Interpretations: The Mystery Program and Its' Timeline
God’s prophetic plan for Israel was spoken of by His holy prophets, which have been since the world began, as Zacharias spoke being filled by the Holy Spirit. He went on to say that Israel was to be saved from her enemies, and from all who hate them. And this was an oath that the Lord swore to Abraham, Luke 1:67-75. Even on the day of Pentecost, Peter got up with John in front of a gathering crowd in front of the home they were staying in Jerusalem. This is the place where the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them. There, Peter quoted both the prophet Joel and David in explaining to the people the meaning of what they saw and heard, Acts 2:16-28. Later, when the lame man at Solomon’s porch at the temple was healed through Peter, people were thoroughly amazed and listened as Peter spoke. He told the people on what they should do to be saved, and also revealed to them that God had spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. From all three events, it is clearly seen that God’s prophetic plan for Israel had been progressively revealed openly since before the days of Abraham, to the days that Luke recorded the acts of Holy Spirit on the 12 apostles.
However, the same cannot be said concerning the mystery program for the Body-of-Christ. The creation of the Body-of-Christ nor any of the mysteries were revealed until after Saul, who later became Paul, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Son of the living God, Acts 9:15-20. The Lord did not reveal these to any of the 12 apostles who followed Him during the Lord’s first advent and led the Jewish church in Jerusalem. Paul shared this revelation to all, including the other 12 apostles, Acts 15:5-15, Galatians 2:1-9, but they found some of those things hard to understand, 2Peter 3:16, from a strictly Jewish perspective. This was conflict was well illustrated in his encounter with Cornelius, a centurion in Acts 10:1-48. First God had to break through with Peter, the grace of God that was being extended to the Gentiles, where the Lord told him to not call common those whom He had cleansed, Acts 10:10-15, and then revealing Peter’s own mindset upon arriving at the home of Cornelius, but because of the vision Peter had, he could enter into a Gentile’s home, Acts 10:28. It was important for Peter to be with Cornelius at his home, because Peter was the one given the keys of the kingdom by Jesus, Matthew 16:19. Just as the Samaritans could not receive the full blessing of God, the Holy Spirit until Peter and John arrived to pray over them, Acts 8:14-17, Peter had to open the kingdom to the Gentiles. Peter did this when he preached Jesus Christ to the household of Cornelius. When they heard the words of Peter and believed on the Lord, that whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins, the Holy Spirit fell on them who heard the Word, to the astonishment of the circumcision who were present, Peter and his company. They were surprised because the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit, Acts 10:34-46, and they were neither circumcised nor baptized as the Jews had to be, Acts 2:38. This all happened while Saul, later Paul, Acts 13:9, was in Tarsus, Acts 9:30. Though Paul was given the commission to go to the Gentiles, Acts 9:15-16, he did not actively minister to the Gentiles until after this time between Peter and Cornelius. Luke recorded the first active outreach to Gentiles in fulfillment of Paul’s commission, at the beginning of the first missionary journey of Paul, Acts 13:5-12.
In the list of timelines of Israel’s prophetic program, there is a transition from God actively working through Israel, to pausing that prophetic program, seen below, to initiate a new program directed to the Gentiles, that had been kept secret since before the world began, Ephesians 3:2-12. The following image has minor modifications to the one that appears in Israel's pause in its' prophetic program, aggregate timeline, to make room for the insertion of the Body-of-Christ timelines.
The next chart shows the start of the Body-of-Christ with Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, Romans 11:13, who was the first sinner, or chief of the sinners, in the world to enter into the Body-of-Christ, 1Timothy 1:15-16. It is the Holy Spirit that not only seals the new believer until the day of redemption, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30.
