2. Dispensationalism - The Principals and Dispensations of God
The Principles and Dispensations of God
Mr Stam tells us:
Great strides have already been taken in dispensational Bible study by such men of God as Darby, Scofield and Larkin,
II Peter 1:20 tells us that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." Darby, Scofield, and Larkin may have been men of God. But unfortunately we cannot base a doctrine of scripture purely on the thoughts of men of God it must be grounded in the Word of God.
Paul tells Timothy in I Tim.6:20,21 "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. A-men." If these men are indeed accurate in their teachings concerning the scriptures, they would agree with other great Bible scholars who went before them. Unfortunately, none of the early church writers, from the apostles up to and including the leaders of the reformation, taught a division in God's plan for His kingdom in which the church was unseen. Without exception they taught that Christ and His work, the church, was a fulfillment of the Old Testament. Acts 3:21-24. Mr Stam and other dispensational teachers ignore the fact that the only Scripture Christ used to prove His work was the Old Testament. They also brush aside the truth that the New Testament writers and the early Church Fathers based their entire thought concerning the establishment of God's kingdom on the Old Testament. Though the New Testament in verbally inspired it is based completely on the promises of the Old.
Mr Stam tells us:
Those who seek to teach the Word rightly divided frequently encounter the objection that "All [or every] Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable . . ." (II Tim. 3:16). It is argued from this passage that it is dishonoring to God to divide the Bible into dispensations and emphasize the differences between them, since it is all for us, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22.
Does this mean, then, that II Tim. 2:15 and II Tim. 3:16 contradict each other? Surely they do not. The fact is that, written only a few paragraphs apart, by the same author, to the same person, about the same Book, these two verses complement each other. II Tim. 2:15 explains how God's workman may get most out of the Bible, while II Tim. 3:16 declares that all of it was given for his profit. All Scripture is indeed profitable when "rightly divided," but when wrongly divided or not divided at all, the truth is changed into a lie and becomes most unprofitable.
If we follow this line of reasoning, the entire church of Christ from the apostles up until the year 1830 when this teaching began was built on a lie. The writer makes this statement and claims that II Timothy 2:15 tells us to cut up the Word of God into segments in which God deals differently with the problem of sin in different so-called ages.
Just what does the word "orthotomeo" (translated "rightly divided" in the King James) mean in the Greek? According to Thayers Greek-English Lexicon Page.452 it means the following:
1. to cut straight: to cut straight ways i.e. to proceed by straight paths, hold a straight course, equiv. to do right.
2. dropping the idea of cutting to, make straight and smooth, to handle aright i.e. to teach the truth correctly and directly.
Since there is no other use of this word in the New Testament we cannot compare it to other scriptures found therein. However, in the Septuagint, we see this word is used to translate the word "direct".
In Proverbs 3:6 the Septuagint renders the word "rightly direct" thy paths, also it is seen in Proverbs 11:5, again translated "direct". In this verse the Septuagint reads as follows, "Righteousness "traces out" blameless paths: but ungodliness encounters unjust dealing." From comparative scripture, then, we can see that the word refers, not to any dissection, but rather direction of truth.
If we look at the following verse we see the reason for verse 15. Timothy is called to rightly "divide" the word of truth in opposition to what Paul tells him in verse 16, "But shun profane babbling: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." The word babbling in the Greek is "kenophonia" coming from the root words meaning empty sounding i.e. fruitless discussion. Timothy is told to teach the truth correctly and directly, or to teach the Word of God aright, that these profane babblings might not become a part of his ministry.
In essence Paul is saying, cut right to the heart of the matter, do not beat-around-the-bush. There is no implication in these verses at all that Timothy is to cut the Word of God in pieces and deal them out to different dispensations. Instead, he is to become a student of the Word of God so that he could rightly teach it and direct it to the hearts of men. When He did this, he would see the truth of Paul's writing in the next chapter that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction in righteousness".
Mr Stam tells us:
Thus II Tim. 2:15 is the key to II Tim. 3:16 and to the understanding and enjoyment of the Word of truth.
One difficulty is that multitudes of Christians shrink from the effort involved in studying the Scriptures with a view to rightly dividing them. And, alas, their spiritual leaders often encourage them in their lethargy.
But rather than study to attain to a better understanding of the Word and become proficient in its use, many actually boast that they are satisfied with "the simple things"!
I find as I study the scriptures and become more proficient in their use, the simpler God's plan for the ages becomes to me and the more glorious and easy to understand it seems. Paul seemed to have this same "problem" as we can see in II Corinthians 1:12 "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward."
Mr. Stam tells us:
We can sympathize with those who have begun to study the Bible dispensationally and have found it confusing.
This is the first step in seeing that dispensationalism is in error. By the author's own admission his teaching is confusing to the believer. God is not the author of confusion! ICor.14:33.
In order to understand dispensationalism we must go beyond the Word of God and enter the writings and charts of men. Without them we would never see this teaching. Truly fleshly wisdom, not the grace of God, is the ground or the foundation on which it rests.
Having made the statement concerning division, the author must now search the scriptures and try to prove his thesis. His main objective seems to be to show a time in the history of God's people when the action of God’s grace towards man was insufficient for their salvation. He begins with Israel and attempts to make the law a prerequisite for salvation instead of seeing it as an act of God's people after salvation.
Mr Stam tells us:
Faith would most assuredly approach God in God's way at any time, and to seek to gain acceptance with Him in any other way would, of course, be unbelief and self-will. Thus, while works never did or could save as such, they did once save as expressions of faith.
Notice the contradiction this statement. If works did not or could not save as such how could they then save? The dispensationalist must make a decision based on the Word of God. Either we are saved by works or we are not saved by works. My Bible says that by the works of the law shall NO flesh be justified Gal. 2:16. Nowhere in the Old Testament do we read of the law as being a prerequisite for salvation. In many places obedience to the law is seen as a prerequisite for blessing from the Lord, just as obedience in the church today is seen as a prerequisite for blessing. But the only law ever stated in the Word of God for which the disobedience of it caused death and separation from God, was the one given to Adam in the garden of Eden. Gen.2:17.
Mr Stam tells us:
Now in the cases of Abraham and David, works were required for salvation,
The author gives no scripture, because there is no scripture, to back up this statement. He must go beyond scripture to humanistic presumption to make his doctrine work. We will see this action time after time as we go through this study.
