silent in Matt.8:4, He commanded the disciples to tell no man that he was the Son of God (which he said was revealed unto Peter the Father) and immediately told them what He was going to suffer in Jerusalem (Matt.16:13-28). He charged Peter, James and John on the mount of transfiguration to tell no man what they had seen until after he rose again from the dead (Matt.17:1-13). He even commanded the demons in Mark 3:12 to tell no one that he was the Son of God.

In each of these cases, plus many more not mentioned, a truth was revealed (in two of these cases the fact of his death burial and resurrection in others the fact that he was the Son of God the promised Messiah), but it was also sealed. The knowledge of who He was and what He came to accomplish was known, it was however sealed in their hearts until after the work of Christ was accomplished, such was the case of John the Baptist he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord and make his paths straight. Luke 3:4. This is what he was called to do and this is what the Spirit gave him the power to do.

Mr. Stam tells us:
Even after the crucifixion, the apostles did not immediately see the death of Christ as the secret of the gospel.  Peter, as we have seen, referred to the crucifixion, but did not offer it for salvation.  He blamed his hearers for the death of Christ and demanded repentance and water baptism for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:36,38).

In Acts 3:17-19 and 26 we see that Peter did indeed preach the resurrection of Christ as the basis for the forgiveness of sin. Also look at Acts 4:10-12; 5:30-32.

Mr. Stam tells us:
No, even Philip did not preach the cross to the eunuch as the secret of the gospel.  The eunuch had been reading Isa. 53.  Philip then preached Christ from that passage, proving from it that the crucified Jesus was the Messiah, whose coming Isaiah had predicted.

It is interesting to note that even Paul does not mention the cross when he gives the definition of the gospel in I Cor. 15:1-17. In fact his main emphasis is not so much on the death of Christ as it is on the resurrection of Christ. Christ's death on the cross is not the secret of the gospel, to be sure Christ's death had to by crucifixion in order to fulfill scripture, as we see in I Cor. 15:3. But the good news of Christ is His resurrection. Because He now lives we too live through Him. The curse of death brought about through Adam's transgression in the Garden has been overcome by the resurrected life of Christ and His victory over the grave, through His obedience to the Father.

This is the claim that Isaiah makes in the 53rd chapter vs.6, God laid on him the iniquity of all mankind, vs. 10 his soul was made an offering for sin, vs.12 because he poured his soul out unto death (obedient unto death even the death of the cross), and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bear the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

PHILIP TOLD THE EUNUCH THAT CHRIST WAS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE SCRIPTURES, THIS IS THE SAME GOSPEL WHICH PAUL STATES WHEN HE TELLS US IN I COR.15:3-4 "FOR I DELIVERED UNTO YOU FIRST OF ALL THAT WHICH I RECIEVED, HOW THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES AND THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND THAT HE ROSE AGAIN ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES." There is no difference between Philip's gospel and Paul's gospel.

Mr. Stam tells us:
But it may still be objected: Does not Paul say, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures?" Yes, Christ's death for sin was in accordance with the Scriptures, but we insist that it was not until Paul that His death for sin was proclaimed as good news and seen as the secret of all the good news that had gone before.  The fact is, simply, that the prophesied death of Christ turned out to be the secret of the gospel.

This is what all of the disciples taught. The death, burial and resurrection is the only mode of salvation for God's people.

In Matt. 23:24 we read the following, "Ye blind guides which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." thus far the writer of this book has found it necessary to swallow many camels in order to convince the reader that he is doctrinally correct.

He has had to take scriptures out of context, misused the meanings of words to make them imply what the original language does not, he has seen fit to disobey the laws of grammar in order to make us understand what he wants us to believe, and he has gone so far as to deny the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit in his attempt to persuade us that the Old Testament prophets, and those of the New Testament except for Paul did not understand what they were saying even as they said it.