The building aggregate timeline for the Body-of-Christ is shown next. In the main blue area are a list of verses that show the promises given to those believers who have been placed in the Body-of-Christ. Also, on the top, left side of the blue area is a vertical gray arrow pointing up to indicate the place where the dead in Christ go to wait for the Lord's return in the clouds to snatch away, rapture, His own. It is written that to be absent in the body is to present with the Lord, 2Corinthians 5:6-8. Also, at the top of the graphic is a bounded area in red showing the extent of the church age, which began with just the Jewish church in Jerusalem, but since Israel's fall, and salvation has been given to the Gentiles, the subgroup of the church age now includes the Body-of-Christ, and the blue bounded area describes the dispensation of grace.
The mysteries that had been revealed to Paul for the Body-of-Christ are shown on the top left side of the chart below.
The next event for the Body-of-Christ is looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, Titus 2:13. This describes the imminent return of Christ Jesus for His own. Paul had written in several of his epistles, of the day of Jesus Christ, which is not to be confused with the day of the Lord. The latter refers to the Lord’s judgments against His enemies during the seven years of tribulation. The day of Jesus Christ was explained by Paul in Philippians 1:3-6, 9-10, Philippians 2:16, 1Corinthians 1:7-8, and 1Thessalonians 5:23. The first graphic is just to setup the explaination of the day of Jesus Christ by itself, against the backdrop of the pause in Israel's prophetic program. The followingin graphic is the aggregate with the rest of the building graphic showing the Body-of-Christ over time and the fulfillment of promises given to us.
There are three parts to the day of Jesus Christ. The first part, shown below, is when Christ comes down from heaven in the clouds to snatch up, rapture, His own. There are two components to this part of the Day of Jesus Christ. The first is that the dead in Christ are first raised from the dead in their new resurrected bodies, and then rejoined with their soul and spirit, 1Thessalonians 4:13-16. Then, those who are still alive will have their bodies changed to their eternal bodies the twinkling of the eye, 1Corinthians 15:51-54, and then we will be raised to be with the Lord forevermore, 1Thessalonians 4:17-18. The first chart illustrates the the snatching away, or rapture of the Body-of-Christ.
The second part in the day of Jesus Christ, for the Body-of-Christ, after the snatching away, rapture, of the church, is that all the believers in Christ will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, or His bema seat, 2Corinthians 5:10, 1Corinthians 3:11-15. This is inclusive of all the believers in the Jerusalem church and the Body-of-Christ. This judgment seat is not to determine our salvation, since that question has already been settled when the Christian first believed, Romans 3:21-31, Romans 8:1, but the works done for the kingdom of God. Paul wrote in his last epistle to Timothy, that in the Lord’s house there are vessels of honor and those for dishonor use, 2Timothy 2:19-21. Now, in this life is the time to purge oneself from iniquity to living in a manner that conforms to the image of Christ, Romans 8:29.
The final part in the day of Jesus Christ is the Lord presenting His church, and the bride of Christ to God the Father. This is where the church (the Jewish church in Jerusalem and the Body-of-Christ) will be until the end of the tribulation. The first graphic below shows the third part of the day of Jesus Christ, and the second is the aggregate, or building the timeline for the church, or New Testament church, formed and increasing after the resurrection of Christ Jesus, until its snatching away, or rapture.
John saw the church, represented by 24 elders, sitting on thrones about the throne of God, giving praise and worship to God, casting their crowns before Him, Revelation 4:10-11. The 24 elders can be divided into two groups of 12, one representing the Apostles who led the Jewish church in Jerusalem, Galatians 2:6-9, and the other 12 representing the Body-of-Christ, with Paul being the chief, 1Timothy 1:12-16. The church will be in the presence of God's throne throughout the tribulation, because it is delivered from the wrath to come, 1Thessalonians 1:15. The following graphic shows the green box at the top to illustrate the location of the New Testament church during the tribulation, and the red box near the bottom illustrates the activity of the tribulation at that same time. It is important to stress that the church will not go through the tribulation on earth. Instead, the church will be in heaven before the throne of God. The church will be worshiping, praising, and honoring the Lord until the moment the Lord prepares to return to earth to destroy His enemies, Revelation 11:16, and establish His millennial reign on David's throne, 1Kings 8:25, Amos 9:11-15. Then the church will return with Him, but the Lord is the only one who will do the battle, and only His white robe will be soiled with the blood of those who aligned themselves to fight Christ Jesus, Revelation 19:13.
