WHAT DO YOU MEAN—“THE PROPHETIC PROGRAM” AND “THE MYSTERY PROGRAM?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
What is the prophetic program? What is the mystery program?
Dear friend, these are great questions. Firstly, we begin by understanding that the God of the Bible does not operate capriciously, randomly, or carelessly. He behaves according to great thought and careful planning. Therefore, His dealings with mankind can be organized into two programs. A “program” is defined as “a planned series of future events.” Whether concerning the prophetic program or the mystery program, God has a prearranged body of information to be believed and actions to be taken. We will now look at the biblical basis for these terms—the “prophetic program” and the “mystery program.”
THE TERMINOLOGY OF TWO PROGRAMS
The prophetic program is delineated in Acts 3:19-21: “ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Verse 21 says God spoke some truths “since the world began” (when He placed Adam on the Earth). We see that He used prophets, or spokesmen, to manifest that information to mankind. Therefore, we call this the “prophetic program.” Later, we will discuss exactly what it entails. For now, just grasp this brief overview.
Now, we will look at the mystery program. Romans 16:25-26 says: “ Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,  But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”
In stark contrast to God speaking information “since the world began,” He also withheld some information. This body of truth was “kept secret since the world began.” God did not make it known until He first revealed it to the Apostle Paul. This shows us that Paul has a unique apostleship, a special place in God’s dealings with man. Notice how the Holy Spirit led Paul to write “my gospel” in verse 25. God entrusted to Paul a special Gospel message, some good news that no man prior ever knew anything about. Before we get into the specifics of the mystery program, or the specifics of the prophetic program, we want to understand why two programs are necessary.
THE PURPOSE OF TWO PROGRAMS
Some curious mind is bound to ask why there are two programs. Could not God have managed to accomplish His purpose in creation by using one single program? Indeed, God is God, so He could have done anything He wanted. However, according to the Bible, He created the universe with a dual nature. Since there is a twofold creation, there is a twofold way of dealing with that creation, and a twofold purpose in that creation. In other words, creation is naturally divided into two spheres, with a program corresponding to each realm. Quite easy!
Genesis 1:1 declares, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” There is a program for the heavenly places, and another program for the Earth. It is absolutely imperative that we keep these two programs separate!! Therefore, we read in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If we do not divide the things that God divides, there is no prayer in all the world to help us. Lest you think that “right division” really does not matter, you just remember that all the tens of thousands of contradicting “Christian” denominations could have spared themselves much confusion and embarrassment had they “rightly divided the word of truth!”
THE PROPHETIC PROGRAM, IN BRIEF
To save time and space, only Scripture references will be provided. Friend, you should make it a point to take your Bible and look up these verses yourself. While much more could be said, here are seven basic facts about the prophetic program:
- It focuses on God’s purpose and plan for the Earth (Genesis 1:2; Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 11:21; Joshua 3:11; Job 19:25-27; Habakkuk 2:14; Psalm 37:9,11,22; Psalm 46:10; Psalm 47:2,7; Psalm 72:19; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 54:4; Hosea 2:23; Matthew 5:5; Matthew 6:10; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 5:10).
- God has spoken its details since the world began—since He created and placed Adam (man) on the Earth (Matthew 25:34; Luke 1:70; Acts 3:19-21).
- There is a distinction between Jews and Gentiles—the nation Israel and the Gentiles/nations are two separate peoples (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:1-10; Deuteronomy 28:1; Numbers 23:9; Isaiah 60:1-3; Romans 9:4-5; Ephesians 2:11-12; James 1:1; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 4:3).
- It involves soul salvation and blessings from God flowing through the nation Israel to all nations/Gentiles (Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23; Luke 3:1-6).
