Part #04 of “The Mystery Of The Rapture”
“The word ‘mystery’ in The Bible is simply a ‘secret’ that has been ‘unrevealed’.”
There are things that God keeps secret, and only reveals them when ‘He’ sees fit to reveal them.
And HE reveals them through whom HE, in His Sovereignty, sees fit to reveal them through.
We see in [Deuteronomy 29:29], where Moses says:
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God:”
God never expects us to believe that which HE has not revealed.
But once revealed, then Moses writes:
“…..but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever……….”
Then God expects us to believe them.
“Abraham called there on the Name of the LORD, the everlasting God”.
And the meaning when extracted out of the original Hebrew text, this is what we get:
- The Name of Deity, that is, the Name of God here is referred to as ‘ELOHIM-OLAM’, Who is from ‘everlasting to everlasting’.
- This ‘Everlasting God’ is also the ‘God of Time’.
- And since He is also the God of time, HE Sovereignly ‘hides’ things ‘in time’.
God’s Prophetic Programme Fully Revealed
In the last CRUMB 0123 we saw how God’s Prophetic programme was fully revealed with nothing missing.
This 👆🏾 was what the Old Testament prophets saw and saw accurately.
And we know they were accurate because every ‘jot’ and ‘tittle’ was perfectly fulfilled right past Christ’s crucifixion to His Ascension [Psalm 110:1].
“The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
The perfect fulfilment of these prophecies, prove the authoritative inerrancy of the Bible.
There is no other book like it on the planet!
God Did Not Give Up
We also saw how God did not give up on the nation of Israel.
HE pursued them for the next seven years giving them every opportunity to still accept their Messiah Whom they rejected.
‘God had now raised Jesus Christ from the grave’.
Death and the grave could not hold Him.
This was the point that Peter was emphatically making in [Acts 2:36].
“Therefore let ‘all the house of Israel’ know assuredly”, Peter is telling them.
There are no Gentiles involved here at this stage, it’s all Israel.
“…..that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
And they could still yet have their promised Kingdom if only they would come to that place of national belief.
Peter And The Others Preach Their Hearts Out
It was to this end, that Peter and the others preached their hearts out to Israel [Acts 3:19-20].
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” was the desperate plea.
And once the nation as a whole, that is every single Jew, had accepted Christ Jesus as their foretold Messiah;
Then Israel would go through their prophesied 7 years of tribulation [Daniel 9:27], as shown on the timeline above.
Jesus Christ graphically spoke about this time period to His disciples in [Matthew 24].
This would then be followed by:
“……..when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
“And He (God) shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:”
And this would be Christ’s second advent to set up that promised ‘benevolent’ Kingdom of Heaven ‘on earth’.
Everything was yet in place for that prophetic timeline to be perfectly completed.
And Israel, as a ‘kingdom of priests and a holy nation’ [Exodus 19:5-6], could then fulfil their God-given mandate.
This was a promise to Israel and ‘NOT’ to the Church today, as is commonly taught.
The Church never has, does not today, and never will, replace Israel’s prophetic mandate.
Israel could then reach out to the rest of the world in fulfilment of the [Zechariah 8:23] prophecy.
Just Like Their Forefathers
Nothing much had changed, for Israel, after 1500 years, for the most part, were just like their stubborn forefathers.
And this was exactly what Stephen ended up telling those religious leaders after taking them through their miraculous history [Acts 7:51].
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears”, as Stephen really lays it on them.
“……ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
And instead of humbly accepting the truth, they went the other way, with their religious pride rising to extreme heights.
They brutally stoned Stephen to death, thus displaying the pinnacle of their rejection of Christ Jesus their Messiah.
Human history, right down to this very day, has shown and proved that religious pride rises to inhuman extremes.
As the German philosopher Georg Hegel famously said:
“The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”
Then in [Acts 7:58], we find the men who brought the charges against Stephen, laying their garments at the feet of a young man.
Saul Of Tarsus Introduced
And it’s right here, for the first time, we find Saul of Tarsus being introduced in Scripture.
