2009-03-04 - MYSTERY (musTEri-on) 27x from MUo - “to shut the mouth”
Matthew 13 11 (10-17) MYSTERIES OF KINGDOM OF HEAVENS: FOR BELIEVERS. “And he answered andsaid, [that] To you itis given to know the mysteriesof the heavens, but to them is is not given.” The parables of Jesus were for those not in His Kingdom. When His disciples asked for understanding, it was immediately given to them. Parables keep unbelievers in safety until they make a decision to enter in. Note that in the Great Commission Jesus commands us to make disciples, taking for granted the conversion process. Thisis the great challenge of the church. Fullunderstanding of the milk of the word (Hebrews 5:11-6:3). This is what Jesus challenged the rich young ruler with (Mark 10:17-31), and his riches deterred him from following through. Belief in Jesus is notenough. Discipleship to Him is Mark 8:34 (8:34-9:1). Oswald Chambers believes that we can be saved without this, but we count little in God's Kingdom until we are disciples. How many church attenders qualify with this? Yet, thisis the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20! Ponder!
Mark 4:11-12 (10-20) THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. “To you is given the mysteryof the kingdom of :God: but to those without, :all thingsare done in parables: 12that looking they may look, and not see, and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest by chance they should turn again, and it be forgiven them.” Jesus explains why disciples hear and understand the mysteriesof the Kingdom of God plainly - but those not yet in the discipleship state - in parables. Then He shows that the “Sower and the 4 soils” is the keyof all parables (Mark 4:13-21) - by this shall one understand allparables.
Luke 8:10 (9-15) MYSTERIES OF KINGDOM FOR BELIEVERS: PARABLES FOR OTHERS. “And he said, To you itis given to know the mysteriesof the kingdom of :God: but to the rest in parables; that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.” This is parallel to Mark 4:11-12.
Romans 11:25-26a (25-33) THE MYSTERY OF ISRAEL'S TEMPORARY CUT-OFF. “For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this :mystery, lest you be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part has befallen :Israel, till what timethe fullness of the nations be come in; 26and so all Israel shall be saved:” Paul was entrusted by the Lord to know this mystery above the other apostles. Peter thought he wrote some things hard to be understood, which unstable Christians wrestled with to their own destruction. Still today, because of the false “Replacement Theology”, many non-Jewish believers do the very thing Paul warned against in this chapter. And let us remember, the unraveling of the mysterydoes notoriginate with Paul, but is revealed to Paul by our Lord Jesus. To miss this truth is the miss the Lord's teaching, not Paul's.
Romans 16:25-27 THE MYSTERY FOR ALL NATIONS TO OBEY. “Now to the one able to establish you according to my :gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to revelation of themysterykept silent through the times of ages, 26but now is manifested, and through theprophetic scriptures, according to commandment of the eternal God, is made known unto all the nations unto obedience of faith: 27to theonly wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom the glory unto the ages. Amen.” This benediction closes and seals all that preceded in the book of Romans. What Paul taught by revelation concerning “The One New Man,” Christ's spiritual body the Church, composed of both Jew and Gentile - in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians - is allsealed by this same benediction. Blessed is he who perceives and walks in this revelation.
1 Corinthians 2:7 (6-16) GOD'S HIDDEN MYSTERY OF WISDOM. “But we speak God's wisdom in mystery, the hidden wisdomwhich God foreordained before the ages unto our glory: 8which none of the rulers of this :age have known: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of :glory.” Notice that the wisdom of God in His heart from the beginning was not disclosed during Old Testament times, nor during the life of Jesus on earth. God reserved this disclosure when he had groomed the apostle Paul for this important revelation.
1 Corinthians 4:1 (1-5) APOSTLES: STEWARDS OF GOD'S MYSTERIES. “Let a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of God's mysteries.” Notice that being faithfulis a key mark of true stewards of God's mysteries. Paul certainly was this. George Muller of the 1800's was a contemporary steward who also qualified. Suffering and humility are other key marks of true apostles.