Mr.Stam tells us:
The word dispensation is not a mere theological term. It is used many times in the Bible, though not always translated thus. In Eph. 3:2, for example, Paul writes of "the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward." Just as the dispensation of the law was committed to Moses (John 1:17), so the dispensation of the grace of God was committed to Paul.
The writer, from this statement, believes that Paul was the sole dispenser of the grace of God. If we look at the text however we will see who the word "you-ward" refers to. Paul is speaking to a group of believers which God had used him as an instrument to bring unto Himself. Can we make the blanket statement that Paul was the sole dispenser of the gospel of grace because he preached to Ephesus and other cities? According to verse 5 of the same chapter we cannot. "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." Even Paul admits the revelation was to the apostles and prophets and not just to himself.
Mr. Stam tells us:
Thus, while the principles of God never change, His dispensations, His dealings with men, do change from time to time. This includes even the terms of acceptance with God. At first blood sacrifices were required (Gen. 4:3-5, Heb. 11:4);
My question is this, where in these verses does it say that Abel's offering was accepted because it was a blood offering? According to Gen.4:7 it seems to be the attitude of the heart more than the type of offering, Even Heb.11:4 does not mention that the reason for acceptability was that the offering was a blood offering, but rather that Abel offered his offering in faith, something that Cain did not have.
Mr Stam tells us:
then, later, circumcision was added (Gen. 17:14);
Again I need to ask the question where is the scripture that states circumcision was necessary for salvation? I see in these verses it was necessary for being considered a Jew, vs.14, but nowhere in scripture does it say that circumcision was necessary for salvation. If we look at the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness, we see that this rite was not performed, yet God still sustained them, Joshua 5:1-9. According to the scriptures God was not so much concerned about the circumcision of the flesh as he was of the heart. Jer.4:4,, Jer.9:25. In fact circumcision of the heart is the only circumcision mentioned in the Old Testament after Joshua 5:8.
Mr. Stam tells us:
then obedience to the whole Mosaic law was demanded (Ex. 19:5, 6, Rom. 10:5);
Again I fail to see salvation being the end result of obedience to the entire Mosaic law. If such were the case then all of the Jews in Old Testament times went to Hell, because they did not keep the law. Even David committed adultery, disobeying the law. This should have condemned him to Hell. The grace of God saved him not his keeping of the law.
We too as believers are expected to obey the commands of God just as Israel was, not for our salvation, but for our blessing and our continuance in being a tool God uses to reach the world. If we, as the gentile believers, refuse to obey the Word of God, He will cut us off just as He did Israel, and if Israel once again obeys His Word, they will be reestablished as God's people, Romans 11:18-36.
Mr. Stam tells us:
then "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Mark 1:4, Acts 2:38)
These verses taken by themselves seem to say that baptism was necessary for salvation, however if seen in the context of the entire scripture we see that such was not the case. Let us begin with the scripture he uses in Mark 1:4 "John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Taken by itself it seems as though John was baptizing for salvation, but note, it says he was preaching the baptism of repentance for remission of sins. Just what was the message he was preaching? Look at verses 7,8, He was preaching the coming baptism of the Holy Spirit, this is the baptism which was for remission of sins. John was preaching the coming of Christ whose spiritual baptism would cause John and his baptism to become insignificant. Acts 11:16.
Now let us look at the scripture in Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Again, if this scripture is taken alone, it seems to give us the idea that baptism was necessary for salvation, however if such is the case, then why didn't Peter make this distinction in any of his other messages? Note Acts 3:19, Acts 4:12, Acts 10:43, even in his epistle in I Peter 3:21 he notes that baptism does not put away the filth of the flesh, sin, but is the answer of a good conscience unto God. Since I am not a Greek scholar I do not know exactly what Peter meant when he said what he did in Acts 2:38. Taking it in context of the entire scripture the baptism he speaks of would be the outward confession of an inward change. (Romans 10:9) If he believed baptism was necessary for salvation, it stands to reason he would have made that distinction every time a person ask him how to be saved.
Mr Stam tells us:
and today it is
"TO HIM THAT WORKETH NOT, BUT BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT JUSTIFIETH THE UNGODLY; HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Rom. 4:5).
If the reader would take the time to read the entire chapter or maybe only verses 1-9 he would see that this message is not just for today but has been the message of redemption ALWAYS !
On page 29 C.R. gives us a chart from which we see the different man-made dispensations of God. Unfortunately we can not find this teaching in God's Word but there is something interesting about it. Each one of these dispensations can be seen throughout the entire scripture beginning with Genesis.
THE DISPENSATION OF INNOCENCE - Adam and Eve were innocent until they sinned. Because of this disobedience sin passed to all men. Romans 5:12 and ICor.15:21-27 show us that Adam was the representative for man in the Garden of Eden. When he was innocent the entire human race was innocent. When he sinned the entire human race sinned. In a very real way we now live in the dispensation of innocence, the innocence of Christ. Being perfectly innocent of any sin, He became sin for us, that we might be clothed in His innocence as we stand before Almighty God. Adam and Eve were clothed also with innocence, the innocence of a lamb. Likewise throughout all ages up until the coming of Christ the type or picture always was seen by God's people. An innocent animal needed to be slain to cover up the sin Adam which was transferred to all men through his disobedience to God. These sacrifices never erased the curse of death that Adam's disobedience caused, only Christ was able to do this. That is why, when John the Baptist saw Him, he said "Behold, the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. John saw Him as the fulfillment which all of the sacrificial lambs of the Old Testament pointed to.
THE DISPENSATION OF CONSCIENCE: Conscience has always been in effect. Adam and Eve were created with a conscience. Their conscience was what kept them from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was only when their conscience was overridden by their desire to be like God that they sinned. Note: Gen.3:3,6, this God-breathed aspect of our lives has been present since man was first created. It is what convicts a man when he or she sins against God, just as it convicted Adam and Eve and caused them to hide after they ate of the fruit. Note verse 8 they didn't hide until they heard the voice of the Lord God. Look at Romans 2:14,15. What is the convicting power of man? It is his conscience and it convicts even those who do not have the privilege of knowing the law.
THE DISPENSATION OF HUMAN GOVERNMENT: Gen.1:28 shows us when human government was issued into the world, it was the plan of God from the very beginning and was instituted on the sixth day of creation.
