The Eleven and Paul

This is a rewrite of The Eleven and Paul.  If you bought the hard copy of ‘So You Missed the Rapture UPDATE,’ you will have the original version.  This rewrite has been updated to, hopefully, provide you a better understanding of the book of Acts.  Go to the BOOK tab and download the two PDFs that contain all updates and changes as of the date of this rewrite.

Also note that this article is written assuming you’ve already read the home page at churchageisdifferent.com and know the difference between the sealed Church in the Church Age and the non-sealed church outside the Church Age.

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Let’s look into the ministries of the Eleven and Paul.  I’m thinking an outline format will work best.

I.  The Eleven

     A.  Disciples Sent

     B.  70/72 Sent

     C.  Great Commission

     D.  Acts 2

II.  Paul

     A.  Conversion by Jesus

     B.  Commission by Jesus

     C.  Paul’s Journeys

III.  My Theory

     A.  What Does This Mean?

     B.  Disciples’ Authority

IV.  Church Age Start Date

 I.  The Eleven

Obviously, Judas makes 12, but we all know what his role was (John 13:18, 17:12).

Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written for one purpose.  That purpose was to announce to the Jews that their kingdom was at hand (see Synoptic Gospels).  The Gospel of John was written for a different purpose.  It showed the Jews that Jesus and the Father were one, and that if you believed in the One sent (Jesus), you believed in the One sending (the Father), and vice versa (see John’s Books).

Jesus sent out His disciples to announce the kingdom, preach its gospel, and perform miracles.

     A.  Disciples Sent

Before the Triumphal Entry, the 12 were sent out in Matthew 10, Mark 6, and Luke 9…

Matthew 10 (read the whole chapter)

1Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness….

These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of IsraelAnd as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons…14 Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city….

40-42

40 He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me…. 42 And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Though the full passage in Matthew 10 seems like Jesus is speaking only to the 12, when you look at Mark 8:34-38 and Luke 9:23-26, you see that part of it is addressed to the multitudes as well. I’m not sure exactly which parts are for who, though.  It might make a difference.  Why?  Because I think the disciples were placed in a very unique situation.  We’ll look at that later.

  1. 12 disciples sent out only to Israel, proclaiming the Kingdom is at hand, which is what John the Baptist and Jesus did as well.
Mark 6:7-13

And He *summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits…11 Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” 12 They went out and preached that men should repent13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.

  1. I am assuming to Israel alone.  Preaching repentance.
Luke 9:1-6

And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing…. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

  1. Assuming again to Jews, proclaiming the kingdom and preaching the gospel.   
     B.  70/72 Sent

Later the 70/72 others were sent out.  This account is only found in Luke.

Luke 10: 1-16

Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come… Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.10 But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city…

16 “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

  1. These were sent where Jesus Himself was going to go.

Now comes John 20.  After the resurrection but before the Great Commission, Jesus appeared to the Eleven.  Read this carefully.

John 20:19-23

19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

  1. Jesus had already been rejected by the Jews as the King of their Kingdom. He had already been crucified and rose again.  Why is He sending them out now?  With what message?  To whom?
  2. He gave them the Holy Spirit.  How so?  Filled with?  Fell upon?  Indwelt?  However they received Him, it was only to the Eleven.
  3. And please don’t miss v.23.  They, the Eleven, can forgive and retain sins of others. 
  4. Is this the same event as Luke 24?  I’m not sure.  Seems that way. 
Luke 24 sections

33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them

45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

  1. Jesus specifically wants them to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins in His name to all nations, beginning with the Jews.
     C.  Great Commission

Finally, we get to the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28 and Acts 1.

Matthew 28:16-20

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:1-8

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

6-8

So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

  1. Even just before His ascension, Jesus is still speaking to the apostles about the Kingdom.
  2. What did Jesus send them out to do? The Eleven are sent to make disciples of all nations according to what Jesus had taught them, beginning with the Jews.  Baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Teaching them to observe what Jesus had commanded.
     D.  Acts 2

Acts 2 sections  

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance….

