“Our Destiny” The Final Revelation of God
Now we come to the most glorious teaching ever given to mankind and most people are totally unaware of it today. It involves a new legal position that all Christians have been given by God. The majority believe that all Christians are under what God calls “The New Covenant” terms of salvation. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
If one views mankind today in the manner that God the Father acknowledges us, no mature Christian is under either the “Old Covenant” or the “New Covenant.” The final doctrine revealed by Christ to show this status is called “the Mystery,” given to Paul and other apostles about the year 63 C.E. This doctrine is the conclusion that ends the process of “Progressive Revelation” in the Bible. The teaching of “the Mystery” was never made public before 63 C.E.
This final doctrine represents the finest teaching that God could ever give to mankind, but it is a teaching almost totally misunderstood by people today. I will indicate what the basic doctrine of “the Mystery” actually entails and then I will show where the earlier contract of the New Covenant comes into play. The most important thing, however, is to determine how God the Father and Christ Jesus now reckon mature Christians in a legal sense. When we recognize our present judicial standing in simple terms, we then understand the mature Christian revelation called “the Mystery.” The Gospel will make sense as never before.
Note the apostle Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and Colossians. They are companion letters that speak about the same subject with slightly different emphases. Their subject is “the Mystery” (Ephesians 3:3), which in plain English means “the Secret.” Paul further termed this doctrine as being:
“The Mystery of Christ” (3:4);
“The Mystery of His Will” (1:9);
“The Great Mystery” (5:32 as it is in Greek); and
“The Mystery of God, Christ” (Colossians 2:2).
The body of believers known as the Ekklesia (erroneously translated “church”) is now given “The Administration of the Mystery.” 1 This “Great Mystery” or “Secret” was made known to Paul and the Ekklesia about the year 63 C.E., and from that time onward this doctrine was made known through the Ekklesia to the whole world, and even to the angelic powers throughout the earth and the heavens (Ephesians 3:9–10). It was no longer a secret.
Before 63 C.E., the apostle Paul said the Mystery “had been hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9). God kept it undisclosed from the knowledge of anyone (human or angel) even from before the foundation of the world — long before the creation of Adam. Indeed, Paul said that, “from the beginning of the world it has been hid in God” (verse 9). Paul spoke of it as
“the Mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is NOW [in 63 C.E.] revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.”
Paul further stated in the Book of Colossians that this doctrinal teaching was called
“the Mystery which has been hid from [previous] ages and from [previous] generations, but NOW [in 63 C.E.] made manifest to his saints.”
So, this brand new revelation called “the Mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9), was first manifested to the world about 63 C.E. You will not read of this particular “Mystery teaching” in any of Paul’s earlier epistles, except in the subscription of Romans 16:25 a portion of which was written after 63 C.E. as I explain in my book Restoring the Original Bible. In that subscription, Paul said that this newly revealed teaching was being manifested in “prophetic scriptures” and that it was “the Mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25–26). This new teaching was not known by the apostles, the early Christians or by Jews in any period earlier than 63 C.E. God kept its message to Himself and unrevealed.
Adam did not know of it. Abraham was unaware of it. Moses did not hear it. Christ did not systematically teach it to the Jews or His disciples while He was on earth. The apostles themselves from 30 C.E. (when the first Jewish Ekklesia began on Pentecost day after Christ’s resurrection) and up to the year 63 C.E. (33 years later) did not know of this advanced and final teaching of the Gospel. And though Paul may have had a glimpse of this majestic teaching in his grand vision to the third heaven given to him in 41 C.E. (2 Corinthians 12:1–4), even he was forbidden at that time to tell anyone of its details. Only in 63 C.E. was “the Great Mystery of God” finally presented to the world in all its glory and grandeur. And what a wonderful revelation it was!
From 63 C.E. onward, the teaching of “the Mystery” put Christians into an entirely different legal status relative to God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. It elevated Christians to such a sublime and high position in the divine hierarchy in heaven that the religious rules and statutes designed to govern various races and religions of mankind were entirely superseded by a new spiritual status that eliminated any need for religious rules or statutes to be observed by Christians. We are now governed by heavenly rules, NOT earthly! The “Mystery” is our legal rule book.
It is time we realize what this new legal status is all about. This essential doctrine called “the Mystery” would be much easier to understand if the books of the New Testament were placed in the arrangement and order of the original manuscripts. As explained in my book Restoring the Original Bible, the manuscripts place the Seven General Epistles (called the “Jewish Epistles”) — James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, and Jude — in that order but positioned BEFORE the fourteen epistles of Paul.
This original arrangement provides a key to easily understand this new and vital doctrine called “the Mystery.” It also must be remembered that in the original manuscripts the fourteen epistles of Paul were placed in the following order:
# of Ecclesias
# of Epistles
1 & 2 Corinthians
1 & 2 Thessalonians
These nine epistles to Seven Congregations were followed by:
1 & 2 Timothy
Titus, then finally
The theme of the seven non-Pauline General (“Jewish”) Epistles is that of a primary teaching in the Gospel of Christ [like elementary school], while Paul begins his teaching with Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Galatians which contain more advanced knowledge than the General Epistles [this would be High School teaching]. The next three books of Paul, however, are the advanced [college teaching] where the mature doctrine of “the Mystery” is finally revealed. The fact that “the Mystery” was an unknown and newly revealed doctrine in 63 C.E., can be seen clearly when the original manuscript order of the New Testament books is restored. After the teaching of “the Mystery,” the Seventh Congregation of Paul is given two letters (1 & 2 Thessalonians) and they deal with the Second Advent. Then comes Hebrews concerning the New Covenant and the Millennium. And finally, the last four books of Paul are the Pastoral Epistles, advanced teaching for Christian leaders who administer mature Christian congregations.
