|Synopsis of the Apostle
|A SYNOPSIS OF
THE APOSTLE PAUL’S MINISTRY
This synopsis gives the reader a glimpse into the mind of Paul –
the message that he preached during his entire ministry, by his
own admission. This summary, if one studies and thoroughly
understands it, will prepare one to meet the forced arguments of
the Protestants concerning the writings of Paul. This is
especially true, if one reads and studies the suggested
supplemental writings, as well. As a member of the New
Covenant, one should be ready to give an answer to anyone who
would ask him concerning the hope that is in him.
1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready
always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the
hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE LAW
CHANGES ADMINISTRATION AND FOCUS TO
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THE KINGDOM OF
In order to comprehend these two verses, we need to take in the
immediate context: Luke 16:13-18. Moreover, it would be helpful
to consider Matthew 11:12-13, which speaks of the same subject.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the
one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one and despise
the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
14 Now, the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were hearing all these
things, and they were mocking Him.
15 And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves (present
yourselves as righteous) before men, but God knows your hearts.
Because that which is exalted among men is an abomination before God.
16 The law and the prophets were (proclaimed – see Matthew 11:13)
until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and
everyone enters forcibly into it.
17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of
the law to fail (cease <4098>).
Online Bible: fail (4098)
2b2) To perish, i.e come to an end, disappear, cease
Luke 16:18 Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits
adultery; and everyone who marries a woman who is divorced from her
husband commits adultery.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
13 For all the (writings of the) prophets and the law (Old Testament)
prophesied (were proclaimed) until John.
In Luke’s account, the Messiah made the statement that one
cannot serve two masters. He gave an example of what He
meant – You cannot serve God and mammon (riches). The
Pharisees loved their money – their god – and when they heard
what He said, they began mocking Him. Yahshua told the
Pharisees that they presented themselves as righteous before
men; but God looked on the heart; and what men glorified was an
abomination to God. This is the background.
At this point, Christ told the Pharisees that, in the past, they had
proclaimed the law (the first five books of the Old Testament) and
the prophets (all the prophetic books of the Old Testament) until
John. The implication, in this passage, is that the Pharisees’
administration of the law and the prophets was ending. Christ did
not say that the law and the prophets were ending, but that the
Pharisees’ proclamation of the law and the prophets was ending.
We understand this for two reasons: 1) Matthew 11:13 gives us
this same statement with the aspect of proclaiming or preaching
the Old Testament and we know that before John, the Pharisees
were in charge of that teaching; 2) Luke’s account contrasts the
proclamation of the Old Testament by the Pharisees with the
current proclamation of the Kingdom of God, by John and now
Christ. In other words, these two phrases – “The law and the
prophets until John” “since that time the kingdom of God is
preached” – draw a distinction between what has been preached
before and what is now beginning and will be preached in the
Christ gave the Pharisees cause for apprehension: Their
administration in the Synagogues and that of the Sadducees in the
temple was ending and a new administration was beginning. As
verse 17 illustrates, the law would not cease as a part of the
teaching by the new administration – it would be easier for
heaven and earth to cease than for one tiny portion of the law to
cease. However, whereas the Pharisees’ administration only
pointed to the reality of how one should keep the Law of God,
now the reality of how one could conduct his life by the Decalogue
was upon them: John was the forerunner of the Christ; Christ
was the reality. Yahshua was soon to become the offering for sin
– eliminating the need for the sacrifices at the temple – and He
would return to the Father making possible the gift of the
indwelling of the holy spirit, which gave man the ability to record
righteous character based on the law, about which the Pharisees
could only talk.
In verse 18, Christ informs his listeners of which law He alluded
to in verse 17. Every astute reader knows that He referred to
the Ten Commandments. Moreover, the rules had not changed –
they were the same and they would not pass away: Adultery was
still adultery just as in the past. Those teaching the Kingdom of
God would teach the Ten Commandments just as Yahshua – the
former Yahweh had spoken them from Mount Sinai.
To make them even more nervous, Christ told the Pharisees that
the people of Judea and the entire region were coming out to hear
John and Himself with great eagerness. In fact, John and Christ
had to be careful that the crowds did not crush them; the people
thronged them wherever they went desirous to hear the message
about the Kingdom of God.
In contrast to the few that went to the synagogues, the people
were coming to John and now to Christ by the thousands to hear
about the Kingdom of God. The Pharisees were lucky, if they got
a few score people into the synagogues. If one studies the
number of synagogues and their capacity during the time of
Christ, one understands that the buildings would not hold five
percent of the populous. It was an embarrassment that
attendance to the teaching by John and now by Christ concerning
the Kingdom of God was so great in contrast to the few that came
to hear the Pharisees. In John 12:19, they said, “Behold the world
has gone after Him”. They were beginning to see their demise
and this goaded them on to murder Yahshua.
John 12:19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye
how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him.
The point we do not want to miss here is that just because the
new message replacing that of the Pharisees went by the name
The Kingdom of God, rather than The Law and The Prophets, did
not mean that it replaced The Old Testament – the Torah, which
included the Ten Commandments and the prophecies of God.
