`Saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did
say should come' (Acts 26:22).
Paul's defense must be understood as literally true.
When the apostle declares, in Colossians 1:26, that the Mystery which had been hid from ages and from generations, has now been made manifest, his words are a commentary upon the essential nature of a `mystery' or `secret'. We shall search in vain the pages of the prison epistles (Ephesians,
Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, Philemon) for any references to the law and the prophets, in so far as the
distinctive revelation of the Mystery is concerned.
Speaking of his conversion and commission on the road to Damascus, the apostle tells us that the Lord said to him:
` I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both
of these things which thou hast seen, and of those
things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the
people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee' (Acts
The word `both' here cannot be set aside; it indicates two ministries. We read of `these things' and `those things'; of the `things which thou hast seen', and the `things in the which I will appear unto thee'. Here obviously we have two
ministries. Further, while the apostle soon found that his own `people', Israel, were opposed to him, he also found, during
the early part of his ministry, that the Gentiles, especially the Roman soldiers, were often his protectors. Proceeding from
this statement, the apostle leads on to the verse cited at the head of this study.
We must remember, in reading this passage, that Paul is a bondman, that he has appealed unto Caesar, and that the only
reason for this special hearing before Agrippa, is that Festus, the new Roman Governor, is in a predicament-for, he says: `It seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him' (Acts 25:27). Paul, therefore, has to offer a
defense, and, knowing that the Jewish religion, with its temple worship and sacred books, is a religion sanctioned by Roman authority, his
defense is that he has not gone outside the teaching of the law and the prophets, and so has committed no crime against the laws of Rome.
With regard to his first ministry which he had fulfilled, the apostle says:
`... I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance' (Acts 26:19,20).
This is reminiscent of the apostle's words to the Thessalonians:
`... Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven' (1
Returning to Acts 26, we read:
`For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me' (verse 21).
The Jews did not accuse Paul of denying the teaching of the law and the prophets. They unjustly charged him with desecrating the temple by taking a Gentile into it (Acts 21:28); but the fact that they found him in the temple, and that he had gone there to refute the charge made against him that he taught the Jews who were among the Gentiles to forsake Moses (Acts 21:21), would be evidence that his teaching was in harmony with Old Testament Scriptures.
`Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come' (Acts 26:22).
It has been suggested that we must not press these words too far, and that all that Paul intended to convey was that he
was not an irresponsible iconoclast. When a man of ordinary honesty is making a statement before a judge we
expect his statement to be true, and without double meaning.
If such can be said of the ordinary man, how much more should we expect the apostle of truth to speak with great plainness of speech. If we were to find, in face of this
statement, that his early epistles contained teaching that neither the prophets nor Moses had said should came, then it
would be difficult to offer any defense. We intend to examine the apostle's early ministry, as found in the epistles
written before Acts 28, in order to discover whether or not his statement before Agrippa was literally true.
His own extension of the statement is given in Acts 26:23
`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 the
This refers particularly to the gospel which Paul had preached. A little earlier we read:
`And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of
God unto our fathers' (Acts 26:6).
This refers to the character of the hope which was in operation during the Acts period, and which is to be found in
the epistles of that time.
While we are dealing with the question of Paul's defense, let us turn back to the preceding
chapter and read his statement before Festus:
... Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended anything at all' (Acts 25:8)
Before Felix, in the previous chapter, the apostle had said:
`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: 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).
On the surface it appears that the apostle intended to convey quite literally that up to the time of his imprisonment in Caesarea his ministry had been but the legitimate expansion of Old Testament prophecy, whether with
reference to the gospel, the hope, outpouring of spiritual gifts, or the inclusion of the Gentiles. None of these things has any
reference to the Mystery as made known for the first time in the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians.
If in all Paul's ministry up to the date of Acts 26 he had said `none other things than those that the prophets and Moses did say should come', then it is both vain and unbelieving to look for the Mystery in these early epistles. If upon examination it should be found that the early epistles do contain truth which neither the prophets nor Moses did say should come, then there will have to be a drastic readjustment
of our teaching. At the moment, however, our position is that the Mystery is not found in these early epistles, and that they
belong to a different dispensation. Salvation by the blood of Christ, and justification by faith, are taught in both sets of
epistles, but these are foundation truths, and do not touch the subject of the Mystery. Until a man is saved, no
dispensational position is possible for him, either in the earthly kingdom, the heavenly city, or `far above all'.
So far as the Acts of the Apostles is concerned, our examination enables us to affirm that there at least, the apostle is found saying `none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come'
The gospel as preached by Paul was in accordance with
the testimony of the law and the prophets.
