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Preaching the Revelation of the Mystery

freddy January 23, 2019


Background

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.

Romans 16:25

The term “preaching” is the Greek word “kerusso,” which comes from the term “kerugma.” It speaks about heralding or the announcement of an event; it is to depict what happened clearly. Many preachers love the excitement of preaching about what is going to happen. When people ignore the revelation of the mystery, they would think Jesus Christ is simply the pre-crucifixion Jesus of Nazareth, not knowing that the very Christ is now their life and is the One who has made them one with the Godhead.  

Paul said the account of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is not the Gospel. The account reveals the historical aspect of the Christ event. The fact that Jesus was crucified, that He died and was raised on the third day, as powerful as it may be, can be gotten from the four gospels. These details in themselves are not the revelation of the mystery. They simply relate the historical fact of what occurred to Christ Jesus when He was here on earth in the flesh. There is the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the extent and degree of the revelation of the mystery.  

The term “revelation” comes from the Greek word “apokalupsis,” which means to lift the veil or to uncover; it is the act of disclosure. Within the event of the crucifixion, death, burial, quickening, raising, and seating, are details concerning Christ that have to be unveiled, and that will present what happened to us in Him. Most ministers think the Gospel is uniquely about Jesus Christ. Most of the time, we think we have received the greatest story ever told, and it is that Christ came two thousand years ago from heaven, He was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, and on the third day, He rose again; that He shall come again to judge the quick and the dead. This is the creedal form of the Christ event. It is the historicity of Christianity. 

The events in the Gospel are historical. Many ancient pantheistic religions were mythological; they were based on stories that could not be traced to historical events. These stories were said to have happened. The Gospel is not mythological; it is historical. However, many people confuse the historicity of Christ as the Gospel. Many historians and archaeologists, specialists in the Middle Eastern historical period of the life of Jesus Christ can speak of the exact places in the Middle East where Jesus stood. Many of them do not know Christ, but they teach about Him for a living. There is no difference between the archaeologist, the historian, and the preacher who merely refers to Christ from the four gospels. They are all talking about the historical Jesus.  

We cannot read the synoptic gospels and see ourselves in Christ, except for certain statements from John’s Gospel, because the synoptic gospels are the eyewitness account of what happened in the time-space continuum. They are historical and linear, from an alpha point to an omega point. They are not the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery. Therefore, it is possible to hear the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the eyewitness account of the Twelve, that is, from the four gospels, and not be established. Apostle John concludes his Gospel by telling us that these things were written that they who read might believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Thus, they were written as material for an unbelieving audience. We cannot be established if we are fed with such material. 

Many times, when people live by the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the four gospels, they perceive Christ as being external to them and separate from them. If we have this perception, we would think that our role is to be disciples of Jesus, following Him. In the epistles of the Apostle Paul, the term “disciple”, is not used even once. The saint in Christ is not a disciple of Christ; he is a son of God. It is a whole new paradigm shift from following to being. Identity surpasses performance. 

Jesus Christ historically witnessed and Jesus Christ mystically revealed

The preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, makes a clear distinction between Jesus Christ historically witnessed by the Twelve and Jesus Christ mystically revealed by Paul. 

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.”

Romans 16:26

The sacred secret refers to what was previously hidden and unknown but is now revealed. The phrase “kept secret” comes from the Greek term “krupos sigao”. “Sigao” refers to that which was hushed. God hushed, He imposed silence on this matter, which is disclosed nowhere else throughout His dealings with humanity from the dawn of the history of man until Paul. Paul claims that what was given to him is that which no human being had known. One has to possess serious audacity to be entrusted with this kind of a mandate. In all of God’s dealings with the different human civilizations and all the religions of the world, even in His dealings with certain chosen men, the Twelve inclusive, none saw any aspect of what was given to Paul.

This mystery revealed to Paul was unprecedented and unparalleled. Paul received the revelation of the mystery in exclusivity. What was given to him was not entrusted to anyone else. Those who learned it had to learn it from him. For this reason, we cannot, by any means, diminish the importance of the distinctive Pauline apostleship.

God has revealed what was decreed from the eternities, and held in secrecy from different ages and epochs until now. One significant statement we find in Paul’s vocabulary is the phrase, “but now.” This phrase reveals the transition between the time before the revelation of the mystery was given and after Paul has now divulged what is contained in the revelation of the mystery.  

Paul says that the mystery is now made manifest “by the scriptures of the prophets.” He was not referring to the Old Testament books, as some have thought. If the mystery was kept secret since the world began, to claim it is found in the books of the Old Testament, the books of the prophets will be a contradictory statement. It would mean the exclusivity of what is given to Paul loses its relevance. He was referring to the prophetic writings, what was in the course of being transcribed by him and his protégées. It is what they were writing down, which was to become the Pauline corpus. He was saying that God has now revealed what was decreed from the eternities, particularly to the nations.

The term “nations” is also translated in several instances as gentiles, taken from the Greek word “paganos”, which means, pagans or strangers. It speaks about the previous dealings between God and Israel, which excluded other nations. We are no longer paganos; we are no longer gentiles. Post Acts 28, we cannot use this term. In between Acts 9 and Acts 28, there had to be a distinction between the gospel to the Jewish audience, known as the gospel of circumcision, and that to the paganos audience, which was the gospel of the uncircumcision. This is because God was showing the pagans, those who had been excluded from the mosaic economy, that there was something that happened in the events of the crucifixion, death, burial, quickening, raising, and seating that had brought the sanctification of the new people of God.  

If there was a sanctification of the new people of God, it means in Paul was the beginning of an entirely new dispensation, making Paul to the Church what Moses was to Israel. God used Moses to give the Law and the Lord Jesus Christ used the Apostle Paul to give us the revelation of the mystery. 

 

 


For in-depth studies on the subject, get Dr Shawn Smith’s teaching, “The Mystery Revealed to Paul”

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