THE MYSTERY KEPT SECRET?
One individual wrote me recently (June 2008) and was
somewhat shocked that in all of my studies on this Website, I had
not a study on the phrase in Romans 16:25 "according to the
revelation of the MYSTERY, which was kept secret since the world
So, I guess then it is time I wrote on the "mystery" topic.
Well, the "mystery" as Paul wrote it, has of course been
revealed as he just said, so in that sense the mystery is no
longer a mystery, not in the New Testament age. Obviously the
mystery had been revealed to the apostles of the New Testament
Church of God. In fact the apostles Peter, James, John, Jude,
together with the writers of the four Gospels, never mention any
"revealing of the mystery" in the way the apostle Paul phrased it
in Romans, Ephesians, and Colossians (we shall look at those
What could this "mystery" kept secret since the world began,
If we use some common logic we should be able to eliminate
certain fundamental Christian essentials that have been from the
From the time of Adam, the people of God, knew they needed
to "walk with God" to serve and obey Him, if they wanted to be
His child. There had to be a personal relationship with the
Eternal Father of the universe. This was a "given" with all the
children of God from the beginning. So we can rule this out as
some "mystery" kept secret, until the apostle Paul's day. Another
we can rule out is the subject of repentance. It should be pretty
clear as we read from Genesis through to Malachi that the people
of God knew about the subject of repentance towards God. And that
brings in then another we can rule out as a "mystery" kept
secret, the subject of sin. It is obvious people of the Lord knew
what was sin and what was righteousness. Why we have whole books
and passages in books of the Old Testament that reveal what sin
was and is.
The "mystery" cannot be the subject of "grace" or
"forgiveness" for all of that is fully expounded on all over the
books of the Old Testament, especially in some the of Psalms of
How about the "mystery" being the subject of salvation? No,
that is also expounded on wide and far in the Old Testament. I'm
pretty sure Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah,
and others knew the subject of how to be saved.
Was the hidden mystery being in the Kingdom or House of God
in the eternity to come? No, do not think so at all. David said
be would rather be a door-keeper in the House of God than dwell
with the kings of the earth. Job looked forward to his
resurrection and seeing the Lord.
Certainly the mystery was not the subject of eternity, or
the resurrection from the dead. All of that is discussed openly
in the OT (Old Testament).
Was the mystery kept secret, the news about the Kingdom of
God on earth one day? No, could not be a mystery, for again
passage after passage in the OT prophets speak about that age to
How about the mystery kept since the world began, being the
fact that women are on an equal straight footing with men when it
comes to salvation? Can't be that because the OT is full of God
being no respecter of persons.
The secret kept, a mystery, was not about judgment to come
on all nations and every individual; there's lots of passages to
cover that subject in the OT.
How about the mystery being the uniting of Israel and Judah
again as one people? No, can t be that. Ezekiel has one whole
chapter covering that fact (Ezek.37).
What about the act of "forgiveness" - that is all over the
OT, that was certainly known by the people of God. It had been no
What about the judgment of the wicked? Was that kinda
concealed? No it sure was not. We have many passages on the
judgement of God coming to all people one day.
Prayer was not concealed or kept secret. Reading the Words
of God was not hidden. Meditation of the commandments and laws
and precepts and statutes of God was not concealed from God's
Doing good works, loving your enemies, being kind, thankful,
serving, admitting sin, changing to a new and better life, all
that was no mystery, it s all over the OT.
Yes the resurrection is talked about. Job knew about the
resurrection (Job 14). Ezekiel talked at length about it (Ezekiel
37) - it was no secret! The punishment for sin is openly talked
about and the death of sinners, all found in many of the Psalms.
The coming of Jesus the first time is dealt with in many
passages of the OT, as is what He would do when He came. The
Kingdom of God on earth is all over the prophets of old, and
changing of the nature of animals and little children playing
near the once poisonous snakes will take place. The lion eating
straw like the ox etc. (Isaiah 11).
