Prophecy is for Israel and Mystery is for the Body of Christ
Excerpted from my book: Israel’s Tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ
Dr. Mike Johnston
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) [italics added].
Two programs unfold from the first verse of Scripture: one for heaven, the other for earth. However, until you understand how God hid the heavenly program while disclosing the earthly program, Scripture will at best be enigmatic.
Prophecy – Israel – Earth
As introduced in the previous chapter, the Prophecy Program is God’s plan for earth featuring Israel and her kingdom “he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets,  which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; see Matt. 25:34).
The prophecy program came through the prophets of Israel and features her as the unfaithful wife of Jehovah (Jer. 3:20; Hosea) who is currently blind and set aside (Rom. 9-11).  When excoriating Jews for their rejection of Christ, His Covenant kingdom, and His ultimate crucifixion he said, “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (Acts 3:24-25)
Her apostasy notwithstanding, Israel remains God’s elect NATION on earth (Deut. 7:6; 14:2; Isa. 45:4; Psa. 135:4) awaiting an earthly kingdom  given through Covenant, with David’s Son – Jesus Christ – as Messiah King (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Zech. 14:9).
Fact: All prophetic messages given in “time past” (Eph. 2:11-12) enhance or explain the people and particulars associated with Israel’s Kingdom destiny in the “ages to come” (Eph. 2:7). It is Israel to whom God’s prophets presented five covenants guiding and guaranteeing her future on earth including a lineage, land, laws, and a Lord – King – that began with Abraham (Gen. 12; 17; etc) and will continue through the Millennium (Rev. 20). It is for Israel that the earthly kingdom was “prepared from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34) and through whom the Messiah was born and to whom He presented himself and His kingdom (Matt. 4:17) under the Old Covenant for three and one half years only to be rejected and crucified (Matt. 21-27). However, one day His prayer “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth…” (Matt. 6:10) will be fulfilled. This He explained after questions surfaced from Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) four ministers of the “gospel of the circumcision” (Gal. 2:7-9) regarding the installation of the Davidic Kingdom. After outlining in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21) Tribulation signs coinciding with Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24:15) – the Lord promised He would return in the Revelation “immediately after (Israel’s) Tribulation” (Matt. 24:21, 29; see Zech. 14; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21) to set up the Kingdom (Matt. 24-25).
Fact: God never advanced His program for Israel or earth without revealing it to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). It was prophecy – not mystery – that pronounced the upcoming Day of the Lord –that includes the Tribulation for Israel first prophesied to her by Moses (Deut. 4:30). The prophets never saw the Body of Christ and thus didn’t include it in their writings. Since Israel is destined for her earthly kingdom, God must ultimately reinstate her to prophetic significance, which fits perfectly with Daniel’s seventieth week. In a precious twist of divine irony, prophecy (Israel, earthly) gave way to mystery (the church, heavenly) at Daniel’s 70th week; now mystery must give way to prophecy, which will resume for the one week still future.
Fact: The foremost intention of the prophecy program is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth as promised to Israel in the Covenants. Had Israel accepted her Messiah (study carefully Peter’s appeal in Acts 2-3), there would have been no Body of Christ. However, that COULD NOT happen since the word is forever settled in heaven (Psa. 119:89). In the overwhelming body of Biblical text – eighty percent for Israel – the prophets predicted a future where King Jesus will rule the earth from Jerusalem, Israel. The Body of Christ is merely provisional “fill in” on earth during Israel’s blindness, “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). Once we are removed, Daniel’s  prophecy clock which paused at Christ’s rejection by Israel (Dan. 9:24-27) will begin ticking again. Until that time, we will remain on earth – an unknown entity to any of the prophets – provoking Israel to jealousy.
Fact: Israel is God’s elect nation that exists from prophecy given by inspired messengers of God called prophets (Heb. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:21). When collating prophecy verses, it becomes clear that the subject is often the glorious appearance (Revelation) of the Messiah on earth to establish Israel’s kingdom under the lineage of David in the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23; Mic. 4:7). 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).