THE DISPENSATION OF PROMISE: Again the promise of God is seen throughout the entire Bible, in fact the promise that was given to Abraham in Gen.22:17,18 was the same as that which was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after the fall. Adam sinned as we saw earlier, and this sin caused a separation between the creator and his created being, man. No longer could Adam and Eve fellowship with their maker because their sin, the curse of the serpent, was to follow them and their offspring as long as life continued on the earth. BUT GOD MADE A PROMISE ! He promised Adam and Eve, when He imposed the curse on the serpent, that someday a seed would come from her offspring that would crush the serpent’s head and restore that lost fellowship with God that man once had. Gen.3:15. This and this alone is the hope of a lost and dying world, that Christ defeated sin and the curse of sin which is death on the cross of Calvary. This and this alone is what the promise of God concerned as he promised Satan that her seed would crush his head. This alone is what God had in mind as He allowed Eve to bear again the child Seth who replaced Abel, Gen. 4:25,26. This alone was His reasoning as He saw the wickedness of the World in the days of Noah and saved Noah and his family, establishing His covenant with them, Gen.6:17,18. This is what God had in mind as he called out Abraham in Gen.22:17,18 and promised him that from his offspring the seed, Christ, would be born. Gen.22:17,18 doesn't refer to the nation Israel but rather it refers to CHRIST Gal.3:16,17. This promise was in effect when God chose David as king and promised Him that his offspring would set up an eternal kingdom upon the earth. I Chronicles 17:11-15, Acts 2:29-36. This promise is still in effect today. Christ and Christ alone, the seed of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and David, HAS established His kingdom on this earth and now gives the victory over the curse of sin and death to all who will call on His name.
THE DISPENSATION OF LAW: The dispensation of the law of sin and death has been in effect since Adam first received it in the Garden of Eden. The law of sin and death is this, OBEY GOD'S COMMAND AND LIVE, DISOBEY GOD'S COMMAND AND DIE. Adam disobeyed God's law and, because of this disobedience, physical death and separation of the eternal soul with God passed upon all men,(Rom.5:12). As far as our physical bodies are concerned they are cursed by this law and must be done away with through death or change at the reappearing of Christ. (I Cor.15:40-52), but because Christ obeyed God's command, because He fully obeyed the law of sin and death, the fellowship of the soul with God was restored to all who placed their faith and trust in His work. Although the action of Christ's life, death, burial, and resurrection took place thousands of years after the fall, the action of His coming obedience was pre-atoning for the saints of the Old Testament. Although they could not enter into the presence of God until the sacrifice of Christ was made, their souls were placed in paradise or Abraham's bosom until that time. Note: the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:|19-26) were not in the presence of God but were separate from Him. The rich man, being in torment, and Lazarus, in peace. Both souls were alive and eternal, one in torment one in peace, but both separated for the time from God. When the price of salvation was complete, Christ then entered into Paradise, and lead captivity captive.(Eph.4:8,9, Luke 23:43) The price of redemption was paid, the souls of the Old Testament saints could enter the presence of God. Note Rev.5 There was only one way of redemption and that was through the blood of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David.Vs.5,9. The Mosaic law NEVER made anyone righteous of itself (Rom.9:30-32). As Paul so aptly puts it, righteousness is not found by obedience to the law, but through faith.
THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE: Grace and the working of God through grace has been the theme of redemption throughout the entire Bible. Adam and Eve justly deserved to die and the human race justly deserved to be eliminated from existence due to the sin in the Garden. Had the human race been exterminated the perfect earth God created would have been saved from the defilement they caused in future years, yet through God's unmerited favor He chose to let them continue on replenishing the earth. Man deserved death in the days of Noah. Every seed of Seth, with the exception of Noah, had become defiled to the point where every thought and imagination of the heart was totally against God. (Gen.6:5) Had God not stepped in when He did, Noah also would have been corrupted, but, as we can see in verses 7,8, Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord. Lot in his sin lived in Sodom among men who had strayed so far from the truths of God that the entire town was full of homosexuality, he deserved to be punished for this, yet God saved him Gen.19:19."Behold now thy servant hath found grace in thy sight and thou hast magnified thy mercy which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life."
Time and time again in the Old Testament we see where men, who were deserving of death, found grace in the eyes of God. Read Romans 5:17-21. The grace which is spoken of here is not new as you can see from close examination of the scripture. Vs. 18 "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life. vs.20 Moreover the law entered that the offence may abound." The law was a schoolmaster to show men just how unable they were to merit the favor of God yet, what does the last part of the verse say? "But where sin abounded - as men were brought to the realization of their sinfulness more and more- GRACE did much more abound. GRACE AND GRACE ALONE HAS BEEN THE ONLY THING THAT STOOD BETWEEN ADAM AND HELL, ALL OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS AND HELL, AND GRACE IS THE ONLY THING THAT STANDS BETWEEN US AND HELL. WE DESERVE IT BUT THE GRACE OF GOD SAVES US FROM IT.
THE DISPENSATION OF THE KINGDOM: Again since Adam first walked on the face of the earth there have been two kingdoms. The kingdom of sin and death and the kingdom of God or heaven, these two kingdoms have been in opposition to each other since the world began. The kingdom of sin and death, as we saw earlier, constantly tried to eliminate the kingdom of heaven, but God always stepped in, exerted His omnipotent power, and caused His kingdom to once again flourish. Due to Adam's sin the earth in its physical realm came under the curse of the kingdom of sin and death, because of this, death now reigns in our mortal bodies, but whenever God, through His grace, saw fit to do so, the kingdom of sin and death met defeat at the hands of God's people. There are some things which dispensational teachers believe that the Bible does not agree with concerning the Kingdom of God. lets look at some of them.
1. Dispensational teaching says there are TWO kingdoms of God, His earthly kingdom made up of the Jews and his heavenly kingdom made up of the church. The Bible teaches us that there is only one kingdom of God, it is not an earthly kingdom but a heavenly kingdom which has been established on the earth to show forth or be a witness to God. Unfortunately dispensationalists place a lot of emphasis on the land that God promised to Abraham, lets look at some Biblical facts that oppose the teaching of dispensationalists.
