Tom L. Ballinger

As a student of Scripture, we believe that we should study to show ourselves approved unto God as an unashamed workman, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15). As we rightly divide the Word, we are to seek His approval—not man’s. In so doing, it is believed that when “The Acts of the Apostles” ended, God suspended His dealing with Israel and ushered in an unprophesied dispensation. In this study, we will refer to it as “the dispensation of the Mystery.” The Dispensation of the Mystery was not mentioned, or even alluded to, in either type or shadow in the Old Testament, the four Gospels, the Book of Acts, nor in the scriptures written during the Book of Acts.

It had been a secret, hidden in the “heart” of God, and was not made known until it was revealed to the Apostle Paul as the prisoner of Jesus Christ. In plainer words, the Mystery was never the subject of prophecy, whether OT or NT. The dispensation of the Mystery was not being phased in during the waning days of the Book of Acts. The Apostle Paul knew nothing of its bursting-forth on the world scene until it was revealed to him sometime after the closing of Acts Chapter 28. As Dr. J. B. Lightfoot well said, “Not only was this mystery unknown in remote periods of antiquity, but even in recent generations. It came upon the world as a sudden surprise. The moment of its revelation was the moment of its fulfillment.” I certainly endorse Dr. Lightfoot’s statement.

The Mystery had been hid in God (Eph. 3:9) which in other ages had not been made known to the sons of men as it is now revealed (Eph. 3:5). The Mystery which had been hid from ages and generations is now made manifest to His saints (Col. 1:26). The revelation of the Mystery was given to Paul “for you [Gentiles]” (Eph.3:1-2). It was Gentile-ward.

God’s prophetic program concerning Israel and the promises related to her were abruptly suspended when “The Acts of the Apostles” concluded. With this interruption of the Divine Plan for the nation of Israel, in which all prophecies concerning her were placed on hold, the Lord brought in a parenthetic program. In other words, the Dispensation of the Mystery was inserted into the Word of God as if it were placed within a great parenthesis. A parenthesis sets off supplementary, parenthetic, or explanatory material when the interruption is more conspicuous than that usually indicated by commas.

This is exactly what the Dispensation of the Mystery is. There is a grand and glorious intermission of the Lord’s prophetic program concerning His promises to the future of Israel’s restoration. All prophecies have been suspended. No OT or NT prophecy will be fulfilled in the present dispensation. Keep in mind, the Prison Epistles are not New Testament truths. Why? Because, Present Truth is for the Gentiles, and, as such, they never had any covenant (i.e.testament) relationship with the Lord.

You will notice the large parentheses, below which depicts the present dispensation as being a parenthetic one. It was not the subject of prophecy, nor does it contain within its’ doctrines any fulfillment pertaining to any past, unfulfilled prophecies!

( The Dispensation of the Mystery )

We only find a few prophecies in Present Truth—one relates to the “latter times” (1 Tim. 4:1) of this dispensation, and another that relates to the “last days” (2 Tim. 3:1) of this present dispensation, and another speaks concerning the Mystery ending with Christ’s appearing, even His Kingdom. Then, we notice why Paul charged Timothy to “preach the word” because the time is coming when believers will not tolerate sound doctrine.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the
latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim. 3:1).

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his
appearing and his kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1).

“For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

These four prophecies are all associated with the present dispensation. They will find their fulfillment within the present dispensation.

All unfulfilled prophecies from the past dispensations cannot find one place, or time, of fulfillment in the present dispensation. If they did, it would be a blatant contradiction to the fact that the Dispensation of the Mystery was a sacred secret; so hidden from view that no-one could have imagined a fulfillment occurring during a period which was hidden by God Himself. The idea is ludicrous.

The restoration of the Kingdom to Israel will not happen during this parenthetic dispensation of the Mystery. The seven years of tribulation does not find fulfillment in the present dispensation. The Second Coming (Parouisa) of Christ is not associated with the Mystery.

Most “Acts 28er’s,” that we are aware of, acknowledge that the Mystery lies within a parenthetic dispensation. The very idea of a parenthetic dispensation precludes the notion that past, unfulfilled prophecies can find their realization in this parenthetic dispensation. This dispensation of the Mystery stands alone upon its’ own foundation (Eph. 2:20).

