Welcome to EBible Fellowship's Bible study in the book of Revelation. This will be study #3 in chapter 1, and we are going to be looking at verse 1 which says:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:In our last study we were looking at the word translated as "revelation," "apokalupsis," and this word, we saw, was found in a few places, and one of them I want to turn back to, and that is in the book of Ephesians, chapter 3. I would like to read this again, starting in verse 3 and the following verses:
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:Now here the Lord is moving Paul to record these things regarding the Gentiles being heirs of Christ, as well as the Jews. That was a breakthrough. That was something shocking to the Jews themselves, even though it really should not have been because we find scattered verses and passages throughout the Old Testament (which the Jewish people had in their possession) in which God plainly, really, made it known that it would be His plan to also grant salvation to the Gentiles, or to the peoples of the various nations of the world.
All we have to do is look at Ruth the Moabitess, or Rahab the harlot, and we find that God was, even in the Old Testatment, actually saving people in the nations around Israel. Yet it was a "revelation" of the "mystery," because even though the Scriptures were written (which now we can look back on them and see plainly what God meant). But until the Lord opened up the eyes of the Apostle Paul, and until He moved Peter to visit Cornelius' house, and so on, in the New Testament, there was not an official declaration from God that the Gentiles would be fellowheirs.
But now it is plainly stated, as God moved Paul to write, that they are to be fellowheirs. There is no doubt about it. So the "mystery" was that what was recorded in various places in the Old Testament concerning the Lord's language of the nations of the world, and how He indicated they would be blessed (at least, some of them; of course only God's Elect as well as faithful Jews that were Elect among the Jewish people), and now that "mystery" was being "revealed."
So it is the "revelation" He made known unto Paul, the "mystery." Then the Apostle Paul writes in verse 4:
...my knowledge in the mystery of Christ...We find that this word "mystery" appears several times in connection with the word "revelation." And, so, let us take a look at the word "mystery" before we continue on looking at this word "revelation." For instance, in Matthew 13, it says in verses 10-11:
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.Here the Lord Jesus is answering the disciples' question about why He spoke in parables. Remember, a little later in this same chapter the statement is made, "without a parable spake he not unto them." This was a constant method of Christ to teach - He spoke in parables. "Why do you speak to them in parables?" Then Jesus says to the disciples, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
In other words, if Christ spoke plainly, then everyone would know exactly what He was saying. The disciples would know and the ones who were not the people of God would know. So God's plan was to hide truth, to hide it in parables that Christ spoke, to hide it in proverbs that Solomon was moved to write, to hide it in the Psalms that God moved David to record, to hide it in historical parables through the Old Testament history, and so on. All through the Bible God hid truth, and He hid it in various ways, and it is given to the people of God to know the "mysteries" of the Kingdom of Heaven. So God opens up our understanding.
There is one example when Paul was granted wisdom concerning the Gentiles. Now he could read the instances of references in the Old Testament where God referred to the Gentiles and he (Paul) would understand them. He was sharing it with other believers, so other believers could also understand. This is how God wrote the Bible. He hid truth from the unsaved people of the world, but it is His plan to "reveal" it to the true children of God.
Of course, the only exception to this is God had an additional plan to hide much information in the Bible until the time of the End. That is why the Bible speaks of "sealing" up the words until that period of time.
But, then the Lord's plan is to open the Scriptures, and what does He say in Daniel 12 after we read that He would seal it up until the time of the End? Well, the next statement in Daniel 12, verse 10, is "the wise will understand, but none of the wicked will understand." In other words, once God unseals the Scriptures that had been sealed throughout the many centuries, it will once again be the Elect that will be given the knowledge of the "mysteries" of the Kingdom of Heaven. But it will be like gibberish, like something unknown, to the wicked people of the world! They do not have the resources or the ability, or they do not have Christ to open up their eyes to see and understand these things. So, once again, we find that is God's overall plan to reveal the "mystery," which we would have to conclude is more than just the Bible - the "mystery" is the hidden truth found IN the Bible, that is recorded on the pages of the Bible.
