Scripture Reading: Acts 21:18-39; Matt. 17:1-8; Heb. 1:1-3; 2:14; 3:1; 8:6; 9:15; Eph. 1:17-23; 2:14-16; 3:8, 17-21; 4:4-6, 24; 5:18; 6:11; Phil. 3:4-14; Col. 1:12, 15, 18; 2:2, 9, 16-17; 3:4, 10-11; Rev. 2:7, 17; 3:5, 20

Before we go on in this Life-study to another section of the book of Acts, I would like to give a further word concerning the need for a dispensational transfer, the transfer out of the Old Testament economy into God’s New Testament economy.


Concerning the matter of a dispensational transfer, let us consider the case of Peter. On the mount of transfiguration Peter took the lead to propose to the Lord that he build three tabernacles, one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for the Lord Jesus (Matt. 17:4). “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I delight; hear Him!” (v. 5). When the disciples heard this, they fell on their face. When they lifted up their eyes, “they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone” (v. 8). Moses and Elijah had disappeared, and only Jesus remained. Peter had proposed to keep Moses and Elijah, that is, the law and the prophets, with Christ, but God took Moses and Elijah away, leaving “no one except Jesus Himself alone.” No one except Jesus Himself alone should remain in the New Testament. He is today’s Moses, imparting the law of life into His believers, and also today’s Elijah, speaking for God and speaking forth God within His believers. This is God’s New Testament economy.

In Matthew 17:1-8 we have a clear revelation of the fact that with the coming of Jesus both Moses and Elijah were over. Moses and Elijah represent the entire Old Testament, with Moses representing the law and Elijah representing the prophets. According to Jewish custom, the Old Testament was regarded as having two main parts—the Law and the Prophets. Even the Psalms were considered part of the Law. Therefore, the fact that Moses and Elijah were over indicates that the entire Old Testament, consisting of the Law and the Prophets, was over.

Peter had the experience of seeing the vision on the mount of transfiguration, and later, in his second Epistle, he referred to what happened on that mountain (2 Pet. 1:16-18). Why, then, did Peter say nothing about this vision when James was insisting on keeping the Old Testament economy along with the New Testament economy? I find this difficult to understand. In Acts 21 did Peter not have any remembrance of the vision he had seen in Matthew 17 and about which he later wrote in 2 Peter 1?

Peter certainly was knowledgeable concerning the disappearing of the Old Testament economy. On the mount of transfiguration he must have been impressed with this. He heard the voice out of the cloud declare, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I delight; hear Him!” (Matt. 17:5). He had also seen Moses and Elijah together with Jesus, and then he saw that Moses and Elijah had disappeared and that Jesus remained alone. Why, having heard this word and having seen this vision, was Peter silent in Acts 21? Why did he not rise up and say, “Brother James, let me tell you what I heard and saw on the mount of transfiguration. Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets, are over. We should no longer hold on to the Old Testament economy. To do that is contrary to God’s move in His New Testament economy.” However, Peter kept silent and did not speak this way to James in Acts 21. Likewise, there is no indication that John, who was with Peter on the mount of transfiguration, said anything to James concerning it at that juncture. Neither Peter nor John stood up to testify regarding the vision they had seen and the charge they had received on the mount of transfiguration.