We have Bible Prophecy, which is not a secret, to most of
You may think of a dozen other things that we are told
plenty about in the Bible.
God the Father, did through Christ reveal Himself in many
way to His people.
Many prophecies in the OT do reveal many future events yet
to take place on this earth, hardly could be called "kept secret
since the world began."
The coming of the Holy Spirit to reveal things to God's
people happened many times; no that was not a secret from the
beginning of the world.
People "preaching" to others was done many times throughout
the OT period, that was no mystery kept from anyone per se.
Nineveh was told to repent by Jonah the prophet, or destruction
The coming of the Messiah in splendid glory to earth to
reign over the nations, could not be the mystery kept secret, for
that event is spoken about in numerous passages of the OT
The truth about what God is like, being a person with form
and shape, having emotions, talking with humans at times, and
even coming in human form now and again, to talk with people like
Moses, and wrestle with Jacob, is all over the OT. That part of
God was no mystery kept secret since the world began.
PAUL INTERPRETS THE MYSTERY KEPT SECRET
The apostle Paul was the only one of the apostles and
writers of the NT that spoken in a distinct way about "the
mystery kept secret since the world began." It is fitting then
that he should interpret what he meant by that phrase. The Bible
interprets itself, no need to guess, ponder, speculate. Paul does
interpret himself, and if we look carefully we see the very
interpretation WITHIN the CONTEXT of the passages that use this
Let's look at Romans 16:25. Keep in mind that there was no
mystery kept secret for the way of salvation under the OT. That
subject was known and was written about. Notice verse 26 of
Romans 16. "But NOW is made manifest .... according to the
commandment of the everlasting God." Ah, the mystery of God is
connected to a "commandment" of God that Paul had, and others had
also. They were commanded to .... well see verse 25 ...
"according to my gospel." Paul like others, was commanded to
teach and preach the gospel. But now look at the last part of
verse 26. "....MADE KNOWN TO ***ALL NATIONS*** for the obedience
Now "faith" was not new, many had faith in the OT, and many
wrote about faith in the OT. The subject of "obedience" was not
new. Many in the OT had obedience to God, and wrote about having
it towards God in the context of salvation. So, neither of those
two subjects were a mystery kept secret since the world began.
But what WAS KEPT SECRET was that ALL the subjects we've
mentioned above, all the truths on SALVATION, and becoming a
CHILD of God was to be MADE KNOWN TO ALL THE WORLD, ALL NATIONS,
ALL PEOPLE. The matter of salvation, being accepted as a son and
daughter of the Most High was NOW FOR ANYONE IN ANY NATION OF THE
EARTH!!! It was NOW for GENTILES as much as for Israelites! There
was to be NO DIFFERENCE any more. There was to be no black, no
white, no yellow, no Jew, no Gentile, any more when it came to
the NT Gospel of God and salvation, and the way to be saved!
Paul was the great apostle to the Gentiles. Yes, he preached
at first to the Jews, but then was shown by God that he should
concentrate on preaching the Gospel of salvation and the Kingdom
of God, to the GENTILES; see Galatians 2:6-10. Paul was taught by
Christ (Gal.1:11-24). Paul was specifically called and chosen to
preach the Gospel among the "heathen" - the Gentiles, to those
who "....being in times past Gentiles in the flesh; who are
called Un-circumcision by that which is called the Circumcision
in the flesh made by hands (the Jews called the Gentiles un-
circumcision). That at THAT TIME (in the past, from the begining
of the world, those outside the ones who "knew" God), YOU
(Gentiles) were WITHOUT CHRIST, being ALIENS from the
commonwealth of Israel, and STRANGERS from the COVENANT of
PROMISE, having NO HOPE, and WITHOUT GOD in the world" (Eph.2:11-
Ah, do we begin to see, what was kept secret since the world
began, the mystery of God's salvation, knowing Him, was NOT FOR
EVERYONE ON EARTH from the beginning. Yes, Adam and Eve knew God
in a personal way. But as their children MULTIPLIED and
eventually, with God's intervention at the tower of Babel, were
SCATTERED over the face of the earth, it was ONLY THE RELATIVE
FEW who KNEW God and His way of life, and how to find salvation!
