The Mystery of God
By: Bruce D. Curtis, MA, M.Div. ©2017
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound the trumpet, then the Mystery of God will have been completed, as He preached to His servants the prophets. (Rev 10:7)
That [your] hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, for full knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ, in whom are all the hidden treasures of knowledge and wisdom. (Col 2:2-3)
For the Elect
* * *
A profound Mystery it is, indeed. The Mystery of God, hidden from the aeons and generations (Col 1:26), revealed at last to God’s holy ones, completed or fulfilled in the day of the seventh trumpet sound. But how can that be? Was the Mystery of God, Christ, through whom all things were made, incomplete at the beginning? Or are we looking at another dimension of the Mystery?
This sacred secret of God [another meaning for the Greek mysterion] was complete in the Heaven of Heavens before the beginnings of time in our cosmos, but was destined to be completed at a certain time within the space of the abyss. Herein lies another treasure of knowledge and wisdom within God’s Mystery: the anakephaliosisthai, Christ as the recapitulation of all things in Heaven and on earth – and herein the faithful seeker may find the solution to the Elect, those chosen from the foundation of the world.
making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Him for a stewardship of the fullness of the appointed times, that is, to gather together again all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him, in whom also we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of the one who works all things according to the purpose of His will . . . For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 1:9-11, 2:10, emphasis and double emphasis added)
So the ones foreknown, were foreordained for good works prepared beforehand, and they are gathered together once again, and this Mystery is completed at an appointed time [Gk. kairos] which also coincides with a Holy Day, one of the moedim or appointed times laid out in Leviticus and Numbers, Yom Teruah, or Day of Trumpets. In this great coincidence of events, John reveals the deeper meaning of the proleptic, or forward looking, celebration of the Day of Trumpets: it is the completion or fulfillment of the Mystery of God – the unification of Christ and His Elect who are known from before the foundation of the world, and created as part of a stewardship of the plan for the fullness of the appointed times.
In those appointed times which the Lord gave to Moses for His people, the Day of Trumpets was set for the first day of the seventh month. So if the first 1260 day [42 month] period of Revelation were to begin with the Passover – remember that chapter 5 shows the Lamb receiving the scroll and opening the seals – then it would end with the first day of the seventh month, viz. Yom Teruah. But that is another story better saved for the coming installment on Revelation and the Holy Days, appointed times of God.
And this brings us to the foot of a mountain of treasure of knowledge and wisdom pertaining to the Elect as Christ’s body, their gathering up, their purpose in the stewardship of the Mysteries of God, and their place in the Temple of God, as they are both pillars in the Temple and also collectively with Christ, the Ark of His Covenant.
Let’s begin with the gathering up of the Elect, which Paul wrote about in the Ephesians section quoted just above. It would serve well to obtain another witness or two to this event, especially if it is one foreshadowed in the Holy Days as shadows of things to come. References to the Elect, or ‘chosen ones’ would be the most appropriate to be certain we are on the Mystery. So we turn to the words of Christ Jesus in Matthew 24 where He addresses the disciples on the question of His return, about which they questioned Him.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days:
‘The sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matt. 24:29-31)
And now we have a hard-linked time marker into the unfolding events of the tribulation in Revelation. Seeing in the fifth seal, the unmistakable signs of “The Great Tribulation,” as testified by Daniel the prophet in chapter 12, and of course by the Lord in his apocalyptic discourse cited above, we look immediately after and read of the sixth seal.
And when I saw the Lamb open the sixth seal, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black like sackcloth of goat hair, and the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, like unripe figs dropping from a tree shaken by a great wind. The sky receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back its four winds so that no wind would blow on land or sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, with the seal of the living God. And he called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or sea or trees until we have sealed the foreheads of the servants of our God.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand from all the tribes of Israel. (Rev 6:12-7:4, emphasis added)
And who are these sealed servants of God exactly?
Then I looked and saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred forty-four thousand who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and the loud rumbling of thunder. And the sound I heard was like harpists strumming their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They have been redeemed from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Rev. 14:1-5, emphasis added)
These sealed, the Elect if we believe the conjoined witness of John and Matthew, are none other than the firstfruits commemorated in the celebration of Shavuot, commonly identified by the Anglican communion as Pentecost, the produce of the early harvest.
