"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 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":
The third "mystery" according to the Apostle Paul is the Church. In the Epistle or letter he wrote to the Church of Ephesus, Apostle Paul wrote to Ephesuis that God gave to him by "revelation" another "mystery." that was not known in other ages, or unto the "sons of men. It was not known in the Old Testament because the Sons of Jacob (Israel) was told by God thru Moses as they passed through the each foreign countries toward Canaan both not to intermingle with "heathen" nations (Gentiles) nor intermarry with them. God also told them "definitely" not to copy their "heathen" traditions or serve any of their "false" gods. That the Gentiles should be "fellow heirs", and "partakers" of the same body, and promises in Christ by the gospel was "mysterious" because for this to take place, there had to be a shift from "exclusion to inclusion" and not only did the Gospel message opened the door for this, but Jesus having being rejected by his own people the Jews (John 1:11-12) opened the door to any one who would believe and receive him as their Messiah.
In Ephesians 3:3, Paul refers to "this revelation" which was made to him when he was called to the apostolic office,as the gospel now being preached to the Gentiles, and that he was converted for the "special purpose" of carrying it to them; Understand that It's no mystery that Gentiles would be saved. The mystery is that God formed a "new thing" called the church that would be comprised of both Jew and Gentile followers. To understand the mystery of the church, listen to what the Prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 43:19: "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland".
In this verse, Isaiah intimates that something totally different is coming in the future. Isaiah didn't not see the church in the message he gave Israel which means he too only knew "in part". He saw what many orthodox Jews cling to in terms of their future relatinship with God. So he told them exactly what God was going to do in it's entirety, as God revealed,andt he did tell the Hebrews that whatever it was, they needed to forget the former way in verse 13. Isaiah also gave Israel valuable insight about the type of Messiah Israel was to look for and why they needed to hold on to the ways of Jehovah and get rid of all forms of idolatry. To further illustrate just how much of a mystery the forming of the church really was, examine the following passage Jesus quoted in the temple "in part" and not in intirety.
In Isaiah 61:1-5 Isaiah wrote: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord , and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord , that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers."
Now, in Luke 4:18 Jesus was in the temple on the sabbath and took the scroll that contained Isaiah 61. Notice that when Jesus read from this scroll, he stopped reading after the phrase:" to preach the acceptable year of the Lord!" (verse 2a) The reason he did this was for two reasons: First, because Jesus "already knew" that he would be rejected by the Jews and thus, it to fulfill the rest of the passage, it would require a "second coming."
"Second", between Jesus' "first coming" when he was rejected by the "chosen" people" (Israel) and subsequently crucified and his "second coming" when he will come back to earth with "power and great glory" in the "Revelation stage" when He set up HIs "Millennial Kingdom" and reign for 1000 years, Jesus would set up the "basis" and "standard" for the church (Matthew 16:13-18) while he was still physically on earth, and from the day of "Pentecost" some 45 days after his ascention, the Apostles, now empowered by the Holy Spirit would preach the Gospel to "every nation both Jew and Gentile" and the church would come to fruition.
In Jesus' "first coming", the Apostle John described how he was rejected by "His own
" He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God". (NIV)
As you can see in this very passage, it was no secret that the Gentiles would be saved. Gentiles followed his ministry and became disciples while he was physically on earth. The first church was Jewish in makeup beyond the temple worhip. The Gentiles broke through the physical structuring of the Church in Acts 9:36- 43. Finnis J. Dake in th Dake's Annotated Reference Bible made the folowing observation concerning the Apostle Peter raising Dorcas (Tabitha) from the dead in Acts 9:36- 43. We find out in this passage that forming of the Chrstian church took "two distinct periods" to fully come to fruition. Dakes comments concernng the "first period" of the Christian Church:
"With the resurrection of Dorcas we have the ending of the first period of the Christian church. About 8 years had passed since Pentecost, during which time the gospel had been preached only to the Jews. (Refer to Matthew 10:6; John 1:11, and Rom 1:16). The church was founded by Jews and for Jews. The time had now arrived when God wanted to take the gospel to the Gentiles. He knew and predicted that the Jews would reject the gospel, so He planned to change administrations". (Refer to Matthew 21:33-46). The "conversion" of Saul of Tarsus was in preparation for this change of religious programs.Concerning the "Second Period" of the Christian Church, Dake writes:
"In the second period of the church there was a gradual change in the gospel program to fit the Gentiles. Not that the gospel itself was changed, but it was purged of all mixture with the law of Moses. Soon Gentile ministers and churches appeared and a new program for Gentiles was settled on by general conference (Refer to Acts 15; Galatians 2; 3:19-25; 4:21-31; Colossians 2:14-17; 2 Corinthians 3:6-15; and Hebrews 7; 8; 9; 10).
In Acts 10, the Apostle Peter was sent by a vision to Caesarea to a Gentile centurion's house name Cornelius. In this passage, we see not just the conversion of Gentiles, but we see how God furthers breaks down the "prejudice" that built up over the centuries against the Gentiles as a nation of non-Jewish people. In order for both Jew and Gentile would become one people, that is "saved in the oneness of Christ" and becoming "one body in Christ", Peter had to preach to Cornelius and those who were in the house "God's plan of salvation". In the 44th verse, the Holy Spirit "fell upon" all the Gentiles in Cornelius' house. This "act "of God began the process breaking down "spiritual and predjudicial barriers" between the Jewish church and the saved Gentiles. Peter further confirms in Acts chapter 11 that the Holy Spirit fell upon them in the same manner as the Spirit fell upon the Jews on the Day of Pentecost".
Jesus gives us the basis and the origin of how the church will be formed in Matthew 16:13-18. In this passage, Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hadesd will not overcome it".
So, the mystery is the church is a "called out body", comprised of people from many nations, kindreds and tribes; both Jewish and Gentile. The Apostle Paul further states in Ephesians 4:4-6: "There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all". (NIV) The church is an organism, not an organization!
Therefore, in Jesus Christ, all "racial and class distinctions" dissapear, and when all racial and social prejudices dissapear from the mindset of saved people of all races that make up the Body of Christ, then truly a "Hoily Brotherhood can truly exist.