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Intro to Right Division (Prophecy and Mystery) Hermeneutics

Rightly Dividing Between God’s Two Overarching Programs:
Prophecy and Mystery (scroll down for videos)

Dr. Mike Johnston, Editor

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

God has two overarching programs discussed fully in the videos below: One from prophecy for Israel and earth, and the other from mystery for the Body of Christ and heaven. Both of these programs have separate participants, purposes and ordinances (Jer. 33:25); existing “since the world began” (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25).

In the Providential panorama, all Scripture exists to either explain or enhance the prophetic program for Israel concerning earth, or the mystery program for the Body of Christ concerning heaven.

The Prophecy program:

“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 Mystery program:

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


How to Understand the Bible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwOtKMO1h6s

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0OEsGFOMBU&nohtml5=False

Rightly Dividing and Following Paul: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0abp15uLFT8

God’s Three Programs- Time past, but now, ages to come: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUhd5kMeHoQ

Complete Bible Overview in one hour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVmCChH0MJE

Hyper Dispensationalism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpgxaj8sXnI

Knowing God’s Timeline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2pq8FRYKI8

Rightly Dividing the Word: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4GQB4UOpMk

Rightly Dividing of the Dispensations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAy0G9x8EYI

Matthew 24 Explained Rightly Divided Proving PreTribulation Rapture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxIUpkLi7Ck

The Grace Message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH8qy5NCwXw

Standing for the Truth of the Mystery is no easy task: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UMauSZj-Vw

Thy Kingdom Come: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii0y0BVpEUQ

Mystery Body of Christ – the Gospel of Grace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRwStPIDPNs

Only Paul’s Gospel Saves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcTI-T-SJAE

How to Read and Understand your Bible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAxBpRzhTko&nohtml5=False

What is Satan Thinking About Right Now? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWdrQ3yVHa4&nohtml5=False

Peter vs. Paul: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQhaOCKswnk

Collateral teaching on Right Division

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). By design, God placed divisions in Scripture that when ignored leave the Bible somewhat cryptic. [1]

First, in our opening chapter we alluded to the fact that God has hidden in plain sight two programs; one for earth and Israel, and one for heaven and the Body of Christ – Prophecy and Mystery. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

  • The Prophecy Program featuring the nation of Israel focusing on earth and the Davidic kingdom in Jerusalem, (Genesis through John; Hebrews through Revelation)
  • The Mystery Program for the Body of Christ – the church – dealing with heaven and our inheritance there in Christ. (Romans through Philemon [2])

Both programs have separate purposes and ordinances (Jer. 33:25); existing “since the world began” (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25). In the grand arrangement, all Scripture exists to explain or enhance either the prophetic program for Israel concerning earth, or the mystery program for the Body of Christ concerning heaven [Discussed more thoroughly later].

Second, the 2 programs extend across 3 time periods – Past, Present, Future. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) God’s two programs for His two entities can each be viewed from a triad of dispensational time periods.

  • Past – “time past” – (Eph. 2:11-12) –Prophecy Program for the nation Israel (which includes her history);
  • Present – “but now” – (Eph. 2:13) –Mystery Program of the Body of Christ exclusive of the nation Israel;
  • Future – “ages to come” – (Eph. 2:7) –Prophecy Program to be fulfilled through the nation Israel.

Third, the 3 time periods present us with 2 Primary Gospels for the 2 Programs – Kingdom for Circumcision (Israel), and Grace for the Uncircumcision (Gentiles). If you’re ever itching for a fistfight, explain to a carnal Christian the word gospel doesn’t mean salvation. According to Strong, it means “a good message”. As such, the gospel is a good news message to certain peoples in Scripture God reached in specific dispensational periods. [3] We’ll discuss two primary gospels covering the two programs of prophecy and mystery:

  • Prophecy Program Gospel: the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) – is good news to the Jews which Christ preached “in time past” connecting Israel to the Abrahamic Covenant and the circumcision (Gen. 17; Gal. 2:7) and Davidic Covenant (earthly Kingdom from David’s seed (2 Sam. 7:8-16). [4] Bear in mind the church must be removed at the rapture allowing for Jewish tribulation evangelists in the “ages to come” to once again preach this gospel of the kingdom message heralding the Lord’s return to inaugurate His Davidic Kingdom in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:14). [Old Covenant, Dispensation of the Law] [5]
  • Mystery Program Gospel: the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) – is good news for Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ by faith and are saved, justified, sanctified, glorified, and spiritually baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) where we are seated in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) and sealed forever (Eph. 1:13-14) apart from anything other than faith in Christ’s shed blood which permanently removes our sin from us. By Paul’s own words this was a gospel unique for the uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), never before preached or taught: “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). William MacDonald observes that this “is the thrilling message of God’s undeserved favor to guilty, ungodly sinners who deserve nothing but everlasting hell. It tells how the Son of God’s love came from heaven’s highest glory to suffer, bleed, and die on Calvary in order that those who believe on Him might receive forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 1995) This is the only gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:6) for this dispensation. [No Covenant, Dispensation of Grace] [6]

Dispensational Time Triad Chart

for Israel, a Nation
Old Covenant

[Kingdom presented and rejected]

Which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his

holy prophets

since the world began

(Acts 3:21; see Luke 1:70)

of the Church, a Body
New Covenant

<- [Began at the death of Christ] ->

… according to the revelation of the mystery, which was

kept secret

since the world began

(Rom. 16:25; see Eph. 3:1-9)

for Israel, a Nation
Old Covenant (continues)

[to be ratified at the Revelation]

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things

which are written

may be fulfilled

(Luke 21:22)

“Time past”

(Eph. 2:11-12)


Profitable for us

“But now”

(Eph. 2:13)


Personally to us

“Ages to come”

(Eph. 2:7)


Profitable for us

in Adam

earthly kingdom

Christ prophesied as Messiah


Dispensation of the Law

Gospel of circumcision

(Gal. 2:7)

Gospel of the kingdom

(Matt. 4:23; 9:35)


Revelation (Zech. 14:3-4)

in Christ

heavenly inheritance

Christ is Head of Body

Apostle Paul

Dispensation of Grace

Gospel of uncircumcision

(Gal. 2:7)

Gospel of the grace of God

(Acts 20:24; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4)


Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18)

in Adam

earthly kingdom

Christ becomes the Messiah


Dispensation of the Law

Gospel of circumcision

(Gal. 2:7)

Gospel of the kingdom

(Matt. 24:14)


Revelation (Rev. 19:11)






Blind, asleep, lost

(Rom. 11:7,8,25)


For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery … that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in

(Romans 11:25)


Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Revelation 3:10)






Aware, awake, saved

(Dan. Rom. 11:25-26)



Daniel’s 70 Weeks – Dan. 9:24-27 Jacob’s trouble/Day of

trouble/Day of the Lord

Coming of the Messiah

Davidic Covenant/New Covenant

Resurrection (John 5:28-29)

Ages to come

Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19 Tribulation/Great Tribulation/Hour of temptation

Revelation of Christ

Millennial Kingdom

Resurrection (Rev. 19-20)


Before we discuss the effect of Israel’s Prophecy Program on the ministry of Christ, let’s pause to consider that its focus is bi-directional: time past and ages to come. The emphasis of prophecy is primarily the elect nation of Israel (Isa. 45:4) and the glorious appearance (Revelation) of the Messiah on earth  to establish Israel’s kingdom (Dan. 2:44) 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; see Dan. 2:44) following the tribulation or time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24-25; Rev. 19-20). Prophecy designated for Israel focuses on earth, the tribulation, and the kingdom and by design DOES NOT include the Body of Christ, the church!

Christ’s Ministry under the Old Covenant

I open this section with a reminder of how important it is to view Scripture from the objective lens (exegesis) rather than the outcome lens (eisegesis). One of the main ingredients facilitating this is the setting. It must never be altered to achieve a desired result. I’m sad to report that preachers have for years – me included – pounded out sermons demanding their church members conform to the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount without considering one extremely important element: its testamental setting.

When the Bible was written conventional wisdom convinced us that the Old Testament is for Israel – which is true. However, they also told us it ended with Malachi, which is NOT true. The fact is, the New Testament didn’t begin until the death of Christ the Testator over thirty-three years later (Matt. 27; see Hebrews 9:16-17). [7] Now some will contend this is inconsequential nonsense – and for them it probably is. However, for the rest of us committed to rightly dividing the word of truth, it means this: Christ’s teachings up through the crucifixion (Matt. 3-27) are in reality a furtherance of the Old Covenant [8] “time past” narrative that in reality extends through the Gospel of John.