And it’s not exactly in good light, for he was a heartless, ruthless, religious pharisaical Jewish zealot.
Saul of Tarsus was the one who also gave his consent to stone Stephen to death [Acts 22:20].
He was the one who persecuted the Christ believing Jews, men, women and children, both unto prison and death [Acts 26:9-10].
Yet, in God’s Sovereign ‘determinate counsel and foreknowledge’ [Acts 2:23], this man Saul, was to be His very instrument, to introduce His mystery programme.
“The mystery which was kept secret since the world began” [Romans 16:25].
“Go thy way”, said the Ascended Lord Jesus Christ to Ananias, when he questioned HIM about Saul of Tarsus [Acts 9:11-15].
“For he (Saul of Tarsus) is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles…..”
The Prophetic Programme Pushed Out
After Stephen’s death, God pushed the latter part of His prophetic programme for Israel to a point out in the future.
As we saw in the previous CRUMB 0123, that God stops His time clock.
And then He puts in this ‘undetermined period of time’ 👇🏾.
And the very next thing God does is raise up, of all people, this same religious zealot, Saul of Tarsus.
The Ascended Christ, divinely intervenes Saul’s mission of persecution on the road to Damascus, and ‘saves him by His Grace’.
And it is with ‘this little Jew’, Paul the Apostle, that God kick-starts the ‘Age of Grace’, HIS ‘mystery programme’.
Calling Out A People For His Name
God was now going to call out, from among the Gentiles of all nations,“a people for His Name” [Acts 15:14].
And HE was going to do it ‘without Israel’.
There would now be “no difference” between Jew and Gentile [Romans 10:12].
HE was now going to save Gentiles one at a time individually, through His ‘All-Sufficient’ work of the cross.
The Jews too would now also have to come to that place of Salvation the same way as the Gentiles.
This would be through the newly revealed, ‘mystery Gospel of our salvation’, as revealed only to the Apostle Paul.
“That Jesus Christ, died for our sins, was buried, and rose for our justification”.
All that is required from every person without exception is just a ‘believing heart’, by faith.
No more religious works, rites, rituals or ordinances, which the Law demanded.
For they were ‘against’ us and ‘contrary’ to us.
So, God blotted it and took it “out of the way, nailing it to His cross” [Colossians 2:14].
This was all part of the ‘Mystery’, which was kept secret in God’s mind since the world began [Romans 16:25].
This is that ‘undetermined period of time’ on the timeline, which is now known as ‘The Age of Grace’.
Out To Mount Sinai in Arabia
God then takes Paul out to Mount Sinai in Arabia for three years, on a One-to-one seminary training [Galatians 1:17-18].
Then knocking every bit of religious Judaism out of him, HE begins to reveal to him, the doctrines of His Grace.
This is what the Ascended Lord told Ananias to tell Paul in [Acts 22:14-15].
“The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will……..”
Now carefully watch the latter half of this statement 👇🏾:
“……and ‘see’ that ‘Just One’ (that’s the Ascended Lord Jesus Christ), and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth”.
The Apostle Paul was to see the LORD ‘face to face’, just as Moses did in [Exodus 33:11].
These are the only ‘two people’ in all of Scripture who met with the LORD ‘face to face’.
And the venue was Mount Sinai in Arabia.
Moses, to receive the ‘dispensation of the Law’ for Israel.
And the Apostle Paul, the ‘dispensation of Grace’, for all of us, right down to this very day and hour.
Ananias continues telling Paul in Verse 15 of Acts 22:
“For thou shall be His witness unto ‘all men’ of what thou hast seen and heard.”
And that is exactly what happened before God sends Paul out into the Gentile world.
The Transition Had Begun
‘The transition’ from all that was ‘under the Law’ to what was now coming ‘under Grace’, had begun.
There was now to be a total change of operation in God’s dealing with the human race.
And that is what the ‘Book of Acts’, which covers a period of ‘forty years’, is primarily all about.
How important it is for us to comprehend this!
What was ‘under the Law’, now could not and would not be permitted to mix with what was coming ‘under Grace’.
Because God was Sovereignly ‘separating’ them, and they still stand separated today [Galatians 4:30-31].
