June 10, 2007
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM
“The disciples came, and said unto him, Why do You speak unto them (the multitude) in parables? He answered... Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Mt. 13:10:13). This situation paralleled the prophecy of Isaiah who had warned Israel 700 years earlier of the consequences of rejecting his message. In Matthew 13 it is evident that the multitude had rejected the Lord and their leaders had just planned to kill Him. (See Mt. 12:14).
Thus the Lord revealed only to His disciples His secrets of the kingdom, how it would be delayed because of Israel’s unbelief. We see that these mysteries are couched in parables, to hide them, and are to be understood only by the Lord’s own followers.
This situation parallels that of the Greeks whose secrets of their various groups were revealed only to the inner circle upon their initiation. These initiated, who knew the secrets (mysteries), were thus said to be complete, or perfect. Understanding their mysteries was essential to their maturity.
Paul wrote, “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me toward you: how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be joint-heirs, and of the joint-body, and joint-partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel. whereof I was made a minister, ac-cording to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power...that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;.and to make all men see ... the administra-tion of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God...” (Eph. 3:1-9). Just as the Lord revealed His secrets only to the disciples, so Paul labored to “make all men see,” not all men of the world, but only to believers, members of the Church which is His body.
Ivan L. Burgener