Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mystery comes from the Greek word musterion. It means a secret. Today the word mystery means, to most folks, something that cannot be understood. But in the Bible it is a secret that is kept hid till the time comes to reveal it. There may be a little parallel with the ancient mysteries of Babylon and other heathen religions. The initiates were led to the inner truths or secrets by stages or degrees which might run from 7 in the worship of Mithra to 33 in the Babylonian mysteries. Paul addressed the epistles containing the mystery to initiates which he called saints and faithful.

To Whom? Not only to saints and faithful, but ...to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery... {Ephesians 3:9) The expression all men does not necessarily mean all men everywhere regardless, but rather is confined to those addressed at the beginning of the epistles, no difference where they might be, We might confine this today to those who have believed John 3:16 unto everlasting life. We soon learn by experience that not all can receive it, no more than all of Israel could receive the Messiah when He walked with men on earth.

The Initiates. These are the members of the body of Christ of which He is the head. This body is the church of the dispensation of the mystery. These members have died with Christ, have been buried with Him, have risen with Him, have been quickened with Him, have been raised with Him to the heavenlies, have been seated with Him there at the right hand of God, and some day will be glorified with Him. They will live with Him. Some will reign with Him if so be that they have endured or suffered.

When First Revealed or Known? A special dispensation by the grace of God was given to Paul that he should preach this mystery. It was revealed to no one else with that purpose. There is no evidence that Paul knew anything about it till that day he said to the Jewish leaders in Rome that ...the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles... (Acts 28:28) Up to that time Paul's ministry was to the circumcision outside Jerusalem and Judea, preaching the kingdom for Moses and the prophets. When they rejected the message, then he turned to the Gentile believers in the Synagogues and announced to them the good news that they might partake of the blessings of Israel on the ground of faith without the works of the law. This was no secret and Paul went to great length to show that it had been foretold. See especially Romans 11. But this experiment did not work. Israel did not repent. God rejected them, postponed the kingdom program, and began the church program which had been in mind from before the overthrow of the world.

The Messengers. When the mystery began, the risen Savior gave gifts to the church. They were apostles and prophets; evangelists and pastors; and teachers. As indicated in Ephesians 2:20, this structure was built on the foundation of these apostles and prophets. After the foundation came the work of the evangelists and

Evangelists went to the groups telling the good news and edifying the body. Pastors took charge of the little groups. Teachers are yet working.

Various Secrets in the NT. Take, for an example, the eight parables of Matthew 13. They are the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. It is evident that in the 12th chapter the King and the kingdom were being rejected. So the mysteries have one thing especially to reveal. It was that there was to be an interval between the cross and the crown. If they had carefully looked at Daniel 9 they would have understood that this interval would have been 56 years. Since the cross came in A.D. 29, then the crown would have been in A.D. 85. All this was given in parables so that the people might not understand, but to the disciples it was given to know and the Lord explained what was meant. We cannot tabulate here all the secrets or mysteries mentioned, but note one especially, the mystery of iniquity {2 Thessalonians 2:7). That will be manifested in a person.

The Wider Gap of Hosea 6. Because of the parenthesis of the dispensation of the mystery, the gap of 56 years has been widened to 2056 years. This is found by adding the 2 days or 2,000 years. Although the time element was not a secret, yet the character of that time as to the nations was kept secret. A dispensation such as is now in force was never before made known till after the end of the events recorded in Acts. Up till the end of Acts all prophets, men and angels, and even Satan himself were unaware of the fact that the nations of the earth could be blest other than through Abraham. Neither did they know at any time that redeemed men could have a part in and enter into the heavens.

Other Related Mysteries. One is the mystery of godliness as set forth in 1 Timothy 3:15,16. This can make a good study in itself. Another mystery is the mystery of Christ {Ephesians 3:4). This could never be fully known till the dispensation of the mystery was revealed. Not all was even told concerning Christ till the dispensation of the mystery showed Him forth as Head, not only of the church, but of all things in heaven and earth (Ephesians 1:9,10).