THE VAST MAJORITY WERE KEPT IN THE DARK CONCERNING GOD,
CHRIST, AND SALVATION. FOR THE MAJORITY THE SECRETS OF GOD, THE
MYSTERY OF GOD THROUGH CHRIST FOR SALVATION, WAS INDEED A MYSTERY
TO THEM, IT WAS A SECRET NOT REVEALED TO THEM!!
There were always A FEW on earth who had CONTACT with God,
who knew the true Eternal One in heaven. There were also a few
who served Him, worshipped Him, knew His commandments, and walked
in His ways. But it was only those few who knew the mystery of
God through the one who would be called the Christ. For the REST
of the nations and people on earth, this secret of God, to allow
men and women to become very Sons and Daughters of the Most High,
was UNKNOWN BY THEM, IT WAS A SECRET NOT GIVEN TO THEM. Until the
New Testament age this secret mystery of salvation and becoming a
child in the very family of God, was UNKNOWN to the vast majority
of the people on earth. They were WITHOUT GOD AND CHRIST!
It was in Genesis chapter 12 that God chose ONE MAN to start
a mighty work WITH SOME people - THAT MAN WAS ABRAHAM! God did
not choose a man from China, or India, or Russia, or Egypt, or
from any other part of the world. He chose Abraham! And THROUGH
HIS DESCENDANTS He chose the people of the twelve sons of Jacob -
the tribes of Israel, to be His people. The Eternal chose THEM to
work through. He revealed to them Himself, His ways, His laws,
His salvation, His grace, His secret through the Christ to come,
the way of salvation and eternal life!!
THE REST OF THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH, THE GENTILES, WERE NOT
ALLOWED TO KNOW GOD, EXCEPT AS THEY POSSIBLY CAME INTO CONTACT
WITH THE NATION OF ISRAEL. Even then it was more "individuals"
from those nations that decided to accept the God of Israel and
enter the commonwealth of Israel. But in the OVERALL OF IT ALL,
it was as Paul said, the Gentiles were without God, and Christ,
and NOT A PART of the commonwealth of Israel, and were without
God in the world. The mystery of the gospel of salvation was
UNKNOWN to the world at large.
God was revealing Himself to Israel as a people, and was not
trying to reveal Himself in a personal way to any other nation on
earth. It is true God desired that the nation of Israel would be
a light to the world, to show the rest of the nations that they
had the true God with them. But most of the time Israel was not a
good light to the world for the manifestation of the ways of the
Lord to other nations. Yet the truth is the mysteries of God were
HIDDEN from the nations of the world, right up to the time of the
START of the New Testament Church of God.
You may remember from the book of Acts that even the first
apostles DID NOT go to the Gentiles. They still kept the
salvation secrets, the mystery of God through Christ, to
THEMSELVES. Even with Jesus telling them to go to all nations
with the Gospel (Mat.28) THEY STILL DID NOT "GET IT" as we say.
It took God working a miracle with Peter in Acts 10 to FINALLY
GET HIM and others to see that the Lord's Gospel, the mystery hid
from the world, from the beginning, was to GO TO ALL THE WORLD,
AND ALL NATIONS UPON IT, IN A FULL AND MIGHTY WAY!!
Then the Lord specifically called Paul to do a great and
wondrous work among the GENTILES! He and his helpers (he had some
men and women with him as we see from the book of Acts) were to
use the gospel "according to my gospel, the preaching of Jesus
Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was
kept secret since the world began, but NOW is made manifest ...
according to the commandment of the everlasting God, MADE KNOWN
TO ALL NATIONS for the obedience of faith" (Rom.16:25-26).
