Hid from Ages
and From Generations,
but Now Made Manifest
to His Saints"
Light of the First Promise
--The Promise to Abraham
--The Mystery Begins to Unravel at Pentecost
--What the Mystery Is
--Why So Long Kept a Mystery
--Still a Mystery to the World
--In Due Time to be Made Manifest to All
--When the Mystery Will be Finished.
Cast out of Eden
While mankind was under the discipline of evil, and unable to understand its necessity,
God repeatedly expressed his purpose to restore and bless them through a coming deliverer.
But who that deliverer should be was a mystery for four thousand years. It only
began to be clearly revealed after the resurrection of Christ, in the beginning of the
Christian or Gospel age.
Looking back to the time when life and Edenic happiness were forfeited by our first
parents, we see them under the just penalty of sin filled with sorrow, and without a ray
of hope, except that drawn from the obscure statement that the seed of the woman should
bruise the serpent's head.
Though in the light of subsequent
developments this is full of significance to us, to them it was but a faint and glimmering
light. Nearly two thousand years rolled by with no evidence of a fulfillment.
Abraham and Isaac
About two thousand years after, God called Abraham, and promised that his seed should
bless all the families of the earth. This looked as though God still held to his
previously expressed purpose, and was now about to fulfil it.
Time sped on. The promised land of
Canaan was not yet in his possession. They had yet no offspring, and Abraham and
Sarah were growing old. Abraham reasoned that he must help God to fulfil his promise; so
Ishmael was born. But his assistance was not needed, for in due time Isaac, the child of
hope and promise, was born.
Then it seemed that the promised
ruler and blesser of nations had come. But no: years rolled by, and seemingly God's
promise had failed; for Isaac died, and his heir, Jacob, also. But the faith of a few
still held firmly to the promise, and was sustained by God; for
"The covenant which He made with
Abraham" was assured by God's "oath unto Isaac, and confirmed
to Jacob...and to Israel for an everlasting covenant." 1 Chronicles 16:16,17
When at the time of Jacob's death his descendants were first called the TWELVE
TRIBES OF ISRAEL, and recognized of God as a "chosen nation"
(Genesis 49:28; Deuteronomy 26:5), the expectation that this nation as a whole, as the
promised seed of Abraham, should possess Canaan, and rule and bless the world, seemed to
be on the eve of realization. Already, under the favor of Egypt, they were becoming
a strong nation.
But hope was
almost blasted and the promise almost forgotten when the Egyptians, having gained control
of them, held them as slaves for a long period.
Truly God's promises were shrouded in mystery, and his ways seemed past finding out.
However, in due time came Moses, a great deliverer, by whose hand God led them out of
bondage, working mighty miracles on their behalf.
Before entering Canaan this great deliverer died; but as the Lord's mouthpiece he
"A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up
unto you of your brethren, like unto me."
Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22
This gave a further insight into
God's plan, showing that not only would their nation, as a whole, be associated in some
way with the future work of ruling and blessing, but that one to be selected from among
them would lead to victory and to the fulfillment of the promise.
Then Joshua, whose name signifies
deliverer, or savior, became their leader, and under him they won great victories, and
actually entered the land promised in the covenant. Surely then it seemed that the true
leader had come, and that the promise was about to have complete fulfillment.
But Joshua died. They made no headway as a nation until David, and then Solomon,
were given them as kings. There they reached the very zenith of their glory; but soon,
instead of seeing the promise accomplished, they were shorn of their power, and became
tributary to other nations.
held fast the promise of God, however, and still looked for the great deliverer of whom
Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon were only types.
Simeon and Jesus
Jesus and Thomas
Jesus and Disciples
going to Emaus
About the time when Jesus was born, all men were in expectation of the Messiah, the coming
king of Israel and, through Israel, of the world.
But Israel's hope of the glory and honor of their coming king, inspired as it was by the
types and prophecies of his greatness and power, caused them to overlook another set of
types and prophecies, which pointed to a work of suffering and death, as a ransom for
sinners, necessary before the blessing could come.
This was prefigured
--in the Passover before they were delivered from Egypt,
--in the slaying of the animals at the giving of the law
covenant (Hebrews 9:11-20; 10:8-18), and
--in the Atonement sacrifices performed year by year
continually by the priesthood.
