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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 4: The Mysteries of the Faith
Throughout the first part of 1 Timothy chapter 3, Paul discussed guidelines for the selection of qualified supervisors and servants in a Christian assembly – which are in most translations referred to as bishops and ministers – and we made some summary statements concerning Paul’s mention of the “mystery of the faith” in verse 9, where he had instructed that reverent servants of the assembly should “not be double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not shamefully desirous of gain, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” Ostensibly, a sinful man should not be able to hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, where we see Paul infer that a clear conscience is the product of a moderate lifestyle and keeping of the law. Now in the closing verses of the chapter Paul will mention the “mystery of piety”, or as the King James Version has it, the “mystery of godliness”, and so that we may understand what it is that Paul means by referring to these mysteries, we shall discuss them as he has referred to them throughout his epistles, because they should really not be mysteries any longer.
But before we undertake that endeavor, here we see that Paul addresses Timothy on a personal note. We left off just short of the closing verses of 1 Timothy chapter 3, where Paul had concluded his summary of the credentials which he thought necessary for a man to have before being selected for the leadership of a Christian assembly, that, as Paul had explained, he should have conducted his life in an exemplary manner and Paul gave examples of such conduct. Now we shall continue our discussion where Paul tells his younger companion:
14 These things I write to you hoping to come to you shortly [א and the MT have “come to you more quickly”; the text follows A, C, and D], 15 and if I delay, that you would know how it is necessary to conduct yourself among the household of Yahweh, which is the assembly of Yahweh who lives, a pillar and foundation of the truth.
Here we see that as he was writing this epistle, Paul had expected to come to Timothy shortly. A little later on, in verse 13 of chapter 4 of this epistle, he expresses this intent once again where he says “Until I come, you attend to the reading, the exhortation, the teaching…” As we saw when we presented the opening chapter of this epistle, Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus, ostensibly after the trouble with the silversmiths described in Acts chapter 19, which was most likely the Spring of 56 AD. In 1 Timothy chapter 1 Paul wrote “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia”, and in the opening verse of Acts chapter 20 we read “And after the uproar was ceased [which was the uproar with the silversmiths that is recorded in Acts chapter 19], Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.” So this passage also infers that Timothy was left behind in Ephesus.
Here we also see that where Paul had given Timothy all of those instructions as to how bishops and ministers should conduct themselves, where he says here that “if I delay, that you would know how it is necessary to conduct yourself”, he encouraged Timothy to live in the same exemplary manner which he expected him to present as a model of Christian behavior to the other Christians at Ephesus. But it is also apparent that Paul gave Timothy all of these instructions because of the problems in Ephesus, wanting Timothy to reinforce them among the Ephesians, and if Timothy were to teach these things he also should be expected to live by them.
Concerning Paul’s reference to “a pillar and foundation of the truth”, this seems not to be a reference to Yahweh, who is Truth, but rather it seems to be a reference to Timothy, whose obligation it was to be a bearer of truth. A pillar or a foundation, holds something, whether it be something actual or something allegorical. In the prayer of Hannah for example, which is found in 1 Samuel chapter 2, the “pillars of the earth” upon which Yahweh had set the world are allegories for the leaders of Israel which Yahweh had raised up to ensure the continuation of His Kingdom in Israel. Likewise here, Paul tells Timothy in verse 9 of this chapter that servants of the assembly hold the mystery of the faith. So now Paul makes an allegory of Timothy himself, that Timothy, teaching the Gospel while maintaining himself as an example of good Christian conduct before men, would be a pillar and a foundation of the truth of God. In this same manner did Paul refer to the apostles James, Peter and John as those “who seemed to be pillars”, in Galatians chapter 2.
Now Paul himself is in Makedonia writing this epistle, and He had initially planned on going to Corinth and spending the winter in Corinth, as he wrote at the end of the first epistle to the Corinthians before he had departed from Ephesus. Then, some time during the initial stage of his travels, he decided instead to winter in Nicopolis, which is in Epirus and north-west of Corinth. This is clear from another epistle he had written just before 1 Timothy, which is the epistle to Titus. Paul must have received a letter from Corinth in answer to 1 Corinthians, and he delayed going to Corinth and spent the subsequent winter at Nicopolis instead. He gave his reasons for that decision in the opening chapters of 2 Corinthians, which was written as he wintered in Nicopolis, and as both Titus and Timothy were present with him. So Titus met Paul in Corinth as Paul had requested of him in Titus chapter 3. But Timothy also went to Paul in Nicopolis some time after receiving this epistle, where here we learn that Paul had hoped to come to him instead. But we do not know why Timothy left Ephesus and went to Nicopolis, rather than following the plan presented here by Paul, and there is nothing in the Scriptures to inform us.
