There was program on the History Channel recently with the above title. It wasn’t at all about things mysterious in Christianity so much as it was about things unknown due to lack of knowledge or of paying attention. But then pedestrian pursuits rarely garner notice; while an expose’ of things mysterious never lacks audience.
Are you aware that wherever the English words for secret or mystery appear in the New Testament where it relates to the mystery of salvation and of God’s plan, that within a verse, in a sentence or two, the text instructs us that those secrets have been announced and the mysteries have been revealed?
I found a total of twelve such occurrences with a concordance; and some of those repeat the incidents and words of a previous record, such as where Matthew’s account is verified by Luke or Mark’s.
Of the more notable of the others, a few bear mention here. Ephesians 1: 7 through 9 is one: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself. This is one of those occasions where the use of a plural indicates that the apostle was here referring not only to himself but also to the rest of the apostles of Christ.
Further in this same letter the apostle penned this: if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few words, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. (Eph. 3: 3 – 7)
He said the same thing with greater economy in chapter six, verse nineteen. The point being that this same argument is offered each time, and the same conclusion appears throughout the scriptures. What had been the mystery of God has been revealed to mankind through Christ, the Holy Spirit and his apostles and disciples in the written record. We can make up whatever we might choose, but God has not been standing behind a screen working levers. It is out in plain sight; that is whether we understand it or not.
The Revelation of John is appealed to as filled to the brim and to overflowing with mysteries, and so it is. Yet even there we are told the mysteries have been revealed, and that the events were shortly to come to pass. Prophetic language is used throughout drawing from the Old Testament usages and wordings. Brent has a website detailing such things, to which we would suggest that you may wish to take a few moments to seek out. Further, some of the more compelling signs are explained right where you find them in the text.
Revelation 1:20 – The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
Revelation 10: 7 – …but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
One of the most obvious and roundly ignored of these is found in Revelation 17: 5 – 18: 5.
And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
And he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
Now to Him who is able to establish 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 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
(Romans 16: 25 – 27)