[The following article is an edited transcription of our audio teaching, “An Overview of the Sacred Secret” by John W. Schoenheit.]
This month we are teaching on the Sacred Secret. I have got tell you that I am so excited to talk about this topic. The Sacred Secret is one of the most incredible things that God has ever done for mankind. Amazingly enough, even though God revealed the Sacred Secret over 2000 years ago, for the most part in Christianity, it is still the Sacred Secret.
Let us talk about how wonderful and powerful this secret really is.
We always believe at Spirit & Truth that these teachings are more powerful if you are reading along with us in your Bible. I invite you to read along with me in your Bible. I think that you will get a lot more out of this teaching and from this information. Jesus Christ said that the words that I speak unto you, “they are spirit, and they are life.” A life and spiritual power is there that flows out of the Word of God that is just very hard to put your finger on and to describe, but it is definitely there.
1 Corinthians 2:6 and 7
(6) We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
(7) No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom…
That is exactly right, it is a Sacred Secret.
1 Corinthians 2:7 and 8
(7) a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
(8) None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Do you get the impact of that? Wow! What this verse is saying is that the rulers of this age, of course, are satanic rulers, Satan and his demons and his hordes. They would not have set up the crucifixion of Jesus Christ if they had understood the subject that I am teaching you today. They did not understand it, and they did not understand it because it was a Sacred Secret. God hid it. He absolutely hid it.
I want to talk about what God Himself says about this. What does God say about how glorious this Secret is?
2 Corinthians 3:7
Now, if the ministry that brought death…
Now, remember that this is God’s Word that we are reading. This is God’s Words about His Word. What does He call the Law, the Law of Moses—the Law that dominated the Old Testament? He calls it the ministry that brought death.
We are going to be talking about administrations in a little bit. That God changed the rules for different time periods. We actually know this; we know that God changed the rules. For example, we do not have a Temple today. We do not do animal sacrifices today. Why, because God changed the rules. It is not that God changed; He just simply changed the rules by which He wanted mankind to live.
What does God say about His own rules in the Old Testament? He says that they are “the ministry that brought death,” and they did. No one, we learned, is righteous because of their ability to keep the Law. Nobody could keep it.
2 Corinthians 3:7 and 8
(7) Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,
(8) will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
Praise the Lord! The ministry of which you and I are a part, the ministry of the Spirit, the Administration of the Age of Grace is more glorious than the Law.
2 Corinthians 3:9
If the ministry that condemns men is glorious….
This is a pretty interesting admission on God’s part. He calls the Law “the ministry that condemns men” but acknowledges at the same time that it has glory. The Law of Moses did have glory. The Law of Moses even according to Romans chapter 7 is “holy and just and good.” It was not that the Law of Moses did not come with glory and benefit to mankind. Look at what God says about it.
2 Corinthians 3:9
If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
Why is it important for you and me to know the Sacred Secret? Why is it important for you and me to live according to the revelations of the Church Epistles (Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Thessalonians)? Because in those Church Epistles is revealed God’s Sacred Secret, which by God’s own testimony is more glorious than the Law.
2 Corinthians 3:10
For what was glorious [which was the Law] has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.
What we have today is so incredibly glorious that it is as if the Law had no glory at all. We learn from 1 Corinthians chapter 2 that had Satan known what we have today, he would not have even crucified the Lord of glory. He would not have even gone there.
Is it not exciting to learn about this? It is such a privilege to teach this; I trust that it is a privilege to you to study it. We can go over this together because we are learning what God has done for us that He says is so glorious that the Old Testament did not even have any glory compared to what we have today. Oh, that is so important. Christians today want to take on the rituals of the Law. They want to keep the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles… They want to keep the various rituals, but God says, “Wait a minute. Those things were a shadow of what we have today and had no glory compared to what we have today.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, let us learn about what we have today. Satan knew about the Temple; he knew about the Sacrifices; he knew about the Feasts. That is not why it says that he would not have crucified Jesus. He would not have crucified Jesus if he had known what we have today, the Sacred Secret. That is what we are going to talk about.
We are going to talk about the fact that we cannot lose our salvation; however, in the Old Testament you could. We are going to talk about how we are born children of God while in the Old Testament, people had Spirit upon them, and they were servants of God. We are going to talk about the fact that we cannot be separated from God’s love.
Let us just go into one point here on the Sacred Secret which we will make again later in this teaching, just to give you a feel of the greatness of this and how important this is. I am going to make the assumption that maybe I should not make that you are familiar with Romans chapter 8 where it says that “nothing shall separate us from the love of God.” Do you remember Romans chapter 8, the closing of the chapter, starting in verse 35 going through verse 39 that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God. When you are in Hosea chapter 1, back in the Old Testament, that was not true because in the Old Testament the relationship between God and people was not the relationship of a father and a child, it was the relationship of a Lord and a servant. When the servant displeased the Lord, he would cut off the servant. For example, the problem with Israel in Hosea’s time is illustrated in chapter 1 verse 2.
When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, [Why?] because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”
The Israelites had departed from the LORD. What was His response to this?
Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter.
Gomer was the woman who Hosea took as a wife.
Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah
The word “Lo” in Hebrew means low and “Ruhamah” means love or mercy or compassion.
for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel
Wow! What a heart breaking verse. The verse in Romans that you and I get to claim says, “Nothing shall by any means separate us from the love of God.”
The fact is, what we have in Christ, in the Sacred Secret, is so big that I do not have time to cover it in a 70 minute tape; thus, I am going to give you some verse references occasionally instead of reading the whole verse.