So according to this epistle, Timothy would be expected to remain in Ephesus at least until Paul’s planned return, and instead we see Timothy in Nicopolis with both Paul and Titus as 2 Corinthians was being written only a short time after this epistle was written. From there, Timothy accompanied Paul in his visit to Achaia and on to the Troad. This is inferred by Timothy’s presence at the writing of 2 Corinthians, and it is confirmed by Luke in Acts 20:2 where he tells us that Paul journeyed through Greece for about three months, then went on to the Troad and Timothy remained among those in his company.
From there, we know that Timothy went on to Jerusalem with Paul, and was certainly arrested along with Paul because Paul announced his release when he wrote the epistle to the Hebrews, which, as we have established, must have been written while Paul was under arrest in Caesareia. Another man in Paul’s company, Aristarchus the Macedonian, also must have been arrested with Paul, since he was sent to Rome with him and is still with him in some of the epistles which were later written from Rome. However by the time Paul is sent to Rome, over two years after his arrest and still in bonds, only Luke and Aristarchus are with him (Acts 27:1-2). So Timothy must have been released from Caesareia, where Paul announced his release when he wrote the epistle to the Hebrews. Later, 2 Timothy was written by Paul while he was in bonds in Rome and expecting the outcome of his trial before Caesar, where Paul asked him to come to him once again. So we can pinpoint where this epistle was written in the context of the Book of Acts, amidst the events of Acts chapter 20 which are described in verses 1 and 2.
Continuing with Paul’s admonishment to Timothy:
16 And professedly, great [D has “and we profess: how great”] is the mystery of piety: Who has been manifest in flesh, justified in Spirit, has appeared to Messengers, has been proclaimed among nations, is believed in the society, taken up in splendor.
This is the final verse of chapter 3 of the epistle, and we are going to take a long digression to discuss two concepts which Paul mentioned here in this chapter: “the mystery of the faith” and “the mystery of piety”.
In the Roman Catholic Church especially, one often hears of the mysteries of the faith, but they are never properly explained. For example, we read under the article The mystery of faith at Wikipedia:
In theology, an article of faith or doctrine which defies man's ability to grasp it fully, something that transcends reason, is called "a mystery of the faith". The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of the Trinity as "a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the 'mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God'", and it declares: "The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them." The Church itself is "a mystery of the faith".
First I have a digression, to explain why the concept of a trinity is evil. The concept of the trinity leaves open the possibility that there can be an aspect of God apart from Christ. That leaves a place at the table of God's communion for those who deny Christ. That in turn lets Jews deceive Christians into thinking that Jews worship the same God, but that is not true since God is Christ and Christ is God. As Christ said, no man gets to God except through Him. God being Christ and Christ being God, there is no room for Jews or others inn the communion of God. The true understanding of God and Christ slams the door shut on Jews and Muslims and anyone else.
Here I have cited this particular passage from Wikipedia because it is a fair representation of what I myself recall from Catholicism as a youth. But we must ask: is the word of God really that complicated and difficult to understand? And we should refuse to affirm that question, because here Paul of Tarsus is not telling us that piety, or godliness, should continue to be a mystery, or that we cannot understand what it is, but rather he is telling us what it is, he is actually defining it here. Since Paul defines it here, it should no longer be a mystery.
In 1 Corinthians 13:2 Paul had asserted that he understood all mysteries, where he said “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” But Paul never mentioned any mysteries which he did not intend to reveal to his readers, with the exception perhaps of those private mysteries of the sort which he mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:2, mysteries which occur in communications between individuals and God, and which should be held privately.
The Majority Text has this last verse of 1 Timothy chapter 3 to read in part that “God has been manifest...”, where our reading follows the texts of the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), and Ephraemi Syri (C), and Claromontanus (D). But in any event, Paul certainly is referring back to Yahweh God where he is asserting that the mystery of piety is that He has been manifest in the flesh. Therefore the mystery of piety is that Yahweh God has come in the flesh as a man, and that man, of course, can only be Yahshua Christ. With the announcement of the Gospel of Christ and the epistles of the apostles, there should be no mystery to our Christian faith, as Paul actually explained everything which he has called a mystery. Those things may be mysteries to outsiders, but they should not be mysteries to Christians.
In the world of the New Testament, there were mystery religions, ancient pagan religious schools where participation was limited to initiates, and the secrets associated with any particular cult were forbidden to be revealed to outsiders. The 5th century BC Greek historian Herodotus mentioned the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries, and said that he was not able to reveal its secrets. So Paul’s mentions of Christian mysteries are to be understood in that context: that these things may not have been understood by those outside of the Faith, but they certainly should be understood by Christians, as he explained them. Ministers of the assemblies held the mysteries of the Faith because it was their duty to explain them as well. The Roman Catholic Church only sought to remystify things which the Prophets, the Gospels and Paul of Tarsus explain very clearly.