It says in 1Corinthians, in chapter 4 (and this is an interesting statement) in the first couple of verses of that chapter:
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.Now this is saying much more than that we are stewards of the word of God. We are, and God's people are obligated and responsible to maintain the word of God for generations, down through time. And God's people did this, of course, as God did it through them. God watched over His word and protected it, so we know, absolutely and with no question, that we have the whole Bible; there is nothing missing and there is nothing added. We have the complete word of God, and God assures us of that. But more than being caretakers of the oracles of God (which Israel was in the Old Testament, and the church has born that responsibility in the New Testament), we are stewards of the "mysteries" of the Kingdom of God, the "mysteries" of God that are recorded on the pages of the Bible: "the revelation of the mystery."
And, it is required in a steward to be found faithful! Now this is really the problems of the churches; they have maintained, to some degree, the Bible. Yes, they have that in their possession still. So, have they accomplished their task of being a good steward of the "mystery" of God? No, because the "mystery" is the hidden truth of the word of God. In that, a steward must be found faithful.
So, really, this particular task of stewardship is given to the Elect people, the children of God, exclusively, because the professed Christian, who is not a true believer and has no spiritual insight, because he has not been born again, cannot properly care for the "mysteries" of the word. It is only the child of God who will be given understanding of theses things, and will "see" them, in the first place. And it is the child of God who will uncover more "mystery" as God works in our lives to cause us to dig into the Bible further.
Of course, it was His plan at the time of the End, beginning with the Great Tribulation, to open up the Bible and to reveal the "mysteries" of the Kingdom, the "mysteries" of the revelation of Christ, and we are stewards of these "mysteries."
And that is why we just do not "go back" or turn our backs on something that God has revealed from His word. It is extremely important that we maintain, as a steward, the faithfulness to what God has opened up, so we must be steadfast in sending forth the teaching of the end of the church age, and the teaching of annihilation, and the teaching of Christ dying for the sins of His people before the foundation of the world, and the teaching of May 21, 2011 as Judgment Day, and the teachings that we have been learning in these Days of Judgment concerning what God has done, as He has brought us along even further into the "mysteries" of His word.
I would like to go back (and we read this last time in our last study) to Romans 16 and read a couple of verses there, verses 25 and 26. It says:
Now to him that is of power to stablish you 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, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:God recorded events that only He knew since the world began, but out of His mercy and His goodness and His graciousness to us, He wrote these things down in the Bible to inform His people, to grant us greater understanding and knowledge of Himself and of His Kingdom, and of things we would have no way of knowing. And He wrote these "mysteries" down on the pages of the Bible, right there in plain sight, or we should say, "hidden in plain sight," and they are "mysterious" because they are unknown to the reader, unless the reader follows the proper procedure that God has established in His word. In other words, this is like a great mystery novel and all the clues of this who-dun-it are found on the pages of the Bible. And now God has given His people the honor and the glorious task of "searching the Scriptures" to find out the "mystery."
Remember, this is what we read in Proverbs 25, in verse 2:
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.The word "thing" is the Hebrew word "debar" for "word," and, again, the English word "matter" is "debar," that is, "to search out a word." It is our job, our duty, and our pleasure, and what brings us joy, and God has built this into the child of God, that we delight in searching the Scriptures, in checking out things to see if they are so, and to solve the "mystery" that He has placed in His word!
He shows, "Here is how you go about it. You compare spiritual with spiritual, carefully making sure that any conclusions you come to harmonizes with the whole of the Bible, and you put the puzzle pieces into place, and they must fit." Of course, most importantly, pray to the Lord Jesus, to Eternal God, to open up our eyes and to grant us the gift of understanding that we might "see" what He is saying. As we do this, we find answers are forthcoming to this particular "mystery" and to that particular "mystery," and especially in our day when God has opened up the Bible. He has taken the seals off of the word of God and now things that have never previously known, in times past, are now able to be understood by the child of God.
We actually have learned a great deal regarding many doctrines of God's word in just the last few years. And learning the number of things we have, and to the degree we have, in such a relatively short period of time, is really unprecedented in Bible study. God does not always operate that way, but since we are at the time of the End, it is His plan to open up the "mystery" of the revelation.
You know, it also says in Romans, in chapter 2, and God makes an interesting statement, in verse 5:
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;Now we might not catch this, unless we read it slowly, and sometimes we need to re-read things. But notice God is speaking about the "day of wrath," and that is Judgment Day, and see how He links together His "revelation?" There is that word 'apokalusis' in the end of verse 5 of Roman 2: "treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." Now there it would seem that God is indicating that the day of wrath, or Judgment Day, is also going to be a day of "revelation" of His judgment.
