The first post in this series about mysteries in the Bible is called Mysteries.
The words “mystery”, “mysteries”, and “mysterious” appear thirty-eight times in my NASB Bible. Ten of these are in the Old Testament.
Job 12:22 says that God reveals mysteries. Ecclesiastes 7:24 is part of a discourse on the difficulty of figuring out wisdom. From these we learn that a mystery needs to be revealed.
The other eight Old Testament locations are all in the book of Daniel. The Hebrew word is a transliteration of an Aramaic word “raz”. It simply means a secret. The most prevalent use is seven times in Daniel 2.
The Daniel 2:18-30 passage tells the story of how King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and demanded that the astrologers interpret it … but first, they had to tell what the dream was. Naturally, the “wise men” couldn’t tell the king the dream (because they weren’t really wise, just astrologers).
In Daniel 2:18, Daniel asks his friends to pray that God would reveal the mystery, so their lives would be spared from the king’s wrath.
In verse nineteen, Daniel is given a vision of both the king’s dream and its meaning. He writes and shares a poem in the next few verses praising God for this wisdom. Specifically, he thanks God as the one who gives wisdom and “reveals the profound and hidden things”. The king hid the dream, but God revealed it.
So, a mystery is something secret or hidden. In Daniel’s audience with the king (Daniel 2:27-30), the king asks him if Daniel can tell him the dream and its interpretation. In his response, Daniel calls the king’s dream a mystery, and says he serves a God who reveals mysteries.
When the dream is revealed and the interpretation given, the king honors Daniel and the God Daniel serves.
So, a mystery is something hidden. And, in this case, it is revealed as well.
The Daniel 4:9 use of the word is similar. That is where the king has another dream of a tree getting chopped down, but staying alive. Daniel interprets this mystery as well as a prophecy that the king would go mad for a time due to pride, and when healed, the king would agree that God … Is GOD!
The next post in this series is: