For the “Dispensation of the Mystery” special Divine choice was made of the instrument for the revelation and this peculiar ministry was committed to the Apostle Paul. But it was not made known until the crisis was reached, in Acts 28, by the setting aside of Israel.
God has a definite plan and purpose for Israel on the EARTH and our God who cannot lie will yet fulfill the Covenants He has made with His people. The entire prophetic Word has its climax in the coming of the Messiah and the setting up of His Kingdom; and furthermore, we know who this King is, (Luke 1:32 and 33). We also know that when Jesus Christ came to His own “His own received Him not;” in fact, He was rejected and the crucifixion was Israel’s emphatic declaration that they would not have this Man to reign over them.
Peter, on the day of Pentecost, like His Lord, still carried on with the message of the Kingdom, addressing his words to “ye men of Judea,” “ye men of Israel,” “all the house of Israel,” (Acts 2:14, 22 and 36). Peter’s astounding declaration was this, that Jesus Christ who had been raised from the dead, had been raised to sit on David’s throne (Acts 2:30) and had been exalted to be “a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel.” Acts 5:31. Let us not anticipate later revelation concerning Gentile salvation, and we shall better understand the Lord’s message to Israel and His Kingdom program.
Israel did not repent; therefore Christ did not return. The promised Kingdom was not restored and the restoration of all things was postponed. Surely students of the Word should know the difference between Acts 3 and Ephesians 3.
It is truly a pitiful fact that because the Church today does not understand its distinct calling, preachers and teachers are trying with every conceivable plan and program to bring in an earthly kingdom of blessedness that is God’s purpose for Israel. How different are the blessings of Matthew 10:5 to 8 and Ephesians 1:3. Would to God that Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:19 could be answered in us today.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling.”
The Church today, not understanding the Lord’s distinct calling, which is “heavenly”, in ignorance seeks to realize the vocation of Israel which is earthly, claiming, though not realizing the promised Kingdom blessings.
While the Kingdom is in abeyance and “blindness is happened to Israel,” (Romans 11:25) God, “according to His eternal purpose”, is making known by Paul a “secret” of which he “was made a minister”; and to him was committed the “dispensation of the mystery” which fulfilled or made complete, the Word of God. Ephesians 3:11; Colossians 1:25.
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from the ages and from generations but now is made manifest to His saints.” Colossians 1:26.
Let us distinguish between the whole counsel of God and the eternal purpose of God in Christ.
None of the prophets knew this “mystery”. Neither did John the Baptist nor the twelve apostles. Not until the glorified Lord revealed it to Paul, was the wisdom of God made known, that before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) God had purposed the making of a new thing, whose nature, calling and destiny would be “heavenly”. Compare II Timothy 1:9 with Ephesians 1:3; 1:19 to 22; Ephesians 2:5 to 7 and Ephesians 3:8 to 11:
Paul was the minister of this truth which completed the Word of God. This concerns the making of the “One New Man” (Ephesians 2:15). “The Church which is His Body and Christ Jesus our Lord its glorious Head, is a different message and purpose than the King and the Kingdom. Ephesians 1:22 and 23; Colossians 1:18.
One day the “Body” will be complete. Then the last member will be added and then the saints will realize “His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:16 to 22). When that day shall come our heavenly hopes will be realized (Philippians 3:20 and 21; Titus 2:13) and “Head and Body” will be joined in glory. After that God will deal with Israel again, for their blindness is temporary. They have not been cast away forever. Romans 11:27.
The Epistle to the Ephesians has a distinct message for this age; in it is found truth concerning “the Church which is His Body”. This is “Body truth” as distinct from “Kingdom truth” which is God’s message concerning Israel and the two must not be confounded far each is unique in calling, character and destiny. The Body has its relation to the Kingdom of God and there certainly was, and shall be, grace in the Kingdom Gospel, but we must test thing’s that differ. Philippians 1:10 (R.V.)
The Church which is His Body was chosen “before” the foundation of the world and Israel “since” the foundation of the world. The sphere of blessing for the Church is “In the heavenlies” and is our present position “in Christ” for “we are, seated together with Him. . .” Israel’s inheritance is the land of promise and the hope of a Kingdom set up on earth. The Church which is His Body is not an adjustment or a development of anything “Jewish”. The Body of Christ is not a continuation of the kingdom of heaven. Neither is it Israel, either real or figurative. In the Body there is an equality of membership. In the Body there are Jews and Gentiles; but they lose their distinction, as such, for God is creating something absolutely NEW. “For to create in Himself of the two, “One New Man”. . . so making peace. . . . Ephesians 2:15.
In this dispensation “hearings”, “tongues” and other sign-gifts have ceased. These passed away with the setting aside of the people Israel (Acts 28:25 to 28) and connected with this distinct message, we are enjoined to keep the sevenfold unity, Ephesians 4:4 to 6. “There is one Body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, Who is above all and through all and in you all.” It is a great blunder to have Israel set aside before Acts 28:25 to 28 or to confuse the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5 with Israel’s water ceremony. Water could never add a sinner to Christ.
In II Timothy 1:12 and 14 Paul speaks of this sacred trust committed to him. It was then passed on to Timothy and subsequently “to faithful men who should be able to teach others also”. II Timothy 2:2. Let us qualify, if possible to carry on the deposit. It is to this appeal that we desire to respond and we seek grace to “make known the fellowship of the “Mystery” and to preach The unsearchable (untraceable) riches of Christ.
Will you suffer with Christ to carry on with God’s message for today? Denominationalists and even Fundamentalists will persecute and malign, and use carnal weapons. But let us remember the sufferings of Paul and obey II Timothy 1:8.