Saturday, November 5, 2011
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1 Corinthians 15:51 KJV).
The Old Testament prophets foretold Israel’s coming Messiah. Psalm 22 and Isaiah chapter 53 described a suffering and dying Messiah. Isaiah 9:6,7 and Zechariah 14:1-4 prophesied a Messiah who would win battles for Israel and ultimately be her King. The prophets could not understand how one Messiah could fulfill both roles (1 Peter 1:10,11), so they wondered if there were two Messiahs.
In hindsight, on this side of Calvary, we understand that there is one Jesus Christ, but His coming described in the Old Testament is actually two comings. Christ came to Israel 2,000 years ago to die and resurrect (His First Coming), but He will one day return to Israel as King (His Second Coming).
But, we Berean Bible students understand that God kept our Dispensation of Grace a secret from those Old Testament prophets (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:5,9; Colossians 1:25-27). Until the ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed it to Paul, God never told anyone of a secret time period between those two comings of Christ. So, in addition to two prophesied comings of Christ (His earthly ministry and His millennial reign as King), there are two secret comings of Christ in Scripture.
Our Dispensation of Grace opened in Acts chapter 9, when the ascended Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul (later the Apostle Paul) on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:13-18). Instead of pouring out His wrath, which should have occurred after the Jews stoned their prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7 (Acts 7:55,56 cf. Psalm 110:1), God poured out His grace on Saul and saved him! This coming of Christ to open our dispensation, save Saul, and make him Paul the Apostle, was unknown to the Old Testament prophets.
Likewise, there is a secret coming of Christ to conclude our dispensation and take us (the Body of Christ) to heaven. The rapture, a “mystery” (secret) unknown to the Old Testament, is only revealed in Paul’s epistles (today’s Scripture).
You only see these marvelous truths when you study the Bible dispensationally.