1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:1-2 (13:1-13) KNOWLEDGE OF MYSTERIES WITHOUT LOVE: WORTHLESS. “And I show you moreover an excellent way, 13:1If with the tongues of :men I speak, and of :angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2And if prophecy I have, and all the mysteriesI know and all knowledge; and if all faith I have, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” The humble person like Paul and George Muller qualify here. Jesus said, By their fruitsshall you know true ministers. If they lack this qualification, they have failed, and we are not to fear them.
1 Corinthians 14:2 (1-19) PRAYER LANGUAGE TO GOD IS IN MYSTERIES. “For who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men, but to God; for no one hears; but in spirit he speaks mysteries.” Because testified of using this gift more than any of the Corinthian believers, it would seem that God used Paul to impart to him revelation of the mysteriesthat he later on shared with all the the city churches in his writings. For 3 years following his conversion, he met with God alone in the desert, and most probably this was an enriching time when God prepared His servant in the stewardship that he later so faithfully discharged.
1 Corinthians 15:51 (35-58) THE MYSTERY OF RESURRECTION PRIOR TO DEATH. “Lo, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” Here again we have a revelation uniquely presented by Paul, that previously was unknown. It is a great encouragement to believers. On talk shows we hear leaders confessing they have no authentic understanding on this or the life to come. But weunderstand, for God has revealed this mysteryto us through His chosen vessel, the apostle Paul. To keep him humble in the light of the many extraordinary revelations, He was required to send Paul a “thorn in the flesh.”
Ephesians 1:9 (3-14) THE MYSTERY OF GOD'S WILL IN CHRIST. “Having made known to us the mysteryof his :will, according to his :good pleasure which he purposed in him (Christ).” This is a tremendous passage. Numbers have memorized it. Early in the 70's, I led a class of some 60 in preparing word studies on each significant word in it. It was a rich experience. One youth who is a medical doctor today, did excellent work in his research, coming up with valuable insights. Christis the key to all of God's purposes on our behalf. As we keep our focus on Him, the mysterieswill become part of the warp and woof of our being.
Ephesians 3 :1-6 (1-13) THE MYSTERY OF THE ONE NEW MAN. “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of the Christ, Jesus, in behalf of you :nations,- 2if so thatyou have heard ofthe dispensation of the grace of :God :given me toward you; 3howthat by revelation was made know to me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words, 4whereby, when you read, you can perceive my :understanding in the mysteryof the Christ; which in other generations was not made known to the sons of :men as it has now been revealed to his holy :apostles and prophets in Spirit: 6that the nations are fellow-heirs, and fellow-bodiedand fellow-partakersof the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” I believe we have before us here, the key mysteryof all the 27 mysteriesmentioned in the New Testament. When I was a very new believer in 1944, Lee Ellenwood from California came up and ministered in Victoria and Port Alberni BC that summer. One of his key verses was 1 Corinthians 12:12 (12-31) THE NATURE OF CHRIST'S BODY. Think of it! Our body has many members and trillions of cells. But Christ is Head of a spiritual bodycomposed of both Jewish and Gentile believers. The “Fellowship of the Table” required for this - is clearly set forth by Dr. Daniel Juster of “Tikkun Ministries.”
Ephesians 3:9-10 (1-13) THIS DISPENSATION OF GOD'S MYSTERY NO LONGER HID. “And to bring to light what isthe dispensation of the mystery:hid for the ages in :God who created :all things; 10in order thatnow unto the principalities and the powersin the heavenlies be made know through the church the manifold wisdom of :God, 11according to a plan of the ages which he made in the Christ, Jesus our Lord: 12in whom we have :boldness and access in confidence through his :faith.” This is a direct follow-up to the preceding 2 reference to mystery. Imagine! God has chosen the Church of Christ through the teaching of his apostles and prophets to reveal to Satan and his high officers their final doom through the wisdom of God through Christ's body - the church!
