We are going to compare and contrast the ministry of Paul to the ministry of the Apostles.
|Clear that it’s for the Christian. Salvation is by faith only, not works.||Salvation is by faith, but they talk a lot about works as well.|
|Paul was not trained by Jesus. Paul was an apostle to the gentiles.||Apostles were trained under Jesus’ ministry, which was primarily directed for the Jews.|
|Tribulation is abstract in Paul’s writing.||Jesus’ ministry has strong allusions to tribulation.|
What was Jesus’ ministry? It was Jewish!
Matthew 10:5: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.”
The apostles’ ministry was also predominantly Jewish.
The Old Testament spoke to the Messiah, His suffering, and His second advent. In that second advent, the time of the tribulation, works will play a role alongside a believer’s faith.
Matthew 24:3: “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
The entirety of chapters 24 and 25 speak to the tribulation. Being Jewish, it was a large focus of Jesus’ and the apostles’ ministry.
The historical and grammatical context is essential to our understanding of the Bible. That is what dispensationalism is all about. We must be careful to read the Bible literally, interpreting it for what it clearly says and not twisting it to make it say what we want it to say. This problem has gotten very bad in the world, with many professing Christians interpreting the Bible based on their preconceived notions and beliefs.
Let’s look at some Scriptures that help us to see clearly that different parts of the Bible have different audiences.
James 1:1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”
Look at this passage. Who was the audience? Jews! It is clear as day. James is writing to the Jewish people who have been spread across the world, just as the Bible foretold. Some verses point to different times than our own.
James 5:3: “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”
What is the context? The tribulation! James makes it clear in this passage. It makes complete sense when you take in mind the historical background of the book of James.
Not understanding these contexts can lead you to believe the Bible is full of contradictions. This type of thought process leads many to interpret Scripture in whatever way suits their views best. Let’s look at an example together.
James 2:24: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
If you gave this to a first-timer, wouldn’t they take it as faith and works? Why would people interpret it any other way? Because they find ways to interpret it the way that they want it to be. Should we be surprised by the message of this verse? No! It was written to a Jewish audience concerning the tribulation.
The following again shows faith and works because the saints need to keep the commandments of God. The patience of the saints refers to the need to resist taking the mark of the beast.
Revelation 14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
Right off the bat, John lets you know this is all about the tribulation. The antichrist is even mentioned. Ray Comfort uses the book of 1 John a lot, but its salvation doctrine has not much to do with the Christians.
1 John 2:18: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”
John specifically stated that if one does not love his brother, he will not have eternal life. That is because Jews are a physical nation, so they have physical laws to adhere to.
1 John 3:14-15: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.“
The following epistle again mentions the “last time.” This is again a Jewish ministry.
Jude 1:18: “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”
The following verse proves that the book of 1 Peter is addressed to the Jews in the tribulation timeline.
1 Peter 1:20: “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,“
The following is used by cults to prove that the ungodly and sinner cannot be saved unless they are righteous. Bible believers are not worried because they know that this book is addressed to the tribulation Jews.
1 Peter 4:18: “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
The following verses show that Paul’s ministry was to the gentiles (heathen), while the apostles’ ministry was to the Jews (circumcision).
Galatians 2:8-9: “(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.“
Peter said that Paul’s writing was difficult to understand, because they had different ministries.
2 Peter 3:15-16: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.“