Salvation through Christ, obedience of faith, saved by grace
through faith in Christ, a mystery kept secret from the world
since the beginning of the world, as far as the vast majority of
the world's population was concerned; was to NOW be kept secret
NO MORE, but was to mightily GO FORTH TO THE GENTILES, TO ALL THE
WORLD, TO ALL NATIONS ON EARTH.
And if you remember, in the book of Acts, some Jews are
quoted as saying about Paul and others like him, "... these that
have (with their teaching and preaching) TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE
DOWN..." (Acts 17:6).
Yes, the whole world was now in the New Testament age, all
nations upon it, black, brown, yellow, white, Jew, Gentile, and
whoever else, was to hear the Gospel of the mystery kept secret
from them for thousands of years, as to the way of salvation by
grace through faith in Christ. It was to be a new age, a new
time, when ALL nations would hear the Gospel of Christ. It would
no longer be kept secret from anyone as such. The mystery of God
was no longer to be kept a mystery, it was to be shouted from the
house-tops, proclaimed to all nations. And indeed during this
past 2,000 years there is hardly a nation on earth that has not
been witnessed to with the Gospel of Christ in some form or
STILL FURTHER PROOF FROM PAUL
AS TO THE MYSTERY REVEALED TO ALL
Paul speaks about the "mystery" of God's will to the
Ephesians. Speaking of Christ in chapter 1:5, we pick up Paul's
words in verse 7, "In whom we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
.... having made KNOWN TO US the MYSTERY of HIS WILL, according
to the good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself" (verses 7-
So, there is a good purpose that is His good pleasure, and
it is connected to REDEMPTION IN CHRIST, through His blood, the
forgiveness of sins. There is a PURPOSE that God is working out,
and it is according to His good pleasure. In other words
according to His purposed PLAN of salvation. We know it is the
plan of salvation because of the next verse 10. "That in the
DISPENSATION of the FULLNESS OF TIME, He might GATHER TOGETHER IN
ONE ***ALL***THINGS IN CHRIST, BOTH WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN AND WHICH
ARE ON EARTH."
The Most Holy One is working on a "dispensing" of time, a
series of time we may say, which in the END will bring ALL things
in Christ. He is working it all out "AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN
WILL" verse 11. It is all connected to the "word of truth" - "the
gospel of your salvation" - "ye believed, ye were sealed with
that holy Spirit of promise" - verse 13.
The way of salvation, redemption from sin through the blood
of Christ, was NOT GIVEN to everyone from the beginning. It was a
select few before the time of Noah, who knew the true God and the
way to be saved. It was a select few who knew the true God before
the days of the tower of Babel and the scattering of the people
across the face of the earth. It was only Abraham and those with
him who knew the true God and the way of salvation in the days of
Abraham. So also it was with Isaac, and Jacob, and then Jacob's
12 sons, only a chosen few knew the true Eternal God. Then given
to Moses, who did not know until God revealed Himself to him at
the burning bush, and would use him to bring the tribes of Israel
out of Egypt, and to teach them about the ways of the Almighty
God, the mystery of His will, His redemption, through the Messiah
Christ. The rest of the nations were left in utter darkness and
blindness to this mystery. Those nations were without God,
outside the commonwealth of Israel, having no hope in that
lifetime they lived (as Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-12), unless on
an individual basis they entered the commonwealth of Israel and
accepted the God of Israel.
Now Paul is explaining to the Gentiles, that the mystery of
God's will (as it was a mystery to the vast majority of Gentiles)
has been delivered to them through the widespread teaching and
preaching of people like Paul. For most of the people of the
world it was only hearing about some strange people in a far away
country, who practiced a strange religion of commandments and
laws and priesthood and sacrifices, and who claimed they served
and worshipped the true God of heaven and earth. To the majority
of the population of the world it was all a mystery to them, as
to what those Israelites taught and believed. Even to some of the
Jews the real truth of God about a suffering Messiah, for the
sins of people, had become lost, that secret mystery, which had
been kept secret from most of the world from the beginning, had
also been lost and was so a secret even to many Jews.
