Series: The Mystery; An Administration Suitable
Sun am 17 June 2018 – Kobus Swart
Dan. 2; Rev. 11:15; 1 Pet. 2:3-8; Matt. 16:13-19; 1 Pet. 3:18-19; John 3:16; John 1:29; Eph. 4:11-13; 2 Cor. 5:18; Eph. 3:1-10; John 1:11-12; Eph. 1:10 (Phillips); Eph. 4:13 (The Passion Translation); John 19:30; Rom. 6:10; Gen. 1:27-28; Eph. 5:31-32
Let us read Daniel 2 through the eyes of the New Testament. The word ‘mystery’ appears about eight times in this chapter. ‘Mystery’ also means secret. This chapter is about Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who had a dream. He wanted somebody to explain the dream, but first, tell him what the dream was. Daniel, the man of God, came forward and not only told him what he dreamed but also the meaning of the dream (Dan. 2:18-20). I find the next verse particularly important and relevant in the world that we live in today, in the political sphere with all that is going on in worldly governments. Listen to what the Lord says here through the dream. And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding. (Dan. 2:21-22).
Daniel answered before the king and said, “As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians, nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days (Dan. 2:27-28). When? At the end of days– that is the literal meaning. That is extremely significant for where we are. You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendour, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain(or Large Rock) and filled the whole earth (Dan. 2:31-35). We are actually reading the New Testament already.
Daniel then explains this dream from the immediate history that followed, from the first kingdom to Media-Persia, and Greece and Rome, and so on. Let us look deeper than what happened in the immediate history that followed because there is a prophetic significance here. Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. And in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery (Dan. 2:40-43). I challenge you to go and read more translations of that piece. There is something there; very mysterious.
Verse 44 continues: And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever (Dan. 2:44). Link this with Rev.11:15 – The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever! There will be a kingdom, and he explains it saying, Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy (Dan. 2:45). God is the revealer of mysteries! Through the eyes of the New Testament, we see that the stone was Jesus Christ. He represents God’s manifestation of the kingdom on earth. Without hands He was cut out of the mountain: the mother of Jesus fell pregnant not because of a natural man, but the Holy Spirit came upon her. This stone was cut out of the mountain “without human hands”. There are a lot of Scriptures in the New Testament that says more about the “Stone” – especially 1 Pet. 2:3-8. The stewards, the administration of this structure rejected the stone. The church is not built on any individual. The church is built on a large rock– speaking of the corporate Body of Christ – each having a personal revelation of the Christ (Matt. 16:13-18). Then He says, I will give you (this Church) the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:19).
What is the kingdom? What will the end look like? What is going to happen in this world that is full of political corruption and power struggles? There is a delay in the putting together the coming forth of this Church who will be given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. What does it mean to be given the keys of the kingdom of heaven? It is not for us to do something for the first time, but for us to bind something that has been bound; to lose something that has been loosed already in heaven. Which means: we participate in the finished works of Jesus. This is going to become one of the greatest unveilings of any mystery ever. We must move and demonstrate the finished works, which means we must live the resurrection – demonstrate the resurrection. That is a huge challenge.
Why are there so many prayers that are not answered? People, saints, devoted Christians, we pray and pray and pray and nothing happens. Then we have flimsy excuses, many excuses, but it is beginning to trouble devoted Christians who want to see a demonstration of the kingdom of God. He says, “I will give you, the Church (not an individual) the keys of the kingdom”.
What did Jesus do in the three days and three nights after His crucifixion? I think we get an indication here in 1 Pet. 3:18-19. We must understand the finished works of Jesus.
