Updated 12/2/15

6). The Mystery - Romans 16:25 Kept Secret Since the World Began

 

Index

1) The Gospels

2) What is a Mystery?

3) Fellowship of the Mystery - Hid in God

4) The Mystery of the Gospel

5) My (Paul's) Gospel

6) The Mystery - Christ in You

7) The Church and the Body

8) The Church of Pentecost

9) This Mystery - Blindness is Happened to Israel

10) Summary

 

The Gospels

     The words used for Gospel are Strong’s number 2097 which means to announce good news, 2098 which means a good message, and 4283 is used once in Galatians 3:8 which means to announce glad news in advance. The word gospel is only used in the New Testament, and is used in many different expressions such as the gospel of the Kingdom (Mat. 4:23, 9:35), gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1), the gospel (Mark 16:15, Luke 4:18), gospel of grace (Acts 20:24), gospel of God (Romans 1:1), gospel of the circumcision and uncircumcision (Galatians 2:7), my (Paul’s) gospel (Romans 2:16, 16:25, 2 Timothy 2:8), our gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:5), and the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19). It should be noted that a few of the gospel expressions were discussed in detail in the previous article “Why Paul?”. The purpose of this article is not to discuss the meaning of each of these expressions, but to specifically investigate the gospel that Paul said he received “by the revelation (602 disclosure, manifestation, be revealed) of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12, Compare 1 Peter 1:13), and to understand whether some aspect of this gospel was a mystery revealed to Paul alone, or if what he refers to as “the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19), “my (Paul’s) gospel” (Romans 16:25), and “the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7), were the same gospel taught by others. Could part of the gospel Paul taught be the same as others, and part be different?

 

What is a Mystery?

     Is a mystery something written previously in scripture, but not understood until further events take place, and God allows it to be understood, or is it something some refer to as “hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9) which some take to mean it was never mentioned before anywhere in scripture? The word mystery is Strong’s number 3466 which is the greek word musterion, “from a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or (mystery) (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites). In the New Testament it denotes, not the mysterious (as with the English word), but that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illuminated by His Spirit” (Reference Strong’s with Vines dictionary). The word mystery(s) appears three times in the gospels in relation to the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven (Mat. 13:11, Luke 8:10, Mark 4:11), appears four times in Revelation, and twenty times in Paul’s Epistles. A mystery can be revealed by revelation “revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25), and Revelation is Strong’s number 602 which means “disclose, and depicts the progressive and immediate unveiling of otherwise unknown and unknowable God to His church”, and 602 is derived from 601 which is reveal.

 

Fellowship of the Mystery - Hid in God

     (8) Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; (9) And to make all men see what is the fellowship (2842 partnership i.e. (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse) of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid (613 to conceal away (i.e. fully) figuratively to keep secret, hide) in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” (Ephesians 3:8-9) Was this mystery that was “hid in God” ever mentioned in the Old Testament?

     Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcision revealed that at this time there is a fellowship (2842 partnership) between Jews and Gentiles, that God is dealing with everyone on an equal basis. Jews and Gentiles are “fellow heirs (4789 a co-heir i.e. (by analogy) participant in common)” (Ephesians 3:6), “fellow citizens (4847 a native of the same town)” (Ephesians 2:19), “making in himself of twain one new man” (Ephesians 2:15), and that now “there is neither (3756 absolute negative, no or not) Jew or Greek” (Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11). Peter recognized that Jews and Gentiles were both being saved by the gospel of grace through his experience at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10, 15:7-11). Peter and Paul understood that the message of salvation would be taken to the Gentiles by the Nation of Israel according to the Old Testament (Isaiah 66:19-20), but this would not be a partnership, the other nations would serve Israel as the head nation (Isaiah 60:10-12). Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcision revealed the “fellowship of the mystery”, during this period of time that Israel has been blinded (Romans 11:25) and set aside, there is no head nation, neither Jew nor Greek. The “fellowship of the mystery” was “hid in God” fully, and never revealed in the Old Testament. It was only revealed by Christ to apostle Paul.