Now the secret will and plan of salvation was FULLY and
POWERFULLY and in PLAIN language brought back to many Jews and
Israelites, AND TO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD, AS IT WAS NEVER DONE
BEFORE. The Gospel of Christ, the redemption will of God WAS NOW
PROCLAIMED AND OPEN TO ANYONE. As we hear in the New Testament
... "Whosoever will may come" God was now opening up a SECRET
WILL of His that was from the beginning INTENDED TO BE GIVEN TO
EVERYONE, IN EVERY NATION ON EARTH. It was just that there was a
"dispensation" of time involved, but in the fullness of that
time, according to His good purpose, it was intended and planned,
that the secret mystery of God (as most took at it) was to be
GIVEN TO ALL PEOPLE. Hence eventually in the fullness of time God
would gather together in one ALL things in Christ!
Paul as one of THE apostles to the Gentiles, was the one
whom God inspired to talk about the "mystery of God hidden from
the nations since the world began." It was not a mystery to the
true people and children of God from the beginning, for they knew
the basic truth of redemption and salvation through a coming
Messiah. Those before the cross of Christ looked AHEAD IN FAITH
to that sacrifices for their sins. We after the cross of Christ
look BACK in FAITH to that sacrifice for our sins. But the
majority of people on earth, to them it was not known, to them it
had been kept secret, and if some did hear about it, most thought
it was a silly mystery, not worth paying attention to, so they
continued to worship their false gods with false works that if
they did enough of them, would somehow please their god and they
would live in an after life of some kind, after physical death
had come upon them.
It was not Peter, or John, or James, or others of the 12
apostles, nor the writers of the four Gospels, that were inspired
to say anything about a mystery of God kept secret since the
world began. Those apostles preached predominately to Jews and
Israelites in near and far places of the large known popular
world of the first century. They preached to a people who, at
least on the surface and in their culture, KNEW ABOUT THE WAYS OF
THE TRUE GOD. It was Paul, THE main apostles to the Gentiles, who
needed to mention to them the mystery of God kept secret from
them for millenniums, was no longer, by the will and desire of
God to be a secret or a mystery any longer. And as we hear in the
book of Acts, those apostles went forth (we have studies on this
Website of where they went forth - far and near - one study
called "In Search of the Twelve Apostles" and another study
called "Paul in Britain") and did TURN THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN with
their teaching and preaching the Gospel of Christ, and the
mystery of God kept secret from most since the world began, was
SURELY ON SECRET OR MYSTERY ANY LONGER.
PAUL MAKES THE MYSTERY CLEAR
HE GIVES THE INTERPRETATION
Paul does not leave us to guess or debate WHAT the mystery
is that he mentions to certain church congregation. He was
inspired to clearly interpret what this mystery of God was, the
mystery kept secret from most of the world since the world began.
Many would like to think this "mystery" is some dark inner
secret of some secret that few could come to know, and then in a
dark secret way reveal this secret mystery of God to only special
people, who would go through some secret meetings in private,
over a period of time, to be guided up step by step until they
had learnt and qualified to be a "master" secret holder. Such
secret organization like the Masons have this "secret" formula.
No the mystery of God kept secret from most people and
nations since the world began, was nothing like forming secret
organizations such as the Masonic Lodge, which are by the way,
false deceptions of wild minded individuals who think they
worship God in some fancy form, but are really the deceptions of
a cunning Devil, who has dozens and dozens of false forms of
religion out there that go under the name of "Christian."
Paul gives us the interpretation of the "mystery which has
been hid from ages and from generations, but NOW is MADE MANIFEST
to His saints (Col.1:26). Remember under the New Testament
church of the first century, the saints of God were from ALL
NATIONS - Jews and Gentiles alike. The door was NOW OPEN to ALL
people, the Gospel was going forth to all nations, the Spirit of
God was working with the minds of many persons out of all
nations. It was no longer a select few in one nation, but now the
Gospel of Christ was being sent and proclaimed to all nations,
near and far.
