Eschatology

On the mystery of God and end times…  In Revelation 10:7, the mystery of God is mentioned:  (B)ut in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

What is the mystery?  Paul writes in Ephesians 3:5-6 that the mystery (W)hich in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:  that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.

Paul expounds a bit more about this mystery in Romans 10:24-25 when he says, “For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Much to the dismay of Israel, Jesus said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:7)  Indeed, Jesus came to His own from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David, but His own people did not receive Him (John 1:11).  Thought he nation as a whole rejected Him, thankfully, some individual Israelites did follow Jesus, as John alludes to in verse 12:  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.  From them, the salvation has come to the Gentiles, too.  Warren Wiersbe states, “Was it selfish of God to emphasize the Jews?  No, because through the Jews, He would send the good news of salvation to the Gentiles.  The first Christians were Jewish believers.  “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).  In the Old Testament period, God chose Israel to be a minister to the Gentiles, but instead, Israel copied the idolatrous ways of the Gentiles and had to be chastened.  In the New Testament period, God chose Jewish believers to carry the good news to the Gentiles, and they obeyed Him.”

Thus, God fulfills His promise from the beginning to bless everyone, everywhere, of all time:  “And in you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3); thus making Gentiles partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.  (Ephesians 3:6)

Paul was clear:  And without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness:

God was manifest in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.  (I Timothy 3:16)

We cannot omit this mystery in considering end times.  Before the unfolding of end events – we might say before the folding of time – the mystery of God would be finished.  William Barclay states, “The meaning is that the whole purpose of God in human history will stand revealed.”

It seems to me, then, that the matter of the end of time has as much to do with the Gentiles as it does with Israel and her faithful remnant (Romans 9:27; 11:5).