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them… 22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power…. 

32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear…. 

36-41

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

  1. Jesus had prepared and trained the apostles and other disciples for a purpose. They were empowered to go out and preach the gospel to all people, beginning in Jerusalem.  After Jesus’ ascension, He sends them out.  But with what gospel?  The same one they’d been taught all along (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:38-39).
  2. About 120 disciples are gathered here (1:15) but 2:14 says Peter and the 11 stood up. So it seems that all 120 were anointed but the Eleven were at the forefront that day. 
  3. Filled with the Holy Spirit.  Come upon?  Indwelt?

II.  Paul

He’s the last apostle (I Corinthians 15:8-9).  

     A.  Conversion by Jesus

Saul/Paul’s conversion is recorded in Acts 9, which gives very little detail.  Other places, like those listed below, help us better understand what happened there.  

Repeat of Damascus vision

Acts 22:12-16

12 “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 15 For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

  1. It seems as though Paul himself, according to v.16, was saved by the same gospel that Jesus told to the Eleven, meaning not our Church Age gospel of ‘by grace through faith alone.’ 
Acts 26:15-23

15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

19-23

19 “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision,20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.  21 For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. 22 So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;23 that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

  1. We see in this recounting of the Damascus vision that Paul was preaching the Kingdom gospel, v.20.  Yet v.16 is telling us that Jesus will appear to Paul again later with another revelation, which I believe is our Church gospel found in his epistles of Romans through Philemon.
     B.  Commission By Jesus

So summing up, I believe Paul was saved in Acts 9 but wasn’t given his (or our) gospel until later.  He continues to reach out to the Jews due to his love for his own people (Romans 9:3, 10:1, etc) even though God commissioned him to be the apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7).  This commission was received directly from Jesus.

Galatians 1:11-12

11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

     C.  Paul’s Journeys

In this rewrite, I’m going to skip over listing the highlights from Paul’s journeys here in this section.  I’ll list some of them for you in the following section.  You’ll understand why soon!

III.  My Theory
But first…

Daniel 9:24-27 is one of the most amazing prophecies in the entire Bible.  It gives the framework or outline in which future events must fit within; it separates Jewish time from non-Jewish time; it also tells the Jews that their Messiah was going to die.   Jesus, their long-promised King, was to die at a pre-determined time. 

If He died at their hands, which He did [the Romans killed Him only at their request], then that sealed their rejection of Him as their King.  This, as we know, caused their kingdom to be postponed. 

But even if they had not sent Him to the Romans to be put to death, He still had to die.  It just would have meant they, the Jews, weren’t the guilty party.  You know what that means, right?  Their kingdom would not have been postponed and the gap in time of Daniel 9:26 would most likely have been way, way less than 2,000 years.  Possibly no gap.  My thoughts are that there might not have been a Church Age.  (See CHART:  God’s Purpose and Plan.)

^^^^

Anyway, putting aside the above kingdom aspect, we know that Jesus also came to die for our sin. We know that His death, burial, and resurrection was the Father’s plan to bring salvation to the world. 

For those in the past, that means He emptied Abraham’s bosom, the temporary holding place of those who believed God.   For those in the future, it would be twofold.  One, the Church, secured by the indwelling Holy Spirit, would by faith in Him alone be saved.  And two, those outside the Church Age would also be saved by following the Kingdom gospel of repentance He set forth to the Eleven.

So here’s my theory.

Jesus taught the Eleven what would be necessary for salvation outside the Church Age.  The Eleven were to make disciples by preaching the Kingdom gospel of repentance, beginning with the Jews, found in the Gospels and the book of Acts.  This same Kingdom gospel will again be in effect after the Rapture ends the Church Age.  Hebrews through Revelation deal with that time frame.  