 

The Mystery of the Gospel

     (19) And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel. (20) For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that there in I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:19-20) “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:” (Colossians 4:3) Why was Paul in bonds? “For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28:20) What is the hope of Israel? “I (Paul) am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” (Acts 23:6) “(14) But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: (15) And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:14-15) “(6) And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: (7) Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. (8) Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:6-8) The “mystery of the gospel”, for which Paul was “in bonds”, that was the “hope of Israel”, was the resurrection of Christ. This is the gospel of salvation (Ephesians 1:13). “(3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures;” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) What scriptures?

     The death and resurrection of Christ was mentioned in the Old Testament many times (Isaiah 53, Psalm 16:10), but details of how and when it would happen were not understood. Peter refers to this “(10) Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: (11) searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified before hand the suffering of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11). Luke states Christ told the twelve apostles the Gentiles would “(33) put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. (34) And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid (2928 keep secret, to conceal (properly by covering)) from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” (Luke 19:31-34, 24:44-47, Mark 9:31-32, John 20:9) Note that this word hid (2928 keep secret) relating to Christ’s crucification and resurrection, that was kept secret like a mystery (3466 a secret), is different than the word hid (613) to conceal fully, used in Ephesians 3:9, which refers to the fellowship between Jews and Gentiles, which was “hid in God” and never mentioned before in the scriptures. So there can be mysteries or secrets which are mentioned in scripture, but not fully understood until God reveals the meaning, and other mysteries that may have never been mentioned in scripture. When Apostle Paul refers to “my (Paul’s) gospel” that had been “kept secret” (Romans 16:25), what type of mystery is he referring to?

 

My (Paul’s) Gospel

     “(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. (26) But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Romans 16:25) What good news is Paul referring to when he states “my gospel”? “(8) Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: (9) Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. (10) Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:8-10) We have already determined the “mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19), for which Paul was “in bonds” (Acts 28:20), that was the hope of Israel (Acts 23:6, 25:15, 26:6-8), was the resurrection of Christ. Could this indicate that “my gospel” Paul speaks of is “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), which is “the gospel of salvation” (Ephesians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)? This is the gospel that was written in scripture in the Old Testament but was a secret until revealed by God (1 Peter 1:10-12, Luke 24:44-45), which scripture indicates Paul and the twelve apostles both taught. George Williams states in his Complete Bible Commentary on page 891 in reference to 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 “I or they (verse 11) i.e. the Apostle Paul and the Twelve Apostles. They all preached the one Gospel of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

     But George Williams and others show a contrast between Romans 1:1-5 and Romans 16:25-26 that they believe indicates “my gospel” does not refer to the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. “(1) Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (2) (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) (3) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; (4) And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (5) By whom we have received grace and apostleship; for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:” (Romans 1:1-5) George Williams states on page 876 of his Commentary in relation to Romans 16:25 “So Paul had a double ministry, that of the Gospel, and that of (My Gospel,) i.e. the Gospel of the Mystery. Thus the Epistle begins with the Gospel, always revealed, never hidden, and closes with Paul’s Gospel, always hidden, never revealed,” Charles Baker states in his book A Dispensational Theology page 327 “Paul’s My Gospel - This is mentioned next because it stands in contrast in the Romans epistle to the gospel of God which God promised before by His prophets. The prophets in this passage are manifestly not Old Testament prophets, for Paul states that this message was kept secret since the world began and now (in Paul’s lifetime) has it been made manifest.” The word Prophet in Romans 1:2 in Strong’s number 4396 which means “a foreteller, a proclaimer of a divine message”. The statement “of the prophets” in Romans 16:26 is Strong’s number 4397 which is from the word 4396 and means “pertaining to a foreteller”, and Strong’s with Vines dictionary states “4397 Prophetikes of or relating to prophecy, or proceeding from a prophet, prophetic, is used (1) of the Old Testament Scriptures Romans 16:26, of the prophets, literally (by) prophetic (Scriptures)”, and this word is used “of prophecy” in 2 Peter 1:19. Is “the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1) a different gospel than “my gospel” (Romans 16:25)?

