Whenever Israel goes off the scene, then mystery begins. The word mystery first occurs in Dan. 2:18 where it is translated secret, but the LXX (Septuagint) has it as musterion which is the mystery as used in Ephesians. Same word.
So a mystery was shown when Israel were Lo-Ammi, captive in Babylon. And today Israel is off the scene again, and so this is the time for the mystery to be revealed. When the purpose of this mystery is completed, then Israel will be in their place again.
This captivity of Israel in Babylon was the beginning of the times of the Gentiles. In an earlier article we showed that this prophetic times of the Gentiles were to run 581 years, from 496 BC to AD 85. There has been a break in this prophecy and that is where the mystery comes in.
Although there is a break of almost 400 years between what we call the Old Testament and New Testament, there is really no break. Malachi tells that the Messiah is coming, and Matthew tells the same people, Israel, that He has come. The ministry of John the baptizer comes nearer to being in the category of Malachi than in Matthew or the other gospels. He was a prophet.
At the time our Lord was on earth in the flesh, the masses were superficial. Few were found faithful. And so it is today. People have not changed in character. The same indifference to spiritual things is seen on every hand just as it was over 1900 years ago. The world, the flesh, and the devil have done their work.
The Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Son of God, came and walked their streets, mingled with the people, walked their highways, proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, and was rejected and crucified.
All that was done by His own (people). They missed what they had looked for over the centuries and they will not see Him again as a nation till they see Him appear, even as He did to Saul of Tarsus. And then they will mourn. But they will be ready for Him then.
His coming was not only good news to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles. For it was promised that in Him would all the nations be blest. Gentiles will be blest in the Seed of Abraham; Israel in the Seed of David.
When the 12 apostles will be raised from the dead at the beginning of the millennium, then will their great commission begin, to teach all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). Then will the earth purpose be started again, and finally come to its fruition, the blessing of the nations through Israel as a channel.
Hebrews 1:1,2 tells us that the 3 gospels are merely a continuation of the Old Testament. Study these words carefully. Before Israel could help usher in a kingdom of righteousness, they also needed a Savior to save them from their sins. And this same thing is the great need of the nations, too. That kingdom will come.
(Reprinted from Truth For Today - Vol. 29)