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Paul's Great Mystery


Joseph Antley

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In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul discourses them on the responsibilities of husbands and wives, and uses this as a metaphore of Christ and the Church. He quotes Genesis, saying "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." (Ephesians 5:31)

But then right after quoting this says, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (5:32)

What is the great mystery? He appears to be saying that the "two shall be one flesh" is the great mystery -- and then decides to change the subject back to Christ and the Church.

To LDS, was Paul aware of the doctrine of eternal marriage? What is the significance of Paul calling this a "great mystery"?

To non-LDS Christians, what do you think about this great mystery? What is the significance of the "two shall be one flesh", and what about it do you think did Paul find so mysterious?

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In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul discourses them on the responsibilities of husbands and wives, and uses this as a metaphore of Christ and the Church. He quotes Genesis, saying "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." (Ephesians 5:31)

But then right after quoting this says, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (5:32)

What is the great mystery? He appears to be saying that the "two shall be one flesh" is the great mystery -- and then decides to change the subject back to Christ and the Church.

To LDS, was Paul aware of the doctrine of eternal marriage? What is the significance of Paul calling this a "great mystery"?

To non-LDS Christians, what do you think about this great mystery? What is the significance of the "two shall be one flesh", and what about it do you think did Paul find so mysterious?

It's a mystery, if I told you it wouldn't be fun anymore :P

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In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul discourses them on the responsibilities of husbands and wives, and uses this as a metaphore of Christ and the Church. He quotes Genesis, saying "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." (Ephesians 5:31)

But then right after quoting this says, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (5:32)

What is the great mystery? He appears to be saying that the "two shall be one flesh" is the great mystery -- and then decides to change the subject back to Christ and the Church.

To LDS, was Paul aware of the doctrine of eternal marriage? What is the significance of Paul calling this a "great mystery"?

To non-LDS Christians, what do you think about this great mystery? What is the significance of the "two shall be one flesh", and what about it do you think did Paul find so mysterious?

I beleive this ties into where the bible tells us that we, at one point in time could not bear to hear all that

the lord had to tell us, and he will have many more things in which to "reveal" to us. And now he has!

:P

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Mystery or "musterion {moos-tay'-ree-on}"means according to Strongs"

1. hidden thing, secret, mystery

a. generally mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals

b. a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding

c. a hidden purpose or counsel

1) secret will

a. of men

b. of God: the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly

2. in rabbinic writings, it denotes the mystic or hidden sense

a. of an OT saying

b. of an image or form seen in a vision

c. of a dream

According to John A. Tvedtnes and Matt Roper at http://www.shields-research.org/Reviews/Lu...ponse_to_01.htm they say:

"Musterion is usually defined as â??a secretâ? expressing â??the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites and is derived from the word muo which means literally â??to shut the mouth.â??â? (James Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament (Nashville: Abingdon, 1890), p. 49) At the time of Jesus and the apostles it often denoted practices found in the Greek mystery religions. These â??mysteriesâ? or rituals often presented or enacted a religious story in which â??the destinies of a god are portrayed by sacred actions before a circle of devotees in such a way as to give them a part in the fate of the god.â? (Gerhard Kittel Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), 4:803) These rites were only to be revealed to those deemed worthy. â??Integral to the concept of the mysteries is the fact that those who wish to take part in their celebration must undergo initiation; the uninitiated are denied both access to the sacred actions and knowledge of them.â?(Ibid., 4:804) One of the most significant elements of the rites was the promise of future salvation and life. â??The holy mystery of the rites is this sanctifying union between the suffering deity and the devotees, who in the mysteries acquire a share in the destiny of the god and hence in the divine power of life.â? (Ibid., 4:805) Those who so participate promise not to reveal what they have learned to the uninitiated. In fact, this â??vow of silenceâ? is â??essential to all mysteries, and is a feature implicit in the etymology.â? (Ibid., 4:806)"

Seems to me that there possible could be some close resemblences between this "mystery" and things that go on in the LDS Temples.

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In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul discourses them on the responsibilities of husbands and wives, and uses this as a metaphore of Christ and the Church. He quotes Genesis, saying "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." (Ephesians 5:31)

But then right after quoting this says, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (5:32)

What is the great mystery? He appears to be saying that the "two shall be one flesh" is the great mystery -- and then decides to change the subject back to Christ and the Church.

To LDS, was Paul aware of the doctrine of eternal marriage? What is the significance of Paul calling this a "great mystery"?

To non-LDS Christians, what do you think about this great mystery? What is the significance of the "two shall be one flesh", and what about it do you think did Paul find so mysterious?

I don't quite read this the same as you do, Joseph. For me, Paul is saying that the mystery is how Christ and the church can become one; I read it this way since the "mystery" phrase is the beginning of a new paragraph and sentence. Indeed, I believe that this is one of the "mysteries of Godliness" which LDS people believe we are told to seek to know. Becoming one with Christ is a part of the great purpose of mortality and of being of the covenant people of God.

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The late LDS scholar Eugene Seaich wrote a long detailed book on the topic with that title (A Great Mystery) which is due to be published fairly soon by a non-LDS press.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

GASP!!!!!! Another LDS scholar being published by a non-LDS press. Either it a lowly press mainly used for printing cheap tabloids or the press's standard for scholarly works has been dramatically lower....or the Church or FARMS (to some anti's, there is no difference) has paid them off or is blackmailing them.

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This was just discussed on another thread.

http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=28335

EDIT: Mystery is a Greek word that really denotes a sacrament or ordinance. See my post I link to here.

This is a bit of information that is of great value. Thanks! But does the word mystery always mean this no matter where it is found in the NT?

Matt. 13: 11

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Mark 4: 11

11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Luke 8: 10

10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Eph. 6: 19

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

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Note, in many older texts, 1 Cor. 2:1 says that "I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom (sofia), declaring unto you the mystery of God." Later texts changed it to "Testimony." Mystery fits better in the context. Let me show you why.

For example, verse 6: "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect (teleoi, that is, mature, or the initiated), yet not the wisdom of this world, not of the princes of the world, that come to naught But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory..." Then in chapter 3 he repeats this theme, saying "I, brethren, [when I was among you] could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat (adult food): for hitherto ye were not able to bear it (that is, until now you couldn't bear it), neither yet now are ye able (and you still can't!)"

So, It appears that Paul had in his mind two classes of Saints. The teleoi (or mature, "perfect") who had given to them hidden wisdom in a mystery (sacrament, ordinance, secret ritual) who could receive the adult food. The second class was those who hadn't received the hidden wisdom in a mystery (sacrament) because they were not yet ready. The people in Corinthians who had been members of the Church already for years fell into the second class, according to Paul's epistle to them. That's pretty fascinating. Where is this wisdom today? Is it the gnosis that Eusibius spoke about being given in the 40 day ministry of the resurrected Christ?

Where is this hidden wisdom today? Where are the mysteries here spoken of?

I think this is in part what Paul had in mind when he spoke about marriage as being a great mystery. It is one of the greatest ordinances that can be received. It isn't just any mystery, it is a great one.

EDIT: my comments to the scriptures are in italics

EDIT 2: I'm starting a new thread on this topic. http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=28468

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