Some New Thing?
Some people might think that rightly dividing the Bible is some new thing. I have read more than one critique of dispensationalism that seeks to convince its readers of this exact thing. I posed this question early on to the people here at Grace Bible Study. Is rightly dividing the Bible according to the Apostle Paul’s instructions some new thing? Those that oppose right division of the Bible are quick to claim that John Nelson Darby and C. I. Scofield are to blame for the concept. They treat the notion that believing the Bible exactly as it is written has no merit. I understand completely why those tied and committed to a denominational position seek to discredit right division. So I’ll pose the question again, is rightly dividing the Bible some “new thing”? Let’s go to scripture for an answer. 1 Timothy 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to lift everlasting. Scripture clearly reveals there was a time when rightly dividing the Bible was “some new thing.” The Holy Spirit is the person you must blame for creating the concept of rightly dividing your Bible. He inspired the Apostle Paul to introduce it in 2 Timothy 2:15. He also inspired Paul to write that he (Paul) is our pattern for this age. 1 Timothy 1:16 and many other verses support this idea. Quite frankly, if you refuse to believe these verses, why would you believe any of the others we can quote? Darby and Scofield are to blame for helping to recover Pauline truth. The fact remains that the Bible teaches for itself that it must be rightly divided and that the Apostle Paul did in fact receive NEW information from Jesus Himself. The Bible is also clear that this information was NOT known before, nor is it a continuation of the information Jesus and the disciples were teaching. Compare Rom 16:25 with Acts 3:21. How can “known information” (Prophecy) and information that was “kept secret since the world began” (Mystery) be the same information? Quite simply, it can’t. You must divide scripture according to the audience. This concept introduced by Paul became very important after the mystery information was revealed. With the setting aside of Israel and the creation of the Body of Christ, the need to divide the scriptures became a necessity. Rightly dividing your Bible originated with God himself who had the mystery hid in himself before the world began (Eph 3:9). The Holy Spirit revealed right division of the scripture through the inspired writings of the Apostle Paul. Paul revealed the mystery according to Jesus’ instructions (Acts 22:14). Paul also made it clear that men were corrupting the word of God even in his day. As the Catholic Church slowly released its decade’s long grip from the necks of people that desired to believe the Bible, a way was prepared for a return to Pauline truth. In the last two hundred years, we have seen the recovery of what the Bible has always contained and always taught by its own words. Asking a Christian these days to believe every word of the Bible as written is usually asking too much.
Are You Ready?
I was recently sent a link to a Fox News article. In this article, another “prophecy expert” is predicting the Rapture will happen on April 23rd. Once again someone is looking to the stars to predict what scripture says can’t be predicted. Every few months another book is published, another article is written, and each one shows the inability of the writer to grasp the subject. These experts spend hundreds of hours studying the “end times” and drive thousands of miles to attend prophecy conferences. Ultimately, their dates come and go and the world looks on at the madness. The underlying problem with each of them is the same. These experts are dispensational to a point because they are taking the Bible literally in many places. The problem is these experts are not Pauline in doctrine. The Rapture is mystery information that was revealed by the Apostle Paul. The Rapture is the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) of the church the Body of Christ. The Bible clearly tells us the Body of Christ was a mystery not revealed until this information was given to Paul. The Rapture is NOT a subject of prophecy. The Body of Christ is to walk by faith not by sight. You are NOT to be looking for signs in the stars! Prophecy and mystery are separate and distinct in scripture. We are not in prophetic times. If words mean anything, Peter’s “last days” (Acts 2:17) have been going on for over 2000 years. It takes Paul’s open rebuke of Peter for him to realize God set Israel aside and changed the program. (Acts 15, Gal 2) This change in dispensations is unknown to the vast majority of Christianity today. The failure to rightly divide prophecy from mystery is exactly why people will go to the book of Revelation (Prophecy) and look for clues about the Rapture (Mystery). You do NOT have to worry about April 23rd, or any other date setter’s false claims. These “experts” are using prophecy information to attempt to predict something related to the mystery information given by Paul. We can learn much from studying Daniel’s 70th week or the Day of the Lord, but we will never see these things, nor will any member of the Body of Christ. God removes his ambassadors off the earth before the prophecy program starts back up. Today in the dispensation of the Grace of God it is God’s will that all be saved. (1 Tim 2:4) Once the “end times” start it is NO LONGER God’s will that all can be saved. (2 Thes 2:11) The prophecy program and the mystery program CANNOT operate at the same time. The problem is Christianity has no idea how to rightly divide prophecy from mystery. You would be better off ignoring the “end times” studies at your church and learning the gospel of the Grace of God that Jesus revealed to Paul. Instead we sit around arguing about who the 24 elders are in Revelation while the world around us goes to hell. Prophecy does make sense when you rightly divide it from the mystery information found in Paul’s 13 books. NO date set by the experts will EVER be correct because prophecy and mystery DO NOT run together in the Bible. The Rapture is a subject revealed in the mystery program and the second coming of Christ is the subject of prophecy. These events are separate and distinct in scripture.
