The Textual outline study -- "Paul, the Apostle of the Nations"
-- prepared the way for this message. However, there are certain facts and truths which
must be recognized and held clearly in mind, if we are to grasp with understanding the
"revelation" of the "mystery" or secret, and enter, into the
full heart realization of the transcendent spiritual blessings of the untraceable riches
of Christ which it is designed to bring to believing nations today.
a. That Israel, the Circumcision in flesh, made by hands (Gen.17:7-14;
Eph.2:11), as a royal priesthood (Ex.19:5,6; 1 Peter 2:9), and their hope (the kingdom),
took preeminence from Pentecost to Acts 28:28 (Acts 3:22-26; 13:46; 18:4-6; 28:20).
b. That during "that era" (Pentecost to Acts 28:28), believing
nations -- proselytes of righteousness, as the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39), and
proselytes of the gate, of the status of Cornelius (Acts 10)--were dependent on the "priestly"
nation of Israel "for salvation" (John 4:22; Acts 11:13-14; Isa.49:5,6;
Zech.8:23), and subject subordinate and subservient to them in all things (Isa.2:2-5;
14:1,2; 56:1-8; 60:10- 12; 61:5,6). Even those among the nations who received Paul's
evangel--Justification--and, in one spirit, were baptized into the body of Christ (1
Cor.12:13,27), were, nevertheless, subject to the priestly prerogative of Israel,
guests of their promise covenants, and their debtors (Eph.2:11,12;
c. That the kingdom was divinely set in abeyance at Acts 28:25-28, and
became a future prospect, awaiting the return of the King, is unmistakably
confirmed by the following prophetic Scriptures (Luke 19:11-27; Dan.7:13,14; 2 Peter 1:11;
Rev.1:7; 11:15; 19:11-16; 20:1-6).
d. That the kingdom door was locked with Acts 28:25-28, is
further confirmed by the fact, that the evidential "signs," which
accompanied the heralding of the kingdom gospel, and by which the Lord
confirmed the word, and believers partook of "the powers of the future
eon" during that era -- 30 to 61 A. D. -- (Mark 16:17,18,20; Acts
4:30; 5:12-16; 19:10-28; 28:3-7; Heb.6:6), are significantly absent in subsequent
writings of Hebrews, Peter and John.
e. That with the writing of Ephesians and Colossians, the priestly
regnancy of Israel as the channel of salvation to the nations (Gen.22:15-18;
Isa.49:5,6; 61:5,6; Zech.8:23; John 4:22; Acts 3:25; 11:13,14), was "cast away,"
"spoiled" or stripped off (Rom.11:15; Col.2:14,15). Even Paul was imprisoned
so that he could no longer "act as a priest of the evangel of God among the
nations" (Rom.15:16; Eph.3:1-3).
f. That the "casting away" of Israel (61 A. D.) was the conciliation
of the world (Rom.11:15; Acts 28:25- 28), and since then, believing nations,
with a remnant according to the choice of grace out of Israel (Rom.11:5), are now reconciled
together in one body to God (Eph.2:13-18).
g. That with the revelation of the Secret and "the
dispensation of the conciliation" (2 Cor.5:18-20), God's wrath or indignation was
withdrawn and men are not subject to the Providential judgments of the Pentecostal
administration during the present Secret administration.
I. The Divine "Mysteries" or
A. The word "mystery" in our Bible is
translated from the Greek word musteerion, and denotes a previously hidden or
concealed truth, a divine secret, which is now revealed or made known.
1. The Scriptures reveal twelve "mysteries" or
secrets in God's purpose of the eons, which we list according to the order in which they
are given in the divine records:
a. The secrets of the kingdom (Matt.13:11; Mark
4:11; Luke 8:10).
b. The secret of the duration of Israel's blindness
c. The secret of the evangel: the conciliation
(Rom.16:25; Eph.6:19; Col.1:26,27).
d. The secret of the resurrection (1 Cor.15:51).
e. The secret of Christ (Eph.1:9; 3:4; Col.4:3).
f. The Secret (and its administration) (Eph.3:3,9;
g. The secret of marriage (Eph.5:32).
h. The secret of lawlessness (2 Thess.2:7).
i. The secret of devoutness (godliness) (1 Tim.3: 16).
j. The secret of the seven stars (Rev.1:20.
k. The secret of God (Rev.10:7).
l. The secret of Babylon (Rev.17:5,7).
