Stewards of the Mysteries 1 Cor. 4: 1-2 CLICK TTILE FOR AUDIO
Paul was a minister of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God. There are 7 mysteries of God in the New Testament. These mysteries are easy to find by simply cross-referencing the word “mystery.” Today, we will identify each mystery and briefly describe it.
The mystery of godliness – 1 Tim 3:16 – the mystery of godliness is God was manifest in the flesh. It is a mystery that God, who inhabits the entire universe, manifested himself as a baby who was born of a virgin. It is a mystery that Jesus Christ was all man and yet all God at the same time. He performed miracles, on the one hand, and hungered and thirsted, on the other. Jn 1:1, 14 establishes the truth of 1 Tim 3:16. John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”
The mystery of the body of Christ – Eph 5:30-32 – the mystery of the body of Christ is that, when we are saved, we are baptized by the Spirit of God into the body of Christ [1 Cor 12:13] and become literal members of his flesh and of his bones [Eph 5:30]. Therefore, we are seated with Christ in heavenly places [Eph 2:6]. The reason Paul refers back to Gen 2:24 in Eph 5:31 is that “the first man Adam” and “the last Adam,” [1 Cor 15:45] are very similar when it comes to their wives. As Adam’s wife came forth from his flesh and bones [Gen 2:23], we come forth from the flesh and bones of Jesus Christ to be married to him [Rom 7:4; Rev 19:7-9].
The mystery of the indwelling Christ – Col 1:27 – the mystery of the indwelling of Jesus Christ is that, when we are saved, Jesus Christ literally dwells in us. It is a mystery how the second person of the Trinity [1 Jn 5:7], who is currently seated at the right hand of God [Heb 10:12], can indwell every Christian who is alive today [Jn 14:20]. When the Lord said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” [Heb 13:5] he meant it literally.
The mystery of the rapture – 1 Cor 15:51 – the mystery of the rapture is that Jesus Christ, as part of his Second Coming, will first return for all those who have been born again. The bodies of those who are dead in Christ will rise first and then the bodies of all those who are alive at his coming will be changed [1 Cor 15:50-55; 1 Thes 4:16-18; Phil 3:21]. It’s a mystery because no one knows when this will happen, or how this will happen. How does God instantly change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto his glorious body? After the rapture will be the Tribulation, followed by the return of Jesus Christ to rule and reign on the earth.
The mystery of iniquity – 2 Thes 2:7 – the mystery of iniquity is the spirit of Antichrist. The reason this is a mystery is that the spirit of antichrist is already working in the earth but people can’t detect it [1 Jn 4:1-4]. Another reason that the spirit of antichrist is a mystery is that when the antichrist shows up, the world will regard him as God [2 Thes 2:4] and not the devil. The revelation of his true identity will be withheld [2 Thes 2:6-8].
Mystery Babylon the Great – Rev 17:5 – mystery Babylon the Great is the city [Rev 17:3-5, 18] of the Antichrist during the Tribulation. The reason this city is a mystery is that Babylon was destroyed. Currently, the ruins of the ancient city are in Hillah, about 83 km south of Baghdad. Restoration is being done to Ishtar Gate and Ishtar Temple. Nevertheless, it is not this city to which John was referring. The city to which John refers in Rev 17 is like Babylon in its idolatry, political influence and global economy, yet it is a mystery. Many believe that mystery Babylon is Rome because of its historical influence over kings, its lavish wealth and its idolatrous connections with Ishtar.
The mystery of the blindness of Israel – Rom 11:25 – the mystery of the blindness of Israel is that Israel, as a nation, is currently blind to the fact that Jesus is their Messiah. When he was crucified at the demand of the chief priests and elders, they did not realize they were killing their Messiah [Matt 13:15], the Lord of glory [1 Cor 2:7-8], the Prince of life [Acts 3:14-15]. Many individual Jews have trusted Jesus Christ. But the nation is still blind to the truth and will be until a remnant finally accepts him as their Lord and Christ at the Second Advent. And then all Israel will be saved [Rom 11:25-29; Jer 31:31-34].
Conclusion: 1 Cor 4:2 says that it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful. We must be faithful to these mysteries. Religions, false teachers and worldly Christians have departed from these mysteries. Translators of modern bibles have not been faithful to the mystery of godliness and have attacked the deity of Christ. Many have confused the mystery of the body of Christ, by their interpretation of the church. More and more believers are changing their beliefs about the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. And for centuries, some believers have taught that the church replaced Israel in the covenant and Old Testament promises, not realizing that Israel’s blindness will be healed when Jesus returns.