We can first compare the statements made in Romans 1:1-5 relating to “the gospel of God” with the statements made in Romans 16:25-26 and 2 Timothy 2:8-10 relating to “my gospel”. The statements in each are as follows:

 

The Gospel of God - Romans 1:1-5

(1) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord

(2) made of the Seed of David

(3) by resurrection from the dead

(4) by his prophets in the holy scriptures

(5) for obedience to faith among all nations

(6) promised afore

 

My (Paul’s) Gospel - Romans 16:25-26, 2 Timothy 2:8-10

(1a) the preaching of Jesus Christ (Romans)

(1b) Remember that Jesus Christ (2 Timothy)

(2) of the Seed of David (2 Timothy)

(3) was raised from the dead (2 Timothy)

(4) by the scriptures of the prophets (Romans)

(5) to all nations for the obedience of faith (Romans)

(6) according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest (Romans)

 

     The “Gospel of God” and “My (Paul’s) Gospel” have much in common, with the primary difference that the first was “promised afore”, and the second “now is made manifest”. The word manifest in Romans 16:26 is Strong’s number 5319 which means “ to render apparent (literally or figuratively), appear, show (one’s) self”. So what is the “mystery” that was “kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest”? “(2) In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (3) But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior;” (Titus 1:2-3) Notice the word “promised” related to Romans 1:2, with the promise being “eternal life”, and the words “before the world began”, “manifested”, “preaching”, and “commandment” related to Romans 16:25-26. Also compare statements made in 2 Timothy 1:9-11, 1 Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter 1:18-20, and Matthew 13:35. The question is not whether Paul’s gospel of uncircumcision (Galatians 2:7-9), and the “dispensation of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:17), and “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), that was given to Paul, is different than the gospel of the circumcision committed to others for the nation of Israel. The question is that whenever Paul speaks of the mysteries is he only referring to doctrine revealed to him alone, or in some cases may he be speaking of the revealing of something from the Old Testament that was never understood, while in other cases he is speaking of something never mentioned in the Old Testament or by others? When Paul speaks of “the Gospel of God”, or “my (Paul’s) gospel” could both be referring to the gospel of salvation that he, the twelve apostles, and Christ (Hebrews 2:3) all speak of?

     Apostle Paul uses the term “my gospel” in Romans 2:16, in addition to the only other two uses being in Romans 16:25, and 2 Timothy 2:8. “In the day when God shall judge (2919 to distinguish, chose, give an opinion upon, condemn) the secrets of the men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” (Romans 2:16) How will God judge the secrets of men according to “my (Paul’s) gospel”? The same word is used in “He that believeth on him is not condemned (2919): but he that believeth not is condemned (2919) already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18) Paul states “There is therefore now no condemnation (2631 an adverse sentence (the verdict)) to them which are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1). Note the word condemnation (2631) is derived from (2632) which is derived from (2596) and (2919 condemned in Romans 2:16). Does this indicate that “my (Paul’s) gospel” is that we are judged, condemned or not condemned, by faith in “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)?

     “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8). But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;” (Galatians 2:7) Is Paul saying that he teaches the gospel of uncircumcision, and Peter teaches the gospel of circumcision, and that anyone that teaches “any other gospel” than he does should be “accursed”? We have seen why the gospel of the uncircumcision and the gospel of the circumcision are not the same, in the previous article titled “Why Paul”. If the gospel that Paul is referring to in Galatians 1:8, the gospel that he received “by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12), is the gospel of salvation that is taught by both Paul and the 12 apostles, then the gospel of the circumcision that Peter and the others in Jerusalem are teaching to the nation of Israel, can be different than the gospel of the uncircumcision Paul is teaching the Gentiles, yet the gospel Paul is referring to in Galatians 1:8 is the gospel of salvation that Paul and those in Jerusalem are both teaching.

 

This Mystery - Christ in You

     “(24) Who now rejoice in my suffering for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s (4983 the body as a whole, the instrument of life) sake, which is the church: (1577 a group of people called out for a special purpose) (25) Where of I am made a minister, according to the dispensation (3622 administration (of a household or estate); specifically a (religious) “economy”) of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; (26) Even the mystery (3466 a secret) which hath been hid (613 conceal away (i.e. fully)) from ages and from generations, but now is manifest to his saints: (27) 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: (Colossians 1:24-27). In these verses Apostle Paul speaks of the body of Christ, which is the church, that Christ is in the believer, and that the dispensation of this mystery among the Gentiles was committed to him.