As covered in the writing we have posted entitled “Shavuot,” Christendom lost the meaning of their holy days owing to a Trojan horse in the New Testament, sown into the Book of Acts, engraved in the traditions of men by misappropriation of the prophecy in Joel 2. For Shavuot, ‘sevens,’ the counting of 7 Sabbaths from the wave sheaf offering plus one day, brings us to the fullness of the barley harvest, when 2 lambs and 2 loaves are waved before the Lord, over His altar in the Temple, symbolic of being waved in His Heavenly Presence, as Christ appeared His Heavenly Presence on the first of the week, three days after Passover. In the time of the end, the 2 witnesses [the end time Moses and the end time Elijah] will appear before God (Rev. 11:11-12) as the waving of 2 loaves had been before the Holy Presence in the Temple of YHWH in Jerusalem.
But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered the two witnesses, and they stood on their feet, and great fear came over those who saw them. And the witnesses heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies watched them. In that very same hour a great earthquake occurred in which a tenth of the city fell, and seven thousand names of men were killed in the earthquake. And the seventh angel sounded the trumpet; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become our Lord’s and His Christ’s, and he shall reign unto the aeons of the aeons.’ (Rev 11:11-13, 15, emphasis added)
On the basis of this unique phrasing, “names of men were killed,” the reader is led to draw a conclusion that something special has happened. There is enough in this section to warrant a special treatment of these events to come. At the very least one can say the death of this number, like the 7000 God told Elijah He had reserved for Himself, is a special category of souls, Elect, who have names [they are alive], which indicates they are known by God and Christ. Their bodies have died in the earthquake, but it appears they may be caught up to be with the Lord as you will see below. Without experiencing death they are “translated” into glorified form, like Enoch the prophet.
In the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, the disciple may hear echoes of the ‘rapture’ attributed to Paul in 1 Thessalonians where the apostle speaks of the dead rising followed by the remaining ones who are alive and caught up in the clouds to meet them in the air.
By the word of the Lord, we declare to you that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Th 4:15-17)
If Paul and the ‘Living’ Elect are to be with the Lord in the air forever, wouldn’t that imply that they follow Him wherever He goes? And it is from this framework that it becomes possible to peer into the reality of what it is that the Elect are to do – it is the Lord’s work and they are one with Him in it. By following the intertextual link from Revelation 14 back into Obadiah and also to Zechariah 11, one can gain great insight into the exact nature of the “good works” for which they were created to be carried out in the fullness of time.
Returning then, to the moment just prior to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the careful reader will see in the 2 witnesses waved before the Divine Presence, as the spiritual reality of the 2 lambs from Shavuot, the burnt offering – who together with the 2 loaves as the 2 houses, Judah and Israel, form the complete number of the Elect – a final full gathering of the Elect from the ends of the earth and the ends of Heaven. It is this barley harvest that makes for a complete realization of “The Mystery of God,” which now can only be understood as the primordial unity of the Logos and those foreknown and created in Him, which form a whole in which each part is a fractal representation of the Head, even as Christ Himself was the perfect representation (Heb 1:3) of the Most High. Thus is “the Feast of Weeks” complete and the 7 weeks are commemorated with the seventh trumpet.
In a remarkable way, the Day of Trumpets occurs as an announcement of the completion of the Temple, which is the Mystery of God, namely Christ and His Elect which form the Spiritual Temple of God’s Holy Spirit. And as witness to this, the Ark of the Covenant appears in the temple of Heaven, just as the Ark appeared in Solomon’s Temple at the seventh month with the sounding of 120 trumpets (2 Chron. 5:7-14). As the glory of the Lord filled the House of God in Jerusalem with Solomon as King, so in the day of the seventh trumpet, the Heavenly Temple will be complete with its Ark under Christ Jesus as King of kings.
And with the realization of these two feast days at the end of the first 42 months of the seven year period of Tribulation, comes the gathering of the Elect from the four winds (Rev 7-11) to complete the glorification of Christ in His body.
That these Elect are fractals of YHWH’s Messiah, Christ, is evident in the words of Obadiah 15-21, a prophetic vision of the last half of the 7 last years that culminate in the judgment of the nations during the great and terrible day of the Lord.
For the day of the YHWH is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
your deeds shall return on your own head.
For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
and shall be as though they had never been.
But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
and the house of Joseph a flame,
and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for YHWH has spoken.
Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
Saviors <Moshiim> shall ascend to Mount Zion,
to judge the very substance of the Mountain of Esau,
and the Kingdom shall be belonging to YHWH.
This final verse of Obadiah presents the visionary glimpse of the completion of the work of the Elect, viz. the Saviors, who are standing with the Lamb on Mt. Zion having the name of Christ Jesus and the Father as their seal, but exhibiting the earthly dimension of their spiritual work which is to judge the kingdom of the hairy one, that is the goats. These are they who exhibit the nature of the adversary and are opposed to the coming kingdom of God, which is recognized in their unity as “all of the nations gathered against it [Jerusalem]” (Zech 12:3), those nations under the judgment which becomes revealed in Revelation 19. Their fate is seen in the fire coming from Judah (Zech 12:6) which is the judgment poured out. As Obadiah records it (v. 18 above) the fire will consume them and there will be no survivor of Esau.
And the army that is arrayed behind Christ, upon whose thigh is written KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, these are the ones clothed in fine linen, white and clean, who are those firstfruits repurchased from the earth by His blood (Rev. 14:4), and transfigured into His glory so that they fulfill the words of Zechariah’s vision.
In that day YHWH shall defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day, he will be like David, and the house of David like God <Elohim>, like the messenger of the YHWH before them. And it will come about in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out a spirit of grace and supplications so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the low plain of Megiddon. (Zech 12:8-11, emphasis added)
These Elect, chosen as David was chosen, spiritually of the House of David, having a heart after the Lord’s heart as David had, are now like Christ, the messenger going before them, so much so that they are described as Elohim. And with this judgment against the nations, thrones for the judgment must be set, in preparation for fulfilling the commission to judge which Obadiah proclaimed.
Jerusalem—built as a city
That is joined together in unity,
To which the tribes go up,
The tribes of Yah,
As was decreed for Israel,
To give thanks to the name of the Lord.
There thrones for judgment were set,
The thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!”
(Ps 122:3-6, emphasis added)
Thrones are set, and Daniel beholds it (chapter 7), and thrones are set for the first resurrection in Revelation 20. Thrones are here set for the house of David just after the nations are vanquished and the fortunes of Jacob are to be restored, the captivity is released.
For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I restore the fortunes
Of Judah and Jerusalem
I will gather all the nations,
And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshapat <YHWH judges>
Then I will enter into judgment
With them there
On behalf of My people,
And My inheritance, Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
And they have divided up My land. (Joel 3:1-2)
This judgment of the nations is finished in Revelation 19 with the casting of the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire, and the removal of the adversary by a great angel who seals him in the abyss. So begins the millennial reign of Christ the King.
What has been infrequently recognized by Christendom is this very special nature of the Elect and that they are involved in the war against the adversary and his angels, and his own commanders on earth. Just as Michael and his angels fought (Rev 12), so likewise Christ and His Elect fight with the 10 kings in the earth who are the shadow of the 10 horns of the beast as they fall on the earth. The outcome for the 10 kings is certain:
These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are called and chosen (Elect) and faithful. (Rev. 17:14)
“Those who are with Him,” who follow Him wherever He goes, are the 144,000 out of the 12 tribes of Israel – not the historical tribes of physical Israel, but spiritual tribes, since Israel was lost among the nations – purchased and sealed with the name of the Father and of Christ, and they are integral within the work of the Mystery of God. They are such a part of Christ as His body that Obadiah refers to them as Saviors, the only time the word ‘moshiim’ is used in the plural in the entire old testament.
So the Elect complete the Mystery of God, they follow the Lamb, they wage war with the adversary and his kings of the earth, they judge the nations, i.e. the very substance of Esau, the hairy one, “the Beast.” So, could it be any wonder that for the sake of the Elect the days of the Great Tribulation (the fifth seal) are shortened as spoken in Matthew 24:21-22? And would it not be this hour of trial that comes upon all the earth, the greatest trial in earth’s history, from which they are spared in the promise to Philadelphia? Indeed, this is the exalted stature and destined glory of those whom YHWH created in Christ for good works, and whom He foreordained for the stewardship of His mysteries with His First-born Son in the final part of the days. It is a special number the Father has reserved for Himself, and is not the greater crowd of those who come off out of the great Tribulation, but those re-gathered into Christ.