THE GREAT MYSTERY
                                                                                  PART 3

                 PASSAGES THAT FORMALLY REVEAL THE GREAT MYSTERY


COLOSSIANS 1:24-28

NKJ Colossians 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my
flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body,
which is the Church,

JRR Colossians 1:24 Now, I rejoice in my adversities, on your behalf; and [I
rejoice in] the opportunity to accomplish [these afflictions] in my flesh –
which [in comparison] are destitute of the tribulations of Mashiach – and yet
they are for the sake of His body, which is the Church,

NKJ Colossians 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the
stewardship from (of) God, which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word
of God,
26 the mystery, which has been hidden (unrevealed) from (the) ages and
from (the) generations, but now, has been revealed to His saints.

The English translators have rendered Colossians 1:24 in such a way that
one cannot understand Paul’s meaning, without a great deal of study.  This
is especially true of the phrase “and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the
afflictions of Christ”.  One would conclude from the English translations, at
first view, that Christ’s sacrifice was in some way deficient, and that Paul
had to make up for that insufficiency.  Of course, such an understanding of
the translation would be blasphemous.  The JRR Translation above, with the
help of an ellipsis, renders the phrase, “which [in comparison] are destitute
of the tribulations of Mashiach”.  In other words, Paul acknowledged that his
adversities were nothing in comparison to Christ’s tribulations for the
Church.  However, Paul’s hardships were for the Body of Christ – the
Church – of which God had selected him to be steward and to whom God
had revealed the Mystery, whose revelation God had kept in reserve until
Paul’s day.  

The verse has three parts: 1) I Paul, rejoice in my adversities, on behalf of
the Church; 2) I rejoice in the opportunity to accomplish [these afflictions] in
my flesh, for the Church 3) Although my hardships are nothing compared to
Christ’s sore trials, they are for the sake of His body, which is the Church.

In part 3, Paul speaks literally of Christ in his statement of comparison; but
he speaks figuratively when he refers to the Church as “Christ’s body”.  In
this way, Paul relates his afflictions for the Church, as the apostle of Christ,
to the Gentiles.


NKJ Colossians 1:27 To them (His saints) God willed to make known what
are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 Him we preach, warning every man (everyone) and teaching every man
(everyone) in all wisdom, that we may present every man (everyone) perfect
in Christ, Jesus (Mashiach, Yahshua).

NKJ Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together
in love, and [attaining] to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to
the knowledge (revelation) of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of
Christ,

In Colossians 1:27, the Apostle Paul reveals the hope of the Mystery: Christ
in you, the hope of glory.  Here, Paul references the Great Mystery in a
unique way, which encompassed the making of two peoples – the Gentiles
and the Jews – into one people.  However, the importance of the Great
Mystery had its roots in the first century when the Temple still stood in
Jerusalem – an obstacle for the Jews and the Gentiles.  Once God allowed
the destruction of the Temple, the Great Mystery continued from the
perspective of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” as its predominant view.  

The launching of the Great Mystery is now history.  It is good to
comprehend the full intent of the original mystery, as it is the fulfillment of a
great Old Testament Prophecy explaining how the Gentiles are so numerous
in the Church of God today comparative with the Jews.  Of course, many in
the Church today are Israelites of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel who do not
know their identity.  Today the knowledge of the Great Mystery goes almost
unnoticed because after the first century, the Church passed out of the
competition-phase with the Temple and the traditions of Judaism.  

The Temple was a hindrance to the Gentiles because it placed high walls of
separation between them and God, as well as placing a great burden upon
the converted Jews who often felt obligated to keep up the “works of the
law” as well as giving allegiance to “faith in Christ”.  In addition, Temple
Worship kept the Gentile and Jewish Saint apart.  Recall Peter’s conduct and
Paul’s admonition, in Galatians 2* [For the full story read,
“A Jew Living in
the Manner of a Gentile”.]  Furthermore, the Temple was a hindrance to the
Jewish Saints because they had difficulty in relying on the blood of Christ
rather than the blood of bulls and goats (the works of the law, which took
place in the Temple).  In other words, the division between the typical
dispensation of “justification by works” and the continuation of the true
dispensation, which began from the foundation of the world – “justification
by faith” were unclear until the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.  In
70 AD, competition between these two systems of worshiping God ceased to
exist.  Perhaps this explains why the Church does not often mention the
Great Mystery today.

