The following teaching is given as an example of why it is so important to “rightly divide the word of truth” and the impact it will have on how you interpret and understand that “word of truth.” It is not enough to recognize that it needs to be “divided” as virtually everyone does, especially those of a “dispensational” persuasion. It is imperative that you “rightly” divide it.
For God to tell you this means that there must be a great danger and likelihood of you “wrongly” dividing it. It should be clear to the student of scripture that God will not leave you in the dark or to your own devices concerning something of such vital importance. This is one of God’s main instructions to you concerning your edification and the handling and understanding of His Word and failure to comply is to the detriment of the reader. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Timothy 2:15).
So, instead of following the various systems of men, right division means “dividing” it where God Himself makes the “separation.”
“Now I say that Jesus Chist was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8).
“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began…Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days” (Acts 3:21,24).
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1).
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25). See also 1Corinthians 2:7,8; 15:7,8; Ephesians 3:1-11; Colossians 1:24-29 and a virtual host of other passages.
Right off the bat, God lets you know “what the deal is” so to speak. He is very clear in what He says and how He presents it and unfortunately He is most often not given the credit He deserves in this department. The Holy Spirit is the One Who told you to “study,” what to study and how to study it. He has not left this up to any seminary or institution.
So, when individuals talk about the “church age” “Israel vs the church” and other non-scriptural concepts and terminology, they are wrongly “dividing the word of truth” despite their dispensational emphasis. That is, they do not divide it where God does. They end up intruding into Israel’s program and do not appreciate the tremendous change that took place when God raised up Saul of Tarsus to be a totally new apostle in connection with the Gentiles and the “revelation of the mystery.”
The “division” in the Bible, regardless of what some chart or book may say, is prophecy vs mystery, the earthly ministry of Christ and the twelve apostles of Israel vs Paul- the heavenly apostle of the Gentiles and the “mystery of Christ,” Israel vs the Body of Christ. There are two purposes, two programs and two entities. There is the prophetic purpose for this earth, key to which is the nation Israel. The other is the secret purpose that God had “kept hidden in Himself in ages and generations past.” This concerns His plans for the heavenly places and key to this is the Body of Christ, the “one new man.”
Right division is all about the “ministries” in Scripture. Scripturally, the dividing line is clearly Paul, his apostleship and the dispensation of God’s grace to the Gentiles. This is what is going on today and this ministry is contained in Romans through Philemon, which concerns the “one new man.” This dispensation is not ushered in until Israel’s “fall” and so it is imperative that you understand when that “fall” did and did not take place. If you begin to divide before God does it will obviously cause you to miss some things that are there as well as see some things that are not there. That is, you will read Pauline truth such as the Rapture back into the Gospels and put the one new man in Israel’s program. This will mean that you will most likely not appreciate the significance that certain things have in Israel’s program.
Now, beyond the issues of “right division,” I hope you will see just how to study your Bible rightly divided. That is, using this key, you are then to follow the doctrine as God Himself has layed it out from Genesis to Revelation by comparing scripture with scripture. So, even though God has given you some detailed instructions in light of “the revelation of the mystery” made known to Paul, as you examine the things in Israel’s program God expects you to be a student and understand some things when you see them.
It is very rare in the Bible that something will just come out of the blue. Rather, God very carefully lays the foundation of the doctrine just as a building, and then proceeds to build thereon. So, when you come across a detail at some point in the program, you are supposed to understand the “why and wherefore” if you will. Single events are part of a much larger framework and usually have a great deal of doctrine behind them that God expects you to comprehend and appreciate before you ever get there. Such is the case with the example we are about to examine.
But, we will also demonstrate the superiority of the King James Bible and appreciate how God has marvelously designed this crowning achievement and capstone of the translation work to aid you in your study of the “word of truth” rightly divided. Nothing even comes close to matching the precision of its format and terminology. Far from quaint little notions of “grand, eloquent, poetic, blah, blah, blah…” and other slick attempts to undermine its authority, the Authorized Version is THE ultimate in “study” Bibles. Indeed, it is in fact the only one which tells you to “study” your Bible (2Timothy 2:15). This is what God has designed this book for and we have indeed been given a great gift in the King James Bible, if only we would study and believe it.
The “sound doctrine” is from the “form of sound words” and God has already connected the doctrine for you if you will only pay attention to what you read, reverence it as God expects you to and believe it. “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2). It is the “two-edged sword” and will easily hack to pieces any counterfeit that would rise up to oppose it. (Exodus 17:13; 32:26-29; Jeremiah 23:28,29; 2Timothy 5-8). It is the very “word of truth” and it isn’t long before the others begin to fall behind in the count and are shown to be nothing more than “weak and beggarly” amateurs. With that, let us begin.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).
As we rightly divide, we understand that Christ is functioning as that “minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8). This is Israel’s program and it is abundantly clear what the Lord is referring to and there will only be misunderstanding if one insists on “wrongly dividing” the word of truth.
The reference is to the chambers and places of service which are in the house of God. For the Bible’s own definition of these “mansions” and the background for “preparing a place” see Gen 24:31; Ex 23:20; 1Kings 6; 1Chron 15; 2Chron 35:10; Nehemiah 13:5,7; Psalm 103:19; 104:3; 116:19; 122; 134; Ezekial 40-47. It is clear that the mansions are smaller places or rooms within a larger structure. Of course, we don’t need to dig too far because the Lord has identified this larger structure as His Father’s house which is always the temple. But moreover, it is imperative to understand where we are in the program so that the naturalness of what the Lord teaches His disciples is clear.
