I really take a great delight in seeing various aspects of the message borne out perfectly in Scripture. I have never clearly seen these things before in Romans 10. In fact, when I went into the chapter I thought it was one of the more mundane chapters in Romans. However, the truth is it is far from being mundane. There are three principles that are very clear and plain in it. They are also very important for us in understanding the plan of salvation. In fact, if we gloss over these things we will miss some tremendous points.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
The word zeal means heat in the Greek. They have a burning fire that brings forth heat for God, but not according to discernment or recognition of God. Not merely gnosis, but epignosis. Gnosis means to know Epignosis means discernment, acknowledgment or recognition. So they are on fire for God, but they do not have discernment or recognition of God himself and what he is doing now. Think about that for a minute. The Jews believed in God, believed in his unity, believed his Torah, believed the prophets of the past and yet when God sent them a man by the name of Jesus, his own Son they could not accept him. When he sent them a man by the name of Paul or Peter or John or James they not only could not accept the words they spoke they also wanted to kill them. How critical it is to accept the biblical teaching of the men that God has sent to speak and teach his word.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
These verses demonstrate clearly the necessity of the God sent man with a message. There are seven steps here that are given. Adam Clarke, a Methodist theologian in the 18th Century wrote in his commentary about the seven steps outlined in these verses. It is a beautiful point that he brings out.
“1st, a proper Message;
2ndly, a proper Messenger;
3rdly, the message Preached, proclaimed, or properly delivered by him;
4thly, the proclamation properly Heard and attentively considered by the people;
5thly, the message which they have heard, conscientiously Believed;
6thly, the name of the Lord Jesus, by whom alone this salvation is provided, most fervently Invoked; then,
7thly, salvation, or redemption from sin and misery, and the enjoyment of peace and happiness will be the result of such calling, believing, hearing, preaching, sending, and message sent: – and thus the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith is guarded from abuse.”
In order for the plan of salvation to be properly received, it must come from these steps. A messenger must be sent to bring you the message, you must hear it properly, believe it, call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in your life and the act of baptism. The water of baptism itself does not save you, but it is an expression of your faith and if truly done in faith there is a promise to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:38. But the necessity of a God-sent man cannot be ignored.
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So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
In Pslam 19 we read about the heavens declaring the glory of the LORD and basically the idea is that the stars and constellations are telling of God’s glory to the whole earth and their voice is heard everywhere. Yet Paul applies this to those who preach the Gospel. Why does he do that when it goes against the literal meaning of the text? Jesus, the apostles, the Jews and brother Branham used a special process called transtextualization. It means the text has different levels of meaning. I spoke to you about the historical and literal meaning of the text of Scripture. The literal meaning of Psalm 19 is that the stars and the constellations speak of God’s glory to the whole world. The transtextual meaning is that this speaks of the Gospel going into all the world. When you read how the early church interpreted the Old Testament they viewed both the literal and the figurative meaning. The Jews went further in explaining Scripture than modern evangelicalism does today and stated that the Scriptures all have 3 meanings; the literal meaning, the moral meaning and the mystical or typological meaning.
Now with these things in mind, I want to go into the plan of God for the church at the end-time prior to the rapture. Often the Scripture speaks of perfection or being made perfect. The connection is often made with a future event. I want to argue that this future event is connected to the coming of the Lord for the church in the rapture/resurrection of the dead. It is a precursor or a preparatory work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
There is no doubt that Paul had a mature faith and had a great deal of wisdom in the plan of salvation. Yet, even Paul speaks of attaining the resurrection from the dead and pressing towards that goal. In the greater scheme of the plan of salvation we know that all of salvation (including the resurrection of the body) is a work of God’s grace. Yet, we also know that we participate in His grace. He works out his grace in our lives. We don’t work ourselves to be worthy, but instead he works His nature and grace in us. Let’s read what Paul wrote to the Philippians.
that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14 ESV)
“high” an’-o Adverb from G473; upward or on the top: – above, brim, high, up.
“calling” klay’-sis From a shorter form of G2564; an invitation (figuratively): – calling.
- Paul wanted to attain to the resurrection from the dead. This shows there was more for God to give to the church, not new revelation outside of the New Testament, but more to be fulfilled in the plan of salvation.
- He speaks of being perfect, or being brought to a place of maturity and the goal or end of God’s purpose.
- He speaks of pressing on for the goal for the prize of the upward call of God.