We Know in Part. Prophecy is always hard to understand till it has been fulfilled. As an example of that, consider the prophecies concerning Christ. Some spoke of His sufferings, and some spoke of His glory. The Rabbis of Israel could not see how that both the sufferings and the glory could belong to one person. So they said that there must be two Messiahs, one a suffering One, Ben-Joseph; the other a glorious One, Ben-David. (Ben=son of). Might this be the reason they asked, ...do we look for another? (Matthew 11:3) The mystery is not revealed in Romans. It speaks of the partial blindness of Israel and the grafting in of Gentiles. So Romans 11:25 does not answer the question of how long as some think. Isaiah 6 does speak of blindness, but not of its duration and the character of what would take its place. See also Matthew 13:14; John 12:40; and Acts 28:26.

Usage of Ekklesia. In the LXX the Hebrew word qahal is translated by the Greek work ekklesia. So we can see that the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) was the congregation of Israel. It is this church that Christ said He would build on the foundation-Peter"s confession (Matthew 16:16). This church was no secret.

"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation He made known unto me The Mystery; that by the Spirit the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. Unto me, who am less then the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ephesians 3:1-11 with the parenthesis concerning the mystery of Christ left out.

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God; even The Mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." Colossians1:21-28.

This mystery and its revelation completes or fulfills the Word of God. We never could stop at the Revelation, for it only shows Christ forth as King of kings and Lord of lords in respect to the earth. The Word of God is not completed till we learn that Christ is not only Head of the church, but Head of all things in heaven and in earth. So it is Paul who finished the canon of Scripture, as we have it. Read through the above quotes several times weighing the words and noting the intent.

It was a mystery or secret never before known or suspected. It is not found even by type in the Old Testament. Neither can it be found in the witness of the stars or signs of the zodiac. Satan had known well enough that there was an earthly program and that some day the heel of the Seed would crush his head, but he did not know that his domain, the heavens, would come under the rule of the Seed and a church of which He was to be the Head. He now knows!

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Satan knew this. He probably was there, for the stars sang and sons of God shouted for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid. That the Lord claimed all power in heaven and earth may not have disturbed Satan too much, for up to that time all the redemptive purpose seemed to be directed to the earth, not the heavens. So Satan was probably not very much worried until the events of the time of the Acts were completed and it was revealed that there was a chosen people who go to heaven someday.

That the dominion given to Adam should some day extend into the heavens probably never entered the mind of Satan. He knew that Israel was to be a channel of blessing to the nations of the earth. He knew that during the Pentecostal economy Gentiles had been grafted into the olive tree and partook of the blessings of Israel. He knew that they were blest with faithful Abraham. None of these things was a part of the mystery or secret.

So today Satan is not only fighting for the rule over the earth, but he is fighting to maintain his position in heaven. But he will be cast out some day. He probably does not believe that. He does not have the capacity of believing any more. He chose his own way and questioned the Word of God. So like many today who do not take God seriously, Satan is blinded and cannot know the truth. He is the liar.

Like Satan, many Christians today have been deceived and have not come to the truth because they rejected the facts long ago. Many of them are leaning on being blest with Abraham, not knowing that the dispensation of promise is not in effect and that no one can enter into the kingdom or be blest with faithful Abraham. The church is blest with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

Many have been blinded and so they think that being joint heirs in the church is that Jew and Gentile have been joined together and made partakers of the blessings of Abraham, not the church. But in the church there is no wall of partition, Jew and Gentile are one, and the whole is called Gentiles after the new creation is related in Ephesians 2.

The final capstone of the mystery of Christ is the dispensation of the mystery. It is not that He is King of kings and Lord of lords, but that He is Head of all things to the church, and also Head of all creation, both heaven and earth. This revelation was given by a special dispensation of the grace of God to the apostle Paul so that he might make it known to the nations. And so the salvation of God was sent to the Gentiles; no longer is salvation of the Jews as it had been before.

Those who receive the gospel of the mystery and believe, receive the adoption of sons, and are placed among those chosen from before the overthrow of the world. So it is that one is saved by faith through grace and created in Christ Jesus unto good works which befit the calling and dispensation. Those under age and not sons have no work or responsibilities. They are still children and have life. Many children do not want to work, so do not receive the adoption.