2. Dispensationalists teach that the land promised to Abraham was given unconditionally, that the children of Israel could sin against God forever and still inhabit the land. What does the Bible say? Obedience was presupposed in the Abrahamic covenant. Gen. 18:17-19 note especially verse 19 "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him and they will keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. Gen 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed BECAUSE THOU HAST OBEYED MY VOICE.", Gen.26:4,5 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of the heaven, and will give unto thy seed all of these countries: and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Because that Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Because of the obedience of Abraham, all of the earthly blessings of Canaan land were promised to his seed.
3. The dispensationalist will tell us that Israel never inherited all of the land that God promised him. The Bible says they did! (Joshua 21:43-45) "And the Lord gave unto Israel ALL the land which he swore to give unto their fathers: and they POSSESSED it and DWELT therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he swore unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all of their enemies before them; the Lord delivered ALL their enemies into their hands THERE FAILETH NOT OUGHT OF ANY GOOD THING WHICH THE LORD HAD SPOKEN UNTO THE HOUSE OF Israel; ALL CAME TO PASS." The Word of God cannot get any clearer than this, but in case there is still some doubt, let us look at another fact concerning the Canaan land. In Numbers the 32rd chapter we read the account of the children of Gad and the children of Rueben, they desired the land on the wilderness side of the Jordan, so they went before Moses and asked for it. Moses agreed, but there was a stipulation as can be seen in verses 16-24, they had to help their brothers' tribes subdue their Canaan inheritance before they could inhabit the land they desired. Why would Joshua have blessed them and allowed them to return to their land (Joshua 22:1-6) if had they not fulfilled their promise to God?
According to the scriptures, Israel inherited all of the land promised to Abraham, so God fulfilled his part of the covenant. He did not, however, destroy all of the tribes of the land, some of the tribes still inhabited the land as we can see from Judges 1:27-36, but they were all subdued and paid tribute to Israel. In other words, Israel was acknowledged by them as the possessors of the land on which they stayed. Again we see in Judges 2:6 And when Joshua let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. God allowed these tribes to stay on the land for one reason, that was to punish the children of Israel when they disobeyed Note: Joshua 23: esp.vs.13-16.
4. The dispensationalists tell us that the earthly land of Canaan was the end desire of the patriarchs and those Israelites that followed God, the Bible tells us they desired or looked forward to a heavenly land Heb.11:8-16. If the children of Israel believed the land of Canaan to be their final destiny then why did they consider themselves strangers and pilgrims on the earth, if they were, as the dispensationalist tells us, God's earthly people?
Though the dispensationalist tells us there are two kingdoms of God, the earthly kingdom of the Jews and the heavenly kingdom of the church, the Bible states there is only one kingdom, a kingdom which was once proclaimed by only the Jewish nation, a privilege which was taken away from them because of unbelief, and given to the church.
Let's consider this Biblical truth for a while: We know that Israel was God's tool in the Old Testament, but what happened in the New Testament? Matt.21:43 tells us that the kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Christ never says he is going to start another kingdom. He states that the existing kingdom will change hands. Some of our dispensational friends will tell us that the word "ethnos", translated nation, is in reference to an earthly nation, one that has boundaries and an earthly government, etc. Unfortunately, or perhaps I should say fortunately, Peter never read any of their books, because he uses this same word "ethnos" to describe the church in I Peter 2:9. Even Christ tells the centurion in Matt. 11,12 that the gentiles will take the place of the children of Israel in the kingdom of heaven and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Why would he make this statement if there are two kingdoms? Look at Romans 11 Paul doesn't say there are two separate trees, rather he states there is only one tree with branches that are broken off so that others may be grafted in. If there are two separate kingdoms, then Paul would have said there were two separate trees.
A close study of God's Word will reveal that there is only one kingdom ever mentioned in the Bible, a kingdom whose representation was once seen in the Jewish nation, who is now seen in the church composed of believers of both Jewish and Gentile nations, but which will once again include Israel as a nation if and when they, repent and accept Christ. And if the gentile nations once again reject Christ they will cease to be the ambassadors God uses in His work (Romans 11:20-23).
In these verses Paul's warning could also be see as a warning against the church at Rome, in particular, and may not represent the gentile nations as a whole, but individual nations which God has, down through the ages, used to proclaim His kingdom. Rome, as we know, fell into unbelief and was severed from the vine, France and Germany were used to bring about the reformation and now they no longer preach the gospel as a whole but have become a mission field. So too, the warning can apply to the United States, we once held forth the gospel of Christ but have become so wrapped up in materialism that the truths of the scripture are no longer seen as viable concepts in our nation, because of this we see God calling out a people for his name from the islands of the south Pacific, Thailand and Korea are experiencing great revivals and are now sending missionaries to the rest of the world. The same kingdom being proclaimed by different nations combining to make one body, the church. Let us continue on with Mr. Stam's book.
Mr. Stam tells us:
Note carefully that while God refuses works for salvation today, He required them under other dispensations. This was not, as we have explained, because works in themselves could ever save, but because they were the necessary expression of faith when so required.
Let us search the scriptures and see if this is the case only for other dispensations, or if our church age is also included. Are we as the church, in order to be obedient to His command, required to show forth goods works as a fruit of our salvation? Matt.5:16; 16:27, John 14:12, Acts 26:20, II Cor.11:5, I Tim.2:10, 6:18, Titus 2:7 , 14, 3:8,14, James 2:14-26, 3:13, I Pet.2:12, Rev.2:2, 5, 9, 13, 19, 23, 26; 3:1, 2, 8, 15; 20:12, 13, are just a few of the many scriptures in the New Testament which show how works are a very real part of our witness before men. They are required by God, not as a way to merit our salvation, but as a proof before God and man that the Spirit of God does indeed indwell us. This is the exact context of works as seen in the Old Testament, they did not save, they could not save, but they were the proof of salvation. Works do not save us, works cannot save us, but they are the outward proof to others who view us that we are indeed saved!
Mr. Stam tells us:
Tradition has it that men have always been saved through faith in the shed blood of Christ; that even those who lived before the cross had to look forward in faith to the death of a coming Christ for salvation.
It is high time that this false notion, so deeply rooted in the minds of even sincere believers, be shattered, for it does not have one single line of Scriptural support.