Referring to this same mystery in other places in his epistles, in 2 Corinthians 5:19 Paul has said that “Yahweh was within Christ reconciling the Society to Himself”. Likewise in Colossians chapter 2 Paul said of Christ “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Divinity bodily”. Before Paul made that statement in Colossians chapter 2, he had said that the purpose of his struggle was so that his readers and those who did not yet know him would “be encouraged in their hearts, being brought together in love, and to all riches of the certainty of understanding in the knowledge of the mystery of the Anointed of Yahweh.” Therefore Paul was explaining the mystery, so that his readers would understand it, and therefore it is a mystery no longer: Christians should be able to understand it from Paul’s explanations. The Catholic Church is lying, where it claims that this “defies man's ability to grasp it fully”.
In my opinion, the Roman Catholic Church must keep the nature of Christ a mystery, in spite of Paul’s explanations, because an understanding of the true nature of Christ as God more clearly reveals His purpose for the children of Israel and betrays the error of Roman Catholic universalism. Yahshua Christ said that “I and My Father are One”, not three, and when Philip asked Him to “show us the Father”, He answered and said “For so long a time I am with you and you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father! How do you say 'show us the Father'?”
In that same chapter of John, chapter 14, Yahshua Christ also asserted that He Himself is the Holy Spirit, where He said “15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” So Christ as the Holy Spirit is the Comforter as well as the Father. Therefore in Colossians chapter 2 and 2 Corinthians chapter 5 Paul was revealing the mystery of God, that the physical body of the Son is only a fleshly vessel for the Spirit of Yahweh God Himself to inhabit. Therefore we read in Isaiah 9: “6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
This is apparent in the Gospels as well, for instance, in John chapter 2. In the Old Testament a temple was built, and the Spirit of Yahweh inhabited that temple. But in the New Testament, the temple of Yahweh is the body of Christ. So we read: “19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body.”
In 1 Timothy chapter 1 Paul referred to Christ as “the king of the ages, the incorruptible, invisible, only God”, and of course there is only One God, and He is the Father, and He is the Holy Spirit, and He is also Yahshua Christ the Son, or whatever else He in times past may have chosen for Himself to be, such as the burning in the bush or the fire on the mountain or, as Paul also said in his first epistle to the Corinthians, the Rock in the Desert, which was Christ. All of these were only physical manifestations so that men could perceive with their eyes the presence of the invisible God. So Yahweh is the invisible God, and Christ is a visible manifestation of that same God as a man, telling Philip that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father!”
Yahweh our God can be God the Father, and He can be God the Son, who lived His life as a man for an example to men, so everything He did – including His recitations of prayer – was done in the manner which He expects of men. So He did pray to Himself as a role model for men. There is no longer anything which should be mysterious about that, as Paul of Tarsus revealed these mysteries in his epistles. In my opinion, if Yahweh could not be all of these things at once, then He cannot be God, and there is no other God. But in the revelation of this mystery, we see that Yahweh could indeed exist as Christ, the fullness of the Divinity bodily, and the fullness of His Divinity spiritually still existed outside of Christ – so we have the voice from Heaven and the Spirit descending as a dove for a sign unto men, while He could function as Christ and as the Father in Heaven simultaneously. The carnal mind cannot understand this, but Paul’s intended readers had the mind of Christ, as he asserted in 1 Corinthians chapter 2.
But how does this conflict with the universalism of the Church of Rome? Because the portion of Paul’s explanations of the nature of Christ which most clearly betrays Roman Catholic universalism is not properly taught, where in Romans chapter 7 Paul had written: “1 Are you ignorant, brethren (I speak to those who know the law,) that the law lords over the man for as long a time as he should live? 2 For a woman married to a living husband is bound by law; but if the husband should die, she is discharged from the law of the husband: 3 so then as the husband is living, she would be labeled an adulteress if she were found with another man; but if the husband should die, she is free from the law, she is not an adulteress being found with another man. 4 Consequently, my brethren, you also are put to death in the law through the body of Christ; for you to be found with another, who from the dead was raised in order that we should bear fruit for Yahweh. 5 Indeed when we were in the flesh, the occurrences of fault, which were through the law, operated in our members for the bearing of fruit for death; 6 but now we are discharged from the law, being put to death in that which we were held, so that we are bound in newness of Spirit, and not oldness of letter.”
To be discharged from the Law, Paul’s readers must have at one time been liable to a penalty under the law. Only the children of Israel were ever put under the law, and the law was only given to the children of Israel (Psalm 147:19-20), so Paul is explaining to the Romans the discharge from the law which the children of Israel had attained in the death of the husband – Yahweh God in the flesh. For the Husband to die and release the children of Israel from the law, Yahweh had to die, and therefore Yahshua Christ must be Yahweh, whom Paul says here “has been manifest in the flesh”. If Yahshua Christ were merely the Son, then He could not release Israel from the law by dying, as the Old Covenant was not made with the Son, and the children of Israel would have no redemption, because He could not be the Husband who released them from the law! This is what Paul is teaching in Romans chapter 7. Furthermore, if Yahshua Christ were merely the Son, then He could not justly be the bridegroom of Israel, as it is an abomination to God for a son to have his father's wife.
