- Why Know Jesus?
- Rightly Dividing the Word of God
- Doctrinal Declarations of Faith
- The Providence Of God
- Fall Iinto Sin and the Corrupt State of Man
- God’s Eternal Decrees
- The Trinity
- Of Apostolic Faith
- The Attributes Of God
- Christ Jesus
- Mans Will and Free Will
- Election and Predestination
- True Faith Justification and Repentance
- Adoption and Sanctification
- The Perseverance of the Saints
- Assurance of Salvation and Good Works
- Doctrinal Studies
- The History of the Pentecostal Movement
- Errant Pentecostal Doctrines And False Apostles And Prophets Introduction
- Periods And Confirmations Of God’s Revelation
- The Foundation Of The Church
- The Baptism With The Holy Spirit and The Filling of The Holy Spirit According to Scripture
- Signs Wonders Healing And Miracles For Who And By Who?
- The Apostles The Difference Between True And False
- Real and False Prophets
- The Prophets Of The New Testament
- Personal Conclusions
- CAN A CHRISTIAN BEAR ARMS AND DEFEND HIMSELF AND OTHERS
- (Italiano) E’ BIBLICO PER UN CRISTIANO USARE LEGITTIMA DIFESA PER SE E PER ALTRI?
- The Sanctity of Life and Value of Human Life
- The Importance of the Family to God
- Roles In The Family As In The Church
- The Role of Man and the Responsibilities of a Husband
- The Role of the Woman and the Responsibilities of the Wife
- Responsibilities of Father and Mother to Teach Train and Discipline their Children
- The Responsibilities of The Children in the Family
- The Letter of Paul to the Romans Introduction
- Romans Chapter One
- Romans Chapter Two
- Romans Chapter Three
- Romans Chapter Four
- Romans Chapter Five
- Romans Chapter Six
- Romans Chapter Seven
- Romans Chapter Eight
- Romans Chapter Nine
- Romans Chapter Ten
- Romans Chapter Eleven
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 1-2
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 3-11
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 12 to 20
- (Italiano) Introduzione Alla Lettera di Paolo Ai Romani
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Uno
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Due
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Tre
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Quattro
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Cinque
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sei
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sette
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Otto
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Nove
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Dieci
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 11
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 1-3
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 4-11
- Mission Ministry
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Periods And Confirmations Of God’s Revelation
To arrive at the understanding of why the offices of Apostle and prophet and their associated spiritual gifts are not operating today, it is necessary to examine how God operated in the past. Why He operated in certain ways during specific and special times of the history of redemption regarding His people Israel.
We just cannot begin in the book of Acts. If we do, we will fall into error immediately and deeply.
In the history of redemption of Israel there are three particular eras or periods of time that demonstrate how systematically and gradually God revealed Himself and His word to His people, until the fulness of revelations would be reached in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Period of the Law
This is the first period or era of divine revelation where God revealed Himself powerfully as the God of Israel and revealed His law to His people, the law being the testimony of Christ
Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44 .
During this period God manifested to His people that He indeed was the One and only living God and that the law was a revelation of His righteous and Holy character. He did this by performing signs and miracles. See the liberation from Egypt, the 40 years in the wilderness, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
It is important to notice however, that at the moment Israel entered the Promised Land the manna, in other words the food that God provided miraculously for 40 years, ceased Joshua 5:12
Israel began her walk of faith without the aid of many visible signs and wonders. In fact, there were only three distinct episodes during the conquest of the promised land where God performed visible signs and wonders. Joshua 3 – the crossing of the Jordan, Joshua 6 the fall of the walls of Jericho and Joshua 10 where God answered Joshua’s request to give him 24 hours of daylight to win a battle.
After these episodes God ceased to perform visible signs and wonders and required His people to walk by faith and obedience to the written law Joshua 1:1-9, the way after all that we have to walk today. So from that time on, God did not operate visible signs and wonders until the period of the prophets began.
The period of the Prophets
The second period of divine revelation that began with the prophet Elijah 1 Kings 17. Yes, there were before Elijah other prophets and prophecies regarding Christ for example in the Psalms and other prophets such as Samuel and Nathan etc., but the prophetic period did not really and officially begin until Israel and Judah fell in the deepest apostasy and idolatry of their history. It was ,in fact, with Elijah that God confirmed His word to His prophets through signs and wonders, but this was done in this particular time only. The signs and wonders were, in fact, limited to and performed only by Elijah and Elisha
1 Kings 19-2 Kings 13.
If we examine the Scriptures carefully, the period of the prophets who came after them is clearly lacking signs and wonders almost completely. So Scripture confirms that the signs and wonders were performed by God only at the beginning of a determined period of new revelation. During this period, like the era of the Law, God was confirming and revealing His authority, revelation and word was coming from Him through Elijah and Elisha.