Saul/Paul is converted in Acts 9 and becomes the last Apostle.  He’s saved by the Kingdom gospel of repentance and throughout the book of Acts preaches the Kingdom gospel of repentance, just like the Eleven.  Here’s the listing I promised you earlier showing just that:

17:30-31 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

 19:1-8  It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying

There were in all about twelve men.  And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.

20:18-25   18 And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ

22 And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.

 28:23 23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.

28:30-31  30 And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

 

At some point in time Jesus appears to Paul again (Acts 26:16 from above) to give him the Church Age gospel of salvation by faith alone. 

So WHEN did this happen?

I don’t know.  But we can look briefly into some clues.

In Acts 15 we see Paul and Barnabas going to Jerusalem to meet with the Apostles and elders concerning circumcision.  They all agree, under James’ direction, to write a letter to the believing Gentiles with their decision on the matter.

Acts 15:28-29  28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

Acts 21 Paul again goes to Jerusalem and meets with James and all the elders, mentioning the letter written in Acts 15.

Galatians 2 describes Paul meeting up with the ‘pillars.’  Is this a repeat of Acts 15?  I don’t believe so — there’s too many differences!

Galatians 2:5-9 

But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with youBut from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 

 

The result here in Galatians is not a letter to believing Gentiles about abstaining, etc.  The result here is what you just read in v.7-9.   Paul did not yield (v.5) and those of high reputation did not contribute (v.6).  The Eleven would minister to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles.  They only asked Paul to remember the poor!

So any of the Eleven who wrote books of the Bible wrote to the Jews.  Therefore, the books Peter, James, and John wrote were necessary for those they were preaching to at the time and were recorded and preserved so that same gospel is available for the Tribulation Jews and other believers of that future Jewish time frame set forth in Daniel 9:27.

And Paul wrote his epistles to the uncircumcised.  Us, the sealed Church.

And here’s the main reason I believe they’re different meetings:

Galatians 2:1-2

Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private [!!] to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 

Paul has since had the revelation from Jesus!  Was this when he was caught up to the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 and Ephesians 3?  I think so.

So it seems maybe people were saved under both gospels for a short period of time.  What caused the Kingdom gospel of repentance to stop?  The Eleven’s gospel would eventually be considered false by Paul (‘any other gospel’ in Galatians) and his audience was not to follow it.  Did it just fade away?  Did the slaughter in 70 AD cause it to die out?  I’m not sure how that worked. 

A. What Does This Mean?

 

I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this article showing you how Jesus trained His disciples to go out and make other disciples.   We aren’t the disciples that were sent out nor are we the disciples that they made.  That all happened in the Jewish context.  Paul is the apostle to the Church.  He was taught something else.   Was Paul making disciples and baptizing like the Eleven?  I think not.

I believe we, the Church, incorrectly associate ourselves with the disciples, whether the Eleven or with the disciples they made.   We put ourselves in their shoes and say we’re sent out to make disciples, we’re given the Great Commission, etc. 

  • The words disciple or disciples do not appear again in the Bible after the book of Acts.
  • Of the 12 times share is found in Paul’s epistles, not a one is telling us believers to share the gospel, or share our faith.
  • The six times witness is found in Paul’s epistles, not a one is telling us to witness or be a witness. Not one.
  • Of all the numerous times gospel is found in Paul’s epistles, I couldn’t find a one that said or implied us believers sharing the gospel, preaching or teaching it. (Teach and preach principles to the Body, for sure.) Most were about Paul doing those things.
  • Repent does not appear between Acts and Revelation.

 

I believe there are other ways to show that we are not ‘disciples making disciples.’  One way is to look at their authority.

B.  Disciples’ Authority

The apostles (disciples) were given unique power and authority.  Let’s go back to John 20.

John 20:20-23  20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

And again, Luke 10:16 “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

Matthew 10:14-15, 40-42  14 Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

40 He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me…42 And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

John 13:20   Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

These verses clearly do not apply to us. 

Their authority is further clarified in the following ‘keys of the kingdom’ passage. 