What we are going to cover first in this teaching is to see that the word mystery is the Greek word musterion, which is most often translated mystery in the New Testament, and it is not a mystery at all; it is a Sacred Secret. We are going to see why we call musterion a Sacred Secret. We are going to look at verses about the musterion, the Sacred Secret, and see that it was once hidden but now has been made known. We are going to discuss where we would look to find information about the Sacred Secret; including why did God hide it, and why is He now revealing it? That will bring up the fact that God is revealing it because it reveals His wisdom, and He is revealing it in part for our glory. We are going to talk about different aspects of the Sacred Secret.
First of all, we need to talk about the fact that the word musterion does not mean mystery but it means secret.
That is, the mystery [musterion] made know to me by revelation…
That word mystery is the Greek word musterion. By the way, you can find a number of books for this—Greek interlinear, lexicons, and especially Bible study programs for the computer that will allow you to see this for yourself. I am letting you know that this subject of the musterion, the Sacred Secret, is so important that it is worth checking out and worth looking in to. When I say that the Greek word for mystery here is musterion, go and get a Bible study software program or a Greek lexicon and check it out. It will fortify your faith to see exactly what I am teaching.
What has happened in English is that the Greek word musterion has been transliterated into the English word mystery. Now, to transliterate comes from the Latin root trans, which is across, and litera, which is the Latin word for letter. To transliterate is to simply bring across a word in the letters from one language to another, so musterion in Greek got transliterated into mystery in English. Transliteration is nice, but transliteration is not translation. Translation is when you bring across the meaning. What we want to find out is not what the letters in the Greek are, but what the meaning of the Greek word musterion is, then we can translate it. What we will find is that the Greek word musterion refers to a Sacred Secret. That is where we are going in the near future here.
We need to become clear on some definitions. Why do I not like the English word mystery? The English word mystery means something that is incomprehensible; it is unknowable; it is beyond understanding. For example, it is common in religious circles to speak of the Trinity as a mystery, and then say that no one can comprehend it. In science, the fact that light has the properties of a particle and the properties of a wave is a mystery to us. It is incomprehensible to us. We do not understand it; it is outside of our nine dots. That is a mystery. A mystery is when something is beyond our understanding, unknowable, incomprehensible.
In contrast a secret is something that is known by someone but unknown by others. For example, a surprise birthday party is a secret—well supposedly it is a secret to the one who is having the birthday, but everybody else knows it. A mystery is incomprehensible; it cannot be known. A secret is something that can be known, but it is not known by every person.
I want to point out that this is so incredibly important to know that I want to document this first from the scholars and then from the Word of God itself. In the New Bible Dictionary when you look up the word mystery, for example, it says, “but where as mystery may mean and in contemporary usage often does mean a secret for which no answer can be found, this is not the connotation of the word musterion in classical and Biblical Greek. In the New Testament, musterion signifies a secret which is being or even has been revealed.”
You might be familiar with Smith’s Bible Dictionary, a very famous Bible Dictionary. Here is what Smith’s has to say, “Musterion by no means necessarily denotes anything strictly mysterious and incomprehensible. The fact or truth though requiring to be revealed, it may when revealed be of a very elementary character.”
One of the conservative Bible Dictionaries that I like is Zondervan Tutorial Encyclopedia of the Bible has this to say, “Mystery in the New Testament does not deal with the unknowable but with what is imparted by revelation.”
Lastly, you are probably familiar with Strongs as in the Strong’s Concordance, in the Strong’s Expanded Dictionary under musterion we read, “In the New Testament, it denotes not the mysterious as with the English word, but that which being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension can be made known only by Divine revelation.”
That is exactly right. The scholars recognize it. This is important, and the reason that this is important is because the vast majority of the Bible versions translate the Greek word musterion as mystery, so I want to make it clear that the scholars know that mystery is not a good translation of musterion. It communicates the wrong idea. Translating musterion as mystery communicates the idea that the things of God cannot be understood.
I cannot tell you the harm that this has done to the Church over the centuries. The number of good, God-loving people that are kept in the dark about the things of God because when they ask tough questions, they are taken to some verse in the Bible that mentions the word mystery and told that “Well, the things of God are mysterious.” No, the things of God are secret to those that have not bothered to take the time to look. The things of God are not mysterious in the sense that we cannot understand them. It is so important to get that.
So much harm has been done to the Church by false doctrines that are promulgated and then when somebody questions them and says, “It just does not make sense this doctrine of…whatever.” They are told, “Well, that doctrine, that one is a mystery.” Oh really. Well, that is not in Scripture. That is in man’s theology.
I want to show you from the Word of God clearly that the musterion has been revealed. We are going to start in 1 Corinthians 2. We have already read about the secret in 1 Corinthians 2:7. Now we will read 1 Corinthians 2:8.
1 Corinthians 2:8 and 9
(8) None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
(9) However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Where was that written—in the Old Testament (Isaiah 64:4)? That is correct. Before the Day of Pentecost not one mind had conceived, no eye had seen, no ear had heard. Why—because the Sacred Secret was hidden in God.
1 Corinthians 2:10
but God has revealed it to US…
If the Bible says that He has revealed it, He has revealed it. It is not a mystery; it is a secret. It was a secret hidden by God, but now it has been revealed. This fact that God has revealed the Sacred Secret has been stated over and over again; and for that purpose, I want to make sure that we read a few of them.