The books of the New Testament are arranged very beautifully. When they are restored to their original design, it is apparent that “the Mystery” taught by the apostle Paul was a separate and distinct teaching from the earlier Gospel of the New Covenant. 2
With “the Mystery” given to Paul and other apostles in 63 C.E., a new way of looking at the scope of the crucifixion of our Lord came on the scene and it is glorious indeed. Being “in Christ Jesus” (in the manner meant in the teaching of “the Mystery”), now reckons us as having a divine position of immense rank and importance in the eyes of the Father even though we are still human beings living in the flesh. It is the most wonderful and glorious instruction, whether given to mankind or to the angelic hosts in earth or in heaven. While the “New Covenant” teaching of the first thirty years of Christianity was excellent and beautiful in its scope and doctrine, the teaching of “the Mystery” causes that former status of Christians to be a mere glimmer of light compared to the principles of “the Mystery” that blaze forth with the full resplendency of the sun.
The Mystery takes a Christian from being considered “a glorified human” into a prestigious legal position of being reckoned by the Father as “a glorified God” sitting on the same throne as Christ. In truth, the teaching of “the Mystery” shows that the Christian now has an equal family status with the Father and Christ. God has now given Christians a divine and majestic inheritance.
To be “in Christ Jesus” in the teaching of “the Mystery” carries with it a new legal meaning and significance with the Father and Christ. Let us see what are the basic tenets of this new teaching kept secret from the world until revealed about 63 C.E.
The first principle of “the Mystery” is that Christians since 63 C.E. are no longer reckoned by the Father as either Jew or Gentile. Under the New Covenant legislation given at first there were still various and distinct rules of religious conduct that Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians (who had become adopted “Israelites”) were expected to do. Indeed, all Gentile Christians had to become part of the nation of Israel and were expected to perform the religious duties of Israelites (except physical circumcision and other exclusive Jewish rituals of the flesh). Under the New Covenant legislation, the Law of Moses had been replaced by the unwritten law of faith and love. Only the simple physical rites of baptism and keeping the Lord’s Supper were expected to be observed. But with “the Mystery,” a new status comes into effect for Christians.
“But NOW in Christ Jesus you [Gentiles] who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace [offering], who has made both one ... for to make in himself of twain [of two human races] ONE NEW MAN so making peace; and that he might reconcile both [both human races] unto God IN ONE BODY by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”
This “NEW MAN” of “the Mystery” is neither an Israelite (Jew) nor a Gentile. In fact, he or she represents a “NEW CREATION” — a “NEW PERSON.” All human racial distinctions of Christians as far as the Father is concerned are abolished. Now, both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians are melded together into ONE BODY. As of 63 C.E., a new legal status with the Father emerged for us and it was different from the New Covenant. What legal status in the Father’s eyes do Christians have NOW — after 63 C.E.?
“Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but [this new creation of persons is reckoned as] fellow citizens with the saints and of the household [the very FAMILY] of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom you also are builded together [as one people] for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
The Father no longer reckons us as being part of the Family of Man (Israelites or Gentiles). We are now accounted to be the very members of the Family of God in heaven and sitting (legally) on the same throne as Christ at God’s right hand in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). This now gives each of us a divine status.
The central teaching of “the Mystery” is that all Christians have Christ in them and conversely that all Christians are also in Christ. Being “in Christ” now places us in a very high position within the heavenlies. Look at how Paul worded it in Colossians.
“God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles [even the Gentiles would know of it]; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory [the hope of achieving a divine glory]: whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
So, the teaching of “the Mystery” is that every man [every human] will finally understand that he or she is in Christ Jesus, and that every man [every human] is also to have Christ Jesus in himself or in herself. Christ Jesus is to be found in all mankind.
We now come to an important aspect of the teaching of “the Mystery.” When did we first obtain all our spiritual blessings “in Christ”? Paul said, “According as he [God] has chosen us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Paul found out through revelations from God and Christ that our being “in Christ” was made legal in the eyes of the Father even before the physical cosmos came into existence. We were at that early time given the legal status of being reckoned as the very children of God Himself
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”
This divine position of being accounted as God’s own children was accomplished by Christ “according to the good pleasure of His will” — not by our own wills or works. Indeed, we didn’t even exist when God entered into this relationship with us “in Christ.” But so certain was this divine status assured to us, that the apostle Paul deemed each of us already saved in Christ long before Adam was created.
“Who has 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 before the world began [before eonian times].”
2 Timothy 1:9
We were considered “in Christ” even at that distant time in the past. But it does not end there.
Since we were reckoned “in Christ” before the world began, when Christ came into this world and became a human baby we were reckoned by the Father to have been “in Christ” at that time too. How can we know this? Because eight days after Christ’s birth He was circumcised in the Temple at Jerusalem. And what does Paul say of this act as far as our legal relationship to Christ is concerned?
“In whom [in Christ] also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.”