So this mystery is revealed through the Gospel, through the words of the prophets, and through the epistles of Paul, and after the spread of the Gospel and the apostolic age it need not be a mystery any longer, at least to Christians: that Yahshua Christ is Yahweh God manifest in the flesh, and He was manifest in the flesh for the explicit purposes which were stated beforehand by God Himself in the words of the prophets.
But the understanding of this also helps to further reveal the fact that Yahshua Christ only came “for the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, and what was meant by that, so that His redemption is not universal but only for those who were under the law, as Paul had also written to the Galatians, and that fact betrays the error of Catholic Universalism. The entire purpose of His coming related only to His relationship with and promises to the children of Israel, and that leads us to discuss another mystery: the Mystery of the Kingdom. Therefore we shall repeat 1 Timothy 3:16, in order to discuss other aspects of Paul’s words which relate to this other mystery:
16 And professedly, great [D has “and we profess: how great”] is the mystery of piety: Who has been manifest in flesh, justified in Spirit, has appeared to Messengers, has been proclaimed among nations, is believed in the society, taken up in splendor.
Here we shall focus on Paul’s statements that Christ “has been proclaimed among nations” and “is believed in the society”. Note these phrases are in the present tense relative to the time in which Paul had written.
The patriarch Abraham was promised by Yahweh God, as it is recorded in Genesis chapter 17, that “4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. [It is this which Paul refers to where in Romans chapter 4 he says that Yahweh “call things not existing as existing”.] 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” The mission of Paul of Tarsus, as Christ Himself had related it to Hananias in Acts chapter 9, was that “he is a vessel chosen by Me who is to bear My Name before both the Nations and kings of the sons of Israel.” So Paul later told Herod Agrippa II, in Acts chapter 26, “6, And now for the hope of the promise having been made by Yahweh to our fathers I stand being judged 7 for which our twelve tribes serving in earnest night and day hope to attain, concerning which hope I am charged by the Judaeans….” So here we see that the stated purpose of Paul of Tarsus is congruent to the fulfillment of the original promise to Abraham. Paul had written in Romans chapter 15 that “8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers,” as it also says in the opening chapter of Luke that the purpose of God was “72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham….”
In describing the fulfilment of that promise to Abraham and that hope of the twelve tribes – a hope to which the Jews were opposed – Paul had also written to the Romans, perhaps two years before his address before Herod, and said: “13 Indeed, not through the law is the promise to Abraham or to his offspring, that he is to be the heir of the Society, but through righteousness of faith. 14 For if they from of the law are heirs, the faith has been voided, and the promise annulled. [Meaning that Israel was not being saved by keeping the law.] 15 For the law results in wrath, so where there is no law, neither is there transgression. [As Paul explained later, in Romans chapter 7, Yahweh died to release Israel from these punishments that they were subject to under the law.] 16 Therefore from of the faith, that in accordance with favor, then the promise is to be certain to all of the offspring, not to that of the law only, but also to that of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all [Paul asserts that Abraham is father of the Romans, as well as the father of Paul]; 17 (just as it is written, ‘That a father of many nations I have made you,’) before Yahweh whom he trusted, who raises the dead to life, and calls things not existing as existing [the nations which descended from Abraham’s seed, the same nations to whom Paul intended to bring the Gospel, they did not exist at the time the promise was given]; 18 who contrary to expectation, in expectation believed, for which he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, ‘Thus your offspring will be.’ [The Scripture does not teach that many nations became Abraham’s seed, as the Roman Catholic Church does; rather, the Scripture teaches that Abraham’s seed became many nations, according to the declaration of God in the Old Testament promises. Paul now explains why this was contrary to expectation:] 19 And he not being weak in the faith, nor having considered his own body by this time being dead, being about a hundred years old, and the deadness of the womb of Sarah, 20 but at the promise of Yahweh he did not doubt in disbelief, rather he was strengthened in faith, giving honor to Yahweh, 21 and having full satisfaction that what He has promised, He is also capable of doing; 22 for that reason also ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ [Abraham was accounted righteous because he believed God, that even in his advanced age, he would have offspring which would become many nations, upon whom these promises would fall. So a short time later Sarah became pregnant with Isaac. In that belief, as Paul is about to explain, if we are subject to the promises by being of those offspring of Isaac through Jacob, we also may be accounted righteous by believing them, where he continues and says:] 23 Moreover it was not written regarding him only, that it was accounted to him 24, but also regarding us, to whom it is destined to be accounted, to those who believe in He who raised Yahshua our Prince from death, [meaning that we must believe God and the truth of these promises; if we do not believe the truth of these promises, then we cannot be rendered righteous, as Abraham was] 25 who was handed over for reason of our transgressions, and was raised for reason of our acquittal.” [None of this means that we should not seek to keep the law. Paul went on to explain later in the epistle that Christians should voluntarily keep the law. Christ had said “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”] Later, in Romans chapter 7, Paul explained why Christ was handed over for the transgressions of the seed of Abraham in the children of Israel, and how they would be acquitted: because Christ was Yahweh manifested in the flesh come to die so that Israel would be released from the judgements of the law. Otherwise, all Israel would be liable to death under the law, and the promises made to Abraham could never be fulfilled.