Tradition, in this case is firmly based on the Word of God, there is definite scriptural support for this "tradition". John 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: AND HE SAW IT, and was glad. Acts 26:6,7 "And now I stand and am judged for the HOPE OF THE PROMISE MADE OF GOD UNTO OUR FATHERS: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night hope to come. For which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am now accused of the Jews. The word of God speaks of different people who looked forward to the coming of Christ, Simeon-Luke 2:26, Anna-Luke 2:38, The Jewish people-Luke 3:15, The woman of Samaria-John 4:25. All of these knew of the coming of the Messiah and they knew of the time of His coming. How could they have know except it was revealed to them through the scriptures?
Mr. Stam tells us:
Let us not be misunderstood. It is true that all the saints of past ages were saved through the merits of Christ's shed blood, but not through their faith in that shed blood. Those of past ages were expected to believe only what God had thus far revealed, or what He had revealed to them. In other words, they were saved simply because they trusted God and believed what He said. The full plan of salvation has since been unfolded, but the Scriptures make it crystal clear that these believers were saved without even understanding that Christ would die for them.
I Pet. 1:10,11 alone makes this clear:
"OF WHICH SALVATION THE PROPHETS HAVE INQUIRED AND SEARCHED DILIGENTLY, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
"SEARCHING WHAT, or what manner of time, THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST WHICH WAS IN THEM DID SIGNIFY, WHEN IT [HE] TESTIFIED BEFOREHAND THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, AND THE GLORY THAT SHOULD FOLLOW."
Mark well, they did not search merely concerning the "manner of time," i.e., the character of the times, during which these things should transpire. They searched and inquired diligently to discover "WHAT . . . the Spirit . . . did signify," ie., what He meant, "when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow." And the next verse goes on to explain that God revealed to them that they were ministering, not to themselves, but to those of a future time.
Could anything be clearer from this than that they did not even understand what the Spirit meant when He predicted the sufferings of Christ? How, then, could they have been saved through faith in His shed blood?
The writer gives us this verse which he believes show that prior knowledge of Christ's work was unseen. Search these scriptures and you will see that they do not oppose prior knowledge but confirm it.
I Pet.1:10,11 "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, WHO PROPHISIED OF THE GRACE THAT SHOULD COME UNTO YOU. Searching what, or what manner of time, The spirit of God did signify, WHEN IT (HE) TESTIFIED BEFOREHAND THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST AND THE GLORY THAT SHOULD FOLLOW." Note: The coming grace was testified unto them, the sufferings of Christ were testified unto them and the glory that was to follow was testified unto them. Certainly they searched to know how, what, when and where it would be fulfilled, we as believers do the same thing, we search diligently to know all that the Word of God has for us. This does not mean we are not aware of it says, it means we desire a more in depth knowledge of Christ. The next verse tells us that God revealed unto them as they diligently searched. "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." THEY KNEW THE GRACE THAT WAS TO COME, THEY KNEW OF THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, THEY KNEW OF THE GLORY THAT WAS TO FOLLOW AND THE SPIRIT REVEALED UNTO THEM THAT IT WAS TO TAKE PLACE WHEN IT DID!
Mr. Stam tells us:
An indignant opponent of dispensationalism once asked us: "Do you mean to tell us that Moses commanded the building of the tabernacle with its gate and curtains, its brazen altar and layer, its table of shewbread, its golden lampstand and altar of incense, its ark of the covenant and mercy seat, and did not tell them that all these were types of Christ and His finished work?"
Our reply was simply, "What saith the Scripture?" Is there any hint whatever that Moses told them that these things pointed to Christ or that he even had any idea of this himself? We now know that these things were typical of Christ and His work of redemption, and rejoice to see that God had this in mind all the while; that the cross was neither an accident nor an afterthought, but this revelation is conspicuously absent from the Old Testament record. There is no hint that Moses even knew, much less taught, that these things were typical of Christ.3
If it is true that Moses and the prophets knew and understood about the coming death of Christ and had to trust in His shed blood for salvation, would this not also be true of the twelve apostles? Yet they had labored with Christ Himself for a considerable length of time, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, before He even began to tell them that He must suffer and die, and when He did tell them Peter rebuked Him for His "defeatist" attitude!
Matt. 16:21,22: "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
"Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee."
Later, when He told them again that these things must come to pass as predicted by the prophets, they did not have the slightest idea what He was talking about. This fact is impressed upon us by a three-fold emphasis in Luke 18:34:
1. "AND THEY UNDERSTOOD NONE OF THESE THINGS:
2. "AND THIS SAYING WAS HID FROM THEM,
3. "NEITHER KNEW THEY THE THINGS WHICH WERE SPOKEN."
By this time they had been associated with Christ preaching the gospel of the kingdom and working miracles, for at least two years, yet they did not even know that He would suffer and die. Does this mean that none of them were saved? Certainly not. It simply confirms what Peter says about the prophets searching and inquiring diligently what the Spirit, who spoke through them, meant when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.
It is true that the apostles did not know about the coming sufferings of Christ but this was only due to the fact that the Spirit of God did not yet reveal it to them. The Spirit of God reveals the truths of God's Word to our hearts, without His working in our lives none of us would know the redemptive power of God through Christ. The apostles were no different than any other men, they could not understand the scriptures except it be revealed unto them by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why Christ made the promise in John 16:13-16 that when the Spirit came it would lead them into all truth. Many times in God's plan He desires to hide truths from men, this does not mean he doesn't reveal them to other men. Look at IICor.3:14-16 and you will see that even when the scriptures were read to the Jews they could not understand because of the veil of unbelief that blinded them, Isaiah was told to preach the truth to ears that could not hear and hearts that could not understand. (Isaiah 6:9,10) He preached the truth, he understood the truth, but those he spoke to could not. Without the working of the Spirit in their lives they could not know the truths of the scriptures, note vs.11: there would come a time when they would understand the teachings of Isaiah but not until God revealed it unto them. Does this mean that Isaiah didn't know what he was preaching, of course not, it means his preaching could not be understood. The same principle is in effect today, we preach the Word of God and witness to the world of the wonderful message of Christ but the world cannot understand until the Spirit shows them the truth through the scriptures. Does this mean then that because they don't know the truth then we don't?
Mr.Stam tells us:
It may surprise some of our readers to find that even after the resurrection, at Pentecost, Peter himself did not see in the death of Christ what we see in it today. He now knew about the crucifixion, of course, as a historical fact, but he did not base any offer of salvation upon it.