By midtribulation, a war takes place between Satan and the angels that follow him, and Michael and his angels. The end result is that Satan and his angels lost and were never again allowed into heaven. Instead, they were cast down onto the earth, Revelation 12:7-9. Then there was a loud voice in heaven declaring that salvation, strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ. Satan and his angels had been holding positions of authority under the direction of God all the way in time, since they were created, until they lost this war. It was Satan who accused the Body-of-Christ daily. But it says that they had overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. They did not love their lives unto the death, So the heavens and all those who dwelt in them rejoiced, Revelation 12:10-12. With respect to the principalities and powers in heavenly places, Paul warned the Body-of-Christ that none of them would separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 8:36-39. Paul also characterized Satan and his angels who hold these positions pf responsibility, power, and are the principalities and rules of the darkness of this world, that because of this, we are to put on the whole armor of God, to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand, Ephesians 6:10-13.
Until Paul, there was no group of people called by the Lord, to repossess the heavens after Satan’s rebellion, Isaiah 14:12-20. Christ is the head of the body, the church, Colossians 1:18-19, so that in all things He would have preeminence in Heaven and earth. Christ Jesus is the one who made peace through His blood on the cross he reconciled all things to Himself in heaven and on earth. Through the prophetic program of Israel, the Lord reconciled the rulership over the earth through Israel. The mystery program is the means that the Lord reconciled the heavenly realm and all its principalities to Himself, which is through the Body of Christ. However, this knowledge of the Body-of-Christ was kept secret, Ephesians 3:8-9. Satan did not know that God was forming a group of believers that He would take back to rule in heavenly places in place of Satan and his angels. For had he known he never would have had Jesus Christ crucified, 1Corinthians 2:7-8.
Satan was created as the wisest creature in creation so that no secret could be kept from him before iniquity was found in him, Satan, Ezekiel 28:3. However, God kept secret the mystery program, Romans 16:25-26. It was not until the war in heaven that Satan and his angels would be permanently removed, so the Body-of-Christ can restore the authority of Jesus Christ in heaven, Revelation 16:7-12.
After having been judged by Christ Jesus and presented to the Father, taking their place in heavenly places where their citizenship is, Philippians 3:20, it is the Body-of-Christ who assume those places of responsibility once held by angels, and they will then judge the angels, 1corinthians 6:3. The war in heaven is shown in the following graphic as an explosion with the word war in its center, and the new role in heavenly places as rulers within that domain is shown in the adjacent red box.
Revelation 19:1-21 begins with the scene in heaven, and its host is proclaiming a series of Alleluia’s to the Lord our God. This word is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Hallelujah, which is to say, praise ye the Lod! The early passages in Revelation 19 occur just after God judges Babylon, the great whore who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and the Lord avenged the blood of His servants at her hand, Revelation 19:1-2. This is followed by their saying a second time Alleluia, because the smoke of her judgment would rise up for ever and ever, Revelation 19:3. The 24 leaders and the four beasts then follow suit by falling down and worship God who sat on the throne, and they too say Amen; Alleluia, Revelation 19:4. This immediate scene ends when a great voice out of the throne of God proclaims to all the host in heaven, to praise our God all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great. Then there arose like a tsunami a voice of a great multitude, the voice of many waters, and of mighty thundering, saying Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigns! Once can only imagine the deafening and exhilarating sound that ensued in shouts of praise to God, Revelation 19:5-6. This all points to the end of God’s judgments on the world and all its systems at the end of the tribulation.
