In case you missed the opening article for the “How to Use Right Division to Find God’s Words for You” series, Click Here.
For Part 2 of the series Click Here.
For Part 3 of the series Click Here.
For your edification and understanding, I have created a chart showing the Bible rightly divided into “Time Past,” “But Now,” and “Ages to Come,” the apostle Paul’s divisions from Ephesians chapter 2. The chart is available for you to download at This Link. Please download the chart before you continue.
The Four Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Let’s answer our three basic Right Division questions of who is speaking, who is the intended audience and what is the time-frame or setting? Also, we’ll answer two additional questions: 1. What was the ministry of Jesus? 2. Was the “Middle Wall of Partition” between Jew and Gentile still present in the Gospels?
After the lineage of Jesus comes John the Baptist in Matthew Chapter 3 and Jesus’ ministry in Matthew Chapter 4. Both preach the gospel of the kingdom, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Soon Jesus chooses His disciples and they also preach the gospel of the kingdom. What kingdom? The kingdom promised to Israel in the Old Testament.
The apostle Paul tells us the purpose of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises [made] unto the fathers:” – Romans 15:8 KJV
Jesus came to minister to the “circumcision,” Israel. He came to present himself as their Messiah and offer them the promised earthly kingdom. The promise made to the “fathers,” Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. Even though Jesus died on the cross for the sin of the world, both Jew and Gentile, His earthly ministry was to the Jews only. Jesus made that perfectly clear in the following verse.
“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, [thou] Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” – Matthew 15:21-24 KJV
In this passage, a Gentile “woman of Canaan” wants Jesus to heal her daughter. Both Jesus and the disciples want nothing to do with her. But her persistence and faith drive her into Jesus’ immediate presence. Then Jesus proclaims to her, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Here, in Jesus’ own words, He clearly states that His earthly ministry is only to Israel, the Jews. What could be more clear?
When Jesus sends out the 12 disciples to preach the gospel of the kingdom in Matthew Ch. 10, we read.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 10:5-7 KJV
Jesus commands His disciples not to go to the Gentiles but only to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” preaching the “gospel of the kingdom,” a gospel unique to Israel as God promised a kingdom to the fathers of Israel, not to Gentiles.
Jesus and the disciples are ministering only to the Jews. The “Middle Wall of Partition” is still in full effect during Jesus’ ministry as recorded in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).
The Law of Moses is also in force as Paul writes:
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” – Galatians 4:4-5 KJV
Jesus was born under the Law of Moses. He lived and died on the cross under the Law of Moses. Jesus died under the Law to “redeem them that were under the Law,” Israel. He also died for us, that we Gentiles “might receive the adoption of sons.”
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” – Matthew 5:17 KJV
Jesus came to fulfill the Law of Moses. Therefore, it was in full force during His ministry.
The “Middle Wall of Partition” was still in effect during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. There is a clear distinction between Jew and Gentile in the four gospels.
Does the church, the Body of Christ, exist during the ministry of Jesus and the apostles?
Since the “Middle Wall of Partition” is present in the gospels, the Church, the Body of Christ cannot yet exist, as the Body of Christ has no distinction between Jew and Gentile. But who were those that believed and followed Jesus during His ministry and the early chapters of Acts? I’ll address that question in a later article.
Who is Jesus addressing in Matthew thru John?
Jesus’ ministry was solely to Israel, the Jews, not Gentiles and not the Body of Christ.
Answers to the basic questions:
- Who is speaking? The primary voice in the gospels is Jesus Christ speaking through the writers.
- Who is the intended audience? Israel, the Jews are the intended audience as no one yet had a ministry to Gentiles.
- What is the timeframe or setting? The setting has not changed from the Old Testament. Galilee, Jerusalem, the Temple, the priesthood, sacrifices and feast days; Israel under the Law of Moses. Jesus ministering to Jews and fulfilling Old Testament prophecy pertaining to His first coming.
- What was the ministry of Jesus? To offer Israel the promised kingdom as their Messiah/King.
- Was the “Middle Wall of Partition” between Jew and Gentile still present in the Gospels? Yes, the separation of Jew and Gentile is clearly present in the four Gospels. Therefore, the church, the body of Christ, cannot be present as we have no such distinction between Jew and Gentile, we are one new man.
Next, I’ll discuss what happened in the early chapters of Acts. Did the church begin in Acts chapter 2 or was something else happening?