Paul vs. James (Pt. 3)

By William Handschumacher

A Special Rock of Offence Bible Study





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This is Part 3 of a fourteen-part Bible study.
The other parts of this study are available
below.

Part 1 ----- Part 2 ----- Part 4 ----- Part 5
Part 6 ----- Part 7 ----- Part 8 ----- Part 9
Part 10 ----- Part 11 ----- Part 12 ----- Part 13
Part 14

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One of the keys to properly understanding
the New Testament is learning about
the temporary conditions that existed
during the "Transition" from Old
Testament Law - to New Testament Grace
and why God allowed these conditions
to exist.




The Old Testament program of the Law (also known as 'the Mosaic Law' and Judaism) governed Israel from Moses at Mount Sinai - to Christ's crucifixion ... or approximately 1445 years according to some Bible historians. By the time Jesus came on the scene, the Law was understood as "God's accepted program for all Jewish faith and practice" - and was thoroughly institutionalized. Opposing its rules and teachings often resulted in being excommunicated or, in extreme situations - publically executed. Judaism (often called Orthodox Judaism) taught about the arrival of a future Messiah; as foretold by Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets. However, its leaders and followers did not yet know the identity of the Messiah.

Then Jesus came preaching "the gospel of the kingdom" and revealed to the "woman at the well" that He was indeed the promised Messiah of Israel.



Modern-day Christians tend to ignore the fact that Jesus was born 'a Jew' and that God initially sent Him as Messiah to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel". Scripture demands that this Messiah must be Jewish (a direct descendent of both King David and Abraham) ... and cannot be a member of any non-Jewish race. In His encounter with the woman at the well in John chapter 4 (verses 22-25), Jesus made some amazing declarations. We should keep in mind that this woman was a Gentile.

Jesus said to the woman:


"You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him."

(Important Note: When Jesus said; "...we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews" - He is claiming to be a Jew.)


The woman responded (verse 25):

"I know that Messiah is coming" (who
is called Christ). "When He comes,
He will tell us all things."


Jesus said to her, "I who
speak to you am He."


This dialogue provides us with
some important undeniable facts.

FIRST ...
Jesus said that God's salvation
originates from the Jewish people
and their culture.

SECOND ...
Jesus reveals that He is the
Messiah and is therefore
a member of the Jewish race.


THIRD ...

This means that Jesus operated
in two roles. While on earth,
He was the Jewish Messiah - but
after His crucifixion,
resurrection, ascension and
the coming of the Holy Spirit
on the day of Pentecost ... He
also became the Lord and Savior
of the New Testament Church.


With the arrival of Jesus as
the Messiah of Israel - we now
see an updated form of Judaism
that adds "faith or belief in
Christ" (as the Messiah) - to
the rules and tenants included
in the original Law, which
continued to have authority
until the cross.



Today, this revised form of Judaism is often referred to as Messianic Judaism, and is different from Orthodox Judaism that did not yet have a Messiah in whom to place its faith. However, when Jesus "filled in the blank" and rightfully claimed the title of "the Messiah of Israel", it enraged the religious establishment, who now wanted to kill him for what they considered to be blasphemy.

Messianic Judaism and it's "Gospel of the kingdom" was the message taught by Christ and his disciples (who later became apostles--except for Judas). These apostles (who were all Jewish) continued to preach this message for approximately 7-10 years after the crucifixion. Until the time that Paul began his apostolic ministry about midway into the Book of Acts ... the apostles doctrine was the only official teaching in the early church.


Christ's Messianic doctrine, also
referred to as "the Gospel of the
Kingdom" was designed exclusively
for the Jewish people, who
continued to live according to the
Law of Moses given at Mount Sinai.


Contrary to popular Bible teaching,
"the Gospel of the Kingdom", which
required various works and
expressions of "law keeping" - in
addition to "faith in Christ" - was
not designed for the Christian
Church now living under New
Covenant Grace - as described in
the Epistles of Saint Paul.

Jesus made this fact clear in the
following statements...



"These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." (Matthew 10:5-6)

"But He (Jesus) answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." (Matthew 15:24)

Or, as the NASV version
of the Bible states:


"I was sent only to the
lost sheep of the house
of Israel."