Then comes the announcement to the same heavenly host, to rejoice and honor the Lord Jesus Christ, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife, the bride of Christ, has made herself ready. She is described as being arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, which represents the righteousness of the Saints. This moment adds to the crescendo in praise to the Lamb who was slain and shed His blood for the remission of sins, so that He could have this moment with the bride He purchased, Revelation 19:7-9, Romans 2:23-26. More is discussed on this topic in the section on the mystery of the bride of Christ.The following graphics show the marriage of the Lamb occuring near the end of the tribulation in heavenly places after the war in heaven, but before the return of Christ Jesus to the earth to rule over the world during the millennium.
Next, after the wedding of the Lamb to his bride of Christ, is the return of Christ to establish His millennial reign over this world. This is the time that God the Father told His Son (Jesus Christ) to sit on His right side until the Father made the Son’s enemies His footstool, Psalms 110:1-2. John saw the heaven open, and the Lord sat upon a white horse. The Son of God was described as faith and true, and in righteousness he both judges and makes war. John saw that the Lords eyes were a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns. The Lord also had a name written that no man knew, just the Lord knew. It was reported that the Lord was clothed with robe that was dipped in blood. And just as in John 1:1, that the Lord’s name was the Word of God, Revelation 19:11-13.
John went on to chronicle the majesty and power of the Lord, by describing the armies from heaven that followed the Lord to earth. They also were dressed in fine linen, white and clean, and the horses they rode on were white. Out of the Lord’s mouth was a sharp sword that He should smite the nations with, and rule them with a rod of iron, treading His enemies as if in a winepress with the fierceness and wrath of almighty God. And on his vesture and on his thigh was written King of kings and Lord of lords, Revelation 19:14-16. This event of the Lord’s return differs from His return in the clouds to snatch away His own to be with Him for evermore. In the snatching away, the Lord remains in the clouds and His own go up to meet Him there before being taken into heavenly places. In His return at the end of the tribulation, He is literally, physically, visibly seen returning. He will first set His feet on the Mount of Olives, splitting the mountain so that a valley will open up from Jerusalem down to the dead sea, Zechariah 14:4. In that day when the Lord returns to Israel, many things will happen to the benefit of the people of Israel, in that they will be one people and not divided, Ezekiel 37:19-23, they will be washed, Ezekiel 36:22-38, and all in Jerusalem and Juda shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts, Zechariah 14:21.
The church will return with the Lord back to earth, since He said that where He was, we will be also and we will always be with Him, John 14:1-3, 1Thessalonians 4:17. Though the Body-of-Christ will be with the Lord on earth, we will still be the ruling body in heaven, ensuring the authority of Christ Jesus in the heavenly domain.
The angel who was with John in all that was revealed to him, Revelation 1:1, announced to John that blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb, Revelation 19:9. This is the fourth of seven blessings found in the book of revelation. This announcement of the supper was given just before the revelation of the Lord and His armies preparing to leave heaven for earth. So, the wedding feast is an event that was to happen on earth, rather than in heaven, where the wedding took place.
When the Lord fought, or spoke against His enemies, the battle was short and complete, and this was the beginning of the kingdom dispensation. Having established the Body-of-Christ as the ruling body in heavenly places, the Lord now puts Israel in that same role, but in the earthly realm. There are several reasons for this, and it all began when Christ Jesus humbled Himself on the cross. Because of the Lord’s obedience to His Father, God highly exalted Jesus and gave Him a name above every name, Philippians 2:8-9. In ages to come, every knee will bow in heaven, on earth, and underneath earth (the lake of fire), Philippians 2:10.
Second, Christ Jesus is the one who created all things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers. They were all created by the Lord and for Him. He was before all things, and by Him all things consist, Colossians 1:16-17. God had given man earthly dominion, first to Adam, Genesis 1:27-31, and then after the fall of man, the Lord established leaders of governments and removed them throughout the world and across time, Daniel 2:19-23. However, God gave this same kind of power to angels over heavenly entities, Psalm 115:16, Job 1:6-7. The most high God is the possessor of heaven and earth, Genesis 14:18-19. It was through Israel whom God intended to restore Christ’s headship over the earth, through His millennial kingdom and rule over the earth.