Fact: Separating the Old Testament from the New is very important. Anything occurring prior to the death of the testator is Old Testament (Heb. 9:16-17) and is for Israel.  This includes the sermon on the mount, the mysteries of the kingdom and the vital anti-PreTrib gotcha passage in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13, and Luke 21) that was delivered by Jesus to Peter, James, John, and Andrew in a private briefing after the four requested that He give them signs of Israel’s Tribulation pointing to His return to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (Mark 13:3-4).
Mystery – Church – Heaven
The Mystery Program is God’s plan for heaven featuring the Body of Christ and our inheritance there in heaven with Christ given to Paul in “the revelation  of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).
Although hidden from the prophets, this mystery program was unveiled to Paul by our heavenly risen Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:20) in a personal post ascension revelation (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:1-9). Peter and the apostles did not know this new doctrine until Paul taught them (Gal. 1:12; 2:6-7; see 2 Pet. 3:15-16). Paul’s mystery features the church as the Lord’s BODY (Eph. 1:3; 2:6) and the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33; Rev. 21:9) in a “but now” time-period (Eph. 2:13). The prophets didn’t know about us and never mentioned us, so we aren’t included in the promises and prophecies concerning earth and the future of the NATION Israel. Our inheritance exists “in heavenly places” where we are spiritually sealed (Eph. 1:13-14) and seated in Christ (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6; Col. 3:1-2; Phil. 3:20). We are simply occupying a provisional position on earth during Israel’s hiatus between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27) to provoke her to jealousy (Rom. 11:11) until “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). At that precise point, the church which appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) will suddenly disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) wherein Israel’s prophecy program will resume at Daniel’s 70th week where it was halted.
Fact: Eighty percent of the Bible is OT narrative for Israel and while it is profitable, it is not personal. Our “mail” comes from Paul’s epistles – Romans through Philemon – where he explains all the doctrines and duties of the church in the revelation of the mystery given directly to him by the Lord Jesus (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9).
Here’s Paul’s explanation of the mystery exclusivity:
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 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 1:10-12).
In chapter two, he continued defining the distinctiveness of his doctrine by contrasting the gospel he preached with the one Peter preached:
“But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” (Galatians 2:6-9)
Fact: The dispensation of the mystery of the church  isn’t Jewish and it wasn’t known by any of the prophets or the twelve apostles until Paul taught them (Gal. 1:11-12; 2:6-9; 2 Pet. 3:15-16; see also 1 Thess. 2:13). It was secretly revealed by the Lord Jesus to Paul – the Apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:3) – literally as a mystery (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:4-5, 9) – after the Lord temporarily set aside Daniel’s prophecy at the end of the 69th week (Dan. 9:24-27). Sadly, this very special revelation of the mystery given by Jesus to Paul has been the object of defiance and disdain accompanied by bitterness, badgering, and blackballing on the part of inflexible men who fight tooth and nail against it even though it is specifically for this dispensation.
Recognizing the damage this causes, Peter lamented,
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
Fact: The blood bought, born again church (ekklesia- called out assembly) is the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18, 24). She has NO inheritance on earth and no compelling purpose here during the Tribulation (study Eph. 1-3; Col. 3:1-6). She is the Lord’s heavenly BODY (Eph. 1:3; 2:6); a mystery “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25), given to Paul alone by our risen Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:20) during His current heavenly ministry in a personal post ascension revelation (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:1-9). Once “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) and the mystery Body of Christ (Rom. 16:25) is removed at the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:51), Israel’s prophecy clock will resume at Daniel’s seventieth week (one week of seven years – see Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2-3), the time of Jacob’s trouble that Jesus referred to as (great) Tribulation(Matt. 24:21, 29).
