“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is 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.”
The Mystery. The Mystery. Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and generations, which is now made manifest to the saints.
What do you know of this mystery?
We read of mysteries in several places in the New Testament. Several verses speak of “the mystery”, and a mystery is something which is hidden, something which is hard to be understood, hard to comprehend, something wonderful, something glorious, something that must be revealed and made known. A mystery.
Here in Colossians 1 we read of that mystery which was hid from ages and from generations. Despite all the prophets, despite the scriptures, despite all those wise men who had looked into the scriptures over hundreds and thousands of years, we read nevertheless, that the mystery had been hid from ages, and from generations.
Essentially, the world was in darkness. Yes, light had been shone in. Yes, God had dealings with man from time to time in sundry places. He had spoken through the prophets. Yes, He had given the scriptures.
But despite this, who saw?
Who understood the mystery?
“The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
The world remained in darkness. This mystery was hid. Hid from ages and from generations. It was hid.
Do you know what something is like when it is hid?
You can spend a lot of time looking, you can look here and you can look there, but when something is hid it is not easily found. It is not easy to find that which is hidden. You may never find that which is hidden. You may look all you like and never find it. It is hid.
A bit like, as we read of in Matthew 13, that treasure which was hid in the field. Jesus spoke a parable there of the kingdom of God being likened unto treasure hid in a field. And he who found it rejoiced, and sold all that he had to buy the field to have the treasure. To most that treasure was hid.
Likewise, to the majority that treasure, and that mystery, which Paul speaks of here in Colossians, has been hid – hid from ages and from generations. And yet God did show it unto a few. There were those who, before the time at which Paul spake, had seen, in measure. There were those to whom God revealed something of this mystery spoken of here, but it was revealed but in measure. It was seen in but type and in figure, in shadows, in prophecies. There were those who did see, but they saw but faintly. There were those to whom God gave faith, and with that faith they looked ahead, they looked to the promises, they looked to the coming and the fulfillment of those promises. They looked for the coming of the Messiah who was promised to them. But their understanding of who He was and what He do was but in measure. And they died in faith, not having received the promises, but embracing them, as Hebrews 11 tell us.
There were promises that were yet to be fulfilled. But until the fulfillment the mystery was hid, and was never fully known. Yet God did have a people throughout these ages, a people like Job, whose eyes were opened to see. They were opened just enough that they could see what God had promised. That they could look down through the ages and through the generations to Him who would come. And Job was able to cry out that he knew that his “Redeemer liveth”. Though he lived thousands of years before the coming of Christ, God gave him that faith to look down through the ages by faith, to that One who would come, to that One who would die in his place, to that One who would be his Redeemer.
Yet these things were hid for so long a time. For ages and for generations. Thousands of years. From millions of people. The great, the wise, the strong, the mighty. Those who were full of knowledge. Those who were learned, who had looked into these things. And yet this mystery was hid from them. It was hid from the ages and from the generations. And it was only made known, and it is only made known, if God should choose to open the eyes to see, and God should choose to take this mystery which was hid, and make it known and reveal it.
Try all you will. Search all you will. Live for thousands of years and look into these things. Except God reveal, then this mystery will remain hid from you too. It will remain in darkness, it will remain darkness to you, until such a time as God should say, “Let there be light”.
By Ian Potts