The Covenant And The Mystery
How did The Church begin?
Truth is a fact or an aggregation of facts. It is not fiction, imagination, or even wishful thinking. Laying hold on truth constitutes knowledge. So we find that knowledge is then a collection of facts, whether related or not. But when one begins to relate facts, to organize them and use them, then that is wisdom. So it is possible to have a great fund of knowledge, but no wisdom. But it is hardly possible to have wisdom without knowledge.
Now in coming to a knowledge of the mystery, it is likely that one will first ask why it was necessary. It did not just appear out of thin air with no purpose in view. There must be a reason.
That it was known by God and hid in God before the ages began, even before the overthrow, we must look back into those dim past times and search for a reason.
It does not take much research to find what caused the overthrow and the beginning of the ages. The heaven and the earth of Genesis 1:1 were created not empty and waste, but perfect and to be inhabited. And briefly speaking, we discover that one was given a throne back in that period and was a ruler, had dominion. But pride caused his downfall as far as kingly rights were concerned. He is still in the same place, but with different intent. In his downfall he drew a considerable portion of powers with him. There is no record that the faithful ones remained in that sphere. They are gone. Satan is now prince of the power of the air, the heaven or firmament. But the rebellion left the earth empty, void. So man was placed on the earth and told to replenish it. He was again told this after the flood. Replenish, refill.
There are in heavenly places, far above the creation of Genesis l:l, beings denoted as principalities, powers, mights and dominions. How did they get there? Are they the missing faithful ones who did not follow Satan in his rebellion? We can find no other answer yet.
The church, the object of the dispensation of the mystery, is the fullness of Christ. And He fills all in all. Since the church and the heavenly beings are to be headed up some day in the fullness of times by the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we begin to see that the church is to fill up what is lacking by those who failed before age times.
So the reasons for replenishing are apparent. The earth became empty and will be filled. The heavenlies are not completely filled, so the church will fill that place.
Man on the earth failed, the nations went after Satan in idolatry, so a nation was called to be a kingdom of priests to bring the nations back to God. When it failed for the time being, the first purpose was set in motion and so we have today the dispensation of the mystery.
There are 3 things that the apostle prays that we may know. The antecedent of the word His is God in verse 17. So these are the things of God;
1. His Calling
2. His Inheritance
3. His Power
But there is more;
1. The Hope of His Calling
2. The Riches of His Inheritance
3. The Exceeding Greatness of His Power
Let us always keep in mind that these things are His and pertain to Him primarily. It is human to think of one's self first and what he might get out of it. But let us put God first, then we can partake of His blessings in their proper order.
I. The Calling. The hope is the realization of the mystery of His will (verses 9,10) when Christ shall take over the Headship that has been given to Him. This will be the epiphaneia, the manifestation in Colossians 3:4. And members of His body will share in this glorious event. This hope has to do with His Calling. We are to walk worthy of this calling (Ephesians 4:1). It is spoken of as THE calling, the one spoken of in our text. This calling has more in it then a mere reference to the restoration of Israel and the gathering of the nations. It embraces the whole creation, the universe, the heavens and the earth. It is far beyond anything revealed to the dispensation of promise (Abraham and Israel).
II. The Inheritance. The Heir is Christ. The members of His body are heirs with Him. The riches are unsearchable (Ephesians 3:8). In Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). They are at the present hid in Him. But the day of manifestation is coming. Members of the body are made meet (fit) for this inheritance (Colossians 1:12). And this verse gives a further hint of where these things are. The light, the Sheckinah glory. The inheritance is not in saints (people) but in the holy of holies (ton hagion). This is where the members of the body have their citizenship (Philippians 3:20). But beware, do not let anything or anybody take the inheritance from you (See Ephesians 5:1-8, and note that we are to walk as children of that light in the holy of holies). Not only is there an inheritance, but a reward of the inheritance (Colossians 3:24).
III. The Power. This is power in the superlative degree. We are not told whether this power was greater than creative power in the beginning. But it was a power that reversed the direction of all creation. All was headed for ruin, destruction and death. This course has been changed. That power is to us-ward who believe. That power which raised Christ from the dead will also raise those that are His. It took immense power, for on Him were laid all the sins of the world. But He was not only raised from the dead, but given an exalted position in the highest heavens, over all principality and power and might and dominion. This power enables us to walk worthy, to be conquerors in all things, and to witness to the truths of the mystery. This power is not to or for those who believe not. They perish.
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. Probably 'having been' would be better. This is something that had already happened to the saints and faithful. And the prayer is that they may come to know more, especially of the Lord Jesus Christ in Whom are all the blessings and hope enumerated.
Surely one would have to be enlightened if he were to see the 7 main points of the mystery;
1. All Spiritual Blessings. Blessings too numerous to mention had been promised to Abraham and his posterity; blessings of basket and store, as well as spiritual ones. But here we come to a dispensation in which the saints have all spiritual blessings (every blessing that is spiritual). Nothing withheld.
2. In Heavenly Places. Abraham and all from him down to Paul were promised blessings in the Promised Land, but never in heavenly places.
3. Before the Overthrow. All had been planned in the mind of God before the end of the first Cosmos, the Katabole by water. But the kingdom had been prepared from the overthrow of the world (Cosmos, Matthew 25:34).
4. Seated Together. Enthroned with Christ in heavenly places, right now (potentially), and reckoned so. No promise was ever made to Abraham or Israel that they would ever go to the heavenly places. Their dispensation is of this earth and the New Jerusalem in the earth to come. So this is another new thing revealed.
5. The Both Made One. From Abraham till the end of Acts, no one ever dreamed that Jew and Gentile would be equal and be considered together as one body. That God should create a new church of Jewish and Gentile believers was first revealed by Paul.
6. No Longer Foreigners. The Gentile believers, who at one time were strangers from the covenants of promise and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, were placed far above, even in the holiest of all, and made a part of the family of' God in that place. This family is described as principalities, powers, mights, and dominions, the aristocracy of heaven.
7. A Habitation of God. It had been no secret that the body of the believer was the temple of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in the new man or nature. And it was no secret that Christ could abide or live in the believer. And it was no secret that God desired to dwell among His people, Israel. But the truth that a body of believers would be created for to be used as a temple, a habitation of God was something new. And there will be no furniture in this temple; no altar, no lavers, no priesthood, or other things that have to do with sin and sins. This is foreshadowed by Colossians 2:16.
There is absolutely no way in which these 7 items, can be fitted in with the former dispensation of promise. With this bare outline, search and see.
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Today the principles of right division have been almost lost so we offer teachings from the Word of God that will illuminate how to rightly divide the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15 states "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". Click to learn more.