After Malachi’s prophecy there were 400 years of prophetic silence in Israel and the majority of the signs and wonders had all but disappeared since the death of Elisha 2 Kings 13.
(It is, possible for God to have periods in which He does not perform signs and wonders and give direct revelation).
The prophetic silence during these 400 years is important to understand because it demonstrates that God has already chosen in the past to remain in silence regarding direct and new revelations and without even mentioning the lack of signs and wonders. If He has done it in the past, He can do it again, and He did.
After the 400 years of silence, John the Baptist comes on the scene in a Palestine that is under Roman rule. His mission, to prepare a people for the coming of Messiah and the Kingdom of God for Israel. Note that John never performed any signs and wonders. Other things we must notice are that prophets of the Old Testament period are mentioned such as Simeon Luke 2:25-32 and Anna Luke 2:33-36
It is obvious from Scripture that Simeon after seeing Jesus, the promise of God to Israel, died and Anna as well, having been very old most likely also died by the time John comes on the scene in the fulness of his ministry as a prophet of the Most High.
So, John is for all intents and purposes the last prophet of the Old Testament. He preached the coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom for Israel. This had nothing to do with the church at that time in history.
In fact, in a way, the Baptist was a prophet of a special time, the prophet who was overlapping the OT and the Kingdom period, for which he was preparing the way.
Jesus His ministry, the Kingdom and the Church
This is the third and last period of divine revelation and for the greater part of His ministry Jesus was operating His ministry for Israel. In other words, Jesus was preaching and offering the promise of the Kingdom of God to Israel. You will remember that Jesus, in several occasions, made it clear that He had come only for the lost sheep of Israel Matthew 10:6
Notice, in fact, when the Siro-Phoenician woman came to Him asking Him to heal her demon possessed daughter, Jesus answered her saying He had come only for Israel, Matthew 15:24
The greater part of the Gospels do not speak directly to the church and for the church, but speak to Israel and of the kingdom offered to them. Originally, Jesus is preaching the Kingdom of God and offering Himself as Messiah, the kingdom promised in the OT to Israel.
It is not until we reach Matthew 16, for example, and the paralleled period in the other Gospels, that Jesus begins His ministry toward the Gentiles, and it is in Matthew 16:18 where we find the first mention of Jesus regarding the church.
It is at this point of His ministry that Jesus begins to preach His work of redemption on the cross for the world Matthew 16:21 .
This was because the Jews had officially rejected Him as Messiah Matthew 12.
By rejecting Christ, they rejected temporarily the Messianic Kingdom, also called the Davidic Covenant or to the Jew the Kingdom of God 2 Samuel 23:5; Psalms 89:20-27; Jeremiah 33:21
Please notice that the NT, the New Covenant does not officially begin until the moment in which Jesus dies on the cross.
He first announced the New Covenant a few hours before His crucifixion by the institution of the Passover which we call Communion, Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24
He inaugurates the beginnng of the New Covenant through His death on the cross. It is for this reason then that the curtain that separated the Holy place from the Most Holy place was rent in half by God Himself at Jesus’ death Matthew 27:50-51.
This specific event has a double sign signifying that the access between God and man had been opened and that there was no more need for human intermediary High Priest of the Levitical order.
From that moment on the only mediator between man and God was the Lord Jesus Christ
1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15-17; Hebrews 12:24.
As Hebrews 9:15-17 states, the New Tesatment could not have been activated unless the testator, Jesus, was dead, it’s the same concept as a real will and testament, it’s not valid until the person dies. The same with Jesus until He died there was no New Covenant.
Therefore every thing that was said and done before it did not have a ecclesiatical emphasis rather a kingdom emphasis it was mostly directed to Israel. Only the Gospel of John is a universal Gospel where kingdom truths are of secondary nature.
The Gospel of John is designed to show Jesus as God and Lord and Savior, John 20:30-31.
The second sign of the rent curtain was a prophetic sign of judgment for Israel and that the Levitical religious system was abolished, better yet it was fulfilled and completed by Jesus in His person and work.
From then on Jesus would be the one and only sacrifice, the one and only mediator and High Priest, the one and only way to know and worship God. Having abolished the Jewish Levitical system, the spiritual authority had to now change hands. In fact, it is from that moment on that the gradual birth of the church began to take shape.