Ephesians 5:31-32 (22-33) THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH. “For this cause shall a man leave :father and :mother, and shall cleave to his :wife; and the two shall be one flesh. 32This mysteryis great: but I speak in regardto Christ and the church.” Now this indeed is a mystery. Again, God in his wisdom has chosen the marriage of a man and a woman to illustrate His church. Homosexuality and Lesbianism is a parodyof this, and the day will come when God will make this abundantly clear. How do human marriages show forth this higher spiritual union wherein believers and Christ as Head become one spirit? Let us pray that through meditationin the spirit of Joshua 1:8, and the building up of our spirits through praying in the spirit, will enable God to lift many marriages to this true picture of Christ and His Church.
Ephesians 6:19 (10-20) PAUL: PRAYER NEEDED TO DECLARE THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL. Prayon my behalf, that utterance be given me in opening my :mouth with boldness to make know the mysteryof the gospel.” It should not surprise us to know how much Satan fears the true and clear and bold preachingof the Gospel! The Good News of Christ and His Kingdom - both now and soon coming in greater fulfillment - spells his doom! So - he hinders men like Paul so they find it difficult to preach boldly this extraordinary Good News. But - our prayers on behalf of true preachers - enables them to break through for this in a way that glorifies God, saves and delivers souls, and disciples them to the standard that pleases the heart of God.
Colossians 1:25-27 (24-29) THE GLORY OF GOD'S MYSTERY TO THE NATIONS. “I became minister, according to the dispensation of :God :given me toward you to fulfill the word of :God, 26the mystery:hid from the ages and from the generations: but now has it been manifested to his :saints, 27to whom :God was pleased to make known what isthe riches of the glory of this :mysteryamong the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colosse was close to Ephesus in Asia Minor, present day Turkey, and one of the 7 churches of Revelation. Apparently Paul wrote this special letter to the Colossians, somewhat paralleling the letter he wrote to the Ephesians. They probably shared these 2 letters with each other. The great phrase - “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” however, sets forth this letter in a unique manner, as enlarging on the mysteryof the Gospel in Christ.
Colossians 2:1-3 (1-5) A MYSTERY CONTAINING ALL WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE. “For I would have you know how great a conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my :face in theflesh; 2that their :hearts be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the fullness of the understanding, unto full knowledge of the mysteryof :God, Christ, 3in whom are all the treasures of :wisdom and knowledge hidden.” This somewhat parallels 1 Corinthians 1:30-31. Notice how the apostle Paul maintains his focus on Christ in all of his letters. And he said, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.”
Colossians 4:2-4 (2-6) A DOOR NEEDED TO PROCLAIM THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST. “Continue steadfastly in :prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; 3withal praying for us also, that :God open us a door for the word, to speak the mysteryof the Christ, for which I am also in bonds; 4that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” See the humility of the apostle Paul in this. He knew that the bold proclamation of the mysteryin Christ was dependent upon the prayers of the saints on his behalf. If we want the results that come form heaven's true anointing upon our lives, we too will humble ourselves and sincerely seek the prayers of our fellow-believers. Note that God opens closed doors in answer to the prayers of others. Charles G. Finney reached a stage where he was unable to break through with his own prayers. In New York he begged the prayers of the saints. They responded, and as great results Finney had ever experienced took place, and one fruit of it was “Revival Lectures,” that came out of that Crusade.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 (1-12) THE PRESENT MYSTERY OF LAWLESSNESS. “For the mysteryof :lawlessness does already work: only there is:one that restrains now, until he become out of themidst.” The mysteryof lawlessness was hidden until the preaching and writings of the apostle Paul. This whole epistle majors on this subject, and throws much light on it. Those who master these insights can enter into a higher and more effective form of intercession.
1 Timothy 3:8-9 (1-13) THE MYSTERY OF THE FAITH. “Deacons likewise must begrave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9holding the mysteryof the faith in a pure conscience.” Here “faith” is used to speak of the full teaching of Christianity. And it isa mystery! It requires faith to press in and understand the mysteryof the faith. Note that it is not just the city church elders who need this, but the deacons too, who in the beginning waited on tables. Philip and Stephen were two of the 7 original deacons - and their solid understanding of the mysteryof the faith led God to catapult both of them into the higher function of the evangelist.