Romans 16:25 and 26
(25) Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the musterion [the Sacred Secret] hidden for long ages past,
(26) but now revealed and made known…
What was so secret, so important, that had Satan known, he would not have crucified Jesus, has now been made known to you and me. It is so important to understand that it has been made known.
It is important to understand that this Sacred Secret has been made known because for so long people have said, “Oh, the things of God are mysterious.” It has become such a mantra that people do not even expect to understand the things of God.
Many times people do not even bother to study. I go into home after home after home of Christians and ask, “Do you have a Greek lexicon?” They say, “No.” I ask, “Do you even have a good concordance like a Strong’s Exhaustive?” They say, “No.” I ask, “Do you have Bible Study Software?” They say, “No.”
The Bible is the most important book in the whole universe. Who would not have the tools to be able to answer some of their own questions? Certainly, we should have those tools, but if you are taught that the things of God are mysterious, why bother? The things of God are not mysterious; they were just secret, but now they have been made known.
the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.
And he made known to us the musterion of his will…
He made known to us the Sacred Secret of His will. This Sacred Secret has been made known.
I hope that you do not think that I am beating this to death because I am going verse after verse on how the Sacred Secret has been made known. The reason that I feel that this is so important is because so many people consider the things of God mysterious. The reason that they consider it mysterious is because the word musterion has been translated mystery when it is not a mystery at all. It has been made known. Verse after verse after verse is there that says that. It was a secret; now it has been made known.
Ephesians 3:1 and 2
(1) For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
(2) Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you,
Well, let us talk about the Administration of God’s Grace. When Adam and Eve started out, they were in the Garden of Eden. They had certain laws. That administration, the administration of those laws, we call it the original paradise. When Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden, we went into a different administration with different laws. By the time that you get to the Law of Moses, the time of the Exodus about 1450 years before Christ, you have a different set of laws. The laws in the Law Administration were in force up until the Day of Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost, which was recorded in Acts chapter 2, God started a brand new administration. In Acts chapter 2 on the Day of Pentecost, God started the Administration of the Age of Grace.
He gave us different regulations by which to live than they lived under the Law. That is why you can eat a hot dog. That is why you do not have to go to Jerusalem three times a year. That is why you do not have to kill animals at the Temple. We live under different laws now than they lived under in the Old Testament.
We have a different relationship to God now than they did in the Old Testament. Had Satan known what you and I have now, he would not have crucified Jesus Christ. God says that what He gave under the Law had no glory in comparison to what you and I have today. Who would not want to learn about this? This is just amazing.
In verse two, Paul writes about the Administration of God’s Grace that was given to me.
that is, the musterion [the Sacred Secret] made known to me by revelation,
The Sacred Secret was made known to Paul by revelation. It had to be made known to Paul by revelation because nobody else knew it because it was a secret. God had to tell somebody. God decided to tell Paul. When God told Paul, that telling is revelation. God told Paul by revelation, “Hey Paul, want to know a secret? This is a big one.” Paul said, “Sure!” God then laid the Church Epistle on Paul.
Ephesians 3:4 and 5
(4) In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the Sacred Secret of Christ,
(5) which was not made known to men in other generations…
Does that sound familiar—was hidden in other generations?
as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
Again, we see the musterion being made known. He goes on to develop what the Sacred Secret is in part.
This Sacred Secret is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, [This is huge, and we will talk about this later.] members together of one body, [also huge, and we will talk about this later.] and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Now, these things are big! That is not all that there is to the Sacred Secret, but these things are huge.
Ephesians 3:7 and 8
(7) I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.
(8) Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Now I ask you, “Why were the riches of Christ unsearchable?” The answer is right in the context—because God hid it. God hid the riches of Christ from the people before the Day of Pentecost but has now made them known.
and to make plain to everyone the administration of this musterion, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
Now verse nine is about as plain as you can be. Remember that musterion is a Sacred Secret. The Apostle Paul writes by revelation. He says, “I want to make plain to everyone the Administration of this Sacred Secret.”
If people do not know about it, it is not because God did not try to make it plain. If people do not know about it, it is because the word that should be translated as Sacred Secret gets translated as mystery and is misunderstood. The word oikonomia which here in this verse is properly translated as administration, but in many other versions, it gets translated as stewardship or some other word that fogs and clouds the issues so that we do not really understand what God is talking about. What is God talking about today in what He calls the Age of Grace or the Administration of the Grace of God? He is talking about the Administration of the Sacred Secret.
Why is it important to know about this? Knowledge is power, and knowledge of God’s Word and knowledge of God’s truth gives us power to live abundantly—to live a full spiritual life.
What have we seen so far? We have seen that musterion does not mean mystery. We have seen that musterion can be revealed and understood. We have seen that the Sacred Secret was hidden, but it has now been made known.
At this point, I need to cover why we call it the Sacred Secret. I think that this is important because throughout this teaching I have been using the term Sacred Secret. In particular, if you have been listening to our teachings, we have referred to it in years past as The Secret.
I was reading the Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible by James Rotherham, and in Ephesians and in other places in the New Testament; I noticed that Rotherham translated musterion as Sacred Secret. That piqued my interest because Rotherham was a scholar of the first rank, completely fluent in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, German, you name it. If Rotherham translated the Greek word musterion not as Secret but as Sacred Secret, he had to have a reason. I began to delve into what that reason was. What would that be?