They overlooked, too, the statement of
"who testified beforehand the sufferings
of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 1 Peter 1:11
Hence, when Jesus came as a
sacrifice, they did not recognize him. They knew not the time of their visitation.
Luke 19:44 Even his immediate followers were sorely perplexed when Jesus died; and sadly
"We trusted it had been he which should have
redeemed Israel." Luke 24:21
Apparently, their confidence in him had
been misplaced. They failed to see that the death of their leader was a surety for the New
Covenant under which the blessings were to come, a partial fulfillment of the covenant of
However, when they found that he
had risen from the tomb, their withered hopes again began to revive. 1 Peter 1:3
When he was about to leave them, they asked concerning their long-cherished and
oft-deferred hope, saying,
"Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again
the kingdom to Israel?"
That their hopes were in the main
correct, though they might not know the time when they would be fulfilled, is evident from
our Lord's reply:
"It is not for you to know the times and
seasons which the Father hath put in his own power." Acts 1:6,7
What turn has God's plan now taken? must have been the query of his disciples when Jesus
had ascended. We must remember that our Lord's teachings concerning the Kingdom
were principally in parables and dark sayings. He had said to them,
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but
ye cannot bear them now; howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you
into all truth."
"He shall teach you all things, and bring all
things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
So they could not
understand before the Pentecostal blessing came.
Preaching to the Gentiles
for his name"
Even then, it was some time before they got a clear, full understanding of the work being
done, and its relation to the original covenant. Acts 11:9; Galatians 2:2,12,14
However, it would seem that even before they
fully and clearly understood, they were used as the mouthpieces of God. Their
inspired words were probably clearer and deeper expressions of truth than they themselves
For instance, read James'
discourse in which he says:
"Simeon hath declared how God at the first
did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name [a bride].
"And to this agree the words of the prophets,
as it is written,
"After this [after this people from
the Gentiles has been taken out] I will return, and will build again the
tabernacle of David [the earthly dominion] which is fallen down, and I
will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up." Acts
What is the
great hidden mystery of God?
"Christ" means "Anointed"
James began to read in God's providence, in the sending of the Gospel through Peter to the
first Gentile convert and through Paul to Gentiles in general, that during this age
believing Jews and Gentiles were to be alike favored.
He then looked up the
prophecies and found it so written. That after the work of this Gospel age is
completed, then the promises to fleshly Israel will be fulfilled. Gradually the great
mystery, so long hidden, began to be understood by a few--the saints, the special
"friends" of God.
(Colossians 1:27) that this mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations,
now made manifest to his saints, is
"Christ in You, the
Hope of Glory."
This is the great mystery of God
which has been hidden from all previous ages, and is still hidden from all except a
special class--the saints, or consecrated believers. But what is meant by "Christ in
We have learned that Jesus was anointed with the holy Spirit (Acts
10:38), and thus we recognize him to be the Christ--the anointed--for the word
Christ signifies anointed.
The Apostle John says that the
anointing which we (consecrated believers) have received abideth
in us. 1 John 2:27
Thus the saints of this Gospel age are
an anointed company-- anointed to be kings and priests unto God. 2 Corinthians 1:21;
1 Peter 2:9.
Together with Jesus, their chief and
Lord, they constitute Jehovah's Anointed--the Christ.
...not one member, but many.
1 Corinthians 12:14
harmony with this teaching of John, that we also are anointed, Paul
assures us that this mystery which has been kept secret in ages past, but which is now
made known to the saints, is that the Christ (the Anointed) is "not one
member, but many," just as the human body is one, and has many
But as all the
members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Anointed--the Christ. 1
Jesus is anointed to be the Head
or Lord over the Church, which is his body (or his bride, as expressed in another
figure). Ephesians 5:25-30 Unitedly they constitute the promised
"Seed"--the Great Deliverer:
"If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed,
and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:29
"I am the vine, ye are the branches."
The Apostle carefully guards the Church against any presumptive claims, saying of Jesus
"God hath put all things under his feet, and
gave him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is his body."
"That in all things he might have the
pre-eminence." Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18
Yet, under the figure of the
human body, he beautifully and forcibly shows our intimate relationship. This same oneness
Jesus also taught, saying,
"I am the vine, ye are the branches."
The top-stone is a perfect pyramid.