This is the Wisdom of God which Paul taught in a mystery, which only those who have the Spirit of God can understand, as Paul asserted in 1 Corinthians chapter 2: that He would keep His promises to the fathers – as it is announced in the opening chapter of the Gospel of Luke – by coming as a man and dying on their behalf, freeing them from the judgments of the law so that they would not be under the penalty of death to which all of the children of Israel were subject under the law. So Paul went on to explain to the Corinthians, in chapter 10 of the epistle, that their fathers were also baptized in the cloud and the sea with Moses, and that they and the nations around them, which were “Israel according to the flesh”, had been sacrificing at the altars of devils instead of the altar of God. Only the children of Israel were expected to sacrifice to God, since only they had the law. Romans chapter 4, 1 Corinthians chapter 10, and Galatians chapters 3 and 4 all explicitly reveal Paul’s understanding of the Mystery of the Kingdom. Christ had said to His disciples that “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables”, as it is recorded in Mark chapter 4. By saying “to them that are without”, in the context in which the words were spoken He must have been referring to the mixed multitudes in Judaea who were outside of the covenants and promises of God (see also Matthew 13:11, Luke 8:10).
In Romans chapter 11, Paul spoke of the mystery of natural olive branches and wild olive branches and he said “25 For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, lest you be wise on account of yourselves, that hardness in part has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Nations arrives. 26 And in that manner all of Israel shall be delivered; just as it is written, “From out of Zion shall come the Deliverer, and He shall turn away impiety from Jakob.’ 27 ‘And this to them is the covenant from Me, when I should remove their guilt.’ 28 Certainly concerning the good message, they are on your account enemies; but concerning the chosen, beloved on account of the fathers.” Since the beginning of Romans chapter 9, Paul had been comparing the Israelites in Judaea, his “kinsmen according to the flesh”, to the Edomites in Judaea, those who he had said were “not all Israel” and “vessels of destruction”. Those Israelites who continued to reject the Gospel were no better than the enemies of the early Christians, but would nevertheless be saved in the end, as Paul said later in the chapter that “30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” This, of course, refers to Israelites among the Judaeans, the vessels of mercy, and has nothing to do with Edomites, the vessels of destruction. Paul had been comparing the two groups since the beginning of Romans chapter 9.
So we must ask, when had the Romans “in times past… not believed God”, if the Word of God was only given to the children of Israel? In Romans chapter 1, Paul had told them in reference to the pagans amongst the Romans, that they had “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator...” and “for this cause God gave them up unto vile affections...” Yet scouring the Old Testament, these words can only refer to the ancient children of Israel. However the Romans, even in their paganism, had ultimately founded a society based on the rule of law, and Paul commended them for that in Romans chapter 2 where he said that they “not having law, themselves are a law; who exhibit the work of the law written in their hearts”. This was a direct reference to the promises of God concerning the children of Israel found in Jeremiah chapter 31, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
The Romans, as Paul explicitly indicated in Romans chapter 4, were of the nations of Abraham descended from Jacob Israel. While this is somewhat evident in what now remains of the records of ancient secular history, Paul asserts it confidently, and where he says concerning this mystery of the branches that “I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, of this mystery…. that hardness in part has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Nations arrives. And in that manner all of Israel shall be delivered”, he expected the Romans to be informed of this as well. He did not want them to be ignorant of any mystery. Therefore it should be understood that the wild olive branches were Israelites of the ancient dispersions of Israel who were not culturally acclimated in the law of God, but who nevertheless, because they were of the seed of Israel, exhibited the law inscribed in their hearts. Those wild olive branches were grafted back onto the olive tree of Israel in Christ, so that even in their disobedience, all Israel shall be saved. The “hardness in part” was the refusal of the Israelites among the Judaeans to hear the Gospel, and going along with the enemies of Christ among their leaders, Christ was crucified, so all Israel could be saved – the nation as a wife saved collectively from the penalty of death they had all faced under the judgements of the law.