*JRR Galatians 2:14 “…If you a Jew are made alive (justified) as are the
Gentile [Christians], and not as are the Jews, why do you urge (by your
actions) the Gentiles to be made alive (justified) in the Jewish manner”.  
[Justified by faith versus justified by animal sacrifices (“the works of the
law”).]

Christ’s sacrifice and the indwelling of the holy spirit gave the New
Testament Christians the perfect solution to Temple worship – devotion to
God based on faith rather than works – however, as long as the Temple
stood it created doubts especially in the mind of the Jewish believer because
of their traditions.  Therefore, in the first century it was most important to
understand the full intent of the Revelation of the Great Mystery.  After the
destruction of the Temple, the Christian only needs to understand the
Mystery from the perspective of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham
and “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.  

God revealed the Prophecy/Mystery to Paul for the knowledge of the Church
of God during the Temple era that followed Christ’s death and resurrection.  
However, the subject is important for us to understand because it opens the
truth of the scriptures more fully; and for the current Jewish converts to the
truth, it would reinforce – help them to focus – their faith: They could better
understand why God allowed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple
and why God has blinded the Jewish Ecclesiastical Leaders.

However, the mystery that Paul speaks of in Colossians 2:2 is different to
the mystery of the fulfillment of the Prophecy concerning the blessing of the
Gentiles through the Seed of Abraham – The Great Mystery.  The mystery of
Colossians 2:2 refers to our understanding of the nature of God –
knowledge now available to the Church of God, if it would open its eyes to
see.  See our books,
“Atonement” and “Who Is “Jesus” for further
information on the nature of God.

NKJ Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together
in love, and [attaining] to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to
the knowledge (revelation) of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of
Christ,


ROMANS 16:25-26

NKJ Romans 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my
gospel and the preaching of Jesus, Christ (Yahshua, Mashiach), according
to the revelation of the mystery kept secret (the revelation having been
unrevealed) since the world began
26 but now made manifest (revealed), and by the prophetic Scriptures made
known (is revealed) to all nations, according to the commandment of the
everlasting God, for obedience to the faith––

Observe that Paul often uses the term “Mystery” to refer to the “Revelation
of the Great Mystery”*: The Mystery of how God would make of two peoples
– Jews and Gentiles – into one people: The Church of God or the Israel of
God, in fulfillment of the prophecy that foretold the blessing of all nations
through Abraham.  The fulfillment of the prophecy was hidden from all
generations until New Testament times.  The second branch of the mystery
began its revelation, from the perspective of the Church of God, on the Day
of Pentecost in Acts and the Apostle Paul later put the revelation into
language understandable to the Church of God in his epistles to the
Churches.  In other words, The Great Mystery was the Prophecy of the
Blessings of All Nations through the Seed of Abraham and the Revelation of
the Great Mystery was How God was fulfilling that Prophecy through the
Church.  When the Apostle Paul uses the term Mystery, one must make the
following determinations: 1) Does Paul refer to the Great Mystery, and if yes,
2) Does Paul refer to the Prophecy of the Great Mystery, to the Revelation of
the Great Mystery.  To put it another way, the Prophecy created the
mystery, which no one could understand until God was well on the way to
fulfilling the prophecy and made known to Paul the revelation so he could
pass it on to the Church, which was itself part of the revelation.

*A Synecdoche of the Part.

God gave Paul the revelation of the mystery – not the mystery itself; Paul
had the mystery – he undoubtedly learned that at the feet of Gamaliel; what
Paul needed was the revelation.

