Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin

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The Mysteries in The Bible
1 Corinthians 4:1 This is how one should regard us, as Servants of Messiah and Stewards of The Mysteries of God.

Romans 16:25–27

[25] Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to My Gospel and The Preaching of Jesus The Messiah, according to the Revelation of The Mystery that was kept secret for long ages [26] but has now been disclosed and through The Prophetic Writings has been made known to all Nations, according to The Command of The Eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—[27] to The Only Wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus The Messiah! Amen.

 

In the text above, Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaks of what he calls "My Gospel," which he calls the "Revelation of the Mystery," which was kept "secret" since the world began, but now is made "manifest." It was the "Revelation" that was promised to Paul at his conversion (Acts 26:16-18), and which comprises the "Mysteries of God".

The "Mysteries" are eleven in number, eight of which were revealed to Paul (Saul of Tarsus). Of the remaining three, one was revealed by The Lord Jesus and two were revealed to the Apostle John.

A "Mystery" in the New Testament sense is not something that cannot be understood, but is some plan or purpose of God that has been known to Him from the beginning, but which He has withheld from the knowledge of men until the time came for Him to reveal it. Let us examine these "Mysteries" in the order in which they are fulfilled.

I. The Mystery of Godliness

God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in The World, received up into Glory." 1 Tim. 3:16.

It is no mystery that God should reveal Himself by speaking from the Heavens, as on Mt. Sinai, but that He should take on the "Human Form" and "Tabernacle" among us that was a great mystery. This He did in the person of Christ. John 1:1-14. So Jesus could say, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." John 14:9.

II. The Mystery of The "Divine Indwelling"

In Col. 1:26-28, Paul speaks of another "Mystery" which had been hid from "Ages" and from "Generations," but was then made manifest to the saints. He calls it the Mystery of "Christ in You." This is a great mystery because it is the mystery of the "New Birth." A mystery that brought from Nicodemus the exclamation-"How can a man be born when he is old?" John 3:4. The New Birth is wonderful, but it is a wonderful fact. It is the union of the Divine Nature and ours. So that just as Jesus became one with us by His taking our human nature, so we become one with Him by taking on the Divine Nature. The mystery of this union is, that it is a union of "identity." We are just as much a part of Christ as the members of the body are a part of the body. 1 Cor. 12:12. It is for Christ to live in us. Gal. 2:20.

III. The Mystery of The "Union of Jews and Gentiles in One Body Called The Church"

In his letter to the saints at Ephesus (Eph. 3:1-11), Paul says, that God by revelation made known to him the "Mystery," which in other Ages had not been made known unto the sons of men, "That the Gentiles should be 'Fellow Heirs,' and of the 'Same Body,' and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel."

It is almost impossible to overestimate the bitter "Race Hatred" which existed in Christ's day between Jew and Gentile. It was a lofty "middle wall or partition" between them. The Jews looked upon the Gentiles as "dogs," and the Gentiles despised the Jews. It was worse than the caste spirit of India. It was therefore to them a revelation that, God was going in this Dispensation to take some Jews and some Gentiles and form of them a "New Body" called the Church. In Christ all race and class distinctions disappear, and it is only in the Church that such a "Holy Brotherhood" can be found as the world is seeking.

IV. The Mystery of The "Seven Stars" and The "Seven Candlesticks"

To the Apostle John was revealed the Mystery of the "Seven Stars," and the "Seven Candlesticks." Rev. 1:12-20. He was told that the "Seven Stars" stood for the Angels or Messengers of the Seven Churches that were in Asia Minor, and the Seven Candlesticks stood for the Seven Churches themselves. The Mystery of these Candlesticks lay in the fact that the Seven Churches mentioned were representative Churches, whose history was typical of the history of the Christian Church for the past 2000 years, and the Mystery could not be understood until the present time, or until the correspondence between the character of those Churches and Church history should be revealed. 

V. The Mystery of The "Kingdom of Heaven"

When the Jews rejected Christ, and thus prevented the setting up of the Kingdom, the Kingdom took on another form, the "Mystery Form." To show the character of this "Mystery Form" of the Kingdom, Jesus resorted to parables. These parables are 12 in number and are found in Matthew's Gospel only.

VI. The Mystery of The "Translation of The Living Saints." (The Resurrection of The Church) - The Rapture - {Harpazo}

In 1 Cor. 15:51-55, Paul says-

"Behold, I show you a 'Mystery'; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at The Last Trump."

This is the greatest of all mysteries, because it reveals something that reason never dreamed of. According to reason the common lot of man is to die, but to be taken off this earth and translated to heaven without dying was never thought of until revealed to Paul. 

VII. The Mystery of "Israel's Blindness"

Writing to the Romans (Rom. 11:25) Paul declares by Inspiration of The Holy Spirit:

"I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of This Mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until, the 'Fulness of the Gentiles' be come in".

This is not so much spiritual blindness as Judicial blindness caused by their rejection of The Messiah. This blindness is national and not individual, for we must not forget that the bulk of believers in the Apostles' day were Jews, and quite a few Jews have embraced Biblical Faith in Yeshua The Messiah  since. The revelation of this Mystery to Paul was to account for what otherwise would remain a Mystery, the survival of the Jewish people as a race while scattered among the nations. 

Zechariah12:10-14

10 I will pour on David’s house and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of Grace and of Supplication. They will look to Me* {Aleph Tav} [I am the Aleph (א) and Tav (ת)] = {Alpha & Amega} whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and will grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for his firstborn. 11 In that day there will be A Great Mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddo. 12 The Land will mourn, every family apart; the family of David’s house apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart; 14 all the families who remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.

VIII. The Mystery of "Iniquity"

In 2 Thess. 2:1-12, Paul, speaking of the "Man of Sin" or Antichrist, calls his teaching and claims the

"Mystery of Iniquity,"

which was already at work in Paul's day. The "Mystery of Godliness" is God manifest in the flesh, and the "Mystery of Iniquity" is Satan manifest in the flesh

IX. The Mystery of "Babylon the Great"

This Mystery is revealed in Chapter 17 of the Book of The Revelation of Jesus.

X. The Mystery of The Church As The "Bride of Christ"

This was revealed to Paul, and is disclosed in Eph. 5:22-33, under the figure of the relation of man and wife. "This is a 'Great Mystery'; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church." The first Adam had a bride, Eve; and the second, or Last Adam must have a Bride, the Church. This is a "Great Mystery" because it explains why there should be a "Parenthetical Dispensation" between the First and Second Comings of Christ, in which, by grace, a chosen people should be "called out" to form the Church, the Bride of Christ.

 XI. The Mystery of The "Restoration of All Things"

This is spoken of by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 1:9-10), as the

"Mystery of His Will,"

and reveals how that in the "Dispensation of the Fulness of Times," it is God's purpose to undo all that sin has done, and restore "All Things" as they were before the "Rebellion of Satan" and the "Fall of Man." 

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EPHESIANS 4:11-16