There are many questions that as Christians we should have asked ourselves at some point. Many of these questions we should have been taught at some point or at least recognized in scripture. The problem is that Christians don’t study much these days and if they do even read the Bible they fail to recognize or refuse to realize many perplexing things. Let me pose a question for you to think about. Why was Jesus alone at the tomb at the time of his resurrection? Why were there not hundreds or even a few thousand people present at the tomb on that third day waiting for him to rise again? I’ll bet many if not most Christians have never asked themselves this question or even heard it asked. According to main stream Christianity, Jesus was preaching salvation to all and his gospel is the same as that taught throughout Paul’s epistles. Unless you happen to attend a church that rightly divides the Bible, there is no doubt you have been taught that Paul took over from the disciples and preached the same gospel as Jesus and the 12. If Jesus was teaching his death burial and resurrection during his earthly ministry as your church probably teaches, why then was Jesus alone at his resurrection? Let’s look at how the Bible describes the scene.
Luke 24:1-4 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
Here we see clearly that this was not hundreds of disciples waiting for Jesus’ resurrection but just a few and they were not there for a resurrection party. Did you notice the reaction? Was it a clear recognition of the resurrection they were supposedly expecting? Obviously not. The Bible clearly states the reaction: they were “much perplexed.” This of course does not match your theology if your church teaches that Jesus was preaching his death burial and resurrection during his entire earthly ministry. Jesus rises again alone, with no one there to see it. Strange isn’t it? It’s actually not strange at all to someone who studies their Bible according to Paul’s instructions to rightly divide. Why were they perplexed at Jesus’ resurrection? Luke clearly tells you earlier in his book exactly why.
Luke 18:31-34 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
Luke clearly tells you that they did not understand the resurrection and that the information was hid from them. How then is it possible that Jesus and the disciples were preaching the same gospel that our apostle Paul does when the 12 did not even understand the resurrection? It’s the same answer as to why Jesus was alone at his resurrection. Jesus preached a DIFFERENT gospel than Paul taught. Jesus offered the earthly kingdom to Israel. You have been taught that Jesus was here offering you as a Gentile eternal life when in reality he was offering ONLY ISRAEL the earthly kingdom. When Jesus forgives Israel from the cross he says “Father forgive them for they “know not what they do.” Jesus can say this because he is the one that hid the information from them. You were NOT in view or the audience of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus sent Paul to you. Jesus was alone at the tomb because he WAS NOT preaching his death and resurrection as good news. When Jesus died the disciples were distraught and crushed, and they WERE NOT waiting for him on that third day because they did not understand it. When you choose to believe your Bible over what the seminary teaches, you will begin to see how easily the Bible can be understood. I am in no way claiming to be smarter than all the people you know who have seminary degrees. The Bible can defend itself against man’s education. Christianity has chosen to trust scholarship over the Bible. I have chosen to trust my Bible over tradition.
The division within professing Christianity is apparent. This division is not just between the most popular denominations but includes the non-denominational churches as well. I guess if I’m honest, I have to admit that rightly dividing the Bible according to Paul’s instructions might look like just another division. So what’s the difference? Denominational and Non-denominational “Protestant” churches have settled into one very loose but similar system of Bible interpretation. This system puts the church today into Israel’s program and into Israel’s promises. How far they insert themselves depends on the name on the church and the proof texts they claim for their doctrine. The divisions we see are a result of what verses they chose to be applied to us or not. The problem with this process is the total lack of consistency in choosing the verses. Christianity picks and chooses verses based on the tradition of their denomination. A Baptist picks certain verses to apply to himself that the Pentecostal might not and vise-versa. A person that grows up in either denomination is taught how to read the Bible from a denominational tradition. I know this system very well as I spent most of my life in it. This picking and choosing of proof texts is what separates all of Christianity. So what separates a right divider from the rest of Christianity? It’s actually very easy to point out and see. We have a VERY consistent way of interpreting the Bible. We NEVER pick and choose verses. We believe EVERY verses as it stands. We DO NOT need proof texts. We believe God meant EXACTLY what he wrote and all you need to understand exactly what he wrote is a King James Bible and a believing heart. This is EXACTLY what separates a dispensationalist from the rest of Christianity. Christianity is in utter confusion because they are trying to follow Jesus’ earthly ministry to the Jews when they were not the audience of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Christianity looks at the dispensationalist and scoffs because of our emphasis of following our apostle Paul even though Jesus himself gave Paul the office and the commission. A wise man once said “If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.” The dispensationalist follows this mantra by choosing to believe the Bible over church tradition. By choosing to believe that the Bible itself is its own best dictionary. By choosing to believe that we must follow Pauline doctrine to be pleasing to God because this is EXACTLY what the Bible teaches. By reading God’s word and not picking and choosing according to denominational tradition but by believing ALL the words as written TO WHOM they were written. This strict method of just believing what God said exactly how he said it IS what makes me different. This method of TRUSTING GOD is exactly why the denominations can all “get along” with each other but don’t like a dispensationalist. It’s a beautiful thing to see people that were blinded by tradition their whole life begin to understand the Bible for themselves as God intended. How about you?
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul