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Let’s start with what Peter said to Cornelius and his household. Cornelius was a Roman centurion who was devout and feared God, but was not a Jew.

Acts 10:34-43 And opening his mouth, Peter said, Truly I see that God is not a respecter of faces, but in every nation the one fearing Him and working righteousness is acceptable to Him. The Word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ, this One is Lord of all.

 You know the thing that happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed, Jesus the One from Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all those having been oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.

 And we are witnesses of all things which He did, both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem. They did away with Him, hanging Him on a tree. God raised up this One the third day and gave to Him to become visible; not to all the people, but to witnesses, the ones having been before hand-picked by God, to us who ate and drank with Him after His rising again from the dead. 

And He commanded us to proclaim to the people and to witness solemnly that it is He who has been marked out by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To this One all the Prophets witness, so that through His name everyone believing into Him will receive remission of sins.

Peter knew Cornelius had knowledge of the Jewish religion, and Peter himself spoke as a Jew. So we have some mention of judgment and sins. Seen through grace, we know that sin was taken away by Jesus. Peter is speaking at a very early time in the early church, and before the message was tailored to the nations in Paul’s ministry.

Paul in Lystra, Acts 14:8-19 

8 And a certain man was sitting in Lystra, powerless in the feet, being lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This one heard Paul speaking, who, looking intently at him, and seeing that he had faith to be cured, he said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet! And he leaped up and walked about.”

 And seeing what Paul did, the crowd lifted up their voice in Lycaonian, saying, “The gods have come down to us, becoming like men”. And they called Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the leader in speaking. And the priest of Zeus being before their city, carrying bulls and garlands to the gates, he wished to sacrifice along with the crowds.  

But Paul and Barnabas, the apostles, hearing, tearing their garments, they sprang into the crowd, crying out, and saying, “Men, why do you do these things? We also are men of like feelings to you, announcing the gospel to you to turn you from these vanities to the living God, who “made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all things in them,” (Ex. 20:11) who in the generations which have passed allowed all the nations to go in their own ways, though indeed He did not leave Himself without witness, doing good, giving rain and fruitful seasons to us from heaven, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Green’s Literal)

 Notice there is no mention of the law, or even of Adam. They did quote Exodus.

Now, consider Paul in Athens, Acts 17:16-34

But awaiting them in Athens, Paul’s spirit was pained within him, seeing the city full of images. Then, indeed, he addressed the Jews in the synagogue, and those worshiping, also in the market every day, to those happening to be there.

 And some of the Epicureans and of the Stoics, philosophers, fell in with him. And some said,” What may this seed-picker wish to say? And these others, He seems to be an announcer of foreign demons (because he announced Jesus and the resurrection to them)”.

 And taking hold of him, they led him to the Areopagus, saying, “Are we able to know what is this new doctrine being spoken by you? For you bring startling things to our ears. We are minded, then, to know what these things wish to be. And all Athenians and the strangers living there have leisure for nothing else than to say and to hear newer things”.

 And standing in the middle of the Areopagus, Paul said, “Men, Athenians, I see in everything how god-fearing you are; for passing through and looking up at the objects of your worship, I also found an altar on which had been written, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Not knowing, then, whom you worship, I make Him known to you.”

 “The God who made the world and all things in it, this One being Lord of Heaven and of earth, does not dwell in handmade temples, nor is served by hands of men, as having need of anything. For He is giving life and breath and all things to all.” 

“And He made every nation of men of one blood, to live on all the face of the earth, ordaining fore-appointed seasons and boundaries of their dwelling, to seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after Him and might find Him, though indeed He not being far from each one of us.” 

“For in [by, through, with – my brackets] Him we live and move and exist, as also some of the poets among you have said, For we are also His offspring. Then being offspring of God, we ought not to suppose that the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone, engraved by art and the imagination of man.”

 “Truly, then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now strictly commands all men everywhere to repent, because He set a day in which “He is going to judge the habitable world in righteousness,” by a Man whom He appointed; having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead. (Psa. 9:8)” 

And hearing of a resurrection of the dead, some indeed ridiculed, but said, We will hear you again concerning this. And so Paul went out from their midst. But some men believed, joining themselves to him, among whom also were both Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.(Green’s Literal)

So we see Paul quoting Greek poets and a Psalm. He appeals to the brotherhood of man, basically. And he stresses the idea that as offspring of God, they ought not to be worshiping idols made by men.

Why, then, do the preachers in our churches, and on the mission field, teach law to people in order to get them to see they have broken it? Peter and Paul did not do this. Think about it. They have done us no favors by bringing into a law mindset.

The gospel is the same, but the presentation varied with the audience. It’s still the same message to all. There is no Jew or Greek in Jesus. We are all one. We come to Him by faith, which means we are persuaded and trust the message. The message is not law or sinning. The message is Jesus, His death, and His resurrection. Jesus reveals Himself in the hearing of this simple gospel.

Here is the Greek word in question:

αἰών
aiōn
ahee-ohn’
From the same as Strong’s G104; properly an age; by extension perpetuity (also past); by implication the world; specifically (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future)

Both aion/eon and the Hebrew equivalent can mean either a long definite period or an indefinite one. When referring to or applied to God, they mean forever or everlasting or, as we would say, eternal. In most opinions, aion is used in the Jewish tradition, in the same manner that they used their own Hebrew word. The thinking did not change. Only the language changed.

I see a contrast is some verses. Aionian judgment is not eternal but aionian life from God is eternal. This is a logical presentation of an idea, and was common in the time of Jesus.

Also, there is a sense where God’s judgment is eternal. He judged sin and we are now judged righteous. For all time.

There is a lot of buzz these days about how eternal doesn’t mean eternal and it’s a mistranslation  But these words indisputably do mean everlasting/eternal. And they also mean a period of time, like an age. It’s not either/or. It’s both. One meaning applies God, and one to mortal men. Context is everything.

Is God going to punish people forever if they are sinners? No. More on that in another place.  And if you do not believe there is a hell, as a place for anything other than laying a corpse, then all this carrying on about whether or not aion means eternity, is pointless.

http://www.godsplanforall.com/translations

It’s hard to find good treatment of some of these words. The linked page does it well. I don’t endorse all the teaching on that site, but I’ve learned that truth is hidden in many places.

Traditionally we have seen the statements by Jesus about new patches on old cloth, and putting new wine in old wineskins, as illustrating the necessity of the new birth.

Yes, if you try to put the new wine in the old man, he can’t hold it. And if you just try to patch yourself up with new ideas, it won’t work. But I think there is more to this.

In the parables, Jesus tended to be referencing the present day Jewish kingdom, and how it was going away. Of course, the people didnt understand that. It was unthinkable that Messiah would come and not take the Jewish kingdom back from the Romans. That was their hope.

Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to earth, not save the Jewish one. Jesus came to bring the new covenant, not prop up the old one. Jesus came to fulfill the law, thereby doing away with it, but not to enable people to keep the law.

I submit that the old wine skin is the old covenant and the old fabric is the law. The new wine can’t be kept under the old covenant. And grace cannot be sewn onto the law. Or visa versa. It’s not important which is which.

If you are a believer and call yourself a Christian, but still try to live by the old covenant and the law, or patch the law into the freedom of grace, you are living in the rubble of the old system, and are not really living as a new creation.

When you see God as a judgmental god, you have missed the final revelation of Him in Jesus. He is good. All the time.

When you try to patch a wrathful, vengeful, demanding god onto that revelation and image that Jesus showed us, you are not living in the kingdom of God.

The Bride and the Body of Christ are one. This is generally understood. They are different ways of seeing the same thing… which is the ekklesia, the assembly, the called out ones. Believers in Jesus.

Yet it’s more. I can’t put it into words. It was a flash, an impression in my spirit. They/we are one ‘flesh’, with Christ  as the head. We are here on earth, yet also seated with Him at the right hand of the Father. The seat of authority and rest. Until He comes to be with us bodily, He is with us in the ekklesia, we are united in spirit.

I’m seeing a mixing of metaphors. The bride of Christ and the body of Christ are ways of describing the same group of people. The ekklesia. The gathering, the called out ones, the assembly. The family is also a description of who we are, where we cry out, Abba, Father. And where we are brothers and sisters of Jesus. Further, we are the house/dwelling/temple of God. We are also sheep. Branches of the Vine. The kingdom of God and heaven. The elect. We are all of that.

What we have in the bride and bridegroom, and the body, is a joining that makes of two, one. The head of the body is Jesus. As in the marriage example, the man, Jesus, leaves his home and joins with the woman and they become one. Bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.

While all the metaphors that apply to the ekklesia are referring to the same thing, describing the same thing, the body and bride indicate much more unity, almost like the vine and branches. It’s important to see this. Otherwise we have seemingly two different bodies of believers. But we do not. They are one.

Just as the Son and Father are one, and we are one with Him, so the bride and body are one. Remember, there is no more Jew nor Greek, but one new man. Ha! Another metaphor for the ekklesia – a new man. We are part of the divine dance, the perichoresis (this comes from two Greek words, peri, which means “around” and chorea, which means “dance” and refers to the mutual indwelling and intersecting of the godhead).

Eve came from Adam. The church came from Jesus. One was physical. The other is spiritual, though composed of physical persons. So the woman and the man both exist on the earth, united in spirit.  But the head of the church is Christ who is seated in heaven, and He will return as the Bridegroom and be with her physically one day.

We are to consider the bride and the body as joined and as one. They are metaphors for the same corporate expression of God’s plurality. It is hard to wrap our minds around metaphors sometimes, and all metaphors are incomplete. They are just descriptive of something that often can’t be seen and understood any other way. One day we will see face to face and know as we are known.

And even this is a poor attempt to put what I see into words. I so understand the struggle Paul had to express what he saw and knew in his heart.

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