(updated errors, thank you Jackie)
There are twenty-four references in the Bible to gaps (some call them parentheses, wherein according to Daniel’s 70 weeks [Dan. 9:24-27], there is a pause, a parentheses in the timeline where God’s dealing with Israel stops, at their rejection of Jesus and the Church starts the parentheses then when the Church is Raptured the parentheses stops, and God again deals with Israel as seen in Revelation chapter 4 on. ~ For more info see: The Presentation of the Messiah ~ Prophecy Fulfilled) in time, where located between Scriptures (that are not identified as having breaks in the text), there are hidden spaces in which God hides valuable treasures. They are hidden truths that God reveals to His own followers, in His own time. They center on the Church, Christ’s Bride. The Church was not spoke about in the Old Testament, it is an un-revealed surprise, a “Mystery,” (Greek, “Musterion,” something totally hidden, with no hint it existed) as Paul states in Ephesians 1:9-10 (V.22); 3:1-6; 3:8-9; 5:32.
An example can be found in the text of Isaiah chapter 61, between verse 1 and verse 2. Jesus Christ quotes this passage when He begins His ministry, where He speaks about part of His mission, that of first coming and starting the Church. However, He only states part of the passage, then sits down and says that part is fulfilled. The Jews never taught that the passage was spilt into two, having 2 different dates of completion, or were two different events, with a gap of time between then. Luke 4:16-21, states,
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Jesus read this text, which has always been understood to be a prophecy of the Messiah. It appeared to be a single event; however He revealed that in reality the passage was speaking about two separate events. The Messiah did not have a singular undertaking on earth, but two completely distinct missions that were separated by over two thousands years, that of Christ’s first coming and His second coming, with the Church set between the two (again, the pause in Daniel’s 70 weeks, between week 69 and 70 ~ Dan. 9:24-27; with week 70 starting again with the Rapture of the Church and the Great Tribulation). His first mission was proclaimed in verse one, and in the first sentence of verse two.1
However, He stopped short of finishing the rest of the text and said that the verses He had read thus far were fulfilled that day. What the rest of verse two said was, “and the day of vengeance of our God.” This was referring to another, future event which has come to be commonly called Christ’s second coming, which is part of what is called the “Last Days,” beginning with the Rapture and Great Tribulation. This is a good example of Christ’s dual missions: first as Savior, Redeemer, head of His Church, and as an earth-born man who was really God. Then in His second coming as Judge and second as punisher, coming down from heaven as God who was man.2
This is one of many examples in God’s Word where God has created mysteries,3 in which He would guide His own followers to uncover concerning Christ’s Church and the “Last Days” that surround it. It has been wisely said that, “if there appears to be a contradiction in the Bible it is a signpost the Holy Spirit is using to get our attention so as to indicate that the text has hidden or special importance.”
The same is true about Biblical gaps, the Luke 4:18, 19 passage is a good example. Because it reveals the misconceived notion that the Messiah of Israel was to come to earth only once as the conquering govern who would expel the usurpers. Where as, when Jesus revealed the gap located in the Isaiah passage (also how the Messiah would fulfill the Isaiah chapter 52-53 concerning the Messiah as suffering servant who would die for the sins of the world, which is why He had to become a man, to redeem His kin, mankind), it then became known that the Messiah had to come to earth twice.
First, as the Lamb of God to die for the sins of mankind, and the second time as the conquering King to take possession of that which He paid for with His life.
If you study these 24 gaps, when you examine a passage, you will find that the particular gap in time that is being referred too is literally where the Church is present, and concerns Christ’s Church, of which He is the Groom, or the time surrounding the Church. As is true with all studies in God’s Word, that the Holy Spirit would have us understand that the underlying theme is always about Jesus Christ, and in this instances it is about Jesus as the Head of His Body, the Church.
The following are other gaps written into God’s Word:
Psalms 34:12-16 (Quoted in 1 Peter 3:10-12)
Isaiah 61:2 (Quoted in Luke 4:18-20)
Amos 9:10,11 (Quoted in Acts 15:13-18, Out of the Septuagint,
translation of the OT, which is why it sounds different from our
current Hebrew translations used in the English Bibles)
Luke 19:42 (until Romans 11:25)
1 Peter 1:11
Revelation 12:5, 6
(Also see: Matthew 13:34, 35; Ephesians 3:5, 9; Col 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Acts 1:5, 11:15-16.)
We cannot cut up Scriptures, using what suits us and discarding what does not. It is by thoroughly immersing ourselves in God’s Word, and availing ourselves completely to the Holy Spirit, that we can determine how to correctly divide God’s Word. 2 Timothy 2:15, says:
“Study [be diligent] to shew thyself [conduct yourself] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
We must use Scripture to interpret Scripture. We must also remember,
“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,” (II Peter 1:20, NKJV).
Correctly Studying God’s Word
Therefore, doctrinal error can be avoided by applying three foundational rules of exegesis (expository critiques of Scripture).
1. Scripture must be used to interpret Scripture, using the whole of God’s Word.
2. Context, both immediate and that of all of Scripture is to be used in interpreting text.
3. The mass of Scripture on any doctrine must be used to interpret that doctrine, not only a few select verses, but the majority of the Bibles teaching on that subject.
1. The Scriptures were not created with chapters and verses, chapters were introduced in the twelfth century, and verses were added later in the fifteenth century.
2. Revelation 1:12;14:14.
3. Examples of mysteries hidden from mankind, to be reveled by God to His own, seven are listed here:
1. Mystery4 of the Kingdom (the Millenium Kingdom), Matthew chapter 13 had seven parables, which coincided with the seven church letters of Paul (he wrote 13 letters, 3 were continuations to the same churches, 3 were to individuals, and 7 were to churches), which coincided with the seven church letters Jesus dictated in Revelation (Matthew 13:11, Revelation 2 & 3)
2. Mystery of lawlessness. (II Thessalonians 2)
3. Mystery Babylon. (Revelation 17 & 18)
4. Mystery of the rapture. (I Corinthians 15:51-53, I Thessalonians 4:16, Gk. harpazo, meaning: “caught up” or“snatched up”)
5. Mystery of Israel rejecting their Messiah. (Romans 11:25)
6. Mystery of Christ and the church – which are these 24 gaps. (Ephesians 3:3; Colossians 1:24-27)
7. Mystery of the will of God. (Ephesians 1:9-3:1)
4. The Greek word used in the above passages that is translated into the English word “mystery” is musterion. It is a derivative of muo (means: “to shut the mouth”). Vines states, “In the NT 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, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit. In the ordinary sense a “mystery” implies knowledge withheld; its Scriptural significance is truth revealed. Hence the terms especially associated with the subject are “made known,” “manifested,” “revealed,” “preached,” “understand,” “dispensation.”
The definition given above may be best illustrated by the following passage: “the mystery which hath been hid from all ages and generations: but now hath it been manifested to His saints” (Col. 1:26, RV).
Thanks to Clarence Larkin and Chuck Missler for these insights, and Chuck for providing all the information concerning the 7 Mysteries.