Volume 5 of God’s Prophetic Spirit
Available on 1/15/14
The fifth installment of God’s Prophetic Spirit will be available for purchase next Wednesday, January 15th. This fifth volume contains one essay which completes this series’ examination of an often overlooked doctrine in the New Testament: The Mystery of God. The two essays of Volume 4 established the significance of the mystery of God in the New Testament and highlighted the connection between the work of the Holy Spirit and the completion of the mystery. This final essay on the mystery shows that the fall of Jerusalem in A. D. 70 finished the mystery of God and that the finishing of the mystery also brought the Spirit’s prophetic work with man to an end. An appreciation of the firm connection the doctrine of the mystery of God establishes between the Holy Spirit and God’s judgment on Israel provides a needed and helpful foundation upon which the New Testament’s teaching about the work of the Spirit in the church can be established.
Volume 5 contains one essay:
Essay #11: “God’s Mystery: Finished by Judgment”
Here is a quick preview of Volume 4 for your enjoyment:
On the cross Jesus spoke these words of finality as He prepared to allow life to slip away from His physical body: “It is finished” (John 19:30). It was to this end that Jesus had come into the world. The New Testament speaks of this intention in Christ and of the cross as the aim of the life of Jesus many times:
- And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:30-31)
- I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! (Luke 12:50)
- And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.’” (Luke 13:32)
- And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” (Luke 18:31)
- Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” (John 4:34)
- But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. (John 5:36)
- I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. (John 17:4)
- After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
It would be understandable to think that as Christ ascended back to heaven the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose for man had been accomplished. If that were the case then all men who lived beyond the cross would be in the same circumstance before God. Each one would live in a time when the fullness of God’s work and been accomplished. There would be no revelatory or necessary event beyond the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus whose fulfillment should impact the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work with man. After all, if God accomplished all things necessary to establish the church of His Son at the cross and the Holy Spirit is the special blessing for those living in that church, then so long as I am in the church, it should follow that I receive the fullness of that blessing with all other saints.
However, there is a textual problem with the view that says that Christ finished the work of God. There are numerous statements after the cross which speak of God’s work coming to an end. Many of these passages have time statements contained within them. Perhaps the clearest of these statements (especially relating directly to the mystery) is found in Revelation 10:
And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:5-7)
The revelation given to John stated that at the sounding of the trumpet of the seventh angel the mystery of God would be fulfilled or finished (KJV). While the many different views of Revelation would point to different points as to the specific fulfillment of this verse nearly all admit that this verse refers to something yet future from the writing of John, and so therefore well after the time of the earthly ministry of Jesus. At the very least, we know that “God’s mystery” was not completed at the cross. It was to be fulfilled in the accomplishment of the signs within the book of Revelation. So then, the Bible teaches that while Christ did accomplish the work the Father sent Him to do (John 17:4); God had more work still to be done on the earth.
If Revelation 10:7 is speaking of a continuing work of God beyond the earthly ministry of the Christ, and especially as this series of essays is contending that this work was the primary responsibility of the Holy Spirit to be fulfilled in the first century, one would expect that this work would be described in the New Testament. So is it?