The Middle Wall of Partition
Walls obviously form boundaries. A prison wall keeps people in and a boarder wall keeps people out. There is a wall found throughout most of the Bible that God built to keep you out. You’ve probably never heard it explained this way before because most of Christianity believes that they have taken the place of Israel and spiritualize these verses away. This was a physical wall in the temple. This was more importantly a spiritual wall of separation between Jew and Gentile. As you know, Israel was to be separate from the rest of the world. They were not to intermarry, or form alliances with other nations. A study of the end of Solomon’s life reveals exactly why God gave these strict orders. Israel was to operate separate of the nations. If you read the Gospels honestly, with a ready mind, and let the writers say exactly what they say, you can only conclude that the middle wall is still in place during Jesus’ earthly ministry. If you would read the book of Acts without pre-interpreting the verses from your denominational tradition and with the sole intent of looking for this middle wall you would find some very interesting verses. As you begin the book, you find an entirely Jewish context. Jesus is questioned, “wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” This is a question most Christians have no idea how to handle, but it makes perfect sense to a right divider. You find the middle wall is clearly still up in Peter’s preaching at Pentecost. In Acts chapter 10, we see the Holy Spirit preparing Peter for the transition that should be obvious in the book of Acts. In this chapter, Peter obviously sees the middle wall still in place. Peter visits a Gentile after the Holy Spirits prodding. Upon Peters return, he is not greeted with praise but contention as to why he would go into the house of a Gentile. Peter nor any of the other disciples speak of the middle wall being broken down in Acts. What is clear in scripture is that Paul tells us specifically about the tearing down of the middle wall. In Ephesians 2:11, Paul reminds us who we were. In verse 12, Paul reminds us we were aliens from Israel, strangers from the covenants, and had No Hope. The first 2 words of verse 13 are some of the most important words in all of scripture, which are “But now”. The “but now” we read in verse 13 erases the “no hope” of verse 12! The “but now” goes on to explain we are now “made nigh” by the blood of Christ, who has broken down the middle wall of partition. Paul then goes on to explain the body of Christ. The blood of Christ made Jew and Gentile one body, but no one knew this information back at the cross! This is mystery information that Jesus himself revealed to the Apostle Paul. If you force this information backwards into the Gospels, you will confuse the clear teaching of scripture. Paul calls his Gospel “my gospel” (Rom 2:16, Rom 16:25, 2 Tim 2:8) for a specific reason, because he is the one that reveals the gospel by which we are saved today. Paul is also the one that explains when and why the middle wall of partition was torn down.
I’d like to point something out that you might be completely oblivious to. I can say this because there was a time that I was oblivious to this. I’m going to call this “subconscious deletion”. Dispensational teaching asks you to believe that God meant exactly what he said in the Bible. You most likely believe as the song says “every promise in the book is mine” Unfortunately the Bible does not even come close to saying this. You have been conditioned to read the Bible like it is all to you. You have been conditioned to subconsciously delete words like Israel, Jews, Zion, Hebrews, and the like and place yourself into the verse and context when the Bible does not allow such a thing. You have been conditioned to place yourself into phrases like “my people” and words like “sheep”. Are you aware that of the 39 times the NT uses the word sheep our Apostle Paul uses it only once, and he is quoting the OT when he does? You are not a sheep in the Bible. If you are saved you are a member of the body of Christ. Jesus defines who the sheep are in Matthew 10:6. The fact is 90% of the Bible is addressed to Israel and you will never understand the Bible as God intended if you continue to drop yourself into verses that are not written to you. I challenge you to read the book of Matthew with one thought in mind as you read; ask yourself who is in the audience. This will require you to stop inserting yourself into everything that is said and stop ignoring phrases like “his people” seen in chapter 1 verse 21 which is not referring to you. This means you can’t ignore “king of the Jews” in 2:2 or “rule my people Israel” in 2:6. You will need to ask yourself the context of the phrase “kingdom of heaven” that Jesus uses constantly throughout the book. You probably never noticed that the Jews knew exactly what kingdom Jesus was talking about because the OT clearly prophesied of it. This of course being the only kingdom that fits perfectly into everything Jesus said, the earthly kingdom. You will not be able to get past chapter 10:5-7 without clearly seeing who is in the context of the book. Chapter 13:14-15 speaks of “this people” who most Christians are all too quick to agree is about the Jews. If 13:14-15 is about the Jews then how can you insert yourself into any of the other context? Chapter 15 verse 24 continues to set the audience of Matthew clearly. Chapter 19 verse 17 certainly does not teach our salvation for today in the dispensation of the grace of God. How can Verse 29 of chapter 19 agree with what we know about our salvation? The clear plain truth is; it can’t. You can’t pick and choose where you want to insert Gentiles if the context doesn’t allow it. When you get done reading Matthew you will clearly see you are not in the context. This is because Matthew is OT in doctrine and clearly addressed to Israel. Every verse in Matthew makes complete sense when it is rightly divided.
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