5) Why Paul? 1 Corinthians 15:8 Born Out of Due Time
1) The New Birth of Apostle Paul
2) Apostle Paul Not One of the 12 Apostles?
3) Jews and Gentiles - The Same or Different?
4) Israel as a Nation
5) The Gospel of the Kingdom
6) The Gospel of Salvation
7) The Gospel of the Circumcision
8) The Gospel of the Uncircumcision
9) Apostle Paul in Acts
The New Birth of Apostle Paul
Saul (Strong’s 4569 the Jewish name of Paul) first appeared at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58), and he was first referred to as Paul (3972 means little) in Acts 13:9. Paul was a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5) and a leader in the persecution of Christians, who were also called, “this way” (Acts 9:2, 22:4) and, “the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5). Paul was on his way to Damascus for this purpose when he was blinded by a light from heaven and told by the Lord, “(5) I am Jesus whom thou persecutest”, and Paul “(6) trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do.” (Acts 9:1-7). He was told to go into Damascus to meet a disciple named Ananias that had been told by the Lord, “he (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15) Paul later stated that God “separated (873 mark off, appointed) me from my mother’s womb (before birth), and called me by grace,” (Galatians 1:15). He said Christ Jesus, “(12) putting me into the ministry”, that he was “(13) a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”, and “(15) Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (4413 foremost (in time, place, order, importance)), and “(16) I obtained mercy, that in me first (4413) Jesus Christ might shew forth all long suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1:11-16) At the time of Paul’s conversion he was not seeking the Lord, or calling on his name to be saved (Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32), instead he was persecuting Christians, yet he was chosen and appointed, even before his birth. Christ told the 12 apostles, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” (John 15:16). About his new birth Paul also stated that he was as of one “born out of due time (1626 a miscarriage (abortion) i.e. untimely birth, immature birth)” (1 Corinthians 15:8). Paul’s conversion in 37 A.D was 8 years after the resurrection of Christ in 29 A.D, many years after the conversion of the 12 apostles, and long before the conversion of Israel as a nation, which will occur at the end of the tribulation.
Apostle Paul Not One of the 12 Apostles?
Apostle Paul was not one of the 12 apostles, some believe he should have been chosen to replace Judas, but he could not have been because he did not meet the qualifications. The apostles were told, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22), and were acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit later when Peter stated the qualifications for the one to replace Judas were, “(21) Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us. (22) Beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22, 1 Corinthians 15:5) So Matthias was chosen by lots (Acts 1:26) just as priest were chosen (1 Chronicles 24:5, 25:8, Luke 1:9) in the Old and New Testament, and other important decisions were made (Leviticus 16:8, Joshua 18:6-10). Paul not only did not fit the qualifications to be one of the 12 apostles, his conversion in 37 A.D. did not come until 8 years after the choosing of Matthias in 29 A.D. After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus it was 40 A.D. three years later before he made contact with any of the other apostles “(18) after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. (19) But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.” (Galatians 1:18-19) Paul’s trips to Jerusalem were several years apart (Acts 9:26, 11:30, 15:4, 18:21-22, 21:17), and Paul said he “was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which are in Christ.” (Galatians 1:22) Paul was born outside of Israel in Tarsus (Acts 28:3), and his conversion was outside Israel (Acts 9:1-8), unlike the 12 apostles who were all Galilaeans (Acts 1:11, 2:7). He did not learn what he taught from the 12 apostles “(11) I certify you, breathren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (12) For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12) Paul spent very little time with the 12 apostles, or James who was the Lord’s brother and became the head of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:19). There is no scripture that indicates Paul and the twelve traveled together, he made it clear that what he taught was by revelation from Christ and not from the twelve or any man, and they “added nothing to me” (Galatians 2:6), nothing to his ministry. So why was another apostle chosen by the Lord eight years after Pentecost for a ministry separate from the 12 apostles?
Jews and Gentiles - The Same or Different?