So what is this mystery which was hid from ages and from
generations, but is now no longer a mystery kept secret
Here it is, in the apostles Paul's own words:
"even the mystery ... but is now made manifest to His saints. 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" (verses 26-27).
The mystery is CHRIST IN US! And it is now revealed in FULL
GLORY to BOTH the saints AND the Gentiles. As we read through the
NT we see the more specific GLORY that waits for us at the
resurrection; a glory that does not seem to have been known by
anyone prior to the first coming of the Messiah and the apostolic
age of the Church of God.
A SECOND part of this mystery is the FULL and detailed
knowledge of what it means to have Christ IN us, and the detailed
truth of the GLORY that shall be revealed in us by having Christ
in us. People of God from Adam to the coming of Christ in the
flesh, knew of course, that as they walked with the Eternal, they
would inherit eternal life, one day be raised from the dead and
have eternal life. They knew they would dwell with God in His
house. David said he would rather be a door-keeper in the House
of God than dwell with the greatest of earthy kings. But it is
only Daniel, in all of the Old Testament, that comes close to
giving us a little more about how we will be in that
resurrection, Daniel 12:2-3.
"And many (those found written in the book, verse 1, the book of
life as Revelation points out to us), of them that sleep in the
dust of the earth shall awake .... And they that be wise shall
SHINE as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many
to righteousness (defined in Psalm 119:172) as the STARS forever
It is not UNTIL we come to the New Testament that we are
given more detailed and explicit knowledge of what the children
of God will be like in the resurrection. The apostle Paul gives
an indepth answer to what we have read in Daniel 12. We find it
in the famous "resurrection chapter" of 1 Corinthians 15. There
we are given more about the hope of glory by having Christ in us.
The apostle John was inspired to tell us that when Christ
comes, we, the children of God, both of Israelite and Gentile
people, will LOOK LIKE Christ!! We find this truth in 1 John 3:1-
3. We can see what Christ looks like from the description given
of His glorified form in Revelation chapter one.
Truly, the detailed knowledge of our hope of glory in Christ
Jesus, is given in the New Testament, as it was never given
before, certainly it is not given in the written Old Testament,
as it is in the written New Testament. So part of the mystery of
God, kept secret since the world began, was the FANTASTIC GLORY
that shall be for those saints of God, who will be taken from ALL
nations of the earth, as the mystery of salvation by grace
through faith in Christ, now goes forth to all the peoples of the
Certainly the FULL DETAILED truth of the end result of
salvation for all people, is AMPLIFIED MIGHTILY by the New
Testament. I think it is correct to say, from reading the Old
Testament, the people from Adam to the first coming of Christ,
were not given the DETAILED knowledge of the mystery of God
wanting to give people Eternal life through Christ. That DETAIL
started to be given with the ministry of Christ, and was then
expanded upon by some of the apostles through the inspiration of
the Holy Spirit.
The full in-depth detail of THE GLORY the saints will have
in the resurrection, I have given in the study called --
"A Christian's Destiny."
The glorious truths of God are revealed like never before in
the New Testament. It is there, if you read the New Testament
with meditation and allow the Spirit of God to guide and teach
you. Read the promises to be given to those who hold fast to the
end, in the "church" chapters of Revelation 2 and 3. Those
promises are not found in that specific way in any book of the
Old Testament. Indeed certain mysteries of God have only been
revealed in the New Testament age. The last two chapters of
Revelation were never known under the age before the first
century and the New Testament Church of God, at least we are
never told anyone knew about those mysteries of God.
If you read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, you
will certainly find the "mystery" (or mysteries - plural) of God
that are only revealed when the New Testament age came into
Written June 2008