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The Missing Pages
by James Johnson


 
 

This is an old Bible. All the pages of Paul's letters have been removed. From a distance you might not see any difference. Someone unfamiliar with it, could read this Bible from Genesis to Revelation and not know that there was anything missing.

The fact is that the whole of this 'doctored' book is the Jewish Bible. Many suppose that the 'Old Testament' is the Jewish Bible and the 'New Testament' is the Christian Bible. Many sincere Bible students are content just to read the 'New Testament' and perhaps the Psalms.

It may seem commendable that they want the words of Christ in red ink, so that they can concentrate only on those words. It would be almost blasphemous to many sincere believers if you were to say that that was not a good idea. We do need the WHOLE book, even though not all of it is written to us or for us, because we cannot understand the so-called 'Christian' Bible without it. But the relevant scriptures for us today are only to be found in Paul's letters.

To many this is a controversial statement. If you read this 'doctored' book what would you be missing? You would be missing a secret. A secret that is only recorded in Paul's letters. Ephesians 3:3:

"For by revelation the secret is made known to me."

Paul didn't use that word "secret" or "mystery" just once, he used it many times. For example, Ephesians 3:9:

"To me, less that the least of all saints, was granted this grace - to bring the evangel of the untraceable riches of Christ to the nations, and to enlighten all as to the administration of the secret, which has been concealed from the eons in God."

And in Colossians 1:26:

"To complete the word of God - the secret which has been concealed from the eons and the generations, yet now has been made manifest to the saints."

As well as Romans 16:26:

"A secret hushed in times eonian, yet manifested now and through prophetic scriptures, according to the injunction of the eonian God."

So this mystery is something that was hidden, kept secret and not made known to men prior to Paul's generation. But whatever that secret is, does it make any difference to us today?

If Paul's letters were not included in the Scriptures today, we would be like people in England in 1756. Their calendars told them the date but it didn't coincide with the reality of their world. If we hadn't adopted the Gregorian calendar, this year we would be out by 13 days. We would be 'out of sync' with the equinoxes.

If we did not have Paul's letters we would be 'out of sync' with God's dealings with mankind today.

John the Baptist did not baptize a single Gentile. Peter on the Day of Pentecost did not preach to Gentiles. Yet, it is an incontrovertible fact that today there are more Gentile followers of Jesus than Jewish followers. Why is that? Is it because Paul was a better salesman of his teachings to the Gentiles? Or did God have something to do with it? To answer that question we need to compare what Peter began teaching and what Paul taught a few years later.

The message Peter had on the day of Pentecost was simple, "Repent." Acts 2:38:

"Then Peter said to them [Men, Jews and all who are dwelling in Jerusalem] 'Repent, and be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the pardon of your sins, and you shall be obtaining the gift of the holy spirit.'"

Peter began by quoting the prophet Joel and King David to show that Jesus was the Messiah. Acts 2:40 records how he ended:

"With more and different words he WARNED them; and pleaded with them, saying, "Be saved from this crooked generation." In other words, Repent, and flee from the WRATH to come."

Why did he speak like this? Because Peter believed from the prophecies that what should next happen is the return of Jesus Christ in JUDGEMENT and WRATH to establish His Kingdom on EARTH with ISRAEL. After all, the resurrected Jesus Himself said in Luke 24:47 -

"and there is to be heralded in His name REPENTANCE for the pardon of sins to all the nations BEGINNING from Jerusalem."

That's what Peter said, but not Paul. We know what Paul taught, because it is recorded for us in Romans 1. Without Paul's letter to the Romans we wouldn't know. Verses 1-4:

"Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, a called apostle, severed for the evangel of God, (Which He promises before through His prophets in the holy Scriptures), concerning His Son (who comes of the seed of David, according to the flesh, who is designated Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead.)"

So far so good. Both Peter and Paul are saying the same thing.

Now comes the difference. Verse 5:

"Jesus Christ, our Lord, through whom we [i.e. Paul] obtained GRACE and APOSTLESHIP."

In other words, not WRATH AND JUDGEMENT. Verse 6:

"Among whom are you also, the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are in Rome, beloved by God, called saints. GRACE to you and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Paul is announcing something amazing:

Yes, Jesus Christ entered into the human line of David.
Yes, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.
Yes, Jesus Christ came back.

Not to usher in the kingdom and judgement, but to give Paul apostleship and a revelation of GRACE!!

God is holding back His judgement for a time while He showers the world with grace and peace, not judgement and wrath. God is conciliated! I repeat, without Paul's letter the reality of the world we live in would not be reflected in the Scriptures.

Some have been surprised at what the Twelve apostles did in Acts 8:1: "... Now in that day there came to be a great persecution of the ecclesia which is in Jerusalem; and they were all dispersed among the districts of Judea and Samaria, EXCEPT THE APOSTLES."

Why did the apostles stay behind? The answer is to be found in the words of Jesus in Acts 1:8:

"... and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in entire Judea and in Samaria, and as far as the limits of the earth."

It was not given them to know the times or the seasons, but they were given the order of doing things. They obeyed Christ to the letter. They were to start in Jerusalem, and stay there until the people had received the witness and accepted Jesus as their Messiah. Then, when that was done to do the same in Judea etc. That is why the Twelve never went to the Gentiles.

