Archive for January 2010

Did the Body of Christ Begin at Pentecost?

January 20, 2010

Many Christians assume the Body of Christ began on the day of Pentecost. Without ever stopping to prove why (I Thessalonians 5:21), they then move ahead to establish their doctrines concerning this dispensation with this as the key. Have you ever considered what actually took place on Pentecost? What follows is a list of fourteen reasons why the church could not have begun at Pentecost.

1. There was already a church in existence on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 47). This church was not the church which is His Body (Ephesians 1:22-23), because this was hidden until it was revealed to Paul (Ephesians 3). This church, to which the believers of Pentecost were added, was the kingdom church and was based on the confession of Peter that Jesus was the Christ (or Messiah). Peter was then given the keys to this kingdom church and the power to “bind” and “loose” (Matthew 16:15-20; c.f. John 20:23).

2. Peter preached the “Last Days” of Israel on Pentecost and not the first days of the church which is His Body (Acts 2:16-17).

3. There is no indication in Acts 2, or anywhere in Scripture, that the Body of Christ is being formed on Pentecost.

4. Pentecost was a Jewish feast day given in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 23; Deuteronomy 16). In the dispensation of the Grace of God there is no observance of days, and they are spoken of as “weak and beggarly elements” and “bondage” (Galatians 4:9-11). It is inconceivable that the Lord would begin the church which is the Body of Christ on a feast day – a feast day which He had for another economy.

5. There was no casting off of the nation Israel on the day of Pentecost, as was necessary for the establishing of the Body of Christ (Romans 11:11-15, 32). On the contrary, the first real offer of the kingdom was made by Peter on Pentecost. The kingdom was not offered during the Gospels; it was only said to be “at hand.” It actually was impossible for it to have been offered until after the New Testament was established by the death of Christ (Luke 17:24-25; 24:26). Christ must first have suffered and then have entered into His glory (I Peter 1:11).

6. The Body of Christ is a joint body of Jews and Gentiles. Peter only addressed Jews at Pentecost. Notice the words, “Ye men of Judea,” “Ye men of Israel,” “Ye,” “You,” “Your,” “Men and Brethren,” and the “House of Israel” throughout the passage (Acts 2).

7. Part of the Pentecostal celebration was the two wave loaves of Leviticus 23. This is used as a type of the “Jews and Gentiles” by many dispensationalists, but this cannot match the clear teaching of I Corinthians 10:17, which shows that the body of Christ is one bread.

8. Part of the message that Peter preached on Pentecost involved water baptism as a requirement for salvation (Acts 2:38). Water baptism has no part in the gospel message committed to Paul for the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 1:17; Ephesians 4:5).

9. On the day of Pentecost the promise of the Father was fulfilled to Israel. This was a spiritual baptism where Christ was the baptizer, and Israel was the baptized (Matthew 3:11-12; Acts 1:5). This spiritual baptism is quite different from the baptism of this dispensation, where the believer is actually baptized into Christ. The student of the Bible should learn to make a difference where God makes a difference. There are two different spiritual baptisms: one is to the kingdom church, the other is to the church which is His Body. One is associated with signs and wonders, and the other is not (I Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3-4).

10. Pentecost was a fulfillment of prophecy (Acts 2:16, 33) and thus had been “spoken since the world began” (Acts 3:24), whereas the body of Christ was a mystery which had been “kept secret since the world began” (Colossians 1:24-26).

11. If there was any dispensational change, the Apostles were completely unaware of it, for they continued at the Temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1, 3, 8, 11; 5:20-21, 25, 42).

12. The Twelve and the kingdom church at Jerusalem also continued, throughout the book of Acts, to observe the Law (Acts 21:20-25; 22:12).

13. The kingdom church, in accordance with the kingdom teachings of Christ, sold their possessions and established a common treasury (Acts 2:44-45; 3:6; 4:32-35).

14. Peter, in his message on the day of Pentecost, did not preach the Gospel of the Grace of God, which is the clear and distinctive message of Paul given to him by revelation.

Some would argue at this point that God started the Body of Christ here, despite the accounts given in Acts 2, and that Peter was simply ignorant of it being formed. This is hard to believe since Peter had his understanding opened (Luke 24:45), the indwelling of the Spirit (John 20:22), the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), and the filling with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).

No, Peter was not ignorant – he was completely aware of the program which Christ was carrying out at Pentecost and was right on target.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 1989, 2010

Paul’s Unique Message

January 17, 2010

Now to Him Who is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret the since the world began[1] (Romans 16:25).