One of the best ways to understand and compare the ministries of Christ, the 12 apostles, and apostle Paul is to understand whether God deals with the Jews and the Gentiles in the same way. “There is neither (3756 the absolute negative, or not) Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). “(9) Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (10) And have put on the new man,… (11) Where there is neither (3756) Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all and in all.” (Colossians 3:9-11) “(14) For he is our peace, who hath made both (Jews and Gentiles) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us: (15) Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain (1417 a primary numeral two) one new man so making peace;” (Ephesians 2:14-15). There is, “neither Jew nor Greek”, God hath made “both one”, he has made “twain (two) one new man”, and the Gentiles have been made “fellowcitizens” and “fellowheirs” with the Jews (Ephesians 2:19, 3:6). If there is now and in the future to be no difference between Jews and Gentiles this presents two problems. The first problem is that there are several promises and covenants from the Old Testament specifically for Israel that have not yet been fulfilled. After Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection the apostles indicated they still fully expected these would be fulfilled when “(6) they asked of him (Christ), saying, Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?”, and Christ gave no indication that this promise would not be fulfilled but instead answered “(7) It is not for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:6-7), that is he would not tell them when. Peter said “But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled” (Acts 3:18), that the bible foretold that Christ’s crucification would occur before the promises to Israel would be fulfilled (Acts 3:19-26, Isaiah 53). These promises include a New Covenant specifically with Israel (and Judah) (Jeremiah 31:31), an area of land promised to the nation of Israel alone that they have never fully possessed (Genesis 15:18), and after this Kingdom is established Israel will be the superior nation that other nations will serve (Isaiah 60:3, 10, 12, 49:22-26). Christ and the apostles indicated they fully expect these promises will still be fulfilled for Israel. If these promises are specifically for Israel, how can there be no difference between Jew and Greek (Gentiles)?
The second problem is that apostle Paul stated “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25) How can this be true if there is no difference between Jew and Gentile? Scriptures written by apostle Paul indicate there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, but also indicate there is a difference in Israel which is blinded, and the Gentiles that are not blinded. The reason is how God deals with Israel as a Nation, in comparison to how God deals with individual Jews and Gentiles, at different points in time. The Old Testament shows there was a difference in how God dealt with Israel and other nations in the past, and predicts there will be in the future. This is why there are two gospels “the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me (Apostle Paul), as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;” (Galatians 2:7)
Israel as a Nation
“And I will make of thee a great nation” (Genesis 12:2), this was the promise to Abram (Abraham) which was the origin of Israel as a nation. “(10) This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. (12) And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, (13)…and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting (5769 eternity, remotest time, perpetuity, always) covenant. (14) And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” (Genesis 17:10-14) Circumcision was not to be performed after a Jew became a believer, but was to be performed on every Jewish male child at “eight days old”, and so “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcision of the child, his name was called Jesus,” (Luke 2:21) Christ was circumcised. This covenant was passed down through Abraham’s son Isaac (Genesis 17:21) through Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 25:26, 28:13-22, Leviticus 26:42), God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28), and he had 12 sons that became the Jews and the nation of Israel (Genesis 35:22-26).
About 500 years later God gave the nation of Israel the covenant of the law, “(8) And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.” (Exodus 19:6-9) About 500 years later (1000 B.C) God promised them the everlasting Kingdom spoken of in Acts 1:6 through the line of King David (2 Samuel 7:4-17), but when Christ came to establish that kingdom they “knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:44), and again they answered God as a nation, “(22) Pilate saith unto them, what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. (25) Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and our children.” (Mat. 27:22, 25), as foretold in the Old Testament (Psalms 2:1-3). In the past Israel had been led by Judges and Kings, but during the time of Christ Israel was under Roman rule, and the High Priest along with the Sanhedrin (Pharisees and Sadducees) acted as the leadership of Israel, and “the chief priest and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.” (Mat. 27:20). So the people of Israel under the leadership of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin rejected Christ as a nation. The covenants were for the nation not individuals, and they accepted God as a nation, or rejected him as a nation. The Harper Collins Bible dictionary (Priests) states on page 881 “During the Hellenistic period (ca. 333 B.C-A.D. 70), the priesthood dominated the nation. The priests were many in number and had a great deal of prestige. The head of the Temple, the high priest, was defacto the head of government of Judea. He represented Judea in dealing with the ruling powers, collected taxes, and was responsible for the spiritual welfare of the people.”