Regardless of what we’ve all been taught, Jesus’ primary ministry was to the Jews- aka the circumcision – in an Old Testament setting emphasizing the Kingdom based in prophecy and detailed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Paul confirmed this: “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision[9] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8-italics added). “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4). According to prophecy Jesus’ mission was to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15) and ratify Covenants made with Israel (see His summation in Luke 24:44). As part of this He offered the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16) to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 15:24) because “salvation (was) of the Jews” (John 4:22) awaiting the Kingdom,

“That we [Israel] should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our [Jews]  father Abraham” (Luke 1:71-73 – bracketed comments added). It begins to fit together when you add in the fact that the sign in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 17:10) is circumcision. Israel was unequivocally the focus of the Lord Jesus’ earthly ministry provable by His mission and messages Matthew recorded:

  • 4: Jesus began by preaching the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 5-7: Jesus taught the principles of the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 6:10: Jesus prayed “thy kingdom come . . .  in earth” in the presence of the Jews
  • 13: Jesus gave parables of the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 21-23; 26-27: Jesus presented the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 24-25: Jesusmade a promise [10]He would return to establish the Jewish Kingdom to Jews. As a side note, in Matthew 24:29 the Lord predicted He would return to set up the Kingdom immediately after the time of tribulation. When studied in context, Christ gave the Olivet Discourse to describe the holocaust in Jerusalem prior to His return. Even so, this single verse continues to be the premier “gotcha” moment used by anti-PreTrib proponents who ignore setting to advance their argument.

[1] “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. The heaven for height, and the earth for depth . . .” (Proverbs 25:2-3).

[2] While every Book in the Bible is inspired and profitable for us, Paul is the only Apostle to the Gentiles identified in the Bible (Rom. 11:13; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11). Therefore, the Pauline Epistles form the body of truth that is personally to us. Study them often. Develop a plan to read through them several times per year with your annual through the Bible regimen.

[3] The Old Scofield Bible defines a dispensation   as “a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.” In simplest terms, dispensationalism teaches us that God dispenses his overarching program differently to the people living in different ages. As an example, God dealt with Adam differently than He did Abraham, who was dealt with differently than Moses, who was dealt with differently than Paul, and so forth. While some misunderstand the reality and relevance of this, the truth is that unless you are worshiping on Saturdays and bringing sacrificial lambs with you to a temple, you are at some level a dispensationalist.

[4] God made 5 unilateral Covenants with Israel and none with the Body of Christ. Bear in mind our status: “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise …” (Ephesians 2:12).

[5] This includes the gospel of circumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for the Jews preached “in time past” linking them to the Abrahamic Covenant, the foundational contract for Israel’s relationship with God. It formed the groundwork for the promises that would be revealed in the other covenants. The Lord Jesus Christ, James, Peter (Cephas) and John were all ministers of the circumcision (Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:7-9). [Old Covenant, Dispensation of the Law]

[6] This includes the gospel of uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is is good news for Gentiles as Paul explains, “Ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13). [No Covenant, Dispensation of Grace]

[7] For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (Heb 9:16-17)

[8] We’ll discuss more on the five Covenants shortly.

[9] Paul distinguished his ministry from Peter’s thusly, “But contrariwise . . . the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter” (Galatians 2:7- italics added).

[10] Anti-PreTrib zealots make a case from nothing here. Since Christ’s offer to set up the Davidic Covenant Kingdom had been rejected out of hand (Matt. 21-23) Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to the Lord Jesus privately to ask when He would inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom in Israel (Mark 13:3-4). His response forms the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25) focusing on signs of the tribulation – aka time of Jacob’s trouble (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1) immediately preceding His Revelation return as King of kings to Israel.

Prophecy and Mystery are Different

As we introduced earlier in this treatise, God’s economy features two programs that have existed since the world began. The Prophecy Program (time past, and ages to come– Eph. 2:11-12, 7) for Israel, and the Mystery Program (but now– Eph. 2:13) for the Body of Christ. Understand God is NOT the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Therefore, only one program operates at any given time. The current program is the mystery of the Body of Christ, aka the church.

