THIS MYSTERY IS GREAT: to
musterion touto mega estin, (3SPAI):
6:19; Col 2:2; 1Ti 3:8,16)
This mystery is
great - As a wife is to her husband, so the church is to Christ.
Marriage is a reflection of the magnificent mystery of union between
Christ and His church, completely unknown until the New Testament.
The sacredness of the church is wed
to the sacredness of marriage; so by your marriage, you are either a
symbol or a denial of Christ and His church. (MacArthur, J. The
Fulfilled Family. Chicago: Moody Press)
And, with that as his clue, he
unfolds the meaning of marriage: itís a symbol of Christís love for the
church represented in the husbandís loving headship toward his wife; and
itís a symbol of the churchís glad submission to Christ represented in
the wifeís relation to her husband.
He calls Ge 2:24 a ďmysteryĒ
because God did not reveal clearly all his purposes for the marriage of
male and female in Genesis. There were hints and pointers in the Old
Testament that marriage was like the relation of God and his people. But
only when Christ came did the mystery of marriage get spelled out in
detail. It is meant to be a portrait of Christís covenant with his
people, his commitment to the church. (Male
and Female He Created Them in the Image of God
So marriage is like a metaphor or an
image or a picture or parable that stands for something more than a man
and a woman becoming one flesh. It stands for the relationship between
Christ and the church. Thatís the deepest meaning of marriage. Itís
meant to be a living drama of how Christ and the church relate to each
Who Love Like Christ and the Wives Who Submit to Them
Unity, mark you, for that is the
essence of the marriage-bond. We are one with Christ, who made himself
one with his people.
The relationship that exists between
a husband and his wife is the same as the one that exists between Christ
and His church. The church has as close a tie to Christ spiritually as a
wife has to her husband spiritually.
has an interesting comment writing that...
This is true in regard to the pattern
of the first man and the first woman. ďWoman was made at the beginning
as the result of an operation which God performed upon man. How does the
church come into being? As the result of an operation which God
performed on the Second Man, His only begotten, beloved Son on Calvaryís
hill. A deep sleep fell upon Adam. A deep sleep fell upon the Son of
God, He gave up the ghost, He expired, and there in that operation the
church was taken out. As the woman was taken out of Adam, so the church
is taken out of Christ. The woman was taken out of the side of Adam; and
it is from the Lordís bleeding, wounded side that the church comes.
One spirit with the Lord:
Jesus, the glorified,
Esteems the church for which He bled,
His body and His bride.
óMary Bowley Peters
from mustes = one initiated [as into the
Greco-Roman religious "mystery" cults] from mueo = to close or
word study on
musterion) as used in classical
Greek conveyed the idea of silence in the rites of the "mystery"
religions so common in the Greco-Roman Empire. Musterion referred
to religious secrets which were confided only to the initiated. Thus in
Paul's day, musterion embrace ideas such as "a secret rite," "secret
teaching," and "a divine mystery which is beyond human comprehension."
The "mystery-religions" had their secrets and signs as modern secret
societies have today. Those initiated into these pagan cults, knew these
in Scripture takes on a completely different meaning and does not refer
to truths know only to a select, initiated few but in contrast was is a
previously hidden purpose of God which when uncovered is understood by
the Spirit-taught believer. In other words musterion signifies those
truths which are part of God's plan and can only be understood as He
reveals them by His Spirit through His Word. Musterion is
truth which without special revelation would have been unknown and thus
is commonly used with words denoting revelation or knowledge (e.g., "to
know the mysteries", (Mt 13:11), "revelation of the mystery", (Ro
or "made known...the mystery", Eph 3:3-note)
counsels of God remain hidden from the ungodly (to them they are a true
"mystery" as the word is commonly used in English) but when these truths
are revealed to the godly, they are understood by them. The mystery
is not in the fact that the truths are difficult to interpret, but that
they are impossible to interpret until their meaning is revealed at
which time the truth becomes plain.
the Scripture fall into two categories. Some have already been
revealed, and among these are the incarnation of Christ and the
salvation of sinners. Others are yet to be seen, such as the general
resurrection, the coming Antichrist, and the evil of the last day. It is
comforting to realize that all the mysteries which bear on our salvation
are already revealed to readers of Scripture.
defines musterion as that
which was kept hidden from the world
until revealed at the appointed time, and which is a secret to ordinary
eyes, but is made known by divine revelation." (Vincent, M. R. Word
studies in the New Testament. Vol. 4, Page 234-235).