Apostle Paul stated that the Gentiles had no part in the covenants in the past (Ephesians 2:11-12), and the Old Testament stated “saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:” (Jeremiah 31:31), not the Gentiles. “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people (5971 a tribe as those of Israel, people; relative), for a light of the Gentiles;” (Isaiah 42:6) The NIV translation is “I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles”. God dealt with Israel as a nation in the past, and will continue to in the future, “(25) blindness in part is happened to Israel”, “(26) all Israel shall be saved”, (29) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (278 irrevocable)” (Romans 11:25-29).
The Gospel of the Kingdom
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel (2097 good news) of the Kingdom,” (Mat. 4:23) “(16) And thine house (King David) and thy Kingdom shall be established forever before thee, thy throne shall be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:8-17) The covenant made with King David promised that one of his descendants (thy seed) would rule as King over the everlasting Kingdom of Israel (Daniel 2:44-45, 7:13-14). “Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.” (Mat.27:11), the NIV translation is “Yes, it is as you say, Jesus replied.” Christ is a descendant of David (Romans 1:3), he is the King of the Jews that was promised, and the Gospel of the Kingdom is that the fulfillment of that promise was “at hand (1447 near)” (Mark 1:14-15), but they refused him as King and said, “Let him be crucified” (Mat. 27:22). “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister (1249 Servant and Teacher) of the circumcision (4061 a cutting around, the rite, the condition, or the people, Israel, the Jews) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers (3962 father literal or figurative, Jewish Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others, Acts 2:29, 3:13, 7:8, Romans 11:28, Hebrews 7:4):” (Romans 15:8). “But he (Christ) answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mat. 15:24) “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: (6) But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (7) And as ye go preach, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mat. 10: 5-7) Before Christ’s resurrection he stated that the Gospel of the Kingdom and the ministry by Him and the 12 apostles was only to Israel “to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” The offer of the Kingdom was for Israel, and to Israel, and the establishing of the Kingdom before Christ’s crucifixion depended on Israel’s acceptance of him as a nation, and after his resurrection it still does. “I will return to my place, till they (Israel) acknowledge their offence and seek my face: in there affliction (6862 adversary; enemy; distress, the tribulation) they will seek me early.” (Hosea 5:15, Leviticus 26:40-46) It was not until after Christ’s death and resurrection that “(45) opened he their (12 apostles) understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remissions of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:45-47, 18:31-34) The 12 apostles were now told, “And he (Christ) said unto them, Go ye to all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) Why did Christ and the 12 apostles go only to the nation of Israel before his resurrection, and now the 12 apostles were instructed to go to “all the world” and “every creature.”?
“(10) Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and search diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: (11) Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1 Peter 1:10-11) The Old Testament told of a Messiah that would come and be refused and suffer (Psalm 2, Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:26), and he would rule in glory (Isaiah 66:18-19, Ezekiel 43:1-9), those who read it were, “Searching” diligently to understand how the Messiah could both suffer and rule in glory. After Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection “open he (Christ) their (the 12 apostles) understanding”, how the suffering had been fulfilled (Acts 3:18), and that now if the nation would “(19) Repent ye therefore, and be converted, (20) And he shall send Jesus Christ,” (Acts 3:19-20) to establish his kingdom. Christ made an offer only, “to the lost sheep of Israel” first, “to confirm the promises made unto the fathers”, knowing they would reject him and he would suffer (Luke 18:31-34), and then the glory would follow. The prophecy of the suffering has been fulfilled, now there is nothing to prevent the establishing of the Kingdom except Israel accepting Christ as King, Messiah, and Saviour. “And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Mat. 24:14)
“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (203 Gentile, unregenerate state or person) was committed unto me (Apostle Paul), as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;” (Galatian 2:7) Why did Peter, John, and James agree that their ministry was for or to the circumcision (Jews) after they were told to go to, “all the world” and “every creature”? The gospel of the circumcision was to go to all the world but only to Jews, the gospel of the Kingdom was to go to all the world and every creature. The 12 apostles realized the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ must be accepted by the circumcision (Israel) before the Kingdom of Israel could be established, what would be the purpose of announcing to every creature the gospel (good news) of a Kingdom that could not come, before the repentance of Israel? So the gospel of the circumcision and the Kingdom would go to the Jews first until it is accepted by the Nation of Israel. “(36) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off,” (Acts 2:36-39), “to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.” (Daniel 9:7) So when will the gospel of the Kingdom go to all the world and every creature and the end come?
