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Dispensational Expositions.  No. 2.

[Being a Series of Studies having Special-Reference to the
Epistles of Paul and the Present Dispensation.]




In the issue of Things to Come for March we sought to clear the way for more definite dispensational
study, and endeavoured to show that the setting aside of Israel AS A NATION completely altered the

dispensational dealings of the Lord, and that a totally new order of things has been brought in during the

abeyance of the kingdom.

Before we can take up the Epistles of this New order, namely, those written to the Church after Acts 28,

we have much to learn and to unlearn with regard to the earlier Epistles, and so we will turn to these Epistles,

 written before Acts 28, to learn their dispensational position and transitional character. The proposition we

seek to prove is this, that, prior to the revelation of the Mystery hid in God the blessing upon Gentiles, as

well as Jews, was ABRAHAMIC and MILLENNIAL in its character.

We now turn to the Epistle to the Romans. This Epistle, the last to be written before the setting aside of the

 Jew, contains bed-rock doctrine, as true today as when first penned. But, while the doctrinal part remains

 untouched, the dispensational portion of it has become a thing of the past, so far as its interpretation is

 concerned; not, of course, its application.

It is a striking and an important fact to notice how often the Jew is addressed in this ,Epistle, and in the other

Epistles forming the earlier group. We give a list of the number of occurrences of the words "Jew," " Israel,"

"Israelite," and "Abraham," that our readers may see the great contrast between the Epistles written before

and after Acts 28.


                                                     ACTS 28.

BEFORE.                                                      AFTER.

" Jew "                 25 times.                           "Jew "once (neither Greek nor Jew, Col. 3. 11 ).
" Israel "              14 times                             "Israel" twice (Eph. 2. 12; Phil. 3. 5).
" Israelite "            3  times                             " Israelite "       ----
" Abraham "        19times                               " Abraham "    ----

                      ____________                                                ___________
                       61 occurrences.                                              3 occurrences.

                      ____________                                               ___________

Surely this comparison tells us that an important change must have taken place; so great that it will

surely help us if we endeavour to understand this change of dispensation.

"TO THE JEW FIRST" (Rom. 1. 16; 2. 10).

The use of this term in 2. 10, shows that it is not merely stating the historical order of preaching, but is

teaching us that at the time of Romans, the Jew had a place of precedence assigned to him-whether for

blessing, 1. 16, or judgment, 2. 10. In other words, it indicates the character of the dispensation then obtaining.

In the Millennial kingdom, when God once more takes up this wonderful people, "The Jew First," will be

once again, in a far fuller sense, the Divine order. They shall be " Head and not the tail." The Gentiles shall

 call them "Ministers of our God"; while the same Gentiles shall stand and feed the flocks of Israel and be

 their ploughmen. The sons of the strangers shall build up their walls, Gentile kings shall minister unto them;

 and the nation and kingdom that refuses to serve them shall perish (Isa. 60. and 61).

Of a truth the JEW FIRST is written large here. So long as Israel was a People, and Jerusalem their city,

so long they retained their dispensational position ; and saved Gentiles came up to Jerusalem to worship

(like the Ethiopian Eunuch), and were linked to the believing Remnant as the channel of their blessing; just

as it will be in the days of the coming kingdom.

Romans 3. I anticipates an objection arising out of the very fact of this Jewish dispensational pre-eminence

If what you say is true, Where is the hitherto recognized pre-eminence and profit of the Jew and of circumcision?"

The answer is " Much every way."

But in verse 9, to the question "What then-are we better than they (so far as the question of sin is concerned)?

 the answer is, "No, in no wise."

The dispensational position of the Jew did not alter him personally. This must be considered when we

come to chapter 11. 22, in connection with the subject of our " standing in Christ," and the threat of being

"cut off."

"Is He the God of the Jews only?" (Rom. 3. 29). This question of itself shows the current of thought in

the Church at Rome, and the predominance of the Jewish element there.

Coming to chapters 9, 10, 11, we get dispensational teaching definitely taken up. In the earlier chapters

 it has been referred to only in an incidental manner. The objection of the Jew in 3. 3, recurs in 9. 6. The

 Jews, held their traditional teaching that the "children of Abraham " were safe, simply on the ground that

 they were descendants of the Patriarch.

This ground of hope had already been exposed as false in such passages as Luke 3. 8, and John 8. 33-44;

while Luke 19. 9 shows that the term " Son of Abraham " was intended to include not only Jews, but believing


They had to learn that God's promises were connected with the seed; to learn that " in Isaac" the true seed

were to be called, and that "they are not all Israel who are of Israel," etc.