The things we have seen so far need to be well understood to be able to rightly divide the word of God and properly interpret Scripture. We really need to see and understand that in the program of God, the church is separate and somewhat different.
This does not mean that in the church era God has not united Jews and Gentiles together and made of them one man and that both together received salvation and adoption, both becoming the body of Christ, the church Ephesians 2:11-22.
The church, however, has not, I repeat has not, replaced Israel and was never born to replace Israel. Many promises that God made to Israel stand alone and they are exclusively for Israel as a nation. These promises made through the Abrahamic Covenant and the Davidic Covenant, through Christ, have to still be brought to pass. All Israel as a nation will be saved and enter in the New Covenant nationally and will inherit the Kingdom on this earth, promised to them by God, when they as a nation will accept Christ as Messiah at His second coming. Zechariah 12-13; Romans 11:1-36 .
The Millennial reign or Messianic Age will be just the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel Revelation 20. Jesus will reign as King of Israel on the throne of David in Jerusalem, in Israel on the earth Luke 1:32-33 . Jesus now is reigning seated at the right hand of the Father, but that is not the throne of David prophesied and declared in the OT and by the Archangel Gabriel in Luke 1:32-33. The heavenly throne is the throne of His glory and majesty and His sovereignty. The throne of David is an earthly throne although an eternal one eventually, but it is a Messianic throne which has to be fulfilled in Jerusalem, in Israel, on this earth, for 1000 years first.
These biblical realities are most important to understand if we want to understand properly the transition period that is revealed to us in Scripture, between OT and NT. If we neglect to understand these things, we cannot comprehend properly how the whole program of God revealed to us by the Bible develops and is fulfilled. Without understanding these things we fall in many doctrinal errors and errors of biblical interpretation.
It is necessary then to understand that the third period in which God has operated signs and wonders was because a new period of divine revelation had begun. On the other hand we have seen and it was confirmed to us by Scripture that God has operated in these ways before and we cannot deny then that God has had a determined system and determined periods of time in which He confirmed His revelations and the authority of His word to Israel by signs and wonders.
Note: Scripture teaches us and confirms that signs and wonders were given by God for signs to Israel to prove their unbelief 1 Corinthians 1:22; John 6:30.
At this juncture a new and complete revelation of God was given, the revelation of the word who became man, the coming of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, first as Messiah of Israel, when rejected then as the Lord and Savior of the world and the One who instituted the New Covenant in His blood, the Everlasting Covenant and the founder of the church, His body.
The New and Everlasting Covenant was revealed through the prophecies of the OT and was only revealed to Israel in conjunction with the Messianic Kingdom. The church in the OT was a mystery and was not revealed at all in prophecies. The church was then a mystery revealed in this third period or era, Ephesians3: 1-9; Colossians 1: 24-27
To her is given the Kingdom of Heaven and the salvation for the Gentiles, she is made the first recipient of the New Covenant. At the end of the age however, the New Covenant will be revealed again to Israel for the national salvation and the institution of the Kingdom of Messiah on earth. So the official birth of the church the day of Pentecost marks a period of transition between the refusal of the Kingdom by Israel and the completed revelation of the mystery of the church and then going back to the acceptance on Israel’s part of Messiah at His second coming.
Yes, it is the day of Pentecost when God sends His Holy Spirit to baptize believers in the body of Christ, in other words to begin forming the body of Christ, the church Acts 2.
From this moment the church is being born, the body of Christ. However, even of this church and to the church the revelation of God was gradual and it is in this gradual transition and revelation that we see God operate in the book of Acts through the Apostles.
This is the period of transition from Israel to the Gentiles, from the offered Kingdom to the Jews and rejected by them, to the church, from the Levitical religious system to the church and the life of the Spirit of God.
This will be for a time as Scripture explains, called the fulness of the Gentiles.
Romans 11:25-27 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
This prophetic word of promise of the New Covenant with Israel will be fulfilled at Jesus’ second coming, when the remnant of the nation of Israel will convert and accept the Messiah Jesus Christ and Israel nationally will enter officially in the New Covenant and inherit the Messianic promises of God.
At this point it is very important to understand, that from the moment in which Jesus appears on the scene until the complete revelation of the mystery of the church and the canon of NT Scripture, God is confirming and witnessing to the Jews that it is He who is performing this new extraordinary work with signs and wonders, the same power He displayed in the two previous periods of revelation (Law and the Prophets) in the OT.