Our oneness with the Lord Jesus, as
members of the Christ, the anointed company, is well illustrated by the figure of the
The top-stone is a perfect
pyramid of itself. Other stones may be built up under it, and, if in harmony with all the
characteristic lines of the top-stone, the whole mass will be a perfect pyramid.
How beautifully this illustrates our
position as members of "the Seed"--"the Christ." Joined to and
perfectly in harmony with our Head, we, as living stones, are perfect; separated from him,
we are nothing.
MS. omits spiritual before sacrifices.
Jesus, the perfect one, has been highly exalted, and now we present ourselves to him that
we may be formed and shaped according to his example, and that we may be built up as a
building of God. In an ordinary building there is no chief corner-stone;
but in our building there is one chief corner-stone, the "top-stone," as it is
"Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner-stone,
"To whom coming as unto a living stone...ye
also as lively [living] stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy
priesthood, to offer up *sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 2:4-6
And very soon, we trust, the
union between Jesus, the "Head," and "the Church,
which is his body," will be complete.
And, dearly beloved, many blows and much polishing must we endure--much transforming must
we undergo, and much conforming to his example, under the direction of the great
Master-builder. In order to have the ability and ideality of the builder
displayed in us, we will need to see that we have no cross-grained will of our own to
oppose or thwart the accomplishment of His will in us.
We must be very childlike and humble--
"Clothed with humility; for God resisteth the
proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
Let us humble ourselves,
therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt us in due time (1 Peter 5:5,6),
as he has exalted our Head and Forerunner. Philippians 2:8,9
This is indeed a wonderful message. As we come to the Word of God to inquire
concerning our great high calling, we find the prophets all eloquent in proclaiming the
grace [favor or blessing] that is come unto us. 1 Peter 1:10
Types, and parables, and hitherto dark sayings,
now become luminous, shedding their light on the "narrow way"
in which the anointed [Christ] company is called to run for the prize now disclosed to
This was truly a mystery never
before thought of--that God intends to raise up not only a deliverer, but a deliverer
composed of many members. This is the "high calling" to which
the consecrated believers of the Gospel age are privileged to attain.
Jesus did not attempt to unfold it to
the disciples while natural men, but waited until at Pentecost they were
anointed--begotten to the new nature.
From Paul's explanation we know
that none but "new creatures" can now appreciate or understand
this high calling. He says:
"We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,
even the hidden wisdom [plan] which God ordained before the world unto
"Which none of the princes [chief
ones] of this world knew; ...as it is written,
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither
have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love
"But God hath revealed them unto us by his
Spirit." 1 Corinthians 2:6-14
(Head and Body)
is the "seed of Abraham"
which is to bless
all the families
of the earth.
his letter to the Galatians, Paul opens up the entire mystery, and shows how the Abrahamic
covenant is to be fulfilled. He shows that the Law given to Israel did not interfere with
the original covenant. Galatians 3:15-18 The seed of Abraham which is to bless all nations
is Christ. Verse 16
carrying out the idea already alluded to, that the Christ includes all anointed of the
Spirit, he says:
many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ;...and if ye be Christ's
then are YE [together with Jesus] Abraham's seed, and heirs, according to
the promise" made to Abraham. Verses 27,29
Why was it necessary
to keep the mystery hidden?
"Behold the Man"
Following up the same line of reasoning, he shows (Galatians 4) that Abraham was a type of
Jehovah, Sarah a type of the covenant or promise, and Isaac a type of Christ (head and
body). He then adds,
"We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children
of promise." Verse 28
Thus the plan of God was hidden in
types until the Gospel age began the development of the Christ.
There has existed a necessity for
keeping this mystery hidden, else it would not have been so kept. It was necessary,
because to have revealed the plan in full to mankind would have been to frustrate it.
Had men known, they would not have
crucified either the Lord of glory or the Church which is his body. 1 Corinthians 2:8
Not only would the death of
Christ, as the price of man's redemption, have been interfered with, had not the plan been
kept a mystery from the world, but the trial of the faith of the Church, as sharers in the
sufferings of Christ, would thereby have been prevented also; for
"The world knoweth us not [as his
joint-heirs] because [for the same reason that] it knew him
1 John 3:1
Christ" a Mystery
Not only is the plan of God, and
the Christ which is the very embodiment of that plan, a great mystery to the world, but
the peculiar course in which this little flock is called to walk marks its members as "peculiar
It was a mystery to the world
that a person of so much ability as Jesus of Nazareth should spend his time and talent as
he did. If he had turned his attention to politics, law, merchandise or popular
religion, he might have become great and respected.