We may notice, in passing Rom. 9. 24, " Not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles," where the lingering

exclusiveness is rebuked, and the non-Jewish believers are called " Gentiles," a truth to be remembered when

we examine chapter 11.

Chapter 10. 21 shows the attitude of the Lord during the period of the "Acts " which culminated later in their

rejection, and the destruction of their city.

We now arrive at chapter 11. This chapter has been sadly misunderstood.

Expositors who have been clear about the subject of the " Mystery " have felt a difficulty with regard to this

chapter. It certainly is not the teaching of the One Body : that is quite clear. The difficulty lies in assuming that

the Dispensation of the One Body obtained before Acts 28. To avoid apparent contradiction, the passage has

been interpreted of the Gentiles AS SUCH: whereas it states the same truth as in Gal. 3, namely, that believing

Gentiles up to Acts 28, were blessed with faithful Abraham-the Father of many nations. It is wrong to read verse

5 as meaning "now," i.e., 1909. The Remnant of Israel, saved from apostasy by electing grace, formed the Olive

Tree, into which the believing Gentiles were grafted. This Remnant is called the " First Fruits" (verse 16), a pledge

of the harvest of " All Israel " of verse 26. The Gentiles addressed are said to have received "Salvation" (vs11 ),

to "stand by faith " (verse 20), and to partake with the saved Remnant "of the root and fatness of the Olive Tree"

(verse 17) The - reconciling of the world" (verse 15) must be read with 2 Con 5. 19

We feel sure that no Bible Student who understands " Grace," will say that the Pagan world, the Gentiles as such,

did then, or do now, enter into any of the blessings set forth in Rom. 11. The Roman world neither stood by faith,

nor was it reconciled, or saved. The Apostle calls the Gentile addressees "brethren" (verse 25). If we once

perceive that Abrahamic blessing was the dispensational character during the "Acts" (as it will be when the

Kingdom is set up on earth), no difficulty will remain, and the transitional period of Corinthians, Galatians and

Romans will be better understood.

  Inasmuch as the DISPENSATION of the, "One Body" had not been committed to the Apostle for administration,

and was unrevealed when Rom. 11. was written, have we not, in the past, failed to "rightly divide the Word of

truth" with regard to this chapter? Some have a difficulty with verses 21, 22, because they feel that if this passage

refers to "saved Gentiles," it contradicts such passages as Rom. 8. 1. To be clear as to this point, Dispensational

privileges must be distinguished from personal standing. With regard to the former, the Jew had "much every way,"

but with regard to the latter, i.e., personal standing and merit before God, the answer to "Are we better than they?"

is " No, in no wise " (see Rom. 2).

Gentiles, who were then being blessed with Israel (as the Olive Tree), had no higher personal standing

than they.

Dispensational standing and privilege were lower than the doctrinal standing in Christ by grace; but it would not alter

that standing.

The Doctrinal portion of Romans is still truth for us to-day: the Dispensational portion has passed away with the

"old things " of a past period.

The Epistle to the Galatians contains similar teaching, both Doctrinally and Dispensationally, to that of Romans.

Gal. 3., is a parallel with Rom. 11., Abraham being used as the illustration, instead of the Olive Tree.

The " Gospel" was proclaimed to Abraham: but the Mystery " was not. We must beware of mixing these two different subjects.

Verse 9. " Blessed with faithful Abraham."

Verse 14. " That the blessing of Abraham might come on to the Gentiles (the same as is Rom. 11).

Verse 29. " If ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise."

Verses 4, 26, 27. " Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the Mother of us all."

The New Jerusalem was a part of the Abrahamic blessing, certainly of Abraham's faith (see: Heb. 11. 14 and 16).

After Acts 28, this Heavenly City is exchanged for "Heavenly places in Christ," and for the citizenship " in Heaven"

(see Eph. 1. 3 ; and Phil. 3. 20).

In our next issue we shall (D.V.)consider Thessalonians and Corinthians, with particular reference to " Spiritual Gifts,"


Meanwhile may writer and reader alike seek grace in understanding the Word of truth.

We will again conclude with a summary.

1. Acts 28, is the boundary line between the present dispensation and the past (see No. 1).

2. Those Epistles written before Acts 23, while containing much doctrinal teaching (which remains truth for today),

 also contains much that is transitional and much that belongs to another dispensation which has passed away.

3. The Dispensation was Abrahamic, and not that of the " One Body," as has been hitherto generally supposed.


                Dispensational Expositions. No. 3.