Sunday, September 15, 2013

What does 2 Cor. 5:16 (knowing Christ no longer in the flesh) mean to Paul's Acts ministry?

What does 2 Cor 5:16 mean with regard to believers no longer knowing Christ according to the flesh (according to His earthly ministry) if Paul was yet preaching Him as Messiah in the synagogues...preaching Him according to the flesh?

It's a long context, and we can't isolate this part, so here it is: 2Co 5:11  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
2Co 5:12  For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.
2Co 5:13  For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.
2Co 5:14  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
2Co 5:15  And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 2Co 5:16  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2Co 5:18  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2Co 5:20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2Co 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
I think, one died, then all were dead, and henceforth not living for ourselves, but unto Him that died and rose again are contextual defining elements. These are the things said before. Then Paul says, therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away. This is what is said after. Here is the central portion as it were;
2Co 5:15  And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 2Co 5:16  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Flesh and spirit are recurring themes in Paul. Living unto Christ meant he no longer knew any man after the flesh. Knowing Christ after the flesh could mean Paul knew Christ before being in Christ?
In Roms.7 he wanted to serve the Law in newness of spirit, but he was carnal (fleshly). Walking by the Spirit, in newness of life, Roms.8 was how he wanted to know Christ now, being lead by the Spirit and not the flesh, see also Gals. 5.
While this might not explain it fully, and to be sure, this is the best I can do off the top of my head, the passage/context removes any possibility for the unrelated view that this has to do with Christ's earthly ministry.
Stuart Allen's audio number A468 might be helpful, I can't remember its content. ON this page

Where's a good overview of Acts 28?

If you had to recommend one source - book or online article - giving a simple overview of Acts 28 and the practical implications of it for our Christian lives, what would it be? 

I'm not sure if such a source exists.  Our website is a huge one with mixed Acts 28 dispensational truth and practical out workings of it; but together in one place?   Mr. Welch's Alphabetical Analysis is worthy of your library or you can find it here in pdf form 

What is the place of the book of Hebrews, assuming Paul did write it?

What is the place of the book of Hebrews, assuming Paul did write it? Even if he did not, and assuming it does have a relatively late date, what is its purpose in light of the revelation of the mystery in Ephesians?

Brian responds:  

This is an interesting read regarding Hebrews authorship on this link under "Various Subjects".
Hebrews sits perfectly in the Acts period and is in full harmony with Romans, Galatians, Corinthians and Thessalonians. Hab.2:4 is found in Hebrews 10, Romans 1, and Gals.3 and Habakkuk is about the earth;Hab 2:14  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
When Israel were unfaithful, (like the Acts period) the Lord made an oath the goal of which flows on through the prophets to Paul during Acts;
Num 14:21  But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.Psa 72:18  Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. Psa 72:19  And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.Isa 11:9  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Isa 11:1  And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:Isa 11:10  And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Rom 15:12  And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
Rom 15:13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
The hope of Hebrews and Romans is the realization of the oath of the Lord in Numbers 14.
Hebrews fits perfectly into this earthly redemptive theme. As Paul was a minister of the New Covenant, 2Cor.3, then Hebrews brings this forth beautifully. Paul wrote in Romans the Day was at hand, 13:11-12, the night far spent, Hebs.10 speaks from Hab., of yet a little while. Trumpets in Corinthians, Thessalonians, and Hebrews. The Day of the Lord in Thessalonians is the Day of Roms.13, and the book of Revelation. We who are alive and remain of Thessalonians are not the we of today. The seed of Abraham in Hebs.2 is in harmony with Gals.3
The writing of Hebrews might be late in the Acts period, which shows the consistency of the Acts period hope, namely that of Israel, cp Acts 26:6-7.

What is the hope of the church, the body of Christ?

In practical terms, what is the Christian's hope as found in Paul's final letters?

Brian's response:
Eph.2:4-8 and Col.3:1-4. The Appearing is not a rapture. We shall appear with Him in glory, where He is seated at the Father's right. This is way above the clouds and air. Clouds and air are inseparable from the earthly Israel purpose. Practically, we will arrive in time for that appearing with the same power which raised Him from the grace to the Father's right, Eph.1:18-2:9, the power in us is according to the power in Him.

Is There Still the Hope of the "Rapture"?

What is the Acts 28 view of the hope of the Rapture given that Thessalonians was written very early?   Does it apply to us today?   Did it ever?

Brian's response:  The rapture is a deception, IMHO.  There are Acts 28ers who hold to it.  I cover this extensively in my book. There is nothing in 1Thess.4:13-18 which says anyone, including Christ is going back into heaven. The rapture was foreshadowed in the OT, is the hope of Israel as is the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets. IF we are reading the Feasts in Paul, we are reading none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come. The Feasts were Israel's typical deliverance, these being fulfilled and about to be, are the same national deliverance of Israel with a remnant and the grace of God upon them, preserving them in their unbelief, Roms.9, 11:28.

Is Christ's Return Imminent or Are There Signs We Should Look For?

What do you believe is the prophetic timing of the Lord's appearing? That is to say...according to standard rapture timing, it is imminent, meaning nothing awaits it's happening and it could happen at any time. Would you agree that far with regard to His return? Or is there something yet to look for...the construction of a new temple in Jerusalem, perhaps...that must take place before He returns for us?

