“BEHOLD I TELL YOU A MYSTERY” - Part I
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of thy sleep for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. (Rom 13:11)
"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Ephesians 5:14).
Paul has heard God speaking something which I believe He is repeating in our day. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." At a surface glance this call appears to be addressed to one particular person or group. Looking more closely we can observe that there are actually two calls of God spoken to two classes of people.
The first call is uttered to those who are sleeping. "Awake thou that sleepest,"
A sleeping person is not to be confused with a dead person. Although a sleeping person may appear dead from a distance, there is occasional movement and sound of breathing. A dead person may lie in the same position as a sleeping person, but a corpse exhibits no signs of life whatsoever.
"Comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:13), we can understand that the sleeper symbolizes a believer who is spiritually quickened and has the life of God within. He or she has been born of God. The problem is this: the believer has fallen asleep and desperately needs to be “Awakened”!
The first call is to the sleeping saint. "Awake you who sleep ... and Christ shall give you light."
"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.... The entrance of thy words giveth light… "(Psalm 119:18,130)
Revelation knowledge of the Word dawns upon the understanding, giving us a new awareness. The things of God take on a new meaning.
The second call of God is addressed to those who are dead. "Arise from the
Dead." The unbeliever is positionally located in the kingdom of darkness. He
is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1).
“IT’S HIGH TIME”
This structure of this phrase might look a bit unusual, because it uses a past tense form to speak about the present or future. In fact, past tenses are used to talk about the present & future in many phrases with time... You see, even 2000 years ago Paul’s usage of this phrase is still past, present, and future. Yes, years later it still means the same thing as when first written, it is still, high time we awoke out of our sleep! This is not true of all words found in the Bible.
“BEHOLD, I TELL YOU A SECRET”
What is it? “We shall not all sleep.” What? We don’t have to die? “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment”? (Hebrews 9:27)
No, it is not necessary! The members of the Body were judged with the Head, and were “crucified with Christ,” and therefore there is no reason why they should ever die at all, and no reason why they should ever come into judgment (Romans 8:1). Some may “fall asleep,” but “not all.”
BUT WHETHER ALIVE OR ASLEEP,
“…we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, and we shall be changed”
(1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
THE MEANING OF THE WORD MYSTERY
There is no subject of greater importance to the Church of God than that found in the New Testament, called “The Mystery”: but not every Christian is in a position to receive it. Only those who have believed God, and who have been justified as Abraham was by faith in His Word concerning the redeeming blood; and who, in “the obedience of faith,” reckon themselves to be dead and risen again in Him, and whose citizenship is now in heaven – only these are fit recipients of the revelation of the “Mystery of God and of Christ.”
God’s Gospel concerning His Son Jesus Christ had been promised through the Prophets in Scripture, as we read in Romans 1:1-3; but the Mystery of the Body of Christ had never been revealed, and did not form the subject of Old Testament Prophecy.
It was the subject of a special revelation to Apostles, and Prophets, and Saints through the apostle Paul, to whom and by whom this Mystery was first announced in mortal ears and was communicated only to the Saints who had been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.
Yes, those that had been justified by faith, and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise; it is only to those that God, who is rich in mercy, was pleased to make known the mystery hidden in Himself, and was never previously revealed unto the sons of men.
It was when believers left their first love in the earliest days of the history of Christendom, this precious revelation was apparently the first which became obscured and lost sight of.
Then the true teaching concerning the Holy Spirit in the Church became less and less clear, especially while the simple foundation of the truth of justification on the principle of faith alone was also being departed from.
THE REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY
The word Mystery is used in the Septuagint only nine times as the equivalent of the Hebrew word ratz, which means to conceal hence, a secret. It occurs in Dan. 2: 18, 19, 27, 28, 29, 30, 47 (twice), and in 4:9, and is translated “secret.” It was the king’s secret which had gone from king Nebuchadnezzar, and which no one could tell him, until God revealed it to Daniel.
It is next to impossible to teach on the subject of the Rapture of the church without understanding the usage of the words as they were originally used. It is with that in mind that I write; TO BE CONTINUED… PART II