Do we understand the love of God for His people? (John 3:16). Do we fully understand why Jesus came? John the Baptist made a declaration: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Sin – the root problem! He took away the sin of the world. Has that been done? Either we believe in the finished works or we are still speculating. Are we demonstrating that? That is the big question. God wants to give the keys of the kingdom of heaven to the Church that is built on the rock – each one having a personal revelation of who Jesus Christ is. That is the victorious church! It has nothing to do with systems and organisations which we call churches today. It is talking about the true Church – the body of Christ. Paul reminds us that God has not given to us the ministry of condemnation. He has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). In the old days of evangelism, we approached the sinner by focusing on what was wrong: the sin and the sin problem. We made them feel bad and they came and repented and kneeled, giving their heart to the Lord Jesus. Thank God for the real conversions which we have seen in the evangelistic era, but do you know where we are today? People come to church, they sit in church meetings, they worship the Lord and they listen to the word. Do they have a personal revelation of who Jesus is? I could not help but read Eph. 4 – showing the main function is of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers which is to equip the saints for their work of service and to bring us to the perfect man – the full stature of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13). Many translations say this: to bring us to the ‘knowledge of Christ’. That, to me, does not ring quite right. It is more than the knowledge of Christ. It is to bring us into a revelation and experience of who He is. (Read Eph. 4:13 in the Passion translation).
What can I impart to you? The word impartation is powerful. I can only impart to you what has become a revelation to me and I can manifest it. Everything else is head knowledge. I can only impart to the degree that it has become flesh in my own life. That I can impart.
This morning is only an introduction to something which will unfold. For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles — if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:1-4). Link this to what we have read in Dan. chapter 2: the mystery revealed – what will happen at the end of days when the kingdom of God will be established and every other kingdom will dissipate into dust and be blown away? God talks about a new heaven and a new earth.
This mystery which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph. 3:5-6). Paul, having a specific God-given assignment to the Gentiles, must have had a difficult time with the Jews, believing that they could take copyright on Christ because Jesus came to those who were His own. He came first to Israel – the Bible is clear about that (John 1:11-12). Paul was still battling with that divisive spirit that says “You are Gentiles.” The Message Bible says they are outsiders and we are insiders, but, in Christ, He made them both into one. We must be very careful how we judge people in this day and age – very careful not to draw dividing lines. The grace of God is a powerful gift – I cannot fully impart to you because I do not fully understand it yet.
The Church – the rock upon which the Church is built to whom has been given the keys of the kingdom! Here is our function: through the Church, God wants to manifest, make known, to the rulers and principalities and powers in the heavenlies (Eph. 3:7-10). This is what God is waiting for but we are waiting!
God is looking for an administration suitable – grace carriers – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers – who must become part of an administration suitable that can impart, not just teach, so that the Church can be fully equipped to demonstrate God’s manifold wisdom to principalities and powers (Eph. 1:10). What exactly is the administration of this mystery? These grace ministries will function until we all attain oneness in the faith, until we all experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God, and finally we become one perfect man with the full dimensions of spiritual maturity and fully developed in the abundance of Chris (Eph. 4:13 – Passion Translation). And then our immaturity will blow away! This is what God is waiting for – this is what Jesus paid the price for. This is why He said on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He died once for all (Rom. 6:10). This is much more than having knowledge of the Son of God; we must experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God– experience the fullness. My advice is, if you are serious about this, take some time with the Word, take time in His presence, and take time in worship.
Is this perfect corporate man where each one has a personal revelation of Christ the rock upon which Jesus said that He would build His church? Yes! Is this the stone that hit the kingdoms of this world in their weakest point, where iron tried to mix with clay in the seed of men? Yes! This rock crushed the whole image, including the head of gold. I was a bit puzzled why Nebuchadnezzar was called the “head of gold” – that sounds like a god. As I read it, I felt the Holy Spirit quickening something to me. God gave Nebuchadnezzar a mandate that was very similar to the mandate God had given Adam (Gen 1:28/Dan 2:37-38). Although he was given that power as the head of gold, every kingdom of man without Christ will be crushed and will become dust and will be blown away.
Paul gives us further insight into this mystery. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church (Eph. 5:31-32). This is the mystery that is busy unfolding. It is going to become visible. Christ and the church will become one flesh – whatever that word ‘flesh’ means, we know it is not the physical. He who is one with God is one spirit with Him. Remember He, the head, Jesus Christ, is coming for a bride without spot or wrinkle. The greatest wedding of all time is busy unfolding. We have to remove certain terminology from our language, all the things that point to postponement. Rather let us use the words “busy unfolding.” The feast of tabernacles is busy unfolding. We are not called to become spectators but to become participators in the greatest unfolding event in all of history.
He purposed long ago in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfilment in Him (Eph. 1:10 Phillips).