Paul mentions the prophetic scriptures of the Old Testament in Romans 16:
26*: Prophecies concerning the blessing of the nations through Abraham’s
Seed.  Paul made no reference here concerning the prophets of his day.  The
prophets of Paul’s day would foretell future things to come not things about
the Mystery, which was already old prophecy.  Paul was the prophet to
whom God revealed the Mystery, which existed because of the Prophecy
that none could explain concerning the blessing of the Gentiles or the
nations outside the commonwealth of Judah and formerly of Israel as a
whole.  Therefore, Paul used the word “Mystery” for the “Revelation of the
Mystery” the figure: Synecdoche of the Part – we will discuss this figure in
detail later.

*Romans 16:26 but now made manifest (revealed), and by the prophetic
Scriptures made known (revealed) to all nations, according to the
commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith––


                                        EPHESIANS 3:1-11
                       (A Beginning Explanation of the Great Mystery)

NKJ Ephesians 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ, Jesus
(Mashiach, Yahshua) for you Gentiles –
2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which
was given to me for you, [the honorable stewardship that God has given me]
3 how that by revelation He made known – revealed - to me the mystery (as I
have briefly written already, 4) by which, when you read, you may
understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),
5 which in other ages was not made known (revealed) to the sons of men, as
it has now been revealed* by the spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:
6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers
of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God
given to me by the effective working of His power.  [Note: JRR: the
honorable gift of God, given to me by the power of His holy spirit].
8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace (honor) was
given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of
Christ,
9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the
beginning of the ages has been hidden (unrevealed) in God who created all
things through Jesus, the Christ (Yahshua, Mashiach);
10 to the intent that now the manifold (diverse) wisdom
(understanding/revelation) of God might be made known by the Church to
the principalities and powers in the heavenly places**
11 according to the eternal purpose, which He accomplished in Christ,
Jesus, our Lord, (Mashiach, Yahshua, Adonay)

**JRR Ephesians 3:10 In order that the authorities, [who have puzzled over
the mystery in times past], might now understand the powers that reside in
the heavenly authorities – and the many perspectives of the wisdom of God
– as revealed through [His creation of] the Church.

*The fact that God would bless the nations of the world through Abraham
was knowledge generally known in the Old Testament.  In fact, it was a
prophecy that had become The Great Mystery, by the time of the New
Testament era.  What God kept hidden was “How He Would Accomplish This
Blessing”.  The Revelation of the Great Mystery is about “How” God would
fulfill the prophecies concerning the blessing of the nations.  The Old
Testament Prophets told of the sufferings of the Messiah and the blessings
of the nations.  However, these prophecies did not reveal how that God
would put it all together to make one people of two peoples (Jews & Gentiles
into the Israel of God – the Church of God).  To be sure, God did foretell the
coming of a New Covenant indicating a New Marriage.  The Revelation of The
Great Mystery required the death of the Messiah in order to dissolve the
marriage between the Jews and Yahweh, as well as for mankind’s
justification from their sins and trespasses in order for them to obtain
eternal life.  Moreover, it required the creation of the New Covenant Church
of God, followed by the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem: For it
must be understood that only one way existed into the sheepfold of God*.  

*John 10:1 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the
sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief
and a robber.

John 10:9 "I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved
(rescued), and will go in and out and find pasture.

As long as the Temple stood, appearances made it seem that two ways
existed into the Kingdom of God, creating confusion for “the Israel of God
by faith”.  Moreover, the confusion existed because both ways originated
from God’s instructions.  Therefore, until God allowed the destruction of the
old typical way, He commissioned Paul with the message concerning the
Great Mystery to assure the New Covenant Saints that they had chosen the
correct path – that they were a part of the revelation of the Great Mystery,
which the Doctors of the Law had puzzled over for centuries.

The nature of the Great Mystery was such that it would have been counter-
productive to reveal it before the time for the Gospel to go to the Gentiles.  
Once God brought Paul into the Church and had established him by
miracles, it was time for Paul to go to the Gentiles and it was time for God to
reveal to Paul, and he to the Church, the Understanding of the Great
Mystery.  The Gentiles would have been unaware of the prophecy, for the
most part; however, the Jews who had attended the synagogues should
have had a good idea of the Mystery of the Prophecy, which Paul brought to
their attention.  

