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17 March 2019

God’s Mysteries Revealed in Jesus

The good shepherd
Many voices today declare that God’s “mysteries” can only be understood from the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament; the latter interprets what God did in Jesus rather than vice versa.  Others claim that His “mysteries” are encoded in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and or in the annual cycles of the Jewish calendar and, presumably, can be “decoded” if one possesses the correct keys. Thus, for some, the key that unlocks divine “mysteries” is the Torah given at Mount Sinai.
The Bible does speak of God’s “mysteries.”  His ways are “past finding out” and differ from human thoughts and expectations. Jesus taught that not everyone is able to understand the “mysteries of the kingdom”; it is God who reveals the deep hidden things (Isaiah 55:8, Mark 4:11, Daniel 2:22-27).
However, the New Testament declares that God did not disclose a complete understanding of His redemptive plan until the appropriate time, the “fulness of the seasons” (Romans 16:25, Galatians 4:1-6).  He certainly revealed truth under the Levitical system, elsewhere from the Torah, and “in the prophets,” but the earlier word was partial and incomplete (Hebrews 1:1 - “in many parts and many ways”). The prophets foretold the coming salvation that would be revealed in the Messiah but did not possess or understand it (1 Peter 1:10-20).
The “mystery” previously concealed has now been revealed in Jesus Christ at the appointed season, that is, in his death and resurrection.  Nowhere does the Bible teach that God’s “mysteries” can be apprehended by decoding letters, calendrical cycles or the numerical values of Hebrew words.  The Torah was part of God’s partial revelation in which said “mysteries” were hidden but they are now disclosed fully in Jesus (and nowhere else).
With the coming of Jesus, the dietary restrictions and the calendrical practices of the Mosaic legislation have been relegated to the status of “shadows and types”; the substance that casts them is Jesus Christ. To turn back to outmoded rituals or partial revelations is regression, the return to bondage under the “elemental things” of this age, including the “powers, principalities, archons, angels, and world-rulers” (Galatians 4:8-11Ephesians 6:8-12Colossians 2:16-17Hebrews 8:510:1).
Neither is there any need to resort to mystical practices, astronomical signs or decoding (supposedly) hidden Hebrew letter “codes.” God’s mysteries have in these “last days” been revealed in Jesus, they are open and available to anyone who hears the Son’s word.  The partial word is now fully unveiled in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2).
The hidden “mystery” that the prophets and angels desired to understand is revealed in Jesus Christ to all men and women of faith, and regardless of their gender or ethnicity.  What is required is not secret knowledge or decoded Hebrew letters but the “obedience of faith” (Romans 16:25-27). Secret knowledge and mystical rites are not required to comprehend God’s redemption, which is available to all from faith in Jesus.
The mystery “not made known in other generations, has now been revealed.” What was “hidden in God” is now made known “through the church”; Gentile believers have been made “joint-heirs” with Israel of the promises of God. (Ephesians 2:9-22; 3:3-11). The “mystery” previously concealed is “manifested to his saints…this mystery among the Gentiles, Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25-272:2).
Moses gave the Law, but “grace and truth came to be in Jesus.” In him the “Word became flesh”; ever since knowledge of the Father has been revealed in Christ alone, the one who is the true Tabernacle in which the Divine glory dwells (John 1:14-1714:6-9).
Anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of God’s ways in any alleged secret knowledge of Hebrew letters, numbers, Sabbatical years, feast days, and cosmic signs is looking in the wrong place. What many peddle today is regression, not revelation.

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