In the opinion of men he foolishly
wasted his life, and they said, "He hath a devil and is mad." His
life and teachings were mysteries to them. They could not understand him.
Paul before Agrippa
The apostles and their companions were likewise mysteries in the world, in leaving their
business prospects, etc., to preach forgiveness of sins through the death of the despised
and crucified Jesus.
forsook a high station and social influence to labor with his hands, and to preach Christ,
and the invisible crown for all believers who should walk in his footsteps.
This was so mysterious that some
"Paul, thou art beside thyself: much learning
doth make thee mad."
And all who so follow in the Master's
footsteps are, like Paul, counted fools for Christ's sake.
will not always
But God's plan will not always be shrouded
in mystery. The dawn of the Millennial Day brings the fuller light of God to men,
"The knowledge of the Lord shall
fill the whole earth."
The Sun of
Righteousness, which shall arise with healing in his wings, dispelling the darkness of
ignorance, is the Christ in Millennial glory--not the Head alone, but also the members of
his body; for it is written:
"If we suffer with him, we shall
also be glorified together."
"When Christ, who is our life,
shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory;" and
"Then shall the righteous shine
forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father."
Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Colossians 3:4; Matthew 13:43
upon all flesh..."
Now, to all except those begotten to a new mind, by receiving "the mind of
Christ," the promises which we believe, and the hopes which we cherish, seem
visionary, and too improbable to be received or acted upon.
In the age to come, when God shall "pour
out his spirit upon all flesh," as during the present age he pours it upon
his "servants and handmaids," then indeed all will understand
and appreciate the promises now being grasped by the "little flock."
They will rejoice in the obedience and exaltation of the Church, saying,
||"Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honor to God,
for the marriage
of the Lamb
is come, and
his wife hath made herself ready."
They will rejoice in the glorification of the Church, through
which blessings will then be flowing to them. While they will realize that the "exceeding
great and precious promises" inherited by the Anointed (head and body) are
not for them, but are fulfilled upon us, they will be blessed by the lesson illustrated in
While they run for
the blessings then held out to them, they will profit by the example of the Church, and
glorify God on her behalf. But this knowledge will not bring covetousness. Under the
new order of things their calling to perfect human nature will fully satisfy them, and
will seem more desirable to them than a change of nature.
Then the "mystery" will have ended. For the world will
have come to see that it was the spirit of God in Christ, and the spirit of Christ in
us--God manifested in the flesh which they had hitherto misunderstood. Then they
will see that we were not mad, nor fools; but that we chose the better part when we ran
for the riches, honors and crown, unseen by them, but eternal.
In point of time, the mystery of God will
be finished during the period of the sounding of the seventh [symbolic] trumpet.
This applies to the mystery in both
senses in which it is used: the mystery or secret features of God's plan
will then be made known and will be clearly seen; and also the "mystery of
God," the Church, the embodiment of that plan. Both will then be finished.
The secret, hidden plan will have sought out the full, complete number of the members of
the body of Christ, and hence it, the BODY OF CHRIST, will be finished.
The plan will cease to be a mystery,
because there will be no further object in perpetuating its secrecy.
The greatness of the mystery, so long
kept secret, and hidden in promises, types and figures, and the wonderful grace bestowed
on those called to fellowship in this mystery (Ephesians 3:9), suggest to us that the work
to follow its completion, for which for six thousand years Jehovah has kept mankind in
expectation and hope, must be an immense work, a grand work, worthy of such great
What may we not expect in
blessings upon the world, when the veil of mystery is withdrawn and the showers of
It is this for which the whole creation
groans and travails in pain together until now, waiting for the completion of this
mystery--for the manifestation of the Sons of God, the promised "Seed,"
in whom they shall all be blessed. Romans 8:19,21,22
"I offer Thee:
Every heart's throb, they are Thine;
Every human tie of mine;
Every joy and every pain;
Every act of mind or brain--
My blessed God!
Every hope and every fear;
Every smile and every tear;
Every song and hymn,
"Take them all,
my blessed Lord,
Bind them with thy secret cord;
Glorify thyself in me,
Multiply them by thy
Strengthen, bless, increase, my Lord
Of perfect love!
Thou First and Last!"
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