A brother doubts that we "can sustain the
Pauline Parenthesis." He means we cannot prove that during
this administration of God with mankind, the gospel of the
Uncircumcision is to be taught, and that the gospel of the Circumcision
is in abeyance, until after the church which is the body of Christ is
complete. Paul says in Galatians 2:7, "But on the contrary,
perceiving that I have been entrusted with the evangel of the
Uncircumcision, according as Peter of the Circumcision..." I
believe, as do many others, that Paul's ministry is still in force, and
that Peter's is not, and will not "Come back," through his
writings, until after the Pauline ministry is closed. The brother
says I cannot sustain this position. I grant him the right to
think as he does, and he will not deny me the right to try to prove that
the position can be sustained.
Let it be noted that Paul does not say, in the
passage quoted above, "the evangel TO the Uncircumcision,"
etc. He uses the word "OF." In other words, Paul
was not forbidden to herald the gospel TO any Jew. As a matter of
fact, there were Jews in nearly all the ecclesias. The question,
"TO WHOM shall I herald?" did not enter into it at all.
The question was what "WHAT shall I herald?" Whether his
hearers and readers were Jews or "gentiles," the message must
be the gospel of the Uncircumcision." This gospel does not
point to the kingdom of the heavens on earth, but to heaven. Those
who believe the message, whether Jew or "gentile," are members
of the body of Christ.
Those who say there is only one gospel, and that Paul
was chosen to herald it to gentiles, and Peter to the Jews, are faced
with the necessity of showing that Peter said that those to whom he
wrote are chosen in Christ before the disruption of the world, and that
they are blessed with every spiritual blessing among the celestials, in
Christ. Paul said this in his general epistle, called
"Ephesians." Let them show where Peter mentioned a joint
body, joint enjoyers of the allotment, and joint partakers of the
promise in Christ Jesus through the of which he and Paul became
dispensers. Paul says this in Ephesians, with the exception that
he leaves Peter out of it. Let them show where Peter promised his
readers that they shall be snatched away for meeting the Lord in the
air. Paul made this promise to HIS readers, in First
On the other hand, let them show where Paul ever used
such expressions as there: "It is the era for the judgment to begin
from the house of God;" "If the just one is hardly being
saved, where will the irreverent and the winner appear?" as
Peter said in HIS epistle. Let them find where Paul ever consoles
US, with the promise that the Chief Shepherd will be manifested. This
found in Peter's writing.
As to the "parenthesis," a term which I do
not like to use, let it be understood that the name taken by Saul, after
he was severed from the other apostles, means "pause," or
"interval." He took the name, "Paul."
But I do not base my contention on this. In Acts 13:6-12, where
Paul begins this severed ministry, the Jew, Bar-Jesus, is blinded, and
the gentile, Sergius Paul, is blessed. Is not this
prophetic? In verses 46 and 47 Paul turns to the nations,
(Gentiles), and as many as were set for eonian life believed, while the
Jews, as a body, did not. In Acts 28:26-28, the sentence against
Israel is pronounced with force, and Paul declares, "Let it be
known to you, then that to the nations was dispatched this salvation of
God, and they will hear." Then in Romans 11:25, Paul says,
"For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret,
brethren, lest you may be passing for prudent among yourselves, that
callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the complement of the
nations may be entering."
Israel has never been wholly calloused. It is
only in part. All during this administration there seems to have
been a "remnant according to the choice of grace," Romans
11:5. The period of callousness in part will not end until the complement
of the nations has entered. Does this not mean that during this
administrationthis parenthesis, if you please"gentiles"
are being called, while the national blessing for Israel waits? I
call this the Pauline interval.
When Saul first began to herald Christ, he was
"evangelizing the faith which he once ravaged," Galatians
1:23. Later, he, together with Barnabas, was severed for a special
ministry, Acts 13:2. It was then he became "Paul."
Parts of his oral ministry are recorded in the Acts. During this
time he wrote his pre-prison epistles.
Much of his oral ministry was to Israelites. It
is worthy of note that while he did not make known to them the grace
that is for the nationsthat is, he did not explain it in detailhe
taught such things as Jews must believe, Whether they were to go into
the body, or the kingdom. The burden of his message was, that
Jesus is the Christ, Acts 17:3, 4. Ecclesias, or churches, while
preponderantly "gentile," were regarded as under the
jurisdiction of the Jewish church. Perhaps this is one reason why
Jews in the churches were sometimes troublesome. There seems to
have been a multiplicity of teachers, and those of the Circumcision
would lean toward the law, and teach it, First Timothy
Paul's pre-prison epistles were for the readjusting
of the saints. This was a gradual work. They must be led,
step by step, into the gospel of the Uncircumcision.
In Paul's first epistleFirst Thessaloniansmuch
of what is said might as well have been said to the Jewish church.
In only a few instances does the apostle declare matters utterly at
variance with the gospel of the Circumcision. Examples are: the promise
of rescue from the coming indignation, 1:10; the meeting with the Lord
in the air, 4:13-18; the assurance that the day of the Lord will not
overtake them as a thief, and the promise of salvation despite their
drowsiness, 5:1-11. No such teaching is found in the gospel of the
Second Thessalonians discussed the day of the Lord in
a way that would not "fit" Israel, but much that the apostle
said in that epistle might be found in either gospel.
In the Corinthian epistles other matters that are
foreign to the gospel of the Circumcision are brought in. But not
all of the gospel of the Uncircumcision is there revealed.
In Romans the departure is more pronounced.
Obedience of faith, in contrast with faith and works, is brought in
early in the epistle. The gospel is the power of God for salvation
to everyone who is believing, 1:16. This is true of Jews as well
as Greeks. In this epistle we find that justification is by faith,
apart from works, 4:5. When we rebuke those who "sit down on
grace," and depend entirely on God to bring justification through
the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, 3:24, we are rebuking them for
doing just what Paul commended. We find that we are baptized into
death when we are baptized into Christ. We are dead to sin, not in
the sense that we cannot sin, but in the sense that we cannot persist in
it. Having been entombed together with Him through baptism into
death, we walk in newness of life, chapter 6. We may sin, but that
is not our walkthat is our stumbling. The one blame is Sin
that is making its home in us, chapter 7. The walk is in accord
with spirit, not flesh, chapter 8. Nothing is condemnation to
us. We are in Christ Jesus. No such teaching is found in the
gospel of the Circumcision.
In Galatians we have a strong argument for faith, as
against works of law. There we find Peter an exponent of one
gospel, and Paul the exponent of another, and Judaizing teachers
bringing a different gospel. This is evidently a mixture of the
two. If anyone should bring to them a gospel beside the one Paul
broughtwhether it be the Circumcision or the different one, which
is not an evangelhe is anathema.
"What is the benefit, my brethren, if anyone
should be saying he has faith, yet may have no works? The faith
cannot save him," James 2:14. Would you say this is
identical with Paul's gospel? Paul says precisely the opposite, in
Romans and Galatians. James says faith without works is
dead. Paul says faith without works is reckoned for righteousness.
(To Be Continued)