It is important to notice also that during this period of transition the Kingdom to Israel is still being offered. Although Pentecost marks the birth of the church it also marks the continued offer of the Kingdom to Israel, as God extends His faithfulness to His promises to Israel and to want to fulfill promises He made. Israel even after they had Christ crucified and rejected still was offered the possibility in those days to accept Messiah and the Kingdom.
It was also for that reason that even after some time went by the Apostles taught about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and the end of the age. They always prayed and hoped for the conversion of Israel. This is made evident in several passages of Scripture, the most clear one is found in:
Acts 3:18-26 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23’And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
But notice, in fact, that Peter is speaking still to Israel in this passage which begins in Acts 3:12 saying “ Men of Israel” It is then clear that this is not a passage that has anything to do with the church, rather God in His faithfulness and mercy is still offering the Kingdom to Israel. If they in that moment would have repented and accepted Christ, Jesus would have returned and established the Messianic Kingdom in Israel.
Even Paul retains this reality, for even in his ministry for quite some time. In fact, throughout the book of Acts when he preached the good news, he would preach in the synagogues, he would go to the Jews. See Acts 13;14;17;18;19;22;26
He also had the desire to see Israel converted, but the Jews at large kept refusing Christ. At one determined point we see that even in the ministry of Paul there is a shift of focus that goes away from the Jews and moves toward the Gentiles [simple_tooltip content=”28:17 Then after three days he sent for the chief men of the Jews: and when they had come together, he said to them, My brothers, though I had done nothing against the people or the ways of our fathers, I was given, a prisoner from Jerusalem, into the hands of the Romans Acts28:17-28.
This demonstrates that God at this point momentarily abandons Israel as the recipient of the Kingdom and abandons the nation to a temporary time of judgment.
God is creating, during this parenthetic period between the first refused offer of the Kingdom to Israel and the fulfillment of the promises of God for Israel, the church – the body of Christ, which will be in its completeness both Jewish and Gentile, with the emphasis on the Gentiles Romans 11:25 .
For this reason there is a parenthesis in the program of God for Israel called Church.
At the end of this age, the church age upon which the end of the ages will also be, the second offer of Messiah to Israel will be accepted and the fulfillment of the Everlasting Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant Genesis 12:1-3 where God promises from Abraham’s seed the Messiah, the blessing for all nations. This Covenant includes also the Palestinian Covenant, which promises the land to Israel and that was renewed several times by God Genesis 15:18; the Davidic Covenant that promises the Kingdom to Israel 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17; Psalms 89; Jeremiah 33:2; Genesis 17:2-21 and the Everlasting Covenant; and so the promises God made with Israel in the OT prophecies will all be fulfilled.
Zechariah 12 to Zechariah 14; Romans 11:1-36; Revelation 1:7
The Church Age
The church age, is the parenthesis we talked about of which the prophets of the OT and therefore Israel were totally ignorant. God had not revealed the church in the prophecies of the OT.
It was a mystery, in fact that is exactly how Paul defined it in Ephesians 3:5-6 . Also confirmed and mentioned in Colossians 1:24-27
So the church in the OT did not exist. It really was not in existence officially until the day of Pentecost, obviously it could be in existence only after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The church cannot ever be compared with Israel in the OT in the sense that they are distinct and separate. Israel a people and a nation of the earth chosen by God, an earthly kingdom, the church is instead the body of Christ, the Son of God, Christians are children of God and heirs of a heavenly kingdom.
Let us make close attention ,however, because the church at it’s birth was 100% Jewish, this was the transitional period as we said going from the Jew to the Gentile. This was demonstrated when the revelation of God became completed also during the period described in Acts.
Yes, this was God’s program for those days, the demonstration and the testimony to Israel that He had chosen to save men and women out of all the people of the world, that the world was chosen as the field from which God would harvest the souls of many and that His plan of redemption was not only for Israel
So the entire foundational framework was done and completed by the Apostles and prophets during the Acts of the Apostles Ephesians 2:20-22.
God, has confirmed and testified through the Apostles (all Jewish) to Israel that they had refused the Messiah and the Kingdom, God Himself, confirming the birth of His church through His Son Jesus Christ and the entrance of every ethnic group of the world into the Kingdom of Heaven, through the church, not only the Jews. We must not forget that the church being a mystery revealed gradually by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, that even the Apostles for a while thought that salvation would be exclusively for the Jews, and that Gentiles would have to become Jewish in order to receive salvation Acts 10:9-34; Acts 11:1-18
It was for these reasons that, for example, the prophecy of Acts 2:16-21 was given.
