Now Made Manifest
The Bible speaks of the “mysteries” of God, His ways that are hidden from this world’s “wisdom” and defy human expectations. In his teachings, Jesus declared that not everyone can understand the “mysteries of the kingdom.” It is God who reveals the deep and obscure things to whomever He pleases, and in His Son, He has done so for all the world to see. In the death and resurrection of the Nazarene, God has disclosed His true nature and the salvation that He now offers to all men and women.
|[Photo by Samuel McGarrigle on Unsplash]|
According to the New Testament, God did not disclose a complete understanding of His redemptive plans until the appropriate time. Indeed, the disclosure of His previously hidden ways marked the arrival of the era of fulfillment, the “fullness of time”:
- “Now, to him who has the power to establish you according to my gospel, even the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, in age-past times kept silent, BUT NOW MADE MANIFEST” - (Romans 16:25-27).
- “But WHEN THE FULLNESS OF THE TIME CAME, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” – (Galatians 4:4).
God certainly revealed truth in the elaborate rituals and sacrifices of the Levitical system and in the “Law and the prophets.” But His earlier word was partial, promissory, and preparatory. The substance of the Gospel was foreshadowed in the words and images of the former covenant and the history of Israel. As the author of the Letter to the Hebrews puts it:
- “In many parts and many ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets, but upon the last of these days, He has spoken in a Son…” – (Hebrews 1:1-2).
But the prophets did prophesy of the coming salvation that would be revealed in the Messiah, though they did not comprehend the ramifications of that promise. For that matter, even angels lacked full insight into the mysteries of redemption:
- (1 Peter 1:10-12) – “Concerning which salvation prophets, who concerning the grace for you did prophesy, sought out and searched out,WHICH THINGS HAVE NOW BEEN ANNOUNCED TO YOU… into which things angels are coveting to obtain a nearer viewsearching into what particular or what manner of season the Spirit of Christ which was in them was pointing to when witnessing beforehand as to the sufferings for Christ and the glories after these, to whom it was revealed that, not to themselves but to us they were ministering them, .”
The “mystery” that was concealed previously has been revealed fully in Jesus of Nazareth, at the appointed season, and above all, in his death and resurrection. The “Law and the Prophets” were vital parts of God’s redemptive purpose, but in them, many “mysteries” remained hidden.
The Mosaic Law was an interim stage in Salvation History. But now, “upon the last of these days,” His plans have been disclosed in His Son:
- ”In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, DISCLOSING TO US THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL, according to his good -pleasure which he purposed in him” - (Ephesians 1:7-9).
Paul and the Apostles were appointed Christ’s ministers who were sent to reveal the “mystery that has been hidden for ages and generations, but now has been manifested to his saints.” This disclosure is the “riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”- (Colossians 1:26-27).
With his coming, the rituals and regulations of the Mosaic legislation have been relegated to the status of “SHADOWS AND TYPES,” and Jesus is the one who cast those “shadows,” the Son and Messiah who was prefigured by the “types” in the Hebrew Bible:
- “Let no one, therefore, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths, which are A SHADOW OF THE COMING THINGS, and the body is of the Christ” – (Colossians 2:16-17).
If followers of Jesus now return to the outmoded rituals and partial truths of the old system, they engage in regression, not revelation, a reversion to bondage under the “elemental things” of an old and now outmoded system. The promise of a coming New Covenant meant the old one was deficient, and its inauguration by the Messiah demonstrated that the former covenant is now obsolete - (Galatians 4:8-11, Hebrews 8:13).
Neither is there any need to turn to mystical practices such as the observation of astronomical signs and lunar cycles for deeper insight into divine “mysteries.” In “these Last Days,” God’s nature and “mysteries” are revealed, and fully so, in His Son. They are available to anyone who hears and heeds the Word that He now “speaks in His Son.”
The hidden “mystery” that the prophets and angels desired to understand is unveiled to all men and women of faith. What is required is not secret knowledge or mystical insight, but the “obedience of faith.” The mystery “not made known in other generations has now been revealed” in Jesus, the “word made flesh,” for all to see.
Moses gave the Law, but “grace and truth came to be in Jesus.” In him, the knowledge of the Father is unveiled. No one has seen God at any time except the only-born Son, who alone is qualified to “interpret” the Father. The fullness of Yahweh, the Creator of all things, is found today only in the “face of Jesus Christ,” period.