Many ministers argue that there is only “one” gospel from Matthew to Revelation. Many people understand the gospel to include Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection as a means for salvation and the forgiveness of sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Today, in the dispensation of the grace of God, this is 100% accurate, but not all throughout the Bible. To illustrate this biblical truth, let’s make a simple comparison.
Did the twelve understand the gospel message Paul preached? The short answer to this question is no. Before and after the cross Peter nor the other apostles understood nor had knowledge of the gospel message Christ eventually revealed to Paul.
I am going to clearly demonstrate 4 things in this article:
- Prior to the Cross the twelve did not understand the Death, Burial and Resurrection. Which is the Gospel message Paul preached.
- Jesus himself and the twelve Preached the Gospel of the Kingdom which has nothing to do with the gospel message Paul preached.
- Paul was unqualified to be an apostle with the 12 and partake in their ministry. Which will further prove and demonstrate the difference in their ministry.
- Lastly, the mystery that was revealed to Paul concerning the gospel of the Uncircumcision.
Point #1: Prior to the Cross the twelve did not understand the Death, Burial and Resurrection. Which is the Gospel message Paul preached.
To confirm with scripture exactly what Paul preached look at 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
This is why Paul said, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2.
Now, To ensure that you fully understand the information being presented to you, let me show you from scripture that the twelve had no knowledge of the DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION of Christ (which is the Gospel Paul preached).
Luke 18:31-34, 31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
- Concerning the DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION the scripture says, they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
Point #2: Jesus and the twelve Preached the Gospel of the Kingdom which has nothing to do with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
Luke 9:1-2, 1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
- Jesus sent the twelve to preach the Kingdom of God. Keep in mind they are preaching prior to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Furthermore, at this stage in the game Christ has yet to even reveal to them that He is going to die. Now, to confirm that the Kingdom of God they preached was in fact considered a gospel look at verse 6 in Luke 9.
Luke 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
- Do not forget that 9 chapters prior to this point they were preaching a legitimate gospel message that pertained to the Kingdom of God, that had nothing to do with believing in or knowing about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
Let’s double down on the gospel of the Kingdom and take a close look at Jesus and what He said about it.
Now look at what Jesus said at the start of his earthly ministry. Mar 1:15-14, 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Listen: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is not the gospel Christ revealed to Paul.
For starters, the gospel of the Kingdom is just that. The Kingdom that was promised way back in Exodus 19:6. This isn’t some spiritual pie in the sky, hope or wish. This is a literal kingdom promised to the literal nation of Israel. AKA the Millennial Reign of Christ. This is the good news prophesied to the nation of Israel. This was and still is the gospel message for them. And yet, it has not been fulfilled but it will be. Daniel, Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and practically all the prophets prophesied of the kingdom Israel’s messiah would establish on the throne of David. Now… What were the terms and conditions of entering into this Kingdom?
- You had to believe that Jesus was the Messiah/the Christ
- You had to be water baptized.
- You had to observe and keep the Law as best as you could… until the second coming of Christ. Circumcision, Sabbath and so on.
Point #3: Paul was unqualified to be an apostle with the 12 and partake in their ministry. Which will further prove and demonstrate the difference in their ministry.
Pay close attention to what Peter says in Acts 1:15-26
Acts 1:15-26 15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. 17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. 21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Now Peter was either lying… or telling the truth. I believe he was telling the truth. NO MAN ON PLANET EARTH could be the twelfth apostle unless he met the following qualification.
- 21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Question: Did Paul meet this qualification? NO. Next Question: Is Paul an apostle? Yes. Now, if Paul was an apostle with them, that would make Peter a liar. Furthermore there had to be 12 apostles so that each tribe would have one designated apostle in the kingdom when they sit-upon 12 thornes. See Luke 22:29-30.
So then how does Paul get to be an apostle if he is not one of the 12? Because Paul wasn’t chosen by Christ to be an apostle to the nation of Israel. Hence there is no conflict. Look at what Paul says in Romans 11:13, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Now who made Paul and Apostle of and to the gentiles? Well look at Galatians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)”
Now here is the ultimate question: Why was Paul chosen by Christ to be the apostle of the Gentiles. The answer is simple. Israel stumbled, fell, diminished and ultimately were cast away by God… temporary. And during this time and as a result of their fall, Christ revealed to Paul the Mystery. Something that God hid in himself that no one knew, not even the angels. And why did God keep it sealed so tight? As it is written, 1 Corinthians 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
WHen he says princes he is referring to the angels and Satan specifically. A few good cross references for angles and princes would be Daniel 10:10-14, Ephesians 6:11-12.
Point #4: Lastly, the mystery that was revealed to Paul concerning the gospel of the Uncircumcision.
Galatians 1:11-12 says, 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
What does this prove? A few things.
- NO MAN TAUGHT HIM THE GOSPEL HE PREACHED. Paul said, “the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it.”
- Act 22:3- testifies to Paul learning at the feet of Gamaliel
- Act 5:34 – testifies that Gamaliel was a Pharisee, and a doctor of the law, and had in reputation among all the people.
Nevertheless, Paul did not learn the gospel he preached from Gamaliel.
We cannot say he did not know the gospel Peter and other Jews were preaching. When Stephen was preaching in Acts 7 what was the heart of his message?
