From Plainer Words

The Church of the Mystery

Posted in: 2012
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 29, 2012 - 4:39:29 PM

Plainer Words since 1968
February 29, 2012
Plainer Words Online … The Church of the Mystery

“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”     (Colossians 1:26-27)
Because of being unable to “rightly divide” the prophecies, many Rabbis in Israel had to invent two Messiahs. It was beyond their comprehension that one Messiah could both suffer and reign. Human reason just couldn't imagine how one could possibly meet the requirements of Messiah. They could not separate the first and second coming of the Messiah. The first coming was to suffer; the second will be to reign. (We use the orthodox Christian terminology—“the first and second coming,” which is Scripturally incorrect).
The same is true concerning this Present Dispensation. God’s present purpose, as found in this dispensation, THE MYSTERY, is as unreasonable to modern-day “Rabbis”, as was the first and second coming of Christ to their ancient counterparts. The Mystery is not reasonable to the carnal mind and to those who have not bothered to rightly divide the Word. It is absolutely essential that the Word of God be divided, aright, if one is to see the Mystery. As long as Israel is robbed of her blessings and her hope by believers, the Word of Truth is dishonored, and the Holy Spirit is not at liberty to “enlighten” the eyes of their understanding (Eph. 1:18).

It should, also, be pointed out that just because somebody is rightly dividing the Word, does not guarantee he knows the Mystery. All too many are wrestling with the problem. They talk a great deal about “right division.” They make a difference between the Jew and the Gentile, between Peter and Paul, between the Kingdom and the Church, and between law and grace and, yet, do not comprehend THE MYSTERY. It is regrettable that some of these folks are enemies of the Truth. They sow discord and confusion and hinder many from coming to the knowledge of the Truth. All too often, believers rely on their teachers and, thereby, follow some man who is dedicated to defending his position or his persuasion. Regrettably, all too often, a believer is approaching the knowledge of the Truth and, in checking with his “leader,” the believer is warned not to pursue this line of truth. The believer, thereby, becomes a victim of the warning in Colossians 2:18. Thus, the believer is “beguiled of his reward” and fails to personally check the Scriptures for himself.

On the other hand, many sincere Bible believers who endeavor to rightly divide the Word of Truth have asked the question, “Just what, exactly, is the Mystery?” We are going to attempt to answer that question in “Plainer Words” by giving an outline of the unique characteristics of the Mystery. The characteristics that make the Church of the Mystery as a distinct and separate calling from any of God’s other companies of redeemed are listed below.


This out-calling of believers fulfills a secret purpose of God, known only to Him       (Eph. 3:11). It was not made known until Israel was officially and judicially set aside in unbelief. The Apostle Paul pronounced Her spiritual blindness:

“Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive. For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” (Acts 28:26-28)

Today, this called-out group of believers make up a company of redeemed that is referred to as “the Church, Which is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all”         (Eph.l :22- 23). This Mystery or Sacred Secret was Divinely given. It was, EXCLUSIVELY, revealed to the Apostle Paul, as the prisoner of Jesus Christ, BY SPECIAL REVELATION (Eph. 3:1-3).


The word, “calling,” is used to make known dispensational truth. The Bible reveals, at least, three “callings.''

(1) The Calling of National Israel
(2) The Calling of the Church of God (Acts 2 to Acts 28)
(3) The Calling of the Church of the Mystery (Called-Out In Today’s Dispensation)

Each calling differs in its Origin, Constitution, and Jurisdiction. The special calling of the Mystery is said to be the “HIGH CALLING OF GOD” (Phil. 3:14), and a “HOLY CALLING” (2 Tim. 1:9). Also, we are to know “what is the HOPE OF HIS CALLING” (Eph.l:18).


This was not only a secret but, also, a well-kept secret - the depository was the Heart of God. This secret was "HID IN GOD'' (Eph. 3:9) from the beginning of the world. Notice that it was NOT HID IN THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES! It was “hid in God.” The Mystery was hid from past ages and past generations “BUT NOW is made manifest to His saints” (Col. l:26). This eternal purpose (Eph. 3:11) was not known by “the fathers” or “the prophets.” It was God’s most sacred secret, and who could wrest a secret from Him until He was ready to make it known? No one!


