The Mystery Revealed

I Cornelius, member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) for many years, now converted to the true gospel of Christ.

For the active and former members who are still faithful to the doctrines of the Church, I encourage you use your wisdom, be open-minded, but if you are offended of anything in this article, you can choose to stop reading.

One of the doctrine inside the Church is that the bible is kept in mystery. For many years I believed this teaching but now I have theories this teaching is in the wrong context and there is equivocation to keep membership in the Church.

What are the verses used by the Church to teach the bible is kept in mystery and what other doctrines related to this teaching?

  • The bible is kept in mystery – Rom. 16:25
  • It has been revealed to the messenger – Mark 4:11-12.
  • Non-messenger of God will never come to the true understanding of the bible – 2 Tim. 3:7.
  • Those who will attempt to interpret the bible if they are not messenger of God will be put to destruction – 2 Pet. 3:16

Is the Bible Kept in Mystery?

Romans 16:25, NKJV – 25 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 kept secret since the world began

Read Romans 16:25 carefully the verse says “revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began“. The meaning of “revelation” is to “made known” but even though, the Church may still be correct by saying it is only revealing there is mystery, what is mystery is still a secret since the world began.

I began to learn everything in the bible is part of a topic, or a context. Just like when we are talking to someone there is topic of conversation. The context of the scriptures cannot be always understood by reading one verse only so we will try to read more verses and if necessary we start from verse 1. In this case we just need to continue in verse 26:

Romans 16:26, NKJV – 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—

Let us split verse 26

now made manifest” – The word “manifest” means “clear or obvious to the eye or mind“.
by prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations” – clearly saying by the scriptures itself has been made known to all nations. Notice “all nations”, there is not exclusivity mentioned here contrary to the teaching of the Church only revealed to the messenger of God.

What really is the mystery referring to Romans 16:25-26? Is the bible kept in mystery the way the INC is teaching it?

First we need to know Apostle Paul is the one speaking to Romans. Romans are Gentiles so Apostle Paul was speaking to the Gentiles. Apostle Paul already clarified the mystery to the Gentiles in Collosus:

Colossians 1:26-27, NKJV – 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Here Apostle Paul talks about the mystery that is “now has been revealed to His saints” [believers of Christ are called saints] that the mystery among the Gentiles. Apostle Paul again clarified this to the Ephesians

Ephesians 3:1-6, NKJV – 1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 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: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

Verse 6 clearly answers what is the mystery that is “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel“. Notice also in verse 4 how Apostle Paul encourage the Gentiles to read that is the gospel in order to understand the mystery that he is speaking to.

Why are Gentiles being a fellow heirs of the promise a mystery? The short answer is that the original promise was to the Jews only. The long answer will be covered in the upcoming post titled “The One New Man”.

So why is the mystery revealed to the Messenger in Mark 4:11-12

Is it really revealed to the messenger? NO, let us read from verse 10-12

Mark 4:10-12, NKJV – 10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that

‘Seeing they may see and not perceive,
And hearing they may hear and not understand;
Lest they should turn,
And their sins be forgiven them.’”

To you has been given” – the “you” here are the followers of Jesus spoken of in verse 10 including the 12 Apostles. They recognized that there was a lesson to be learned from the parable [the parable of the sower in previous Mark 4:3-9] and came to Him seeking more truth. They begin to ask Him what the parable means. Jesus then answered in verse 11 “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God …“. So how many the mystery has been given?  Many, not only to the twelve Apostles!

The word “mystery” is not to indicate a secret teaching revealed only to some elite people, but truth revealed to all followers of Christ.

Who will never come to the true understanding in 2 Tim. 3:7?

2 Timothy 3:7, NKJV – 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

If we read 2 Timothy from verse 1, those who always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth are the perilous men. Since we have proven the “mystery” is not the bible, the real context of  “mystery”  is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs of the promise, the use of 2 Timothy 3:7 by the Church is out of context in teaching the “mystery”.

Who will be put to destruction in 2 Pet. 3:16

According to the Church doctrines, those who will attempt to interpret the bible if they are not messenger of God will be put to destruction

2 Peter 3:16, NKJV – 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Well, it is true that some things are hard to understand but the verse is referring to the untaught and unstable people, not us. In fact in verse 18, we are reminded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ“.

2 Peter 3:17-18, NKJV – 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.“.

Therefore in order to grown in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have to read the scriptures just like the Bereans do in Acts 17:11.

Conclusion

The bible is not kept in mystery. The mystery mentioned in Romans 16:25 is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs of the promise.  I have strong feeling there is theory of equivocation in using the word “mystery” by the Church. This is number one in my equivocation list.

-Cornelius