We need only look at Acts 2:22-36, to find the plan of salvation for mankind as we know it today, it is called the Gospel. Paul states this phenomenon clearly in I Cor.1-9 it is the same gospel that Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. That Christ was born, lived, died, rose again for our sins according to the scriptures and was seen by witnesses. It is the same gospel he preached in Acts 3:12-19, and in 4:10-12 and throughout his entire ministry.
Mr.Stam tells us:
Indeed, he blamed Israel for it and when his hearers were convicted of their sins and asked what they should do, he replied:
"REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS . . ." (Acts 2:38).
Was this because he was out of the will of God or blinded by unbelief? No; he was "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4). It was simply that the "due time" had not yet arrived to make these things known.
This brings us again to the importance of a recognition of the distinctive ministry of Paul. It is not until Paul that we have what is properly called "the preaching of the cross." It is he who first says:
"BUT NOW THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD WITHOUT THE LAW IS MANIFESTED . . .
"Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe . . .
"BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS:
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST,4 through the forbearance of God;
"To declare, I say, AT THIS TIME, His righteousness: that He might be just, and THE JUSTIFIER OF HIM WHICH BELIEVETH IN JESUS" (Rom. 3:21-26).
If the writer would have quoted the entire text of scripture, it would have destroyed the argument he was trying to establish. Note verse 21 the writer quotes "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifest.... for some unknown reason then he continues on to verse 22 without completing verse 21 which states BEING WITNESSED BY THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS. The very message which Paul preached WAS NOT NEW it had already been witnessed by the LAW AND THE PROPHETS. Some verses to look at concerning prophetic acknowledgement concerning the "preaching of the cross" which the writer believes started with Paul. Isaiah 53:4-12 (read these verses carefully and you will see the very substitutional atonement which Paul speaks about in Romans 3), Daniel 9:24-27, Hosea 13:9-14, Joel 3:16,17, Micah 7:18-20, Habakkuk 3:17-19, Zephaniah 3:|14-17, Haggai 2:6-9, Zechariah 9:9-10, are just a few of the Old Testament scriptures which tell of the coming Savior who alone would redeem and save His people from among all of the nations of the earth.
Mr. Stam tells us:
This is what the Apostle Paul meant by
"THE FAITH WHICH SHOULD AFTERWARDS BE REVEALED" (Gal. 3:23).
This is what he meant when he wrote of Christ:
"Who gave Himself a ransom for all, TO BE TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME.
"WHEREUNTO I AM ORDAINED A PREACHER, AND AN APOSTLE, (I SPEAK THE TRUTH IN CHRIST, AND LIE NOT;) A TEACHER OF THE GENTILES IN FAITH AND VERITY" (I Tim. 2:6,7).
But this will be further discussed in a later lesson. All we are seeking to establish here is the fact of progressive revelation and the utter unscripturalness of the tradition that those who lived before Christ were saved by looking forward in faith to His finished work.
This is not only established in a negative way in the Scriptures; it is also established in a positive way. It is not merely made plain that the saints of past ages did not understand about Christ's death, but in many cases we are told exactly what they did know and believe to find acceptance with God.
We have stated that Hebrews 11 makes it clear that salvation has always been the reward of faith. There is one constant that runs all down through the chapter: "By faith . . . By faith . . . By faith." At the introduction to the long list of acts of faith wrought by individuals, we read that "By it [faith] the elders obtained a good report" and that "without faith it is impossible to please [God]" and the whole long list closes with the statement: "These all . . . obtained a good report through faith" (Verses 2,6,39).
But there are variables in Hebrews 11 too, for in almost every case these heroes of faith believed some different revelation of God and expressed their faith in some different way. But nowhere in this list of saints do we read of one who was saved by faith in the death of a coming Christ. It is we who now know that they were saved through the death of Christ. And when Christ is preached to us, we show our faith by ceasing our works and accepting with humble thanks what He has done for us.
Let us look for a moment at the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews vs. 1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." And verse 6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." ALL OF THE HEROES MENTIONED IN CHAPTER 11 HAD FAITH IN ONLY ONE THING, IN GOD. A very real part of faith is a promise. God gives a promise, we believe it, and because of this belief or faith in what has been promised, we receive eternal life. Note: vs.13-16. All of these heroes of the faith died having never received the promise. Also note also verse 39."And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise." THERE WAS A PROMISE-IT HAD TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS OR ELSE HOW COULD THEY HAVE HAD FAITH IN IT? The writer of Hebrews goes on in verse 40, and gives us the promise. It was not a promise of land, it was not a promise of wealth or health, it was a promise that one day they would be made PERFECT "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." They had the same promise of salvation or perfection that we had, our perfection is through Christ, their perfection is through Christ. The thing they had hoped for came to pass in the time of the Hebrews.
Now let me ask this question. Would God lie to the Old Testament believers and promise them perfection through their conscience if trust in their conscience could not save them? Would he have promised them perfection through any of the so-called dispensations if it could not bring about their salvation which came only through Christ? NO, the promise of God was a seed, a seed that would some day bring about the restoration of the fellowship Adam lost when he sinned. This promise never changed. All of the Old Testament saints looked forward to that coming promise even though they died having never received it. It is interesting to note that all through this chapter one thing is clear, their faith DID NOT SAVE THEM! As we can see in verses 33-39, through their faith they "Subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, and on and on. The record speaks for itself. All of these men and women of God truly lived lives of faith, and saw great wonders accomplished in their lives. But what does the last part of verse 39 say? They received not the promise, the promise of perfection vs.40 and reestablishment of the perfect fellowship Adam had before the fall. Only the faith of Christ could reestablish this lost fellowship as we see in 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." This is the faith that now indwells God's people on this earth and allows them to have perfect fellowship with their God. THIS IS THE ONLY FAITH THAT CAN SAVE!
One large problem with dispensational thinking is that it denies what Peter tells us in Acts 4:10-12,"Be it known unto known to you all and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doeth this man stand before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders which is become the head of the corner. NEITHER IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER FOR THERE IS NONE OTHER NAME GIVEN AMOUNGST MEN WHERE BY YE MUST BE SAVED."
If what the dispensationalist says is true, if the Old Testament saints did not look forward to the coming Messiah and His atoning work for their souls, if they depended on their own physical actions, then they all died in their sins. Just as we will die in our sins, if we rely on our abilities and not the grace of God for our salvation. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY OF SALVATION AND THAT IS CHRIST, TO PLACE HOPE IN ANY OTHER NAME OR ANY OTHER WAY WILL MEAN ETERNAL DEATH AND SEPARATION FROM GOD, NOT JUST FOR US, BUT AS PETER SAID, FOR ALL MEN!
