Covenant and The Mystery #4. From Truth for Today Archives, Aug. 1964-July 1975, by Oscar M. Baker. Seven articles entitled, “Covenant and The Mystery” (From Vol. 22, #6, p. 261)
Our main ground for this series is the epistle of Paul to the Romans. It has to do with the dispensation of promise. So it naturally would have to do with the covenant, the old one, and also the new one which was made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jer 31:31). No covenant was ever made with Gentiles.
The saints at Rome had to learn the promises were to and for the seed. And then the Romans are reminded in Rom. 9:8 that only the children of promise are counted for the seed. It is in Isaac the true seed were to be called. This is going to cause some difficulty for those who noted at the end of our last article that a son of Abraham might be a Gentile.
If you will notice carefully, that is exactly what Paul is trying to explain in Romans. Paul had a further revelation, a gospel which he called his gospel and also the gospel of the grace of God. This was that a Gentile who believed and met with the Jews at the synagogue, by faith could be a son of Abraham and partake of the promise made to Abraham. This Gentile no longer needed to follow the directions of the law and be circumcised. This was the burden of Paul’s argument in Galatians.
Now if the dispensation of the mystery had begun before this time, as some argue, then we have some weighty problems on our hands. For in it the covenant has no place, and being a son of Abraham would have absolutely no advantage.
In Rom. 9:24 the Romans are reminded that God had called, not Jews only, but Gentiles. Keep in mind the non-Jewish believers are called Gentiles when you come to Chapter 11. And, as we have said before, the Gentiles of Romans are believers, not the heathen who had never heard the gospel. This will clear up many a difficulty in Romans.
Paul quotes freely from the OT Scriptures to show that the relationship of the Gentile believers to the promise in Romans is a matter of prophecy, not a secret hid in God from ages and generations as was the dispensation of the mystery.
So in Rom. 10:20 is a quote from Isaiah telling that some time the Lord would be found by a people who sought Him not, and would be made manifest to those who had not asked after Him. And the next verse calls Israel a disobedient and gainsaying people. They were warned in Rom. 10:9,10 to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their hearts God had raised Him from the dead, so they might be saved from the terrible events of A.D. 70 when Titus finally came and destroyed many of them and their temple.
We now are at Chapter 11 of Romans. This chapter has been sadly treated, or mistreated, by expositors and commentators. If the church began at Pentecost or any other time before the end of Acts, then this chapter can be an unsolved enigma. And few of them mention it at all. Again we must insist that Gentiles in this chapter are believing non-Jewish people. We must see and realize that believing Gentiles during Acts and up to 28:28 were blessed with faithful Abraham. The present time in verse 5 means at that time Paul was writing, about A.D. 58, not 2,000 years later. We must keep to the facts, not indulge in fancy.