“To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest they are told in parables, so that while seeing they may not see, and while hearing they may not understand.”-Luke 8:10
Before you let the word mystery scare you off I promise you this isn’t a ruminative guide to finding some clandestine tenets hidden in scripture. We won’t be practicing any remote viewing techniques seeking Cleopatra’s Tomb or anything overly dramatic. There’s no magical aspect of the methods of meditation to come that takes one away from Christ.
Meditation isn’t a gateway into esoteric spiritualism or eastern occultism. In fact, anyone who’s spent a minute or two reviewing the tremendous amount of benefits scientists attribute to meditative practice can attest to its validity as a discipline. It’s getting westerners past their fear of mindfulness practices being akin to eastern mysticism or witchcraft that usually keeps a few people away. If that’s a fear of yours you can rest easy knowing your safe.
Meditation is a truly life changing but the vast majority of its practice literally gets us to relax and observe our thoughts and feelings without getting wrapped up in the drama of them. People who create a habit of meditating daily tend to become more tranquil and adapt to changes faster than others who don’t. None of these changes come quickly or have anything to do with hoodoo.
Granted, there are elements of the esoteric in Yeshua’s teaching but they’re hardly the fanciful workings of an eccentric new age guru. The type of mysticism prevalent in the Middle East has always focused on the Wisdom of God and understanding how we can draw closer to Him. The reason they call them mystery teachings is because they’re beyond rationale and fly in the face of everything we think of intellectually.
So, when Yeshua approaches us and urges us to put God’s Kingdom first and do what we’re called to do He’s essentially making a call to action. There’s this memorable code of ethics that can immediately applied to our lives shared throughout the gospels. Yeshua takes it a step further and starts telling us his Fathers palace has many rooms. Without an understanding of mysticism we wouldn’t have the keys to link the ethics Christ taught and our inner rooms together. However, the Rabbis of the Wisdom tradition in the second temple era would’ve heard of the mansion with many rooms and would have instantly been drawn in. They would have understood how looking within ties to our outward attitudes. Think of Nicodemus, a Pharisee all to aware of the oral tradition, who went to see what Christ was teaching in secret because the Kingdom meant that much to him. Deep spiritual seekers are always attracted to a teacher describing how we can realize the Kingdom of God right here and now.
The only thing that separates us from igniting a fire for God within us is our ignorance of the Wisdom within. Merkavah mysticism, or chariot wisdom, would’ve been all over the synagogues back then. Living a reserved and disciplined life obedient to the law also granted priests seeking God access to knowledge on how to internally build Palaces. The word for prophet is ‘Navi'(נביא), and it’s derived from ‘nabû’ meaning ‘declare.’ Prophets declared from an internalized God. Merkhavah is the system passed down from said Prophets that allows servants of God to speak from the place of divine within themselves. They would ask to receive Wisdom in the same way Solomon did and would receive the indwelling of the Ruach HakoDesh, or Holy Spirit. It’s through this development of relationship with God within that they would eventually enter the throne room.
Ascending Jacobs ladder would’ve resonated with all of the Second Temple Rabbis in this inner/outer way. There were serious debates over how to follow the law because all the cool kids knew our soul could tag along with the Holy Spirit and ride that chariot but that didn’t mean they agreed on how. Hekhalot- palace mysticism was hot stuff to the Jews of Christ’s era.
Maybe that’s what this one child from Qumran stayed back from his family to discuss with the scribes.
Now how does one build one of those neat chariots we hear about in Ezekiel’s visions? If you said meditation then congratulate yourself for getting ahead of the curve. W hile it’s almost unheard of in Christian circles meditation has incredibly deep roots in Judaism. Hitbodedut meaning “to meditate” comes from the root word badad which means “to be secluded.” Google how many times King David used the term in his Psalms. By the time God manifested in the mix of his people dudes like Hillel- one of the figures the boy Yeshua was sharing wisdom with in the temple- but anyways. Hillel knew the Mishnah. Talmud, Law, astrological calculations, letter permutations and gematria of those prophets of olde who’d passed on their wisdom orally from teacher to pupil for hundreds and hundreds of years.
What I’m saying is some of these guys did have ears to hear and Yeshua definitely caught their attention. When the best and brightest have the knowledge of how one makes contact with God via chariots of light you’d almost have to stop and marvel at this Palestinians doctrine. Yeshua made statements like “I am the light of the world” to a bunch of rabbinical scholars that had been using light as a source of meditation for centuries. He was teaching the deepest and most spiritually intimate understanding of the law. Moreover, He did so on his own authority and with a much needed approach that some of them had never heard before. He made it simple to grasp and asked that we come to Him like children.
After all, it takes child like awe and trust to enter into the mysteries of the Kingdom.
[Mystery] is mustērion (μῠστήρῐον) in Greek- sacred secret, mystery, or matters of science that require teaching. From mústēs (μῠ́στης)- one who has been initiated.
The Kingdom of God isn’t some esoteric mystery that’s beyond our ability to seek. If it were an ultra secretive concept like those in old alchemical texts I doubt the phrase would have appeared 162 times in the New Testament. What isn’t spelled out clearly for us is what the Kingdom is or how it operates. That’s where it becomes a matter of science that requires teaching. We have to be shown the methods that reveal the Kingdom to us.
What does a student/teacher bond represent to us? What is implied? For a student to be taught suggests the student has a desire to learn. As Solomon would say, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Especially when we start heading in His direction, ya feel me? We see the student being provided the guidance needed to succeed.
Think of why the disciples were granted to know. It’s not because they were better than everyone else or had some sort of special abilities. No. Everyone in that crew was rough cut and rumble ready to chop off ears and fight if they had to. Men of action don’t tend to be passive. Factor that in with the astronomical amount of women who were active as equals in those early years with Yeshua and it’s obvious we’re not talking about a secret society of chosen elites here, What each of these disciples had done to receive the gift of the Kingdom was simple. They chose to seek the sacred secrets over everything else leaving everything else behind. Then they asked for the keys. Ask and you what? The doors of the kingdom were opened up for them because, not only did they want to know, they were willing to follow instruction giving up every other passion they had and live like Christ instructed them to. That is why they were able to receive. Anyone who willingly puts in the work of keeping God first and goes in search of wisdom will be granted to know the mysteries.
[To know] Ginōskō (γινώσκω) – the kind of knowledge involved in building an intimate relationship with a person or personality, it’s experiential knowledge.
A revelation like the mystery of the Kingdom can’t just be given to someone who isn’t willing to receive it. So Yeshua followed a pattern common during the second temple era and used parables. The people were used to Rabbi’s contrasting codes of conduct with agriculture or home life. By layering several levels of understanding into short stories the decision to dive deeper was left up to the person. They could continue to think and reflect on the story seeking the hidden wisdom or simply take it at face value. The same is true of us today. We can accept the general dogma that’s became theology or we can sit down with scripture and ask God that wisdom be revealed to us. Those keys to the Kingdom are still there in the parables waiting to be revealed.