Discovering the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God
Jesus revealed to His disciples the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God. This topic was at the center of Jesus’ message. Jesus continuously referred to it. He communicated ideas that were mysteries to the Jews. His new ideas that were very different from the accepted Jewish traditions.
And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.’ (Luke_8:10)
This made it difficult even for His disciples to understand and accept what Jesus was teaching.
With Jesus, Moving from the Law to Grace and Truth
Because Jesus’ teaching related to a spiritual kingdom, it was foreign to the Jewish culture whose spirituality focused on obedience to physical and ceremonial laws.
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
This was a major, but essential shift of focus. This new approach was revealing the mysteries hidden under the ceremonies, types and shadows of the Old Testament. The understanding and language of the Old Testament were limited and inadequate to reveal the truth because they were based on physical things and sense knowledge. The Old Covenant was only a shadow of the real thing. A shadow can never fully portray the object producing it.
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4)
The Better Covenant
Jesus came to show us the truth and to establish a “more excellent” covenant based on better promises (Hebrews 8:7)
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33)
Jesus expanded the perception and understanding of the spiritual world far beyond those of the Old Testament. He did this in three ways:
- Explained and demonstrated the nature, life and principles of the Kingdom of God.
- Made it possible for us to enter the Kingdom of God by becoming born-again.
- Baptized us with the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and empower us and to continue His ministry
The Law of Exponential Growth
Jesus explained how our understanding grows. It follows a natural law (Matthew 13:12). When we are new to a topic, we find it difficult to grasp it. However, as we start to know some things, it becomes easier to learn more. It is the law of exponential growth. This law applies also to our natural learning.
This is true also for our understanding of spiritual things and the Kingdom of God.
The Hardness of Heart of the Natural Man
The natural man cannot perceive spiritual things because they must be perceived from the heart and his heart is dull (Matthew 13:14-15).
And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘HEARING YOU WILL HEAR AND SHALL NOT UNDERSTAND, AND SEEING YOU WILL SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE;FOR THE HEARTS OF THIS PEOPLE HAVE GROWN DULL. THEIR EARS ARE HARD OF HEARING, AND THEIR EYES THEY HAVE CLOSED, LEST THEY SHOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, LEST THEY SHOULD UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEARTS AND TURN, SO THAT I SHOULD HEAL THEM.’ (Matthew 12:14-15)
This is normal for the natural man. His heart is dull because it is separated from God and filled by the cares of the world. The only reality perceived comes from sense knowledge. Emotions and thoughts produced by his senses control the behavior of the natural man. He is materialistic. His heart is unaware of and hardened to spiritual things and to the Word of God.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)
Jesus explained this as being the source of the disciples’ focus only on physical things and lack of spiritual understanding.
But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? (Mark 8:17)
Spiritual Truth Is Not a Mystery to Believers
Our spiritual understanding starts when the Holy Spirit opens our eyes. Then, we are born of the Spirit and we enter in and start to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-6). We begin to discern at a new level spiritual things and the spiritual world.
We understand the Word of God in a new way as the Holy Spirit reveals its meaning to us. Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned (1Corinthians 2:14).
But as it is written: “EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
The born-again believers love God and the Holy Spirit reveals to them the things that God has prepared for them. These are things related to the Kingdom of God and their salvation.
Progressive Revelation and Spiritual Growth
Discovering the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God is a progressive revelation that grows in time, frees us from the bondage to sense knowledge and takes our faith to new levels. However, we can hinder and reverse this process of growth by sin and the cares of this world. Then we lose focus on spiritual things and fall back to be sense ruled and a process of hardening of the heart begins.
Fortunately, the Law of Exponential Growth mentioned before slows down somewhat the process of unlearning.
To Increase Your Understanding, Answer These Questions
- How easy it is for you to become aware of God’s presence?
- What do you have to do to come into God’s presence?
- What is your experience about understanding spiritual things?
- What role does your logic play in your spiritual life?
- How do you perceive the position of your heart?
Other posts from this series:
Part 1: Understand and Enter the Kingdom of God
Part 2: How Believers Bring the Kingdom of God on Earth