The word “mystery” derives from the Greek musterion, the root of which – mu – signifies to close or keep secret or be dumb.
Mysteries in the Bible have to do with the invisible, not the visible; unlocking a mystery is not predicting the winner of the next Melbourne Cup; it has nothing to do with the material world, but the real world, the one that cannot be seen but can be known; it is the world inhabited by God.
Biblical mysteries belong to God, they are His mysteries; “The secret things belong to God” (Deuteronomy 29:29). God has made them mysteries; He has hidden them in His Word for a season, so that they may not be understood until the time for their revelation has been fulfilled. They are hidden from God’s people who may not comprehend them until the Holy Spirit unveils them. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter”: (Proverbs 25:2).
Only God can unlock the mysteries that He has placed in the Word and He does this by divine revelation. The things that are revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may do the will of God (Deuteronomy 29:29). The world can never know the mysteries; they belong to God and they are now hidden in Christ; it is only as we are in Christ that we can know them. The mysteries have application to the prophetic era to which they relate and once that era has been reached, they become accessible; not to all, but only to those who are in Christ, a dwelling place rather than a theological position. Biblical mysteries generally have application to the family of God; they are relational; things that His people will need to know in order to understand particular events when they materialize.
In summary the, Biblical mysteries are:-
- hidden in Christ;
- can only be revealed at the time appointed by God;
- cannot be known unless one is In Christ;
- to do with matters that God has hidden for His family to search out.
Biblical mysteries are part of God’s security system over His word.
Mysteries in the Bible
There are fifteen mysteries referred to in the New Testament:
Mystery of the Kingdom – (Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11 Luke 8:10)
Mystery of the blindness of Israel – (Romans 11:25)
Mystery of the gospel – Ephesians 6:19)
Mystery of faith – (1 Timothy 3:9)
Mystery of Christ – (Colossians 4:3 and Ephesians 3:3-6)
Mystery of God – (Colossians 2:2 & Revelation 10:7)
Mystery of the rapture of the saints – (1 Corinthians 15:51)
Mystery of the Church – (Ephesians 3:4-10)
Mystery of marriage – (Ephesians 5:32)
Mystery of Christ in us – (Colossians 1:27)
Mystery of the seven stars – (Revelation 1:20)
Mystery of godliness – (1 Timothy 3:16)
Mystery of lawlessness – (2 Thessalonians 2:7)
Mystery of the beast – (Revelation 13 & 17)
Mystery of the Harlot – (Revelation 17)
Of these, the first twelve listed have been revealed by Paul. It was Christ, the Revealer, who gave him revelation of the mysteries; “….making known to us the mystery of His wish, according to His pleasure, which He purposed in Christ” (Ephesians 1:9).
It is only by a commandment of God that Biblical mysteries can be revealed and those mysteries are only able to be made known through the prophetic scriptures. Thus, to Paul was given “….the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for so long and is only now being revealed through the scriptures of the prophets, being made known to all nations in obedience of faith according to a commandment of the eternal God” (Romans 16:25-26 or 14:25-26, depending on Greek text used).
The revelation of the mysteries of the prophetic scriptures has to do with the judgement of God on His people and a fallen world; it is for the purpose of announcing to the world God’s requirement for obedience of faith. Obedience will lead to glory; disobedience to judgement.
“But we are speaking God’s wisdom in a mystery, that having been kept hidden, which God preordained before the ages to our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7).