Paul's all day testimony in Rome ended the first course of his ministry. Until that time he had been proclaiming the kingdom to Jew first and then to Gentile. This kingdom gospel was a part of the dispensation of promise which began in Genesis 12 with the call of Abraham. It primarily had to do with the millennial reign of Christ here on the earth. This was to begin with His coming with clouds of angels and the rapture of Israel up into the air. There is no reference in the Scriptures to a rapture of the church. Those who are caught up into the air to meet the Lord come back to earth as He comes and so spend the millennium with Him here on earth.

Upon Israel's rejection of the King and the kingdom in Acts 28, the offer of the kingdom was terminated, and the dispensation of the mystery started. It started with a special dispensation of grace being given to Paul to proclaim it. He claimed that he was made a special minister of the dispensation of the mystery according to the gift of the grace of God given unto him (not to others). A part of this ministry was to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery, and even to make known to principalities and powers in the heavenlies the manifold wisdom of God.

Paul told the Colossians that he was made a minister of the church by a dispensation of God, given to him (not to others). Also he claimed to have the distinction of finishing the Word of God. In spite of this, many think that John finished the canon.

Paul claimed that this mystery had been hid in God from ages and generations. The glory of this mystery was to be among the Gentiles, not the Jews.

Christendom, in general, denies the claims of Paul and the inspiration of the Scriptures which testify of the mystery. The apostasy which Paul had foretold has set in long ago and holds Christendom fast in its clutches today.

Now in the dispensation of promise, there were synagogues and assemblies which were called churches. These were local assemblies. Seldom was the whole spoken of as a church. But with the coming in of the dispensation of the mystery, there is one body or church. This is not the property or a chattel of Christ as you find in 1 Corinthians 12. It is His own body of which He is the Head. This is a relationship never before mentioned or known.

But there is another and most important distinction that must be made here. The church which is the body of Christ and of which He is the Head has its citizenship in heavenly places, is blest with all spiritual blessings there, and hopes to be manifested with the Lord there. This is far different from and higher than anything that had ever been revealed before. So the great difference between the two dispensations is the place of their hope; one on the earth, and the other in the heavenlies.

Then the most common question that follows is: How can one join this great church? Simply believe the gospel concerning it, and God will join you to it. This is set forth in Ephesians 2:8-10.

The salvation of Ephesians 2:8-10 is the salvation we read about in Acts 28:28, Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. Salvation up to this time had been of the Jews, as we learn in John 4: 21,22; Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

The Jew had the priority in the matter of salvation up till the end of Acts. Salvation had to do with a calling, an adoption, and blessing. This was not everlasting life. The Jew had no monopoly on that in any way whatsoever. Everlasting life is not dispensational, but true of all times. Everlasting life was no part of the mystery. It was made known in Deuteronomy 8:3 so that all Israel could know about it.

There is a very close relationship between the Head and the body. So if He be seated in the heavenlies, then the body is also seated there with Him. He is not now manifest there. Principalities and powers, and mights and dominions do not see Him. If anyone today should go to heaven, he would not see Christ. But a glorious day is coming when He will be manifested there and His body with Him (Colossians 3:1-4).

This is the hope of the church, but was never the hope of Israel. They will see Him when He comes to the earth to take up His kingdom over the kingdoms of the earth. But when He comes, He will have many crowns. Where does He get them?

Now we are plainly told in 2 Timothy 2:11,12 that if we have died with Him, we shall live with Him; that if we suffer or endure, then we shall reign with Him; but if we deny Him our service and faith, He will deny us the prize or reward. Fair enough; in fact, this is most gracious. It is a gift from God for members of the body to suffer for Him (Philippians 1:29).

A growth of the body of Christ is expected, the normal thing. First, it grows as an habitation of God (Ephesians 2:21). Then, it is fitly joined together, all the parts working in such harmony that it increases and is edifying itself in love (Ephesians 4:16). This is repeated in Colossians 2:19.

We have already noted that it is a temple (Ephesians 2: 21), and it is for an habitation of God in Spirit. He will dwell in His people, the body of Christ!