Mr. Stam tells us:
In Heb. 11:4 we are told precisely how Abel obtained divine witness that he was righteous:
"BY FAITH ABEL OFFERED UNTO GOD A MORE EXCELLENT SACRIFICE THAN CAIN, BY WHICH HE OBTAINED WITNESS THAT HE WAS RIGHTEOUS, GOD TESTIFYING OF HIS GIFTS; and by it he, being dead, yet speaketh."
This agrees with the record in Gen. 4:4,5:
"And the Lord had respect unto ABEL AND to HIS OFFERING,
"But unto CAIN AND to HIS OFFERING He had not respect."
There is not one word here about faith in the death of Christ. Abel obtained witness that he was righteous because he brought the required sacrifice and God testified, not of his faith in Christ, but of his gifts.
Abel obtained witness that he was righteous, not because he brought the required sacrifice, but because the sacrifice he brought was offered in faith. If the sacrifice he brought would have made him righteous then he would have obtained the promise of perfection which verses 39,40 say he didn't receive. God testified of his gifts because they were done in this faith. So also, our gifts, which we give to the Lord, are worthless if not based on faith. Faith makes them acceptable to God just as Abel's sacrifice, since it was based on faith, was acceptable to God.
Mr Stam tells us:
We know, for example, that David was really saved by God's grace, not by his own feeble works, but suppose he had proclaimed salvation "without the law"
David did proclaim salvation without works, Psalms 40:5-8, Psalms 4:5-8, Proverbs 21:3, (Samuel's proclamation) I Sam 15:22-23, Psalms 50:7-14, Psalm 51:16,17, all of these verses say that the sacrifices of the law do not bring salvation or acceptance in God's eyes but rather the heart condition of the one who offers them.
Mr. Stam tells us:
or, like Paul, had said: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days" (Col. 2:16)! He would soon have been forced to abdicate his throne and would have been put to death for despising the written law of God.
Again we are told exactly how John the Baptist's hearers received the remission of sins. Was it by faith in the death of Christ, who had by then already appeared on the scene? Read the Scriptures and see:
"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS" (Mark 1:4).
Again as stated earlier John did two things in the wilderness.
1. He baptized,
2. He preached the baptism of repentance for remission of sins. These were two different actions which John the Baptist did. IT DOES NOT SAY HE BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, IT SAYS HE PREACHED THE BAPTISM OF REMISSION OF SINS, Verses 7-8 tell us what the message was that he preached. He preached the Lord Jesus Christ and the anointing or baptism of the Holy Spirit which is the baptism for remission of sins!
Mr. Stam tells us:
If these words do not mean what they say, then the Scriptures serve no purpose whatever as a revelation from God to man.6
Suppose while John preached the baptism of repentance for remission of sins, some Israelite had risen to say: "To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5)! He would have been taken out and stoned in accordance with the law.
Yes, and on the positive side we are even told how the 3,000 at Pentecost found the remission of sins:
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
"Then Peter said unto them . . ."
What did he say? Note it carefully. Did he say: "Christ died for your sins. Simply trust Him and eternal life is yours"? He did not. His entire Pentecostal address will be searched in vain for any such statement. Indeed, Peter's hearers had become convicted because he had charged them with the guilt of Christ's death. And when they asked what they must do, Peter replied:
"REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST" (Acts 2:37,38).
This was in perfect conformity with the requirements of the so-called "great commission," which the church of today seeks, in a half-hearted way, to carry out:
"And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel7 to every creature.
"HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED; BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT8 SHALL BE DAMNED [CONDEMNED]" (Mark 16:15,16).
We are aware that some, to uphold their own baptism theories, have interpreted this to mean, "He that believeth and is saved ought to be baptized," but such wresting of the clear words of Scripture cannot but displease God and pervert our understanding of His program.
On the positive side, as on the negative, we again wait for the raising up of Paul before we learn of "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24), "the dispensation of the grace of God" (Eph. 3:1,2) and "the preaching of the cross," i.e., as glad news to be accepted by faith for salvation (I Cor. 1:18,23, Gal. 6:14, Rom. 3:25,26).
Peter- (Acts 3:26, 4:10-12, 5:30-32), Philip- (Acts 8:31-40). Isaiah- (Isaiah 53:10,11), all preached the same gospel of the grace of God.
Mr Stam tells us:
It is evident, then, that the saints of past ages were not all saved by believing the same things, for God did not reveal the same things to them all. Indeed, even the stated terms of salvation were changed from time to time.
If what the author says is true, then God's Word is not to be completely trusted. Acts 4:12, John 3:16, Romans 5:17,18, 10:11-13, all speak of Christ as being the only term of acceptance that God put forth as a propitiation for the sins of the world. If we accept this teaching, we must believe that God misled the Old Testament saints by giving them one term of acceptance while all the time the true terms of acceptance were hidden from them. If as the scriptures say, Christ is the only name given amongst men whereby we must be saved, the author must draw one of two conclusions:
1. Christ is not the only name given by which man can be saved.
2. Old Testament saints were falsely led to Hell by the false promises of their God.
NOWHERE IN GOD'S WORD DOES IT SAY THAT THE TERMS OF SALVATION WERE CHANGED FROM TIME TO TIME! Salvation always has been and always will be the work of Christ! To go beyond this, to add anything at all whether works or faith in some other thing, is to nullify the work of Christ as the pre-foundational sacrifice for the sins of the world.
We cannot take lightly such a view as this for it erodes the foundation of the precious gospel of Jesus Christ and His completed sacrifice as the sole propitiation for the sins of all of the world from creation on. (I John 2:2).
Mr. Stam tells us:
It is one of the first principles of sound Bible interpretation not to anticipate revelation, yet how many unconsciously do this! They read the Old Testament and the gospel records as though the saints of those times must have understood all about the death of Christ as it is presented in Romans, Galatians and Ephesians!
Think a moment: Had Abel understood about the death of Christ for sin, would a blood sacrifice have been required of him?
Should he not, in such a case, have rested in the complete redemption to be wrought by Christ? Would not the bringing of a blood sacrifice, in such a case, have indicated unbelief rather than faith?