“Therefore say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits there of.” (Mat. 21:43) For 40 years after Christ’s resurrection (29 A.D.-69 A.D), the same amount of time the Jews wandered in the desert (Numbers 32:13), the 12 apostles and their followers continued to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom to the nation, But they were blind (Isaiah 6, Mat. 13:13-15, Acts 28:25-27), “but their minds were blinded: for until this day…” (2 Corinthians 3:14, Romans 11:8). In 70 A.D the temple was destroyed and the nation was taken from the people and the leaders of Israel. The nation it was given to was not the Gentiles, the “foolish (801 stupid, wicked, without understanding) nation” (Romans 10:19) that will make Israel jealous. “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Revelation 7:4). E.W. Bullinger comments in his book, Commentary on Revelation page 282 “And, believing Him, we conclude that as He had reserved 7,000 in the days of Ahab (1 Kings 19:18, Romans 9:4), so He will reserve 144,000 in the Great Tribulation. We have here, therefore, the nucleus of the new nation referred to by Christ in Mat. 21:43.” These 144,000 will be the origin of the new believing nation of Israel (Romans 11:24-26, 9:6), then being the first members of the new converted nation, they will then take the gospel of the Kingdom to all the world and every creature, “Repent, and be baptized” (Acts 2:38), “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mat. 10:7), and then the end will come. Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcision did not offer the Kingdom to Israel, and did not depend on their acceptance of Christ as King, it could not because he taught the nation had been blinded “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25) It was then, and is now, time for the gospel of the uncircumcision in Paul’s Epistles to go to all the world and every creature.
The Gospel of Salvation
Before we can compare and understand the difference between the Gospel of the Circumcision and the Gospel of the Uncircumcision, we should understand how they are similar. “(1) I declare unto you the gospel…(2) By which also ye are saved,…(3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Christ’s death and resurrection “according to the scriptures” were part of the prophesy foretold for Israel as a Nation (Isaiah 53, Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:22-36, Luke 24:44-47, 1 Peter 1:10-12). “Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preached, and so ye believed.” (1 Corinthians 15:11) George Williams comments on 1 Cor. 15 on page 891 of his Complete Bible Commentary, “I or they (v. 11) i.e., the Apostle Paul and the Twelve Apostles. They all preached the one gospel of Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Charles Baker comments on page 327 in his book A Dispensational Theology, “(Romans 1:1)... The gospel of God there can be no doubt but that Paul means by the gospel of God the message concerning God’s Son which was promised through the Old Testament scriptures. This is practically equivalent to his statement in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4... This is what we call the gospel of salvation (Ephesians 1:13) and which is interdispensational in character.” J.C. O’Hair comments on page 99 of his book The Unsearchable Riches of Christ about Romans 16:25 “my Gospel : All of the apostles were preaching 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Paul was not referring to that.” Peter states, “(7) Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. (8) And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; (9) And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. (11) But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:8-11) The Gospel of Salvation can be referred to as, “the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24), Peter knew that it was by “grace” that God purified, “their hearts by faith”. If the Gospel of the Circumcision and the Gospel of the Uncircumcision both included, “the one gospel of Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ”, then what is the difference in the two?
The Gospel of the Circumcision
“(7) But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (8) (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) (9) And when James, Cephas (Peter), and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen (1484 Gentiles, foreign non-Jewish), and they unto the circumcision.” (Galatians 2:7-9) Notice in the King James translation verse 7 states, “of the circumcision”. Many people say both verse 7 and 9 mean that Peter agreed he should take the gospel “unto” the circumcision (Jews), that the gospel, “of the circumcision” is the same gospel as the gospel “of the uncircumcision”. Charles F. Baker in his book A Dispensation Theology on page 330 comments, “There are at least two objections to this translation. The first is that Paul uses the genitive case for circumcision and uncircumcision. The genitive case denotes any kind of dependence on or belonging to. (verse 7) It is the gospel belonging to the circumcision and that belonging to the uncircumcision. The second objection is that in verse 9, where Paul definitely speaks about going to those two groups he uses an entirely different construction: (eis ta ethne) and (eis ten peritomen). Had he intended to mean unto these two groups in verse 7, he would no doubt have used the same expression which he did in verse 9. The good news belonging to the Circumcision is undoubtly that which is involved in the Covenant of Circumcision made with Abraham.” In summary Peter agreed that he would take the gospel message, “of the circumcision” in verse 7, that is the message belonging to the Jews, “unto the circumcision” in verse 9, that is he would take the message to the Jews only.
