Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

March 25, 1897

The Mystery of God

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 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.” “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil 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; whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

What is this mystery of which Paul writes to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, saying that it was given to him to fulfil the word of God, the mystery “which hath been hid from ages and from generations?” One translation reads, “which hath been kept in silence through eternal ages.”

Many have endeavored to define the mystery which Paul here mentions. But it embraces much, and our ideas in regard to the love, the goodness, and the compassion of God are strangely limited. Because our knowledge of spiritual things has become so dwarfed and enfeebled, we have not advanced from light to greater light. The Lord has not been able to open to our understanding many precious things. In view of the losses which we have sustained by our earthliness and commonness, we have much to make us humble.

God had a knowledge of the events of the future, even before the creation of the world. He did not make his purposes to fit circumstances, but he allowed matters to develop and work out. He did not work to bring about a certain condition of things, but he knew that such a condition would exist. The plan that should be carried out upon the defection of any of the high intelligences of heaven,—this is the secret, the mystery which has been hid from ages. And an offering was prepared in the eternal purposes to do the very work which God has done for fallen humanity.

Paul was taken up into the third heaven, and there he saw and heard things which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Mysteries which had been hidden for ages were revealed to him, and as much as he could bear of the workings of God, and of his dealings with human minds, was made known. The Lord told Paul that he must preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Light was to be given to the Gentiles. This is a mystery which had been hidden for ages.

The Jews had grown into a belief that everything pertaining to the Gentiles was cursed and unclean. Prejudice had built up the wall of nationality and religious seclusion. But God himself instructed Paul that his work was to present Christ to the Gentiles. The great work of redemption was to be brought before all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. Because of their disobedience, the Jews were broken off from the olive tree, and those among the Gentiles who would accept Christ as their Saviour were to be grafted into the good olive tree, and made one with the original branches. But in no case are they to boast because of this, lest they be broken off as were the natural branches.

The Gentiles knew nothing of circumcision, but they were to be brought under the covenant of grace given to Abraham. The Lord talked with Paul, and told him that the blessings given to the Jewish nation were given equally to the Gentiles. And Paul writes to them: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world; but now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

The incarnation of Christ is a mystery. The union of divinity with humanity is a mystery indeed, hidden with God, “even the mystery which hath been hid from ages.” It was kept in eternal silence by Jehovah, and was first revealed in Eden, by the prophecy that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, and that he should bruise his heel. To present to the world this mystery that God kept in silence for eternal ages before the world was created, before man was created, was the part that Christ was to act in the work he entered upon when he came to this earth. And this wonderful mystery, the incarnation of Christ and the atonement that he made, must be declared to every son and daughter of Adam, whether Jew or Gentile. His sufferings perfectly fulfilled the claims of the law of God. None of the apostles could have filled the deficiency, had there been any.

God has given us warnings that must be heeded if we would escape the perils of the last days. Temptations, fierce and strong, will try us. The enemy will strive to take from us the hope of eternal life. If we are not growing up into Christ, our living head, we are growing in distrust and unbelief, and are giving our allegiance to the world.

Since the promise given in Eden, God has revealed his mysteries through his prophets. According to the command of the eternal God, they have been made known to all nations. God, being rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, quickens us together with Christ, and raised us up to sit together in heavenly places in him, “that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

But many mysteries yet remain unrevealed. How much that is acknowledged to be truth is mysterious and unexplainable to the human mind! How dark seem the dispensations of Providence! What necessity there is for implicit faith and trust in God's moral government! We are ready to say with Paul, “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

We are not now sufficiently advanced in spiritual attainments to comprehend the mysteries of God. But when we shall compose the family of heaven, these mysteries will be unfolded before us. Of the members of that family John writes: “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”

Then much will be revealed in explanation of matters upon which God now keeps silence because we have not gathered up and appreciated that which has been made known of the eternal mysteries. The ways of Providence will be made clear; the mysteries of grace through Christ will be unfolded. That which the mind can not now grasp, which is hard to be understood, will be explained. We shall see order in that which has seemed unexplainable; wisdom in everything withheld; goodness and gracious mercy in everything imparted. Truth will be unfolded to the mind free from obscurity, in a single line, and its brightness will be endurable. The heart will be made to sing for joy. Controversies will be forever ended, and all difficulties will be solved.

Mrs. E. G. White

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