What is clear in the Greek language is that a Greek word exists for secrets in the sacred or religious realm. A Greek word exists for secrets that are in the secular realm. These are two different Greek words. The Greek word for secrets in the sacred realm, in the religious realm, is musterion. When a secret was just in a secular realm, then the Greeks used the word kruptos. By the way we get our word crypt from kruptos. Kruptos was something hidden. For example, in Matthew chapter 6 when Jesus Christ is talking about giving. He says, “Do your alms in secret.” That is kruptos; it is not musterion. Jesus taught in Mark 4:22, “That every secret thing would be brought to light.” That is kruptos; it is not musterion. In Romans 2:16 when God says, “He will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ.” That is kruptos; it is not musterion.
It is very important to understand this truth because the word musterion is not just secret. It is a Sacred Secret. That is very helpful for us to know. That is why, we, in our ministry and in this teaching and in many other times, do our own translation of Scripture. An example would be if we are writing an article for The Sower (our bimonthly magazine) or something like that, and we write a verse, and then we translate it underneath and say, “author’s translation.” If we come across the word musterion, we would translate it as Sacred Secret. That is why we do this. Anyone reading the Greek text knows immediately whether the secret is sacred or secular. It is either musterion or kruptos. If you translate both those words as secret, then the English is much less clear than the Greek. That is not good translation work, so let us translate the meaning of the Greek from the Greek into English. Musterion is a Sacred Secret, and kruptos is a secret.
You will not find one time in the entire New Testament from Matthew to Revelation that the word musterion cannot be translated Sacred Secret and the word kruptos cannot be secret. If we translate them that way and make a note to that effect in the margins of our Bible, then we will be able to read our Bible with ease.
This brings up another point now into which I want to move. I want to study the Sacred Secret. You are saying by now, “John, you have got me convinced. This is exciting. I am ready to go and look for the Sacred Secret. Now where will I look?”
Well, you would not look in the Old Testament now would you—because had Satan known the Sacred Secret, he would not have crucified Christ? The Sacred Secret was not made known in the Old Testament. You would not look in the Gospels either, for Christ was not crucified until the very end of the Gospels, and had Satan known the secret he would not have crucified Christ. You will not find the Sacred Secret in the book of Revelation either. The book of Revelation applies to after the rapture of the Church, after the Christian Church is gone.
The sacred secret that we are talking about applies to the Christian Church. That is the sacred secret of the Church. Literally, the Administration of the Sacred Secret – the Christian Church.
That brings up a point that I do need to make that other sacred secrets are in the Bible. The Christian Church was not the only sacred secret. There were the sacred secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. There were the sacred secrets of Babylon. There were the sacred secrets of Lawlessness. Take a Greek concordance and look at the word musterion and look at all the usages. You will see that other sacred secrets are there besides the Sacred Secret of the Church. In this teaching and for our understanding, we need to know what is the Sacred Secret of the Church, and where do I look for it. We look for it in the books that were written for the Church. That would be Acts through Jude.
By the way, while I am saying that, I ought to say that although it would be nice, no list exists that lays out all the attributes of the Sacred Secret. The Sacred Secret is so pervasive in the Church Epistles that the entire Administration that we live in, the Administration of Grace, is in Ephesians 3:9 called the Administration of the Sacred Secret. We have to look for the Sacred Secret all over the scriptures. That is important to do.
Let me clarify about administrations again to make sure that we are all on the same page. God has given different rules for different time periods. God is the one who makes the rules for people; I think that we can all agree on that. God has given different rules for different sets of people. I was teaching this once, and somebody said, “Well, I thought that God did not change.” Well, okay. Wait, I am not saying that God changed. I am saying that the rules that He gave to different people changed.
As a parent, I understand this. We have raised three kids, and you give different rules at different times. As the parents, Jenivee and I do not change, but the rules that we make for the children change. Well, God did the same thing. God does not change, but He has made different rules for different periods of time.
For example, in the Garden of Eden, God’s rule, and you can check this in Genesis, was that you can only eat plants. Once mankind was out of the Garden for a while in Genesis 9, God says okay now you can eat animals. By the Law Administration, God changed and said okay you can eat animals, but certain things could not be eaten. For example, you could not eat a dead animal, an unclean animal; you could not do this or that. He changed or modified the rules.
Marriage is another good example. After the Fall during the time of Abraham, which Abraham lived during the Administration of Civil Government, it was okay with God if you married your sister. Abraham married his half sister Sarah. When the Law of Moses came along, God changed the rules, and He said you can marry more than one wife but you cannot marry a relative. Now we come to the Administration of the Age of Grace, in which you and I live, and God changes the rules concerning marriage again, and He says every man must have one wife and every woman must have one husband. That is in 1 Corinthians 7:2.
God changes the rules by which people live. That is what an administration is. What we are looking for in reading through Acts to Jude is what is God doing for us? What has God done in us? What does God want us to do? We are looking for what we have. Particularly, we are looking for what is it that we have that is so great that had Satan known it, he would not have crucified the Lord of Glory!
What we have today was not known in the Old Testament. I do not have the time to develop this, but it is a fabulous thing to develop. I have not developed it in the sense that I have not gone to Scripture to show how the things of the Sacred Secret were missing in the Old Testament prophecies. We have seen many scriptures that say that what we have today was hidden in God. Again, we have covered why God hid it. Had Satan known it, he would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.
