A Simple Principle in Bible Study

by Pastor J. C. O'Hair

For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.

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When we compare the statement I Peter 1:10 with the statement in Ephesians 3:9, we at once see the importance of obeying II Timothy 2:15. “rightly dividing the Word of truth.”We are told in I Peter 1:10 that Israel’s prophets foretold the sufferings and glory of Christ. In Ephesians 3:9 we are told that the “dispensation of the mystery” and the “unsearchable riches of Christ” were hid in God and not made known to Israel’s prophets. All through the Book of Acts and through the Epistles of Peter, Paul, James and John we must differentiate between that which Israel’s prophets foretold would come to pass and that which none of them even hinted would come to pass: “not made known to the sons of men in other ages”; “hidden from generations.” Colossians 1:25 and 26. Ephesians 3:3 to 5.

If there has been no change in God’s program since the Epistles were written to the Ephesians and the Colossians, then this is still the Dispensation of the Mystery, which means the Dispensation of that which had been a Mystery until it was revealed by the glorified Christ to and through His Apostle Paul. For the students of the Word of God, for the members of the Church which is the Body of Christ, there should be nothing mysterious, mystical or hidden concerning the dispensation of grace and the mutual inheritance of Head and members of the Body, made alive together, seated together in the highest heavenlies, constituting the One New Man which God is now making, while His program and purpose concerning Israel have been temporarily abandoned. Ephesians 1:9 to 22; Ephesians 2:4 to 17. Aside from the Divine preservation of Israel in the world today God has suspended His covenants and promises with Israel and the other nations until He shall have accomplished that which He purposed in Christ Jesus ages before He made any covenants, concerning His Nation and their land of promise. II Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 3:11.

Israel’s hope is identified with the sufferings and glory of Christ foretold by Israel’s prophets. That hope will be realized when Christ shall be the Son of man on the throne of His glory. Matthew 25:31. There the twelve apostles will be seated with Him. Matthew 19:28. The Son of man is coming in power and great glory, Luke 21:27 to 31. He will bring about the restitution of all things. Acts 3:21 Moses, Samuel, and all of the prophets, spoke of “these days.” Acts 3:24. “These days” were promised in the covenants. Acts 3:25. At that time Christ will govern from David’s throne. Isaiah 9:6 and 7.

“These days” of grace, “these days” of the Body of Christ, are not “these days” of Israel’s hope, foretold by Moses, Samuel and others. “These days” were foreordained before the foundation of the world, but not foretold by Israel’s prophets.

None of the twelve apostles, in their “Acts” ministry, spoke of these days. They referred to a hope and blessings promised by the pen of David, Joel, Amos, Moses, Samuel, and others. Let us be careful not to confuse prophetic promises with the mystery. Let us not confuse the hope of the Body of Christ with Israel’s hope.

For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.