By 70 AD, the Body of Christ (the one people from two peoples) had
advanced far enough – and the 40 years of testing for the Jews since Christ’
s death had passed; therefore, God allowed the destruction of the Temple –
the one obstruction still standing in the way for completing the framework of
the Church Phase of the Revelation of the Great Mystery.  Although the
fulfilling of the Great Mystery continues to this day, the need to understand
its origin is not as necessary because the opposing elements of Judaism, in
a viable manner, no longer exist.  However, for Jewish converts currently
coming into the faith, it would supply them with how God brought about the
revelation of these unfathomable prophecies and thereby insure them that
they are on the right path by embracing Christ.  As for the Gentiles today,
they have no enticement to follow Judaism and many of those who are
Israelites by blood think they are Gentiles.  However, for the bible student, it
is always good to comprehend every facet of the bible because the least
information can open avenues of understanding in other perspectives.

One cannot close his eyes to the fact that the “blessing of the Gentiles” is
the prophecy that created The Great Mystery.  The message that God would
bless the Gentiles through the Seed of Abraham was common knowledge
throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.  The Revelation of the Great
Mystery of which Paul was the New Testament messenger, was God’s
design of how He would bring the Gentiles and the Jews together: Making
two peoples into one people – the Israel of God – thereby fulfilling the
prophecy.

Therefore, the Great Mystery has two perspectives: 1) [The Old Testament
Prophecy Perspective]: That God would bless the Gentile Nations through
Abraham’s Seed (Christ), and 2) [The New Testament Revelation Perspective
of the Prophecy]: The design of how God would bless the Gentile Nations
through Christ and bring the Jews and Gentiles into the one Body of Christ –
the Israel of God.  God did this by means of the death of Christ dissolving
His marriage, as Yahweh, to the Jews, as a nation, and making justification
possible by means of faith rather than by the works of the Temple, which
God later allowed the Romans to destroy.  In other words, the phrase in
Ephesians 3:5, “as it has now been revealed” opens to us the proposition
that the Great Mystery has these two perspectives; and that the New
Testament Perspective is its revelation; whereas, the Old Testament
Perspective is the unrevealed Prophecy.  Moreover, here, Paul focuses on
the Mystery for the sake of the Gentiles and the Revelation of the Mystery
for the sake of the entire New Covenant Church of God then in existence.

In other words, the Mystery was: How God would bring His prophecies
concerning the blessing of the Gentiles to pass.  The revelation of that
Mystery was the message of Christ crucified and Christ in you the hope of
glory – the development of the New Covenant Church of God.  The bible
does not say that God concealed the fact of the Great Mystery – the
Prophecy, but that God kept the revelation of the Mystery in reserve until
the time when the prophecy of the blessing of the Gentiles began to
transpire.  

Bullinger well understood figures of speech.  His work “Figures of Speech
Used in the Bible” is the most important study of its kind.  Therefore, he
should have seen the word “Mystery” as a Synecdoche of the Part.  
However, because he viewed the Church as the Mystery rather than as one
perspective of the revelation of the mystery, he came to an erroneous
conclusion.  Of course, if we reduce the two parts to two nouns: Mystery
and Revelation, we would have a Metonymy.  Here, we have taken the
“Mystery” for “the revelation of the mystery or prophecy” which requires the
figure Synecdoche.


    PAUL USED “THE MYSTERY” AS A “SYNECDOCHE OF THE PART”:

The Mystery, as it relates to the Great Mystery in the New Testament is a
figure, which represents the revelation rather than the fact of its existence,
as a mystery.  The Mystery was one part of the whole.  To be whole, a
mystery or prophecy requires a revelation.  Therefore, the word Mystery
when it refers to the Great Mystery is often a “Synecdoche of the Part”
where Paul puts the “Mystery” (one idea) for “the revelation of the mystery”
(an associated idea); in some cases, Paul spells out the revelation aspect, of
the Mystery.  Where that is not the case, we often have the figure
Synecdoche of the Part.  Paul speaks clearly in Romans 16:25 that the
revelation of the mystery is what God had kept hidden since the world began:

Romans 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my
gospel and the preaching of Jesus, Christ (Yahshua, Mashiach), according
to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.  

