Study Papers on "The Mystery"
"THE MYSTERY"- God's Sacred Secret To Complete the Word of God (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:25,26)
vs.25 "...I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you to fulfil the word of God; vs. 26..The mystery which hath been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints:" (Col. 1:25- 26).
Translators in the main have selected the English word, "fulfill" or its equivalent, rather than the English word, "complete" (vs. 25). According to "Webster's New World Dictionary," (1968), the English word, "fulfill," means to carry out something promised, desired, expected, predicted, etc. To say the least, The Mystery was never promised, expected, etc. Consequently, to use the English, "fulfill," is like the blind leading the blind. It is said, "translators follow translators," a form of brainwashing. A case in point: The Douay Version of the Holy Bible, (which is an English translation of the Vulgate used by Roman Catholics) uses the word, "fulfill" (1578). The King James' Version, a Protestant version (1611), also uses "fulfill" -- you be the judge!
In any case, believers are instructed to "make all (saints) see (discern) what (is) the dispensation (stewardship, fellowship) of the mystery which hath been hidden from the ages in God..." (Eph. 3:9). A Christian gentleman, Mr. Moore, who was a Bible teacher from Canada, recently remarked, "the average Christian has not rejected The Dispensation of the Mystery - - he has never even heard of it!" Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with his assessment about rejection concerning the dispensation of the mystery is of small consequence, when compared with his latter comment, "never even heard of it." Regardless, Mr. Moore gave his opinion and personally, I find him not to be far afield. In fact, the gross ignorance of the mystery is very widespread - - it even affects the clergy itself. You are challenged to make your own inquiry and discover for yourself.
An old cliche states, "the more things change, the more things remain the same." Let's put it into our context: as it was in the days of our Lord's flesh, so it is now, - - " making the word of God of none effect through your traditions" (Mark 7:13) Tradition, when spiced with a little slander here and there, is and always has been the weapon of the Evil One (Gen. 3:1-6). Needless to say, he has not changed. In a word, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
The best place to start with any difficulty is the source, e.g.., the Apostle Paul's last letter that he penned: "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me..." [They turned from Paul's teachings of The Mystery, but not from Christ. Ed.] (II Tim. 1:15) Please bear in mind that the heart of Paul's ministry proceeded through Asia. [The Philippians were not included in this group, as Philipi is in Macedonia. Ed.]
Just as the Colossian epistle states (1:25), this Post-Acts dispensation of the mystery was given, among other things, to complete (not fulfil - - see Webster's Dictionary) the word of God. THINK OF THAT! [There were no more revelations or word of God after "The Mystery" books were completed. Ed.]
Without controversy, the crisis of reality as opposed to historical tradition requires an answer. One either accepts the content of The Mystery written by an inspired apostle of God (II Tim. 3:16) or the findings of the uninspired church council's meeting some centuries later. That is, unless you count the inspiration of Satan himself (II Cor. 11:13-15) as the same as the inspiration of God.
When you consider all the circumstances of Paul's last letter, "...turned away from me" (II Tim. 1:15), you sense a prophetic forecast concerning the outcome of coming attractions, i.e., the church councils to come and the disastrous traditions to follow. [It appears those of whom he wrote had left The Mystery teachings and returned to following the traditional path. Ed.]
"History" - in Brief
From the conversion of Paul unto the close of Acts 28:28, the Jewish-Christian hierarchy in the visible church did not reject Paul, but they consistently resisted what Paul called, "My Gospel" (Acts Chapters 15 and 21, Rom. 16:25, 26; Gal. 1:11, 12; 2:2; etc.) This they did even though he affirmed their dispensational advantage (Rom. 3:1, 2; 9:4, etc.) Even so, at Acts 28:28, Israel, nationally, was placed in abeyance. They became "Lo Ammi," a Hebrew word meaning, "not my people" (Hosea 1:9; 3:4).
Paul arrived in Rome in the Spring of 60 A.D.(?) He wrote his first three letters (Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon ), and sent them under the care of Tychicus [his fellow laborer in the Lord - Ed.], in 61 or 62 A.D.(?). His fourth epistle, Philippians, was written either in 62 or 63 A.D.(?)
According to the best accounts, Paul was then released from prison 63 A.D. - 64 A.D.(?) It was probably from Greece that he wrote I Timothy and Titus, desiring to winter at Nicapolis in 64 A.D.(?). He supposedly was rearrested and sent back to Rome in 65 - 66 A.D.(?) In Rome, he wrote his last letter to Timothy (II Timothy) 66 A.D.(?) He was executed in the Spring, 67 A.D.(?).
In any case, if these time frames are correct, the Mystery, which completes the whole canon of scripture, demonstrates the fallacy of so-called tradition relating to the times the books of the New Testament were written. Shortly after Paul's death, Jerusalem was destroyed - - 69-70 A.D.(?).
From 70 A.D. until after the turn of the First Century, church history is a blank. (Eusebius, "The History of the Church.")
It is here that the first of the Ante-Nicean fathers began to write. The writings of these Ante-Nicean fathers, Eusebius' history, testify to the reality of rejection (II Tim. 1:15) in their silence concerning Paul and The Mystery. Any and all light would be "Petrine (of theApostle Peter) Theology," [which were addressed to "The Circumcision," i.e.,Israel and any Gentile proselytes during the Acts period, and concerned the hope of Israel - Ed.] along with the influence of St. James' Court (Acts 21:20). In fact, the best-seller books of the period (Ante-Nicean fathers unto the beginnings of the early church councils - 300-325 A.D.) should have a title, "How to Become a Successful Martyr." Any mention of Paul is manipulated and homogenized into former teachings; particularly so concerning the New Covenant and water baptism, etc.
Historical traditions and teachings which flow from the findings of the several church councils (300 A.D.to 325 A.D.(?) are:
Clergy rule, priestcraft, rituals, ordinances, with many grave clothes of Judaism retained and practiced today.
Established chronology (false), (particularly the writings of John, 85-100 A.D.)
Established holy days (false).
Plato's "Immortality of the Soul," along with other Greek philosophical thinking. [These false conclusions are the basis of cultic societies (I Tim. 6:16). Ed.]
Pagan superstitions concerning the unseen world, angels, etc.
Eastern and Western churches, the guidelines and authorities.
Self-sacrifice, a way for obedience to gain. Illustration: The practice of things, counted for gain. In the Acts Period, Paul personally lived as a Jew, religious-wise. To him at that time, it was counted as gain. Post-Acts things, prior to the Mystery, were counted as gain, NOW, those things are counted as loss, and as dung (Phil 3:4-8, 13).
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Col. 2:8.)
C. E. McLain 10/26/87.
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