     There are two general interpretations of this message. The first being that this is a further explanation of the message that Christ introduces in John 14:16-20. The second being that since Paul is the only one that speaks of the body, and that since Paul refers to this as a mystery, that he is not referring to the same message as Christ. Those that are of the second opinion believe that the mystery of the body was only revealed to Paul, and only those that hear and believe his gospel become members of the body, although others can be saved. This leads to the question: What does it mean to be in Christ? This issue first centers around the fact that Paul states there where those that “were in Christ before me” (Romans 16:7), and that those saved by the gospel of the circumcision are in Christ (Galatians 1:22, 1 Thessalonians 2:14). Charles Baker states in his book A Dispensational Theology page 429 “We shall therefore consider first of all this Spirit baptism which makes the believer a member of the Body of Christ and thus places him “in Christ” in this unique relationship. However, we should mention at this point the distinction between being in Christ redemptively and being in the Body of Christ dispensationally. Christ stated that by reason of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer He would be in the believer and the believer in Him (John 14:20). Thus, in this sense, every believer from Pentecost to the end of time is in Christ, and all of the saints who lived before Pentecost will be raised from the dead in an (in Christ) relationship.” George Williams comments in his book a Complete Bible Commentary page 937 on Colossians 1:24-27 “The mystery (verses 26, 27, and 2:2) is the secret, i.e. the Church - the great secret hidden in God and never revealed in the Scriptures. It is here preached in verse 26, explained in verse 27, and recognized and believed in 2:2. To recognize and believe this great secret liberates the believer from the teachings and ordinances of ceremonial religion.” When Paul states “Christ in you” is he referring to a mystery that was “never revealed in the Scripture”, including statements made by Christ?

     “(16) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (17) Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knowth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you, (18) I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you, (19) Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live ye shall live also (20) At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” (John 14:16-20) The Scofield Study Bible 1967 NIV version comments “14:20 you are in me. The new relationship described in the words “you are in me, and I am in you” introduces the N.T mystery of the body of Christ” “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” (Romans 12:5) George Williams comments in his Complete Bible Commentary on this verse on page 872 “(One body in Christ) verse 5. This is the first mention of the Heavenly Church in the Bible.” Some believe the church which is the body of Christ started in Acts 9 or later with Paul’s ministry, and the preaching of the revelation and specific mystery that Paul refers to as “my gospel” (Romans 16:25), some believe the church and body started in Acts 2 and that Paul’s mystery was a further revealing of that church. The answer may lie in defining the gospel that Paul is referring to as “my gospel”, and understanding if it is a mystery revealed only to him as we have discussed previously.

     How is a believer included in Christ according to Paul’s gospel? “(13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) The NIV translation of verse (13) is “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,” The gospel of salvation is the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15 which Baker, Williams, O’Hare and others believe was also taught by the 12 apostles. Then all believers are included in Christ through the same message. If “my gospel” referred to by Paul in Romans 16:25 is revealing of the details and purpose of the gospel of salvation referred to by Peter (1 Peter 1:9-13), if a mystery can be something mentioned in scripture but not fully revealed until God chooses, then what separates the body and church Paul speaks of from the statement Christ made “ye in me, and I in you”?

     Some other interesting facts related to being in Christ are (1) Peter and John use the expression often (1 Peter 3:16, 5:14, 1 John 2:5, 6, 24, 27, 28, 3:6, 9, 24, 4:13-16, 5:20). (2) The term Christian(s) (5546 follower of Christ) is used to refer to those at Antioch (Acts 11:26) and Peter used it to refer to the Jews he writes to (1 Peter 4:16). (3) The term “added to the Lord” is used referring to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 5:14) and the church at Antioch (Acts 11:24) (4) Christ said “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3), Paul said “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature (2937 formation, creation)” (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, 1 Peter 1:19-23, Romans 6:6-8).

