Is the "mystery" revealed to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and in Colossians 1:26,27 the same "mystery"?
The word "mystery" occurs in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and in Colossians 1:26,27. Was it the same "mystery" revealed to Paul that he was writing about in both places?
Ted's Response:Here are the passages, written by Paul, in which those two verses are contained:
50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all beAlthough the word "mystery" is in both 1 Corinthians 15:51 and Colosians 1:26,27, Paul was not writing about the same "mystery" in both places. In 1 Corinthians 15:51, Paul was referring to the mystery of how dead believers will rise and, along with living believers, will be changed at the Rapture. Their perishable, mortal bodies will be changed into imperishable, immortal bodies. The prophet Isaiah told how the earth will give birth to her dead:
changed—52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:50-53)
25I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its
fullness—26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:25-27)
But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. (Isaiah 26:19)However, in Colossians 1:26, Paul was referring to a different mystery, hidden for ages and generations. He described that mystery in this passage:
2Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. 6This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:2-6)This mystery is that Gentiles are co-heirs and partakers of the same promise, in Christ, along with God's chosen people, the body of Israel. That mystery was hidden for ages until after Jesus came. Jesus said that He was not sent to any but the “lost sheep of Israel.” He even told His twelve disciples not to go to the Gentiles but, rather, only to the lost sheep of Israel:
23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." 24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." (Matthew 15:23,24)However, once Israel had firmly rejected Jesus as their Messiah, He then told His disciples to go out to all the nations, that is to the Gentiles, to teach them about God:
5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. (Matthew 10:5,6)
19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19,20)So just before He left the earth, Jesus told the disciples to go also to Gentiles because they, along with the body of Israel, had become fellow heirs and partakers of God's promises. This was a "mystery" because Jesus initially had told the disciples to go only to the lost sheep of Israel.
Paul helped explain this mystery in Romans 11:13-25. He explained that many of the natural olive "branches" of Israel have been "broken off" due to a "hardening" toward God; but the wild olive "shoots" of Gentile believers have been "grafted in" to the olive root of Israel (see grafted and re-grafted). He used the word "mystery" in the final verse of that passage:
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)Basically, by the end of the age, once the full number of Gentile believers have accepted Jesus, then the eyes of Israel will be opened, their hearts no longer will be hardened, and they will accept their Messiah, Jesus. Paul wrote in another place how not only distress but also the good things of God would come first to the Jew and then to the Gentile:
9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:9-11)So one "mystery" desribed by Paul is that believers will be changed supernaturally at the Rapture and will receive imperishible, immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:53). The other "mystery" he described is that all believers, whether Jews (Israel) or Gentiles, are co-heirs in the eternal promises of Christ (Ephesians 3:6). This mystery will be accomplished or finished when the angel sounds the Seventh Trumpet, which is when Jesus will return to earth to rule and reign, and everyone will know that He is Messiah, Lord, and King:
But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets." (Revelation 10:7)
15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." 16And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. (Revelation 11:15-17)
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