So, when Christ was circumcised as a baby of eight days, you and I — male or female makes no difference for this is a religious and legal principle being discussed — were also reckoned as being circumcised in the eyes of the Father at the same time. That circumcision of Christ was imputed to each of us because we were then “in Christ” and He “in us.” But our personal association with Christ does not end there. There is much more in the substitutionary role of Christ performing a righteous life for us while He was on this earth. He did things “on our behalf” as a substitute for us.
Indeed, after Christ’s birth we continued in a legal sense to be “in Christ” for the next thirty years, until the time of His baptism by John the Baptist. And what happened then according to Paul? That is when we were “buried with him in baptism” (Colossians 2:12). The truth is, Paul was telling the Colossians (and all of us) that when John the Baptist was baptizing Christ for sins, it was not Christ’s sins that were being washed away, because He had none personally. It was our sins being washed away which were then being carried by Christ. Since we were then “in Christ,” we were accounted by the Father as being personally baptized when John baptized Christ.
The apostle John says that Christ at the time of His baptism was “bearing” (present tense) the sins of the world on His back (John 1:29. Where the King James says “taketh away,” the Greek means “bearing away” the sins of the world. It was not only at the crucifixion that Christ was “bearing” the sins of the world. He was also doing the same thing when He was baptized by John the Baptist when Christ was acting on our behalf. Note carefully that John was not baptizing Christ to cleanse away Christ’s own sins (because He had none). He was cleansing away “our sins.” Christ was symbolically “bearing” those sins as a substitute for each of us. This means that legally, and in the eyes of the Father, each of us was baptized in the River Jordan at the time Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.
Christ’s baptism by John is thus a special and unique baptism imputed by the Father to each of us. This is the “one baptism” that counts in our salvation (Ephesians 4:5), not the physical baptism (or baptisms) performed on us by humans on earth. Thus, any physical baptism done today (other than the one that John the Baptist performed on Christ) is no longer needed for us. But it does not end there. We were “baptized” when John baptized Christ Jesus.
Later, when Christ died on the tree of crucifixion, we are reckoned by the Father to have been “in Christ” at that time too. Paul said even before the revelation of “the Mystery”:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”
This means that when Christ died by crucifixion, the Father also imputed Christ’s death to all of us. We died with Him since God then made us to be “in Christ.” When Christ died, all of us legally died with him (2 Corinthians 5:14) as a substitute for each of us individually in the world. But it does not end there.
When Christ was risen from the dead three days later, we were, in a legal sense, also risen from the dead with Him! As Paul taught,
“If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.”
That is right! When Christ was risen from the dead, the Father legally reckoned that we also rose from the dead at that time. Not only that, since after death all people are destined to be resurrected and go to the judgment (Hebrews 9:27–28), so likewise Christ went through a judgment after His death and passed through His judgment triumphantly. And what did the Father do with Christ after He passed His judgment with only perfect obedience and no sins on His records? The Father told Christ to come forward and sit on His right hand.
You and I were “in Christ” at that time also. In the eyes of the Father each of us went triumphantly with Christ through the judgment and sat down with Him on the right hand of the Father Himself. You and I were “in Christ” at that time and are presently sitting in Christ (in a legal sense at this moment) on that very throne. Paul said,
“[God] has quickened us together [made us alive together] with Christ (by grace are you saved), and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
We are now considered to be in heaven “where Christ sits at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). We have passed our judgment with Him and are now legally sitting in Him at the Father’s right hand. The Father even imputes Christ’s judgment, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption and His present glory to us who are now “in Christ” (e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:30).
When the Father looks over on His right side and sees Christ sitting beside Him as His own firstborn of all creation, the Father sees each of us (in a very personal way) legally sitting there with Him. When we pray to the Father, we do not have to look up to heaven to talk to Him, we symbolically look over our left shoulder and He is there. That is how close we are to God and God is to us. And though the relationship is presently symbolic, it is nonetheless real and practical. Our only mediator is Christ and we are presently reckoned to be in Him. Since Christ is the firstborn, each of us “in Christ” is now called a firstborn one (Hebrews 12:23 where the word “firstborn” is plural in the original). God has no “secondborn” children.
We are all reckoned (as is Christ) firstborn children in the eyes of the Father because — once again — we are all “in Christ.” This gives us the same divine status now enjoyed by our Lord Himself. True, the Father and Christ will always have superiority over us for many reasons, but we are still destined to be the very members of the Family of God as Christ is now the firstborn Son of God. This is what salvation “in Christ” means. Salvation is not to be a spiritual “Israelite,” it is to be a part of the Deity. It is to become a part of God. This is what “the Mystery” teaches.
Indeed, we are already accepted by the Father as part of His divine Family that controls and governs the entire universe, though all the power of the Family remains with the Father and Christ until our resurrections. Our ultimate destiny is to become glorified divine Children of God with the same glory that the Father and Christ have now. And this destiny was given to us when we were saved “in Christ” even from before the foundation of the physical cosmos (2 Timothy 1:9). That is how long God and Christ have loved and cared for us. We are destined to be in the very Godhead of heaven.
Our salvation in Christ is assured “in Christ.”
“Being confident of this very thing, that He [God] which has begun a good work in you will perform it [complete it] until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Our salvation has been certain since we were “in Christ” before Adam was created. That is why the apostle Paul said that our salvation is given us by grace long before our births, not by any works of ours (whether those be good or bad). True enough, works were essential in securing our salvation, but they were not our works, they were the works of Christ Jesus while He was in the flesh and His righteous works are now imputed to us. He did those perfect works for us as our substitute — in our place.
Many Christians go wrong in their belief that they have to do certain works (many are not sure just what works) in order to be saved. Some think they must work up a measure of “faith” on their own. Nonsense! Any faith we have to work up to believe in Christ is going to be deficient because we cannot work up enough faith on our own to get us saved. Salvation is dependent upon works, but those works happen to be those of Jesus Christ.
Christ lived a life of substitution for us throughout His life and God accepts His substitutionary role. Christ did the works that GOT US saved. It is also “the faith of Christ” that saves us, not our own faith (Galatians 2:16). Christ came to save the world, not condemn it (John 3:17). And when Christ sets out to save the entire world, nothing can stand in His way of accomplishing it.
The teaching of “the Mystery” is not a revelation about what you have to do to get saved. It is a teaching that shows you and the world what Christ Jesus did that GOT YOU AND THE WORLD SAVED. What preachers need to do today is teach the world the Christian doctrine of what Jesus Christ did for them to get them saved, not what humans supposedly have to do to get saved. People are saved by God’s grace, not by what they do (or not do) to be saved.
Furthermore, God saves us in spite of our works (good or bad). True, we are created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) and all must express a belief and faith in Christ. We must also determine in our hearts to repent and live the proper ethical and moral way that Christ approves for His people. But even here, people must understand what the apostle Paul said. “It is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). This shows that when we do good works, even they are motivated by God from the action of His grace as a gift to us.
Our own good works have no relevance in securing any type of salvation for us. Only the works of Christ that He did perfectly (on our behalf) are works that God the Father will accept in the matter of our salvation. That is why our salvation is secure, because it is not our works that count in granting us salvation. It is solely the works of Christ that He did for us in His substitutionary role of living, dying, being resurrected, and glorified in our stead (Romans 8:30). Again, Christ’s whole life was one of being a substitute for each of us in everything He did. I do not apologize for my emphasis.
While our salvation is assured, we should always be about our Father’s business and live in a righteous way that contributes to the glory of Christ Jesus. We should always be pleasing Christ and the Father with an upright and proper conduct of life, because God created us to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10). If God and Christ are delighted with our conduct in this life, they will resurrect us in the first resurrection and let us enjoy the millennial Kingdom phase of salvation as well (Revelation 20:4–5). But if we want to live like the world after knowing this wonderful truth of “the Mystery,” we can miss out on the millennial Kingdom phase of salvation (Ephesians 5:5). We will be brought to salvation, but God will let us inherit it much later — when the rest of the world gets their salvation “in Christ.” Paul said of the Corinthian committing incest:
“Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 5:5
This is when the world obtains their salvation, only after the Kingdom phase is over during which Christ rules to conquer all things. God will finally save all and become “all in all” [Greek plural: “all things and in all things”] (1 Corinthians 15:22–28). Yes, all will be saved, but not all will inherit the Kingdom phase as a reward.
Paul warned all those of us who understand “the Mystery,”
“For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
If we do not please God the Father and Christ in our lives at present, they may consider it inappropriate to grant us salvation until the Kingdom phase is over during which Christ rules to conquer all things. Experiencing the Kingdom of God is a reward for obedience. To gain this reward, we must practice good works.
When people read in the New Testament of those who may not make it into their inheritance (and there are many such verses), it always refers to the “Kingdom phase” of salvation, NOT SALVATION ITSELF! Indeed, salvation is absolutely secured to the human race through the works and efforts of Jesus Christ. All men will indeed be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), but Paul said the totality of mankind will only be granted a salvation “in its own seasons” (1 Timothy 2:6, see original Greek). God awards His salvation at various times.
This was shown by Paul in the Book of Hebrews. Paul clearly taught that Christ died “for every man” (Hebrews 2:9) and that every man has been sanctified through that one offering (Christ’s death) — “for by one offering he [Christ] has perfected FOR EVER them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). However, even those sanctified FOR EVER can still miss out on the Kingdom phase of salvation if they “sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth” (Hebrews 10:26).
Those who turn away from the truth will have to wait for their salvations, given to them when the rest of the world receives their ordained salvations (John 3:16–17; 2 Corinthians 5:14–21). All such willful sinners will undergo severe chastisements for their errors though they will eventually be saved. This is because those once sanctified by Christ’s death on their behalf (no matter who they are or what they do) are still “perfected FOR EVER” (Hebrews 10:14). No one’s ultimate salvation in Christ is ever in jeopardy. Those who practice righteousness have the assurance that they will be in the first resurrection and enjoy along with Abraham, Moses, David, the apostles, and others, the “Kingdom phase” associated with their salvation.
We should want to do good works to please the Father and Christ; and we do this by developing the gifts of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22–25). For this reason, we should always be diligent in doing good works as we are created to do (Ephesians 2:20). God wants us to inherit the Kingdom phase of salvation by being in the first resurrection and not wait until the dispensation of the fullness of times when all in the rest in the universe receive their salvations in Christ (Ephesians 1:10).
While we are in the flesh, we should also meet all our human obligations to our families and to our societies that are within the boundaries of moral and ethical principles of fairness shown within the biblical revelation. Our legal position of being on the right hand of the Father is recognized only by the Father and Christ Jesus. Mankind does not look on us as having this august standing as Children of God and will not give us any special privileges because of it (nor should they). So, all legitimate obligations we have with the rest of mankind in this human life should be fulfilled by us on an equal basis with other humans.
If there are defaults on our part (as sad and as wrong as such defaults might be), they have nothing to do with obtaining our salvation in Christ. This is because we have been sanctified and perfected FOR EVER — our sanctification and redemption are valid FOR EVER (Hebrews 10:14). Nothing can stop us from being eventually saved (John 6:39). Doing wrong or evil, however, could keep us from experiencing the “Kingdom phase” of salvation if God is not pleased with our conduct (Ephesians 5:2–5 especially verse 5), and doing wrong can also bring us many ills in this life. The apostle Paul always wrote that we should live honest and productive lives and not to give offense to society. This is the only common sense way to live.
But in spite of what our obligations are to other humans in this life, our spiritual obligations to the Father have been fully met in the actions of Christ Jesus on our behalf. While on earth Christ kept the Sabbath perfectly in the eyes of the Father, as well as holydays and ceremonial matters that God gave Israel under the “Old” and the “New Covenants.” We have already kept those ceremonial laws perfectly until our “deaths” since we were then “in Christ” even when He died. All our obligations to God have been fully performed in Christ when He was on earth (and we were reckoned as being “in Him”). This is why Paul taught:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat [food] or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come [of future events]”
Recall that the whole of Christ’s perfect life and all His works have now been awarded to us through the doctrine of “Imputation.” 3
In reality, the teaching of “the Mystery” is as different from the early New Covenant teaching of Paul as the Mosaic doctrines were different from those of the patriarchal period. In no way can the two systems of doctrine be combined to form a single belief system. They must be kept distinct. Only when Christians realize this will Paul’s writings become clear. This is why none of the New Covenant ceremonies are required of us.
We who understand “the Mystery” are no longer a part of the New Covenant agreement. The reason for this is simple. Since 63 C.E., each of us who accepted the legal position of “the Mystery” is considered by the Father as a NEW PERSON who is neither Israelite (Jew) nor Gentile. We have left our human status behind and have already assumed the divine image in the eyes of God. Paul put it this way. We,
“have put on the new man [person] which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him [Christ] that created him [the new person]. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all and in all.”
God no longer recognizes us as mere humans. We are now given a divine status in Him and are reckoned to be in His image. We are now considered as resurrected from the dead and sitting on God’s right hand in Christ as divine members of His family (Ephesians 2:6). 4 Whereas the New Covenant agreement was made by God only with the human nations of Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31:31–34; Hebrews 8:8; 10:16–17), we are no longer accounted as Israelites (or for that matter, Gentiles). We are now citizens of heaven, not simply citizens of earth. Notice:
“For our conversation [Greek: citizenship] is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
The New Covenant no longer pertains to us because we are no longer “Israelites.” In fact, we are no longer considered by God the Father even to be mere humans like all other humans. We are a “NEW MAN” and reckoned to be in the image of God (Colossians 3:10–11). Being “in the image of God” gives us a heavenly citizenship. Our citizenship is now in heaven, not on earth! Yes, we are still on earth in an actual sense, but we are now accorded a divine rank as intimate members of His very Family in heaven. And while the promises of the New Covenant allow people to inherit the Kingdom of God on earth during the Millennium, that New Covenant promise is ONLY for Israelites. One has to be either an Israelite, or adopted into being an Israelite, to inherit that phase of salvation. But with “the Mystery,” we are no longer mere Israelites. God has now made out of earthly Israelites (Jews) and Gentiles “one new man” who is neither a Jew, Gentile, Greek, Scythian, etc. We have legally “died” to this world and to all matters on this earth as far as the Father is concerned, and God presently reckons us to be His very own children even now (1 John 3:1–2). That is right, we are already members of God’s Family.
As explained in Chapter 1, even to gain the inheritance of the New Covenant promises, all Christians had to die to the Law of God intended for Israel under the Old Covenant rules and regulations. As a wife is free from the law of marriage if her husband dies, so too Paul said that Christians under the New Covenant are free from the angelic Law of Moses and its regulations. Paul also said that the Law of Moses with its sabbaths, holy days, tithing, food laws, etc., was a system of Law intended for spiritual infants (for those who were minors), for those under the New Covenant under “21 years of age” (so to speak). But Christians are now mature and educated adults and can leave behind all the earlier laws and commandments intended for minors.
There is another reason why Christians can leave behind the Old Covenant Law of Moses. All can now advance beyond the New Covenant and leave behind all citizenships we ever had on earth. As citizens of heaven and as family members of the very household of God in heaven, we have a right to sit in the Holy of Holies of God. In fact, we are the Temple of God (Ephesians 2:21–22).
Since we are now citizens of heaven, we come under the rules and regulations that govern heaven and the throne of God. Look at one law that God once told man to keep. Look at the Sabbath day. Though God himself rested on the seventh day of His creative activity, Jesus stated dogmatically that both He and the Father now WORK on the Sabbath day (John 5:17–18). The same applies to us because we are now to be living by God’s heavenly standards of conduct, not by what Israelites did. We have left behind earthly standards that required Sabbath-keeping for Israelites.
Let me now give you a wonderful truth about the manner that God the Father now looks on you and me. Since we have this exalted citizenship “in Christ” and are members of the very household of God in heaven, we are also given the rank of members of the Godhead — even now while we are still on the earth (1 John 3:1–2). Because of this, in the eyes of the Father we are reckoned to be sinless because all of us are now “in Christ.” Like Christ, we are now as perfect as Christ is in the eyes of the Father, not because of what we do or do not do. We are given this appraisal BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE. Being “in Christ” makes us to be members of the Family of God and members of that Family cannot be reckoned as sinners. God views us as His divine scions.
Notice this point carefully. As members of the Family of God we are sin-free in the eyes of the Father — even NOW. The apostle John explained it this way.
“Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin for his seed [God’s seed — the generative power of God] remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
1 John 3:9
Let no one tell you that John is here describing people after the resurrection from the dead when they will then be reckoned as “born children of God.” The apostle Peter made it clear that human beings right now are considered by God to be “born again” — and he meant “born,” not “begotten” or “conceived” while still being in the spiritual womb. Peter wrote to Christians on this earth in his first epistle and told them: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Obviously, those only “begotten” and still in the womb cannot (in Peter’s analogy) take of “milk,” because milk can only be obtained from the mother after a child’s birth from the womb. Yes, we are already out of the womb (symbolically) and we are now “born again.”
But wait a minute. Was the apostle John saying that Christians do not actually sin because they are presently “born again”? Is it possible that we are not sinners? In no way. Sadly, all Christians do sin while in the flesh. John knew this. He said in the same epistle: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). We Christians sin even when we do not want to. Yes, we certainly sin. But nonetheless, since we are now “born again,” God no longer accounts us as sinners. It is just that simple. Of course, the world knows that we continue to sin; and we are also cognizant of the fact that we sin daily.
We are not looked on as sinless because we are sinless (we are not). We are accounted sinless BECAUSE OF WHO WE NOW ARE. Since we are now “in Christ” and He is sinless, so likewise are we acknowledged by God the Father to be in the same position. We are accounted as His children, members of the very Family of God in heaven, part of the Godhead, so no sin is on our records. That is what the apostle John is stating (1 John 3:1–2).
Remember, if a person sins willfully and deliberately (because these wonderful truths are known), God can bring severe chastisements on such people and they can miss out experiencing the first resurrection of the Kingdom of God phase of salvation at Christ’s second advent. We are created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), not bad works. We should in fact be doing everything in our lives which will show the glory of God and Christ in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31). We are given a freedom in all things, but not overt libertinism. The apostle Paul knew that “all things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient” (1 Corinthians 6:12). In another place Paul said, “All things are lawful for me but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23). The things that are not “expedient” or do not “edify” are the works of the flesh that he mentioned in Galatians 5:19–21.
But the fruits of the Holy Spirit (all nine of them) are always expedient and edifying in all situations. Paul said of them, “against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22–23). Still, though, in doing these good things that we are commanded to do, we all fall short. But in spite of this fact, we are still (at this very moment) reckoned by the Father as being His own children (1 John 3:1–2). We are reckoned sinless in His sight since we are now “in Christ,” a part of His divine household [Family] (Ephesians 2:19). This is the central message of what the revelation of “the Mystery” is designed to teach. It is a glorious message indeed.
For the first thirty years of Christian teaching, the only inheritance that the apostles knew about was that associated with the New Covenant made with Israel and Judah. This first phase was only with spiritual Israel. This is why Paul felt it necessary in the first three decades of Christian teaching to find a method by which Gentiles could become spiritual Israelites. He found it in the biblical principle concerning “the adoption of children” (Galatians 4:5). Gentiles could actually be “adopted” into Israel and “grafted” into the nation of Israel (Romans 11:11–33). This allowed them to become “Israelites” and to inherit the promises to Israel.
All that was then required of Gentiles was their repentance, acceptance of Christ, their being baptized, taking the Lord’s Supper, and keeping the minimal laws made by the apostles at Jerusalem (Acts 15:23–29). The New Covenant legislation is still in effect for those who do not wish to accept “the Mystery” or who wish to join Israel and inherit only the promises given to Abraham, Moses, and David. Recall that with the New Covenant, God said He would place His laws on their hearts, and that He would be to them a God and they to Him would be a people (Hebrews 8:10).
Those of us, however, who are part of “the Mystery” realize a more majestic inheritance. With “the Mystery” God is not simply a God to us, He is our Father and we are His divine children in the Family of God, as Jesus Christ is. That is a tremendous difference. One shows “Kingdom membership,” the latter shows “Divine membership.” Family membership is far superior. That is what the final revelation of God declared, according to Paul.
All religious Jews, and certainly Jewish Christians, in the 1st century were hoping to be a part of and inherit what the Bible calls “the age to come” (translated most times in English as “the world to come”). That “world” will be the Millennial Age that the New Testament shows will be a thousand years in length. In this age the Messiah (Christ) will head a world Kingdom with David resurrected to be King over Israel and the apostles sitting on twelve thrones governing the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Others were to be given lesser governmental positions: some over ten cities and others over five (Luke 19:11–19). Others in the future would be given a hundredfold more lands (and to a lesser extent, houses) than they possess in this life (Matthew 19:29; Mark 10:30). And for all those who do not rule over kingdoms or have extensive lands and houses during that time, they will at least be able to,
“sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”
Also associated with the New Covenant relationship was the continuance of the physical Temple, even in the Millennium. Throughout the 33 years (from 30 C.E. to 63 C.E.), there was no teaching among the apostles that the Temple at Jerusalem should be closed and abandoned as being useless. Indeed, James who was the legal half-brother of Jesus and head of the Jerusalem congregation of Jewish Christians, had the apostle Paul perform certain Temple requirements to appease Jewish Christians who believed Paul was teaching Jews to abandon the Law (Acts 21:18–26).
Though Paul taught that God really did not dwell in Temples made with hands (Acts 17:24), some Jews were trying to get Jewish Christians to believe that Paul was teaching about the irrelevance of the Temple altogether. This was not the case with Paul in this early period (56 C.E.). Paul went ahead and offered the ceremonial requirements in the Temple that James demanded, in agreement with the procedure. This shows, among other things, that the physical Temple was still reckoned an essential part of the New Covenant teachings as understood by the apostles at this time. As a matter of fact, the apostles could easily read the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures which state there will be a new Temple built when the Kingdom of God appears on earth. It will have ceremonies similar to those in evidence in Herod’s Temple (see Ezekiel 40–48). This future prophesied time was correctly understood as referring to the period of the New Covenant for Israel in the Millennium, “the world to come” that many wanted.
With “the Mystery,” the physical Temple did in fact become redundant and unnecessary in having a proper spiritual relationship with God the Father. In the Book of Ephesians, Paul wrote commands that got rid of the essential feature of the Temple itself that Jews and New Covenant Christians were relying on. In the teaching of “the Mystery,” Paul said that Christ has
“broken down the middle wall of partition [of the Temple] between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity [the discrimination demanded by that “middle wall”], even the law of commandments contained in ordinances [the decrees written to separate Israelites from Gentiles in the Temple]; for to make in himself [in Christ himself] of twain [Israelites and Gentiles] one new man, so making peace.”
Only Israelites could enter the physical Temple and the “middle wall of partition” kept out the Gentiles. Indeed, ordinary Israelites could not enter the court of the priests and only the High Priest on the Day of Atonement could enter the Holy of Holies. But, the “NEW PERSON” of “the Mystery” (neither Israelite nor Gentile in God’s eyes) is now sitting “in Christ” in the heavenlies in the very Holy of Holies of the universe and in a permanent way. This means that to us who understand “the Mystery,” the physical Temple is now redundant and needless. Indeed, it is ourselves along with the apostles and prophets who make up the new spiritual Temple of God with Christ Jesus being the chief corner stone located at the very top of this pyramid type of symbolic Temple structure (Ephesians 2:19–21).
We are part of the Temple in heaven — and the holiest part of it. This makes all of us in “the Mystery” relationship, as Paul taught,
“fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household [the Family] of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom [in Christ] all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord.”
We no longer need any physical Temple whatever, because we are considered by God collectively to be the holiest Temple in the universe. Consider these comparisons:
Under the New Covenant each person was an individual and independent sanctuary (1 Corinthians 3:16–17), but now all saints are collectively made into one true Temple of God. Collectively, we are sitting in the Holy of Holies in heaven itself in Jesus Christ.
While the New Covenant relationship still requires a physical Temple (or the prospect of one during the Kingdom phase of the Millennium), we no longer need such a Temple because we ourselves make up the true spiritual Temple of God.
But in the Kingdom phase of salvation (known as “the world to come”), those who are of the New Covenant are promised to inherit a physical Temple. The Temple will be here on earth and in full operation (see Ezekiel 40–48). It will have commandments in ordinances (the decrees of separation between Israelites and Gentiles) and they will be in full effect. And though the New Covenant inheritance of the Kingdom of God on earth is beautiful, wonderful and glorious, it cannot be compared with what those who inherit the promises of “the Mystery” are to receive as their possession.
Note the contrast of these two biblical inheritances:
Still, the New Covenant relationship in the Kingdom of God on earth will be glorious. Christ will then be king over all the earth in fulfillment of the New Covenant promises, David will be king over Israel and the twelve apostles will be kings over the twelve tribes of Israel. And any of you who wish to be part of those New Covenant blessings can take an inferior position below all of those redeemed saints within that Kingdom on earth. But with “the Mystery,” every one of us takes his or her seat on the very throne of the universe at the right hand of the living God, the Almighty Father of heaven and earth.
Now, take your pick, of which inheritance do you wish to partake? Can you not see how more glorious and grand is the promise of “the Mystery,” than even the majestic promises of the New Covenant? This is why Paul said he wanted “the heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18), not the earthly. Which do you want?
The apostle Paul explained the contrast between these two biblical systems in this way. In the Old Testament the only promise of salvation was to inherit the Kingdom of world rulership given to Abraham and his seed. They were to be given a glorified life of long duration in the Kingdom of God on earth as subjects under God, but no divine status in the heavenlies was promised to them. Recall that at first, Gentiles never came into the scope of this promise, nor were they part of the agreement which God made with Abraham and his seed.
But Paul also noticed that God made His first promises to Abraham before the circumcision covenant was confirmed (Romans 4:9–13). Abraham first obtained the promise by virtue of his faith, without circumcision. This gave Paul the legal truth that Abraham’s faith was the prime motive to God in giving him the promise of world rulership. This fact gave Paul the confidence to state that if Gentiles expressed the same kind of faith as Abraham (uncircumcised as Abraham was at the time), the Gentiles could participate with Abraham in the same promise. So, for the first thirty years of Christian teaching, it was this promise of the Kingdom (the New Covenant promise) that was taught by the apostles. They knew of no other message in those first thirty years because there was then no knowledge of “the Mystery.”
