by Jerry Shugart

Time Phrases

Here Pastor Paul Sadler speaks of Israel's salvation as being "two dimensional," one aspect being "physical" and the other "spiritual":

"The salvation of Israel is two dimensional. The physical side of her deliverance was always paramount in the minds of most Jews, especially those of the dispersion....As we know, Peter was charged with the spiritual side of things, calling upon his hearers shortly after Pentecost to 'repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.' (Acts 3:19)" (Sadler, "The Life and Epistles of the Apostle Peter; Part 4," The Berean Searchlight, May, 2000, p.7).

He also says that both of these elements remain in the future, and he quotes several verses which he calls "time phrases" in order to attempt to prove his assertion:

"Both of these elements of Israel's salvation are future, which helps to explain Peter's 'time phrases' in his epistles, such as, 'ready to be revealed in the last time,' 'receiving the end of your faith,' 'hope to the end,' etc. (I Pet. 1:5,9,13). The 'last time' and 'the end' Peter speaks of here are the last days of prophecy that have been temporarily interrupted by the present age of grace. Consequently, the Hebrew race, including every detail of their redemption, is being preserved by the power of God until Christ returns in glory to establish His millennial kingdom" (Ibid.).

1 Peter 1:9

Pastor Sadler said that "Both of these elements of Israel's salvation are future, which helps to explain Peter's 'time phrases' in his epistles, such as...'receiving the end of your faith.'" Let us look at this verse:

"Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet.1:9).

Peter is certainly not telling these Jewish believers that the salvation of their souls remain in the future. First of all, the Greek word telos is translated "end," and that word can mean "the aim, purpose" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon). Therefore, Peter's words can mean "receiving the purpose of your faith, the salvation of your souls." Here is another translation of the same verse:

"...obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet.1:9; NASB).

Secondly, the Greek word komizo is translated "receiving," and it is in the present tense. If the salvation of which Peter spoke of in this verse remains in the future then Peter would not have used the word in the "present" tense but instead would have used it in the "future" tense. He would have said, "You will receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." But that is not what he said.

Those who received the Jewish epistles were already redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus and they had already received the salvation of their soul. Despite these clear facts Pastor Sadler says the following:

"Observing the grace of God among the Gentiles, Peter was beginning to have a fuller appreciation of the prophesied grace that would come unto them. In fact, the Spirit had directed him to declare at the Jerusalem Council, 'we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.' You see, the prophets had prophesied about the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would follow shortly thereafter in the kingdom" (Sadler, "The Life and Letters of the Apostle Peter; Part III," The Berean Searchlight, April 2000, p.9-10).

If the salvation of the Jews remained in the future at the time when the Lord Jesus walked the earth then why do we see Him telling a Jewish woman the following?:

"And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven...And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace" (Lk.7:48,50).

It is a fact that Paul speaks of a future salvation for all those in the Body of Christ and that salvation is in regard to the deliverance of our present mortal bodies at the time of the rapture. Here Paul speaks about that future "salvation" or "deliverance":

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Ro.5:10).

As already shown, the words of Peter at 1 Peter 1:9 demonstrate that the salvation of the soul was a present possession of the Jewish believers. Therefore we can understand that the Jewish believers were already saved by grace and that the "grace" in regard to salvation did not remain in the future.

Are the Hebrew Epistles for the Coming Tribulation?

Pastor Paul Sadler says that the Hebrew epistles contain instructions and warnings which will pertain to the coming Tribulation:

"These writings, which are numbered with the Prophetic Scriptures, have a twofold purpose. They were practical exhortations for the kingdom saints during the first century, but more importantly, they are instructions and warnings for the future kingdom saints who will be called upon to endure the coming Tribulation" [emphasis added] (Sadler, "Studies in the Epistle of James," The Berean Searchlight, June, 2005, 5).

Pastor Sadler correctly understands that after the rapture the prophetic program will be resumed:

"After the Body of Christ is removed from the earth, God will resume His prophetic program where He left off. According to Daniel's 70 weeks of years, only one week remains (Dan. 9:27)" (Sadler, "Question Box," The Berean Searchlight, September, 2000, 6).

