By Oscar M. Baker
When we get to the last chapters of Acts, we find that the ministry of the 12 of the kingdom of heaven has about ceased. Little is heard of it. Paul is still carrying on with the same message, but he is being rejected in about every quarter. Finally he is arrested in Jerusalem, imprisoned at Caesarea for two years, and finally sent to Rome. There he made his final appeal to the Jews to accept Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah and King, reasoning with them from morning to night from Moses and the Prophets.
It was of no avail. A few were interested, but for the most part they could not agree on anything. And so it appeared that the purpose of God was effectually frustrated.
But it was in the darkness of this hour that a light shone. A secret was made known. A plan and purpose never before made known, having been hid in God from the ages and generations, is set forth. This new administration had a steward, the apostle Paul. The basis of this message was that the salvation of God had been sent to the Gentiles, the Gentile believers who attended the synagogues and heard Moses and the prophets every Sabbath (not Sunday).
New terms were involved in this great message. Never before had they heard of things in heavenly places (en tois epouraniois). This is also called the holiest of all (ton hagion, saints). There is a revelation that principalities, powers, mights, and dominions inhabit these heavenly places. And it is revealed that Christ is Head of a church which is His body. There are more.
A new teaching now came to the fore. This teaching does not go back to the apostles and prophets of the Old Testament, but apostles and prophets of the New Testament (Eph. 4:11). There is nothing of the Lord coming again to the earth. There is nothing of His priesthood in the holy of holies. There is no law, but that one should walk worthy of the calling and of Christ. No warfare with flesh and blood on the earth, but wrestling with spiritual wickedness. The panoply is furnished for the soldier.
There is a new hope, not the rapture, but a manifestation with Christ in glory, the heavenly places, far above all. Even now are members of the body quickened, raised and seated (enthroned) with Christ in heavenly places.
A new doctrine is ushered in for this dispensation of the mystery. Members chosen from before the overthrow, blest with all spiritual blessings in Christ in heavenly places, and called Gentiles, the Jews being left behind.
About 2,000 years after Adam’s creation, the nations were given up (Gen. 11). A new nation was called to be a mediator between God and these alienated nations, but after 2,000 years of failure they were set aside. No program was left, for either the nations or Israel.
And this is where the mystery began. This plan concerns heavenly places, not the earth.
[Reprinted from Truth For Today Vol 34, No. 1]