Paul’s Two Ministries

Eschatology is the study of Biblical ‘things to come.’ The ‘things to come’ concern “the hope” of God’s Two, beloved, people groups and their eternal destinies. This study reveals the basis for the difference between the ‘things to come’ for: 1) “the hope of Israel and, 2) the “hope” of the Gentile “church, which is His body.” These concern Paul’s two consecutive ministries; 1) During the Acts Period and, 2) After Acts 28.

This study also explains “the hope” of Two categories of Christians today. In Ephesians 1:1 Paul addresses:

1) The unintelligized, nominally saved “saints of Israel and the unintelligized Gentiles of Christendom, who are destined to dwell in “the kingdom” on earth as Jesus’ ‘whosoever’ believers (Jn. 3:16).

2) … the faithful” enlightened believers of “the body of Christ” who are destined to eternally dwell in “the heavenly places in Christ.”

The difference between the saints” and “the faithful” can be observed by studying Paul’s Acts period epistles in comparison with his Post-Acts epistles, “rightly divided” (2 Tim. 2:15).

(The difference between “the Saints” and “the faithful” is explained further in this article: )

We must study Paul’s epistles according to their Chronological Order of writing, not the order in which they appear in our Bible.

Consider that Paul’s had TWO successive ministries thereby offering Two Different Eternal Hopes to Two DIFFERENT God-Ordained People Groups. Both groups stand upon the Cross-work of Christ, believing Christ died for all, was buried, and rose again (1Cor 15:3-4) to secure eternal life for all who will believe.

Paul’s TWO ministries to these TWO believing groups concern;

1) ISRAEL’S believing remnant who Hoped for the kingdom of [from] heaven” to come on Earth. These are those Judeo-Christians who believed during the Acts period and those who even today stand upon the eternal life-giving Gospel of John 3:16. Both Jews and the Gentiles enjoy the same blessings of the Cross but Gentiles were NOT of equal status with the believing Jews of the Acts Period. God’s focus then was “The Jew first” (Rom. 1:16, 2:9) as seen in Paul’s epistles written during the Acts period.

2) Paul’s Post-Acts enlightened believing members of “The Church, Which Is His Body” (Eph. 1:22b-23a) consisting of ALL men (Jew and Gentile) on an equal basis… based upon faith alone in Christ alone;

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of [religious rites or law0keeping] works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

Now let’s further consider the two different ‘hopes’ as reflected in the Apostle Paul’s 2 sets of epistles.

  1. The “hope” of the Acts period Messianic believers of Israel and their Gentile proselytes first was in accord with Jesus’ promise of ‘everlasting life (cf. Jn 3:16; 11:25-26), This involved their looking to being “caught up” (i.e., raptured) to “meet the Lord in the air [not heaven] at the last trump” (1Cor 15:52, 1 Thes. 4:13-18) then to return to earth in Jesus’ Millennial “kingdom” to come “on earth” in their resurrection bodies. The gospel that was preached to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” during the 35-year Acts period was preached by “the twelve” Apostles and Paul was Jesus’ “gospel of the kingdom.” (Matt. 24:14), “the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8) on earth.
  2. Paul’s later Post-Acts gospel concerned the full “revelation of THE Mystery” (Rom. 16:25) which was not revealed until AFTER Acts 28:28 when the fall of Israel’ was complete and God had turned to “the Gentiles(cf. Acts 28:28). Paul then wrote of anew gospel’ promising an Eternal HEAVENLY Destiny for ALL believers, now seen as “the faithful” Gentiles. The “blessed Hope” of Titus 2:13 pertains to “the faithful(Eph. 1:1) members of the Gentile “body of Christ” who are destined to Appear With Him IN “THE HEAVENLY PLACES(Col. 3:4, 2Tim, 2:12, Eph. 1:3, 15-23).

The FIRST Seven Epistles of Paul’s ministry were to and concern “the Jew First (cf. Rom. 1:16), thus concerning “the Hope of Israel.” These epistles were written during the Acts period, BEFORE ACTS 28:28 Dispensational Divide.