Paul mentions this mystery again in Romans chapter 16 where he wrote in the closing of the epistle that “25 Now with ability you are to stand fast in accordance with my good message and the proclamation of Yahshua Christ; in accordance with a revelation of mystery having been kept secret in times eternal, 26 but being made manifest now, through the prophetic writings; in accordance with the command of the eternal Yahweh, for the submission of faith to all the Nations….” Once again, Paul had referred to a mystery, but said that the mystery was “being made manifest now”, meaning that after the time of Paul’s writing and ministry, so he called it the “revelation of mystery”, and therefore with his explanations to the Romans it should no longer be a mystery.
Commenting on that passage nearly three years ago, in the last segment of our presentation on the epistle to the Romans, we said that “The children of Israel were told in prophecy such as that found in Genesis chapters 48 and 49 that they were going to become many nations. Paul explained in Romans chapter 4 that the faith of Abraham was the belief that his offspring would become many nations after the promises of Yahweh found in places such as Genesis 17:4-6 and Genesis 35:11. Yet the children of Israel were put off in blindness, since they abandoned Yahweh their God for the gods of the heathens. Now Paul is calling the Romans out of that paganism, and telling them that they are one of the very nations of the children of Israel who have a part in these promises. They must return to Yahweh their God through an obedience to His Christ. A submission of faith is a consent to His commandments even though one is not going to be condemned under His law. That is the story in the prophetic writings which Paul refers to here, and Paul is teaching the fulfilment of those writings. Therefore if any Christian creed is in opposition to the words of the prophets, it is not Christian at all. The only true Christian faith is in the fulfilment of the prophecies concerning the children of Israel, and that is what Paul had taught. Today it is only found in what we call Christian Israel Identity.”
There is church language in the popular translations of Paul’s letters, such as the use of the word adoption, which is misunderstood, mainly because of poor translations. However even with that, Paul is admitted to saying in the King James Version of Romans chapter 9 that the adoption was for the children of Israel according to the flesh, as well as the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God and the promises. Nowhere has it ever been said that these things were for anyone other than the children of Israel.
However where Paul makes a statement, in reference to God, to the “mystery of His will”, we will cite our own translation for clarity, from Ephesians chapter 1: “4 Just as He has chosen us, with Him before the foundation of the Society, for us to be holy and blameless before Him. With love 5 having pre-ordained us into the position of sons through Yahshua Christ for Himself, in accordance with the satisfaction of His will, 6 for the praise of the honor of His favor, of which He has favored us among the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the dismissal of transgressions in accordance with the riches of His favor 8 which He makes abundant for us, with all wisdom and understanding 9 making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His satisfaction, which He purposed within Himself...”
So once again, we should see that the mystery of the will of Yahweh had been made known to men by the time in which Paul wrote his epistle to the Ephesians. Therefore it should be a mystery no longer. The Roman Catholic Church claims that there is a “mystery of the Church”, but Paul informs us that Yahweh chose His people – His church – before the foundation of the world and that He pre-ordained them as sons, and informs us that the revelation of this mystery is “being made manifest now, through the prophetic writings”. In those prophetic writings it is only manifest that the New Testament congregation is the same congregation of people as the Old Testament congregation, as the Word of Yahweh says to the children of Israel in Amos chapter 3 that “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities”, and the grace and mercy and forgiveness and a promise of redemption in Christ is the salvation of those same children of Israel from their iniquities. Therefore it says in Hosea to those same children of Israel: “in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” In 7th and 6th century BC Jerusalem and Palestine Yahweh told the ancient children of Israel that they were not His people, as He sent them off into captivity at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians. But in that same place, in Christ, those same people are called “the Sons of the Living God” because they attained to reconciliation in Christ. So Paul told the Hebrews that Christ was “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17), and he told the Corinthians that his ministry was “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18), as Daniel prophesied that the Messiah would “make reconciliation for iniquity” (Daniel 9:24).
Concerning this same thing Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 3 that “2 if indeed you have heard of the management of the family of the favor of Yahweh which has been given to me in regard to you, 3 seeing that by a revelation the mystery was made known to me (just as I had briefly written before, 4 besides which reading you are able to perceive my understanding in the mystery of the Anointed,) 5 which in other generations had not been made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed in His holy ambassadors and prophets by the Spirit, 6 those Nations which are joint heirs and a joint body and partners of the promise in Christ Yahshua, through the good message 7 of which I have become a servant in accordance with the gift of the favor of Yahweh which has been given to me, in accordance with the operation of His power.”