Brian answers:   Our Lord's return is some time away yet, IMHO. There is no basis for any return, or church disappearance "at any time" now. In fact, I would suggest highly unlikely for another 30-40 years.
The beasts of Daniel 8, and Rev.13 are nowhere in view, the wars and rumors of wars relate to wars in the middle east around Israel, and involve such nations as are featured in prophesy. This would include Syria, Greece, Turkey, Iran and Egypt. I believe the Temple needs to be rebuilt and feature as it is written..
I do not believe the Lord was "cut off" at the 69th week, rather the 62nd. If this be true, there remains from the cross another 56 years. The Acts period ran for about 40 years and at Acts 28 the 490 years were interrupted when Israel was set aside according to Is.6 Thus we find about 16 (or 21) years of Daniel's 490 years to run. When will these remaining years resume? I believe at the dedication of Israel's Temple.

Friday, September 6, 2013



From the Bible Understanding Newsletter:

Churches during Acts and afterwards
It would be rather silly to conclude that, because England existed prior to the Roman invasion (say AD20-40), the England today still adheres to the same religious, political and social structures of 2000 years ago.
Strangely enough, there are right dividers who think like this. They assume that because the churches to which Paul wrote existed in the Acts period, then all those churches were fully conversant with the dispensational truth for today.
By comparing the historical data of England pre Christ, with the England of today, we know of great changes. By comparing the dispensational differences within Paul's letters, we find great changes. The believers to whom Paul wrote during Acts were given one set of dispensational truths, but when he wrote to the same believers after Acts 28, new dispensational truths are seen.
This lesson we shall compare information given to the Ephesians and Laodiceans before Acts 28 and afterwards.


Things before Acts 28 and after. We, the Christian community, have been sideswiped with the concept that everything in the NT is about us. Thus when we read Acts and Paul's ministry to the churches during that time, we assume what he taught them dispensationally during Acts is the same after Acts. This is not so.

Paul spent over two years at Ephesus as recorded in Acts 19:1-20. It was there he found certain disciples who he re-baptized with water. These disciples were then empowered to speak with tongues and prophesy.
God did many works of power through Paul at Ephesus, 19:11-12 (see also Roms.15:16-19) and both the Jews and Greeks living in Asia heard the word of the Lord. His name was magnified among the Ephesians.

The Ephesians of the Acts period enjoyed supernatural gifts and had water baptism among them but those things belong to the earthly program. They are not part of Paul's post Acts ministry.

When Paul returned to Jerusalem via Miletus, he called the elders of Ephesus telling them he had kept back nothing profitable from them, which included all the counsel of God, Acts 20:17-27. All the counsel of God must be understood in the words of Paul recorded later in Acts when he said these words;
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.. Act 26:6-7
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: Act 26:22 

Paul preached to the Ephesians, during Acts, all the counsel of God and that counsel was none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come. Now let's look at another letter sent to the Ephesians during the Acts period.
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; Rev 2:1
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev 2:7 

This letter from the Lord himself, does not encourage the Ephesians of the Acts period with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, rather He promises access to the tree of life in the midst of paradise. Paradise is linked with the New Jerusalem which descends out of heaven, and the New Earth, see Rev.21:1-14, 22:1-5.

During Acts the Ephesians and Galatians looked to Paradise and the New Jerusalem, but after Acts Paul prayed they would know the hope of His (new) calling and the inheritance in the heavenly places, Eph.1:15-2:9.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians during the Acts period, he mentioned Paradise in 2Cor.12:1-7. Some words heard regarding the new heaven and Paradise were not permitted to be revealed, 12:4. However, Paul could and did write about Paradise, The New Jerusalem and the New Earth to the believers during Acts, see Gals.4:22-27 (and Hebrews 12:22). These were part of the whole counsel of God to the churches during the Acts period, but are absent from Paul's post Acts letters to them. The counsel of God changed at Acts 28.

It is false to assume that because the churches were established during Acts they knew the truth for today during Acts. It is equally confusing for us to read everything in the NT and assume it is about us today. God never changes as to character, but He certainly can change His revealed purposes. Therefore we must rightly divide the Word of Truth and test things differing if we seek our Lord's approval.

The church at Laodicea was established during Acts, and Paul included them in his letter to the Colossians after Acts, see Col.2:1. The Lord wrote to the Laodiceans during Acts thus;
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; Rev 3:14 

Here the Lord speaks of Himself as the faithful witness. He had already used that term earlier in Revelation;
John to the seven churches which are in Asia:..... And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Rev 1:4-6 

The Lord wrote to the Laodiceans during Acts as the faithful witness; the Prince of the Kings of the Earth. The Laodiceans of the Acts period were made kings and priests on the earth, see Rev.5:10. But after Acts 28 they were included in Paul's agonizing struggles to make known the mystery, the present set of conditions, see Col.2:23-2:2. During Acts the Lord was the Prince of the Kings of the earth, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but after Acts 28, He was revealed as the Head of the church which is His body which has nothing to do with the earth.

Rejoicing with you in the mystery of Ephesians and Colossians.