If I told you that whatever you read in the next few paragraphs has never been written or spoken about before, would you believe me? If you did, then you would not expect to find anyone before this writing discussing, teaching, or predicting what I am about to say.
This same reasoning is used to understand why there is no prophecy being fulfilled during the dispensation of grace. Paul wrote that the dispensation of grace was ‘hid from ages and generations’, ‘not made known unto the sons of men’, and ‘kept secret since the world began’.
After nearly 4000 years of history and dozens of divinely inspired texts, Paul says that no one has what I am telling you. This would be an embarrassingly arrogant statement if he was not speaking by revelation about something kept secret by God himself.
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, WHICH FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD HATH BEEN HID IN GOD, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” – Eph 3:9
As a result of Paul’s inspiration, we can confidently say that no prophet ever prophesied what Paul describes as the dispensation of grace.
The Mystery Kept Secret
Paul calls his gospel ‘the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery’. I hate to point out the obvious, but the Greek word for ‘mystery’ is translated ‘mystery’, which in the English can be better understood as ‘a secret since the world began’ (Rom 16:25).
This is in stark contrast to ‘what was spoken by the prophets since the world began’ (Acts 3:21, Luke 1:70). Since what the prophets had spoken is the subject of prophecy, then no part of the mystery can be prophetic. (If this is too elementary, then I dare you to read on, it gets worse.)
This means that the mystery that salvation would come to all men through Israel’s fall was not part of prophecy; that there would be no Jew nor Gentile in Christ was not part of prophecy; that we could receive the righteousness of God without the law was not part of prophecy; that all saints would form a new creature, the body of Christ, known as the church, was not part of prophecy; and that God would take his church to rule with him in heavenly places was not part of prophecy.
What is Prophecy is not Mystery
If what was kept secret was not made known, then what was made known was not kept secret. This elementary truth has remarkable implications!
For example, we can conclude that when Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the entire world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come,” he was not speaking about the church, the body of Christ (Matthew 24:14).
If he were, then the subject of the mystery would not be a mystery, for Jesus would’ve spoken it as part of prophecy.
We can also conclude that Jesus was not speaking to the church in this dispensation when he said, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matt 24:6).
Lastly, when speaking of signs, Jesus said,
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” – Luke 21:25
But Jesus was quoting prophecy even when he spoke these words, and so it is clear that this could not be part of the mystery.
Prophecy and the Nation Israel
When you read ninety percent of your Bible you will find that it speaks about the promises, prophesies, and covenants that God made to the nation Israel.
In a book with an obviously Jewish audience, we read:
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,” – Hebrews 1:1
Israel has a close connection with prophecy, since it was through Israel that God spoke in time past. It was to God’s chosen people, Israel, that he gave the ‘the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and THE SERVICE OF GOD, and the promises’ (Romans 9:4).
It was Peter when speaking to Israel about what the prophets had said, spoke:
“Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers…” – Acts 3:24-25
We cannot say the same for the dispensation of grace, which was kept a secret. The prophets did not foretell of these days, they foretold of those days. Paul testifies that he was one born ‘out of due time’ (1 Cor 15:8).
Unlike Israel who needed the signs of Matthew 24, Acts 2, and the prophets to understand the itinerary of the last days, we do not need such a warning.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.” – 1 Thess 5:1
We are not heading into the ‘times of trouble’, but the time of rejoicing with the Lord in the air! Prophecy speaks of Israel, their promises, and their future. We have something better than a future promise, we have a present possession of atonement by which we joy in God (Romans 5:11).
Do not be deceived by the headlines published by those in the name of Christ who speak of prophecy being fulfilled in this dispensation. All prophecy speaks concerning Israel’s future, but Paul writes that Israel is fallen, so that mercy can come upon all (Rom 11:32).
If Israel is not fallen, then mercy cannot come upon all and the entire essence of the dispensation of grace is lost to a prophetic preaching of the kingdom.
Most churches and publications pursue the preaching of the kingdom and prophecy at the expense of the teaching the riches of the revelation of the mystery for this present time. As a result, the message of salvation is being muddled and confused with an incomplete gospel.
Though prophecy will be fulfilled after this age is past, prophecy is not being fulfilled today so that God can bring peace to all men through Israel’s fall (Rom 11:32). When prophecy continues it will be with signs, and perils, and wrath against Israel and the nations.
Yet, today there is no Jew and Gentile, and God has reconciled the world unto himself so that we would have the opportunity to freely receive salvation by the cross of Christ (Gal 3:28,2 Cor 5:19).