God’s previously hidden mysteries are now revealed in Jesus, and especially so in his death and resurrection.
The Bible speaks of the “mysteries” of God, His ways that are hidden from human wisdom and defy our expectations. In his teachings, Jesus declared that not everyone can understand the “mysteries of the kingdom.” It is God who reveals the deep and obscure things to whomever He pleases. And in His Son, He has done so for all who have “eyes that can see.”
According to the New Testament, God did not disclose a complete understanding of His redemptive plans until the appropriate time – “Now, to him who has the power to establish you according to my gospel, even the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, in age-past times kept silent, but now made manifest.” Indeed, the disclosure of His redemptive plans marked the arrival of the era of fulfillment – (Romans 16:25-27):
- “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” – (Galatians 4:4).
He certainly revealed truth in the Levitical system with its elaborate rituals, as well as in the “Law and the prophets.” However, that earlier word was partial, promissory, and preparatory. The substance of the gospel was foreshadowed in the words and images of the former covenant – (“In many parts and many ways of old” – Hebrews 1:1-2).
But the prophets foretold the coming salvation that would be revealed in the Messiah, though they did not comprehend all the ramifications of the promise. For that matter, even angels lacked full insight into the mysteries of redemption:
- (1 Peter 1:10-12) – “Concerning which salvation prophets, who concerning the grace for you did prophesy, sought out and searched out, searching into what particular or what manner of the season the Spirit of Christ which was in them was pointing to when witnessing beforehand as to the sufferings for Christ and the glories after these, to whom it was revealed that, not to themselves but to us they were ministering them, which things have now been announced to you… into which things angels are coveting to obtain a nearer view.”
But the “mystery” that was concealed has been revealed now in Jesus of Nazareth, and at the appointed season, above all in his death and subsequent resurrection. The “law and the prophets” were vital parts of God’s redemptive purpose, but in them, many of His “mysteries” remained hidden. But now they have been disclosed fully in His Son:
- ”In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, disclosing to us the mystery of his will, according to his good -pleasure which he purposed in him” – (Ephesians 1:7-9).
Paul and the apostles were appointed Christ’s ministers sent to reveal the “mystery that has been hidden for ages and generations, but now has been manifested to his saints.” And this disclosure is the “riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”- (Colossians 1:26-27).
With his coming, the rituals and regulations of the Mosaic legislation have been relegated to the status of “shadows and types.” Jesus is the one who cast the “shadows” in the old order, the one prefigured by the “types” of the Hebrew Bible:
- “Let no one, therefore, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths, which are a shadow of the coming things, and the body is of the Christ” – (Colossians 2:16-17).
But for believers to return to outmoded rituals and partial truths constitutes regression, not revelation, reversion to bondage under the “elemental things” of the old system. The inauguration of the New Covenant demonstrates that the former covenant has become obsolete – (Galatians 4:8-11, Hebrews 8:13).
Neither is there any need to turn to mystical practices such as the observation of astronomical signs and lunar cycles for deeper insight into divine “mysteries.” In “these last days,” God’s nature and “mysteries” are revealed, and fully so, in His Son, and they are available to anyone who hears the word that He now “speaks in His Son.”
The hidden “mystery” that the prophets and angels desired to understand is revealed to all men and women of faith. What is required is not secret knowledge or mystical insight, but the “obedience of faith.” The mystery “not made known in other generations has now been revealed” in Jesus for all to see.
Moses gave the Law, but “grace and truth came to be in Jesus.” In him, the knowledge of the Father has been revealed. No one has seen God at any time except the only born Son who, therefore, is qualified to “interpret” the Father. The fullness of Yahweh is found today only in the “face of Jesus Christ.”