In his letter to the Colossians, Paul wrote that God had revealed to him some secrete or hidden information about God’s purposes and plans for humanity. Paul used the Greek noun mysterion four times in his letter (Col. 1:26, 27; 2:2; 4:3). Mysterion was a familiar word to most everyone in the ancient Greco-Roman culture. Examples of mystery cults include the cult of Artemis, Isis, Cybele, and Dionysus. The mystery cults possessed secrete or hidden knowledge that was available only to the initiates. Both Judaism and particularly Christianity used the Greek noun mysterion to describe the secrete or hidden knowledge about God’s plan, purposes, and wisdom for humanity. The hidden knowledge was made available to men only by God’s revelation (apokalypsis) (Rom. 16:25).
For example, when the Jews translated the Book of Daniel into Greek, the translators used the Greek noun mysterion in some key passages. Many of our readers will recall the story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s frustrating dream that robbed him of sleep and tortured his spirit. All of the King’s soothsayers, priests, conjurers, and sorcerers were summoned before the troubled King. Thereafter, Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to both describe the dream and reveal to him the dream’s interpretation. If the advisors failed, King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to tear their bodies apart and destroy their homes. On the other hand, if they provided an accurate description of the dream and its interpretation, the advisers would be given a reward and great honor.
Naturally, the King’s advisers were very upset. They complained that the King was asking for the impossible. They explained that only the gods (“whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh” (Dan. 2:11)) could provide both a description of the dream and its interpretation. Therefore, King Nebuchadnezzar decreed the death of Babylon’s wise men. Because Daniel and his companions were considered to be some of the King’s wise men, the lives of Daniel and his companions were also in jeopardy. Daniel and his companions prayed that the God of Heaven would reveal the raz (secret, hidden knowledge) to Daniel (Dan.2:18).
The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. It was composed more than 250 to 300 years before Paul wrote Colossians. It is helpful for us to understand how the ancient Hebrew Scholars understood their ancient words in comparison to the common Greek language used in the centuries before and at the time of the First Century. When working on the Septuagint, the Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew word raz into the Greek word mysterion.
The secrete (or mystery) was revealed to Daniel in a night vision, and Daniel blessed the God of Heaven (Dan. 2:19). In praise, Daniel declared that all wisdom and power belong to God (Dan. 2:20) and that God changes the times and periods (Dan. 2:21). He further proclaimed that God both removes kings and appoints kings (Dan. 2:21), and He gives wisdom and knowledge (Dan. 2:21). Daniel proclaimed that God reveals profound and hidden things (Dan. 2:21) and that He knows what is in the darkness. Finally, Daniel declared that the light dwells with God (Dan. 2:22). Then Daniel gave thanks and praise to his God, who had given him wisdom and power (Dan. 2:23). When Daniel approached King Nebuchadnezzar to describe and interpret his dream, Daniel pronounced that “there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets [raz, mysterion]” (Dan. 2:28).
As the reader might recall, the King’s dream was about a succession of earthly kingdoms, to include Babylon, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks, and finally Rome. All of these earthly Kingdoms were going to be succeeded and replaced by the Kingdom of God, which will never be destroyed (Dan. 2:44-45). All of this background information is important to help us understand the message of Paul. During the time of Paul, the Kingdom of God had arrived. As I have explained numerous times, the Kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality and future political reality. In fact, as shown in the Book of Daniel, it is best to describe the Kingdom of God as a present spiritual reality and hidden political reality. Paul explained that Jesus is already ruling in Heaven, and He will continue ruling until all of His enemies are placed firmly under His feet (1 Cor. 15: 25-27).
The Greek word mysterion was also used in the Gospels. As has been previously discussed, Jesus most often taught his audiences using parables. However, He was willing to give His disciples (students) more explanation and understanding. Jesus explained,
To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but for those who are outside, everything comes in parables, so that WHILE SEEING THEY MAY SEE, AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR, AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE, THEY MIGHT RETURN AND IT MIGHT BE FORGIVEN THEM.
(Mark 4:11-12) (See also, Isa. 6:9-10).
Thousands heard Jesus speak, but at the time of His death, he had a core group of only about 120 followers (Acts 1:15). This group included men and women and His twelve apostles. The Greek word mathetes is defined as a “student, pupil, disciple.” The Disciples of Jesus are required to be devoted students (Luke 14:25-30) of the mystery (hidden knowledge and wisdom) of the Kingdom of God (Mark 4:11).
Much of the content of the Mystery was hidden from past generations, but since the First Advent of Christ, this hidden knowledge and wisdom has been made available to believers (Col. 1:26). A key component of the hidden knowledge is that Christ now resides in us, believers (Col. 1:27). The reader might recall that the Greek preposition en means “in, by, and with.” Our new spiritual life is all based on the fact that God now resides in us believers. Every believer now enjoys the permanent indwelling of God, the Holy Spirit. However, such believers may or may not function in fellowship with God, Holy Spirit. If the believer sins, he or she will lose fellowship with God. However, to regain our fellowship, we need only acknowledge any sin to God, and we will be immediately restored to fellowship with God (1 John 1:9). Our new way of being is a life lived in fellowship with God.
 “G3101 – mathētēs – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 20 Feb, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g3101/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.
 “G1722 – en – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 20 Feb, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1722/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.