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Understanding Transitions

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 1st Chronicles 12:32.

The bible is not a static timeline in which nothing changes. God has divided all of history and the future into times. We are told of the "times of the Gentiles". The Apostle Paul spoke of times when he said; And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:, Acts 17:30.

Prophecy is often revealed in terms of time. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book, Daniel 12:1. And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end, Daniel 12:9.

When God changes the times, he does so in a coherent pattern made known by the word of God. Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets, Amos 3:7. All too often I hear preachers speak of the changes in the bible in terms of dispensations (a term never made plural in the bible). To hear them is to imagine a trumpet sounding at some juncture of time and suddenly everything changes.

Ask some young preacher why sacrifices were necessary in the Old Testament and are not required today. All too often he'll say, "It was a change of dispensations." Wrong answer, the correct answer is that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is sufficient for all sin. The time changed through a series of events that are well catalogued in our bible.

The Book of Acts is a book of transition. It begins with the disciples huddled in the upper room. It begins with the nation of Israel being guilty of murdering their Messiah, but not aware of the magnitude of what they had done. The Lord was about to transition Israel. In perfect accordance with the Mosaic Law, Israel was offered a chance to repent as a nation.

After Peter preached and accused Israel of having slain Jesus Christ, he offered them a reprieve. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers, Acts 3:17. Every Jew in that crowd knew that God offered a remedy for sin done in ignorance. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them, Leviticus 4:2.

If we want to understand the transition that was to take place upon Israel's failure to heed Peter's warning, we must understand what they were required to do. Moses made a specific provision for an occasion when the entire congregation was guilty of a sin of ignorance.

Leviticus 4:13 And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty;

Leviticus 4:14 When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation.

Leviticus 4:15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD.

Leviticus 4:16 And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation:

Leviticus 4:17 And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, even before the vail.

Leviticus 4:18 And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Leviticus 4:19 And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar.

Leviticus 4:20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.

Leviticus 4:21 And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for the congregation.

We know that the blood of Jesus Christ was brought into the most holy place;

Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.

We know that he suffered without (outside of) the gate; Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate, Hebrews 13:12. What was needed for the whole congregation to be forgiven for the death of Jesus Christ was for the elders of the congregation to take responsibility for that death.

We can see that on three occasions the Holy Ghost brought witnesses into the presence of these men to hear the truth about the collective sin of Israel. The elders of Israel clearly understood that the apostles were trying to get them to take the responsibility; Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us, Acts 5:28.

In 1st Samuel 8:7, Israel rejected God the Father; And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. In Matthew 27:25, they rejected God the Son; Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Acts chapter seven was strike three for Israel as a national entity. They rejected the Holy Ghost; Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye, Acts 7:51.

The elders made the clear choice to not take the responsibility for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Among the many facets of the law that Jesus Christ came to fulfil was the provision that if the elders of Israel would lay their hands (take responsibility) upon the sacrifice made for the sin of ignorance, God would pardon the sin of ignorance. From the end of Acts chapter 7 until the fulfilment of Zechariah 13:6 in the great tribulation, Israel was cut off as nation.

That does not mean that God will not honor or save individual Jews. As I explained to my church. If our church was denied credit at the local bank, that does not mean that individuals from this church are denied credit. Just because Israel as a national unit was cut off from the promises of God does not mean that individuals from that nation could not come to God through Jesus Christ.

What does happen in the very next chapter is that God scattered the church, he reached out to the Samaritans, and he saved the Ethiopian Eunuch. A transition took place. To try to explain that transition with trite words or simple phrases like "dispensational change" obscures the work of God, the promise of the scripture and makes a mockery of Paul's rule for sound doctrine.

1st Timothy 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

1st Timothy 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

In order for a doctrine to be proved sound, it must be provable under the law. That Israel as an entire congregation was cut off from the promises of God is provable under the law. It is sound doctrine.

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