So the revelation of the mystery was made known to Paul, who, as he attested in Acts chapter 26, ended up in bonds “for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers… unto which promise our twelve tribes... hope to come”, and after Paul taught that mystery to the Ephesians, he speaks to them here concerning the management of the family, and tells them that they ought to perceive his understanding in that mystery, which had not been known in the past but which “is now revealed” by both the apostles and in the words of the prophets. So Paul proceeds in that same chapter of Ephesians and says, in a passage full of language which the church translations distort, that: “8 To me, the least of all saints, has been given this favor, to announce the good message to the Nations - the unsearchable riches of the Anointed, 9 and to enlighten all concerning the management of the household of the mystery which was concealed from the ages by Yahweh, by whom all things are being established.” These are the nations from Abraham’s seed which Paul described in Romans chapter 4, and the Nations surrounding the Corinthians who are “Israel according to the flesh” which Paul describes in 1 Corinthians chapter 10. The covenants, mercy, promises, and adoption are for Israel, as Paul described in Romans chapter 9, and the New Covenant was made exclusively with the house of Israel, as Paul attested from Jeremiah the prophet in Hebrews chapter 8. There is no other mystery concerning the people of God that Paul had revealed in his epistles, and therefore this is the revelation of the mystery of the Kingdom. Now this mystery is no longer a mystery to Christians, because it was fully revealed by Paul.
Then in Ephesians chapter 5 Paul mentions another mystery and says: “31 ‘For this reason shall a man leave father and mother and shall join to his wife, and the two shall be for one flesh.’ 32 This mystery is great, and I speak for Christ and for the assembly.” In the prophecy of Hosea, one of those prophets of which Paul spoke where he informs us that the mystery kept secret since times eternal was “being made manifest now, through the prophetic writings”, we read a promise of Yahweh God concerning those same ancient children of Israel and it says: “19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.”
This promise was not made to a church: it was made to the children of Israel who were being taken into the Assyrian captivity, who were later known as the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, who were later described in Ezekiel chapter 34 where it says “5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.” While there were Israelites scattered in Europe even before this time, from whom came the Romans and many of the Greeks, these sheep taken into captivity ultimately became the Germanic nations, such as the Galatians to whom Paul had said that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” and “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Only the ancient children of Israel were ever under the law to have such a schoolmaster.
Having promised to betroth Himself to the children of Israel in Hosea, Yahshua Christ is called the bridegroom throughout the Gospel, and only the children of Israel could be the bride. So Paul wrote in Romans chapter 7 that Yahweh the Husband died to release Israel the wife from the law, so that He could take Israel the wife to Himself once again, in the arisen Christ. In this understanding, all of these mysteries converge. For this reason, as Paul explained in Hebrews chapter 2, it was important that Christ had “taken upon Himself of the offspring of Abraham, from which He was obliged in all respects to become like the brethren”, and in Romans chapter 8 Paul had attested “29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Once again, He only foreknew, or acknowledged in the prophets, the children of Israel, and he only predestinated, as promised in the prophets, the same children of Israel. But if we imagine, as the Roman Church does, that Yahshua Christ would take anyone to Himself other than the children of Israel, then they accuse Him of that fornication which is by the law, and to them all of these things remain a mystery, even though Paul had clearly explained them and they are no longer a mystery to Christians.
In Ephesians chapter 6 Paul professes that it is his mission “to make known the Mystery of the Gospel”, so once again, there should be no more mystery at all, since all of the children of Israel should now know the mystery of the Gospel. When we examine the promise and purpose of the Gospel in the words of the prophets, we find no purpose outside of that which is given in Isaiah chapter 52 where the Word of Yahweh says “7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Paul himself cited this passage in reference to his ministry in Romans chapter 10. So we see once again, that the purpose of the Gospel of Christ was to “say unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Zion is also a reference to the ancient children of Israel, the “lost sheep” for whom Christ had come.
In Colossians chapter 1 Paul speaks of a mystery which is now revealed where he says that he had “become a servant in accordance with the administration of the household of Yahweh which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of Yahweh [the Word of Yahweh given in the pages of those same Old Testament prophets], the mystery which has been concealed from the ages and from the races, but now has been made visible to His saints, to whom Yahweh did wish to make known what the riches of the honor of this mystery are among the Nations, which is the expectation of honor anointed in you”. Then in Colossians chapter 2 Paul refers to the “the acknowledgment of the mystery of God”, however that acknowledgement must be of the fact that the mystery was already revealed to the saints, which Paul had attested the first chapter of the epistle. Then, in the final chapter of Colossians Paul referred to the “mystery of the Anointed, for which I also have been bound”, which is very much like the language he used in relation to the promises to the twelve tribes he had mentioned in Acts chapter 26, for which he was accused by the Jews. Remember that his Acts chapter 9 commission was to bear the Name of Yahweh “before both the Nations and kings of the sons of Israel,” in accordance with the purpose of the Gospel outlined in Isaiah chapter 52. Then in Acts chapter 22 Paul expressed how he was going to fulfill that commission and that purpose, where speaking of Christ he said: “And He said to me 'Go, because I shall send you off to distant nations.’” Professing that the hope of the gospel was for the twelve tribes, and that he was to go to distant nations, the nations and kings of the sons of Israel were indeed those distant nations, and none of this should be a mystery to any Christian because Paul himself attests to us that he has explained it, and that is precisely what he had explained!