We must wonder why many Christians, who profess to believe in Present Truth, attempt to force today’s Israel into our dispensation as if it is the handiwork of God? Is it their love of the present-day Jews? Is it the result of an emotional attachment to God’s ancient people? Is it because it makes today’s news from the Middle East seem relevant and exciting, which the Doomsday preachers of prophecies of the End Times, continually ‘harp on’? Or, could it be that they haven’t really thought through their inconsistency in believing that prophecy from past dispensations can find fulfillment in a dispensation which had never been the subject of prophecy and had been hid from ages and generations?

Can a proof text be found in the Bible corroborating that the State of Israel, today, is the result of God’s fulfilling His promise to His Chosen People? Consider the following question:

What Old Testament or New Testament Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled?

We have searched the “End-Times” writers and a lot of their web sites, hoping to find their Scriptural texts suggesting that today’s Israelis are the people of God in their homeland awaiting conversion. We haven’t found a single one!

As it was pointed out in our paper, “The Grand Hoax” it is certainly not found in Ezekiel 20:33-40. Ezekiel Twenty is probably the most amazing prophecy concerning the re-gathering of Israel. Jeremiah was not silent on the subject.

“For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:6, 7).

Forgive the old army expression, but it is time to “Lock and Load.” There is nothing in the history of Israel, from Jeremiah's day down to this very moment that can, in all honesty, be called a fulfillment of this prophecy. There is nothing taking place today that indicates a realization of the promises God made in these words. In fact, the raw data on the history of the land of Palestine since the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and the subsequent nationhood of Israel in 1948, shows absolutely no evidence that God has given the Jews, there, a “heart to know” Him. It is utterly absurd to believe they are His people, and that He is their God! They have not returned to God “with their whole heart.” The fact of the matter is, they haven’t returned at all.

For over forty years, we have been constantly hearing about the restoration of Israel to her ancient land while still in a state of unbelief. This is what is unhesitatingly referred to as the return of the Jews to Palestine awaiting conversion. Yet, we are not given a single chapter and verse showing us where they come up with this idea, or, illusion.

Yes, the restoration of Israel to her promised Land is an event that is said to be predicted in the Old Testament. And, while we certainly do believe that the Bible predicts the future return, restoration, and establishment of Israel, we do not believe that anything that has happened to, or within, the Jewish people since the Balfour Declaration in 1917 has anything to do with the Biblical prophecies of their return.

Not only that, but according to our understanding of the right division of the Word of Truth, if today’s Israel is the work of God fulfilling prophecy, His work is in shambles.

When the Lord recalls Israel, He will have prepared the nations for this action. All of the nations of the world, including the Arabs, and the Palestinians who might object, will have already been in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ because His Kingdom comes before Israel is converted within the nations where they will have been dwelling. Christ rules the world from His Throne in heaven as He begins the re-gathering.

The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Ps. 103:19) NIV.

Then, the LORD will perform a wonder-working miracle which results in glory, not shambles. The wonder-working power, here mentioned, results in the following:

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20).

This must happen to Israel before they enter the Land. Today’s Israelis do not qualify as the ones who will return. They are not His people and, certainly, the Lord Jesus Christ is not their God.

The LORD told Ezekiel to further prophesy to Israel concerning her restoration.

For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezek, 36:24).

The LORD is emphatic that the restoration will be all His doing.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezek.36:26).

Here, the LORD said He will remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. The present-day Jews, in the Jewish State, don’t possess a new spirit, or a new heart, for the Lord God. The “new spirit” and “new heart” speaks about the new testament being written in the “fleshy tables” of their heart (2 Cor. 3:3).

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezek. 36:27).

The present Israel, in no way, shape, form, or fashion qualifies as walking in His statues, keeping His judgments, much less doing them. What about this; “End-Timers”? They simply dismiss the truth with a wave of the hand, saying; “Hey, they are there waiting to be converted.” Forgive us, but that is a very flippant attitude toward God’s Word.

“And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God (Ezek. 36:28).

It is redundant to say this, but we must: The Jews in Palestine are not God’s people, and He is not their God.

"'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, "This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited." Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.' (Ezek 36:33- 36) NIV.

We have been noting what the LORD said about His restoration of Israel. Nothing that we have read even suggests the slightest semblance that today’s Jewish State is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the result of Zionism, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The passages are voluminous, too many to put in this paper. Suffice it to say, we cannot find one passage of Scripture indicating that the Lord has placed the Jews today in the land in order that at His Own pleasure, He will convert them—they will be His people, and He will be their God. We will close by asking our dear friends, “What Old Testament or New Testament prophecy was fulfilled when Israel was recognized as a nation-state in 1948?”

Chapter and verse, please.