As a matter of fact to whom was Peter preaching in his famous sermon of Pentecost?
Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.
Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words:
There can be no doubt to whom Peter is preaching in that moment. Peter is preaching to Jews, he is preaching still the promises of the Messianic Kingdom to Israel. The prophecy of Joel that Peter preaches Acts 2: 16-22 is for Israel only, it is not given as a promise to the church as many erroneously interpret it to mean.
It was given by Joel and preached by Peter as a Messianic Kingdom promise that was already offered and had come. It was also a prophecy about what was to come immediately after the kingdom offer, the judgment of the Day of the Lord and the end of the age, also including the Gentiles in salvation (but not knowing still about the church) .
The purpose of this prophecy was to continue to reveal and offer the Messianic Kingdom promised by the OT prophecies. It is evident, however, that Messiah had come, He offered Himself and the Kingdom, and He was rejected John 1:11
Now Peter with Joel’s prophecy explains what is happening on Pentecost as the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy that precedes in this case the second coming of Messiah. Let me repeat it for the importance it has, the Messianic Kingdom was still being offered and if Israel would have accepted Christ, Jesus would have come back and inaugurated the Messianic age as we had said earlier in
Israel, in spite of all the signs and wonders wrought by the Apostles, continued to refuse the message. Obviously, God knew this. In fact, He caused the hardening and the blindness of Israel to create the church age Acts 28:26-27; Romans 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16
God was giving another chance to Israel to accept His promises. Oh, the faithfulness and mercy of God toward His people. As we have mentioned, but always important to repeat, the prophets and prophecies of the OT did not include the church, the church was a mystery.
Therefore, to place the church inside the prophecy of Joel; to create a doctrine that justifies revelations, signs, wonders, dreams and so on and so forth, this would not at all reflect the purpose and intention of the prophecy and it violates ALL the principles of proper interpretation of Scripture and prophetic line of the OT.
For this purpose is important to mention also that in ALL the prophecies of the OT the church is not present and is not seen. God did not reveal this mystery until the church age and did it, as we said already, gradually. Let’s take as examples two episodes of prophecy of the OT to make the point.
In Isaiah 9:6-7 is written: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this”.
We in the church usually use this prophecy to celebrate the first coming of Christ, we use it at Christmas time. To a degree it is OK to use it that way, but the full meaning of the prophecy is Messianic, it is not a prophecy directed to the church, it speaks of the Messianic Kingdom and the government of the throne of David, the Davidic promise, a Covenant of God with Israel, nothing to do with the church. Between the Child born, the Son given, today we know there is the church age, but for the Jew that was unseen and there was nothing in between. In this prophecy only the Messianic Kingdom is in view and it has exclusively to do with Israel.
Let’s take the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 Neither the prophet himself knew nor did the prophecy in any way give information that leads us to understand that between the 69th week and the 70th week there would have been a period of over 2000 years of pause.
Even here the prophecy is to Israel and the church is a mystery, hidden, not seen ever. Even for the Apostles the church was a mystery they did not understand immediately, it was a gradual revelation of God. ALL OT prophecies tie Israel to Christ in a Messianic Kingdom sense. Every prophecy in Daniel therefore speaks to Israel.
To want to force the presence of the church in OT prophecies is to seriously violate the word of God. If God wanted to include the church in the prophecies of the OT He would have certainly have done it, let us not do it for Him. The fact that Mary, Jesus’ mother, and Zechariah, John’s father, thought rightly that Jesus and John came to preach the Messianic Kingdom in line with OT prophecies, it is evident Luke 1:54-55;
Luke 1:68-80; Luke 24:18-27,
For the Apostles the church was a mystery. This is confirmed by the Scripture in Acts 1 that Jesus Himself after spending 40 days with Him after His resurrection, spoke to them about things regarding the Kingdom of God. Many think that the Kingdom of God is the church, is it? Let’s allow the Scripture to answer this question.
Acts 1:1-5 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
( Attention the Kingdom of God for the Jew is synonym for the Messianic Kingdom and has no reference to the Church)
Once again the disciples did not understand the concept of the church, neither did they understand yet what God was getting ready to do. They only understood exclusively the Kingdom of God for Israel. Please take note that Jesus does not explain to them the mystery of the church, but if you read the text it is self-explanatory. After 40 days of teaching things relative to the Kingdom of God the disciples still ask this:
Acts 1:6-7 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
It is then obvious to all that Jesus did not teach them things regarding the church. It is obvious and logical from the text itself from the question the disciples ask and Jesus’ answer we know that the church was still a mystery yet to be revealed to them.
