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THE FINISHED MYSTERY
“In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound [i.e. in the forepart of his sounding,] the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Rev. 10:7
Looking backward, who cannot see that our heavenly Father has been pleased to keep some part, and that the very cream or riches of his grace, measurably hidden? In the Patriarchal and Jewish ages only a mere fragment of God’s plan was revealed, and that the inferior or earthly part of his plan—the part properly belonging, to those who are to be inheritors of earthly blessings.
Thus, the Apostles tell us of “The mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now [since Pentecost] revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets,” “even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to HIS SAINTS. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery.” Eph. 3:4,5; Col. 1:26,27; and 1 Pet. 1:10-12. God’s plan was complete and perfect from before the foundation of the world, and needs no adding to; but he has kept his plans covered and hidden from the world, and has revealed them only gradually to his church—his saints. Thus while the unfolding of the mystery of God commenced in the days of the Apostles, it will not be finished until the end of this Gospel Age—under the sounding of the seventh trumpet as shown in the Scripture cited above.
We claim no new revelations, for to our understanding the revelations of God to his saints are completed and finished by the records of John on Patmos. But while God’s revelation, in the sense of utterance ended eighteen hundred years ago, yet revelation in the sense of understanding those utterances has continued down through the age.
It is revelation in this sense, that Jesus referred to when about to leave the disciples. After having told them many precious things in parables and dark sayings, he said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now: howbeit when he the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.” “He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 16:12,13; and 14:26. Thus during this age the true followers of Christ have been led into a more and more full understanding of God’s truth, and a fuller unfolding of the mystery of God, which was entirely hidden from past ages and is to be finished under the seventh trumpet’s sounding in the end of this age.
As our readers are aware, we understand that we are now living in the days of the voice of the Seventh Angel. The evidence has already been furnished (and will appear again—in the forthcoming Millennial Day Dawn,) that these trumpets mentioned by the Revelator and by Paul (1 Cor. 15:52; and 1 Thes. 4:16; and Rev. 11:15), are symbolic of a series of events. The sixth of these, we believe, ended Aug. 11, 1840, since which we have been living under the “seventh trumpet,” or “last trump,” or “trump of God,” which continues until the kingdoms of this world, by a great time of trouble, become the kingdoms of our Lord. (Rev. 11:15.) This, prophetic Scriptures show, will not be fully accomplished until A.D. 1914. This is called the Trump of God, probably because during its period of time God exercises his great power over the nations, breaking them in pieces, and grinding to powder the abominable systems of error which have so long flourished and made desolate and void God’s Word of truth. And another thing, God, during this period, will finish the mystery by letting his saints (Col. 1:27) come to a full appreciation of his glorious plans. It is thus that we account for the great, beautiful and harmonious light, and the strengthening food now being given us as members of the body of Christ, of which Jesus is the glorified Head.
But there is another sense in which the word mystery is used in Scripture. It is used in the same sense as the word church. Thus the true and false churches are called, “The mystery of God,” and “The mystery of iniquity.” This is altogether fitting, since the true church is the very embodiment of God’s plan, and the false church an embodiment of error and Satan’s plan. The mystery of iniquity began in Paul’s day, and developed into Papacy and her daughter organizations—which system of errors is to be consumed and destroyed by truth in his presence. (2 Thes. 2:7,8.) The mystery of God began in our Head—Jesus—and is being added to by every true member of the vine or body whose names are written in heaven. This is the mystery of which Paul says—”This MYSTERY … is Christ (the anointing) in you.” Col. 1:27.
“This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Eph. 5:32. The mystery commenced when God was manifest in the flesh of Jesus. The world could not see how he could be any different from other men; yet the spirit of the Lord God was in him, anointing Jesus with power in expounding the truth, and in sacrificing himself, etc. So, too, the same anointing abideth on all the true church, and as he was, so are we in the world—a mystery to the world which “knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1 John 3:1.) The world does not recognize in the saints, “sons of God”—”new creatures,” “partakers of the divine nature.”
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Very shortly now, this mystery of God, this company of divinely-begotten sons, will be FINISHED—completed: “The church of the first born” of which Jesus is the head, will soon cease to be, God manifest in the flesh. The entire company shall be glorified together, and “shall shine forth as the Sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43.) They shall arise in power and strength to bless all the families of the earth. “The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings”—for the Jew first, and also for the Gentile.
It is for the completion of this church that we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to-wit, the redemption of the body of Christ; the ending of the mystery part of God’s plan, in the full glory of Millennial brightness and joy. It is for this event also that the world’s release from pain and death waits. The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God. Rom. 8:19-24.
The necessity of the vailing of God’s mysterious purpose with reference to the church is very evident. If the religious rulers of the Jews had known that Jesus was really the anointed of God, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Cor. 2:7,8.) And had the rulers of the world and of the nominal church, recognized the Lord’s anointed body during this age, they would not have had the privilege of suffering with their Head.
Again, Paul tells us that God gave him wonderful revelations concerning the mystery, “To make all see what [are the conditions of] fellowship of the mystery.” (Eph. 3:3-6,9.) And it is to Paul as our Lord’s instrument that we are indebted more than to any other Apostle, for a clear record of the conditions on which we may become members of this mystery band, and as such be in due time revealed in glory of power. He tells us that we must have fellowship in the sufferings of Christ, if we would have share in His coming glory. We must with our head become dead to the world, its ambitions, its prizes, if we would become heirs of the glory which God hath in preparation and reservation for this mystery church of which Jesus is the Head.
We believe that we are just on the eve of the finishing of this church, or mystery. You and I, my brother, are, by our covenants, candidates for a crown of life and a position in the throne of the coming kingdom. Let us make our calling and election to that high position sure, by so running our race as to be approved of God, as living sacrifices for the gospel of truth. We have full little enough time to fulfill all our covenant; let us lay aside every weight and all besetting sins, and run, with patience, the race for the prize of our high calling, that when the church is complete—the mystery finished, we may be among the glorified members. Then no longer the mystery—we shall be Jehovah’s agents in blessing all the families of the earth.
— July, 1882 —