As the Lord established His kingdom on earth, He also set about the wedding feast. Matthew 25:1-13, wherein the Lord said that there were 10 virgins who had lamps and they went to meet the Bridegroom (Jesus). He declared that five where wise in that that took oil in vessels with their lamps, while the foolish five virgins only had their lamps. When the cry from the Bridegroom was heard in the midnight hour, for those waiting to go out and meet him. The wise virgins were prepared and waiting for the event, but the foolish ones were not prepared. Oil in scripture represents the Holy Spirit and His work, and in this case the wise virgins, believed and had a relationship with the Lord, whereas the foolish virgins had only religion. They had the outward markings of a belief that was based on religion, but no true relationship with Christ Jesus. So, when the feast began, the doors were shut and the five foolish virgins, who went to town to buy more oil, came knocking on the door to be let in. The chilling response of the Bridegroom to them was that He did not know them, and they were kept out in utter darkness, Matthew 25:11-12.
There is a recent video produced by Ingenuity Films, LLC, called “Before the Wrath.” The film captured the essence and emotions of what Matthew recorded in his gospel on the wedding supper.
This next chart is the same as the one in the timeline for Israel's prophetic plan. This is when the experience of both Israel and the Body-of-Christ are the same.
The following chart shows the end of the age, and the second resurrection of the unrighteous. After the millennium is expired, Satan is loosed from the pit for a season. He will deceive the nations and raise an enormous army and surround the camp of the saints and Jerusalem. Then fire came down from God the Father in heaven, consuming all the enemies of the Lord, Revelation 20:7-9.
Then Satan is thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the Antichrist and false prophet are, and they will all be tormented day and night for eternity, Revelation 20:10.
There will be a second resurrection for all the unbelievers ever born, and their bodies are collected from the land and sea. None can escape their judgment before the great white thrown, where Christ Jesus sits, John 5:22. All are judged according to their works, and if their names did not appear in the book of life, they are thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, which is permanent for all eternity, Revelation 20:11-15.
Just as the timeline for the prophetic plan for Israel, the last phase shows eternity future. The only difference between this following chart and that for the one for Israel, is that Israel's domain is earth, and that is where Israel will be administering the Lord's will. The Body-of-Christ will occupy the heavenly domain, and there they will administer Christ's will.
following the great white throne judgment, there will be a new heaven and new earth, as the first heaven and earth were passed away, Revelation 21:1, 2Peter 3:10, Isaiah 51:6. God said that He makes all things new, Revelation 21:5. There will be a new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, Revelation 21:2. The new Jerusalem will be greatly adorned with precious metals and jewels, decorated with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve apostles of the Lamb, Revelation 21:9-14. The measurements of the new Jerusalem show the size of the city walls to be enormous. It is so large that it could fit inside the moon with the eight corners of the walls being able to approximately the outer circumference of the moon, Revelation 21:15-17. Inside the new Jerusalem is the water of life, proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb, with the tree of life. The Lord God will be the source of light instead of the sun, Revelation 22:5.
The final graphic in this series on the timeline for the Body-of-Christ, combines it with the last graphic for the prophetic plan of Israel. Israel’s timeline had a pause across the entire center of the graphic, which was filled by the large blue area that depicted God’s work with the Body-of-Christ. The other difference are the two brown ovals along the timeline below. The one on the far left represents the Jewish churches that formed after the persecution of Saul. The second brown oval, right of the area representing the snatching away, are the reconstituted Jewish churches as the prophetic plan of Israel and restarted once the Gentile churches had been snatched away. The following graphic provides a synoptic view of God’s entire plan after the resurrection of Christ Jesus, which continues on into eternity future for both Israel and the Body-of-Christ.