By Joseph L. Watkins
As we closed out our last article in this series we were discussing "the otherwise minded" that we find in Phil. 3:15. Who these folks are, and why they are important, is a very vital "key" to a right understanding of dividing the Word of Truth.
As The Spirit of All Truth moved on Paul to write his seven post-Acts epistles and The Dispensation of The Musterion, He was directing him to hold in the highest regard "ALL" the Saints of God - in Christ Jesus, from that day to this, from all of those Saints out of Acts Times, down through the years, unto the present hour.
However, it shall greatly enlighten our understanding to hold in view that some of what is recorded there would have had much more significance to those coming out of Acts Times, having once the Kingdom Hope, and we shall find truth there significant to none but "The Saints of The Church which is His Body."
With each succeeding New Dispensation, change became inevitable. Such changes were desired by God. In fact, it is His divine purpose, but to many saints it brought much confusion and difficult, major decisions.
Yes - The Saints of God in Christ Jesus living in the closing days of Acts Times, and the emerging days of both The Dispensation of Life as revealed to and recorded by John The Beloved, and the great capstone of all divine revelation, The Dispensation of The Musterion as revealed to and recorded by Paul in his post-Acts epistles, were a large part of one of the most confusing and controversial times in the six thousand year history of mankind.
Please - bear with us as I attempt to set forth for your consideration what I see was going on in Israel, and in the world. Great contention had been raging in most of Israel since the first day that John the Baptizer came proclaiming The Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, with a view to preparing a people to become identified with "Messiah''- the King of Israel.
A few did seek such an identification, but the vast majority were numbered with "the otherwise minded" of that hour. And it seems that the great controversy only intensifies throughout both the "days of His flesh" - and the days of "The Twelve" as they both continued proclaiming the coming "parousia" of The Messiah to Israel. Some did believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be the one true Messiah, but some (most) continued as the unbelieving, or we might say - "the otherwise minded." Both men, and women having a living faith in both "The Promised Messiah" and the one having made such a promise -- but they just cannot believe that The Lord Jesus Christ is that one. They were "otherwise minded."
For about nine years after he became identified with the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul fell in step with all the others, "preaching the word to none, but unto the Jews only." Then he brought into the mix even more controversy. At Acts 13:14-43, he dropped a theological megaton bomb that so shook that whole nation, that it never did recover from it.
Jews were born and bred being taught that they were "first" and "best" among all others. The Gentiles they lived around were called "dogs." Now this already mistrusted one is saying that the Lord has given him a new dispensation to let the believing Gentiles have a part in the coming kingdom of their Messiah, and that without being "circumcised." Such a thing was only worthy of death -- so the battle raged on.
This situation persisted for about 19 more years, until the Creator of all man had seen His Holy One rejected one too many times. At Acts 28:28, He gave to Paul, to give to Israel, a very profound proclamation that changed all mankind and his place before his Maker - read it, study it, learn it.
"Be it known therefore unto you that the salvation (bringing message) of God is sent (authorized) to the Gentiles (nations) and they will hear it." (have hearing, regarding it)
Now - just allow yourself to take all of this in. Can you even begin to appreciate what was taking place, not only in the city of Rome, but in the heart of men all over the world? We have been in "negative" gear in most of this article so we need a bit of "Positive" food for thought.
God Almighty - the One Creator of all - was now "FREE" - free of Israel, free of all the special considerations He had made regarding that one people. FREE of all of the many two-sided contractual agreements that had been dependent on the faithfulness of an unfaithful people. Free to now make known to all men, everywhere, the Gospel of Christ Jesus, and a new form of life that was now being made available in Him.
Yes, a new form of life that was not only "Free" for the taking, but a freedom of living above and without "religious" participation in any form whatsoever. Such was the message that John had been given to make known. Now thousands have believed his record and have made this life their own. However, most remain "otherwise minded".
One more message must now be added to the mix as we seek a true picture of all that is going on at that hour concerning The Great Creator, and His purpose and work with "His" man:
The Dispensation of "The MUSTERION."