It would probably not be easy to find complete agreement among our readers as to the chronological order of Paul's epistles. This question does not, however, influence our present investigation, and we will therefore take the canonical order and commence with the Epistle to the Romans though
here we may all be in agreement that it was the last epistle written before the change of dispensation. If we can prove that this epistle fulfils the apostle's claim as cited at the head of this booklet, the case is practically settled, for if the latest epistle of this series adheres closely to the law and the prophets, the earlier ones must have done so also.
We commence reading this epistle, and in the opening verses we are faced with the fact that `the gospel of God', to which the apostle had been `separated', was `promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures'. This gospel was `for obedience of the faith among all nations' (1:5), and its power was the provision of righteousness by faith - a provision to be found promised in the prophets:
... As it is written, The just shall live by faith' (Rom. 1:17; cf Hab. 2:4)
After having proved both Jew and Gentile to be under sin,
giving in Romans 3:13-18 a continuous and composite series of quotations from the Psalms, the apostle returns to the
subject of the provision of righteousness by faith, which constitutes the basis of the gospel:
`But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being
witnessed by the law and the prophets' (Rom. 3:21).
This righteousness by faith belongs to the believer by imputation, and in Romans 4, both Abraham and David are
`For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness' (verse 3).
`Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they
whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered' (verses 6,7).
Pursuing this theme, we come to Romans 10. There the apostle speaks of Christ as being the `end of the law for
righteousness to every one that believeth', and declares that it was `ignorance' on the part of Israel that led them to attempt
to produce a righteousness of their own. For even though Moses described the righteousness which is of the law - `That the man which doeth those things shall live by them'; in Deuteronomy 30:12-14 he is equally insistent upon the nature of the gospel message (Rom. 10:6-10), as also are the prophets: `For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed' (verse 11).
Moses, the Psalms and Isaiah are quoted in the remainder of Romans 10 in proof of the fact that `faith cometh by hearing', and that the extension of the gospel to the Gentile was intended to provoke Israel to jealousy.
Coming now to 1 Corinthians, we find the preaching of the cross confirmed by quotations from Isaiah and Jeremiah:
`That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord' (1 Cor. 1:31).
In 1 Corinthians 5 Christ is spoken of as `our Passover' and in chapter 15 as `the Firstfruits'. Both of these terms refer back to the law of Moses.
In 1 Corinthians 15:3,4, the apostle affirms:
`I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures'.
The Epistle to the Galatians insists upon the fact that the gospel is entirely in harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures:
`The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed' (Gal. 3:8).
`The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe' (Gal. 3:22).
The Epistle to the Hebrews is in some measure outside the. present enquiry. Being written to the Hebrews, we naturally expect an appeal to be made to the Old Covenant Scriptures. Nevertheless, it is significant that, while the apostle sets aside
the Old Covenant with its ceremonies and sacrifices that did not touch the conscience, he quotes the prophets for the bringing in of the New Covenant (Heb. 8), and cites the fact
that the tabernacle which was erected by Moses was an earthly copy of the pattern shown to him in the mount:
`Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle:
for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount' (Heb. 8:5). j
We will not, however, pursue this investigation further. So far as our present purpose is concerned there is no controversy
with regard to this epistle, which, by its very theme, is an expansion of the Old Testament type and shadow, and raises no problems in connection with Gentile admission or hope. At the moment we are concerned with how far Paul's words uttered in
defense before Agrippa are true and binding with
reference to the teaching of his early epistles as the apostle of the Gentiles. We believe that there will be full agreement among us all, that, so far as the basic theme of the gospel was
concerned - redemption by blood, and the imputation of righteousness by faith - the apostle preached
`none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come'.
No. 3 The inclusion of the Gentile in Gospel and Promise was never a secret.
While it may readily be admitted that the basic terms of the gospel are to be found in the Law and the Prophets, it may nevertheless be contended that the extension of the blessings of the gospel to the Gentiles, and their inclusion among Abraham's seed, does, in fact, go beyond what is written in the Old Testament Scriptures. It is undoubtedly true that the opening of the door of faith to the Gentiles took the early Church by surprise, and the contention of those of the circumcision at Jerusalem with Peter after they had heard of his visit to Cornelius (Acts 11:3), and Peter's own attitude (Acts 10:28), most certainly show a
deep prejudice against such an inclusion of the Gentile. But prejudice, however deep, is not the standard of our faith; and
our quest must still be: `What saith the Scriptures?'
At the conference convened at Jerusalem, as recorded in Acts 15, James shows that the inclusion of the Gentile agreed with Old Testament prophets.
'Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called, saith the Lord Who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world' (Acts 15:14-18).