“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

This present Church [the Ecclesia] is the only company of believers which is said to have its origin “BEFORE THE FOUNDATION of the world” (Eph. 1:4). The calling of the “Kingdom of God” is related to a calling “FROM THE FOUNDATION of the world” (Matt. 25:34). The “ONE HOPE” (Eph. 4:4) of the Church of the Mystery was promised “BEFORE the world began” (Titus 1:2).


The internal evidence in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Philemon designate that they were the Apostle’s writings while he was a “prisoner of Jesus Christ.” Paul, also, states that he was “a prisoner for you Gentiles” (Eph. 3: 1). Paul refers to his prison ministry in:

Ephesians 3:1 - “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles …”

Ephesians 4:1 – “I Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, …”

Ephesians 6:19-20 - “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that l may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Philippians 1:7 - “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.”

Philippians 1:13 - “So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places, …”

Philippians 1:23 – “For l am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”

Colossians 4:3 – “Withal proving also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which l am also in bonds.”

2 Timothy 1:8 - “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”

2 Timothy 1:16 - “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:”

2 Timothy 2:8-9 - “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”

2 Timothy 4: 16-17 - “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”

Philemon 1:9-10 - “Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:”

The Mystery was revealed to Paul “BY REVELATION” (Eph. 3:3), and the revelation was associated with Paul, “the prisoner,” not Paul, the FREE MAN. The body of Truth for the Church of the Mystery is contained in a “FORM OF SOUND WORDS,” as stated in 2 Timothy 1:13, i.e., the Prison Epistles.


The Church which is “His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” is a new creation called the “One New Man” (Eph. 2:15). This indicates that it, like all of God’s creation, was indeed a CREATION, not an evolved entity. The Church of the Mystery did not evolve from the book of “The Acts of the Apostles”, but rather, it was a new creation, created when the “Hope of Israel” was put in abeyance in Acts 28:17-28. Ephesians 2:15 says, “. . . for to MAKE (create) in Himself of twain (i.e., Jew and Gentile) One New Man, so making peace.”  Notice, it says, “to make.” The same expression is found in Genesis 1: 26 when the Godhead said, “Let us MAKE man in Our image.” Genesis 1:27 explains in no uncertain terms that the word, “make,” of Verse 26 means to CREATE. Thus, as Adam was created, so also was the One New Man, the Church of this present dispensation.

The workmanship of Ephesians 2:10 was “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” has reference to the new creation of the One New Man. This body of believers is, therefore, a company of redeemed which form a new creation, not a group that is a result of “evolution.”


Paul says in Acts 28:28 that the salvation, which had been of the Jews, is “NOW sent unto the Gentiles and that they will hear it.” Gentiles, during God’s dealings with Israel and until the casting aside of them, had a DISPENSATIONAL DISADVANTAGE. Ephesians 2:12 says that at “that time ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”, but notice how this is changed by the coming in of a new dispensation. “BUT NOW in Christ Jesus ye (Gentiles) [ i ] . . . are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2: 13). It was “for this cause” that Paul was a “prisoner of Jesus Christ for YOU GENTILES” (Eph. 3:1). The ministry of the Word of God has been given to the Gentiles. Until the revelation of the Mystery, the oracles of God were committed to Israel (Rom. 3:3). The “restoration of Israel” is, now, no longer possible as long as God’s secret purpose is operative and as long as the Gentiles, NOW, have the DISPENSATIONAL ADVANTAGE.

[ i ]. Some present day Bible teachers explain that Paul’s reference to “Gentiles,” especially in Ephesians Chapter Two, is a title given to dispersed Jews who have adopted  the life-style of the Gentiles.


This Sacred (Holy) Secret was promised “in Christ before the world began” (Titus 1:2). The “covenants” and the “promises” belonged to “the fathers of Israel” (Rom. 9:3-5), not to the Church of the One Body. The promises made to the “fathers” were “FROM THE FOUNDATION of the world,” and the “covenants” were made “SINCE the world began.” This company of called-out believers was called with a “holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His Own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN” (2 Tim.l:9); thereby, eliminating the Church of the One Body from any connection with “covenants and promises” that were made in time, to wit, since the world began.

Romans 15:8 affirmed that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Israel) for the purpose of CONFIRMING THE PROMISES MADE UNTO THE FATHERS, not the Church of the One Body. The “covenants” were with Israel.