 

The Church and the Body

     “And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter (4074 a piece of rock), and upon this rock (4073 a mass of rock) I will build my church (1577 a group of people called out for a special purpose); and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat. 16:18) Strong’s with Vines dictionary comments on 1577 church: “to the whole company of the redeemed throughout the present era, the company of which Christ said, (I will build My Church) Mat. 16:18, and which is further described as (the Church which is the Body) Ephesians 1:22, 5:23” The rock (4073) Christ refers to is himself, and not Peter (4074) a piece of rock, see rock (4073) used referring to Christ in Romans 9:33, 1 Corinthians 10:4, 1 Peter 2:8, and Christ the foundation 1 Corinthians 3:11. “(23) For the husband is the head of wife, even as Christ is the head (2776 the part most readily taken hold of, authority) of the church: and he is the savior of the body. (32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:23, 32) The body of Christ is the church (1577 people called out), and the church is the body (Colossians 1:24). “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13), “(4) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of our calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” (Ephesians 4:4-5). Could this one faith be in “the gospel of salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14), which is the gospel “By which also ye are saved” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), that was taught by Paul and the 12 apostles, or are there different churches called out by the gospel of the uncircumcision and the gospel of the circumcision?

     “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:” (1 Corinthians 10:32). Paul addresses the letters “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Cor. 1:1), and then states “I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:9, Galatians 1:12, Philippians 3:6), which refers to the believing Jews from Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-3), also see (Acts 12:5, 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:5). Does Paul consider the church (1577 people called out) of God to be different churches, or are all churches which believe the same gospel of salvation people called out by this gospel? If this is true then those “in Christ”, would be in the same body, and the same church which is his body. If a believer is included in Christ, and the body, and the church, when they believe the gospel of salvation, when did the body begin, and what about those that were saved before Christ died on the cross?

     Who were the first people to hear the gospel of salvation, and become members of the church which is the body? “(8) Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity (161 from 164 prisoner of war) captive, and gave gifts unto men.” (Ephesians 4:7-10) Strong’s with Vines dictionary comments on (161) captivity “The quotations is from Psalms 68:18, and probably is a forceful expression for Christ’s victory, through His death, and that at His ascension Christ transferred the redeemed Old Testament saints from Sheol to His own presence in glory.” Why where the Old Testament saints in Sheol? (Luke 16:19-31) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “(40) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mat. 12:39-40) Since no one could come to the Father except by Christ, He descended to Sheol, and preached the gospel of salvation to them (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Of course they believed, they were already saved because they had proved that they were people that believed and trusted whatever God told them like Abraham, Moses, and King David. By hearing and believing the gospel of salvation they became part of Christ, the church which is his body, and then could enter into the presence of God the Father.

     Who were the first living believers in the gospel of salvation? “(44) And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scripture, (46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:44-47) When the 12 apostles understood and believed the scriptures, they were included in Christ, the church and the body, then they could begin to teach others, which is why Paul says some “were in Christ before me” (Romans 16:7) Notice it is Christ that opened their understanding, the 12 apostles could not understand and believe the gospel of salvation until he allowed them to by grace (Romans 9:11-16, Ephesians 2:5-9). Although they were included in Christ, the church and the body, the same as everyone that believes the gospel of salvation (1 Cor. 15:1-4), “(5) there are differences of administrations (1248 attendance, servant, ministry), but the same Lord. (6) And there are diversities (1243 distinction, variety, difference) of operations (1755 an effect, working), but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1 Corinthians 11:5-6) Unto the 12 apostles was given the administration (1248 ministry) of the gospel of circumcision to the nation of Israel, and unto Paul was given “a dispensation (3622 administration, stewardship) of the gospel” of uncircumcision (Galatians 2:7-9), for all nations during a coming period when the nation of Israel would cease to exist (Mat. 22:7, 23:38, 24:2, Luke 2:20, 13:35, Deuteronomy 28-30, Hosea 1:4-9).

