|Robert Houk Hitchcock|
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory;
A "dispensation" in the Bible means an administration, a period of time governed by certain truths and having unique characteristics in how God is able to deal with man. This "administration of God" was given to Paul. He received the knowledge of it and he was the responsible steward for it.
This administration is the MYSTERY. The defining characteristic of the entire administration is that it is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY. This truth defines the age in which we live. This mystery was so important that it was "hid in God."
Something to note here is the usage of the word "mystery." In our literature of the day, certain authors like Christie, Hitchcock (the other one), etc are well-known for their "mysteries." Today mystery is defined by certain literary devices and is meant to be partially hidden or obscured, to be curious, to be difficult to understand, to see only part and then have a twisted or sudden event or ending. That is NOT the Biblical usage of the word "mystery." Biblically a mystery is hidden completely until it is revealed. When it is revealed, it is fully revealed with no hidden or obscure meanings or events.
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. But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
God gave the administration to Paul, and here it is called "my (Paul's) gospel." Did Paul dream it up like our famous secular authors? Did Paul put all the pieces together from his study and knowledge of the Old Testament, and finally conclude the contents of the Mystery? Did Paul use various literary devices in order to portray what must surely have been God's Will? No. None of these are how Paul received it. As we note again, the mystery was kept secret since the world began. It was unknown to Paul, then Paul received it by revelation, and thus it was known by Paul. Then Paul revealed it. The reason it is called Paul's gospel is that he was the one to receive and to reveal it.
In this current administration, "the preaching of Jesus Christ" is to be according to the revelation of the Mystery. Interesting isn't it! Have there been other preachings of Jesus Christ aside from the Mystery? Certainly! Here are several of the many, many examples:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
This is the original preaching of Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, this is the first mention of Jesus Christ in the Bible. This is God's promise of the coming one who would redeem mankind from Adam's fall. However fantastic this promise is, it is not the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery, for the Mystery was hidden until it was revealed to Paul.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
This wonderful section of Isaiah preaches prophetically of the coming Messiah to Israel, and what he would endure and accomplish. It is a tremendous revelation about Jesus Christ according to what he would suffer and endure and accomplish. However, it is not the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery which was hid in God.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
This scripture concerns John the Baptist and his preaching of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was on earth, and beginning his ministry, and John spoke God's Word concerning the Lord Jesus Christ here and what the Lord would do. However, it is still not the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery.
All of these passages- from the original promise of the coming one, to the promises of what he would endure and accomplish, to the promise during his personal presence and what he would provide- preach about the Lord Jesus Christ but none of them deals with the Mystery! The Mystery was so big that God hid it in Himself until God chose to reveal it to Paul so he could then make it known.
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 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[administration] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things.
Ephesians was given by God to Paul to reveal the Mystery! It is an entire Administration of Grace. It was not made known in other ages. The contents of the Mystery had not entered into the mind of man. Here in Ephesians it was revealed that the Gentiles are fellowheirs with Israel. "Gentiles" means "nations." Israel was God's chosen ones out from all the nations. Put them together- you've got EVERYONE ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Now the promise of God (the Messiah) is available to EVERYONE. The promise of eternal life is available to EVERYONE. Every believer is now part of ONE BODY. Paul received this so that he could make all men see what is the administration of the mystery. This administration had been hid in God from the beginning of the world!
I Corinthians 2:1-14
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom[mystery], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
God's wisdom concerning the mystery has been revealed already. We have to again note that God ordained this mystery before the world! And this mystery is unto OUR GLORY. That's absolutely amazing. Unto OUR GLORY! This mystery was/is so great that I Corinthians reveals that had the princes of this world known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. That's an incredible statement of truth. If they had known the mystery- One body made of Jew and Gentile with each having Christ in them- then they would not have crucified the Lord Jesus Christ. Apparently someone would have rather had the Lord Jesus Christ personally present than the Body of Christ with Christ in them.
We have received the spirit which is from God. It is this spirit that makes sense of the spiritual realities to our senses minds. The natural man, only having the 5 senses for his learning, cannot understand the mystery, or any of the things of the spirit of God. But the born-again one can understand because of the spirit within. We can understand the great things of the mystery of God by the spirit of God within us.
What about the enablements that are present for the believer in the age of the mystery?
I Corinthians 12:7
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
Each one in the Body can operate all of the manifestations of the spirit. This is the power of the Church. There are 9 manifestations of the spirit, each with its unique profit. Now with Christ in us, the born-again ones can walk with power!
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Each one in the Body can walk with the love of God. The love of God is part of the nature of the spirit of God within the believer. This love of God is not a highly developed human love. It is not an over-the-top learned human behavior. The spirit of God enables the born-again one to love with the same love that God loves with. Remember John 3:16? God so loved the world...! Now in the age of Grace, the administration of the Mystery, each one can not only walk with the power of God, but also walk in the love of God in the renewed mind manifesting it to others.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Each one in the Body is an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ. We are each and all blessed with all spiritual blessings. In the age of Grace and the administration of the Mystery, each and every born-again one has the same rights, privileges, abilities, and access to the Father. It is a family that is filled with power, with love, with ability.
I Corinthians 15:51-53
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
God had the conclusion of the Mystery hidden
as well until it was revealed to Paul. Not all believers will be asleep
when Christ returns. However, all will be changed. Corruption shall put
on incorruption, and mortal shall put on immortality. The Lord himself
shall descend from heaven with a shout and gather together the Body of
Christ. The great conclusion to the administration of the Mystery will
be the Gathering Together of the church where each and all members will
be changed with a new body and so shall we ever be with the Lord. That's
a dynamite conclusion to a great mystery! Glad we can read the book, but
I can't wait to see the movie!
© Copyright June 1997