The Mystery of God

The “mystery of God” is mentioned in the New Testament which uses the word “mystery” frequently. Is God hiding something from us?

Traditional Legal Model – The common understanding it that a Biblical mystery is not something kept secret as much as it is something previously not understood that is now revealed.

Biblical Healing Model – This model would take that a step further to emphasize that Jesus is the revealer of His Father’s character and thus solves the “Mysteries” of God” – what He is really like through His representation of His Father’s character during His life on earth.

The character of God (especially as seen in the Old Testament) will remain a mystery to those who do not look at it through the Jesus’ lens (explained below).

The following verses would seem to suggest that God doesn’t want at least some people to know His secrets:

“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” (Mark 4:11-12)

Does that sound like a problem to you?

Another verse suggests that getting in on certain knowledge might be dependent on obedience:

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17)

So it sounds like:

Do His will and know of the doctrine


Don’t do His will and be left in the dark

Is God selective in who He reveals His secrets to? Is He keeping vital information secret? Here is a verse that could suggest that:

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb 11:6)

But that, I think, is a manifestation of the sowing and reaping principle. If you seek Him, you will find Him/about Him and that is reward in itself. The important question in this study is whether He is actively keeping information from people; purposely not revealing His mysteries.

Definitions of the word “mystery” include things that are not necessarily purposefully hidden but just not yet understood.

Mystery (noun), plural mysteries
anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown: the mysteries of nature.
Mystery (noun)
A profound secret; something wholly unknown or something kept cautiously concealed, and therefore exciting curiosity or wonder;

  1. In religion, any thing in the character or attributes of God, or in the economy of divine providence, which is not revealed to man.


That “not revealed” could be information that is not purposely withheld but that man is not capable, ready or willing to understand.

Mystery in the Bible

The word does not occur in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, mystery/mysteries are from the original Greek word “musterion.” Here is the definition:

3466 μυστήριον musterion [moos-tay’-ree-on]
from a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); n;
AV-mystery 27; 27
1) hidden thing, secret, mystery
1a) generally mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals
1b) a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding
1c) a hidden purpose or counsel
1c1) secret will
1c1a) of men
1c1b) of God: the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly
2) in rabbinic writings, it denotes the mystic or hidden sense
2a) of an OT saying
2b) of an image or form seen in a vision
2c) of a dream

There are 27 verses using musterion. In those verses, aside from the word “mystery” there are other phrases suggesting something hidden:

  • “to them it is not given” (Matt 13:11)
  • “all these things are done in parables” (Mark 4:11)
  • “they might not understand” (Luke 8:10)
  • “blindness in part is happened” (Rom 11:25)
  • “was kept secret” (Rom 16:25)
  • “the hidden wisdom” (1 Cor 2:7)
  • “hid from ages” (Col 1:26)

But there are also phrases speaking of things being made known:

  • “it is given unto you to know” (Matt 13:11)
  • “I would not … that ye should be ignorant” (Rom 11:25)
  • “made known unto us” (Eph 1:9)
  • “he made known unto me” (Eph 3:3)
  • “ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery” (Eph 3:4)
  • “to make known the mystery” (Eph 6:19)
  • “now is made manifest” (Col 1:26)
  • “to whom God would make known” (Col 1:27)

So, is God hiding or making known? Which is it? Is He consistent in His policies about making information necessary for salvation available?

In Matthew, a parallel passage to the Mark 4 passage at the start:

“For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt 13:15)

This was in answer to the question:

“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” (Matt 13:10)

The answer was for (or because), by their choice, they had figuratively closed their eyes and ears and thus their understanding. It was an action on their part, not God’s. A good example would be that of Pharaoh hardening his heart.

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” (1 Cor 1:23)

If a person has the attitude that scripture is foolishness, are they likely to understand it?

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:14)

What is the Mystery?

There are various mysteries referred to.

“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Col 1:26-27)

I think that refers to the achievement of the ultimate goal (of God). From The Remedy version:

“God has given me the responsibility of working for the full healing and restoration of the church by presenting the truth about God and his plan in its fullness— the responsibility of making clear the mystery of God’s true nature, character, and government; the mystery that was hidden for generations by Satan’s lies about God but is now fully revealed by Christ—and all those who love Jesus see it. God has chosen to enlighten our minds with his secret plan: By revealing the truth of his character of love, he wins human beings back to trust in himself, restores in them perfect Christlike character, and through them, he wins more back to trust in himself (by also restoring them back into perfect Christlikeness), continuing on until our hope is fulfilled in the fullness of his glory.” (Col 1:25-27, The Remedy)

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

Why might God not reveal as much to people as He could? Is it that He won’t or that He can’t; that He is unable to? What is the limiting factor?

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12)

We don’t even know (understand) our own hearts; how could we understand deep spiritual truths? The two verses above are speaking of limitations on our side.

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” (Rom 16:25)

In that verse, “secret” is from a different word than what is usually used. It means more like “to keep silence” so is simply speaking of something not or not yet revealed.

God will reveal secrets to His followers:

“And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;” (Gen 18:17)

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant” (Psa 25:14).

Who is hiding the truth of the gospel, keeping truth shrouded in mystery?

It is Satan who is into secrecy and deception:

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor 4:3-4)

How does he blind the minds? Their minds aren’t blind to everything but they are blind to important spiritual truths by their own choice not of God’s doing. They would be blinded by:

  • busyness, laziness
  • translation errors
  • creating doubt
  • unbiblical teachings
  • outright lies

In the end, everything will be made plain, all secrets will be revealed:

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” (1 Cor 4:5)

“For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Eccl 12:14)

“For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” (Luke 8:17)

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” (Rev 10:7)

Does that suggest that, at the voice of the seventh angel, God will be understood?

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Tim 3:16)

“Mystery” in the Old Testament

The word does not occur in the Old Testament, however, to most people, it is all a mystery. As a result, they very badly misunderstand the character of God. The key is removing the veil of misunderstanding (solve the mysteries) about the Old Testament:

“And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” (2 Cor 3:13-16)

Lens of Second Coming

Christ is the new and living way for us to approach the Father with boldness due to our more correct understanding of the character of God. Jesus revealed His Father. “… he that hath seen me hath seen the Father …” (John 14:9)

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;” (Heb 10:19-20)

Remember, “His flesh” is not the veil. Rather, it is the new and living way.

“He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” (Matt 13:11)

“He told them: “The understanding of the secrets of God’s kingdom of love is taught to you because your hearts are open to receive it, but their minds are not ready to accept the truth, so parables must be used.” (Matt 13:11, The Remedy NT)

It is the condition of the heart, the willingness to learn and even to search for truth as for buried treasure that will bring understanding.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt 5:6)

Is it always appropriate to reveal mysteries and spiritual truth?

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt 7:6-8)

“But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,” (Luke 10:10)

I have seen where truth was being resisted yet was pushed by others with great harm. We need to be very tactful. If shared truth does not soften a heart it is likely being rejected and can harden the heart.

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