4. The content of the divine mystery is painted in broad strokes in the Old Testament, takes on greater detail in the Gospels, and receives its finishing touches in Paul's letters. The Bible can seem mysterious and difficult to understand. But it is frequently found in the plural ta musteria, "the Mysteries," the technical term for the secret rites and celebrations in ancient religions only known to, and practiced by, those who had been initiated. They formed "the serious part of pagan religion" (Renan). It is something that had been hidden in the past but was eventually revealed. Paul describes his calling to reveal the mystery of God to the Gentiles as "the grace of God given to me for you" ( Eph 3:2 ), and a few verses later, in a magnificent piling up of the language of grace, he identifies it as "the gift of the grace which God gave to me according to his effective power" (v. 7). These are the Divine secrets now at last disclosed. Similarly, Jesus graciously explains the parable of the sower to his disciples with the comment that, although the parables baffle those on the outside, the mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to them ( Matt 11:25-26 ). The Bible code, also known as the Torah code, is a series of messages alleged to exist within the Bible text, that when decoded form words and phrases supposedly demonstrating foreknowledge and prophecy. Witness his use of illustrations drawn from the athletic festivals, the Greek theater (1 Corinthians 4:9) and the Roman camp. It can hardly be doubted that at least the language of Paul, and perhaps to some extent his thought, is colored by the phraseology current among the cults. The word “mystery” is derived from the Greek word, ... 4 The Mysteries of the Bible #2 The Mystery of the Kingdom of God Just as the identity of the gospel is a mystery to most people, so is its message. There is a large and growing literature on this subject. The ritual of Israel was one in which the whole people partook, through their representatives the priests. Copyright © 2020, Bible Study Tools. In fact, “mystery” is a transliteration of the word musterion, not a translation of it. Further, the secret of Paul's gospel among the Gentiles lay, humanly speaking, in the fact that it contained elements that appealed to what was best and most vital in contemporary thought; and doubtless the Mysteries, by transcending all lines of mere citizenship, prepared the way for the universal religion. If you will use these seven keys, you can unlock the mysteries of the Bible for yourself! The explanation is that the communication is limited, not by any secrecy in the gospel message itself or any reserve on the part of the speaker, but by the receptive capacity of the hearer. Second, the biblical concept of divine mystery emphasizes God's sovereignty. Bible Dictionaries - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Mystery, Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Bible Dictionaries - Easton's Bible Dictionary - Mystery, Encyclopedias - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Mystery, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter. The Greek word musterion occurs in the Septuagint of the Old Testament. Ephesians 3:5 Ephesians 3:9 Ephesians 3:11 ) that it might be revealed to apostles and prophets such as Paul himself and through them to believers ( Eph 3:1-12 ; cf. This is the amazing mystery in the Hebrew word Torah that Elohim has given us. For example look at 1 Thess. Because Daniel recognizes the graciousness of God's response, he is quick to acknowledge before the king that the dream's interpretation has come from God, not from Daniel's abilities as a counselor ( Daniel 2:27 Daniel 2:30 ). There are five mysteries associated with the Church, one of Israel in the Church Age, one of the Tribulation and one of the Kingdom. the calling of the Gentiles into the Christian Church, so designated ( Ephesians 1:9 Ephesians 1:10 ; 3:8-11 ; Colossians 1:25-27 ); a truth undiscoverable except by revelation, long hid, now made manifest. True piety alone initiated men into confidential intercourse with Yahweh (Psalms 25:14; Proverbs 3:32). Bacon); articles on musterion in Cremer and Grimm-Thayer New Testament Lexicons; the commentaries, including J.B. Lightfoot on Colossians, J. Armitage Robinson on Ephesians, H. Lietzmann on 1 Corinthians; 9 articles in The Expositor on "St. Paul and the Mystery Religions" by Professor H.A.A. Bible Verses About Strength mis'-ter-i (musterion; from mustes, "one initiated into mysteries"; mueo "to initiate," muo, "to close" the lips or the eyes; stem mu-, a sound produced with closed lips; compare Latin mutus, "dumb"): Its usual modern meaning (equals something in itself obscure or incomprehensible, difficult or impossible to understand) does not convey the exact sense of the Greek musterion, which means a secret imparted only to the initiated, what is unknown until it is revealed, whether it be easy or hard to understand. Paul points his readers again and again to the unique position they occupy as those who have experienced the fulfillment of the mystery of God's purposes. The term "mystery" never occurs in the English Old Testament. The most we can say is that some New Testament writers (especially Paul) make use of expressions and analogies derived from the mystery-religions; but, so far as our present evidence goes, we cannot agree that the pagan cults exercised a central or formative influence on them. The Hidden Mystery Or The Revelations Of The Word Thoughts Upon Psalm Xix. But it must also be remembered that they lent themselves to grave extravagances and abuses. The perfect openness of Christ and His apostles sets them in a world apart from the mystic schools. 1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, Matthew 13:10-11 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” The history of the word in ancient paganism is important, and must be considered before we examine its Biblical usage. In Paul's letters this aspect of the mystery of God comes to a climax. The mystery revealed to Daniel and communicated to the king demonstrates not only that God knows the beginning of history from its end but that the rise and fall of human empires and the establishment of God's own kingdom happen according to his decree ( 2:36 ). Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible … Third, and most important, the biblical understanding of divine mystery emphasizes God's grace. Bible Verses About Love Paul had a remarkably sympathetic and receptive mind, by no means closed to influences from the Greek-Roman environment of his day. The Pagan Mysteries and the New Testament: The question is now frequently discussed, how far the New Testament (and especially Paul) betrays the influence of the heathen mystery-cults. 