“What God has separated”, we have ‘no right’ whatsoever, to mix together.
Keep this in mind, for it is ‘indispensable’ as we approach this whole Rapture concept.
Little did Christ’s disciples and the rest of believing Jews realize, the Jewish programme was now falling through the cracks.
Their prophetic Kingdom programme started to fade away into the background as God’s ‘mystery programme’ was beginning to take pre-eminence.
Peter The Apostle Realized This
Peter, the Apostle to the Jews, realized this towards the end of his ministry, shortly before he was martyred.
Referring to the ‘Gospel of our salvation’, and the ‘Grace doctrines’ as revealed to the Apostle Paul, he admonishes his Jewish readers:
“Even our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom ‘GIVEN’ to him hath written unto you;” [2 Peter 3:15-16].
Well, how did Paul ‘get’ all that indispensable wisdom?
He got it ‘Directly’ from the ‘Ascended Lord Jesus Christ in Glory’ [Galatians 1:11-12].
“As also in all his epistles…..,” (Romans through to Philemon), Peter tells his beloved fellow Jews:
“…..speaking in them of these things; in which are some things ‘hard to be understood’…….”
Peter is admitting, that even he had not really got hold of these Grace Age doctrines fully, as revealed to Paul.
And so, he strongly exhorts his Jewish audience to stick with the Apostle Paul.
For Paul was now God’s appointed man for the hour, and still is today.
And this what we all really need to grasp and understand.
So, Peter, who knows his time of departure is at hand [2 Peter 1:14], speaks his last words.
He closes with these final words to his Jewish audience in [2 Peter 3:18]:
“But grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
“To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen”
This mystery programme was here to stay for that ‘undetermined period of time, the ‘Age of Grace’.
God would pick up where HE left off with Israel at a later date.
The Revelation Of The Mystery
The revelation of God’s mystery programme for this ‘Age of Grace’ lies ‘only’ with the Apostle Paul.
Not with James, Peter and John, and we take nothing away from them.
They were the apostles of the Jews, and their epistles were Jewish.
And we can and do learn a lot from them without any shadow of doubt.
But not things pertaining to the Age of Grace, the Church age doctrines.
That lies only with Paul the Apostle, ‘given’ to him for us today.
“How that by revelation he made known ‘unto me’ the mystery;”, says Paul in [Ephesians 3:3]
The word ‘mystery’ never appears in the Old Testament, you just won’t find it there.
Neither does it appear in any of the epistles written by James, Peter and John.
Whereas, the Apostle Paul uses the word ‘mystery’ on no less than ‘seventeen’ occasions.
Now that alone should tell us something!
The Apostle Paul Writes Concerning The Mystery
When it comes to God’s mystery programme, this Age of Grace, here’s just some of what the Apostle Paul writes:
“Now to Him (God) that is of power to stablish you according to ‘my gospel’……” [Romans 16:25-26a]
Paul always refers to the Gospel of God’s Grace as ‘my Gospel’.
Because he received it directly by revelation from the Ascended Lord and not from any man [Galatians 1:11-12].
“…….and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the ‘revelation of the mystery’, which was kept ‘secret’ since the world began,”
“But now is made manifest…..”
God’s mystery programme had now been revealed and brought into the spotlight.
Then in the Book of [Ephesians 3:2-5a] we see:
“ If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward (for you):
How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Which in other ages was ‘not made known’ unto the sons of men, as it is ‘now revealed’…..”
Speaking of this mystery programme, Paul writes in [Ephesians 3:9]:
“…..which from the beginning of the world hath been ‘hid in God’…..”
We trust you are getting this whole mystery concept.
The Book Of Colossians
Then we also find Paul writing in the Book of [Colossians 1:25-26]:
“Whereof I am made a minister”, says Paul, who was Hand-picked by the Ascended Jesus Christ [Acts 9:15].
“According to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil (complete) the word of God;”
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:”
Click [HERE] for Part #05 of this series.
(Please note, all that is written in the orange colour, are connecting links, so do read them. You will find them to be very useful.)