The Berean Expositor
Volume 50 - Page 84 of 185
Index | Zoom
Secret (Eph. 3:), commenced on the day of Pentecost. When we carefully study the
book we find that Israel, far from being cast off by God, figure prominently all through
this period due to the forbearance and mercy of God and are given a further opportunity
to repent and turn back to the Lord (Acts 3: 19-26). If this had taken place, then the
Lord Jesus would have returned and the earthly kingdom, so graphically described by the
O.T. prophets and brought so near by the first coming of the One Who was Israel's
Messiah and King, would have commenced.
The confirmatory and evidential miracles, which had also been foretold in the O.T.,
and had accompanied the earthly ministry of this King of kings, persisted right
throughout the Acts and it is in this setting that the epistle of James was written. Not to
see this causes confusion and has given rise to much of modern Pentecostalism with its
mixing up the earthly kingdom of the Lord with the Body of Christ and its heavenly
pp. 55 - 60
As we pointed out at the conclusion of our last study the problems raised in
James.v.13-19 are greatly eased when one understands the dispensational position of this
epistle. It was written during the Acts when the turning back to God in repentance by the
people of Israel was a possibility. This made the realization of the earthly kingdom also a
possibility, with the near return of the Lord Jesus to take the reins of government in
righteousness and justice, so bringing in the time when world peace and the knowledge of
God would thereby spread over the earth. This is why the evidential miracles which
accompanied the Lord's earthly ministry to Israel right throughout the Acts and are
alluded to in the epistles written during this period, James being one of them.
The first two of the rhetorical questions that James asks cause no problems, but the
third may do so:
"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray
over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall
save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; an if he have committed sins, it
shall be forgiven him" (5: 14, 15, R.V.).
First of all let us say what this passage does not teach. The Roman Catholic doctrine
of Extreme Unction is based on this verse. This so-called sacrament is used by the priest
for those who are near death, in which they are anointed with previously consecrated oil.
This is supposed to be effective in the forgiveness of sins of those who are too ill to make
a conscious confession and so receive priestly absolution. The Douay Roman Catholic
English version of the Bible has a footnote here which says "see here a plain warrant of
Scripture for the sacrament of extreme unction, that any controversy against its institution
would be against the express words of the sacred text in the plainest terms". But there is
no such plain teaching in these verses. There is nothing in the context to suggest that the