Paul writes of ISRAEL’S ‘HOPE’ in these Seven Acts Period epistles;

  1. GALATIANS: “The just shall live [have life] by FAITH” (Gal. 3:11).
  2. 1 THESSALONIANS: “The hope” of Israel’s “little flock” believers was of the being “caught to meet the Lord in the air [atmosphere](1Thes. 4:17), then to return to the kingdom on earth.
  3. 2 THESSALONIANS: Paul wrote to correct their erroneous view of the day of Christ’s 2nd coming. Paul reminded them of 1Thes, 5:2, 4 because they became “shaken” due to believing a ‘Satanic counterfeit letter (2:1) that saidthe day of Christ coming in wrath had already come and that they had missed being “caught up and that they were now under God’s “wrath.” No wonder they were “shaken in mind.”
  4. HEBREWS: Declares “The just shall LIVE by faith” (Heb. 10:37-38) as Truth for Jew and Gentile.
  5. 1 CORINTHIANS: Paul says the temporary communicative miraculous gifts “will pass” (13:8-9), but Faith, Hope and Charity will abide. These ‘communicative gifts’ ended with the completion of the sure written “word of truth.” (1Cor 13:8)
  6. 2 CORINTHIANS: Mature Messianic believers become ‘epistles’ (3:2) and able ministers” of Israel’s New Testament relationship; “not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Cor. 3:6)
  7. ROMANS: Reveals the grace way of reconciliation and justification unto eternal life by the Cross of Christ, “The JUST shall live [have life] by faith (Rom. 1:17). Note the Rom. 16:25 as a Postscript is Paul’s bridge to the newly revealed Ephesian revelation of the Mystery” of the Gentile “body of Christ.”


We have only to turn to Isaiah 11:1-16 to which Acts refers as “The Hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20, Isa. 11:1-16), to prove beyond doubt that the Hope of the Messianic “Church” in Rome at that time was for the Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom to come on earth. The reference to the Archangel (Michael) in 1 Thess. 4:16 makes another link with Israel’s hope, as does the connecting passage in 2 Thes. 2:3-10 where the “Man of Sin” is spoken of. But today the 2nd “Coming” of the Lord to set up His Millennial reign is postponed while Israel is “blinded” during this Gentile age of “the Mystery [secretly planned]” body of Christ (cf. Rom. 11:25).  So, it is “the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20) that was in view throughout the Acts period, from Acts 1:6 to Acts 28:20. Paul writes concerning the ultimate “hope of Israel” in these Acts period epistles;

6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our [Israel’s] fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, Hope To Come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Acts 26:6-7 (KJV)
12 And again, Esaias [Isaiah] saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. 13 Now the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:12-13 (KJV)
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the [2nd] coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep [dead in their graves]. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we [of Israel] which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 (KJV)

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery [secret]; We shall not all sleep [be dead], but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [the living] shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 (KJV)

All the verses above reference the hope and reign of the believers of The Tribes of Israel. This Acts period “Jew First” positional reign above the Gentiles ceased with Acts 28:28. Israel is then fallen (cf. Rom. 11:10-11) and set aside in “blindness” (cf. Rom. 11:25). Then a new “Dispensation Of The Grace Of God” Comes Into Operation, as seen in Paul’s new set of seven POST-ACTS 28 epistlesfor ye GENTILES(Eph. 3:1).

The Hope of “the church” which is “the Body of Christ - The Hope of The Church of “THE Mystery” [the Secret plan of God] is the calling of the Gentile “Body Of Christ” whose destiny is with Christ ‘far above all principalities and powers at ‘the right hand of God.” (Eph. 1:20-21). Thus “the faithful” of the Gentilebody of Christ live today looking to their Appearing With HimWhen ‘He Appears In Heavens Glory.’ (cf. Col. 3:4). Our eternal destiny is to then Reign with Christ’ eternally IN HEAVEN (2Tim. 2:12). This Hope is in a sphere beyond that of Israel as seen in Isa. 11:1-16. Our hope is set forth in Col. 3:4, being associated with Our Manifestation in Glory when Christ Himself shall be Manifest.

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)

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, Ephesians 1:18 (KJV)

20 For our 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 body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philippians 3:20-21 (KJV)

1 If [since] ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are ABOVE, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on Things ABOVE, Not On Things On The Earth. 3 For Ye Are Dead, And Your Life Is Hid With Christ In God. 4 When Christ, Who Is Our Life, Shall APPEAR, Then Shall YE ALSO APPEAR WITH HIM In [Heaven’s] Glory. Colossians 3:1-4

Paul’s Seven POST-ACTS Epistles that were written AFTER Acts 28:28 begin with Ephesians, revealing the “Great Mystery” (Eph. 5:32) of several Mysteries. “THE Mystery [secret]” of these epistles concern God’s plan and eternal purpose of forming “the body of Christ.” This “Mystery [secret]” was “hid in God” from the beginning the world [Grk. the kosmos]” (Eph. 3:9), but is now revealed to all those who will “read” Paul’s “knowledge of the Mystery” (Eph. 3:4-5) as seen in his Post-Acts Epistles.

