Ephesians 3:9-11 says “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: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
The word “mystery” comes from the Greek word Musterion meaning to shut the mouth, or keep secret.
Paul explains in a few verses above what the mystery is in Ephesians 3:1-8, which says “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 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: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”
The mystery is that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of Gods promise in Christ. What was the promise of the Father? Luke 24:49 says “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke through the Spirit gives us more insight about this promise in Acts 1:4-5 which says “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” And again in Acts 2:32-33, saying “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
It is here where Paul begins to declare that God was making both Jew and Gentile one body, NOT a separate group: Ephesians 2:14-16, says “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:”
In the book of Romans which was written about A.D.57, Paul says in Romans 11:25 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” Speaking of Israel in Romans 11:5-8, he says “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day” also 2 Corinthians 3:16 says “Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” Paul speaks of the Election of the remnant, and that rest being blinded. Romans 11: 25 says “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”
The word ‘fullness’ in the passage means a multitude. A better understanding of the word fullness can be found in Numbers 18:26-27 which says “Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe. And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.” The word “fullness” in this passage means “first-ripe”, something fulfilled, filling, or multitude. The Bibles says in 1 Cor. 15, that Jesus is the first fruit, then we at his coming. If Jesus is the First Fruit, then we must be the tithe at harvest end. In the Old Testament Israel was likened unto cattle coming under the rod, Ezek. 20: 36-38, says: “Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you saith the Lord GOD. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.” But let’s look at how it illuminates in Lev. 27: 32, which says: “And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, [even] of WHATSOEVER PASSETH UNDER THE ROD, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.” Jeremiah 10: 16, also confirms that the Church is the tithe: “The portion of Jacob [is] not like them: for he [is] the former of all [things]; and ISRAEL [IS] THE ROD OF HIS INHERITANCE: The LORD of hosts [is] his name.” Notice that this verse just stated that Israel is the Rod of God’s Inheritance, but what does that mean? As we look at Numbers chapter 18, we understand that the Levites had no inheritance in the land of Israel, but it was said to them that; “… I [am] thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.” Verse 21, says “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, [even] the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” God said he had given the tribe of Levi all the tenth in the land of Israel for an inheritance. The tithe was Aaron’s inheritance: Aaron was the High Priest; he received the best of all the tithes given by the Levites. Now Jesus is our High Priest and he has received us, and will receive us at his coming. Seeing this, now we can understand Ephe. 1: 18 more perfectly: “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, AND WHAT THE RICHES OF THE GLORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS,” John 4: 35, says “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Jesus says here that the fields are the souls of men waiting to be harvested unto salvation. Israel was considered the Lords Tenth in returning to Jerusalem (Is. 6: 13). This also explains that a 144, 000. Jews will be the Lords “Tenth” when he returns. The 144,000 are a literal number of the Jews that will be resurrected when Jesus returns. But they are also symbolic representation of God’s completing work in the earth. Genesis says that God created the universe in six days, which is a 144, hours of continuous work until the Sabbath. The children of Israel were oppressed for 400, years in Egypt. But 400, years wasn’t just a random number given by God; 400, years X a 360, day year comes out to 144,000 days of oppression until they were delivered from Egypt. Revelation also says that the wall of the Holy Jerusalem was 144, cubits (Rev. 21: 17). So, the Church is not only the tithe, but also the 144,000 Jews that will be elected by God at the harvest of the end of the age will be a tithe taken out of a tithe, a heave offering. Just like the Levites took a tithe out of Israel’s festival tithe to give a tithe to Aaron and his sons. So what Paul is saying here, is when multitudes come, the partial blindness over the eyes of the Jews will be removed. While multitudes come into the kingdom; unbelieving Gentiles sins becomes full to an extent. Speaking of sin filling to an extent; Genesis gives us an idea of what this means. Genesis 15: 16 says: “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
God was speaking to Abraham in a dream. He told him that the children of Israel would come back to the land of Canaan when the Amorites sins were full. So, when the Gentiles sins get to a certain, the Lord would cause Israel to return to the land. In much of the same way the Amorites were driven out of the land; so was second century Judah under the leadership of Simon Bar Kochba in 135 A.D. Luke says in chapter 21 verse 24 “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” For 1800 years, the Jews were led captive into all nations. At the same time, Gentiles were being engrafted into the church of God. But notice what Daniel 8: 23 says: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” In its historical setting, it’s talking about Antiochus IV, but prophetically its speaking of the Antichrist. Traditional ‘Christian’ belief says that the Antichrist is supposed to sit in the temple and proclaim to be God. 2 Thessalonians 2: 7 says: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way,” The phrase ‘… He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way” means ‘He who now hinders will impede until He is finished from intervening.’ So, the transgression of desolation, or abomination of desolation, had to be held back. Daniel 8: 23 says: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” At the height of Europe’s sins he appears. This is none other than Adolf Hitler.
2Thess. 2: 4, tells us what the Antichrist would do when he was revealed, and it says “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” The word temple in this verse is ‘Naos’, which Paul used to describe the temple of the body. But the antichrist body was not God’s temple, but Satan’s through Apollyon. (This again is not speaking of the Jewish Temple, because Gods temple are bodies of people). A representation of himself is sat down in the assembly of believers. Dan. 11: 31, says “And arms (the S.S., Hitler’s bodyguard) shall stand on his part and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the Abomination that maketh desolate.” The Abomination is the book “Mein Kampf”. In this book he opposeth and exalts himself above all that is called God.
In Romans 11:26-27, he says “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.” But when he says “all Israel” he’s still talking about the elected remnant: Romans 9:6-8, says “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not ALL ISRAEL, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” So when he is speaking of all Israel being saved, he’s talking about the remnant, not the nation. Paul’s hope then is for the nation of Israel to be saved: Romans 10:1, says “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”
All of this to make Jew and Gentile one body, but notice what Paul says in Ephesians 1:9-10, which says “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”
Christ’s ministry was the dispensation of the fullness of times: Mark 1:14-15, says “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Jesus came in the fullness of time: Galatians 4:4-5 says “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” He did all of this to bring us to the fellowship of the mystery Ephesians 3:11 says “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:” The word “purpose” here means a setting forth, the shewbread!
Now reading Ephesisans 3:11 the word shewbread reads like this “According to the eternal “shewbread” which he “kept secret” in Christ Jesus our Lord: The Table of Shewbread is also essential in understanding the Word of God reforming and shaping us. It is called the bread of the face or the bread of his presence. What is this shewbread that we need to experience in our lives? In Genesis 14:18 it says “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” The word “bread” here means “shewbread”. So what you are seeing here is that Melchizedek gave Abraham bread and wine showing us that it would be the body and the blood of Jesus that would fulfill the Law and be the eternal Blessing on the children of Abraham. Notice what Jesus said of David in Matthew 12:3-4 “But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?” David became a partaker of the Shewbread, but this represents the communion of the death of Christ! This bread which is Christ body was in the mind of God that we would be one as we eat and drink with Christ: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” Jesus is that one bread, but when we partake of him, we being many become one bread with him! We become a community in communion and in communication with him, with Christ, Jew and Gentile, together, one body, one Spirit, communicating with the one Lord, who has given us one faith and one baptism! Revelation 10:7 says “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.”
Anthony D. Booker