From before the time of Adam, when Yahweh said, “Let us make
man in our image” God’s plan was to create a Kingdom of Sons.
After the flood, God called Abraham – refocusing His efforts to
create the Kingdom of God.
Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same
are the children of Abraham.
From the time of Abraham, God multiplied His efforts to bring
about the Kingdom of God. When Yahweh brought Abraham’s
descendants out of Egypt, He focused on the Laws of the
Kingdom. However, the final change to the plan, to obtain that
Kingdom was far off. The focus came to be on the physical
kingdom of Israel and Judah. The temple laws had become the
focus of the religious leaders – an end in themselves rather than a
means to an end. God always intended The Ten Commandments
to be the laws of the Kingdom of God and the temple (sacrificial)
laws were a means of justification when the people broke the Ten
Commandments – until Christ came to be the true means of
God made a promise to Abraham, “In you all the nations shall be
blessed”. This promise would be possible because of the changes
to the New Covenant made by Christ through His sacrifice and
Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then [serveth] the law (of sacrifices)? It was
added because of transgressions (of the Ten Commandments), until the
seed (Christ) should come to whom the promise was made; [and it (the
law of sacrifices) was] ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
The KJV translation of “To whom the promise was made” does not
make a lot of sense. Christ did not need promises. Observe the
BBE translation: “to whom the undertaking had been given”. In
other words, Christ would take on the job of making possible the
keeping of the Decalogue, through His sacrifice and resurrection.
Galatians 3:19 What then is the law? It was an addition made because of
sin, until the coming of the seed to whom the undertaking had been
given; and it was ordered through angels by the hand of a go–between.
Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the
Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, [saying],
"In you all the nations shall be blessed."
Genesis 22:18 And in thy (Abraham’s) seed (Christ) shall all the nations
of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
John the Baptist was the “Elijah to come” prophesied by Malachi
to prepare the way of Christ who would change the elements of
the Old Covenant that were necessary to bring about the
Kingdom of God. Now that the time had come, John and Christ
after him, restored the proclamation of God’s plan to its original
intent by preaching the Kingdom of God – a Kingdom of the God
Kind, with many Sons living according to the Ten Commandments,
the Constitution of God’s Kingdom. While human, the
covenantee would practice keeping the Ten Commandments by
the indwelling of the holy spirit and would have access to
justification by faith in the sacrifice of the Messiah when failing in
This would all begin with forgiveness of past sins through the
sacrifice of Christ and the indwelling of the holy spirit in each
person making possible the building of character – stored in the
unique spirit of each person to be available at the resurrection for
placing in the spirit body. The message was about how one may
gain access to the Kingdom of God – a status, in which one may
live forever. This message got the people excited and they came
out to John and later to Christ in droves: They pressed upon John
and Christ to get at the message concerning how one could
abandon this vale of tears and live a joyful life forever.
Several years later, after Paul’s conversion, when he found
himself in Rome, he discussed the Kingdom of God with the
Roman Jews. Observe that he expounded and testified the
Kingdom of God out of the law of Moses and the prophets, from
morning until evening. In other words, Paul used the Old
Covenant as a springboard for teaching the New Covenant and
the Kingdom of God. Christ was at the center of this discussion
because He made the difference between the two covenants.
Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to
him into [his] lodging; to whom 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.
From this we understand that the Old Testament – the Old
Covenant – included the Gospel of Christ: The Kingdom of God
was at its core. The Jews had buried the message with their out
of focus proclamation – one that made the means an end in itself.
John and Christ restored the proper focus to the message of the
Old Testament, by preaching the Kingdom of God to the people.
|THE COVENANT OF GOD
OLD AND NEW
The natural progression in our study is to address the subject of
the Covenant of God next. The Law of God is of no concern to
those outside the covenant, from the perspective of salvation. In
other words, until God the Father draws or calls one into
covenant with Himself, there are no promises and no
requirements. A covenant is a legal binding contract between
two parties. A covenant usually includes promises by the
covenantor; in addition, a covenant usually includes requirements
on the part of the covenantee.
The content in the Covenant of God is what one would expect in
a covenant. God made promises in His covenant and He
prescribed requirements in that covenant, if one would inherit the
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make
a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the
day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt;
which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them,
saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their
inward parts, and write it (my Law) in their hearts; and will be their
God, and they shall be my people.
We should observe three points from Jeremiah’s passage: 1)
God was going to make a New Covenant, 2) The ancient
Israelites broke their part (their requirements) of the Old
Covenant – the reason for making a New Covenant – and 3) The
Law (My Law – the Ten Commandments, which Yahweh spoke
from Mount Sinai) would be in the inward parts – written on the
tables of one’s heart rather than on tables of stone.
In order to better transition from Jeremiah to Hebrews, we
need to begin with Hebrews 8:6. The writer of Hebrews gives
us details that Jeremiah only hints at. However, we do not want
to miss that God knew exactly where the problem was from the
time He gave the Old Covenant to Israel. We should not think
covenant because He overlooked something in the first
covenant. The problem was not on God’s side; but He knew
where the problem was and where it would be before He
covenanted with them. The Israelites wrote a history based on
the first covenant of physical promises.
1Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to make them an example
for others. These things were written down as a warning for us who
are living in the closing days of history.
Jeremiah hinted at the problem: “My covenant they brake”.
Hebrews goes into this aspect in more detail. God established
the enhanced New Covenant on better promises. The first and
Old Covenant was faulty – the reason for a New Covenant.
What was wrong with the Old Covenant? Hebrews answers:
For finding fault with them! This was the very reason a New
Covenant was necessary. They could not keep the Old
Covenant; therefore, we understand that the covenant included
requirements on the human side. However, they had only their
carnal mind except for a very few individuals.
Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by
how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was
established upon better promises.
7 For, if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have
been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith
the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and
with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the
day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;
because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not,
saith the Lord.
What was the difference between the Old Covenant and the
New Covenant? God wrote the Old Covenant on tables of
stone. God told Moses to place these tables of stone inside the
ark – out of sight/out of mind. Israel began to break these laws
immediately. The carnal mind cannot be subject to the law of
God. What the Israelites needed was a means of justification.
Therefore, God gave Moses an assortment of sacrifices and
ritualistic laws. God added these laws because the Israelites
transgressed the Ten Commandments. However, these
sacrificial laws would not last forever. God designed them to
exist only until Christ came and replaced them. In other words,
the added laws – the sacrificial temple rituals – were a system
of justification until Christ came and died for the sins of the
people and became the true means of justification. This body of
added laws ceased once Christ died as the justification for the
sins of the people.
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Galatians 3:19 Why then the law (ritualistic sacrificial law)? It was
added on account of transgressions (of the Ten Commandments), until
the Seed (Christ) should come ….
The change in the justification system was only one feature
different about the New Covenant. It was needful to have a
better system of justification when the people sinned. The
blood of animals cannot take away sin. Moreover, it is not good
to have a justification system administered by imperfect human
beings. Christ’s sacrifice provided that better justification in
the New Covenant.
Hebrews 10:4 For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of
goats should take away sins.
However, of equal importance: The people needed the ability to
sin less because one produces righteous character only by
keeping the Ten Commandments. Here again, the New
Covenant exceeded the Old Covenant. God would put His Ten
Commandments in the mind and heart of the covenantee.
Romans 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my Laws (the Ten
Commandments) into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I
will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
How did God do this? How did God put His Ten
Commandments into the mind and heart of those He made a
part of the New Covenant? The Apostle Paul gives us the
answer in Romans 8:5
Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the
flesh; but they that are after the Spirit (do mind) the things of the Spirit.
Of course! The New Covenant included the indwelling of the
holy spirit of God: Jeremiah and Hebrews express this as
“putting the law into their minds and hearts”. This phrase is a
metaphor. In other words, God does not actually put the law
into one’s mind or heart; rather, God gives one the holy spirit
and by this means, He gives one a mind to keep the Ten
Commandments. Ezekiel makes the intention given in Jeremiah
and Hebrews plain:
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them another heart, and will put a new
spirit within them; and will extract the heart of stone from their flesh,
and give them a heart of flesh:
20 that they may walk in my commandments, and keep mine
ordinances, and do them: and they shall be to me a people, and I will be
to them a God.
Therefore, we find two things wrong with the Old Covenant –
neither of which was the Law of God: 1) The justification
system and 2) The lack of the holy spirit, which would give the
covenantee a way to keep his part of the covenant. God’s spirit
helps one to focus on keeping the Law of God.
We understand, from Hebrews 8:13 that once the New
Covenant was in place, the Old Covenant became obsolete.
The cumbersome justification system by the blood of bulls and
goats – which could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:4)
coupled with reliance on the carnal mind, which could not keep
the Law of God – had served its purpose. The Israelites wrote
their unhappy examples to help us see that a better justification
method and a mind that could avoid sin was of the utmost
importance if God’s expectation of bringing Sons (Hebrews 2:
10) into His Kingdom materialized.
Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the
first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish
Hebrews 10:4 For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of
goats should take away sins.
Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by
whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the
captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
The two tables (of stone: The Ten Commandments) of the
covenant were God’s requirements in the Old Covenant. God
added the sacrificial laws because it almost immediately became
apparent – even to the people – that they could not keep the
Ten Commandments with their carnal mind.
Hebrews 9:1-4 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of
divine service, and a worldly (earthly) sanctuary. For there was a
tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table,
and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second
veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the
golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with
gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that
budded, and the tables of the covenant;
While the New Covenant included, at the least, two altered
aspects, God never mentioned anything about changing the Law
of God aspect of the Covenant. Moreover, God never
mentioned any problem with the Law of God – the Ten
Commandments: The requirements of the Old Covenant and
the New Covenant were the same, in this respect. The
dominant problems with the Old Covenant were the
justification system and the mind of the Israelites. God
remedied these two difficulties – both, faults of the people.
God’s people would no longer need to resort to a temple made
by the hands of man, to fulfill God’s purpose. We now worship
God by faith, in the temple of heaven. Moreover, we worship
with the mind of the spirit, not the carnal mind – otherwise our
worship is in vain. We can fall back on the carnal mind;
however, when we do so, we sin.