The Prophecy Program: “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; see Luke 1:70). This program concerns God’s purpose for the earth and Christ’s kingdom [1] in Israel. It began through prophecy in time past, and it will end by fulfilling all prophecy in the ages to come during the tribulation – as Moses prophesied (Deut. 4:30) – and on through the Millennial Kingdom. The goal of prophecy is the glorious appearance (Revelation [2]) of the Messiah on earth[3] to establish Israel’s kingdom (Dan. 2:44) 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 or time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24-25; Rev. 19-20). Keep in mind this kingdom has been in the works “from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Daniel received a 490-year prophecy for Israel, “thy people” (Dan. 9:15-16, 19, 24; 10:14; etc). [4] This 70 week prophecy clock stopped about two thousand years ago at Daniel’s seventieth week (study carefully Dan. 9:24-27). It will resume when “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) at the conclusion of the mystery program with the disappearance of the mystery Body (1 Cor. 15:51; see also John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10).

The Mystery Program:The revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25; see Gal. 1:12; Ephesians 2:4-10, 3:1-4). 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).[5] The student who understands the distinction between prophecy in “time past” and “ages to come” for Israel, and the “but now” 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 church Body that appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) and disappears in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51), known as the Rapture [6] (1 Thess. 4:13-17) when “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).

Chart: Prophecy Program vs. Mystery Program

Prophecy Program

“Time past” – “Ages to come”

Mystery Program

“But now”

“Time past” – “Ages to come” (Eph. 2:11-12,7)

Earth and its ordinances

“But now” (Eph. 2:13)

Heaven and its ordinances

Since the world began (Acts 3:21) Since the world began (Rom. 16:25)
Focus on Israel Focus on the Body of Christ
Prophets of Israel Apostle to the Gentiles (Paul)
Gospel of the Kingdom Gospel of Grace
Concerns a kingdom; a political organization (Dan.2:44, Matt. 6:10). Concerns a body; a living organism
(I Cor. 12:12,27, Eph. 4:12-16).
The kingdom to be established on earth
(Jer. 23:5, Matt. 6:10).
The body given a position in heaven
(Eph. 1:3, 2:5-6, Col. 3:1-3).
Christ to be its King  (Jer.23:5, Isa. 9:6,7). Christ its living Head (Eph. 1:19-23, Col. 1:18).
The kingdom prophesied “since the world began” (Luke 1:68-70, Acts 3:21).


The body chosen in Christ before the world began, but “kept secret since the world began”
(Rom. 16:25, Eph. 1:4-11, 3:5-9).
Israel to be given supremacy over the nations
(Isa. 60:10-12, 61:6).
Jew and Gentile placed on the same level before God (Rom. 10:12, 11:32, Eph. 2: 16,17).
The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel’s instrumentality (Gen. 22:17,18, Zech. 8:13). The Gentiles blessed through
Israel’s obstinacy (Acts 13:44-46, Rom. 11:28-32).
The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel’s rise  (Isa. 60:1-3, Zech. 8:22,23). The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s fall 
(Acts 28:27,28, Rom. 11:11,12,15).
Prophecy mainly concerns nations as such
(Isa. 2:4, Ezek. 37:21,22).
The mystery concerns individuals (Rom. 10:12,13,  II Cor. 5:14-17).
Prophecy concerns blessings, both material and spiritual, on earth (Isa. 2:3,4, 11:1-9, etc.). The mystery concerns “all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies”  (Eph. 1:3, Col. 3:1-3).
Prophecy concerns Christ’s coming to the earth (Isa. 59:20, Zech. 14:4). The mystery explains Christ’s present absence from the earth (Eph. 1:20-23, Col. 3:1-3).
In prophecy salvation by grace through faith alone is not contemplated.


Salvation by grace through faith alone lies at the very heart of the mystery (Rom. 3:21-26, 4:5, Eph. 2:8,9).
The proclamation of the prophetic program committed particularly to the twelve
(Matt. 10:5-7, Acts 1:6-8, 3:19-26).
The proclamation of the mystery committed particularly to Paul (Eph. 3:1-3,8,9, Col. 1:24-27).
The prophetic program revealed through many of God’s servants (Luke 1:70, II Pet. 1:21). The mystery revealed through one man: Paul
(Gal. 1:1,11,12, 2:2,7,9, Eph. 3:2,3).
Old testament writers frequently did not understand the prophecies made known through them (Dan. 12:8-10, I Pet. 1:10-12).