Matthew 16:16-20  16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

This directly ties to Matthew 18, again spoken to ALL the disciples.

Matthew 18:17-20  17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

All these passages were spoken by Jesus to the Eleven.

This is not Church authority.  I don’t believe ‘church’ in these passages is about the Church.  It is authority given to disciples outside our age.  Small ‘c’ church outside Paul’s epistles (and sometimes within them) is a local body of faithful believers or even believers as a whole. 

Does Paul get this same authority?  If so, I didn’t see it.  Do you see that authority given to us in Paul’s epistles?  Me neither.

In Tribulation times, though, it appears that that authority, albeit to a lesser degree, is given to the faithful.  1 John 5:13-17 tells us that.  Here’s v.16.

1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

 

Now take some time to read John chapters 13-17.  These are all Jesus speaking to the disciples, from the Upper Room at the Passover until the Garden.  (Many of these passages are listed in John’s Books.)

When Jesus speaks to the disciples in those chapters, there’s three options:

  1. He speaking to us, the Church, at the same time.
  2. He’s speaking to the disciples alone.
  3. He’s speaking to the disciples and future non-Church Age believers.

I’ve already shown you why #1 is not true.  I believe it’s #2 and sometimes #3.   

Once you get that right frame of mind, you’ll see things like:

Commandments.  John 13:34-35; 14:15; 15:10, 12, 17.  We’re certainly admonished to love one another in the Church, but I’m sure you’ll see the difference once you start looking for it.  Check out 1, 2, and 3 John for the post-Church commandment of love.

Asking.  John 14:13-14; 15:7, 16; 16:23-24.   This type of asking is not found in our Church books.  It is again, however, in James 1:5-6, James 4:2-3, 1 John 3:22,  1 John 5:14-16, etc.

Joy.  John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13.  And post Church: 1 John 1:4, 2 John 1:12.  Different than our joy.

(There’s also a cost to discipleship that we don’t have space to go into here.  Read up on their call to suffer vs. our suffering.) 

 

  1. Church Age Start Date

Did the Church Age begin in Acts 2?  I don’t believe that’s right anymore.

We looked at all the events leading up to Acts 2.  We then connected them, and it, to the disciples and their gospel of the kingdom, wherein the Holy Spirit was promised back in the Old Testament to be given (including Acts 2:17-18, 33).  This giving of the Holy Spirit is NOT the indwelling Spirit promised to the Church revealed only to Paul by special revelation later.

Paul was the first Church member.  He was given the responsibility/task to explain the mystery of the indwelt Church.  He was the apostle to the Gentiles: Romans 1:1; 15:16; Eph. 6:19; 1 Timothy 2:7; Ephesians 3:8-9.  Church doctrine was given only to Paul and is found only in his signed books of Romans through Philemon.   

And, though, as you saw back under My Theory, I cannot give you a specific date, I believe the Church/Church Age began at Jesus’ special revelation to Paul. 

Another quick comment on the Church, if I may.   Predestined occurs six times in the Bible.  The first, Acts 4:28, is talking about God’s pre-planned purpose occurring.  The other five times (Rom. 8:29, 30; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, 11) all speak of the Church.   I haven’t really looked much into this topic, but I do know this.  We are a unique Body with what appears to be a rather muddied start, but with a sure ending:  the Rapture.

 

 

The Jewish prophecy in Daniel 9 spans a great deal of time.  It began in Nehemiah’s time and continued straight through to the Triumphal Entry on that most wonderful Palm Sunday when Jesus presented Himself as King. 

Like a brick landing on a balloon, the Church Age has pushed out or delayed the grand finale of that prophecy.  Please note:  it didn’t cause the ‘break.’  The Jews’ rejection of Jesus as their King did that.  Our departure (the lifting of the brick) will allow for that final ‘broken off’ piece to begin, thus resuming the prophecy as if we, the Church, were never even here.

With that picture in mind, maybe it’s now easier to understand the very separate and distinct roles of the Eleven and Paul.