An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 5 - Dispensational Truth - Page 294 of 328
dispensation' which had been given to the apostle as `the Prisoner of Christ
Jesus for you Gentiles' was `the dispensation of the grace of God' (Eph.
3:1,2).  Again, in his defence before Agrippa, the apostle spoke of his
twofold ministry, again using the word `witness' or `testify' of both:
`I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister
and a Witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those
things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the
people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee' (Acts 26:16).
Some of these words were uttered by the Lord on the Damascus Road, but
in Acts 9 Paul was not delivered from `the people' neither from `the
Gentiles', neither was he, at that time, `sent unto the Gentiles' in the
exclusive way he claimed to be in Ephesians, or Colossians.  Here in Acts
26:16, the apostle intimates that the second appearing of the Lord had taken
place according to the promise originally made, and that `Now', that is, at
the time of his defence, he was being `sent unto the Gentiles', the Roman
powers undertaking his transport as a prisoner.  (See article entitled Now3).
It is for this reason that the past tense is needed in the translation of
Acts 28:28 `the salvation of God was sent, or has been sent, to the
Gentiles'.  The apostle's Prison ministry is called by Paul `the testimony
(or witness) of our Lord' and of Paul `His prisoner' (2 Tim. 1:8).  The
special teaching which Timothy was enjoined to commit to faithful teachers,
was a teaching which he had heard of Paul `among many Witnesses' (2 Tim.
2:2).  So, in his first epistle to Timothy, where Paul speaks of the great
message concerning `One God, and one Mediator between God and men the man
Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all', he adds:
`the testimony in its own peculiar seasons' (2:5,6).
Then immediately following this most discriminating claim, he adds:
`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'
(1 Tim. 2:7).
The words translated `in due time' in 1 Timothy 2:6 which we have rendered
`in its own peculiar seasons', are the Greek words idios and kairos, in the
plural dative.  Idios means something peculiarly one's `own', and is so
translated in 1 Timothy 3:4,5, and 12.  A similar phrase, similarly
translated, is found in Titus 1:2,3 :
`In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before
age -times (pro chronon aionion); but hath in due times (kairois
idiois) manifested His word through preaching, which is committed unto
me according to the commandment of God our Saviour' (Titus 1:2,3).
Here we find it is a `God that cannot lie' which strikes the same note
as the interjected words of 1 Timothy 2:7 `I speak the truth in Christ I lie
not'.  Here we have a message `committed' to Paul in harmony with a
`commandment' of God, which is but another way of saying `whereunto I am
ordained' (1 Tim. 2:7).  The revelation of the Mystery, especially committed
to Paul the Prisoner, with its accompanying Gospel of the grace of God, and
its teaching concerning the One Mediator Who gave Himself a ransom for all,
is distinct from the more limited reference in Matthew 20:28, which was `for
many'.  Every fresh unfolding of the dispensations has been accompanied at
its inception with a specially equipped and commissioned witness.