Paul writes of the hope, relationship, and expectation of the “enlightened” (cf. Eph. 1:18) members of “the body of Christ” in the Post-Acts epistles seen below;

  • EPHESIANS: “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)

“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,” (Eph. 1:18)

‘Knowing’ the revelation of “the Mystery [secret]” our is “… 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:” (Eph. 3:9 (KJV)

“The Mystery” is “According to the Eternal Purpose which he Purposed In Christ Jesus Our Lord:” (Ephesians 3:11)

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in One Hope Of Your Calling; (Ephesians 4:4)

  • PHILIPPIANS: We look for our ‘Out-Resurrection’ to Heaven (Phili. 3:11, 14), as “THE Prize Of The High [Heavenly, upward] Calling of God In Christ” (Phili. 3:14)
  • PHILEMON: Humanizes the lofty doctrines such as the love of God, forgiveness in Christ, and the inherent dignity of humanity as having pertinent impact in the everyday life of Christians.
  • COLOSSIANS: The “dispensation of the Mystery” (cf. Col. 1:25-26) and our ‘appearing with Christ when “He shall appear” “in [heaven’s] glory(cf. Col. 3:4)
  • *1 TIMOTHY: “Christ… our hope” (1:1), Be righteous unto “the appearing(1Tim. 6:14)
  • *TITUS: (Penned en route to Nicopolis, cf. Titus 3:12) The “blessed hope” of “The Glorious Appearing Of The Great God And Our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)
  • 2 TIMOTHY: Paul’s farewell - The “Crown of righteousness” awarded to those wholove His appearing (4:8).

*NOTE: The evidences for the exact dating of these Pastoral Epistles of Paul are not sufficient to enable anyone to dogmatize. 1 Timothy and Titus were written in the interval of Paul’s freedom during his Two years at Rome (cf. Acts 28:30), when Paul was treated as a military prisoner, being allowed some measure of liberty in his subsequent imprisonment treated as “an evildoer.” From Paul’s imprisonment Paul then had no hope of release, but by death.


Thus I’ve set forth the significance of the two Chronological sets of 7 Pauline epistles as they concern; 1) the eternal “Hope of Israel and the “Heavenly” Hope of the Gentile “church… the body of Christ.

Thus as we trace the unfolding purpose in the New Testament, we observe that at each central epoch or age, a ‘witness’ is raised up. Witnesses for Pentecost and its message of ‘offering the Kingdom’ are abundant in the early Acts signs and wonders by the hand of the Twelve Apostles and Paul.

But with the call and commission of Paul, however, a new witness appears and his arrival indicates another dispensational change. Paul is given several titles, “A chosen vessel” being the earliest recorded in Act 9. Paul was to “bear the name of the Lord before the Gentiles, and Kings and the children of Israel.” “Gentiles” here occupying the first place even as they do in the prophetic utterance of old Simeon (Luke 2:32). The emphasis upon the Gentiles in these passages, cannot be disassociated from the foreknown withdrawal of favour from fallen unbelieving Israel.

“It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you [Israel]; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46).

From Acts 22:6-15 we learn more fully the commission given to Paul following his conversion on the road to Damascus: “For thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard” (v15) Referring to this first ministry which ends with the shadow of prison in Acts 20, he summed it up as “testifying (or ‘witnessing’) both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ” (v21). In his defence, the Apostle Paul more than once linked the two sections of his ministry by the word that is translated either “witness” or “testify.”

As thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11).

In like manner, Paul’s prison ministry, the ministry that unfolded the new ‘dispensation of the mystery”, the ministry that finds its exposition in the “Prison Epistles” of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon and II Timothy, these epistles too are a “witness” or a “testimony” to ‘the truth for our times.’ Paul’s first ministry actually comes to an end in Acts 20 and the new ministry is foreseen. Referring to the prophecies that spoke of “bonds and afflictions” Paul said:

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, TO TESTIFY the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).

This implies something more than preaching the gospel as an “evangelist,” it includes this, but it gives meaning to the emphasis which is laid on “the grace of God,” for in the Prison Epistles we read that “the dispensation” which had been given to the apostle as “the Prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles was “the Dispensation Of The Grace Of God (Eph. 3:1-2).

Again, in his defence before Agrippa the apostle spoke of his twofold ministry, again using the word translated either “witness” or “testimony” to whom now I send thee(Acts 26:16, 17).

- by Arthur J Licursi with portions adapted from CH Welch.