In recent weeks I’ve read a lot of offers to inform me of God’s mysterious will for next year – for a fee – from people young and old, male and female, some of whom I’d heard of before, others not.
Most of these folks are self-proclaimed prophets, some with unknown track records, some with quite questionable track records.
A few of these offers come with glowing testimonials that all their previous prophecies have come true. We’re supposed to take their word for that, of course.
I’m not taking any of these folks up on their offers.
Now, I do believe there are legitimate prophets in the world today. However, none of them are offering to sell me their revelations about next year. If they believe God is asking them to tell the world a specific message, perhaps a warning, perhaps an urgent request to intercede, they just go ahead and do it, free of charge. Those I actually pay attention to.
And I do read articles by authors I trust who teach and expound on end-time scriptures. They are giving their interpretation of scriptures and never claim to be prophets with esoteric knowledge.
If you know me, you know I love spy novels, dramas and murder mysteries.* Science fiction, historical adventures, crime novels or contemporary espionage – as long as the plot is complex enough so that you can’t figure it out too soon, it appeals to me. A touch of humor never hurts, either.
Apparently God loves mysteries too. Secret things. Hidden treasures. And he is quite willing to reveal his mysteries to those he loves and who love him. “He revealeth the deep and secret things;” “There is a God in heaven who revealeth secrets.” Daniel 2:22, 28
Jesus carefully planted clues to the best mystery of all time, the whole reason he took on human flesh – to enable us to have a direct connection to God, by way of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Want to know one of God’s secrets for 2015 (or today, or next week)? You don’t need to go out a buy a prophecy. Just ask him.
Since the coming of the Holy Spirit, God will reveal his mysteries to any believer who wants to know, not just to a hand-picked few (as he had to do before that). See John chapters 14-16, especially 16:13: “He will show you things to come.”
He doesn’t want us to remain ignorant about those things. The reason he walked the roads and towns, talking to curious listeners, collecting followers as he went, has been explained by the Holy Spirit and recorded in the scriptures.
Revealing why he took the time to teach and train them, why he chose twelve of them to be apostles, Jesus told the disciples what was really going on. God’s mysteries were going to be unveiled to those who not only listened, not only followed, but believed what he was telling them.
Sometimes Jesus taught the principles of God’s kingdom in parables to the crowd, then explained the meaning privately to the disciples. They asked him one day why he was doing that. “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Matt. 13:11
“All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Matt. 13:34-35 (Quoting Ps. 78:2.)
“And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” Luke 8:10
Jesus wanted the disciples to understand God’s plan. But if the Pharisees understood what he was really saying, they would have tried to stop that plan much earlier than the Lord wanted. “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” I Cor. 2:8
Jesus had a timetable to keep. He didn’t want any monkey-wrenches thrown by the enemy. And so he carefully crafted clues to God’s mysteries, knowing that once the Holy Spirit came, the disciples would get it. And that is exactly what happened.
The Apostle Paul explained it in his letter to the Colossians, and described the various aspects of God’s mysteries in several other epistles:
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; 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.” Col. 1:25-27
“Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” I Cor. 4:1
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” I Cor. 13:2
“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.” I Cor. 14:2
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” Rom. 11:25
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and 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, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” Rom. 16:25-26
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” I Cor. 2:7-10
“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” Eph. 1:9-10
“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye 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 fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” Eph. 3:3-6
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” Eph. 3:9-10
“And (pray) for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.” Eph. 6:19
Paul prayed for believers he had not yet met, which certainly includes those living today: “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col 2:2-3
That’s my prayer for myself, my family and friends, and for the entire church these days.