Under the prophetic program and before Israel was temporarily cast aside that nation remained under the Law of Moses so after the rapture the prophetic program will resume. That means that during the coming Tribulation the children of Israel will once again be under the Law and once again observe the Law. Therefore if Pastor Sadler is correct then we would expect that the Hebrew epistle would give instructions to the Jews to keep the Law. However, the doctrine contained in the book of Hebrews demonstrates that "there is an annulling of the commandment":

"For there is verily an annulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did...By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament" (Heb.7:18-19,22).

Cornelius Stam, the founder of the Berean Bible Society, wrote that the author of Hebrews "exhorts them to leave, finally and fully, the religion of Judaism with its shadows, for Christianity, with its substance and reality" (Stam, The Epistle to the Hebrews, [Berean Literature Foundation, 1991], 69).

If anyone could be considered the father of systemized Mid Acts dispensationalism it is Sir Robert Anderson. He wrote that "the distinctive sin with which the Epistle deals is unbelief, and unbelief that savours of apostasy, a going back to Judaism by those who had accepted Christ as the fulfillment of that divine religion...the Epistle to the Hebrews sought to teach him that as a partaker of a heavenly calling, he had to do with heavenly realities, of which the glories of his national cult were but types and shadows...nothing but the revelation of something higher and more glorious could ever wean him from his devotion to the national religion" (Anderson, Types in Hebrews, [Kregel Publications, 1978], p. 114,124).

Of course the book of Hebrews speaks of the annulling of the Law so it is obvious that the doctrine contained in that book is not for a time when the Law will once again be in force for the children of Israel.

Free and at Liberty

The Apostle Paul repeatedly used the words "free" and "liberty" when referring to the fact that those in the Body of Christ have been set free from the law:

"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage" (Gal.2:4).

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal.5:1).

In fact, Paul charged the Galatians not to use the liberty as a base of operations for sin:

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal.5:13).

That practically mirrors the words of Peter found in his first epistle:

"As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God" (1 Pet.2:16).

The Epistle of James

It is the "perfect law of liberty" which applies to those who received the epistle of James:

"But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed" (James 1:25).

Are we to believe that the "law of liberty" spoken of here is the Law, which Peter referred to as a "yoke"?:

"Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" (Acts 15:10).

Paul also referred to the Law as a "yoke of bondage":

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal.5:1).

In fact, Paul contrasted the "yoke of bondage" with the "liberty" which belongs to all who have been set free from the law. So common sense dictates that the "perfect law of liberty" of which James speaks is not the Law of Moses.

Instead, James uses of the phrase "perfect law of liberty" in the same sense which Paul uses the phrase the "law of faith":

"Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law" (Ro.3:27-31; KJV).

It is the "law of faith" which establishes the law for all believers, including the "circumcision." The following translation enables us to understand exactly how "faith" establishes the law:

"Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law" (Ro.3:31; NLT).

The Greek word translated "establish" in the KJV and "fulfill" in the NLT is histemi and it means "to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything...Ro. iii. 31" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).

It is when we walk by faith that the force of the law is upheld. In what way is the force of the law upheld by faith? It is only when we "walk by faith" (2 Cor.5:7) that it can be said that we are walking after the Spirit and it is only then when we are fulfilling the righteousness of the law:

"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Ro.8:4).

Those who received the epistle of James were saved the second they believed the truth of the gospel, as witnessed by James' words here:

"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (James 1:18).

This matches perfectly with the writings of Peter where he tells the Jewish believers that they are "born again" by the word of God, specifically the gospel:

"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God...And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you" (1 Pet.1:23,25).

The keeping of the Law had absolutely nothing to do with the Jews receiving salvation as they were saved by faith and faith alone. They were set free from the law so the doctrine contained in the epistle of James is not for the time of the tribulation, when the law will once again be in force for the children of Israel.

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