Observe in the above verse that “the revelation” is the subject of the final
clause.  “Of the mystery” is the genitive case, in the Greek, identifying which
“revelation”.  Therefore, what God kept secret or unrevealed was “the
revelation” rather than “the mystery”.

In other words, God did not keep hidden the fact that the Great Mystery
existed, for many Old Testament Prophets prophesied that God would bless
the Gentiles: The fact of the Mystery existed for thousands of years in Old
Testament Prophecy; and all prophecy is a mystery until God reveals it!  
Moreover, if only God knew of the Mystery then it was not a Mystery to
man.  Obviously, it was not a mystery to God; and if man knew nothing
about the Mystery, then it was not a mystery to him.  God did not choose to
reveal the Great Mystery until the second part of its revelation was well in
progress.  However, the bible often mentioned the prophecy concerning the
Great Mystery in the Old Testament; however, keep in mind that the bible no
where implies that God ever referenced the prophecy as “the great
mystery”; that was an appellation put on the prophecy by the human Jewish
Doctors of the Law to express their lack of explanation for the prophecy.  In
other words, the reason for the name “The Great Mystery” was that the
revelation concerning the blessing of the Nations was past finding out for
the Doctors of the Law; and yet it involved the entire world except for the
small nation of Judah.  Moreover, thousands of years had passed since the
introduction of the prophecy of the Great Mystery and nothing of
significance had occurred that could justify as its fulfillment.  It was also
great because it involved more than just the one prophecy.  It involved the
prophecy concerning the sufferings of Christ, which the Jews could not
grasp.  Therefore, they were the instruments of that punishment – they had
Christ crucified.  The Mystery encompassed the formation of the New
Covenant Church of God* – the making of two peoples into one people – the
continuation of the Body of Christ from Adam to the resurrection of the
Saints.  Moreover, the Mystery encompassed the destruction of the Temple
because it was a hindrance to the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the
Jews and Gentiles becoming the One People, a part of the Body of Christ,
and the Church of God: A part of the Israel of God, by faith.  Therefore, it
was indeed a Great Mystery, which the Doctors of the Law could not
comprehend; and which God did not intend that they understand until His
time came to make it known.  However, God sprinkled hints throughout the
Old Testament – clues hidden in plain sight – so that when the time came the
Apostle Paul could illustrate the correctness of his understanding of the
Great Mystery by quotes from the established Word of God.

*Romans 15:7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us,
to the glory of God.
8 Now, I say that Jesus, Christ (Yahshua, Mashiach) has become a servant
to the circumcision (Jews) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises
made to the fathers,
9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: "For
this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name."
10 And again, he says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!"
11 And again: "Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles!  Laud Him, all you
peoples!"
12 And again, Isaiah says: "There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall
rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope."

NKJ Psalms 18:49 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD (O Yahweh),
among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

ROTHERHAM Psalms 18:49 For this cause, will I praise thee among the
nations, O Yahweh, and, to thy Name, will I sweep the strings:

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:43 "Rejoice, O Gentiles, [with] His people; For He will
avenge the blood of His servants, And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land [and] His people."

NKJ Isaiah 11:10 "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall
stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His
resting place shall be glorious."

NKJ Isaiah 49:6 Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be
My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved
ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should
be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’"

NKJ Luke 2:29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant (Simeon) depart in
peace, According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles*, And the glory of Your people
Israel."

*[NOTE: JRR: Simeon got it just before his death.  God allowed him to see
the infant Christ and with it gave him the understanding of the Great Mystery
– that Christ would be a light to the Gentiles – to reveal to them how they too
could become part of the plan of God.  Observe here that Simeon had
figured out that the Christ would come during the latter part of his life and
he desired to be alive long enough to see Him with his own eyes.  God
granted him that desire and gave him the first part of the revelation of the
Great Mystery that would make possible the second part that would
complete the revelation.]

