Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth -- In action

Posted in: 2013
By Tom M. Ballinger
Jun 11, 2013 - 11:49:21 AM

Plainer Words since 1968
June 11, 2013
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Noted above is 2 Timothy 2:15 which, if followed, is the key to understanding THE WORD OF TRUTH. If this principle of paramount importance is ignored or misunderstood, the Word of Truth becomes a “word of inaccuracy.”
            Acts Chapter 2 is a pivotal point in properly understanding New Testament Truth. The Second Chapter of “The Acts of the Apostles” took place in Jerusalem on a Jewish Feast Day—Pentecost. It was a day when the Apostle Peter asserted his leadership as the Head Apostle.
            It is noted that it was “Peter, standing up with the eleven.” Here, we see that the prominence is given to one man—Peter. It is not just the Eleven standing up, but it is PETER, STANDING UP WITH THE ELEVEN! Remember back in Acts 1:15, it was Peter who stood up “in the midst of the disciples” and said that a replacement for Judas was needed. When Peter finished his Pentecostal address, the Jews whose hearts were pricked, said to “Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Later, in Chapter 5, when they were persecuted for Christ’s sake, “Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than” (V. 29).
            Peter is the chief character in the first half of the Book of the “Acts of the Apostles.” This is understandable since it was to Peter that the “keys to the Kingdom” (Matt. 16:19) were given.
            Therefore, we note that authority in the Pentecostal Church was centered in the Twelve. Peter definitely appears to be the leader of the Twelve (see Jn. 20:23-23; Lu. 12:32; Matt. 16:19). On the Day of Pentecost, Peter was exercising his authority by opening the Door of the Kingdom to the men of Israel. Gentiles were not to be admitted on the Day of Pentecost. Gentile admittance does not take place until some years later in Acts 10.
            In Acts Chapter 2, a great multitude stood “amazed and marveled” at what they heard. In fact, some who heard the Apostles speak in “tongues” (other languages) were “in doubt, saying one to another, What meanth this?” (V.12). There were others who “mocked” and said, “These men are full of new wine.”
            “But Peter,” Verse 14, stands up and answers the mockers by saying, “For these men are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third of the day.” The third hour was only nine o’clock in the morning.
            The Pentecostal Address by Peter was the word of God, delivered for that special Day. It is not appropriate to be preached today. Remember, a good rule to follow in Bible study is to ask the four following questions:
(1)   Who is speaking?
(2)    To whom is the speaker speaking?
(3)   About what is he speaking?
(4)   When was it spoken?
            Applying the four rules to the study of Peter’s Pentecostal address, we note the following:
            1. Who is speaking? The Apostle Peter is speaking (Vs. 14-36). Peter was the leader of the Twelve of which he is one. He was the Minister to the Circumcision      (Gal. 2:8). Much more can be said about Peter, but enough has been said regarding his place and position as a leader of the Twelve. Keep in mind; however, he was given the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven/God, but not the keys to the “Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).   The word, “keys,” is a Metaphor for an open door, or a closed door.
            2. To whom is the speaker speaking? The speaker, Peter, is speaking to those who the Old Testament Promises were made to—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To Israel pertained the promises (Rom. 9:4).  Peter’s audience was Jewish. Peter said:
            “Ye men of Judea, and all that dwell at Jerusalem” (V.14)
            “Ye men of Israel” (V. 22)
            “All the House of Israel” (V. 36)
            “For the promise is unto you (the blood line of Israel’s Fathers), and to your    children” (V. 39)
            It is very clear that Peter was not speaking to Gentiles. This is most important. The gospel which was related to the “at hand” Kingdom was “to the Jew first” (Rom. 1:16). Peter stated in Acts 3 that they were “the children of the prophets, and of the covenant” (V. 25) and that “unto you first God …sent Him to bless you” (V. 26). In Acts 3:12, when he began his message in response to the healing of the crippled man, he said, “Ye men of Israel.”
            Therefore, it is absolutely apparent that Peter was not speaking, nor ministering to Gentiles, then or now. Nor, was he speaking Truths for the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head. He was not heralding Truth for Today. He was presenting the Gospel of the Circumcision to an audience who were in the blood line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His message was to them, and for them.  For anyone to insert people from other nations into his message is guilty of a major error of Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
            Peter tied this Pentecostal address with the hope of the “restitution of all things,” as he mentions in Acts 3:19-21. The message Peter delivered in Acts 3 was an extension of his Pentecostal speech.          
            3. About what is he speaking? Peter swept aside the accusation of the mockers by simply stating that these men, who were speaking in foreign tongues (languages), were not drunken as they had supposed, but rather, “this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel,” said Peter in Acts 2: 16. Thus, Peter appealed to the Word of God in answering the mockers. He re-stated the promise of God to Joel, as recorded in Joel 2:28-29 which concerned the out-pouring of the Spirit upon “ALL FLESH,” even concerning all Israelites.
            “And it shall come to pass in the last days [The Day of Christ], saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon ALL FLESH [upon all mankind]: and your [Israelite’s] sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).