“But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself;" (Leviticus 19:34, Numbers 15:13-16, Ezekiel 47:23), which included proselytes (4339 Converts to Judaism) that are considered Jews. Those that accepted Christ through Peters gospel of the circumcision were either Jews, or like the Samaritans (Acts 8:14) and Cornelius (Acts 10:1) within the borders of Israel, or the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:27) and Gentiles (Acts 2:10) from outside of Israel, were probably proselytes that remained under the ministry of Peter, James, and those in Jerusalem. The 12 apostles remained almost entirely within the borders of Israel even years after the Pentecost (Acts 8:11), “Peter travel about the country” (Acts 9:32 NIV). Jews from their ministry that were scattered outside of Israel were, “preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only”, and “Grecians (1675 Greek speaking Jews)” (Acts 11:19-20). When Gentiles began to join the church in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-12), (25) Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus for to seek Saul: (26) And when he had found him he brought him unto Antioch.” (Acts 11:25-26) The Jews had been scattered (Acts 5:36, 8:1, 8:4, 11:19, Daniel 9:7, Deuteronomy 30:3), not the Gentiles. James writes to, “the twelve tribes scattered (1290 resident in Gentile countries, from 1289 to sow throughout, distribute in foreign lands, dispersed)” (James 1:1), Peter writes to, “the strangers scattered (1290)” (1 Peter 1:1), Peter writes to those who are, “a royal priesthood, an holy nation,” (1 Peter 2:9), and John writes, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;” and, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priest to serve God” (Revelation 1:6, 5:10). Compare the statement to the Jews, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6), and the fact in Apostle Paul’s Epistles (Roman through Philemon) he never used the words scattered, priest (s), or priesthood.
Through the covenant of circumcision, “my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” (Genesis 17:13), the circumcision were promised, “And I will make of thee a great nation,” and “I will give unto thee,…all the land of Canaan” (Genesis 12:2, 17:8) The 12 apostles, “shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Mat. 19:28, Luke 22:30), “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:14). The Gospel of the Circumcision committed to Peter, James, and the other 11apostles, and the ministry of the circumcision by Christ during his time on earth, were to, “confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8) Apostle Paul’s ministry was not to the nation of Israel, but was to individuals where there is, “neither Jew nor Greek”, and he will not sit on one of the twelve thrones judging Israel, or have his name on the wall of the city of new Jerusalem, his ministry was for an entirely different purpose. The Gospel of the Circumcision effects only the nation of Israel in relation to their special promises, and the responsibilities to receive those promises. The Gospel of the Kingdom effects the entire world (Isaiah 66:16-24, Daniel 2:44), but depends on how Israel responds to those responsibilities, such as when Israel as a Nation will, “acknowledge their offence, and seek my (Christ‘s) face” (Hosea 5:15).