2. In this study we are particularly concerned with the sixth
in order of the divine "mysteries"-- the Secret and its administration.
II. Time of Revelation.
A. The time of the revelation of the
Secret and its administration is made clearly evident by the following considerations:
1. First, the internal evidence of the Ephesian and
Colossian epistles attest to the fact that they were written soon after the last
recorded public witness of the kingdom of God and the Messiahship of Jesus to representatives
of the nation of Israel, in Rome, spring of 61 A. D., when their "casting away"
was terminated by the declaration of Isaiah 6, as recorded in Acts 28:17-28.
2. Second, the repeated use of the adverb of time,
"now," in these epistles concerning the revelation of the Secret, the joint
spiritual blessings for the saints, and the secret administration in which
they are to be dispensed and enjoyed, unmistakably mark off these
truths, with special, divine emphasis, from that era prior to 61 A. D.
(Eph.2:11-13; 3:3-5,8-10; Col.1:21,22,24-26).
III. What Is The Secret?
A. The Secret and its threefold wealth of untraceable
riches of Christ for the nations, is divinely itemized and explained
for us in Ephesians 3:6, as follows:
IN SPIRIT, the nations are to be
joint enjoyers of an allotment and a
joint body, and
joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus.
B. Threefold Blessing IN SPIRIT.
It is preeminently important that we grasp with heart recognition that the three
itemized blessings of the Secret are IN SPIRIT, not in flesh
(Eph.1:3,13; 2:5-6,18), and are concerned with joint relationship: Godward,
Christward and manward.
a. Joint-allottees: Godward.
The first item of the Secret--joint-allottees-- reveals the Godward
relationship of our blessing. In that era, prior to the revelation of
the Secret, Israel, the Circumcision in FLESH, made by hands (Gen.17:7-14;
Eph.2:11), were God's people (Ex.3:7,10; 4:22; Isa.52:4; Matt.2:6; Luke 7:16;
Rom.11:1,2), and by covenants and family relationship Jehovah was their
God and not of the nations (Ex.19:5,6; Deut.4:7,8, 31-38; Amos 3:1,2; Acts
13:16-19). Believing nations, in that era, worshipped Him as Israel's
God--the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. And, though they enjoyed an allotment
(Rom.8:17), and had much blessing with His people (Rom.15:8- 12,16,27), yet, in
flesh they had no hope and were without God in the world
(Eph.2:12). But now, with the revelation of the Secret, a new
family relationship has been created, in which, believing nations and a
remnant according to the choice of grace out of Israel (Rom.11:5), IN SPIRIT
become joint enjoyers of an allotment blessed with every spiritual blessing
among the celestials (Eph.1:3-14). Hence, believing nations are no longer without
God, but are members of God's family (Eph.2:19).
b. Joint-body: Christward.
The second part of the Secret--joint--body-- makes known the Christward
connection of our blessing. In that era before Ephesians was written, Israel, the
Circumcision in FLESH, made by hands (Gen.17:7-14; Eph.2:11), had Christ according
to the flesh (Matt.2:2,6; 27:37; Acts 13:22,23; Rom.9:4,5; 15:8). Believing nations
during that era, though in one spirit, were baptized into the body of Christ (1
Cor.12:13,27), nevertheless, in flesh, were apart from Christ (Eph.2:12;
Matt.15:21-28; Acts 21:27-29). Yet now since the revelation of the
Secret, believing nations, with a remnant according to the choice of grace out of Israel
(Rom.11:5), are made a new creation and a new humanity (Eph.2:13-18; 2
Cor. 5:16,17; Gal.6:15), and IN SPIRIT become the joint-body of Christ
(Eph.3:6), vivified together (Eph.2:5), roused together (Eph.2:6), and seated together
among the celestials in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:20-2:10).
c. Joint-partakers: Manward.
