The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 152 of 211
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the coming change, although he is held back until near the end of the narrative before
making it known. The reason for this is obvious; and finds a parallel in the Lord's own
attitude. In Acts 1: 6 the disciples asked:--
"Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?"
Had the Lord told them that in spite of Pentecost Israel would still continue in their
state of unrepentance until they had filled up the measure of their iniquity and been set
aside, such knowledge would have paralyzed their witness, and might have been taken by
Israel as an excuse for failure to repent. Had Peter known that Israel would not repent, he
could not truthfully have quoted from Joel as he did in Acts 2: 17-21; for there is an
interval of 1900 years between verses 18 and 19, but this was not known to Peter at the
time. The Lord simply deals with the question of time, and follows with the injunction:
"But ye shall receive power . . . . . ye shall be witnesses" (Acts 1: 8). Had Luke made
known in the early Acts that Israel were to pass into their lo-ammi condition in about
forty years, then, humanly speaking, there would have been no "Acts" to record. Paul
unhesitatingly links himself with the "hope" of the Church at that time, saying: "We
which are alive and remain" (I Thess. 4: 17). There are some who consider that Paul was
deceiving the Church here, by saying "we". There are others who think he deceived
himself. We are in the happy position of accepting his words as perfectly true, for at the
time of writing I Thessalonians no revelation had been given concerning the secret
If what we have said above is true, there is no need to answer the second item of
criticism. We pass on therefore to the third.
Here we confess that we are somewhat at a loss to understand the objection. We have
always felt that Matthew did make plain that Peter was addressed both in connection with
the Church and with reference to the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 16: 16-19).
Matthew could hardly be expected to say anything about Paul who was at that time an
unconverted Pharisee. That Peter and Paul had distinctive ministries is made clear in
Gal. 2: 6-10.
While we might agree with our brother that the principle of Matt. 18: 17 could be
profitable employed to-day, we cannot see the slightest ground for supposing that our
Lord referred to a Church other than the Pentecostal Church. In the first place in both
Matt. 10: 5 and in 15: 24, Gentiles are most definitely set aside as forming no part of our
Lord's ministry up to that time, and this is confirmed by Rom. 15: 8. Secondly, the
rejected brother was to be regarded as "a heathen man", or "a Gentile" (see Gal. 2: 14),
which is added testimony to the Jewish constitution of this Church spoken of in
Matt. 18: Once again we have "searched to see" and we find nothing in the objections
that is valid, or that in any sense modifies our belief that the present dispensation was a
"secret", unknown to Luke or Peter, or to Paul himself until he became the prisoner of
Jesus Christ. The very silence of all three on the matter is but added proof of the
rightness of our position:--