The Gospel of the Uncircumcision
In Acts the 12 apostles ask if Christ would now restore the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6), then He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11), then came Pentecost (Acts 2:1). Then Peter offers the Kingdom to Israel proclaiming the gospel of the circumcision and the Kingdom to the nation, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36), “(19) Repent ye therefore, and be converted,…(20) And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:” (Acts 3:18-26), also see (Acts 2:30, 39, Daniel 2:44-45, 7:13-14, 9:7). Some Jews believed (Acts 2:37-47), but the Sanhedrin and most Jews did not (Acts 4:1-22, 5:17-28), then comes a final appeal by Stephen and he concludes, “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” (Acts 7:51), and this ended in the stoning of Stephen (about 36 A.D.), and the beginning of, “a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem;” (Acts 7:58-60, 8:1). Israel as a nation had rejected God in the Old Testament (Isaiah 1:1-17, Mat. 23:37) through his prophets, they rejected Christ (Mat. 27:25), and now had rejected the Holy Ghost. Peter and others continued to proclaim the gospel of the circumcision to the nation of Israel and some Jews accepted it, specifically Jews that were, “all zealous of the law:” (Acts 21:20) and proselytes. But most Jews will remain in blindness (Romans 11:25) until the last days, when, “they shall look upon me (Christ) whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him,” (Zechariah 12:10) and repent, and the whole nation will accept the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) “then shall the end come” (Mat. 24:14). Approximately 1 year after the stoning of Stephen and Israel’s final rejection of Christ (37 A.D.), Apostle Paul was chosen to fulfill a prophesy of the Old Testament that involved Jews and Gentiles as individuals, “There is neither Jew nor Greek” (Galatians 3:28), and not Israel as a nation. “But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” (Romans 10:19) This prophesy had been foretold in the Old Testament, “They have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish (5036 stupid, wicked) nation.” (Deuteronomy 32:21) Apostle Paul said, “(11) I say then, Have they (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid, but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. (13) For I speak to you Gentiles in as much as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: (14) If by any means I may provoke to emulation (3863 excite to rivalry) them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” (Romans 11:11-14) Notice God had foretold that at some point in time he would offer salvation to the Gentiles, “a foolish nation” specifically to provoke the Jews to anger so that some of them (a remnant Romans 9:27) would be saved. God foretold at a different time that he would offer salvation to the Gentiles through a converted nation of Israel (Zechariah 8:20-23, Isaiah 66:19). Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcision never offers the Kingdom to Israel as a nation, as Christ, James, and the 12 apostles did, Israel as a nation is blinded, and they, “(15) killed the Lord Jesus, and their prophets,…the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16), “the dispensation (3622 administration of a household or estate, a religious economy) of grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2, 1:10, 1 Corinthians 9:17, Colossians 1:25) given to Paul was the gospel of the uncircumcision, salvation through faith in “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13) which is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. But the gospel of uncircumcision includes no requirements of the covenants such as circumcision, and no covenant promises as there are for Israel in the future, “For the nation and Kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” (Isaiah 60:12)
“(8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) “(1) I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (5) Even so then at the present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (6) And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:1, 5, 6) Paul, Peter, James, and the others understood salvation had always been by grace, and always would be. But the covenants to the nation of Israel required certain works (2041 toil, deed and act), and gave them certain privileges. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieith the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5), “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24), Paul writing to the uncircumcision and James writing to the circumcision (the twelve tribes James 1:1) understood the difference.
Apostle Paul in Acts
In the book of Acts Apostle Paul goes to the Jewish synagogues first (Acts 13:14, 14:1, 17:1-2), he teaches “(22) none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: (23) That Christ should suffer and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23) “some of them believed” (Acts 17:4, 12, 14:1), when others did not he said, “salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles,” (Acts 8:28, 13:46, 18:6), then, “the Jews which believed not, moved with envy,” (Acts 17:5, 13:45, 22:21-22), which is exactly how he described his ministry in Romans (Romans 11:11-14). Much of the confusion about Paul’s doctrine is related to his ministry in Acts, and how his actions in Acts compare with the doctrine of his Epistles. Harper Collins Bible Dictionary (Paul) on page 814 states, “Primary sources for Paul’s life and thought are his Letters. The Acts of the Apostles, which present biographical material about him, sometimes conflicts with the Letters and presents the particular theological perspective of the author.” In Acts apostle Paul is baptized with water and baptizes others (Acts 16:15, 33), he cut off his hair for a vow (Acts 18:18), said, “I must by all means keep this feast in Jerusalem” (Acts 18:21), circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:18), taught, “repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” (Acts 26:20), and took a Jewish vow that required several animal sacrifices to show, “thou (Paul) thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.” (Acts 21:24, Numbers 6:13-21). Paul says, “(20) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; (21) To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-21)
The book of Acts records Paul dealing with three types of people that were in Christ:
(1) The first group included Jews that, “were in Christ before me (Paul)” (Romans 16:7), “For ye, brethren, become followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 2:14, Galatians 1:22). These were Jews that were “in Christ” having believed the gospel of salvation, and believing the gospel of the circumcision and the kingdom, that they were still under the requirements of the covenants and they expected the promises related to the nation of Israel. They were taught by Peter, James, and the other apostles in Jerusalem, and many of their followers that had been scattered throughout the then known world (Acts 8:1, James 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1). They believed they were to continue to obey the law (Acts 15:1, 5, 21:20). Paul generally taught tolerance for those that “(5) esteemth one day above another:” (Romans 14), or believed you should abstain from meat sacrificed to Idols (Acts 15:20, 1 Corinthians 8, Numbers 25:2), and Paul even took a vow to show that he “keepest the law”. He agreed to this provided everyone understood, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident for the just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11, Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 9:30-33), as Peter stated (Acts 15:9-11). Works were required for Jews according to the covenants, but they would not be justified by works (Romans 4:1-8, 9:30-32) in relation to salvation. The Jews that believed the gospel of circumcision found Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcision, “hard to be understood” (1 Peter 3:16), including Peter who Paul, “withstood him (Peter) to the face,” (Galatians 2:4). According to the Jews understanding the Old Testament told of a ministry to the Gentiles by a converted Nation of Israel after Christ’s return (Isaiah 66:18-20, 56, Zechariah 8:20-23), under obedience to the new covenant (Isaiah 56, Jeremiah 31:29-33), not the conversion of Gentiles by faith alone without the guidance of Israel. This was why the circumcision found Paul’s gospel hard to be understood.