In Acts 10, Peter did go to a Gentile, much against his will, but the Gentile was a Jewish proselyte. Peter doubted what he should do and he wasn't the only one. The Jewish believers also doubted. When they were scatted abroad, most of the Jewish believers made sure they preached the "word to no one except to the Jews ONLY" (Acts 11:19). They all believed that Israel must be 'converted' first and then, and only then, could Israel go out to 'convert' the world.

In the first 12 chapters of Acts, everything revolves around Peter and the Twelve. But then in Acts 13, they practically disappear and everything revolves around Paul. Peter and the others came to a standstill. It wasn't working out as they understood from the prophets. The whole world was supposed to be blessed through Israel. They were to teach the Law to the nations on this earth. Here was this 'upstart' apostle with a ministry to the whole world, without Israel, apart from the Law.

Without Paul's letters we wouldn't understand this either. We need to understand:

Paul is God's new and unique apostle.
Paul has been given a new and unique revelation of GRACE.
Paul has received a new and unique ministry to the Gentiles in spite of Israel's so-called 'failure'.

Yet without Israel's defection, there would be no world-wide conciliation, bringing unbounded blessing to the nations, until Israel is again in God's reckoning. Logically, then, if Israel didn't repent, Israel's apostasy would bar all possibility of blessing to the nations.

Don't let us run away with the idea that God had to come up with something different because the Jews did not repent - a Plan B. Paul tells us God kept the change of direction to Himself. God knows the end from the beginning. God has provided a 'level playing field'. Now in Christ, it makes no difference whether you are a Jew or Gentile, man or woman, white or black, slave or free, you are still God's people.

What about all God's promises to the Jews? Has He set all that aside? No, God is faithful, He will keep His promises. But it will happen in God's own time.

I have sought to explain that Paul's letters are an integral part of the Sacred Scriptures and that without them we would not know what God is doing today. Without them, the Bible would just be an historical document of an ancient people and of interest only to Jewish believers. If we claim that Paul's letters are a part of the Sacred Scriptures and cannot be left out, is it possible that there are other letters that have been left out?

Are the Scriptures we have today complete? What about the Gospels of Judas, Thomas, Mary, etc?

There are those who claim that a conspiracy by the Catholic Church prevented these books from being accepted as authentic, and becoming part of the canon. Is this true? Are there some missing pages from the Bibles we use today?

The so-called 'Gospel of Judas' is a Gnostic text. It does not claim to be written by Judas, but it aims to exonerate him for his actions. This and other Gnostic manuscripts teach that the Gnostic followers had 'hidden knowledge'.

The 'gospel of Judas' claims that only Judas, the so-called favourite disciple, received the truth from Christ. Yet John 15:15 records what Jesus told all his disciples:

"... for EVERYTHING that I learned from My Father, I have made known to you."

Not only that, Jesus told the PHARISEES, yes, even the Pharisees, in John 8:26:

"... He who sent Me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him, I tell the WORLD"

The problem is not that Christ didn't teach His disciples the truth, but that many people don't want to hear it. The message of the Cross, the true gospel, is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). Thankfully, God has provided help for those He is calling. John 10:27:

"My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me".

What Jesus told two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus is recorded in Luke 24:44:

"... all must be fulfilled that is written in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."

Then He opened up their minds to understand the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Gnostics largely rejected the Hebrew Scriptures. They believed that Yahweh was a wicked, cruel God who had been replaced by the kind and loving Jesus. Yet 2 Timothy 3:16 reads,

"ALL Scripture [and that includes the Hebrew Scriptures, especially the Hebrew Scriptures] is inspired by God and is beneficial for exposure, for correction, for discipline in righteousness."

We should not be surprised that the world prefers a worldly gospel. Paul told the ecclesias in Galatia as recorded in Galatians 1:6-7:

"I am marvelling that thus, swiftly, you are transferred from that which calls you in the grace of Christ, to a different evangel, which is not another ...".

and verse 8:

"... and if anyone should be bringing an evangel to you beside that which we bring to you, let him be anathema!"

Paul emphasized this point in verses 11-12,

"For I am making known to you, brethren, as to the evangel which is being brought by me, that it is not in accord with man, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ."

Paul completed the Word of God - Colossians 1:25. (Not the last to be written but revealing the end or purpose of God.) The Scriptures are now complete - nothing more needs to be added.

One reason that Gnostic beliefs were able to get a foothold, is that people did not and do not understand what God is doing today. There was no conspiracy to prevent these "gospels" becoming accepted in later centuries. No council decided what was and what wasn't inspired truth. The Council of Nicaea did not officially authenticate the canon. They just listed the Scriptures which had been accepted by believers over the centuries. Past generations recognized these other "gospels" for what they were - false.

Our Greek Scriptures were written by eye-witnesses or those who spoke to eye-witnesses in the first century. They were written to show that Jesus is the Christ and that He rose from the dead.

All these other so-called "gospels" have a different agenda, and were written centuries afterwards. We can be thankful that we have the full version of the Scriptures. God has preserved His Word so that we might know what He has done, is doing, and will do and WHY.

Nothing more is needed.

Thank God, there ARE NO missing pages!


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© A. Maclarty - Grace and Truth Magazine