The Lord promised a NEW COVENANT with the “house of ISRAEL and JUDAH”   (Jer.31:31-36), not the Church of the One Body. The Mystery was “hid in God”        (Eph. 3:9). It was not in a veiled language in the Old Testament, and the Mystery has no connection with any “covenants,” either “old” or “new.” God’s present purpose was planned before the world began; thus, eliminating the need for any ties with “promises or covenants.”


The company of the One Body, that is, the Church which is His Body, is said to be ASCENDED, ACCEPTED, BLESSED, and SEATED together AMONG HEAVENS’ RULERS, that being, the Principalities, Powers, Thrones, and Dominions in Christ Jesus. (see “Plainer Words Online …Heavenly Places”)

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in [among] heavenly places [rulers] in Christ Jesus:” (Eph.2:6).

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in [among] heavenly places [rulers] in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3).

No other company of God’s redeemed is said to enjoy being blessed in the exalted domain. The realm of blessing is at GOD’S OWN RIGHT HAND where Christ sits; FAR ABOVE ALL principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named (Eph. l :21).  “Far above all” relates to rank, station, or an elevated position of authority, not to location. Consequently, the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head occupies positions in the government of Jesus Christ which are FAR ABOVE those of who have been the princes in His dominion over the heavens.

Most Christian Commentaries do not delineate between the different churches. An example of their failure to “rightly divide” between the various churches can be seen in Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, under the heading – the Bride; “In the Old Testament, the word marriage is used to describe God's spiritual relationship with his chosen people, Israel (Ps 45; Isa 54:6).  …In the New Testament, the analogy is continued: Christ is the Bridegroom (John 3:29), and the church is His bride (Eph 5:25-33). The apostle Paul counsels husbands and wives to imitate the spiritual closeness and love which Christ has for His bride, the church (Eph 5:22-33).”

As students of the Word of Truth, we are commanded to distinguish between things that differ (Phil. 1:10), which is to say, “rightly divide” (2 Tim 2:15) between the “Church of God” and the “Church, which is His Body.”

Israel, “according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:3), had for its hope, the EARTH as a place of blessing. Matthew 5:5 states, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the EARTH.” This jurisdiction is associated with the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God and an earthly city, EARTHLY JERUSALEM, the new creation mentioned in Isaiah 65. This is the realm of blessing that listeners to the Sermon on the Mount were told to pray for – “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

The Faithful, from the call of Abraham to the close of the Acts Period, had for their ultimate hope a heavenly domain, not “far above all,” but one that was associated with a HEAVENLY CITY (Heb.11:10). This city is referred to in Galatians 4:26 as “Jerusalem which is ABOVE.” Whereas, in Hebrews l 2:22, it is referred to as “the City of the living God, the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM.'' The ''overcomers'' of the book of Revelation are, also, associated with this city. The “heavenly Jerusalem” will not be located in heaven. It will be heavenly in character, not in location.

 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the City of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev.3:12).

This City will, also, be called “the Bride, the Lamb's wife'” (Rev.2 l:9). This heavenly domain of blessing is viewed as coming "DOWN FROM GOD out of heaven.'' In other words, it is seen, descending, after the new heavens and new earth appear, as mentioned in Revelation 21:1- 2, 9-10. These are they who will make up this company of redeemed. They will enjoy their place of blessing in New Jerusalem, not in, among the heavens’ rulers.


The Church of the One Body is figured as ONE NEW MAN (Eph. 2:15).

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain ONE NEW MAN, so making peace;” (Eph. 2:15)

The Church of the Acts Period and the Great Tribulation is likened to a BRIDE.

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor.11:2).

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).

“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God”   (Rev. 21: 9-10).

Israel, according to the flesh, was a called-out nation from among other nations, and is referred to as Yahweh’s WIFE. Which She is now cast off, but will be reunited in the “latter days,” which is to say, the “Day of Christ” (Hos.2:19-20; 3:3-5).

Each of the three domains of blessing is associated with a peculiar destiny. The “Wife” will be associated  with the Earth; the “Bride” with New Jerusalem of The Day of God (Revelation 21);  and the “One New Man” ranking above heavens’ rulers.


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