1 Peter 1:10-12 ). Although predicted in the Scriptures, the mystery was kept silent for long ages ( Rom 16:25-26 ), hidden for generations past ( Col 1:26 ; cf. What turned these religions into Mysteries was the secrecy of their rites; but in the New Testament there are no secret rites. Kirsopp Lake writes, "Christianity has not borrowed from the mystery-religions, because it was always, at least in Europe, mystery-religion itself" (The Earlier Epistles of Paul, 215). The celebrations themselves were in the main a kind of religious drama, consisting of scenic representations illustrating the story of some deity or deities, on the basis of the old mythologies regarded as allegories of Nature's productive forces and of human immortality; combined with the recital of certain mystic formulas by the hierophant (the priest). He that loveth his wife loveth himself. Bible Verses About Fear Bible Verses About Husbands The culminating point was the epopteia, or full vision, when the hierophant revealed certain holy objects to the assembly. In the Old Testament and the Apocrypha: The religion of the Old Testament has no Mysteries of the above type. You probably own a Bible. The idea of incomprehensibility if implied at all, is purely accidental. On the other hand, Schweitzer wholly denies the hypothesis of the direct or indirect influence of the Mysteries on Paul's thought (Geschichte der Paulinischen Forschung). Ramsay), and edition 11 (L.R. Bible Verses About Prayer, Bible Verses About Children The most famous were the Mysteries celebrated in Eleusis, under the patronage and control of the Athenian state, and associated with the worship of Demeter and her daughter Persephone. (note, outside of Paul, epoptai, "eye-witnesses,"2 Peter 1:16). Its modern scientific study began with C.A. In direct antithesis to the Divine mystery is the "mystery of lawlessness" (2 Thess 2:7) culminating in the coming of the Antichrist. 3:1-9). The whole question is sub judice among scholars, and until more evidence be forthcoming from inscriptions, etc., we shall perhaps vainly expect unanimous verdict. Paul calls the word of God or the gospel a "mystery," but a mystery which has now been revealed. Bible Verses About Forgiveness They were rather an attempt to find a more emotional and ecstatic expression to religious aspiration than the public ceremonies provided. 2:20 ) and described him as a God who "knows what lies in darkness" ( 2:22 ). Corinth, Antioch and Ephesus, were headquarters of mystic religion. (b) From this it follows that Christianity has no secret doctrines, for what was once hidden has now been revealed. Although many Bible versions render the Greek word musterion as “mystery,” that is not a good translation. Paul wrote about the mystery of the Gentiles, or non-Jews, becoming part of the church. On the one hand, there are passages which seem to imply a doctrine of reserve. The content of the divine mystery is painted in broad strokes in the Old Testament, takes on greater detail in the Gospels, and receives its finishing touches in Paul's letters. The details of these events, however, and the nature of God's kingdom, once established, remain sketchy in Daniel. All rights reserved. The following recent works may be specially mentioned: Gustav Anrich, Das antike Mysterienwesen (1894); G. Wobbermin, Religiongeschichtliche Studien zur Frage, etc. The following are some of their main features: (1) Their appeal was to the emotions rather than to the intellect. The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law. In the case of the "babe in Christ," the apparent reserve is due merely to the pedagogical principle of adapting the teaching to the progressive receptivity of the disciple (John 16:12). In Daniel, where the term first appears (raz in Aramaic, always translated with mysterion [musthvrion] in the LXX), it refers to God's understanding of the symbols in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, symbols that stand for the rise and fall of human empires and to the eventual establishment of God's own, eternal kingdom ( 2:44 ; cf. Romans 16:25 f might almost be taken as a definition of it, "According to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal, but now is manifested" (compare Colossians 1:26; Ephesians 3:3). Romans 16:25; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:9). It is true that later the Mysteries exercised a great influence on ecclesiastical doctrine and practice, especially on baptism and the Eucharist (see Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, chapter x). Percy Gardner traces similar analogies to the Mysteries in Paul, though he finds in these analogies, not conscious plagiarism, but "the parallel working of similar forces" (Religious Experience of Paul, chapters iv, v). Timothy-1 3:9. Bible Verses About Wives Farnell), Encyclopedia Biblica (A. Julicher), Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes) (A. Stewart); 1-volume Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible; (G.G. This meaning appears in Revelation 1:20; 17:5,7; probably also in Ephesians 5:32, where marriage is called "a mystery," i.e. of About 2,000 years ago, the Israelites suffered greatly under the oppression of the Roman government. Tarsus was a seat of the Mithra religion; and the chief centers of Paul's activities, e.g. But here arises a seeming contradiction. Aristotle (as quoted by Synesius) declared that the initiated did not receive definite instruction, but were put in a certain frame of mind (ou mathein ti dein alla pathein). This brief account will show that the Mysteries were not devoid of noble elements. Amos 3:7 ). Thus the mystery-religions strangely combined a strict exclusiveness with a kind of incipient catholicity. "to make known" (Ephesians 1:9; 3:3,5,10; 6:19), "to manifest" (Colossians 4:3,4; Romans 16:26; 1 Timothy 3:16). Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. It is difficult in a brief paragraph to characterize the Mysteries, so elaborate and varied were they, and so completely foreign to the modern mind. There was scarcely one of the ancient deities in connection with whose worship there was not some subsidiary cult of this kind. The New Testament uses the word “mystery” in reference to eight concepts or spiritual truths that are intimated but not fully revealed by the Old Testament. Yet it contains the most exciting, mind-expanding information the world has ever known! 1st Timothy 3:16 “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.”. Search the King James Version (KJV) for more references about Mystery... Bible Verses About God Here, too, the word means a revealed secret, only in this case the revelation belongs to the future ( 2 Thess 2:8 ), though the evil forces which are to bring about its consummation are already silently operative. "In its worship as in its belief, Christianity is a religion of mystery" (article in Hibbert Journal, October, 1911). 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