by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXIV

October, 1944

Number 3

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

Paul tells us to correctly partition, or rightly divide, the word of truth, II Tim. 2:15.  This might be hard to do if he had not given us the key to it.  He says that he had been appointed as apostle to the gentiles, or nations, I Tim. 2:7, and that the apostles to the Jewish ecclesia, or church, recognized this appointment, Gal. 2:7-9.  Nowhere does Paul speak of himself as an apostle to the Circumcision.  His work is for the Uncircumcision.  

His epistles are to be cut off from all the rest of scripture.  All scripture is to be read by us for two reasons.  First, it contains matter, in some passages, that are of race-wide interest.  Second, we need to know how God deals with others.  But when we want to know what special promises, teachings, etc., are for us as the body of Christ, we must look for it in the writings of Paul.  And we must remember that there is one sure way to recognize his writings.  His name is the first word in all his epistles.  Paul did not write Hebrew.  Men have put his name in the heading, but Paul did not place it in the text.  I have no doubt that it was written by someone who had come under Paul's ministry, and understood why the Jews had been set aside.  But the epistle is not Paul's and does not come within the scope of his mission, which is that of "an apostle and a teacher of the nations," II Tim. 1:11.  

We have no right to partition, or divide, Paul's epistles.  None of them is to the Circumcision.  Aside from the fact that he is the apostle to the nations, as stated by himself several times, each epistle contains internal evidence that it is for believers of the nations, or gentiles.  

There are some things in his early epistles that are modified later, but this does not argue that these things are not for early believers among the nations.  There was a period when both the Jewish ecclesia and the body ecclesia existed at the same time.  In such case, the latter was more or less under the domination  of the former.  Tim was required to get the saints away from this.  So, as a matter of expedience, certain gifts were placed in the ecclesia.  Paul says, I Cor. 12:7, "Now to each one is given the manifestation of the spirit, with a view to expedience."  Then he mentions these gifts.  They are wisdom, knowledge, faith, the grace of healing operations of powers, prophecy, discrimination of spirits, species of languages, translation of languages."  In the latter part of the chapter is found this: "...first, apostles, second, prophets, third, teachers, thereupon powers, thereupon graces of healing, supports, pilotage, species of languages.  Not all are apostles.  Not all are prophets.  Not all are teachers.  Not all are have powers.  Not all have the graces of healing.  Not all are talking languages.  Not all are interpreting.  Yet be zealous for the greater graces." 

Let us remember that at least some of these were temporary.  This is indicated by the word, "expedience."  And it would seem that the apostle seeks to show us which are NOT temporary, by numbering them—"first, apostles, second prophets, third teachers."  Evidently these three are the ones referred to when he says, "Be zealous for the greater graces."  

In the next chapter, 13, he shows the path suited to transcendence.  Many of these "gifts" or graces do not belong in that path.  The ability to foretell events, talking in other languages, directly-revealed knowledge—these are to be abrogated, verse 8.  Later the grace of healing was taken away from even Paul.  He was not able to heal his Brother Timothy,  but had to suggest medicine for his infirmities, I Tim. 5:22.  

However, three gifts remain prominently in the ecclesia—apostles, prophets, teachers, Eph. 4:11.  These are number one, two and three in Paul's summary in I Cor., as I have just quoted.  This does not mean that we have prophets and apostles today.  Their work and teaching remain in the foundation of the ecclesia, Eph. 2:20.  These together with teachers, are evidently the greater graces.  In Eph. Paul adds to the gifts, pastors and evangelists.  These are to remain unto all saints attain to the unity of the faith and the realization of a son of God," Eph. 4:13.  As this has not been done, these gifts remain in the ecclesia.  

I Cor. is written to the same people that received copies of Eph.  The latter was not written to the ecclesia in Ephesus.  It was a circular letter, copies of which were sent to different ecclesias.  The ecclesia in Ephesus was only one congregation that received a copy.  It contains matter that was intended for those who had received Paul's earlier ministry, but which would have been almost unintelligible to those who had not.  

I Thess. is said to be Paul's earliest epistle.  Yet in that letter, he says things about the return of the Lord, that contradicts what is said in the Circumcision scriptures concerning His coming to Israel.  See I Thess. 4:13-18.  The Lord, Himself will descend.  He Himself, will blow the trumpet.  The dead shall be roused before the living saints are affected.  All shall meet Him in the air.  

In the case of His coming to Israel, it is said, "And then the sign of the Son of Mankind shall be appearing in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the land shall be grieving, and they shall be viewing the Son of mankind coming on the clouds of heaven with power and much glory.  And He shall be assembling His chosen ones from among the four winds, from the extremities of the heavens, to their extremities,"  Matt. 24:30, 31.  According to Dan. 123, the dead saints of Israel will NOT be roused before the living ones ore affected.  And according to Zech. 14, He shall come to the earth, and stand on the Mount of Olives.  

Don't try to read into I Thess. 4:13-18, what you find in the Circumcision scriptures concerning the return of the Lord.  He shall come in the air, and snatch the ecclesia which is His body away to met Him in the air.  He shall come to the earth for Israel, and send His angels to gather all His living chosen ones from every section under the heavens, before He rouses the dead saints.  Thus TWO returns are fore told—one for us, and one for Israel.  

The saints to whom the general epistle, (Eph.,) was addressed, had already heard the word of truth, the evangel of their salvation, Eph. 1:18.  They were not a new body of saints, who had not been the beneficiaries of Paul's earlier ministry.  They were the same ones to whom his earlier writings had been sent.  

There is no difference between the body of Christ in I Cor. 12, and the body mentioned in the Perfection epistles.  The fact that Christ is mentioned as the Head, in the latter writings, is no reason for believing this is not true of the ecclesia mentioned in I Cor.  In the later ones, Paul is stressing the fact that the body is dependent on Christ.  In the earlier epistle he is telling of the dependence of each member on other members.  There is no occasion to say anything about Christ as the Head. 

Yes, we should divide the word of truth.  But not arbitrarily.  We should RIGHTLY divide it. 

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