Let’s get an even deeper look at what is in store for the church.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
“until” is mekh’-ree, mekh-ris ‘From G3372; as far as, that is, up to a certain point (as preposition of extent [denoting the terminus, whereas G891 refers especially to the space of time or place intervening] or conjugation): – till, (un-) to, until.
“perfect” tel’-i-os From G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with G3588) completeness: – of full age, man, perfect.
“stature” hay-lik-ee’-ah From the same as G2245; maturity (in years or size): – age, stature.
This is a prophecy about the purpose of the five-fold ministry. God has placed these ministries in the church to lead the church to the terminus, to lead the church to a place of maturity. What is that certain point or terminus or goal? There will be a point in the church that the true church will be in the unity of the faith, not in denominational divisions, but one in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
- Unity of the faith
- Unity of the knowledge of the Son of God
- Mature manhood (other places called perfection)
- To the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Paul looked for these things to happen in his day, but they did not take place in his lifetime. They are to take place just prior to the resurrection and rapture of the Church. They are a preparation to enable and empower us to attain to the rapture. Just as in Hebrews 11 it says that they (the OT saints) cannot be made perfect without us, so the same applies to the church prior to the rapture. Without the end-time believers they cannot reach perfection.
We are living in the closing hours of history and this is God’s purpose today, to lead his church to perfection. How does perfection come? What does it look like? 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 states, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect “telios” comes, the partial will pass away.” Perfection is connected with love. The Church will reach a state of perfect love.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
When you were a child you spoke like one and acted like one, but when you became a man you “put away” or render useless childish things. Did you stop speaking or thinking when you became a man? No, you continue to speak and think, but you do so in a more mature manner.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
full age “telios” complete or completeness
So you have a people here that are still needing to receive the milk of the word, the basic principles, the ABC’s of the Bible. They cannot yet assimilate solid food.
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.
The word leaving means to lay aside or send forth and the word used for perfection is teliotace which signifies completeness.
Again all these things we need to move on from, but yet we never really move on from them. We need repentance at all times, faith towards God, instruction on baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection and eternal judgment. These are all foundational and important. Yet, Paul says we need to move on. That is, we can’t stop there, we need to go on to completeness or maturity.These are just the ABC’s of biblical teaching, let’s get deeper and more mature in faith.
In Revelation 10:1-7 we find that the mystery of God is to be finished, or completed. If we see the various connections within Revelation 10 we understand that the opening of the sealed book of Daniel 12 is connected to it. A Mighty Angel having the attributes of the manifestation of Almighty God comes down with an open book, seven thunders utter their voices, John is told to seal up what is spoken and write it not. But in the days of the voice of the messenger of the seventh church age, this mystery is to be finished. There is a direct connection between the opening and then revelation of the seven seals and the coming to full age for the Bride of Christ.
There is a principle in the New Testament that the church must go on to attain to perfection or maturity or completeness prior to the “upward call” of God or the resurrection of the dead. The writer of Hebrews says that we will do this if God permits, but he did not permit the church of the living God to do it at that time. It was for the future.
In Corinthians, it speaks of that which is in part being done away with. That does not mean that the gifts of the Spirit will cease. It means it will be a time where there will continue to be gifts of the Spirit only operated under full maturity and completeness in love.
Now, back to 1 Corinthians 13:12. a looking glass obscurely. but then face to face in full reflection not an obscure figure in a cloudy glass.
John Gill writes in his commentary about the concept of seeing face to face, “here will be nothing to intercept the sight; the objects will be nigh, even face to face; the view will be full and clear, the sight will be perfect, as well as the converse with the objects will be familiar; and which, without the least obstruction, will always so continue: there seems to be here a double reference, partly to what the Lord says of Moses, in
Num_12:8 “with him will I speak, mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches”; and partly to what the Jews say of him, with a view to the same passage:
“all the prophets (say they(s)) looked through a glass, which did not give light; (or, as they sometimes say, which was spotted, and was not clear;) Moses our master looked, “through a glass that gave light”;” or, as elsewhere, was bright and clear, and without any spot. Again, they say(t), “all the prophets prophesied by the means of an angel; hence they saw what they saw, “by way of parable and riddle”, or dark saying; Moses our master did not prophesy by the means of an angel; as it is said, “with him will I speak mouth to mouth”; and it is said, “the Lord spake to Moses, face to face”; and it is also said, “the similitude of the Lord shall he behold”; as if it was said, that there should be no parable; but he should see the thing clearly without a parable; of which likewise the law testifies, saying, “apparently, and not in dark speeches”; for he did not prophesy, “by way of riddle”; (in an enigmatical way, darkly;) but apparently, for he saw the matter clearly.”