It is very important that we go to Ephesians chapter 3 because in the revealing of it, a very important aspect or point needs to be made. What does properly revealing the Administration of the Sacred Secret do? Why should we care? I can be a good person without ever teaching the Sacred Secret. I think that it is safe to say that through history and even on the earth today probably millions of good Christians exist. You know what I am talking about. These are good, fine, church-going people who love God, who go to church faithfully, who try to do good to their neighbor, and who try to keep the commandments. I think that it is safe to say that millions of them exist who have never known the terminology Sacred Secret or understood what it is. Why should I understand and know the fullness of the Sacred Secret? Why does it make a difference?
and to make plain to everyone the administration of this Sacred Secret, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent…
His intent what? Paul is going to it make plain to everyone. Why? Why make it plain to everyone?
His intent was that now, through the Church…
Okay, who is the Church? You are the Church; I am the Church. We are the Church. God’s intent in making plain the Sacred Secret is that now, today, through the Church, through you and through me:
…the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
Praise the Lord! A whole lot is there to this verse. What God did in us is so big, so wonderful, and so powerful that as we live it out, it reveals the manifold wisdom of God to Satan and his hosts. That is quite a responsibility. You and I are shouldering the responsibility of making known the manifold wisdom of God. If we will live out that thing that is so great, that if Satan had known, he would not have crucified Christ, it reveals the manifold wisdom of God. Manifold means many facetted. Many parts are there to it. Many pieces are to it. Many parts and pieces are there to God’s wisdom. If we live out the Sacred Secret, God’s great wisdom is made known to principalities and powers. That is one of the reasons that I am so against going back under the rituals of the Law.
Why am I against going back under the rituals of the Law and strict Sabbath keeping and keeping the feasts and the various Jewish rituals? Those things were part of the Law that specifically stated that they were a shadow of what was to come. Whatever they were; God says that they have no glory in comparison to what you and I have.
I know that ritual is compelling. It is emotionally great being in a big pageant. Being in pageantry is emotionally compelling, but emotions just do not communicate the wisdom of God. What communicates the wisdom of God is truth. I was not the one who wrote that the Old Testament had no glory compared to what we have. I can read it in black and white. I want to live out what God has given me, and not go back under the Law and its regulations and its trappings. Instead, I want to live out the freedom in Christ that is so elevated in the Church Epistles. I want to make known to the principalities and the powers the wisdom of God!
I will tell you another reason why God did this.
1 Corinthians 2:7
No, we speak of God’s [musterion wisdom, Sacred Secret wisdom] secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
Do you want to know why God made known the Sacred Secret? Do you want to know why God thought it up in the first place? One, it was to reveal His wisdom. Two, it was for our glory. This is kind of interesting when you live in it because I taught Old Testament history for 10 years at a Bible college. I love the Old Testament. I love the people. I love the places. To me, so many things are in the Old Testament that are just wonderful, just glorious. The men and women were just absolutely God’s best. Sometimes, I will sit there and say why should I have something that they did not have? Why should I be graced with something that they did not have?
That was not my decision! That was God’s decision. God said, “I am going to do something for the Church. I am going to do something so great that the Old Testament had no glory in comparison to what I am going to do to the Church. I am doing it for the glory of the people who live in the Church Age.” Ladies and Gentlemen, that includes me (and you)! It was God’s decision, and now it is my job to pray about it, think about it, meditate on it, and live in it until I understand that what God did, He did for my glory. That is okay! That is His doing. If what I have is so glorious that what Moses had had no glory in comparison to me, all I am doing is living out what God says. It is my job to live the glory that God has given me so that as I am living it out, it reveals the manifold wisdom of God.
That is the responsibility that each and every one of us who live in the Age of Grace have—to live in the power and the glory of what we have so that God’s wisdom is revealed.
At this point, I want to cover some of the aspects of the Sacred Secret.We have seen that the Sacred Secret is powerful, that it is glorious, and that it is wonderful.
“Okay John, we are ready! What is this thing?”
We are going to see that each Christian is born of God and sealed with God’s gift of holy spirit. We are going to see that it means that each and every Christian’s salvation is permanent. A Christian has permanent salvation. We are going to see that we have a promise that we will never be separated from God’s love. We are going to see that because of what God did in the Sacred Secret, every Christian is equal in Christ. No slave, no free, no rich, no poor, no male, and no female. In God’s eyes, we are all His children, and we are all equal. We are going to be taken off this earth in an event that we call the Rapture. We are going to get a new and glorious body like Jesus Christ’s glorious body. Praise the Lord!
These are some of the things that had Satan known them, he would not have crucified the Lord of Glory; he would not have crucified Jesus Christ. What we are going to see is that the essence, the chewy caramel center, of the Sacred Secret is that God changed the way that He dealt with mankind. Up until the Day of Pentecost, from the time that He created Adam and Eve until Acts chapter two, the Day of Pentecost, God dealt with mankind as a Lord to a servant. That was the relationship. God was the Lord, and people were His servants. What Satan and nobody else had any idea of was that, starting in Acts chapter two in the Administration of the Sacred Secret, instead of having a Lord/servant relationship with people, God gave birth spiritually to people. People who have accepted Christ, Christians, literally became sons of God!
This is very important, and we need to look at it. We will look at it in a number of verses and in a number of different ways because this is incredibly important. First, let us look at 1 John.