Acts 1:8 A But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
For this very reason they had to wait for the promise of the Father. The Holy Spirit that had to come to baptize them and begin the process of the formation of the body of Christ, the church. I want to bring to your attention the fact that the things that belong to Christ, and therefore to His church, would have become evident gradually by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that still had to come to begin this work.
John 16:7-15 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
So it was.
Notice that this promise has been made to a particular group of men and only to them, to whom Jesus has given a particular task, a precise mission.
The task and mission was this, receive all that Jesus wanted to reveal to them, take these things and write them down as a foundation for the church. All of the instructions inspired by the Holy Spirit of Christ to give us the Apostolic revelations we have today in the Biblical canon of the NT.
The other mission was to lay down the foundation of the church giving testimony and confirming the word of God that was preached with signs, wonders, miracles reuniting ALL of the ethnic groups of the world (Jews and Gentiles) including them together in the body of Christ, beginning this the revelation of the mystery of the church. It becomes then all the more evident that what Jesus taught personally, the doctrines regarding the Kingdom of God Acts 1:3-5, were not regarding the church and her doctrines. In fact it was to Paul mostly that God gave the task to reveal the mystery and the doctrines of the church. If one wants to deny this they will deny the very word of God
Ephesians 3:2-9 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;
Why this mystery? Why this parenthetic age called church? Because in His love and mercy God wanted to include the Gentiles, in other words ALL the other ethnic groups of the world in His salvation plan and at the same time judge Israel for their unbelief, without forgetting ALL the promises that God made to Israel and that He will bring to fulfillment Romans 11.
So now God confirmed His new revelations with signs, wonders and miracles through the Apostles. This opens a subject of great controversy that is however connected to the subject that we want to expose in this study, namely false Apostles and prophets.
This subject connected is in reference to the subject of some spiritual gifts, in many circles called the “charismatic gifts”. Although this term is erroneous in itself because the word “charisma” means gift, nevertheless we will use the term this way because it is known best this way.
On these gifts we will spend some time, as the office or position of the Apostle and prophet these gifts were temporary and only connected to the period delineated until now, the period of transition and the passing down of revelations and spiritual authority, from the Kingdom offered to Israel to the church. We will see how these charismatic gifts were given exclusively to a selected group of people and what their function was.
Because of the fact that there was this intermediate period of transition we have to arrive at the understanding that the problems with erroneous doctrines today are relative to the lacking of wanting to admit and recognize this specific period that is without doubt shown in Scripture and not simply by my words and comments.
The doctrines of the false apostles and prophets unfortunately are accepted by many believers who are drawn into error through the continuous distribution of erroneous doctrines of Scripture that are not rightly interpreted and Biblical misunderstandings of great proportions.
The false apostles and prophets continue to encourage and foment division in the body of Christ, by wanting to continuously force false doctrines violating the texts of Scripture, through erroneously interpreted passages and making people accept certain doctrines as real. They are able through many false private revelations and prophecies to manipulate, deceive and sway multitudes of precious believers.
Many believers with qualifications of apostles and prophets do not even realize their own errors because they are genuinely convinced that the doctrines that they were taught are true and right. They study and teach therefore the Bible with prejudices and preconceived notions they themselves cannot recognize.
When they are confronted by sound doctrine they retire in a defensive stance of their erroneous conclusions because they are protected by prideful people, without humility that do not want to really learn what the word of God really says.
They become obstinate and stubbornly remain attached to their own beliefs without ever wanting to honestly see if the Bible might contradict what they believe and teach. Others who are nothing else but spiritual proud persons do not want any one to ever contradict their knowledge and because they know they cannot stand up to the confutation of sound doctrine they just offend, disgrace and defame those who object to their teachings.
These are swelled with knowledge but they never surrendered to the true authority of God’s word. It would really be of great blessing for the universal church if the majority of believers would be of noble character and spirit as those Bereans and searched with humility the Scriptures without prejudices and preconceived notions to see what it truly teaches.
So before we start to talk about these false apostles and prophets I will like to look at what Scripture teaches us in regard to doctrines closely connected to the operations of the Holy Spirit in the Apostolic time that is outlined in the book of Acts. I will try to use this part of the study to prove all the more that the Bible teaches us that these operations and offices are today taught erroneously.