1 Timothy 3:16 (14-16) THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS PERTAINING TO CHRIST. “And confessedly great is the mysteryof :godliness; Who was manifested in theflesh, Seen of Angels, Preached among nations, Believed on in theworld, Received up in glory.” Here we find Paul grooming his protege, who one day would take his place. He later became the apostolic pastor of the city church of Ephesus, composed of many local churches in the home. All of Asia Minor heard the Gospel from this church. Paul later said that if he sent Timothy on an assignment, and they received him in the right spirit - it would be as good and helpful as if they had Paul himself. What a commendation! So - Timothy understood the above mysteryof godliness concerning Christ, with all 5 aspects of this truth.
Revelation 1:20 (9-20) THE MYSTERY OF THE SEVEN STARS. “The mysteryof the seven stars which you saw in my :right, and the seven :golden lampstands. The seven stars are angels of the seven churches: and the seven :lampstands are seven churches.” In “Visions Beyond the Veil” by H. A, Baker, the little former orphans and beggars saw a large angel over a church, as well as a human pastor. Mr. Baker from their coordinated accounts, I believe, rightly assumed that what the children saw was correct. God does deploy an important angel over a city church, just as Satan deploys principalities and powers over cities, regions and nations. Daniel heard from Gabriel that the Prince of the power of Persia held him up until Michael came and routed him. Michael is the angelic prince of God over Israel. These things that were mysteriesbecame clarified in New Testament times.
Revelation 10:7 (1-11) THE 7TH TRUMP AND THE MYSTERY OF GOD. “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to trump, thenis also finished the mysteryof :God, according to thegood tidings whichhe declared to his :bondmen the prophets.” This is a significant word. Jesus on the Cross cried out, “It is Finished,” for He had fulfilled the will of God who sent Him, and His Finished Work on Calvary ushered in a new day for Adam's Race. The 7thTrump in Revelation finished the sequence of events opening up those things revealed in New Testament times, especially to the apostle Paul. What God starts - He finishes. What was hidden in mysteries- has been fully revealed in this Gospel Age.
Revelation 17:4-5, 7 (1-18) A MYSTERY: BABYLON THE GREAT - and - THE MYSTERY OF THE WOMAN AND BEAST. “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold and precious stone and pearls, having in her :hand a golden cup full of abominations, and the unclean thingsof her :fornication, 5and upon her :forehead a name written, a mystery, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. ... 7And the angel said to me, Why did you wonder? I will tell you the mysteryof the woman, and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.” In the last days, Religion and Politics will unite in an uneasy alliance for the purposes of Satan. The mysteryof religion is likened to a woman. The beast she rides is the ruler sent by Satan, who in the end destroys the woman. Both the woman and the Beast are mysteries. Clues are given here to help identify them. However, Jesus said that Prophecy is not so much to help us understand the future in detail, but more as a confirmation, that when it comes to pass, we can look back and say, “Why that's exactly what Jesus predicted, and its fulfillment isconfirmation of His rule as true Lord and Christ, even as the Father designated Him.
NOTE: The word “Mystery” is sufficiently defined in the respective notes with the above references.
To restate - it seems to me that in Ephesians 3:1-6 - we find the key reference in this Word Study that opens up our full understanding to it. The “One New Man” concept set forth so clearly by the apostle Paul, was one of the more difficult mysteries for not just normal Jews, but even particularly for Jewish believers in Jesus. Acts 15 is the key New Testament chapter plus the book of Galatians, to show both the unity between Jew and Gentile in the church - but also the differences.
Messianic Jewish Congregations still rock back and forth over the revelation of this mystery.
At the return of Jesus for His church as King of kings and Lord of lords - soon all these difficulties and misconceptions will be solved and put to rest. - Jim Watt