According to this verse, the revelation committed to Paul, the apostle to the Nations, can be divided into two basic areas. The first of these areas he calls “my gospel.”

… according to my gospel …

This special gospel committed specifically and singularly to Paul (thus, “my gospel”) stands in contrast to the law. It is this good news that God will one day gloriously use as the standard to judge the world (Romans 2:16). This gospel, also known as “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), is information concerning the all-encompassing accomplishments of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

… Christ died for our sins …

This good news can be seen clearly in the first recorded message of Paul in the book of Acts:

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brothers, that through this Man is preached unto you  the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:38-39).

Note that this gospel is contrasted with the law of Moses.

Paul calls the second part of his message the “revelation of the mystery.”

… and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery …

This special revelation concerning Jesus Christ was also committed specifically and singularly to Paul and stands in contrast to prophecy. God’s prophetic purpose has to do with the reestablishment of His domain on the earth through the instrumentality of the nation Israel. It also has to do with the benefits that Israel receives in conjunction with this purpose.

The earth is currently under rebellion and hostile domain: the reign of the Gentiles (i.e., Nations)!

God’s prophetic purpose has been:

Spoken … since the world began (Acts 3:21).

God’s mystery purpose however, never before revealed until Paul, has to do with the reestablishment of His dominion in the heavenly places through the instrumentality of the Church, the Body of Christ. It also has to do with the benefits that the Body of Christ receives in conjunction with this purpose.

The heavenly places, as well as the earthly places, are currently in rebellion and under hostile domain: the principalities, powers and mights (Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:15).

These “heavenly places” are literal geographical locations in the celestial realm. There are “stories” (i.e., levels) and “troops” (Amos 9:6) located in the heavens that must be brought into harmony with God’s purpose: that His Son be exalted and glorified in the earth and the heaven!

One day God will overthrow the rebellion of the earth through the instrumentality of Israel.[2] He will also overthrow the rebellion of the heavens through the instrumentality of the Church, which is His Body .

On the other hand, the mystery purpose has been:

… Kept secret since the world began … (Romans 16:25).

Thus, we see these two purposes must stand in contrast to each other. One has been “spoken since the world began,” while the other has been kept secret since the world began.” Things that are different are not the same!

My gospel” and “the revelation of the mystery,” the two basic features of Paul’s special revelation and message, are seen in I Timothy 2:4.

Who will have all men to be saved [my gospel], and to come unto the knowledge of the truth [revelation of the mystery].

Paul’s “my gospel” and “the revelation of the mystery” are found exclusively in his epistles: Romans through Philemon. Because these epistles reveal God’s present purpose of Grace, this is the message that will provide stability to the life of the believer.

Now to Him Who is of power to establish you according to … (Romans 16:25).

Just how does Paul reveal that God will establish the believer? He says, “according to …” According refers to the standard by which the believer will be established! What does Paul go on to say that standard is?

… according to (1) my gospel, and (2) the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began (Romans 16:25).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2006, 2010


[1]“world began” – translated “times eonian” (CLT); “the times of the ages” (Young’s); “age-past times” (Rotherham’s).
[2]We refer here to God’s Israel, not man’s. The “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16) is different from the current state known as “Israel,” the latter being the Israel of the United Nations.

Pleasing God

January 15, 2010

That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).

Noah Webster defines please: “to have satisfaction in.”

God Created Man for His Pleasure

You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11).

Man Cannot Naturally Please God

So then they who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8).

Jesus Christ, God’s Son Pleases the Father

And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

… I do always those things that please Him (John 8:29).

In Christ, We Can Also Please God

For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

… An odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God (Philippians 4:18).

That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who tries our hearts (I Thessalonians 2:4).

… You have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God … (I Thessalonians 4:1).

No man who wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who has chosen him to be a soldier (II Timothy 2:4).

Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

This Pleasing Is Through Faith

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2006, 2010

Faith Is a Gift of God

January 4, 2010

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

All Things Are of God

“… He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, ‘What are You doing?’ (Daniel 4:35).

For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who works all things after the counsel of His Own will (Ephesians 1:11).

God Is the Source of Faith in Believers

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29).

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

God Is the Source of the Current Unbelief in Unbelievers

Therefore has He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens (Romans 9:18).

God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear (Romans 11:8).

For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all (Romans 11:32).

God Will Be the Source of Faith in All

According as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).

… He has given assurance [translated as “faith” in other KJV passages] unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead (Acts 17:31).

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11);

No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:3).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2010


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