Fact: 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). The student who understands the distinction between prophecy for Israel and earth, along with the mystery of the Body and heaven, is thoroughly equipped to avoid conflating Israel’s expectation of a coming Revelation of a King and kingdom – with His parenthetical plan for the Body. The blood bought, born again church (ekklesia- called out assembly) is the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18, 24). She has NO inheritance on earth and no compelling purpose here during the Tribulation (study Eph. 1-3; Col. 3:1-6). She is the Lord’s heavenly BODY (Eph. 1:3; 2:6); a mystery “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25), given to Paul alone by our risen Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:20) during His current heavenly ministry in a personal post ascension revelation (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:1-9). Once the mystery Body of Christ (Rom. 16:25) is removed at the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:51), Israel’s prophecy clock will resume at Daniel’s seventieth week (one week of seven years – see Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2-3), the time of Jacob’s trouble that Jesus referred to as (great) Tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 29).
Facts on the church you need to know:
- Presented as a Body where Christ is Head [no laws, land, or covenants] 
- 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)  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).
- Occupies a temporary position on earth during Israel’s hiatus between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27)
- Was established by God to provoke Israel to jealousy leading to her conversion (Rom. 11:11).
- Was unknown to any of the prophets (Col. 1:26)
- Was never included in earthly prophecies featuring Israel’s Davidic Kingdom, and Tribulation (“Jacob’s trouble” – Jer. 30:7) preceding it.
- Appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25)  during Israel’sblindness (Rom. 11:7),
- Will disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) when “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).
- Cannot be seen anywhere in Israel’s Tribulation! 
Time to reflect on something: the necessity of God’s revelation for the future, must include the prophetic word: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Since the Tribulation is prophecy for Israel, it cannot begin while the mystery Body of Christ is here. The church Body of Christ is NEVER MENTIONED anywhere in prophecy and thus the church which appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) after Daniel’s prophecy clock stopped after the 69th week must be removed in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51; see 2 Thess. 2:7) in order to restart that prophecy clock at the 70th week. That event is imminent; it’s the rapture of the church in the heavenlies by Christ and it removes us before Antichrist  is revealed and the time of Jacob’s trouble begins with the signing of a seven year covenant of peace (2 Thess 2:6-8; see Dan. 9:27). The Revelation of Christ occurs on earth immediately after the Tribulation (Matt 24:29) and just before the kingdom begins (Matt 25:31-46). The fact that the Body of Christ returns with Him at the Revelation demands that we be removed prior to that event. Although PreWrath  advocates argue for a removal of the church about ¾ of the way through Israel’s Tribulation their charts are as perplexing as they are preposterous.
Chart: Prophecy and Mystery
|Prophecy – Israel – Earth||Mystery – Church – Heaven|
|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
|The body given a position in heaven (Eph.
|Christ to be its King (Jer.23:5;Isa. 9:6,7).||Christ its living Head (Eph.1:19-23; Col.
|The kingdom prophesied “since the world
|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
|The Gentiles to be blessed through
Israel’s instrumentality (Gen.22:17,18;Zech.
|The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s
|The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel’s
Rise (Isa. 60:1-3; Zech.8:22, 23).
|The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s fall
|Prophecy mainly concerns nations as such
(Isa. 2:4; Ezek.37:21,22).
|The mystery concerns individuals (Rom.
|1. Prophecy concerns blessings, both material
2. 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; Acts1:6-8;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 (Luke1:70;IIPet. 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 under- stand 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).
This chart adapted from Cornelius Stam
 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.
 Romans 9-11 Explains Israel’s past, present and future. Regardless of the tradition that told you otherwise, none of the Covenants God made with Israel were ever retracted nor given to the Body of Christ in the revelation of the mystery Paul received (Rom. 16:25). The Body of Christ is merely the provisional beneficiary of His work through Israel during this her blindness, only however, “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). Indemnifying this are prophesies God gave Israel for her future which still includes the seventieth week (7 years) of Daniel’s prophecy that must be fulfilled by her (see Dan. 9:24- “thy people”). Paul’s explanation in Romans 9 through 11 makes clear God’s intention for Israel in the future. Romans 9 tells us the Covenants of Israel are not set aside by Gospel, and the blinding of Israel led to God’s mercy to the Gentiles. Romans 10 proves Israel’s attempt at law keeping wasn’t accepted because self-righteousness is not a ground of salvation and provides a way for Gentiles to be saved. Only our humble faith in Christ’s satisfaction of the law, and so be “justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Finally, Romans 11 warns against boasting the church replaced Israel. It reveals although temporarily blind, God’s program for Israel is still on. In due time she will emerge when “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) and the church is gone.