Paul both understood and longed that others might understand the mystery revealed through him. (Eph. 1:15-23, 3:14-21, Col 1:9-10, 2:1-3).

Summary: Prophecy and mystery are different; therefore, they are not the same! 

Israel and the Church are Different

May I reiterate, the church is not the new Israel. [7] Her future is not on earth and she is not looking for – nor does she require – the punishment and purification God is going to mete out to Israel and the world during the “tribulation” (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21, 29). [8] In fact, her inheritance (Eph. 1:11) has nothing to do with the earth. She is the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), spiritually seated in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-3). Her “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) is Christ  and His imminent return in the air (1 Thess. 4:13-18) to deliver her from the tribulation wrath [9] to come (1 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 3:10) by escorting her back to His heavenly home according to His immutable promise (John 14:2-3). [10] Dr. CI Scofield’s insight is well worth restating here: “Their history alone is told in Old Testament narrative and prophecy [which incidentally continues through the crucifixion]; other nations are mentioned only as they touch the Jew [really consider this last statement because in it is the key unlocking this entire book]. It appears, also, that all the communications of Jehovah to Israel as a nation relate to the Earth [this will become a major component in the hermeneutic advanced in this treatise].

Chart: Israel (prophecy) vs. Body of Christ (mystery)


“Time past” – “Ages to come”

Body of Christ

“But now”

“Time past” – “Ages to come” (Eph. 2:11-12,7)


“But now”


Jews alone Jews and Gentiles together (saved)
Prophecy (prophets) Mystery (Paul only)
Wife of YHWH Bride of Christ
Fully known to the prophets Unknown to the prophets
The circumcision The uncircumcision
Peter is spokesman Paul is spokesman
Occupies four-fifths of the Bible Occupies one-fifth of the Bible
Born into the nation Born again into the Body
Temple in Jerusalem Our bodies are the temple
Wife of YHWH Bride of Christ
Nation with a land, covenants, and laws Body without land, covenants, and laws
Temporary indwelling of Spirit Permanent indwelling and sealing of Spirit
Focused on earth Focused on heaven
Kingdom Inheritance
Sheep and goat judgment Bema seat
Clearly seen in the tribulation Never clearly seen in the tribulation
Revelation to earth with church Rapture in the air for the church
Natural bloodline – Jacob Spiritual bloodline – Jesus

Israel is in the “time past” and “ages to come” prophecy program.

Let’s establish two factors before we proceed. Israel exists from prophecy. She is at the forefront of eighty percent of the Bible. Keeping this in mind when interpreting non-Pauline prophesies and writings will lend itself to a proper understanding. For example, when prophesy speaks of Christ’s visible return – aka the Revelation seen by the world –Israel is the subject, NOT the church. The Body of Christ appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) and will disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) irrespective of when Christ returns at the Revelation to Israel (Zech. 14:3-4; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 19:11-21).

Israel is the only elect nation of YHWH (Psalm 147:20). Her five Covenants, her land, and her laws exist from words spoken by prophets concerning an earthly kingdom. These have nothing whatsoever to do with the Body of Christ and neither does “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) – aka tribulation – that will prepare her for the kingdom (Jer. 30-31).

Membership in the Jewish community comes by physical birthright. The fact that four-fifths of the Bible pertains to Israel, while only one-fifth of it deals with the church [11] underscores without question that Israel is the object of God’s word and the apple of God’s eye (Zech. 2:8). This means we must interpret the Bible through the lens of God’s purpose for Israel. Through the prophets, God gave Israel – not the church – special commissioning and at least five Covenants outlining, guiding, and guaranteeing her future.

The church is in the “but now” mystery program.