The portion of the "mystery"--joint--partakers--is concerned with the manward
participation of blessing. Before 61 A. D. and the revelation of the Secret,
Israel, the Circumcision in FLESH, made by hands (Gen.17:7-14; Eph.2:11), had their
commonwealth and were sons of the promise covenants (Ex.19:5,6; Acts 3:25; Rom.9:4,5),
while believing nations were alienated from their citizenship and partook of
their promise covenants as guests and sojourners, and consequently, were
their debtors (Rom.15:27; Eph.2:12). Yet now, since the writing of
Ephesians and the revelation of the Secret, there is a new citizenship, in
the heavens (Eph.1:3; Phil.3:20), in which, believing nations, with a remnant
according to the choice of grace out of Israel (Rom.11:5), IN SPIRIT become joint
partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus (Eph.3:6). Consequently, believing nations are no
longer guests and sojourners, but are fellow-citizens of the
IV. Channel to Blessings of the
A. The channel to the threefold blessing of the
Secret is "the gospel of which Paul was made the dispenser" (Eph.3:7;
Rom.2:16; 16:25; 2 Tim.2:8; 1 Tim.1:11; Gal.1:11,12; 2:2,7; 1 Cor.15:1-4), In accord with the
gratuity of God's grace, which is granted, to me (Paul) in accord with His
powerful operation (Eph.3:7; Acts 15:40; 1 Cor.3:10; 15:10; Gal.2:9; Rom.1:5; 15:15), the
blessings of which are:
The first in order of the gracious blessing obtained through the Pauline evangel
is justification--the righteousness of God, apart from law, through Jesus
Christ's faith, for all and on all who are believing- -justifying the
Circumcision out of faith and the Uncircumcision through faith (Rom.3:21-30).
The second blessing of the evangel entrusted to Paul is termed the secret of the evangel, the
conciliation--and denotes that gracious work of God in the death of His Son,
killing the enmity in His flesh, and then removing the fleshly barrier
to His presence, by "casting away" the priestly nation of
Israel, thus changing the status of circumstances and relationship for appeasing
and supplicating the world on behalf of reconciliation and peace (2
Cor.5:16-20; Rom.5:10,11; 11:15; Eph.2:13-18).
The third grace of Paul's gospel is glorification-- "the prior expectancy
in the Christ" (Eph.1:12), "the expectation which is reserved for you
in the heavens, WHICH YOU HEAR BEFORE in the true expression of the evangel"
(Col.1:5), "the glorious riches of this secret among the nations, which is, Christ
among you, a glorious expectation" (Col.1:27), concerning which the
Thessalonian, Corinthian and Roman saints had, been instructed (1 Thess.1:9,10;
4:13-18; 5:1-11; 2 Thess.2:1,2,13-17; 1 Cor.1:4-9; 2:6-10; 15:40-55; Rom.5:1,2; 8:14-30).
Thus our study reveals Paul to be the chosen vessel, called, separated and
given over to the grace of God for the nations, leading them from glory to glory
unto maturity and full assurance of understanding in all the will of God. First, he acted
as a priest of the evangel of God among the nations, (for which he was
separated), which bestowed on believing nations, and a remnant of Paul's Jewish brethren
according to the choice of grace, the grand blessing of justification. Then, on his last
itinerary, having completed the evangel of Christ, he began the proclamation of the secret
of the evangel, the conciliation: namely, the repudiation and removal of all fleshly
honors and barriers to God's presence, even Christ according to
the flesh, and the "casting away" of the priestly nation of
Israel, thus changing the status of relationship for appeasing, entreating
and beseeching the world on behalf of reconciliation and peace. And
thirdly, in accord with the true expression of the gospel, which they heard before
(that is, before the revelation of the Secret), he had made known to them the
expectation of glory: rescue from the coming indignation through a change of
their bodies from terrestrial to celestial, from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal
to immortality at the presence of the Lord from heaven with the trump of God.
Then, climaxing all this, with his imprisonment in Rome, he is granted grace to reveal the
Secret and its threefold transcendent spiritual blessings on a joint
basis for the believing nations and a remnant of his Jewish brethren, who received his
gospel in the obedience of faith. Finally, on this behalf, as a prisoner of the Lord,
he entreats all to walk worthily of the calling with which they were called, with all
humility and meekness, with patience bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep
the unity of the spirit with the tie of peace: one body and one spirit,
according as you were called also with one expectation in your calling; one
Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is
over all, and through all, and in all.