If we turn to the prophet Amos, and consult the context of the passage cited by James (Amos 9:11,12), we shall perceive that James very rightly says: `To this agree (or
harmonize) the words of the prophets' (plural - the prophets as a whole),
for Amos 9:11,12 looks forward to a yet future time for its fulfillment. There was much that took place during the Acts
that was of a tentative nature, waiting to see (speaking after the manner of men) whether Israel would repent and the
earthly kingdom be set up, or whether they would refuse, and the kingdom purpose fall into abeyance.
In Acts 13 we find the apostle Paul using the Old Testament Scriptures in much the same way. When the Jews manifest their envy at the Gentile acceptance of the gospel,
the apostle says:
`... It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth' (Acts
Commencing once again with the Epistle to the Romans, we observe that the gospel which was `promised afore ... in the Holy Scriptures', was also for the `obedience to the faith among (unto) all nations' (Rom. 1:1-5).
In chapter 3 the apostle brings forward as an argument, the
fact that God is One.
`Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then ', make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law' (Rom. 3:29-31).
This basic fact was evidently in the apostle's mind when I he addressed the men of Athens and commented upon the
worship of the `Unknown God'.
`God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hash made
of one blood all nations of men ... that they should seek the Lord ... now commandeth all men every where to repent' (Acts 17:24-30).
Another argument is brought forward in Romans 4:9-10
`Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only? ... How was it then reckoned? When he (Abraham) was in circumcision, or in' uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in
We can only dimly realize the blow that this question and its answer must have been to Jewish prejudice and I
exclusiveness. The Jews had boasted with pride that ', Abraham was their father, but had forgotten that Abraham
was not an Israelite, but a Gentile from Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham was already justified by faith and the heir of the
promises, before the rite of circumcision was instituted, and before Isaac was born. He was therefore
`... the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who ' also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had
being yet uncircumcised ... Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations)' (Rom. 4:11-
With this passage should be compared the argument of Galatians 3:
`The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (nations) through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed' (Gal. 3:8).
`Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ' (Gal. 3:16).
'For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise' (Gal. 3:27-29).
It is evident from the testimony of James, and of Paul, that the inclusion of the Gentile in the blessings of the gospel and
the Abrahamic promise, was no mystery (secret) but the consistent witness of Moses and the prophets.
Both these authorities are quoted in Romans 10 with regard to the inclusion of the Gentile:
... First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me' (Rom. 10:19,20).
With reference to the gospel, the Jew and the Gentile stand level. Both are sinners, and `there is no difference', either in the matter of guilt or salvation (Rom. 3:22,23; 10:12). When we come to dispensational privileges, however, we find, during the early ministry of the apostle, that the Jew is `first'.
In Romans 11 after showing that the believing Gentiles, equally with the believing Jews, are Abraham's seed and
heirs, the apostle writes:
`And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, were graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches' (Rom. 11:17,18).
This dispensational distinction we must keep well in mind, for while it lasted and until the middle wall was broken down, no church of the One Body with the threefold equality of Ephesians 3:6 was possible.
In Romans 15, the apostle speaks of the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as being concerned with the
`Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers' (Rom.
This testimony is explicit. The `Gospels' are primarily concerned with the `circumcision' and with the confirmation of promises made `unto the fathers'. We have already seen, however, that in the great promise made to Abraham the Gentiles were included, with Israel as the channel of blessing.
Consequently Romans 15:8 is followed by 15:9-12 :
`And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written
... and again He with ... And again... And again'.
Apparently no opposition was anticipated to the exclusiveness of Romans 15:8, for the apostle had already
alluded to the strength of Jewish prejudice by asking, `Is He the God of the Jews only?'. Today, however, the whole
aspect of things is reversed. Anyone who dares to believe
Romans 15:8 and teach that the Gospels are primarily `Jewish' must prepare to meet criticism and opposition, while
in most congregations the hope of the Jew is so far forgotten or spiritualized that today one would have to ask `Is He the
God of the Gentiles only?'. The inclusion of the Gentile,
even as a wild olive in the olive tree of Israel, presupposes Paul's glorious teaching concerning the reconciliation of the
world in its dispensational aspect (Rom. 11:15), even as the gospel he preached (2 Cor. 5:21) necessitated the
reconcillication of the world, in its doctrinal aspect (2 Cor.
For our present purpose Romans 15:8-12 provides an
abundant confirmation of the fact that the inclusion of the Gentile was no new thing. Further evidence can be gathered
from the remaining epistles of the period, but enough, we trust, has been brought forward to establish the fact that the
inclusion of the Gentile, both in the gospel and in the Abrahamic promise, demands for its confirmation
`none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should