 

The Church of Pentecost

     Many people believe the church which is the body of Christ began on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. “(1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accorded in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4) The apostles had been told “And, (Christ) being assembled together with them, commended them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” (Acts 1:4) What was the promise of the Father? “And, behold I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued (1746 put on, clothed with) with power (1411 miracle, mighty work, ability) from on high.” (Luke 24:49) Were the apostles to wait until they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to perform miracles, or was this filling the sealing of the Holy Spirit Paul refers to in Ephesians 1:13-14 that you receive when you believe the gospel of your salvation (1 Cor. 15:1-4)? This word power (1411) is also used in “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power (1411) and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.” (Mark 3:14-15, Luke 9:1) Note this power was given before Christ’s went to the cross, and included Judas as one of the 12 Apostles. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of (575 off i.e. away, from, out of) my Spirit upon all flesh:” (Acts 2:17) Notice this was not pouring out the Spirit, but pouring out of the Spirit.

     We can understand the differences between the filling (4130 to fill, boats with fish Luke 5:7, a sponge with vinegar John 19:29, a city with confusion Acts 19:29) of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4), and sealing (4972 to stamp; to seal used to indicate security and permanency, ownership, Revelation 7:3) of the Holy Spirit, by answering a few questions.

(1) Were people filled (4130) with the Holy Ghost before Pentecost? Yes. John the Baptist before his birth (Luke 1:15), and his mother Elisabeth (Luke 1:41), and his father Zacharias (Luke 1:67).

(2) Were people filled with the Holy Spirit more than once? Yes. Christ breathed on the 12 Apostles and said “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22), they were “all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:4), and then again “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 4:31).

(3) Where people filled with the Holy Ghost when they believed? Not in most cases. The Samaritans “received (1209 take, accept) the word of God” (Acts 8:14-17), but did not receive the Holy Ghost until the apostles laid their hands on them. Do we have to have an apostle lay their hands on us before we can be saved? Also see Paul (Act 9:17), and the Ephesians (Acts 19:1-6). At the house of Cornelius in Acts 10 was the only occasion those who believe were filled with the Holy Ghost at the time they believed. (Acts 10:44-45)

     Being filled with the Holy Spirit is to receive the power of the Holy Spirit to perform miracles and have spiritual abilities, being sealed with the Holy Spirit is to become a member of the church and body of Christ, to be baptized into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), the moment you believe the gospel of salvation (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

 

This Mystery - Blindness is Happened to Israel

     If “the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19-20), and “my (Paul’s) gospel” (Romans 16:25), and the mystery “Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27), are related to the gospel of salvation taught by Christ, the 12 apostles, and Paul, what other mystery revealed by Christ to Paul alone separated his gospel of the uncircumcision from the gospel of the circumcision? “(25) For 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 fullness of the Gentiles be come in. (26) And so all Israel shall be saved:” (Romans 11:25-26) Until when and into what will be discussed in the next article titled The Rapture. Israel as a nation is blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles is graffed into the olive tree from which Israel has been broken off. (Romans 11:17)

     When Paul’s ministry resulted in a conference in Jerusalem to resolve issues between the gospel of the uncircumcision and the gospel of the circumcision, James concluded his decision by stating “(16) After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins there of, and I will set it up: (17) That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.” (Acts 15:16-17) James quoted from Amos 9:11-12, when Amos in Chapter 9 told of a time when Israel would be scatted, then regathered, and restored, when “saith the Lord”, “I will return”. The Lord foretold of the scattering of Israel (Luke 21:24, Mat. 22:7), which occurred soon after in 70 A.D. James quoted a scripture that foretold of a ministry to the Gentiles (the uncircumcision) after Israel would be regathered and the Lord returned, but not the ministry that was occurring at that time by Paul to the Gentiles, before Christ had returned and reestablished Israel. They recognized that “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14), based on Peters experience at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10, 15:7-11), but even then about 14 years later they had not pursued a ministry to the Gentiles outside of Israel, and they concluded Paul should go to the uncircumcision and they should go to the circumcision.