There are 28 uses of musterion in the NT - Mt 13:11; Mk. 4:11; Lk
8:10; Ro 11:25; 16:25; 1Co. 2:1, 7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; Ep 1:9; 3:3,
4, 9; 5:32; 6:19; Col. 1:26, 27; 2:2; 4:3; 2Th 2:7; 1Ti 3:9, 16; Rev.
1:20; 10:7; 17:5, 7
F B Meyer writes in his devotional commentary on Ephesians...
Here is a mystery indeed. That scene in Eden is also a parable. It was
not good for Christ to be alone. He needed one to love and to give love.
But there was none among unfallen angels that could answer to Him. And
therefore God the Father sought a bride for his Son from among the
children of men; yea, He took the Second Eve from the wounded side of
the Second Man, as He lay asleep in the garden-grave.
Redeemed men compose that bride. The Saviour loves them, as a true man
who for the first time loves a pure and noble woman. He does not love
them because they are fair, but to make them so. He has approved his
love by becoming man, and giving Himself to death. By his blood, and
Word, and Spirit, He is sanctifying and purifying them for Himself. The
process is long and severe; but He nourishes and cherishes them, as a
man does his wounded flesh. And ere long, when the bride is complete in
numbers and in beauty, the mystery that now veils her shall be flung
aside, and amid the joy of creation, He will present her to Himself,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; bearing his name, sharing his
rank, and position, and wealth, and power, and glory, for ever and ever.
Then the Church shall cleave to Him for ever, and He shall cleave to
her. And they twain shall be one spirit. And his own prayer shall be
realized, offered on the eve of his agony and passion, "The glory which
Thou hast given Me, I have given unto them; that they may be one, even
as We are one." (F. B. Meyer. Ephesians - A Devotional Commentary)
BUT I AM
SPEAKING WITH REFERENCE TO CHRIST AND THE CHURCH: ego de lego (1SPAI)
eis Christon kai eis ten ekklesian:
(Ps 45:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,
17; Song 1:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; Is 54:5; 62:4,5; Jn 3:29; 2Co 11:2;
Re 19:7,8; 21:2)
I am speaking
with reference to Christ and the Church - John MacArthur asks...
Why is submission as well as
sacrificial, purifying, and caring love so strongly emphasized in
Scripture? Because the sacredness of the church is wed to the sacredness
of marriage. Your marriage is either a symbol or a denial of Christ and
His church. (MacArthur, J. Different by Design)
(Christos from chrio = to anoint, rub with oil, consecrate
to an office) is the Anointed One, the Messiah, Christos being
the Greek equivalent of the transliterated Hebrew word Messiah.
(ekklesia from ekkalťo = call out in turn from ek =
out + kaleo = call) literally "called-out ones". The Greeks used
ekklesia for assembly of citizens called out to transact city
business. The church is a living organism, composed of living members
joined together; through which Christ works, carries out His purposes
and He lives.
Everyone who has
been saved belongs to the body of Christ, the universal church. The
universal church is manifested in the world by individual local
churches, each of which is to be a microcosm of the body of Christ. The
church is to function under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, operating
under His sovereign rule. Jesus Christ is the Founder and Lord of His
church and has guaranteed its perpetuity until He returns.
John Piper writes that...
In other words, the covenant involved in leaving mother and father and
holding fast to a spouse and becoming one flesh is a portrayal of the
covenant between Christ and his church. Marriage exists most ultimately
to display the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. (Marriage:
Godís Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace