Prophecy and Mystery Overview
When the Bible was written it was divided into Old Testament and New Testament, but the Bible is basically divided into two more well defined, descriptive terms, and these are prophecy and mystery. Prophecy is basically the purpose God has for the earth and Christ’s reign upon it, which includes the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem (2 Peter 1: 16-19). This is the Kingdom of heaven that will in the future be set up on the earth, literally. The Mystery is that body of truth proclaimed by the Apostle Paul, concerning heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ in heaven, together there with Christ (Eph. 2:4-10, 3: 1-4).
The titles “Old Testament” and “New Testament” are not accurate descriptions of the two sections in the Bible that they represent. The Old Testament is really the old covenant of the law and was later titled “Old Testament” or old covenant. This covenant of the law was not even made until 2500 years of human history had taken place. The covenant of the law was given through Moses (John 1:17). It was given to the people of Israel through Moses at about 1500 B.C. as seen in Exodus 19 and 20. But what was the system of government before Moses? What about the time from Adam to Moses? There was “no law” or “old testament” from the time of Adam until the time of Moses (Rom. 5:13-14). The covenant of the law had not yet been given in the period of time between Adam and Moses. Technically this means that the book of Genesis does not have one word of the Old Testament, or old covenant of the law, in it. There are some Jewish people today who believe that the Old Testament is for the Jews and the New Testament is for the gentiles. If that were true . . . then who is the book of Genesis for? Since Israel did not even begin as a nation until after she was delivered by God and Moses from Pharaoh and the Egyptian army.
Mankind lived under the Dispensation of Conscience from Adam to Noah and then the minor Dispensation of Human Government once Noah and his family survived the Great Flood and human government was set up for the first time. A dispensation is a program that God administers or dispenses out to mankind, the word “dispense” means to deal out. God never changes but the dispensations or programs He deals out to man have changed throughout human history.
The New Testament or new covenant in actuality was not made until the death of Christ on the cross, ” . . . He is the Mediator of the new testament (covenant) that by means of death . . . they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15). Also in (Luke 22:20) “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you”. This means that the major part of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all actually under the Old Testament rather than New Testament history and that the Lord Jesus and the disciples were all under the old covenant at that time. Both the old and new testaments were made WITH THE NATION ISRAEL. The new covenant only promises that Israel in the near future will render the obedience that was required of her under the old covenant (Deut. 5:1-3) (Jeremiah 31:31). The separating of the Bible between the Old Testament and New Testament is really not a very accurate division. The most descriptive, most accurate and most important division in the Bible is between “prophecy” and the great “mystery” which was proclaimed by the Apostle Paul. Again, “prophecy” is the purpose God has for the EARTH and Christ’s reign upon it. The “mystery” is that body of truth proclaimed by the Apostle Paul concerning the Body of Christ in HEAVEN.
The very first words in the Bible state: “In the beginning God created the HEAVEN and the EARTH” (Gen. 1:1). It does not say God created the UNIVERSE; it does not say God created the heavens and the earth as many people make the mistake of saying. It says God created the HEAVEN and the EARTH. This is because He has a special purpose concerning the earth which is completely different from His purpose concerning heaven. His purpose that concerns the earth has to do with Christ’s future reign upon it, and this is the subject of “prophecy” (2 Peter 1:16-19). His purpose for heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ there with the Lord Jesus Christ is the subject of the “mystery” (Ephesians 2:4-10, 3:1-4). This is why the Bible is really divided into two great subjects: Prophecy and Mystery
What is at the heart of Prophecy? The Messianic kingdom; that is, the “kingdom of heaven” which was spoken of by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ and the twelve disciples, which will be set up on the EARTH; (Matt. 3:1-2, 4:17, 10:5-7). Since the “kingdom of heaven” is not yet established on the earth, it will be set up in the near future when the Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, returns to the earth on the Mount of Olives, then on to Jerusalem at the Second Advent and sets up His kingdom and reign upon THE EARTH for one thousand years. This is also called the Millennium. The main purpose or the main goal of prophecy is the establishment of the “kingdom of heaven” upon THE EARTH (Rom. 11:25-29). The Messianic Kingdom will be set up on THE EARTH: (Psalms 2:8) “I shall give Thee . . . the uttermost parts of THE EARTH for Thy possession”. (Jeremiah. 23:5) “A King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in THE EARTH”. The Lord Jesus Christ who is the second member of the Godhead, who is God, will rule as God, from Jerusalem and He will reign over the entire world. It will be a theocracy. “They shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Isaiah 7:14) (Matt. 1:23). “And His name shall be called . . . The mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). “The Lord shall be King over all THE EARTH” (Zech. 14:9).
God’s purpose concerning HEAVEN and the exaltation of the Body of Christ there with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Body, is the subject of “The Mystery”. What is the Mystery? There are many mysteries in the Bible, but this refers to “THE MYSTERY” which is that great body of truth given to the Apostle Paul by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ, from heaven. The “kingdom of heaven” one day being set up on the earth and the coming Messiah was well known and prophesied by the holy prophets. But, the Body of Christ with its heavenly calling and position was not prophesied. Nothing, not even one mention can be found in the pages of prophecy about the Body of Christ. God kept this a complete secret until the proper time when He brought the Body of Christ into existence, revealing THE MYSTERY only to the Apostle Paul. (Rom. 16:25) “kept secret since the world began”. Then also in (Ephesians 3:9) “from the beginning of the world . . . hid in God”. “hid from ages and from generations” (Col.1:26).
The nation Israel was temporarily set aside along with the unbelieving Gentiles. “Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for” (Rom. 11:7). “Because of unbelief they were broken off” (Rom. 11:12). A new dispensation was slowly being brought in and mercy was shown to all. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all (Rom. 11:32). “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek (gentile)” (Rom. 10:12-13). No longer is the gospel of the kingdom proclaimed, but the gospel of the Grace of God, which is Christ’s finished work on the cross. The Apostle Paul declared “the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD” and “THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD which is given me to you-ward” (Acts 20:24) (Ephesians 3:2).