Now to briefly summarize another mystery mentioned by Paul, in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 where he mentions a “mystery of iniquity”. In that same chapter Paul equates this mystery to the lawless, and to the entity who was in his own time seated in the temple of God, pretending for himself to be God. In the context and present tense language in which this passage was originally written, Paul could only have been referring to the Edomite Jews who had taken over the Kingdom of Judaea in the decades before Christ. They were sitting in control of the temple of God when he wrote these words. Where in Revelation chapter 17 we see a reference to “mystery Babylon” which is then related to global trade, we can understand that the same Edomite Jews are at the forefront of all international commerce and banking today. So Paul’s understanding of iniquity was clearly the same as that of Christ, and in that second epistle to the Thessalonians he also instructs his readers so that they may identify it. Therefore, to Christians at least, that also should no longer be a mystery.
The only other mystery which Paul mentions which we have not discussed here is found mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:51, which is related to the resurrection, and Paul reveals that mystery in that same chapter, but that is another subject entirely. So we shall leave this aside.
Here we have discussed all of the other mysteries mentioned and explained by Paul, and nearly all of them are related to the Mystery of God or to the Mystery of the Kingdom. But these things should not be mysteries to Christians, because Paul in his epistles had thoroughly explained them, so that they should no longer be mysteries to those who can hear His words, as Christ had told His disciples at the beginning. All of the mysteries of which Paul had spoken were revealed and explained by Paul himself.
Reading these explanations, in summary we should see that Yahweh had put the children of Israel off into punishment, whom He had called His Bride and the only people whom He knew out of all the families of the earth. Yet He promised to gather them from where He had sent them, and to betroth them anew, by sending them a Gospel of Redemption and Reconciliation at some point in the future. But until that time came, those same children of Israel were under penalty of death for their breaking of the law of the Husband. Then once Christ had died on their behalf, Israel was freed from the judgement of the law, and had the opportunity for reconciliation to Yahweh their God. Paul was the apostle chosen to bring that message of reconciliation to the scattered tribes of Israel, and he went to Europe to do so, because that was primarily where the children of Israel were scattered, as it is explained in Isaiah 66:19, for example. However there were other apostles, and some of those others went to Parthia (where Peter was later found in Babylon, according to his own epistles), and to the Scythians, and to the isles of the West.
So by the time Paul wrote this epistle, the scattered nations of Israel had indeed heard the Gospel, to a great degree, and Christ was believed on throughout the Society, or the “world”, and the apostles had already fulfilled the so-called “great commission” of Matthew chapter 28. But later in the New Testament, in the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, there are references to “the mystery of God” and “the mystery of the Woman”, and we are compelled to discuss those, but here we shall only do so briefly.
In Revelation chapter 10 we read “7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.” We would assert that this is related to the time of the Reformation, where the little book opened by the angel is the Bible which came to be generally available in the hands of the people at that time. But this can only sound as if it were conjectural here, because the space required for a full proof is too great for us this evening.
We read again of this seventh angel in Revelation chapter 11, “15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” We would assert that this also corresponds with the Reformation and the end of the reign of the second beast of Revelation chapter 13, which was the papacy. Once again, however, the space required for a full proof of this assertion is too great for us this evening.
We have already given our proofs of these assertions in Christreich, our commentary on the Revelation of Yahshua Christ.
The last time we read of this seventh angel is in Revelation chapter 16: “16 And he gathered them [the kings of the earth and of the whole world] together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. 17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”
Where it says in verse 17 here “It is done”, that prophecies the fulfilment of what would be done in the days of this seventh angel as it was prophesied earlier in Revelation 10:7, that “the mystery of God should be finished”.
When we gave our commentary for a presentation of this portion of this chapter in Christreich, we equated this passage with the description of the fall of Babylon in Revelation chapter 18, and the gathering of the nations described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, and we asserted that it cannot be fully explained because it is not yet fulfilled. We stand by that assessment today. However our point here is that the “mystery of God” is completed before this last great battle of prophecy, and is completed in the time of this same seventh angel. We would assert that in the rebellion against Roman Catholic dogma and in our collective and independent study of the Word of God which was made possible by the Reformation, the “mystery of God” is completed. That is because even though Paul had clearly explained these mysteries, the Jews and the Roman Catholic Church have only obscured them for all this time, until the advent of what we call Christian Identity. These mysteries lay out in the open for all these centuries and were never clearly taught, but now they are fully explained by Identity Christians. Once Babylon does fall, we will finally be able to prove it to all of our brethren that are in the world. The mysteries of which Paul spoke are all revealed, however they are still a mystery to the Roman Catholic Curch, and instead they are only revealed in our Christian Identity message.