God has a great inheritance in the Holiest of all, that Gentiles have been made fellowcitizens of the Holy of Holies, and finally that God has made us meet to partake of that inheritance in the Holiest of all which is in the Shekinah glory. These are certainly riches untold and which are hard for us even to imagine. And this great good news was never told until after Acts 28:28. It was kept a secret. There was a reason, but that will come later.

Since the saints are to dwell in the Holiest of all (look at Ephesians 1:18; 2:19; Colossians 1:12), we find that they are to walk as children of light, that Shekinah light associated with the Holiest of all (Ephesians 5:8).

Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him. Ephesians 1:9,10.

Literally this means that it is now revealed that all things have been headed up in the Christ. This has been a secret. But it was a secret concerning the will of God. Now in the fullness of seasons it is being made known, and also made a reality. He has not taken over that power yet, but the day is coming when He will be manifested and then He will be seen, not only as King of kings and Lord of lords here on earth, but also Head of all things both in heaven and earth. This is the goal, the end.

This secret or mystery is closely related to the dispensation of the mystery where He is Head of the church which is His body. This is also the finish of the mystery of Christ which has been unfolding thru the ages and is completed by Paul when making known the dispensation of the mystery.

Matthew 28:18 almost tells this secret. The Lord claims that all power is given Him in heaven and earth. And when He takes over that power on the earth, that will be the signal for the apostles to begin their great commission and He will be with them personally unto the end of the age (1000 yrs.).

So from Genesis 1:1 where the Creator, Christ, is first mentioned, to this point, there has been a steady unfolding of the mystery of Christ.

So again in Ephesians 1:22 we read, And hath put all things under His feet. This repeats Matthew 28:18. But it goes on farther, And gave Him to be Head over all things to the church. This is over and beyond anything the apostles knew about. They were taught about the kingdom till the day the Lord ascended (Acts 1:3). But they never knew that there would be a church which should be called the Body of Christ and that its members would be blest in Christ in heavenly places. To them all blessings were in Abraham and in a land that was promised to him.

So we must conclude that up till the time the mystery was made known, no one had the hope of going to heaven some time, or being blest there with all spiritual blessings. This was kept secret.

Paul wanted the Ephesian saints to pray for him that he might open his mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19). Today we have the grand and glorious privilege of making known these secrets. Satan would like to keep them secret and he has a lot of workers who cooperate very well in this endeavor. That is why you seldom hear of it.

Today our hearts can be comforted. We can be knit together in love. There are riches of the full assurance of understanding. But they depend upon our acknowledgment of the mystery of God, yea, even of the mystery of the Father, and of the Christ. We can go on to perfection by learning and acknowledging the truth of the mystery. Or, we can live a wilderness experience and become lean in spirit. Let us also speak boldly when we ought to speak.

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the full knowledge of the mystery of God; even Christ, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2,3).

Check the above translation with marginal notes and the RV. The mystery of God then is Christ. And to that agrees the mystery of godliness in 1 Timothy 3:16. The mystery is made known when God is manifested. The mystery of Christ is not complete without the revelation of the dispensation of the mystery.

On the other hand, the mystery of iniquity is manifested in a man, the man of sin. To him will Satan give his power and authority. The great conflict of the ages then is between these two mysteries.

Checking our text above with the definition of the mystery in Ephesians 3:1-6, we have to conclude that the mystery of Christ is finished and completed by the dispensation of the mystery which declares Him as Head of all things in heaven and earth.

Knowing this mystery of God, which is the full revelation of Christ, is one of the most satisfying and comforting things in human experience. It gives rise to an experience of love that transcends all human knowledge (Ephesians 3:19).

Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience (1 Timothy 3:9). At the beginning of the dispensation of the mystery, there was still a corporate testimony. It is in the context of the requirements for church leaders, in this state of affairs, that the above text finds itself. We are beginning to see that the mystery, which is the subject of Paul's ministry after the end of Acts, is expressed in various ways. Here it is the mystery of the faith. And at the beginning of this article, it was the mystery of God. The active workers in the early days of the church of the dispensation of the mystery were to hold or guard this mystery of the faith in the setting and atmosphere of a pure conscience. Need we explain? The Christian who has a pure conscience has been doing that which is right.