The words of Christ, quoted above are often highlighted in red to emphasize their importance. Yet, these particular words are almost never heard in a sermon - because they reveal an important truth that exposes many popular church teachings that violate the context of the Bible.




The statement made by Jesus;

"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel"

Represents a major 'Divine Mandate' that affects how the New Testament Scriptures should be interpreted. It is saying that the earthly ministry of Jesus was directed only toward the Israelites. When various ministers attempt to insert the Christian Church into this mandate, they are trying to make God say something - that He does not say.







Respecting Biblical Context:
Christ's Two Roles in the Bible




Once again, Jesus operated in two different roles separated by the cross, which must never be mixed together or treated as being interchangeable.


His first role is "The Messiah
of the House of Israel"

And...

His second role is "The Lord
and Head of the Church",
which did not begin until
after His crucifixion,
resurrection, ascension and
the coming of the Holy Spirit
on the day of Pentecost. These
events had to happen first
before the New Covenant of
Christ could begin its
spiritual government.

"For the husband is head
of the wife, as also
Christ is the Head of the
Church; and He is the
Savior of the body.
" (Ephesians 5:23)



During the Last Supper, shortly
before the cross, Jesus said...





"This cup is the New Covenant
in My blood, which is shed
for you."
(Luke 22:20)



The words Jesus spoke before the
cross as Israel's Messiah (His
first role) fall into three
different categories:



FIRST:
Specific intructions and commandments
that govern how salvation is obtained,
which were only directed at the House
of Israel.

SECOND:
Universal truths and instructions
intended for everyone

THIRD:
Prophecy concerning future events
intended to be studied and under-
stood by everyone.



Jesus taught 'universal truths' and spoke about future events (known as Bible prophecy) ... which are things everyone should study. But, contrary to popular church teaching, much of what Jesus taught during His earthly ministry about how salvation is obtained and kept, was directed only at Israel as their Messiah (as stated in Christ's original mandate). As a result, these teachings were governed by the religious tenants of the Old Covenant (also referred to in Hebrews chapter 8 as "the first covenant") ... where "keeping the Commandments of the Law" was a requirement to obtain salvation. It is important to remember that the Old [or first] Covenant (also known as the Mosaic Law) continued to govern until the crucifixion of Christ, and remained in force during His entire earthly ministry.


"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5)


But, following His crucifixion, resurrection, ascension--and the day of Pentecost, the Old [or first] Covenant - also known as the Mosaic Law - was officially declared to be obsolete - and was "taken out of the way and nailed to the cross" (See Hebrews 8:6-13 and Colossians 2:13-14). In the Law's place, God sent His Holy Spirit to indwell all true belieivers. The Holy Spirit is the embodiment of everything the old written Law represented ... except for its condemnation. This Divine act of "taking the Law out of the way" allowed the New [or second] covenant of Christ to begin its Grace-based spiritual government.

All of these things represent a crucial Biblical truth - because the New [or second] Covenant radically changed many of the Old [or first] Covenant's rules and tenants concerning righteousness and salvation ... which Jesus previously taught during His earthly ministry as Israel's Messiah. This is why the second covenant (or New Covenant of Christ) is said to be established on "better promises" (See Hebrews 8:6-7).


What most Christians fail to
respect is that Jesus continued
to speak from heaven after his
death, resurrection and
ascension. This required an
earthly human vessel to
communicate His words so that
they could be understood by the
masses. God chose the Apostle
Paul for this mission.



The following Scriptures
speak about these changes:


"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of the requirements that was against us (Old Testament Law), which was contrary to us. And He (Jesus) has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." (Colossians 2:13-14)

"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He (Jesus) is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." (Hebrews 8:6-7)

"In that He (Jesus Christ) says, "a new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13)





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This is Part 3 of a fourteen-part Bible study.
The other parts of this study are available
below.

Part 1 ----- Part 2 ----- Part 4 ----- Part 5
Part 6 ----- Part 7 ----- Part 8 ----- Part 9
Part 10 ----- Part 11 ----- Part 12 ----- Part 13
Part 14

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