            The reference, here, is to His Spirit of understanding being imparted to “all flesh.” But, to Israel, there will be the added feature of “Gifts of the Spirit.” Notice the recurrence of the word, “your.” As it will relate to Israel, it will be to “your sons and daughters,” and to “your young men,” and to “your old men.” The special Israeli Gifts will be prophecy, visions, and divinely induced dreams.  “All flesh” being enlightened is in harmony with at least twenty scriptures foretelling of all of mankind being spiritually enlightened with the ushering in of the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God.
            This pouring out of God’s Spirit had a partial fulfillment in “The Acts of the Apostles” as those who believed received “signs following:” their belief, which was the confirmation of the Lord working with them (Mark 16:20). It will have a much wider fulfillment during the Day of Christ—which is to say, the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God. It will be a world-wide enlightenment of every living human being on planet earth! The whole world’s population will know Who Jesus Christ is, and What He has done for man, and What He has done to the world-wide satanic Kingdom of Darkness. Christ will tear out Satan’s Kingdoms of the world by their roots.
            The overwhelming burden of Peter’s Pentecostal address was the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we were to quote the passages of Acts 2:23 through 36, it would be significant that the subject matter is Christ being taken by wicked hands and being crucified and slain:
Vs. 24—“Whom God HATH RAISED UP, having loosed the pains of  death”
Vs. 27—“Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.”
Vs. 30—“He would RAISE UP CHRIST …”
Vs. 31—“He (David) seeing this before spake of THE RESURRECTION OF                               CHRIST”.
Vs. 32—“This Jesus hath God RAISED UP, whereof we all are witnesses.”
Vs. 36—“Therefore let all the House of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, that ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
            In answer to the question, “About what is the speaker speaking,” we can safely say that Peter was speaking about the Resurrection of Israel’s Christ. Peter also referred to this, again, in Acts 3:14-15:
            “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted     unto you; And killed the Prince of life, WHOM GOD HATH RAISED FROM THE    DEAD; whereof we are witnesses.”
            Peter’s testimony was concerned with the fact that the men of Israel crucified their long awaited Christ (i.e. Messiah, or the Anointed), and that GOD RAISED HIM UP FROM AMONG THE DEAD! This “Jesus” was Israel’s Christ. Keep in mind that at the time the Apostle Peter spoke these words, the Gentile was not in view at all.
            In the Acts 2 address, Peter accused his Jewish audience of having “crucified” and “slain” Jesus of Nazareth, Whom God raised up to sit upon the Heavenly Throne of God. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was Israel’s assurance that He was both “Lord and Christ.” Israel was to acknowledge that Jesus was their Christ, Who was to restore Israel’s Kingdom
            4. When was it spoken? This question is the fourth rule the student must ask, and answer, in order to properly “rightly divide” this portion of “the Word of Truth.”
            The Apostle Peter’s address was spoken on the Jewish Feast Day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in the year 33 A.D. (the establishment of the Feast Day of Pentecost is found in Leviticus 23:15-16 which was to be fifty days after the Passover). It was ten days after the Apostles had asked Jesus Christ the question in Acts 1:6a); “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?”(The answer to this will be found in Acts 28:28). The Lord did not answer their question, directly, but did say to them:
            “ And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).
            The Lord had spent forty days speaking about things which pertained to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3), so their question was certainly in order. This was before any Gentiles were brought into the Calling of the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God, to wit, the Church of God. The first one was Cornelius, the Centurion in Chapter 10, which was about five years before the Call of Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road. Saul of Tarsus was, later, called Paul. This Call was about thirty-two years before Paul, exclusively, received the knowledge of the Mystery.
            The Mystery was not made known until Israel and her Hope was temporarily set aside at the end of “The Acts of the Apostles.” The God-Given-Production of signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit was imparted to all believers during the Pentecostal Dispensation. These were divinely suspended at Act 28:28. There will be a revival of these super natural gifts, after the completion of the Dispensation of Grace and beginning with the Pre-Millennial Day of Jesus Christ. The re-institution of super natural wonders will be an expansion of the miracles of the Acts Period, not as SIGN GIFTS, but as the normal wonders of this world-wide-phenomenon enjoyed during the Day of Jesus Christ.
            There is no place for these wonders in the make-up for today’s spiritual economy. The Lord Jesus is secretly identifying members of His High Calling. He began doing this with the closing of “The Acts of the Apostles.” The High Calling of God in Christ Jesus is the Ecclesia over which He is the Head. Christ Jesus only administers Grace during the Mystery. If He cannot act in Grace, He doesn’t act at all.
            By following the rule of asking the four enumerated questions concerning the monumental event as recorded on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:
            1. We learned the Apostle Peter was the speaker on that day.
            2. We learned Peter was speaking to the Israelites gathered in Jerusalem on the      Feast Day of Pentecost.
            3. We learned Peter spoke concerning the crucifixion, death, burial, and      resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
            4. We learned Peter spoke to his audience at the Temple in Jerusalem on that          Feast Day of the Jews in 33 A.D.
~~Part 2 will be continued~~
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