Part 15 of 17

“Prophecy” or “Mystery”

Most believers do not know of the radical divisions that properly exist within the Bible. These are the different dispensations that are God ordained. Their study reveals God’s plan and the work of His hand through the ages. Paul says we need to study these divisions.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (cut straight) the word of truth.

Such a study not only reveals what is involved, but also what is not included in the dispensations involved. E.g., Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

The key point of division in Scripture that we must heed is a difference that’s not between the Old and New Testaments, but rather between all that is related to prophecy that Peter says was spoken by all the prophets” (Act 3:24), and  Paul’s “mystery gospel that had been kept secret by God until it was first revealed to Paul.  Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Paul here above says it is by Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that we will be “established”; and this gospel given to Paul is the gospel that had been kept secret since the world began.”

You see, “prophecy” principally concerns  Israel, and it occupies at least 80% of the Bible. In the Old Testament we see prophecy concerns a long promised literal and physical Kingdom to come to Abraham’s offspring on the physical earth. Jesus’ so-called Lord’s Prayer that He gave the Jews says Thy kingdom come… on earth.” In the gospels the Kingdom was proclaimed by John the Baptist and Jesus as being “at hand.” In the early Acts period the 12 Apostles (not Paul) actually offered the Kingdom…if only Israel's leaders would repent and receive Israel’s Messiah.

Of course Israel rejected Him yet again. We know that in Acts chapter 7, with the stoning of Stephen, Israel rejected the third person of the Trinity, the witness of Holy Spirit, and thereby the King and His Kingdom. (This, by the way, is the unpardonable sin, see Luke 12:10 et al.) Thus, the Kingdom promised to Israel is now put on hold, in abeyance, “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren …that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

With Israel’s 3rd and final rejection of the Triune God, by the stoning of Stephen, God introduces a new truth, vertically deposited; coming down from Christ in heaven to the Apostle Paul. This came not through prophecy, but rather "by revelation of Jesus Christ" directly to the Apostle Paul. That revelation is called “the mystery” – of “the dispensation of the grace of God” and “the church, which is the body of Christ.” It concerns “the mystery” that had been “kept secret since the world began.” It involves a new incarnation of Christ in His body on earth today, “the body of Christ.” Have you ever noted that only Paul uses the term “the body of Christ?” Of the churches mentioned in the Bible, this one church of which Paul writes is uniquely identified as “the church, which is His body” (Eph 1:22b-23a).

After the rapture or “catching away” of “the church, which is His body” to meet the Lord in the air (another fact we learn only from Paul), God will again pick up and fulfill His plan and promises for His people Israel, who till then will have been “set aside.” God then will fulfill all His promises concerning the long promised Kingdom to come to earth for Abraham’s seed, for them to “bless the nations” (Gen 18:18, 22:18, 26:4).

Paul’s writings concerning the grace gospel message to “the church, which is His body” only occupies about 20% of the Bible. This last gospel, “the mystery” is found clearly delineated only in Paul’s epistles. This does not negate the other 80% of the Bible. The balance of the Bible is “for our learning.” Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learningThus, we may conclude that the entire Bible is written for our learning, but only this small portion, Paul’s writings alone, are written to us, concerning us and our relationship with the Lord in this day of “the dispensation of the grace of God.”