Interpretations: The Mystery Program for the Body-of-Christ
The mystery program for the Body-of-Christ was kept secret by God since the world began, Ephesians 3:2-9, just as eight mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 13:1-52, were kept secret from the foundation of the world, Matthew 13:34-52. The latter were revealed by Jesus to Israel during His first advent, and revealed only in parables to fulfill Psalms 78:2, and Isaiah 6:9-10. The kingdom of heaven mysteries differed from what was revealed to Paul. The kingdom mysteries described who would be part of the kingdom, Satan’s attempts to thwart many from entering in, Matthew 7:13-15, the increase of the kingdom, and the judgment to come before the dispensation of the kingdom age is manifest. More is discussed in the dispensation section of this site.
The mystery program for the Body-of-Christ consisted of eight mysteries, with a ninth revealed to assuage the fears of the Thessalonians that they missed the rapture, after receiving a forged letter they thought was from Paul, 2Thessalonians 2:1-5. Paul wrote a second epistle to them to indicate the relative time of being snatched away (rapture) before the revealing of The Antichrist, 2Thessalonians 2:7. This assurance was to both the Thessalonians and us today, that being snatched away (rapture) of the Body-of-Christ has not occurred nor will occur until the day of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:3-6, 9-11, 2:14-16. The eight mysteries revealed to the apostle Paul are:
- His will, Ephesians 1:3-4, 9
- Christ, Ephesians 3:4
- The Body-of-Christ, Colossians 1:25-27
- God, Colossians 2:2-5
- Godliness, 1Timothy 3:16
- Israel’s blindness, Romans 11:25
- The bride of Christ, 2Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:24-32
- Being sSnatched away (Rapture), 1Corinthians 15:51-52, 1Thessalonians 4:13-17
Not only is it important to distinguish the mysteries Jesus revealed to Israel from what was revealed to Paul for the Body-of-Christ, but to also distinguish the gospel of the kingdom taught to Israel by John the Baptist, the Lord, and then the apostle Peter, Acts 3:19-21, from the gospel of grace taught by Paul, 1Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 16:25-26. The mystery program was kept secret until it was revealed to Saul (later called Paul, Acts 13:9) after he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 9. Afterwards, Paul was the chief, or first, to be part of the Body-of-Christ, 1Timothy 1:13-16, and served as a pattern for all others who followed in the belief on the work of Christ Jesus. These mysteries were never revealed to the nation of Israel at any time, nor revealed directly to the 12 apostles to the circumcision (Jews). The twelve heard about these mysteries from Paul, who received them directly by revelation from the Lord, Galatians 1:11-19. But, as Peter wrote, some of the things Paul wrote about were hard to understand from the point of view of those in the circumcision, 2Peter 3:13-17.
The nation of Israel has the covenants, promises, and blessings of God, who through prophecies, the law, and writings revealed His plans for them as a nation. In contrast, Paul received the mysteries from the Lord for all the believers in Christ Jesus among the Jews and Gentiles. This group of believers are who make up the Body-of-Christ and are all baptized into one body, 1Corinthians 12:13. These mysteries are in affect for the Body-of-Christ throughout the dispensation of grace, with which we are to comfort one another, 1Thessalonians 4:18.