“…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…” – Romans 16:25
“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” – Eph 5:32
The great mystery revealed in Paul’s writings consists of Christ and the church (Eph 5:32; Eph 3:6-9). Never before had God spoken of a joint body of Jew and Gentile, which would receive glory apart from national Israel, their covenants, or their law.
This new creature, as Paul calls it, was unknown since the world began, unknown by the ancient prophets (Col 1:25-28). This is why he calls it a mystery until revealed to him.
“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery” – Eph 3:3
Yet and still many in the church think this new creature had its beginnings on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Pentecost is where they find their pattern, their origins, and is the root cause of the widespread growth of Pentecostal charismatic belief today.
Consistent dispensational teaching has stood alone in insisting that the church was not in operation in Acts 2. Why? The simple reason is that everything described in Acts 1 and 2 is the subject of what was prophesied since the world began, and was not a mystery kept secret.
The church today is operating according to the mystery. The believers at Pentecost were fulfilling prophecy.
Consider the content of these first two chapters of Acts.
After the abundance of evidence that the events in Acts 1 and 2 were prophesied, the only argument that remains that the church began at Pentecost is Acts 2:47.
“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. “ – Acts 2:47
This scripture clearly says that the church was present at Pentecost, but if we are not to throw out every other verse in Acts 1 and 2, we must allow the scriptures to just as clearly describe it to be the prophesied church, and not the church according to the revelation of the mystery.
A study of the cross references found in Acts 1 and 2 to the events declared by the prophets can result in only one conclusion if the scripture is to be taken literally: the church at Pentecost was not the new creature that Paul describes which was kept secret since the world began.
What was kept secret (Paul’s new creature) cannot be what was prophesied (the events of Pentecost).
The operation of the body of Christ according to the revelation of the mystery began when the Lord revealed such a change in the dispensation first revealed to Paul (Col 1:25; 1 Cor 9:17).
The body of Christ today does not find its pattern in what was happening at the prophesied Pentecost of Acts 2, but in the pattern of the apostle Paul’s mystery ministry concerning Christ and his church of today.
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For more study on the events of Acts 1 and 2 listen to our verse by verse lessons here.