Now we must face the question that so many ask. Why was this great dispensation kept secret? Why was it not mentioned in the Scriptures before Ephesians? Why was it not shown in the stars? Why did not God mention it to Abraham? These, and many more, are frequently asked, and they should be.

Was the truth kept secret so that the Jews would have no excuse when they finally rejected their King at the end of Acts? That might be a part of the answer. Was it kept secret so that Satan could not know it and step in and spoil things? Satan can step in and spoil nothing, unless God allows it. But it may be that it would have set up a train of events which would have let the secret leak out in some way. Was it because God did not want to reveal all His goodness and blessings at once, but to distribute them out over a period of time? This has been His practice, but it may not answer our question. Was it kept secret because principalities and powers were not to know it? This is probably the best reason of them all, We may look further into it.

The first rejection of the Messiah of Israel had been foretold in the prophecies. His death and its manner also was known. And in Matthew 13 there are parables which reveal the fact that the kingdom is to be postponed to some future date when the Lord should come again. But that there should be a second rejection was kept secret. It was not made known.

There is nothing to indicate that the long time period mentioned in Hosea 3:4 comes after a second rejection. So it must have come as a shock to the religious leaders of the time when Paul made his famous announcement of Acts 28:28. The Jewish theologians were totally unprepared for such an event to take place. We may well wonder what went on in the mind of Paul when this was revealed to him. His entire previous ministry had been in view of the coming of the King and the kingdom, and that he hoped for in his own life time. He expected to survive till the second coming of the Lord. But in just one sentence of Scripture (Acts 28:28) Paul's hope was dashed to the ground. And the world was left without a channel of blessing. No one was left to teach the nations and baptize them in the triune name. There was not a theologian or prophet in the world at that time who could tell what the next move would be - except Paul. This was one of the darkest moments in the world's history. What was to happen next?

The stage had been set for the prophecy of Daniel 9 to go on. Only about 21 years remained till the Lord should come and set up His kingdom. But just as it was at Kadesh-Barnea, the time was not yet. The unbelief of Israel made further progress at that time impossible. They have had another wilderness experience for close to 1900 years. But with this difference; now they are Lo-Ammi, not God's people.

For the time being, the gospels concluded prophecy. Acts was a testament of the King and kingdom. And Acts was the acts of Christ which He began while walking among men on this earth. The Acts were spoken of time after time as the last days. Today tradition holds that these were the first days. The real truth has been lost and buried under the traditions and ignorance of the dark ages.

When Peter said at Pentecost, this is that, he was only explaining that what was happening there was because of the Holy Spirit which Joel talked about. Peter was not telling them that prophecy was being fulfilled that day. Pentecost has no relation to the church. It was a feast of Israel and looked forward to the blessings of the kingdom.

Men have mixed things up and made a mess of the records because they have tried to place later revelation into former times or ages. Rahab dwelt among Israel when the book of Joshua was written (Jos 6: 25), not until this year of 1971. Such an idea is as silly as imagining that Paul learned the mystery on the Damascus road. No Scripture says so.

It is going to be pretty hard at this late date to tell the religious world that a Thanksgiving feast called Pentecost, which was exclusively for Jews, was not the beginning of the Gentile church. Centuries of tradition are hard to break down.

The average dry goods merchant usually knows the difference between cotton and wool. The grocer can be expected to know fowl from fish. The farmer is sure to know cabbage from corn. But the average Christian, and even the theologian, does not know the difference between the kingdom and the church. It is because they do not know the mystery.

For three score years I have been hearing all kinds of debates about whether the church would go thru the tribulation. If these debaters knew the mystery, there would be no question left to debate.

The last few verses of Mark's gospel have been a great puzzle to many sincere folks who want to do the will of God. But that commission was given to the 12 apostles and the record goes on to say that they did it and the signs followed. If they completed the task given them, why would folks want to start it all over again and do something they were never told to do? It is because they do not know the mystery. Furthermore, the words mission and missionary are not in the Bible. Did you know that?