The two glasses, clear and not clear, the Cabalistic doctors call “tiphereth” and “malchuth”(u).
“”Tiphereth” (they say) is a clear and well polished glass, by which Moses prophesied and had visions, “and saw all things most exactly”, in a very singular manner; “malchuth” is the glass that is not clear; so that he that prophesies by that, prophesies “by riddle”, and parable.”
Now the apostle suggests, that as there was such a difference between Moses and the rest of the prophets, the one saw clearly, the other through a glass darkly; a like, yea, a much greater difference there is between the clearest views saints have of divine things now, and those they shall be blessed with hereafter, and which he exemplifies in himself.”
So again, this word telios appears speaking of completeness and maturity. After this completeness arrives we will see face to face as Moses spoke to God face to face, we’ll see him unveiled fully and we will understand clearly. Prior to this they saw God in a mirror obscurely now we know him even as he knows us. He has fully revealed his will, his purpose and his being to us in this message.
Revelation 10:7, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”
Finished is tel-eh’-o From G5056; to end, that is, complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt): – accomplish, make an end, expire, fill up, finish, go over, pay, perform.
So the mystery of God will be brought to completion, concluded and ended in the days of the voice. When using the word teleho you are speaking of a conclusion or a fulfillment of something. So this mystery was spoken to the prophets and it will be wrapped up in the days of the voice.
voice is fo-nay’ Probably akin to G5316 through the idea of disclosure; a tone (articulate, bestial or artificial); by implication an address (for any purpose), saying or language: – noise, sound, voice.
sound is sal-pid’-zo From G4536; to trumpet, that is, sound a blast (literally or figuratively): – (which are yet to) sound (a trumpet).
In the OT how the Gentiles would be saved was a great mystery. The Jews did not understand this truth. It was shown in part to Isaiah, Daniel and Zechariah. God revealed how it would come and began to do it through Paul. Then speaks to Paul that at some point in the future God will wrap up his dealings with the Gentiles and turn back to calling the Jews to salvation. Romans 11:25, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” This is the completing, the finalizing, the last act, the conclusion of the Gospel going to the Gentiles.This takes place in the times of the disclosure or voice of the seventh angel. The disclosure of the seventh angel is his message. That message is still going around the world and his disclosure is still being heard.
Let’s put the whole picture together.
- God is going to restore the Church to a place that the five ministries can operate knowing they have the original faith of the apostles.
- This revelation allows for us to see face to face rather than look in a mirror that is dirty and unclear. It is that which is complete or perfect.
- Then the five-fold ministry will work by the power of the Spirit to fully furnish the church for the work of the ministry.
- The church will be in unity, growing into the complete man, of the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
- It is that process by which we may attain unto the rapture, the upward call of God.
Paul was looking for perfection or completeness to come to the church prior to the resurrection of the dead and the rapture. Sometimes we don’t see it in ourselves, but this is the process that God is taking us through in this generation. This is what the Holy Spirit is doing today.
How does this apply to me today? I’m a housewife or I’m a lay member of the church. This is what the Spirit of God is doing today. The question is do you believe it, do you accept that he is doing this today, in our generation? Do you believe it and do you believe it is for you? OK, then remember, we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling for it is God that works in us to will and do of His good pleasure and that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. We participate in this work, we feed on the word, we pray and fellowship with God and worship him. This builds us up into this work of the Spirit, but really, it is up to God to work in you this way. We just have to fully surrender ourselves to God’s plan for this day. This late hour just before the coming of the Lord in the rapture for his church.
If you believe this word and want to receive what God is doing today in your heart then pray with me this prayer…
“Heavenly Father, I come before you now and it is my desire to see what YOU are doing today. Lord, I want to see you face to face and know you fully even as I am known. I don’t want to continue to look at you in a dirty and unclear mirror. I want to know you in the power of your resurrection and to press on towards the goal of the upward call in Christ Jesus. This is for me and I believe that you are going to work it into my heart, this perfection, this maturity, this completion that you have for us. In the name of Jesus Christ I ask it. Amen.”