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Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Hello and welcome to Home Bible Study. If this is your first visit to HBS I’m especially glad that you’re here. I pray you’ll take the time to see what we’re about and then opt to return regularly to study your Bible with us.
At the end of last week’s lesson I chose to leave the main path, as it were, and I led you all off onto a side trail instead because of the word “mystery” (Musterion in the Greek), in verse 25. Most of you know this is “standard operating procedure” for me. When a Bible verse or topic comes to mind that matches the one were covering, I have a tendency to “chase it down.” This is what I mean by “side trail.”
Now a side trail isn’t a “bunny trail;” there’s a difference. Bunny trails (like opinions) are long, winding and endless; most of the time they’ll take you nowhere. However, when you follow after a Scripture verse or topic, as we did last week, you’re comparing Scripture with Scripture: “Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’” (Isaiah 28:10) When you elect to do this, you’re actually studying your Bible.
For every precept (teaching) mentioned in a place in the Bible, there is at least one other verse of the same precept. For example, if Daniel mentions a doctrine, it will appear in the book of Matthew, or the book of Revelation.
That's why I left the main trail last week. Not only was it appropriate it was time for you to know the word mystery is better translated secret; meaning something unknown or kept hidden and not something dark and mysterious such as David Copperfield’s magic act. As this pertains to the Sovereign God, He intentionally keeps information hidden from mankind until He decides it is time to reveal it. (Deuteronomy 29:29)
When the fullness of time came He chose to reveal His Grace Age secrets to Saul of Tarsus, a.k.a Paul a zealous Jew. Paul then became the administrator of the mystery in accordance with the will of God and this by revelation, meaning he did not receive the Gospel of God from any man nor was he taught it. Paul received these previously hidden secrets, representing the Divine will of God, from the risen Lord Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
Our Lord revealed many secrets to Paul. Today we call these Church Doctrines.
The Church Doctrine we looked at last week concerned the mystery of redemption or God’s Plan of Salvation in this Dispensation of Grace (see 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; 3:10, 15:1-4, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; Ephesians 1:9, 10; Ephesians 3:3-5, 9, 18, 19, Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 1:25-27, 2:2, 4:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:9, 16).
I returned to verse 25, or to the main trail as you might say, to pick up Paul’s teaching on verse 25. The mystery Paul is specifically speaking of here, to his brethren, is that a partial hardening has happened to Israel.
Let’s read it together.
25: For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
Paul is saying Israel’s hardening was a secret. This information wasn’t revealed in the Old Testament (see Ephesians 3:4-5), Jesus Christ did not speak of it during His earthly ministry, and you won’t find anything said about it in the first part of the Book of Acts. When you get to Acts 13:6, you find Paul on his first missionary journey. He arrives in Paphos, and encounters a Jewish false prophet named Barjesus. Paul rebuked him because he was full of deceit and fraud and he struck Barjesus with blindness for a time. Some say this is a symbolic miracle indicating that Israel is Spiritually “blinded” to God’s Gospel but it also promises a restoration of True Israel in the future.
It’s a fact that only Paul received this secret regarding Israel’s hardening and this came about after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. By stating that it was a mystery (I prefer the word secret), something the Gentiles could not have possibly known, Paul then speaks about certain aspects of this secret i.e. that it is partial and temporary.
The word partial in the Greek is Meros and means: in part, to some degree, and one of the essential parts of a whole; individually. Thus this verse is saying the hardening which has happened to Israel is partial for some Jews did believe in Jesus Christ and were saved. Paul was one of these but Scripture records thousands of Jews being saved by faith. (Acts 2:41)
In addition, the hardening was temporary. We know this because of the word until in v25. The word until is a time indicator. Paul doesn’t disclose when the veil of darkness over Israel will be lifted but he does reveal the future event: the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
The fullness of the Gentiles was a phrase Paul used for the “completion of the Body of Christ, or the filling up of God’s Church. When the last Believer has entered into the Body of Christ by faith, (God alone knows the number of His saints both Jew and Gentile who will “come in”) God intends to remove His Church from this planet. This future experience is known as the Rapture: Behold I tell you a (what) mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead (in Christ Jesus) will be raised imperishable, and we (who are alive) will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-6)
Sometime after the Rapture, God will once again deal primarily with His covenant people Israel. He will return to His prophetic timeline that was interrupted at the Cross of Christ (Psalms 2:1-6; Daniel 9:24-27). The first 3.5 years of the last 7 years of human history are known as the Tribulation. Jesus Christ named the last 3.5 years of this time period the great Tribulation! (Matthew 24:21, 9.)