During the last 1900 years countless numbers of good sincere folks have tried to obey the sermon on the mount. Many have found that it is impossible, that it cannot be done in the present world. Why? This Sermon on the Mount was the Magna Charta of the kingdom, the millennium, and has to do with a citizenry entirely different from what we have about us today. These folks could have been saved all this trouble and disappointment if they had but known the mystery.

You hear a great deal of talk about the coming judgment of the nations as recorded in Matthew 25. You hear a great deal about the dead being raised for the judgment and evangelists lay great stress that all who hear them will have to appear in that great judgment. But we find after careful reading that it is a judgment of living nations at the time of the return of the Lord to earth. There is no resurrection in connection with it. If only folks had known the mystery, this confusion would not be.

You hear much about the first resurrection, especially at funerals, and how blessed are those who have part in the first resurrection. But when I read my Bible, I soon learn that those who are in the first resurrection are Israelites, overcomers from the great tribulation, and that every one of them has been beheaded for his witness at that time. If folks knew the mystery, they would not make such foolish mistakes. Their eyes are veiled.

Great rhapsodies have been played by preachers on the theme of the great white throne. With utter disregard to the message of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5: 19 and the fact that Christ died for the ungodly, they have all the unbelievers at the great white throne, raised and alive. But those who do not believe the Son shall not see life. Furthermore, those who appear at the great white throne are also those who went thru the great tribulation, but were not overcomers. So they miss their inheritance and are raised when the kingdom is over. If folks knew the mystery, this would all fall into place.

One of the greatest errors taught in Christendom today is concerning the rapture. It is based upon the meaning of the word "meet." One only has to look it up in the concordance and see its usage to determine this once and for all. The common interpretation of it is that the church is going to heaven and that Christ meets it in the air and escorts it back to heaven. But that is not what the Bible says. It is the believers who have an earthly hope that are in view. This is primarily Israel, not the church. They look for the coming or presence of the Lord on earth (parousia). So when He comes, they meet Him in the air and come back to earth with Him. They never get any farther than the air. If Bible students had only known the meaning of the word "meet" they would have escaped this error. And if they had known the mystery, they would not have thought of it.

Nothing has done more harm to the knowledge of the mystery than the heathen idea that at death one realizes his hope, instead of at resurrection. Our Lord was dead in the tomb until His resurrection. The same is true of all who believe. The heathen idea that man has a soul, instead of being a soul, has perverted much of the truth. Now the hope of the member of the church which is the body of Christ is to be present at the great manifestation in the heavenlies, to be at the coronation of the King of kings and Lord of lords. That is the place of his resurrection, his citizenship, and his blessings. He looks forward to Colossians 3:1-4, not the rapture or death. Every effort, and then some more, has been made by the evil one to obscure the truth.

Israel, in flesh, were promised all blessings in the promised land here on the earth. But Gentiles, in spirit, are joint-heirs, members of a joint-body, and joint-partakers of God's promise of eternal life in Christ made before the ages began (Ephesians 3:6). They have a unity of the Spirit that they are to keep, and a unity of the faith to attain to. Gentile believers never from Adam till now had a Sabbath to keep. They were strangers from the covenants of promise. They have no law, except that of the new nature implanted in them when they believe (Romans 2:14). Rituals and ordinances are for the flesh. The church of the mystery is above that (Colossians 2:16-23).

Counterfeits have been plentiful, not only in the present age, but in past ages. One of them was the worship of Mithra who was supposed to have been born from a rock at sunrise on Dec. 25th. There were 7 mysteries, a baptism, and worship with bread and wine. This was, and is, a popular religion. The reader might like to look up Isis, as Cybele. She was the great mother, the queen of heaven. Her husband was Horus, and the child, Seb. So you have the holy family of Egypt, IHS. Those who know the mystery do not get involved with these heathen religions.

As a final word, the mystery has to do with a program for the heavenlies, the principalities and powers there, the Headship of Christ, redemption of the whole universe, and the placing of sons with a heaven-home hope. This is the great salvation that was sent to the Gentiles (Acts 28:28).

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