The Berean Expositor
Volume 12 - Page 119 of 160
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Immediately before verse 3 is the reference to the dispensation of the grace of God,
and immediately following verse 8 is the reference to the dispensation of the mystery.
The parenthesis, verses 4-7, may now be studied in its right relationship with the
context, and this we propose to do in our next paper.
The Two Mysteries of Eph. 3: 4-7.
pp. 86 - 88
The "mysteries" are practically peculiar to the N.T. Out of eight different words
rendered "secret" in the O.T. the LXX translated but one of them by the Greek word
musterion, and that is confined to the Chaldee section of the book of Daniel (chapters 2:
and 4:). The Chaldee portion of Daniel pertains to the Gentiles and the transfer of the
sovereignty from Israel to Nebuchadnezzar. This is an important and suggestive fact.
The word mystery was not used by Christ when on earth until his rejection by Israel
became evident. The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revelations of that phase of
God's purpose that came into operation consequent upon Israel's rejection of the Lord. It
is vitally associated, by the Lord Himself, with Isa. 6: 10. When Israel of the dispersion
had followed in the same steps as Israel in the land, Isa. 6: 10 was again quoted, and
again was closely associated with mystery. The epistle to the Ephesians, of which the
mystery is the theme, follows the setting aside of Israel in Acts 28:
Eph. 3: speaks not only of the mystery as it relates to the new dispensational dealings
of God with the Gentiles, but also with the mystery of Christ. Now this mystery must not
be read as meaning simply the fulfillment of prophecy. While many in Israel saw the
teaching of their Scriptures as to the coming of the Messiah in glory and dominion, few
saw the mystery of the Messiah which related to His Coming in lowliness, rejection and
suffering. Christ said, speaking of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, "Many
prophets and righteous men have desired to see these things . . . . . . . . but have not
seen them" (Matt. 13: 17), and into the mystery of Christ "angels desired to look"
(I Pet. 1: 12). Mystery necessitates revelation. It is something that cannot be inferred or
arrived at by study.
We pointed out in our last paper that verses 4-7 are a parenthesis and that verse 3
reads on to verse 8. We have therefore the means to a clearer view of the theme before
the apostle by leaving the parenthesis out for a time and observing his teaching
concerning the wondrous dispensation which he had received. Some features we have
already considered, so we will merely tabulate them in order to have a full statement.