NKJ Ephesians 3:9 and to make all see what [is] the fellowship (Jews and
Gentiles together) of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has
been hidden (unrevealed) in God who created all things through Jesus,
Christ (Yahshua, Mashiach);

Originally, God set Israel for the preaching of the Gospel to the world so that
the Gentiles could receive the blessing of the knowledge of the truth.  
However, the House of Israel did not want any part of it and God allowed
them to go into captivity.  God then allowed the House of Judah to go into
captivity but He did bring them back into their own homeland.  However, the
Jews persistently rejected the mission of delivering the Gospel to the world.  
On the other hand, a homeland for the Jews did make it possible for the
Messiah’s appearance to His own people, enabling Him to become the savior
of the entire world and simultaneously fulfill the first branch of the Great
Mystery.    

The Great Mystery is that God raised a holy people outside the official
Temple faith of Israel to carry the Gospel to the world.  The Great Mystery,
never opened to understanding, in the Old Testament, was how that God
would bring a people together from the Jews and the Gentiles, which would
reject their respective religious backgrounds.  The Jew would reject Judaism
and Temple Worship; and the Gentile would reject paganism and all of its
trappings.  Together they would become one in their worship of the true God
– “the fellowship of the Mystery”; in other words, “the Jews and Gentiles
formed the fellowship – the New Testament perspective of the Body of Christ
– that sprung from the Great Mystery, as its revelation, from the perspective
of the Church of God – the Israel of Faith.  To put it another way, the New
Testament Church of God was the fellowship portion of the revelation of The
Great Mystery.

Ephesians 3:9 and to make all see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery,
which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden (unrevealed) in God
who created all things through Jesus, Christ (Yahshua, Mashiach);

In the Old Covenant, the Gentile could become a proselyte to the Hebrew
religion; but the Gentile convert was never equal to the native born Israelite.  
The Gentile could never become a priest in the Temple because he was not a
Levite.  The Great Mystery is that Christ’s Gospel of the Kingdom brought
the Israelite and the Gentile to a plane that neither had known before.  
Temple worship was no longer of value to the Israelite and pagan worship
was of no value to the Gentile; moreover, the Gentile was just as much a
part of the royal priesthood as a Levitical High Priest who came out of the
Temple-worship of Israel.  

In other words, the Great Mystery is that God created a way to accomplish
His mission of bringing Sons into Glory from all of the nations, without the
religious hierarchy of Israel or Babylon!  Moreover, this is something that
would never have entered into the mind of any Jew – that God would
circumvent the Jews in order to bring the Gentiles into glory.  The Jews
always thought that God would bless the Gentiles through them – although
they knew not how.  However, after Christ’s death, the Temple and the
hierarchy of Judaism were superfluous.  Here we see the new thing never
dreamed of from the prophecies of the Old Testament.  The idea that God
would forsake His own Temple was an abomination to the Jew.  However,
God did allow its destruction; and in so doing, He enhanced His plan to open
salvation to the entire world.

NKJ 1Peter 2:9 But you (the New Testament Assembly) [are] a chosen
generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that
you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His
marvelous light;

However, we do not want to jump to the conclusion that those who received
the holy spirit during the time of the validity of Temple Worship are not of
the same body as those who have come into the Church of God after the
revealing of the Great Mystery.  While the former did not know how God
would bring the Israelite and the Gentile together, they had the same spirit,
as those of today; and they are part of the same body – all are Sons of God
and brothers of Christ.  All are of the same spiritual dispensation.  All will
make up the Bride of Christ, if they accomplish the First Resurrection.  When
we understand the Mystery versus the Revelation of the Mystery, then we
may comprehend the whole, which includes the Mystery or Prophecy of the
Old Testament that God revealed to the Body of Christ in the New Testament
through the Apostle Paul.  To say that the Mystery is itself the Mystery
misses half of the whole perspective – the Prophecies of the Old Testament
that created the Mystery!  The Body of Christ is the whole from Genesis to
Revelation.  The Church of the Revelation of the Mystery – the joining of
Gentiles and Jews into one assembly – is a part of the whole.  In other
words, the Saints belong to the Body of Christ regardless of when they
lived.  We will learn more about dispensations in Part 6.

Continue...