1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!…
Do you want to know how great the love that the Father has for us is? Lots of times, we have talked about God’s great love for us, sure. God loves me; God has great love for me. Do you want to know how much that He loves us? We are called the children of God because that is “what we are.” This is a complete contrast to the Old Testament. I am picking one verse here out of Leviticus, but we could read dozens and dozens of Old Testament verses that would say exactly what we are going to read in Leviticus. For now, one verse will make the point.
for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
That is as simple as it was in the Old Testament. God was the LORD; He was the boss, and the people were servants. You can document this throughout the entire Old Testament and Gospels up until the Day of Pentecost. That is why people, who accepted Christ, got to be children of God. 1 John can say with such exultation, “behold now we are the sons of God.” This is what we are!
Look at the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called His children. A distance existed between God and the people in the Old Testament. In that distance, if you will, it is appropriate for a Lord/servant relationship. In Exodus 20, when God showed up powerfully with the thundering and the lightening and the great voice, the Israelites told Moses, “Speak to us yourself, and we will listen, but do not have God speak to us.” They were distant from God. Do you remember when Uzza touched the Ark of God? They were trying to bring the Ark of God into Jerusalem so it could be worshiped, but Uzza touched it. What happened? He died! Scripture even says that David was afraid of God that day. A distance existed between God and the servants of God. Do you remember Judges 6:22? Gideon thought that he would die because he saw an angel. The angel goes up into heaven, and Gideon realizes that it was an angel and says, “Alas, Oh LORD God for I have seen an angel face to face, I am going to die.” The voice had to come from heaven and tell him to relax that you are not going to die. A distance existed between God and the people in the Old Testament. That is reflected throughout the Old Testament.
Now, when Jesus Christ came, he revealed God in a new light and in a softer light. This happened because he revealed the kingdom of the Devil, and he showed that the Devil was behind a lot of the evil and not God. That was important. We need to know that even when Jesus Christ revealed God in a new and softer light that he did not reveal and he did not know that one day God would literally give spiritual birth to people.
By the way, I should just make an off-side comment here. If you are reading a version of the Bible, that in John chapter 3 says, “except that you be born again, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” That is a mistranslation. It is not referring to what you and I have today in the new birth. Gennao anothen is born from above and refers to the resurrection from the dead. We have extensive writing on this in the appendix of our book The Christian’s Hope: The Anchor of the Soul. Jesus Christ did not know or did not teach the musterion, the Sacred Secret. Remember, no one knew it until after Jesus was crucified. Since no one knew it until after Jesus was crucified then you can bet that Jesus Christ was not teaching it, absolutely not.
Again, the chewy caramel center of the Sacred Secret is that God changed the way that He dealt with people from that of a Lord and a servant to that of a Father and a family. What God did was that He gave birth to people. He literally spiritually gave birth to people, and we can see this in a number of verses. I am not really going to go there because some of these terms you have heard before.
By the way, you can read about the birth relationship that we have with God and the permanence of salvation that we have with God again in our book The Christian’s Hope: The Anchor of the Soul. We have an appendix on the permanence of Christian salvation. God started to use new vocabulary in the writings to the Church, the Administration of the Sacred Secret. He said that we were born of God. No verse is there in the Old Testament or Gospels that says that we are born of God.
To drive the point home, He did not just use one word for birth. In 1 Peter chapter 1 verses 3 and 23, He uses the Greek word anagennao, meaning “again born/born again.” In James 1:18, He uses the word apokueo, apo meaning “away from” and kueo meaning “the womb—you are born; you are away from the womb.” In Titus 3:5, He uses the word poliggenesia, pollen meaning “again” and genesia is our word geneses meaning “it is a new origin.” None of these words occur in the Gospels and none of these words occur in the Old Testament. They are to the Church because we have a new reality, and that reality is birth.
On the Day of Pentecost, God said, “Devil, you used to take my kids.” This was because when you sinned in the Old Testament, you could lose your salvation. [If you want clarification on that, read Ezekiel 33.] You had to walk faithfully your whole life. Read Psalm 1, “The wicked one will be like the chaff that will not stand in the Day of Judgment.” That is not what happened on the Day of Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost, God said, “Devil, you have stolen your last person from me. I am no longer the Lord with a servant. I am a Father with children and, they are born. Because they are born, they are mine. They are my kids.”
When my own kids mess up they are still my kids and nobody is taking them from me! Birth is permanent. God used three words that are never used anywhere but in the writing to the Church. Why? Because on the Day of Pentecost, God said, “I am starting a brand new thing, and I know nobody knew about it before because I did not tell anybody. Now, I am starting a brand new thing, and I am going to start giving birth to my kids. What is in them is permanent and nobody is taking them from me.”
That is exactly why the Bible talks about new birth in numerous words that are different. You and I know that if birth is involved then seed is there. When my children were born, I contributed to that relationship.
In 1 Peter 1:23, the Bible says that we are born not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible seed. Sure, in a birth, you have seed. It makes sense that if we are really born and if we are really God’s children, spiritual seed is really going to be there. It is there, and it is in the Word of God in 1 Peter 1:23 and nowhere else!
You are not going to read the Old Testament and read about spiritual seed. You are not going to read the Four Gospels and read about spiritual seed. It was not there. God did this for the Church, to show His wisdom, and for our glory.
If you are children, then you have the nature of your parents. Of course, that makes good sense. A puppy has the nature of a dog; a kitten has the nature of a cat, and a baby has the nature of its parents. It would make sense that if what I am teaching is correct, a verse would be there in the Bible that says that we have the divine nature, and it is there. It is in 2 Peter 1:4 but unfortunately the NIV does not do a good job with this verse. If you read the King James or many of the other versions it does.
