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Volume 24 - Page 150 of 211 Index | Zoom | |
To limit the word "first" to time, and deny any reason or meaning to it, is to allow little
credit to the apostle's ability, quite apart from the question of inspiration. We can
however best consider this feature later.
A third feature of dispensational importance is the saying of the apostle in
Acts 28: 20:--
"For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain."
The hope of Israel is expressed in Acts 1: 6, it is repeated in Acts 26: 6, 7, and it is
still prominent in Acts 28: Can this hope of Israel, the fulfillment of the promises
made unto the fathers, the fulfillment of Isa. 11: (see Rom. 15: 12, 13), can that hope be
at the same time the hope of the church called under new terms, into a new sphere, and
entirely dissociated from the "covenants of promise", "the commonwealth of Israel",
the promises to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob?
When the apostle met the chief of the Jews, he expounded and testified the kingdom
of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the
Prophets, from morning till evening, but after the setting aside of Israel, he preached the
kingdom of God, but taught those things which concern "the Lord Jesus Christ" (not
"Jesus" now), with all confidence, no man forbidding him: no longer "expounding" and
no longer drawing from Moses and the Prophets, for the simple reason that the "secret"
was never disclosed in Moses or the Prophets, but had been "revealed" to him as the
prisoner of Jesus Christ.
Moreover, the quotation of Isa. 6: 9, 10 affected Israel of the dispersion, in the
same way as the quotation of the same passage in Matt. 13: affect Israel in the land.
Matt 11: and 12: reveal the rejection of Christ and the failure of Israel to repent, even
though they had seen so many miracles. This rejection is followed by "mystery", the
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. In Acts 28: Israel again reject their Messiah,
and the rejection this time being complete, miraculous gifts cease, the hope of Israel is
deferred, and for the first time since the call of Abraham in Gen. 12: the salvation of
God is sent to the Gentiles in independence of Israel, a feature unique in the testimony of
Scripture, and not appreciated as it should be. We submit that there are abundant signs of
a change of dispensation consequent upon Israel entering into their "lo-ammi" state.
For positive testimony we have but to read Eph. 3: 1-3:--
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of
the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward, How that by
revelation He made known unto me the mystery."
And again in Col. 1: 24-27:--
". . . . . for His body's sake which is the church, whereof I am made a minister,
according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of
God: even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is
made manifest to His saints . . . . . Christ among you (sent to the Gentiles) the hope of