Just as much error is taught and believed due to a failure to define what a “body” is, or what the “body of Christ” might be, in the same way great error is taught and believed due to a failure to define the “mystery” or what it is. Some seem to view “the mystery” as one, large body of truth that takes in many, many different teachings, all of which have to do with truth for today. They call this “mystery truth.” Of course, then, believing this, when they come upon the word “mystery” in Paul’s earlier epistles, like in Romans 11:25, 16:25; I Corinthians 2:7, 4:1, 13:2, 14:2, and 15:51, and in II Thessalonians 2:7, they feel that they have proven something, and that these books must have to do with truth for today. Yet what they argue is not right. By the same standard they are using, their own dispensationalism falls, as Christ used the word “mystery” Himself in Matthew 13:1, Mark 4:11, and Luke 8:10. If this word always indicates a single, harmonious body of truth, then Christ was teaching that truth already during His ministry!

The truth of the word “mystery” is not that it is the code word for truth for today, as opposed to “prophecy,” which they make the code word for truth for Israel. Rather, this word is translated from the Greek word musterion, which means “secret.” The truths that God calls secret are truths that were never before revealed, but that He was now setting forth through the prophetic witness of His chosen spokesmen.

Thus when Christ spoke new truths about the kingdom of God, He called these things the “mysteries of the kingdom of God.” These were secret things about the kingdom that had never been revealed before, but that He was setting forth to the disciples now. In the same way, Paul set forth many new truths to the believers of the Acts period. Some of them had to do with the truth for that time, like Romans 16:25.

25. Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

Paul was talking about the preaching of Jesus Christ, something that was being set forth then through God’s inspired apostles to the people of Israel. This was something that God was then revealing to them that had never been set forth before. As such, each time these inspired men spoke the gospel, they were revealing a secret that the Israelites they were proclaiming to had never heard before. This has reference to the preaching of the gospel in the Acts period. The preaching of Jesus Christ has been a revealed truth for almost two thousand years now. It is no longer a newly revealed secret, though it might be new to any one individual who is hearing it for the first time. Moreover, he says this secret is “kept secret since the world began.” But this is a bad translation. I believe this should read “hushed in eonian times.” When God’s kingdom comes to earth, and the time of the eon of God has come, then the preaching of this gospel will be hushed. No longer will men preach salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, for at that time all will be sight, and what will constitute obedience to God will be strict adherence to the laws of His government. That is the truth regarding this secret that Paul is talking about here. As you can see, this has nothing to do with anything going on today.

Then, there is further truth regarding what was going on in the Acts period in I Corinthians 2:7.

7. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,

The apostles at the time Paul was writing were speaking the wisdom of God in a newly revealed secret. This wisdom had been hidden, but now God had ordained it to be set forth before the eons to come for the glory of His people living in the Acts period. In our day, we cannot speak the wisdom of God in a secret, for God has not revealed anything new for over nineteen hundred years. We can speak the wisdom of God, but we cannot do it in the revelation of something previously a secret.

I Corinthians 15:51 also speaks of a mystery. Yet what is the mystery it speaks of?

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—

The mystery Paul was revealing to them at that time was that not everyone would experience death, though everyone would be changed into their new body. Some would do this at the moment of their resurrection, whereas others would be still living, and would instantaneously be changed from their current, sinful body to their glorious, new, resurrection body. This was a truth that had never been revealed before, for it had always been taught that it was appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment. That some would not die was formerly a secret. Yet that does not mean that this has anything to do with truth for today. It is a truth that regards the resurrection.

Some confuse the word “mystery” until it has very little meaning left. Yet it is true that there is one great mystery, superior to all the others, that we might call “THE” mystery that was revealed by Paul as the great truth for today. That is the mystery set forth in Ephesians 3:1-6 and Colossians 1:26-27. This mystery is that “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.” In the words of Colossians, it is Christ among you (nations,) the hope of glory. Now all nations are equal, and have equal access to God through Christ Jesus. Since the call of Abraham it was always true that Israel had a privileged place and a superior position before God. Abraham was promised that in him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. It was never a secret that the nations would receive God’s salvation. What was a secret was that they were ever to receive it on an equal basis with Israel. Yet that is God’s truth today, the truth that is THE secret of Ephesians and Colossians. Yet to take every passage that speaks of a secret and attach it to this secret piggyback, as if they all were talking about the same thing no matter what the passage in question might say, is just wrong, and foolishness. This truth stands on its own. The other truths God calls secret have to do with other things, many of them having little to do with truth for today.