classification ‘New Testament’ – the ABC23-09-2019 - Posted by Andre Piet
It’s well known that the “Old Testament” belongs and is addressed to Israël. Surely, “the oracles of GOD are entrusted to them”, Paul writes in Romans 3 verse 2. But that the same is also true for the ‘New Testament’, that is as good as unknown. The usual theological concept is that the ‘Old Testament’ is given to Israel and that the ‘New Testament’ should be addressed to ‘the church’. It’s a huge misunderstanding and I’d like to mention it in this blog.
In his ministry on earth, Jesus was sent exclusively to the house of Israel (Matthew 15: 24-26). When a ‘pagan’ woman wanted to claim him, he answered:
I was not commissioned except for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (…) It is not ideal to be taking the children’s bread and to be casting it to the puppies.
The words of Jesus were addressed to Israel. Not to the nations. And in his own words: It is not ideal to be taking Israel’s bread and to be casting it to the nations. At most, they can eat the scraps that are falling off the table.
The same applies to the words of the (twelve) apostles. Also, they focus on Israel. Only when Israel would repent, the evangel would also go to the nations. Through a restored Israel and a returned Messiah, who will establish his Kingdom (Acts 3: 19-21). Therefore, to the apostles “the evangel of the circumcision’ was entrusted, as Paul writes about Peter in Galatians 2: 7. Not “the evangel to the circumcised, that would mean that it is a matter of address. “The evangel of circumcision’ (genitive) was entrusted to Peter, as to Paul “the evangel of the foreskin”. That’s not “another evangel” (heteros), but it’s for sure different (allos: Galatians 1: 6, 7). It’s what Paul calls “my evangel” (Romans 16: 25). He neither did accept it from a man, nor was he taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ himself. (Galatians 1: 12). The scriptures of James, Peter and John are explicitly and officially addressed to the circumcision. Not only because of the addressing and content of these scriptures itself, but also the agreement of Galatians 2: 9 is crystal clear.
… and, knowing the grace which is being given to me, James and Cephas and John, who are supposed to be pillars, give to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we, indeed, are to be for the nations, yet they for the Circumcision.
The letters in the ‘New Testament’ are classified according to this agreement. First the letter of James, then Peter’s and subsequently the scriptures of John. Those aren’t general letters, as those are usually called, but letters of circumcision!
Paul to the nations
Only Paul addresses the nations. Indeed, the port to the nations was once opened by Peter (in the house of Cornelius). But it’s Paul who went through it. Even literally, for Caesarea was a seaport, where Paul departed and arrived several times. Indeed, to the sea of nations!
Paul was called for the nations when the traffic light for Israel had become orange. The Sanhedrin had just stoned Stephan and in fact, that was also the rejection of the risen Messiah. But only in Acts 28, when Paul had arrived in Rome, the light became ‘red’. From that moment no message of national repent and, in connection, the promise of national restoration (see the end of Acts 28). The wall (“the law of commandments”; Ephesians 2: 14) the central wall of the barrier had been razed within the ecclesia. That’s the present situation until now. That means that the evangel in the present time is a ‘pagan’ (= non-Jewish) matter. Meant for the nations without distinction. The law and its statutes don’t play any role in this (Colossians 2: 16).
This situation will change completely when, soon, after the ‘snatching away’ of the ecclesia (1 Thessalonians 4: 17) God will pick up the web with Israel wherever he left off. Then a new covenant will be established and Jerusalem will be the capital of the world. From Zion, a law will go out and YAHWE’s word from Jerusalem.
In summary: the entire ‘New Testament’ is an Israelian matter. Only Paul turns to the nations, without distinction. His ministry is an interruption in God’s acting with Israel. A break, a pause, also Paul’s name is connected to that. We should listen to him if we want to understand GOD’s Word for today. All scripture is inspired by God and is beneficial for teaching, for exposure, for correction, for discipline in righteousness (2 Timothy 3: 16), but only Paul’s words are addressed to us. For he is the apostle and teacher of the nations (1 Timothy 2:7).