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Berean Expositor Volume 1
The special and exclusive character of the
In previous articles we have sought to show that the present dispensation is the
"dispensation of the mystery which had been hidden away from the ages by God," and
moreover that it did not commence until Israel was set aside in the last chapter of the
Acts. Before Acts 28: the section of the kingdom of God was concerning Jesus, as
related to the law of Moses, and the Prophets (Acts 28: 23). After the setting aside of
Israel, the section of the kingdom of God was concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, without
reference to Moses or Prophets. There have been several dispensations, each linked to
some God-appointed messenger or representative:--
The dispensation of innocence and federal headship under Adam.
The dispensation of mercy and mediatorial headship under Christ.
The dispensation of conscience under the Patriarchs.
The dispensation of law under Moses.
All these and others have their own marked peculiarities and distinctions. When the
dispensation changed a new order took place. Some of the terms of the past maybe were
taken over into the successive economy, but some were omitted, some were modified,
and some were completely reversed. The apostle Paul stands in relation to the present
dispensation and the mystery as Moses did to the dispensation of law. Let us hear what
he is inspired to record concerning this, for it is vitally important to us. In the first place
we notice in Rom. 15: (the last epistle which Paul wrote before Acts 28:) that even
there he draws attention to the difference between the ministry of the Lord Jesus when on
earth, and that of his servant Paul. For the sake of clearness we quote the passage again:--
"For I say that Christ became a minister of circumcision, in behalf of the truth of God,
that he might confirm the promises made unto the fathers, and that the Gentiles might
glorify God for His mercy" (Rom. 15: 8, 9).
In verses 15 and 16 the apostle says of his own ministry:--
"By reason of the grace of God given unto me, that I should be a minister of Jesus
Christ to the Gentiles, carrying on a priestly service with the glad tidings of God."
Here it will be observed the apostle has a connection with the ministry of Christ
particularly relating to the Gentiles. Peter was more exactly in line with the personal
ministry of Christ, for in Gal. 2: 7, 8 we read:--
"When they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, even
as Peter with the gospel of the circumcision, for He who energised Peter with a view to
an apostleship of circumcision, energised also in me with a view to the Gentiles."