During those first thirty years of New Covenant teaching, Paul saw another legal factor to present in order to make Gentiles the children of Abraham and thus entitled to inherit the promises given to Israel in the New Covenant. This point is also equally valid. Since the promise of God was to Abraham and his seed, Paul interpreted that “seed” to be the “one seed” who was to become the Christ.
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He says not, ‘and to seeds,’ as of many; but as of one, ‘and to your seed,’ which is Christ.”
This led Paul to understand (correctly) that if Gentiles through faith in Christ could be considered as being “in Christ,” then they all had a legal right to be reckoned as the “seed of Abraham,” and thus able to receive all covenant promises given to Abraham. They also had to become Israelites.
From these legal principles, Paul was legitimately able to account any race of men to be the “seed of Abraham” when those people accepted Christ and His teachings. In the thirty years before the revelation of “the Mystery,” Paul said that being “in Christ” made a person a child of Abraham and able to inherit God’s promises to Abraham.
Paul did not extend the meaning of the phrase “in Christ” any further back in time than to the period of Abraham. Paul thought it was necessary simply to get a person to be considered Abraham’s child, thus the New Covenant could pertain to them if they became “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).
But with “the Mystery,” Paul took the expression “in Christ” back to a period even before the world began. Paul extended its meaning back as far as possible, before the creation of the world.
“Who has 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
Yes, Paul came to see that we were saved “in Christ” even in that pre-creation time. In Ephesians 1:4 Paul said,
“He has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
But in the first thirty years of Christian teaching (with the New Covenant being the only means to salvation in Christ), Paul adopted the legal maneuver of getting Gentiles to be “in Christ” and this made them (in his understanding at that time) to be reckoned as children of Abraham. Believers were taken back no further than to join Abraham in the salvation he was to inherit. But this procedure did not include all the people born of Adam and Eve who lived before Abraham. What about them? Could they be saved too? This is where the revelation of “the Mystery” became an essential part of the fullness of Christian teaching after 63 C.E. The teaching of “the Mystery” reached back to include them too. This is an important factor that must be recognized in understanding Paul.
The teaching of “the Mystery” now took the children of Adam and Eve (that is, all humanity) back to be “in Christ” when Christ Himself was reigning alone next to the Father before Adam and Eve were created. And not only that, from that remote time in history we continued to be “in Christ” in a legal sense until Christ entered the world as a baby called Emmanuel. But our being “in Christ” did not stop there.
In the mature doctrine of “the Mystery,” Paul tells us that we continued to be “in Christ” from the time He was circumcised and throughout His life up to and including the time He was baptized. We continued being “in Him” up to when He was crucified, then when He was resurrected from the dead and even when He passed the judgment. And finally we were “in Him” when He sat down again on His throne at the right hand of the Father. The Father reckons that He has legally carried all of us safely through all periods of time as being “in Christ” — from before the world’s foundation, through history, until our enthronement with Christ when He sat on the right hand of the Father in heaven (Ephesians 2:6).
This is what the teaching of “the Mystery” informs the world. And Paul directed his message to the whole world, not a part of it. The apostle Paul plainly stated that God “will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). God not only “desires” mankind to be saved, He will see to it that they all are indeed saved and come to a full knowledge of the truth before the end of the dispensation of the fullness of time (Ephesians 1:10). This knowledge of the universal reconciliation and salvation of all mankind “in Christ” will soon be restored to the world as God has promised (Acts 3:21; Daniel 12:4, 9). God will soon make known to the world the grand destiny that we all have (the whole human race) “in Christ” from before the foundation of the world. That is what God calls His present Ekklesia (all of us) to proclaim. We should voluntarily be about our Father’s business in telling people this glorious truth.
What the teaching of “the Mystery” informs the human race is the fact that God has a far greater reward in mind for humanity than simply the New Covenant promises to Israel and Judah which last only for 1000 years. With the advanced teaching of “the Mystery,” a Christian is no longer reckoned by God as a human, or as a spiritual Israelite, or even as a Gentile. In fact, in social matters God does not look on any of His children as being male or female, rich or poor, free or slave, old or young. We are now given an equality of social distinction by no less than God the Father Himself. That freedom of social appraisal by the Father now transcends all gender and political inequalities that we now experience in this human life (including inequality of sexes, the poor, slaves, etc.).
Even the religious distinctions and requirements that God once imposed upon mankind (and all those intended for the Israelites) are no longer applicable for us. The Father (through the merits of Christ) has truly emancipated us all (both males and females). We are now free to do as we please, as long as our attitudes glorify Christ and the Father in all that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). We were given this freedom “in Christ” even before the foundation of the world. In the next chapter, I will explain just how each of us was chosen to be “in Christ” and to have the knowledge of the truth at this particular time in history. The information is one of the most refreshing and sensible truths God could ever give to mankind.
1 This is translated as the “fellowship of the mystery” in the King James Version (Ephesians 3:9). ELM
2 This can be viewed in all its grandeur in the original design of the New Testament to be found in the coming version of The Original Bible Project. My research study on the canon shows the proper order of the books and reveals why this information is so vital to understand. The evidence on this important subject can be found in my book Restoring the Original Bible. ELM
3 See the article “Imputation” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, and the full discussion of Imputation, in Chapters 6, 7 and 8 above. ELM
4 This is a fulfillment of the original creation of mankind in each of us from Genesis 1:26: “Let us [Elohim] make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” ELM
Order our Book: Essentials of New Testament Doctrine to read all the chapters.
© 1976-2021 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions