Home > Israel and the Church, Prophecy and Mystery > Prophecy and Mystery Programs Explained

Prophecy and Mystery Programs Explained

Dr. Mike Johnston

Prophecy Program: Spoken Since the world began

The Nation Israel and her Kingdom on Earth

“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70)

“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21)

The Prophecy Program is dominant. [1] It concerns God’s purpose for the earth and Christ’s kingdom [2] in Israel. Prophecy [3] – however – is more than history written in advance. It is Israel’s future “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:21). Israel is an elect nation that exists from prophecy given by inspired messengers of God called prophets (Heb. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:21). The goal of prophecy is the glorious appearance (Revelation [4]) of the Messiah on earth[5] to establish Israel’s kingdom under a King from the lineage of David in the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23; Mic. 4:7) in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (1 Sam. 7:16) following the tribulation (Zeph. 1-2; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 6-19) also called “time of (Jacob’s) trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24-27). Keep in mind this kingdom has been in the works for thousands of years as the Lord Jesus revealed at the sheep and goat judgment: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

Once again, the Prophecy Program is for God’s elect Israel, and concerns His overarching plan for a coming earthly Kingdom preceded by a time of great tribulation. God will ultimately use this program for cleansing and redeeming earth. It was revealed in prophecy for Israel leading to a coming King and an earthly kingdom that was progressively unfolded to her “by the mouth of the prophets since the world began” (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21).

As it applies to Israel

  • Presented as a nation where Christ is Messiah [has laws, land, covenants, etc]
  • Exists from prophecy given by the prophets (Gen-John)
  • Promises an earthly Millennial [6] Kingdom and a coming King from Davidic Royalty (2 Sam. 7:16; Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 6:10; 24:14; etc).
  • Preceded by a time of great tribulation to purify and prepare Israel and the world (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30-31; Zeph. 1:15; Matt. 24:29; 25:31-46; Rev. 6-20).
  • Israel’s prophets call this the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; see Matt. 24:21, 29) and “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) revealing it will occur at Daniel’s Seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27).
  • The OT prophets guide Israel and the twelve are their apostolic representatives (Matt. 10:5-6) [7] and future judges (Matt. 19:28). [8]

 Mystery Program: Kept Secret Since the world began

The Body of Christ and our Inheritance in Heaven

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation [9]of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words” (Ephesians 3:3).

“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9). See also these verses in Annotations [10]

The Mystery Program is subordinate and temporary. We are merely a fill in on earth during Israel’s blindness, awaiting our removal when “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) which will start again of Daniel’s prophecy clock. This program concerns God’s purpose for heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ there with the Lord Jesus Christ given to Paul in “the revelation of the mystery,  which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25; see Ephesians 2:4-10, 3:1-4). This program which began as a mystery will disappear in a mystery (1 Cor 15:51) called the Rapture.

When studied in its entirety we discover the Mystery is that body of truth revealed to and proclaimed by the Apostle Paul  alone (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 1:9-10; 3:1-11) concerning Heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ together in Heaven with Christ (Eph. 2:4-10, 3: 1-4; also read carefully Col. 3:1-6).[11] The student who understands the distinction between prophecy for Israel, and the mystery of the church, is equipped to avoid conflating Israel’s expectation of a coming Revelation of a King and kingdom – with His parenthetical plan for the Body.

If Bible students will mark the difference between prophecy for Israel and the mystery of the church, the confusion surrounding the time of Jacob’s trouble quickly dissolves. Sadly, last days’ teachers are often so emotionally invested in anti-PreTrib vitriol [12], they’re afraid to risk acknowledging anything even hinting they’re wrong. [13]

As it applies to the Church – aka the Body of Christ

  • Presented as a Body where Christ is Head [no laws, land, or covenants] [14]
  • The Body exists as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) that will one day disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51).
  • The Body of Christ was unknown by the prophets and has no association with prophecy or future tribulation. [Our salvation is secure; sealed forever in Christ (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30) with no further purification required].
  • Our inheritance is not in the earth, but in heaven with Jesus where we spiritually exist in Him (Eph. 1:3-4, 10; 2:6; col. 3:1-3) [15] at this moment, awaiting the promise Jesus made to return and take us to heaven (John 14:2-3; see 1 Thess. 4:13-18). This will happen at some undisclosed time in the future when the “fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).
  • Paul is our apostle (Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:7-8). His epistles (Romans-Philemon) provide all doctrine and duty for those in this “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2) personally given to him by Jesus in the “revelation of the mystery” (Rom. 16:25).

[1] God’s plan for an earthly Kingdom is always in view and Israel is always the subject of His love as the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8).

[2] This kingdom has been in the works from the beginning as revealed at the sheep and goat judgment: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

[3] Prophecy is the distinguishing factor separating the Bible from all “religious” books in the world. Prophecy is what drew my dad to Christ in 1975 and kept him excited about the Lord’s return until April 10, 2009 when the Lord took him home. In short, prophecy for Israel is the main subject connecting our tribulation trilogy together.

[4] The Revelation of Jesus Christ is the public return of the Lord to Israel with the mystery church (1 Thess. 2:19; Rev. 19:14; Jude 1:14) already there with Him (John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 4:1; 19:11-21).

[5] Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:1-4; compare Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21.

[6] It is commonly referred to as the Millennial Reign of Christ and it was prepared “from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34).

[7] These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 10:5-6)

[8] And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)

[9] But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12).

[10] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Romans 11:25).But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: (1 Corinthians 2:7). Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:9-10). How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (Ephesians 3:3-9). This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32).

[11] Cornelius Stam has written extensively on this. PMI also offers more on Prophecy and the Mystery.

[12] Epithets hurled against believers in an imminent, PreTrib rapture are unkind, untoward, and unchristian. One of many reoccurring charges is that of being in a clandestine conspiracy with the devil.

[13] Origen was the first to become discouraged with prophecy and turn from the literal method of interpreting Scripture. He corrupted Christian theology in Rome by replacing the Jews as God’s chosen people with Gentile Christianity. –JR Church, Prophecy in the News, April 1995, p. 28.

[14] God made 5 unilateral covenants with Israel, none with the Body of Christ. We are merely the beneficiaries through Jesus.

[15] In Christ: 1:1,3,10,12,20; 2:6,10,13; 3:6,11; In the Lord: Ephesians 1:15; 2:21; 4:17; 5:8; 6:1,10,21;

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