Now that the death of Christ has been proclaimed for salvation, does God command us to offer animals in sacrifice?
Why were animal sacrifices made in the Old Testament? According to the Word of God they were the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal.3:24,25). Just what is the job of a schoolmaster? A good schoolmaster will help his students to understand and relate to things as they encounter them in life. If this schoolmaster (the law) had a job (to show God's people Christ so that He and His work would be understood when He came) and He conveyed something different to those who were under his teaching then he would have not been perfect as the Bible states that he was. When we go to school the schoolmaster always stresses repetition so that the lesson taught will be fixed in the students head, this was the reason for sacrifice. It was a constant reminder to Abel, and all of the Old Testament patriarchs, that someday there was going to be a redeemer who would offer up an innocent sacrifice for the covering of their sins. When that sacrifice finally came it was realized and recognized by those who were under the schoolmaster. The lesson had been learned, the redeemer which had been promised had come, the sacrifices which the schoolmaster used to point to him were no longer necessary because the One of which they were a type had arrived.
Let's say a man told you, you were someday going to receive a treasure, and he gives you a picture of the man who is going to give you the treasure. Naturally you'd continue to look at the picture of the man until he arrived and gave you the treasure. However, after he arrived and you received what was promised, you would no longer need the picture to remind you. Such was the case with Israel. They were given a picture of the Redeemer, how He would be recognized and what He would do. This was the reason for the law and the prophets. After the Savior arrived and His work on earth was complete, that of paying the price for the redemption of His people, the pictures which pointed to Him were no longer necessary.
Mr. Stam tells us:
A prominent opponent of these truths has argued that truth is horizontal, not vertical, i.e., that it runs on through the ages unchanged and unchangeable. This is true. Truth is horizontal, but the revelation of truth is vertical, i.e., God has revealed truth to man, not all at once, but a little at a time, historically. Noah knew more of God's revelation than Adam, Abraham than Noah, Moses than Abraham, the twelve than Moses, Paul than the twelve.
Thus too, the principles of God are horizontal; they go on unchanged through every age. But the dispensations are vertical and follow one after another as God imparts new revelations to man.11
But salvation is never attained by doing these things, salvation only makes it possible to do these things. This is where the writer is in error. He makes the mistake of thinking that Old Testament believers needed to obey the law for salvation, What the Word of God actually says is that the law of God will be obeyed because they have been saved. According to God's Word, works can not save now and could never save. Galatians 2:16 tells us that by the works of the law shall NO flesh be justified. This is not a New Testament concept Job 25:4,5, tells us the same thing, "How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon and it shineth not; yea the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm and the son of man which is a worm?" Jobs answer to this is the same as Paul's, in chapter 27:3,4 "All the while my breath is in me the spirit of God is in my nostrils my lips shall not speak wickedness or my tongue utter deceit." THE SPIRIT OF GOD MAKES THE DIFFERENCE! PAUL SAYS THE SAME THING IN GAL.2:20 "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." The Spirit of God indwells only the believer. Look at the scribes and the Pharisees of Christ's day. They knew the law, they obeyed the law to the highest degree, and they thought they were pleasing God and finding acceptance in the eyes of God because of this, yet Christ called them whited sepulchers. They were outwardly pure but inwardly full of dead men's bones! (Matt.23:27) If doing the law, or as the author said, attempting to do the law, could have saved them then they would have been righteous instead of defiled! Look at Paul, he went about trying to destroy the early church. Was he doing this because he opposed God, NO! He thought he was doing God a favor. It was only when his eyes were opened spiritually that he realized the error he was making. He of all men had the credentials to be considered a doer of the law! Prov.14:12 tells us "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death." Paul was a Pharisee of the Pharisees he sat at the feet of the greatest law teachers in the world, Philippians 3:5, yet had he not received the Holy Spirit in his life he would have died and gone to Hell. All of his attempting to please God through obedience to the law would have been counted as naught. We can look at in this way also, if the children of Israel were saved by the keeping of the law then they would not have rejected Christ when he came and they would not have rejected the prophets that he sent to them. Matt.23:30-34 Yet they did. Why? Because they were not saved by the keeping of the law and the Spirit of God which bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God did not indwell their hearts.
The same thing is true with the baptism he speaks. If baptism would have saved them then why did John the Baptist deny them that right in Matt. 3:7-9. They sought to flee the wrath that was to come! They desired to be baptized for salvation, they were the children of Abraham, yet John says they were a generation of vipers. He explains in verse 11 that his baptism was merely with water that could not do the work the Holy Spirit of God would do! Look at Matt.3:5,6. "Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan confessing their sins." If this baptism of John the Baptist truly wrought salvation then why did these same people reject the Savior? Because it didn't save them! Only after the Spirit of God filled their hearts at and after Pentecost were they able to realize forgiveness of sins! Acts 2:37. It was only then, when the faith of Christ was imputed to them through the action of the Holy Spirit, that they were able to understand what the schoolmaster had been teaching them throughout the past 1500 years.
We need to understand one of the promises of God's Word pertaining to salvation to see the fallacy of this type of reasoning. Paul tells us in Romans 8:16, "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." The fellowship of two spirits, ours and the Spirit of God, is our proof of salvation. If Christ was to walk on the earth at this time all true believers would be drawn to him because of the unity of the two spirits. This truth has never changed.
Throughout the Old Testament God sent angels to men with the proclamation of truth. These men were accepted and acknowledged as being from God by the men and women of God which they were sent to. Simeon, in Luke 2:27 came into the temple filled with the Spirit of God, He had been given the promise that he would see Christ before he died, vs.26. How could he have known that this child was different from all other children which he had blessed? Christ didn't say anything. He was only and infant. Joseph and Mary didn't say anything. They were astounded at Simeon's saying (vs.33). He knew this was the Christ because the Spirit of God bore witness with his spirit that Christ was the promised Messiah. John the Baptist being filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb leaped in the womb at the presence of almighty God manifest in Mary. (Luke 1:41) Peter was told that flesh and blood did not reveal Christ's Sonship with God but God himself revealed it unto him. (Matt.16:17)
Christ himself told the Jews that, had they been the true spiritual seed of Abraham, they would not have rejected Him as their Messiah, John 39-42. If salvation then, under the Old Covenant, was purchased by animal sacrifice all of the Pharisees would have been saved. They would have received Him because of the spiritual oneness between themselves and God.