2 Peter 1:4
…we are partakers of the divine nature…
We are literally born again, anagennao, we have literally come away from God’s womb, apokueo. We have literally had a new origin, poliggenesia. God has imparted spiritual seed into us, and we have literally partaken of His divine nature. That is why we are, by the way, called new creations. For example, go to 2 Corinthians 5:17.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…
It is just like with a baby. A new baby comes out; it is a new person, a new thing, a new creation. When you get born again, you are a new creation.
Again, the only thing God can use is words. The Bible is in words; that is all that He can use. He just has to tell us over and over again in words. It is then up to us to read it and really get it. That is why it is so important to understand the concept of administrations in Scripture. The theology, called Dispensationalism, is that God has changed the rules. If you believe the entire Bible speaks of one reality to one people then nothing but confusion exists. What do you do with the fact that in Genesis 16 it says that you should be circumcised, but in Galatians it says that you do not have to be circumcised? What do you do with the fact that in the Old Testament it tells you that you can marry a certain way, but in the New Testament it tells you to marry a different way?
It is God who changed the rules, and God changed the rules concerning His people and how He would be in relationship with them. It makes sense then that because we are all children of God that is why no distinction is there between us. In the Old Testament, a distinction was there that people were not children of God. Any good parent loves all his children equally. No wonder that no male nor female, slave nor free, or anything else is there in Christ Jesus. No wonder that we are all one Body. No wonder that God loves us all.
Something else is important, in Romans 8:15, 8:23, and 9:4, in the King James Version, in Galatians 4:5 and in Ephesians 1:5 these Bible verses say that we are adopted. Now, that is intriguing. The Bible says that we are adopted as sons? Being born as sons seems so much more permanent, so much more powerful. Why would God say in Romans, in Galatians, and in Ephesians that we are adopted when in Peter, James, and Titus, He says that we are born. The answer to that is that in the Roman world [You have to do your work with Roman customs to really see this. Also, Charles Welch wrote The Just and The Justifier and documents this.]. The Romans believed that when a baby was born that you could disown it if you did not like it because you had no choice in what you got. Many Roman parents disowned their children for various reasons. They did not like the sex; the child had a birthmark, or whatever. According to the Roman law, when a child was adopted that was permanent. When you adopted a child, you chose the child; you picked it and you new exactly what you were getting. Because of that, in Roman law, adoption was permanent but birth was not.
What God is trying to communicate is that literally from Him to us is, “Kids I have changed the rules. You will no longer be taken from me. You can no longer lose your salvation. You will no longer be under the threat of maybe not being my child.” In Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians where the audience that was going to read those Epistles was primarily Roman, God used the word adoption because adoption was permanent. That is important for us to understand. Once we understand that God is a father and that we are children by birth, now we can understand why we cannot lose His love.
We saw in Hosea chapter 1 in the Lord/servant relationship that the servant could disobey to the point that God finally says, “Look, I do not love you anymore; you are not even my people anymore; get out.” That is exactly what He did by the way. If you check these verses, Isaiah 50:1, Jeremiah 3:8, God uses the marriage terminology and He says, “I gave Israel a bill of divorce and sent her away.” He did do that. Israel was sent into captivity and the ten tribes of Israel are still gone. In Romans 8, what do we read?
Romans 8:38 and 39
(38) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
(39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ, Jesus our Lord.
Praise the Lord! Why can you not be separated from God’s love? Fathers love their kids; that is why! God loves us, period! That is the end of it; it is a done deal. We cannot lose it.
Now, we get holy spirit in the Administration of Grace; it is not like in the Old Testament. Remember, in the Old Testament, they got the spirit by measure. In the Age of Grace, Acts chapter 2 says, “They were all filled with holy spirit.” Well, no wonder we are filled. Ephesians chapter 1 says that God has not withheld any spiritual blessing. If He was withholding some holy spirit, I would say that He was withholding some spiritual blessing. No. If you were born again as one of God’s children, you have a divine nature which is spirit, and every cell of your body is filled with every spiritual blessing.
Ephesians 1:13 says, “We are sealed with holy spirit.” We are! We cannot lose it. Remember, in the Old Testament, you could lose your holy spirit; Saul did. When David sinned, he had to pray in Psalm 51:11 that he would not lose it. Today, we cannot lose that holy spirit. Ephesians says that it is sealed within us. Because it is sealed within us, God calls it a guarantee of our future hope.
The NIV does a great job in translating 2 Corinthians 1:22 or 5:5. It does a great job of translating that our holy spirit is a guarantee of our everlasting future. I want to tell you that to use the word guarantee would be a lie if in fact that it did not guarantee anything. God uses the word guarantee and calls our holy spirit a guarantee because it is a guarantee. We cannot lose the spirit; it guarantees our everlasting life.
The Sacred Secret also gives us two new ways to manifest holy spirit, which are speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. If you have been with our ministry long, you have heard about them. The power of the holy spirit is so great that in Colossians 1:27 it is called Christ in us the hope of glory. We have a power that is equivalent to Christ.
