the secret revealed

I received a question from a reader of my previous blog: the ecclesia in Psalms 8 and 110, which perhaps more people have. I have been asked this question many times and that is why I think it would be good to go into it a little deeper.

In the relevant blog I explain that in Psalms 8 and 110 the ecclesia, the body of Christ, is already hidden and that those Psalms speak of the body of Christ in a hidden way. But how is that possible when Paul says that the ecclesia was a secret that was not made known (Eph.3:5) and that was hidden for aeons and generations (Col.1:26) until Paul was allowed to reveal it? The questioner says:

If it is a mystery according to Paul, how can you read that it is in the psalms?

The word translated as secret or hidden in most translations is the Greek musterion. If we look at the word structure, this word is made up of the elements CLOSE+SAVE. So a secret is something that is there, but it is hidden and therefore remains secret. There is a covering over it.

The counterpart of musterion is apokalupsis. This word is translated as reveal. Here too the word structure is significant, the word is composed of the elements FROM+COVERING. To reveal something is to take off the covering. Like a statue being unveiled. It is there, but it is hidden and only becomes visible when it is revealed.

made known to Paul
Paul therefore points out that the secret has been made known to him through revelation (Eph.3:3). He was the one who was given the grace to evangelize this among the nations and he calls his message: the unsearchable riches of the Christ (Eph.3:8). Because Paul makes this mystery known, God enlightens us and God’s light reveals things that had remained hidden until then (Eph.1:17-18; 3:8).

Paul takes away the cover of what we know as “the Old Testament” and shows that what he is proclaiming is already hidden in the Hebrew scriptures.
For example, in Eph. 1:20 he shows that Psalm 110 speaks in a hidden way about the ecclesia, the body of Christ. And Eph.1:22 is a reference to Psalm 8:7.

But also in Eph.4:8 where Paul quotes Ps.68:19. In the foregoing (Eph.4:7) Paul says that God has given gifts to each of us within the body of Christ and he refers to Ps.68:19 and explains that this is already spoken of in a secret way about these gifts that would be given to the ecclesia. This could not have been known at the time, but now that Paul has taken off the covering, this is revealed.

a big secret
In Ephesians 5, Paul even speaks of a great mystery and takes us all the way to the beginning of Biblical history. He speaks there about the unity of man and woman within marriage. They are one flesh (Eph.5:31).

He explains that the deep sleep that God brought upon Adam and took Eve out of his body is a representation of Christ, the last Adam and His body. They are one. As Eve was part of Adam, so we are members of His body (Eph.5:30). And that was hidden all along in the history we find in Genesis 3!

Ephesians 5
32 This mystery is great, but I say it with a view to Christ and the ecclesia.

Deze blog in het Nederlands lezen (read this blog in Dutch).