God’s wrath has been on “hold,” if you’ll permit the expression, since the rejection and subsequent death of His Son. The human race has been the beneficiary of God’s Grace for 2,000 years. But the majority has rejected God’s mercy, His Grace, and the notion that salvation only comes by faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection - they have decided to go their own way.
Scripture reveals that God’s wrath is coming! It could be one day after the Rapture or it could be a hundred years the Bible doesn’t say. But God will inaugurate His prophetic time of Jacob’s trouble. You can bank on it: ‘Alas! For that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s (trouble) distress, But he (true Israel) will be (what) saved from it. (Jeremiah 30:7)
While God is pouring out His righteous wrath on the unbelieving world’s population, He will also, at the same time, continue to offer His Grace and salvation, by faith, to billion of people. We understand that a great multitude will come to believe on Jesus Christ for their salvation following the Rapture of His Church and this includes a Believing remnant of Jews. (Revelation 7:14)
The end result Paul discusses in verse 26:
26a: and so all (true) Israel will be saved;
It’s always a good idea to let Scripture do the talking then you know for certain you’re on the right trail, as it were.
Please turn to Zechariah 13:8-9. This is the LORD God speaking: “It will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third part will be left in it. And I will bring the third part (the believing remnant of Israel) through the fire (of the Tribulation), Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’
One-third of the nation of Israel will come to the realization that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, He’s coming back, believe on Him, and be saved. This is the surviving remnant of Israel or the seed of Psalms 22:30: A seed shall serve him; It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. (The Darby Bible – Psalms 102:18; Daniel 12:1; Isaiah 4:3). The remainder of the Israelites will be cut off as a result of their unbelief.
Let’s finish up verse 26.
26: and so all (true) Israel will be saved; just as it is written (or just as God said) “THE DELIEVERER (note the capitalization; this denotes deity) WILL COME FROM ZION (one of the hills near Jerusalem), HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”
27: “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”
The concept of a Jewish remnant is present throughout the gospels but the word is not.
I pray you see this lines up perfectly with Paul’s teaching on the mystery (secret) concerning Israel’s partial hardening, which was revealed only to him, and after Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Our Lord and Savior could not talk about this secret because it wasn’t time for its revealing.
For example Jesus Christ uses the term “little flock” in Luke 12:32 in referencing all those who choose to believe and faithfully follow Him, reflecting the prophet Jeremiah’s words: And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their pastures; and they shall be fruitful and shall multiply. (The Darby Bible - Jeremiah 23:3)
When I “chased” this same topic down I found that Jesus speaks of a “minority” (also considered a remnant) who will respond to His call for repentance and believe: For
narrow the gate and straitened the way that leads to life, and they are few who find it. (The Darby Bible – Matthew 7:14)
Here’s one more verse referencing the minority (or the remnant) that will come to believe on Jesus Christ for their salvation: “For many are called but, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)
Paul Himself quotes the prophet Isaiah at Romans 9:27-29 when speaking about the Jewish remnant: For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return (1/3 to be exact): the consumption determined shall overflow in righteousness. (Isaiah 10:22)
The remnant is mentioned in Revelation 11:13: And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth of the city fell, and seven thousand names of men were slain in the earthquake. And the remnant were filled with fear, and gave glory to the God of the heaven.
God could have taken every one of their lives at this hour. But He delayed His judgment allowing those who choose to repent and believe to become members of the remnant.
“THE DELIVERER (note the capitalization; this is the Messiah) WILL COME FROM ZION… The Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ will return to earth and He will return in the same manner in which He left: And after He (Jesus Christ) said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into the heaven, will come in just the same way as you watched Him go into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11)
Jesus Christ left this earth from the Mount of Olives and rose up into the sky where a cloud received Him to ascend into heaven. Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives in the same manner as He left, returning in a cloud from heaven: In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)
Jesus Christ will return to the earth to fulfill God’s Abrahamic Covenant with Israel: “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of
the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30)
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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