We are about to enter the last stage in Israel’s program.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:1,2).
This is where Israel was on her program in the Gospels and early chapters of Acts. This is what God’s program with Israel is all about. He has “called” them to be a “kingdom of priests and holy nation” in accordance with His purposes for planet earth and this is the role they are to fulfill in the kingdom of heaven when it finally “comes” and is established on earth. It was “at hand” and when this Dispensation is over and God resumes His program with Israel it will then be “nigh” at hand (Luke 21:31) as they are even closer to the end of Daniel’s time schedule.
It should be evident what the Lord is talking about here just from the references I gave you above. Nevertheless, the Spirit Himself will make it clearer still.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:2-4).
“And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile…Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and do them. This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house” (Ezekial 43:7,10-12).
“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem…And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem” (Micah 4:1,2,8). See Matthew 6:10.
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles…In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 14:16,20,21).
But we have only just begun. The King James Bible gives you the exact companion passage to John 14:2 which makes it crystal clear what Christ is referring to as that “minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8).
“Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people” (Isaiah 56:5-7). See Matthew 21:13.
“So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king’s commandment” (2Chron 35:10).
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek…But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves” (Isaiah 61:1,6).
“And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there” (Isaiah 65:9).
“To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?…Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure…I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory” (Isaiah 46:5,9,10,13).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:3,5).
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22). See also Jeremiah 30:7.
Now there is a prophesied gospel (good tidings) and it is exactly where you expect to find it in Israel’s program. The issue in John 14:2 is Christ’s return, the only return in the prophetic program, scheduled to take place at the end of Daniel’s seventieth week. The issue is not Him taking them back to heaven. He is going back to heaven where their treasure is being “layed up.” He is going to come back with that treasure to reign on the earth in the kingdom of heaven and will then “reward them openly.” They will then serve him “where He is” on the earth as the nation finally fuctions as the kingdom of “priests” to the nations that God has called them to be. This has to do with the “gathering” that takes place in Israel’s program when the kingom of heaven is finally established on earth and “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord of his Christ.” (Is 40:10; 62:11; Matt 6:4,6; 10:41,42; 16:27; 24:31;25:31,32; Rev 11:18; 20:4; 22:12).
And so, as we follow this “ministry of the circumcision” (Rom 15:8; Gal 2; Heb 2:1-4) and are taken into the time “to come” when Israel’s program is resumed, we find exactly what the program has taught us to expect in connection with that house, the servants and the fulfillment of the promises to and with the nation.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1Peter 2:10,12). See also Galatians 2:1-10.
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him,: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Rev 1:5-7).
“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them” (Rev 7:15).
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev 20:6).
That is the fulfillment of Israel’s program. Their “inheritance” is related to the earth in accordance with God’s prophetic purpose for the earth. Their “calling” is, and always has been, to be that “kingdom of priests and holy nation” in the kingdom of heaven.
We, however, have been “called” in connection with another purpose of God’s. Our identity and future is as the “one new man” that God is forming today in accordance with a “secret” purpose of His that He had kept “hidden” in Himself in ages and generations past. With the raising up of Paul as a brand new apostle, He revealed to Him the “mystery of His will” and ushered in a dispensation of His grace to the Gentiles to fulfill that purpose.
Israel’s program-the prophetic program-has been temporarily suspended. God will not resume His prophetic dealings with them until He is finished with His present purpose for the Gentiles and the formation of His “one new man”-the Body of Christ. Our “inheritance” is related to the “heavenly places” and God’s secret (now revealed) purpose for them. This is why He is forming the “one new man.” It is in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, that you are told about your “calling” and “election” as members of that one new man and what it is that God is and is not doing today in this Dispensation of His grace to the Gentiles. This program will end with the Rapture of the Body of Christ, in accordance with the “revelation of the mystery” made known to Paul. Israel’s program will remain on hold for as long as God forms His “one new man.”
And so, we Gentiles give God thanks for the “exceeding riches of His grace” toward us today and for His great mystery with us (Eph 1; 3; Col 1). We appreciate just how “unnatural” this current dispensation is and walk humbly knowing that at any time He may withdraw the special favor we now enjoy in His dealings with man and “intermission” will be over. That is, the Body of Christ will be “caught up” in the air in accordance with it’s “vocation” and “calling,” the theater lights will flicker and the Gentiles will be told to return to their seats. The current dealings of God with the Gentiles are destined to be “broken off”-it is only a question of when. In the meantime, we thank God for His great Mystery and we labor “to make all men see…”
“Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:12,13).
“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. And so all Israel shall be saved…As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:25-29).
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11).
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:8,9).
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:14-17).
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5).
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1Thessalonians 1:9,10).
“But of the times and seasons brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you…For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thessalonians 5:1,9).
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering unto him” (2Thess 2:1).
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thess 2:13,14).
Again, “right division” is all about understanding the different “ministries” involved and the doctrine of the scriptures-the word of truth-is inextricably tied to those ministries (Colossians 1:25). There are two purposes for the two realms, therefore there are two programs with two entities. The people involved in these programs have an “inheritance,” “calling,” “election” and “hope” in accordance with what God has “chosen” them to be “in Christ” to fulfill the purposes of His will (Eph 1). You will not now, nor will you ever fulfill Israel’s program because that is not what God has chosen you to be “in Christ.” God called you by Paul’s gospel and that is where He expects you to “stand” (1Corinthians 15:1; Galatians 1; 2; 3:1-5; Colossians 1:25-29).
As a member of God’s “one new man,” you need to know who your apostle is and why.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).