I need to cover one point here. I have talked to some Christians who have said, “Well, I know you cannot sin and lose your salvation, but I think that of your own freewill that you can refuse your salvation. From your own freewill, you can make a choice to repudiate your Christianity and walk away from God; and thus, you will not be saved.” That is not true. Some freewill decisions can be made by a person that produces a change in them in which they cannot reverse by another freewill decision. If you make a freewill decision to take a poker and blind yourself, you cannot make another freewill decision and say, “Now I want my sight back.” If you make a freewill decision to cut off your hand, you cannot simply make another freewill decision and say, “I want my hand back.” When you make a freewill decision to accept Christ as your Savior, your very nature changes. You become a new creation. That is why the Bible says, “You are born.” That is why the Bible calls you a “child.” That is why the Bible says, “It is sealed.” That is why the Bible says, “It is a guarantee.” That is why the Bible says, “Nothing can separate you from the love of God.” Not even your own freewill decision. You become a child of God; it changes your very nature. It cannot be undone.
I should also say that God has taken all of the Christians and put them together in one Body, the Body of Christ, the spiritual Body. Every single member is important! Because we are one Body, we have a level of connectedness that did not exist in the Old Testament. It is very important to understand that.
We are one Body with Christ as the head. This is a very important point that you should get, and it is definitely a part of the Sacred Secret. Do you remember the scriptures that talk about the one Body of Christ? A number of those can be found—Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 10:17 and 12:12-27, Ephesians 2:16 and 4:4, Colossians 3:15. In these verses that talk about one Body, a concept that we call identification is there. Jesus Christ is the head, and I am a member of his Body. Because I am a member of his Body, spiritually I identify with him. If something happens to Christ, it happens to me. This is brand new and only in the Administration of the Sacred Secret. In Romans 6:6, it says that we were crucified with Christ. In Romans 6:8, it says that we died with Christ. In Romans 6:4, it says that we were buried with Christ. In Ephesians 2:6, it says that we were raised with Christ. In Ephesians 2:6, it says that we ascended with Christ, and we are seated with Christ at the right hand of God.
Do you understand how wonderful that is? When Christ was crucified, you were crucified. When Christ died, you died. When Christ was buried, you were buried. When he was raised, you were. When he ascended, you did. When he sat down, you did, in God’s eyes, absolutely. No wonder we cannot lose our salvation. How can you become un-seated, un-ascended, un-resurrected, un-buried, un-dead, and un-crucified? It could not happen. Once you are dead you are dead!
This again is part of the Sacred Secret. Jesus never told his Apostles, “When I am crucified because you believe in me, you will be crucified also.” No identification with Christ is present in the Old Testament. This is all a part of the Sacred Secret.
The final part of the Sacred Secret is how the Administration of the Sacred Secret ends, which is with the Rapture. Now the Rapture of the Church is in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 when Jesus Christ comes down from heaven with a shout and the dead in Christ rise, and we all go up into the heavens with Jesus Christ. This was simply never predicted in the Old Testament. I write about this in The Christian’s Hope: The Anchor of the Soul.
The revelation in the Old Testament was that God would open the graves and bring people back to the land. That is found very clearly in Ezekiel 37. Nothing was ever written in the Old Testament or the Gospels about anyone being ascended into heaven with Christ. That is part of the Sacred Secret, and that is what happens at the Rapture.
By the way, that is why some of the people laugh at the Rapture. They read the Old Testament. They read the Gospels. It occurs in the Church Epistles only, and they say, “Well, it is a secret rapture. It really is not part of the revelation of Scripture.” No, it is not part of the revelation of the Old Testament. It is not a part of the revelation of the Gospels because it was part of the Sacred Secret, and they did not know about it. The only place that you are going to find anything about the Rapture is in the writings of the Church from Acts to Jude, and that is the only place that it is mentioned. By the way, at the Rapture, you do not just get a new body. Oh no, Philippians 3:21 says, “You get a body like Christ’s glorious body.”
This is much bigger than what was prophesied in the Old Testament. Now, I do not know what kind of body the people in the Old Testament are actually going to end up with, but I can tell you what was prophesied because I can read the Old Testament scriptures. The Old Testament says that when they are resurrected that the people would get up with healed bodies. The blind man would be able to see. The lame man would be able to walk. A man who could not think would have a clear mind. No prophecy is in the Old Testament or in the Gospels that said that the bodies that people got up with would be like Christ’s glorious body.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that is exactly what Philippians 3:21 says. I do not know how you feel about your body. Maybe you are satisfied; maybe you are not. But I can tell you this, when Jesus Christ comes back and the trump of God is played and the voice of the Ark Angel occurs and you get up to go into the heavenlies with Jesus Christ, you are going to have a body like his glorious body. That is something to rejoice about, you bet it is! Wow, what a wonderful Sacred Secret that God kept!
I can see why God hid this from the Devil. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory—Colossians 1:27. Do you think that the Devil wants a whole bunch of people running around with Christ’s power inside of them? Do you think that the Devil wanted to face millions of Christians, none of whom under any circumstance could lose their holy spirit or lose their salvation? Do you think that the Devil wanted to face that down? Not on your life!
That magnifies our responsibility because Ephesians 3:10 says that God’s intention in revealing this was that, today, through the Church the wisdom of God might be known. Do you want to know how much responsibility we have? It matches the power and the glory that we have been given. We have been given power and glory unlike anything that has existed on the face of the earth before. Now, we have the responsibility before God to make His wisdom known by living in that glory and living in that power and operating the manifestations of the spirit and healing the sick and raising the dead, casting out demons, teaching the truth, turning people from darkness to light. We can do it all—raising the dead, casting out demons, teaching the truth. We can do it all knowing that even if we mess up, even if life becomes tough and in our hearts we turn away from God that we do not have to fear that our holy spirit would leave or that we would lose our salvation.
What a great privilege to be part of the Administration of the Sacred Secret!