(2) The second group of those in Christ were Jews that believed the gospel of the uncircumcision, they may have first believed the gospel of salvation and circumcision like Barnabas. Through the gospel of the uncircumcision they came to understand that Israel as a Nation had been “broken off” and blinded, “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:20, 25). This included those like Apollos, and Aquila and Priscilla, and even though Barnabas came to understand the gospel of the uncircumcision, he still struggled with Paul’s gospel (Galatians 2:13).
(3) The third group of those in Christ were the Gentiles, some of which were originally proselytes (Acts 13:43) which came in contact with Paul and his message at synagogues as he went to the Jews (Acts 13:16, 14:1, 18:4).
Summary of Acts
“(2) And Paul as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures (3) Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ” (Acts 9:18-22, 17:2-3, 13:32-34, 20:24, 23:6, 26:22-23, 28:23-24). Paul’s message in Acts, “out of the scriptures” is the gospel of salvation (or grace) which was the basis of both the gospel of circumcision and the gospel of uncircumcision. What Paul proclaimed to Jews and Gentiles in Acts did not conflict with his Epistles, or the Gentiles converted in Acts would have been greatly confused upon receiving those letters. Paul acknowledged the authority of the 12 apostles teaching the gospel of circumcision to Israel, and to those under the law (the circumcision) he became as one under the law.
When brought to Rome for trial Paul spoke before the leaders of the Jews and said, “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28:20) Paul declared, “I am the apostle of the Gentiles,” (Romans 11:13) but it was for the hope of Israel that he was imprisoned and finally executed (2 Timothy 4:6-7). “(14) But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: (15) And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:14-15). “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) Paul said before the Sadducees and Pharisees, “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” (Acts 23:6) The Jews knew the scripture foretold of the resurrection through Christ “(9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. (10) For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:9-10, Acts 2:25-27, John 11:23-24). Paul tried, “(23) persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. (24) And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. (28) Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” (Acts 28:23-28) This was Paul’s ministry to the Jews, “If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” (Romans 11:14), and he said this was the reason for his ministry to the Gentiles, “salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them (Israel) to jealousy” (Romans 11:11)
Paul never taught the Kingdom would be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6), that is the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Circumcision, and he knew blindness and wrath had already been determined for Israel as a nation (Romans 11:25, 1 Thessalonians 2:16), and that he could only hope to save some of them. Paul knew he was, “born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:8), “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, as touching the law, a Pharisee;” (Philippians 3:5), who had experienced a new birth that was, “out of due time” for the Nation of Israel. Through Paul’s dispensation of Grace there is now neither Jew or Gentile. The Gospel of the Uncircumcision is that now all receive salvation by faith in “(13) the gospel of your salvation:” (Ephesians 2:13-14), separately from the nation of Israel, and the requirements of the covenants, including the New Covenant for Israel (Jer. 31:31-34, Isaiah 56:6-8). Why Paul? The Gospel of the Uncircumcision was revealed by revelation of Jesus Christ to Apostle Paul alone, and is the subject of his Epistles for the church today, during a time when God has temporarily suspended dealing with the Nation of Israel.