 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).
 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.(Deuteronomy 7:6)
 Daniel is part of the prophetic landscape of earth and thus features Israel. In order to fit the pieces together leading to the Kingdom, we need to understand Daniel’s seventy weeks. Remember, the vision was delivered by the angel Gabriel (Dan. 9:21), to the prophet Daniel, for “thy people” (Jews) concerning “thy holy city” (Jerusalem; see Dan. 9:24). Although it is a comprehensive narrative, the prophecy is incomplete; it’s missing a single week of seven years that must be fulfilled through Israel according to the Davidic Covenant and the prophetic Word (Dan. 9:24-27). The Jewish prophet Daniel saw the Lord’s first presentation of the Kingdom in a prophecy he foretold of seventy weeks of seven years (for Israel) leading to the cutting off of the Messiah (Dan. 9:24-26). With the Davidic Covenant in mind, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ began preaching “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). This of course was God’s offer to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16) and fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. When Jesus was officially rejected on the exact day Daniel’s seventieth week was to begin, the prophetic calendar for Israel stopped; allowing for a parenthetic body to be inserted into the fabric of God’s providence- a mystery that was unknown by the prophets- called the church. However, this left unfulfilled one seven year period the prophets and dispensational scholars refer to as the time of Jacob’s (Israel) trouble (Jer. 30:7); the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; Joel 1:15, 2:1; etc); a time of trouble (Dan. 12:1); and the Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21-29). Bear in mind, the day of the Lord is a Jewish phrase used by at least nine Jewish prophets that centers on earth and concerns Israel not the church (see Zech 12-14; Matthew 24; Rev. 12: the focus is Jerusalem and the abomination of desolation in the Temple Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4). The Body of Christ is NOT in view during the time of Jacob’s trouble!
 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).
 Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:1-4; compare Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21.
 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. (Hebrews 9:16-17)
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).
 Paul explains this very clearly in Ephesians 3:1-9.
 Cornelius Stam has written extensively on this. PMI also offers more on Prophecy and the Mystery.
 God made 5 unilateral covenants with Israel, none with the Body of Christ. We are merely the beneficiaries through Jesus.
 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;
 More information on the mystery nature of the Body of Christ discussed in Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:24-27.
 TO REITERATE IN TERMS AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE: If the Body of Christ (church) is present on earth during Israel’s tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Zeph. 1-2), the Holy Spirit went to great lengths to keep us from knowing it. To wit, while we can easily find Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations on earth during the tribulation – aka “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15), the heavenly Body of Christ – which has been promised deliverance from this divine punishment (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1) – is conspicuously absent (Rev. 6-19). Since we are not mentioned anywhere, it is clear to objective minded students the Lord has mysteriously removed us, “in a moment in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:51). Hallelujah to the Lamb, Jesus Christ our Lord!
Antichrist, aka the beast. This “Beast” is the “little horn” of (Dan_7:24-26), and “desolator” of (Dan_9:27), the “abomination of desolation” of (Mat_24:15), the “man of sin” of (2Th_2:4-8), earth’s last and most awful tyrant, Satan’s fell instrument of wrath and hatred against God and the Jewish saints. He is, perhaps, identical with the rider on the white horse of (Rev_6:2), who begins by the peaceful conquest of three of the ten kingdoms into which the former Roman empire will then be divided, but who soon establishes the ecclesiastical and governmental tyranny described in Daniel 7, 9, 11; Revelation 13. To him, Satan gives the power which he offered to Christ. (Mat_4:8); (Mat_4:9); (Rev_13:4). (Old Scofield Study Bible)
We have information explaining the facts while exposing the fallacies of this confusing ruse.