She is a redeemed spiritual Body in Christ (Rom. 12:5) as well as the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27). This Body has been a mystery unknown to the prophets and therefore was not revealed in any prophecy from any of the OT prophets. It exists solely from the revelation of mystery the Lord Jesus revealed to Paul alone (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3; see 2 Pet. 3:15-16). Membership in the church comes by spiritual birth rather than physical birth. Her focus is not an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly inheritance (Eph. 1:11, 14, 18; Col. 1:12; 3:24). In light of this, the church has not been consigned anywhere in Scripture to be on earth during the time of Jacob’s (Israel) trouble- aka Daniel’s 70th week, the day of the Lord [12], and the tribulation. The church lives spiritually in the heavenlies (2 Cor. 5:1-2; Eph. 1:3; 2:6; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1) and looks for her Redeemer (1 Thess. 1:10) who could come in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17) at any moment to deliver her from the wrath [13] to come prior to the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7; Rev. 3:10; 1 Thess. 1:10). Having appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25; Eph 3:3; Col. 1:26-27), the church will disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) thus restarting Israel’s prophetic calendar with the final week of seven years.

The distinctions between the church and Israel show up in several ways in Scripture including – as mentioned previously – in the distinctions between Paul’s ministry to the uncircumcision (Body of Christ) and Peter’s ministry to the circumcision (Israel). Dr. Noah Hutchings, one of my favorite Bible teachers, writes, “Investigating the reasons for church differences, I have concluded that they lie in the failure to understand the variance between the gospel of the Kingdom and the gospel of grace; and more specifically, the message preached by Peter and the message preached by Paul. It is my firm conviction that if all churches could agree on the first fifteen chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, there would be few church differences. Therefore, it is important for Christians to understand the difference between the ministry that Christ committed to Peter and the ministry that He committed to Paul . . . However, the greatest revelation to me concerning dispensational truths and sound doctrine was the scriptural evidence that Paul and Peter did not preach the same message. They preached the same Christ, but not the same gospel” [gospel simply means good news].  p2-3. Dr. Hutchings continues:

“Some might ask, What about the conversion of the household of Cornelius when Peter   preached to them the gospel? If you will read in Acts 10:42, Peter still preached Christ as the judge or ruler of the living dead. While this is certainly true, Peter was still preaching Christ from a Kingdom age covenant position.” p7 (Hutchings 1992).

Israel’s focus is a kingdom on earth that has been spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:21); the church focuses on an inheritance in heaven and exists from the revelation of the mystery the Lord Jesus revealed to Paul kept secret since the world began (Rom. 16:25; see Gal. 1:12).

[1] 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).

[2] 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).

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

[4] Daniel refers to Jews as “saints” 6 times in Daniel 7 in relation to the coming tribulation. Revelation is the companion Book; the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. Therefore, when Revelation refers to saints, it likewise refers to Jews and their converts; NOT the Body of Christ which didn’t exist in Daniel’s mind.

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

[6] Here is the bone in the throat for end time’s teachers who invest their souls trying to convince their readers that the Lord Jesus wants His Bride to undergo the horrors surrounding the world’s second holocaust – the tribulation and great tribulation. In reality, the Rapture   is for the Body of Christ and occurs before “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; see Dan. 12:1). Jacob is Israel therefore the coming tribulation – time of trouble – is for his family – Jews. The Body of Christ is here NOW but only for a measured period called the fullness of the Gentiles that followed Israel’s rejection of the Messiah and her current blindness. Paul explains how it relates to the mystery Jesus revealed to him:

“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” (Rom 11:25).

[7] Replacement theology is a rank heresy Jesus said originated in the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).

[8] Also called “Jacob’s (aka Israel’s) trouble” (Jer. 30:7), “the time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10) as well as a few other names.

[9] This coming wrath is described fully in Rev. 6-19).

[10] We refer to this as the Rapture of the church.

[11] Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology

[12] Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Jeremiah 46:10; Lamentations 2:22; Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7,8,14,18; 2:2,3; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5

[13] God’s wrath is NEVER aimed at those in relationship with Him! Nahum 1:2 “God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.”


  1. Adam Hartley
    August 2, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    hello all, i have a quick question, if Pauls letters are only to us today, Rom-Phil, then do Christians today need to be born again? john 3:3-8, thanks, God bless!

    • August 2, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Hello Adam. Although the Lord “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
      (Romans 15:8), sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 15:24) – Paul’s teachings often cross pollinate into the Lord’s revealing which are still for us in this dispensation. For instance, Jesus mentioned being born again (John 3:3) which Jews really didn’t understand. Later it was expanded upon by Paul, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 2 Cor 5:17).

      Additionally, you can see this also with the subject of salvation which the Lord revealed comes by believing in Christ (John 3:16; etc), so did Paul (Rom. 10:9-10, 13; etc).

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