Acts 7:52 – Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Do you see how Stephen preached the cross as an indictment on the Jews as opposed to His death being something glorious. When Peter was preaching back in Acts 2… Notice how he preached the cross the same way. Acts 2:22-23, 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Look at Acts 2:36-38, 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This is much different than the way Paul preached the cross. Gal 6:14 – “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Nevertheless, you can clearly see from scripture in Acts 7 what Stephen was preaching. So what is the significance of Acts 7? Great question… Paul was there and he heard every word Stephen was preaching. In fact, Paul was consenting to his death when they stoned Stephen because of what he was preaching. Paul knew Stephen was making the claim that Jesus was the Messiah. But! He didn’t believe it.
Therefore, we can conclude that Paul was taught at the feet of Gamaliel and that He knew exactly what the apostles were preaching, seeing as though Stephen preached the same thing. And yet Paul says, “THE GOSPEL WHICH WAS PREACHED OF ME IS NOT AFTER MAN. FOR I NEITHER RECEIVED IT OF MAN, NEITHER WAS I TAUGHT IT, BUT BY THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.”
Question: Who taught Paul the gospel that he preached? Jesus Christ. Now… How do we no for a fact that the 12 apostles of the nation of Israel had no idea as to what Paul was preaching.
Galatians chapter 2 tells us.
Galatians 2:1-2, 1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
Now look at verse 7-9.
Galatians 2:7-9, 7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9 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.
You have to allegorized, spiritualize, and or flat out not believe the text in order to see this. This is why taking the bible literally unless scripture gives you grounds not to do so is so important. You no I heard one of my favorite teachers say, People who spiritualize the text end up telling spiritual lies.
“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me”
What is Paul talking about and when did this happen? Before we discuss that, REMEMBER. Paul said it was revealed to him by Jesus Christ.
Look at Romans 16:25 – 25 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,
Big Difference from what Peter preaching in Acts 3:20-21, 21 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:21 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. Notice how Peter is preaching something that was that all the prophets spoke about since the world began.
Nevertheless, Paul is preaching something that was kept secret since the world began.: Again… look at Romans 16:25, “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began“
There are two distinct things being presented to your from scripture: Something that God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began, and, the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.
Let’s go a bit deeper:
Colossians 1:25-29 – 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
Notice what he says the Mystery is: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Who is the “you” the Gentiles. If this ain’t the secrets of all secrets in all of human history I don’t know what it is. This has nothing to do with Israel, but it has everything to do with their messiah. Meditate on that for a while and let that sink in. Meaning the magnitude of what Paul said.
Let’s look at a few more verses.
1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 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;
9 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:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
A proper understanding of the Mystery revealed to Paul and the Gospel message Christ revealed to him as a result of Israel’s fall will help you to better understand right division and exactly what God is doing during the dispensation of grace of God apart from the nation of Israel.
Understanding the difference in dispensations is the only way to resolve this paradox. The death, burial and resurrection were not a part of the “gospel of the kingdom” as it was presented in the four gospels. This alone should motivate further research into the matter. This biblical truth is one that is frequently overlooked or disregarded.
It wasn’t until God started interacting with everyone through the dispensation of grace—after which He stopped dealing with Israel—that the “gospel of God’s grace” was given or revealed. This enigmatic truth was initially revealed to the apostle Paul by Jesus Christ. Hence the Mystery.
As it is written, Ephesians 3:1-3, 1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Eph 3:4-11, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 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; 9 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: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
Now, let’s take a deeper look at Eph 3:4-11 and highlight some key points:
- Paul says whereby when ye read… ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.
- What did Peter say concerning Paul in his epistle? 2 Peter 3:15-16, 15 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; 16 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.
- And so we conclude that Paul has written some things in hopes that you will understand them. And while the Mystery in itself is hard to grasp by most… everything that came as a result of it makes it that much more difficult for people to accept. Things like Circumcision being of no profit in Christ, Immediate vs delayed Atonement, Not being under the law, Faith alone apart from works, Not observing days even the sabbath, Being sealed by the Holy Spirit, and so much more that comes from Christ to Paul as a result of the Dispensation of the Grace of God.
- in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit
- the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel
- What body? The Body of Christ. In which there is no Jew or Greek, but a new creature. What! Where is this in Prophecy? It’s not in prophecy. Meaning, the Body of Christ is the spiritual body of believers in this current dispensation made up of new creatures. This is how you know we’re not SPIRITUAL ISRAEL.
- that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. If the riches of Christ were a secret revealed to Paul by default they’re unsearchable. Meaning, until Christ revealed it to Paul… no man, or angel for that matter could search for or find them.
- Jesus said to the Pharisees in Joh 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” You could actually search the scriptures and find references to the messiah and King of Israel in prophecy.
- Even Peter said this in 1 Peter 1:10-11, 10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
- These things were searchable… But Paul preached the unsearchable riches of Christ among who? The gentiles.
- And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery
This is why Paul says in Ephesians 6:19-20, 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Lastly, Paul was not numbered with the 12. Therefore, he could not minister with them. If Christ made him an apostle of the Jews the scriptures would be broken and Peter lied concerning the qualification for being numbered with them. There could only be 12 apostles for the 12 tribes in the kingdom which is yet to come. In addition, Barnabas was also an apostle and a few others who assisted Paul. There is no way Paul and Baranabas could be equal in apostleship to the 12 unless they were set apart for a different work than the 12 apostles. In which case they were.
Paul’s Gospel was revealed to him by Jesus Christ alone and not by man. There would be no need for Christ to do this if the gospel he preached was the same as the twelve seeing as though Paul knew exactly what they were preaching.
If the 12 knew what Paul was preaching and if they were all preaching the same message, then the mystery was not a mystery at all nor was it hid in God since the world began.