He has also seen fit to strain at gnats as he tries to differentiate between prophecy and preaching, which the student of the scriptures can see by close examination of the scripture mean the same thing, he states that identifying Christ as the Messiah is different than saying Christ is the Savior, now he tells us the things which Paul states that are not stated elsewhere in scripture. To be sure the language and phraseology Paul uses may be different than that of other scriptures but the meaning is the same as we will now see.

Mr. Stam tells us:
Thus the fact of Christ's death for the sins of others was "testified beforehand" (I Peter 1:11), but Paul, by revelation, makes it very clear that the eternal purpose of God in that death and the offer of salvation to all through its merits was to be

". . . TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME, whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle . . ." (I Tim. 2:6,7).

Whereas Peter at Pentecost had accused his hearers of crucifying Christ and had demanded repentance and baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:23,36,38).  Paul proclaimed the crucifixion of Christ as good news (I Cor. 1:18).  With Peter at Pentecost it was a matter of shame; Paul gloried in it (Gal. 6:14).

It was through Paul, and no one before Paul, that Christ was "set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD" (Rom. 3:25).

We could perhaps use (I John 2:1-2, 4:10), to answer this statement but since these verses speak of the action of propitiation and Paul speaks of the place of propitiation we will not confine our study to them.

As we look at this verse let understand what Paul is saying. Christ, Paul says is set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood. The word propitiation (hilasterion) in the Greek means a place of propitiation, or as the word is used in Heb.9:5, "Mercy Seat". Christ, therefore, is the mercy seat or place of appeasement or remission from sins for the believer. His blood being the eternal sacrifice for the believer.

Can we see this found anywhere stated in scripture prior to Paul? Some scriptures to look at. Isa. 43:25, 44:22, Matt.26:28, Acts 2:38, John 3:18, 5:24, Zeph 1:7-8.

Mr. Stam tells us:
It was Paul who first explained how men had been

". . . kept under the law, shut up unto THE FAITH WHICH SHOULD AFTERWARDS BE REVEALED" (Gal. 3:23).

This verse of scripture is self-explanatory. Paul tells the believers at Galatia that the law was given to point them to Christ, that it was not an end in itself, but was a schoolmaster pointing to the coming faith which would be revealed in Christ. We can see this throughout scripture, although the law was perfect and sinless, it and the sacrifices connected with it, did not meet the necessary requirement of God for sin. Matt.9:13, 12:7, Hosea 6:6, Prov.21:3, Psa.51:16-17, Amos 5:21-27.

Mr. Stam tells us:
And it was Paul who was first sent forth to proclaim that faith.

It was Paul who first said:

"BUT NOW the righteousness of God without the law is manifested . . ."

"[We] declare, I say, AT THIS TIME, [Christ's] righteousness: that [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:21,26).

I continue to wonder why the writer of this book leaves out sections of scripture which will render his analysis void. Note: verse 21 he conveniently leaves out the second part of the verse. "being witnessed by the law and the prophets."

Paul himself states that it is not a new concept but has been seen throughout history through the law and by the prophets. Also note he places WE in parenthesis as being the ones declaring this truth, where it should read Christ. The word declare (endeixis) meaning in the Greek to prove or demonstrate, or in other words Christ has proven or demonstrated, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.

Mr. Stam tells us:

It was Paul who first said:

". . . One died for all . . . wherefore HENCEFORTH KNOW WE NO MAN AFTER THE FLESH . . ." (II Cor. 5:14,16).

Again as we look at these verses in their completeness we see the necessity for all believers to view the finished work of Christ as their redemption, not just the New Testament saints under the guidance of the apostle.

Note what the verses state when seen in their entirety. "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for ALL, then were ALL dead: And that he died for ALL, that they which live (Note not just those of a new dispensation but ALL that live from Adam on) should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again.

Thus we see the truth of Rev.13:8, that Christ was slain before the very foundation of the world. Although the act itself did not physically take place until after thousands of years had transpired, it was spiritually imputed to and acknowledged by God's children up until the time the act took place in history.

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