Now this is interesting because it has been since (or after) May 21, 2011 (which was Judgment Day upon the world as God made the transition from the churches to now include all the unsaved persons of the Earth), that we have grown in our understanding concerning the judgment of God. That is, now we realize that it is the same "cup" given to the nations of the world that was given to the church, that is, we realize it was a spiritual judgment. The judgment that God poured out and the cup that the churches were to drink was completely spiritual: it was the removal of the Gospel light, the removal of the Holy Spirit and, as a result, a removal of salvation from all the churches and congregations of the world. And now that identical "cup" is given to the nations.
So we learned. We have received correction. We had thought that God's judgment on the world must be physical in nature. Maybe we thought that because the world operates in the physical realm, and maybe since the church should be operating in the spiritual realm, we were more quickly able to understand that that judgment upon them was spiritual. But we thought, wrongly, that the judgment on the world (which operates in the physical realm) must be of a physical nature. No, it is the same judgment, the same "cup" of wrath. It is the putting out of the Gospel light, the removal of God's Spirit concerning saving individuals in the world, and it is no more salvation in the world as the door to salvation shut, beginning on Judgment Day and in these days after that tribulation. So, these things we now have learned.
We are learning other things, too. We have learned that God knew that the true believers would remain upon the Earth in the Day of Judgment, that it was never God's plan to rapture the Elect, but to leave them, living, upon Earth in the Day of Judgment (not that they are being judged because they have already been judged in Christ), that they will be severely tried and tested. We found much information in the Bible that identifies God's plan to "test" His people a final time, bringing them "through the fire," that fire which has been lit in the Day of Judgment, as 1<sup>st</sup> Corinthians 3 points out. So there is something else we have learned, and we learned it since we have entered into the period of Judgment Day itself.
So we can see that this is what God is saying here in Romans 2:5, speaking of the sinner who " treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath," and that day of wrath is the "revelation of the righteous judgment of God."
Let us now turn to 2Thessalonians and read a couple of verses you may have read before. But let us look at it now with this idea of following this Greek word, "apokalupis," the "revelation" of Revelation 1:1. It says in 2Thessalonians, chapter 1, beginning in verse 6:
Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:Now you maybe did not catch that word, but it is in verse 7:
... And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire...Here it is undoubtedly referring to Judgment Day, and we know Judgment day began on May 21, 2011 in a spiritual way. Here God speaks of Christ being "revealed," or the "revelation" of Christ from Heaven. You see, as we have gone along, Christ has been "revealed" as the Judge. He is "revealed" as the one in flaming (spiritual) fire, taking vengeance on all the unsaved inhabitants of the Earth. It is an act of vengeance, of wrath, for God to shut the door of Heaven. It has lit a spiritual fire in the Earth, and this fire is burning up the "wood, hay and stubble." It has "cut off two thirds" of mankind and "one third remains therein," according to Zechariah 13: 8-9, and God is bringing them through the fire as gold and silver. That is because they are being purified and purged and tried, and they will endure to the End.
But we find this word again, "revealed," that Christ is "revealed," it says in Luke 17, and this is not the identical word, but it is a related word "apokalupto," in Luke 17: 29-30:
But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.Now this is the "revelation" of the "mystery." It is the same idea, in fact, the same word as in 2Thessalonians 2:3, when we read of the man of sin being "revealed." How was he "revealed?" He was "revealed" on the pages of the Scripture! God "revealed" him through His word to the understanding of His people. In other words, it is through the Bible that we realize that Satan was loosed and entered into the churches as the man of sin to take his seat. No one saw this with their physical eyes. No one could prove this by anything outward, or apart from the Bible. He was "revealed" exclusively on the pages of the Bible. And this is exactly how the Son of Man is "revealed" in the Day of Judgment.
Well, we just want to look at one other place regarding the "revelation" of God and the "mystery," and that is in Revelation 10, where the Lord speaks of the "mystery" being finished. And that is an interesting and very significant way that God puts it and, Lord willing, we will look at that next time we get together.