- The 12 Apostles, led by Peter, are to preach to and instruct the nation Israel to prepare to accept and trust her Messiah-King, Christ Jesus (Matthew 10:1-7). This is the Gospel of the Kingdom, and various miraculous demonstrations validate that message (Matthew 4:23; Matthew 9:35; Matthew 10:7-8; Matthew 24:14; Mark 1:14; Mark 16:16-20; Luke 8:1-2). Water baptism is an integral part of this Gospel message (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Redeemed Israel is to then take that message to all the nations of the world (Matthew 28:18-20). This worldwide evangelism campaign will be the Millennium, when Jesus Christ reigns over the Earth for 1,000 years (Psalm 2:6-8; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Revelation 20:1-7; et al.). Prior to that Millennium, there is a period of wrath, known as the seven-year Tribulation (see Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21, for example, as well as much of the Book of Revelation). The Second Coming of Christ concludes the seven years and opens the Millennium (Revelation 19:11-21; Revelation 20:1ff.).
- The operating system is the Law, whether the Mosaic Law (see Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy chapter 5) or the Messianic Law (see Matthew chapters 5-7). Since Israel is the literal, physical, visible, earthly people of God, they have literal, physical, visible, earthly works as a necessary part of their conduct.
- This includes the Bible Books of Genesis through John, as well as early Acts (pre-chapter 9—Paul’s salvation), and Hebrews through Revelation.
THE MYSTERY PROGRAM, IN BRIEF
While much more could be said, here are seven basic facts about the mystery program:
- It focuses on God’s purpose and plan for the heavenly places (Acts 9:3; Acts 22:6; Acts 26:13; 2 Corinthians 5:1-2; Ephesians 1:3,20; Ephesians 2:6-7; Ephesians 3:10; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1:5; Colossians 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:18).
- God has not spoken its details since the world began. He revealed it first to the Apostle Paul, with Paul being sent to tell that once-secret information to all nations/Gentiles (Romans 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:6-8; Ephesians 3:1-10; Colossians 1:23-29; 2 Timothy 1:9-11; Titus 2:1-3). This body of truth is called “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2).
- There is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles (Romans 3:22; Galatians 3:26-28; Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:11-22; Colossians 3:11). All believers in Jesus Christ are part of the one body, the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:24). Those outside of the Body of Christ are lost, unsaved, Hell-bound (Romans 2:3-16; Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 5:5-6).
- It involves soul salvation and blessings from God flowing to all nations/Gentiles through Israel’s fall and during her temporary spiritual blindness (Romans 11:11-25). Israel’s program has not been cancelled, only delayed/paused/postponed. We have not replaced Israel. To validate Paul’s Gospel to unsaved Israel, various “special” miraculous demonstrations were temporarily given in Paul’s ministry (Acts 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20). Water baptism is not important in Paul’s ministry (1 Corinthians 1:17; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). The Acts transitional period is not for our doctrine!!!
- The Apostle Paul is to preach to and instruct all nations that simple faith in Jesus Christ’s dying for their sins, His burial, and His resurrection as the means of having eternal life before God. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now the Saviour of the world (Acts 13:46-48; Acts 18:6; Acts 28:25-28; 1 Timothy 4:9-10; 1 Timothy 2:4-7). This is “the Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—it is what Paul called “my gospel” in Romans 16:25.
- The operating system is Grace—neither the Mosaic Law nor the Messianic Law. Since we the Church the Body of Christ are not the literal, physical, visible, earthly people of God, we have no literal, physical, visible, earthly works as a necessary part of our conduct.
- This is the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon—the 13 Pauline epistles.
TWO PROGRAMS, TWO REALMS, ONE ETERNAL PURPOSE
In eternity future, Father God wants to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, in Heaven and Earth. As per the “eternal purpose which [God] purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11), all governments of Heaven and Earth will be brought under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ. What Satan has polluted with sin (Job 15:15; Job 25:5; Ephesians 6:12; Matthew 4:8-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2), God will cleanse in the ages to come.
We read in Colossians 1:16-20: “ For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Through the Church the Body of Christ, Jesus Christ will have preeminence in Heaven. He will have preeminence in Earth through redeemed Israel.)
In closing, we will look at two passages. First, Ephesians 1:8-10: “ Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:….”
Lastly, Ephesians 3:8-12: “ Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:….”