     Peter stated that God “(9) put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith…(11) But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:9-11) Peter also stated “(34) Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (35) But in every nation he that fearth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34-35) Peter understood that all “persons” and “every nation” would have access to salvation through the gospel of grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), but in no way saw this as a change of God’s promises and covenants with Israel as a nation. Peter’s gospel of the circumcision would continue to include obedience to the law (Acts 21:20), circumcision in the flesh (Acts 15:1), and the acceptance of Gentile proselytes in accordance with the conditions stated in the Old Testament (Isaiah 56:6-7). Keeping in mind that circumcision was required for those that live “among you” (Genesis 17:10-12). Paul also understood that “(26) all Israel shall be saved”, but only Paul understood that they would be blind until that time when “(25) the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25-29)

     Through the mystery of the blindness of Israel revealed to Paul alone, he understood God was now dealing with Jews and Gentiles on a completely equal basis, without the law (Romans 10:4, Galatians 3:19), without circumcision of the flesh (1 Corinthians 7:19, Galatians 5:6, 6:15), and that they all were “made nigh (1451 near) by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13) alone, the gospel of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The gospel of the uncircumcision included the mystery Israel was blinded, and now were to made jealous by Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles (Romans 11:7-11), which was the reason Paul was the “apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). According to Paul “There is neither Jew nor Greek” (Galatians 3:28, Colossian 3:11), Israel has been blinded, that is set aside, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

 

Summary

     Everything that Paul learned and taught about the gospel of the uncircumcision and the mysteries was taught to him directly “by the revelation of Jesus Christ”, he said, “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:12) His gospel includes two types of mysteries, those that were revealed to Paul and others, and those revealed to Paul alone, and only revealed to the uncircumcision by Paul and his epistles. The first type of mystery includes “(10) salvation” and “(13) the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:10-13), that was “(34) hid” (Luke 18:31-34, Mark 9:30-32) in the Old Testament scriptures (Isaiah 53, 61), and was revealed to the 12 apostles by Christ after his resurrection (Luke 24:44-46), and to the apostle Paul directly by Christ. This was the revealing of the “(11) what, or what manner of time” (1 Peter 1:11), that is the how and when Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies that resulted in the offer of “(13) the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:12-13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). “(5) And that he was seen of Cephas (Peter), then of the twelve…(11) Therefore whether it was I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” (1 Corinthians 15:5-11), “the gospel of your salvation” was taught by the apostle Paul, and the 12 apostles (Acts 2:22-36, 10:39-43, 1 Peter 1:1-3, 18-19, 23, 2:24, 3:18, 1 John 1:7, Revelation 1:5). This is “the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24), which Paul proclaimed throughout Acts (Acts 9:20, 13:26-43, 17:1-4, 18, 23:6, 24:14-15, 28:23-24), “(22) saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: (23) that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23)

     It is by this gospel of salvation that all believers are included in Christ (John 14:20, Colossians 1:27), and in “(22) the church, (23) Which is his body” (Ephesians 1:22-23, Mat. 16:18, Colossians 1:24), and it was proclaimed to the Old Testament saints in paradise (Ephesians 4:8-10, Luke 23:43, 16:19-31, Mat. 12:39-40) before they entered into heaven. This is most likely what Paul refers to as “my gospel” (Romans 2:16, 16:25) and which he states, “(10) Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:8-11) This is probably the gospel Paul is referring to in Galatians 1:1-12.

     Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcised includes a second type of mystery that was revealed to him alone, and separated his gospel of the uncircumcision from the gospel of the circumcision. This second type of mystery includes the fact that Israel is blinded (Romans 16:25), and during our present time “salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” (Romans 11:11) Isaiah 6 told of the blindness of Israel until their cities were “desolate” (Isaiah 6:11), which will occur for a final time during the tribulation (Mat. 24:15-21), and the blindness still remains until this day. Paul revealed that Israel would remain blinded until “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”, revealing only then would the blindness be removed. This second type of mystery includes “the fellowship of the mystery” (Ephesians 3:9), that during the period of blindness beginning with Paul’s ministry, the Jews and the Gentiles are being dealt with equally through Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcision, not through the covenants that will make Israel the lead nation (Isaiah 49, 60).

     The mysteries that Paul speaks of include the mystery of the gospel of salvation and Christ in you that was also revealed to others, and the mystery of the duration of the blindness of Israel and the fellowship of the mystery that was revealed to him alone. He revealed that during this period that Israel has been set aside there is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile), and that his gospel of the uncircumcision is for everyone. There are two types of mysteries “kept secret since the world began.” (Romans 16:25)