Part 2 – After Acts 28, All Changed for Paul
THEN, AFTER THE ACTS PERIOD CLOSED WITH ACTS 28:28; Paul received further revelations (cf. 2Cor. 12:1, 7) now concerning his 2nd ministry, now as “the prisoner of Jesus Christ For You Gentiles.” (cf. Eph. 3:1) This is explained in his post-Acts epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Titus, 1 Timothy, and 2Timothy. It is in these epistles that Paul reveals and explains his further revelations that pertains to us today as “the church” that he calls “the body of Christ” (Eph. 122b-23a, 4:12).
“The body of Christ” is to be seen according to the ‘complete’ Pauline revelation of “the mystery,” that eternally planned SECRET of God concerning establishing a people to ‘reign with Christ’ In The Heavenly Places (2Tim 2:12), wherein its members “In Christ” are ‘Seated “Far Above all heavens.” (Eph. 1:3).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST:” (Ephesians 1:3 (KJV)
“For the hope which is laid up for you IN HEAVEN, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;” (Colossians 1:5 (KJV)
“He that descended is the same also that ascended up Far Above All Heavens, that he might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:10 (KJV)
I expect that by now it is becoming clear as to WHO among men DOES Go To dwell Eternally in “the HEAVEN OF HEAVENS” (cf. Deut 10:14) and WHO among men DOES NOT Go To dwell in “the HEAVEN OF HEAVENS.”
The “Heaven of Heavens” is the eternal destiny of all those believing Gentiles of ALL races who have heard of Paul’s Post-Acts dispensation of “the mystery [Grk. musterion, secret]” of Ephesians 3. These are “the faithful” who believe it and live accordingly in sincerity by His life, His grace, and His mercy.
This “mystery” is the ‘secret’ plan of God that had been “HID IN GOD from ages and generations” … UNTIL it was REVEALED to the Apostle Paul AFTER Acts 28:28 for the believers of today’s age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2). Such believers are counted as among those who Paul calls “the faithful” of Eph. 1:1, they will “reign with Him” in heaven (cf. 2Tim. 2:12).
Since “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” those who hear and believe the now revealed Ephesians “mystery [secret]” are thereby already, at least potentially, blessed with every spiritual blessing IN THE “HEAVENLY Places.”
Their “citizenship” is in what could better be termed as “The [Super] Heavenly Places.” (cf. Philippians 3:20-21 below). They will one day be raised to “appear with” the glorified with “HEAD” of “the church, which is His body” … when He is manifested, “appearing” to heavenly beings and to “the faithful” members of “the church, which is His body” who will “Appear With Him.”
“When Christ, who is our life, SHALL APPEAR, then shall YE ALSO APPEAR WITH HIM in [heaven’s] glory.” (Colossians 3:4 (KJV)
“He [Jesus Christ] that descended is the same also that ascended up FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS, that he might fill all things.” (Ephesians 4:10 (KJV)
conversation [Old English for ‘Citizenship’] Is In Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious [resurrection] body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21 (KJV)
Paul wrote in Eph. 1:1to two classes of believers; “the saints [meaning, the sanctified, saved, ones] which are at Ephesus,” and another class of believers that he calls “the faithful.”
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the Saints which are at Ephesus, and to the Faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who Hath [already potentially] Blessed Us With All Spiritual Blessings IN HEAVENLY PLACES In Christ:” (Ephesians 1:1-3 (KJV)
In Colossians Paul says he had a further message for “the saints.” They were saved by grace, but lacking the knowledge of “the mystery” that is revealed in Paul’s post-Acts epistles.
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil [Grk. pleroo, complete] the word of God; 26 Even [that is] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his SAINTS [the saved]: 27 To whom God would [also] make known what is the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY among the GENTILES; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Colossians 1:25-27 (KJV)
Paul specifically prayed this below for “the saints” of verse 15 and 17, that they might gain additional “revelation” and knowledge to see and believe the riches “the mystery [the secret]” that must to be ‘revealed’ by “the Spirit” (v17).
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and REVELATION in the knowledge of him: 18 The EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING BEING ENLIGHTENED; THAT YE MAY KNOW what is the hope of his calling, and what the RICHES OF THE GLORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his Power To Us-Ward Who Believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right Hand IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES,” (Ephesians 1:15-20 (KJV)
The Lord will ultimately, in “the fulness of time” recover and the two original domains of the kosmos; that is “the heaven and the earth” (cf. Gen 1:1, Eph. 1:10), filling “the heaven and the earth” with the righteousness of Christ Jesus in and through His two agent people groups;
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” (Ephesians 1:10 (KJV)
In summary we must note the clear distinction between all the past dispensational requirements for salvation to dwell in the promised kingdom to come on earth and the unique place of today’s “salvation by grace through faith” for the Gentile “body of Christ” leading to our eternal destiny “in the heavenly places.”
- The believing Nation of Israel will dwell ON THE NEW EARTH serving Christ forever. The believing remnant of Israel and The Twelve Apostles will function as God’s agents exercising Christ’s dominion on the NEW EARTH for eternity.
- The members of “the [Gentile] body of Christ” will serve the Lord IN THE NEW HEAVEN forever.
The “faithful” members “the body of Christ” will co-reign with Christ as God’s agents “in the heavenly place,” filling the seats of rank and authority in God’s government of the heavens.
“If we suffer [endure while on earth], we shall also Reign With Him: if we deny him, he also will deny us [from reigning with Him]:” (2 Timothy 2:12 (KJV)