Have you ever wondered why the Holy Spirit rarely speaks in plain language?
He communicates to us in dreams, visions and prophecy (Acts 2:17), in unknown tongues (1 Cor 14:2), and in light, spontaneous impressions. His messages—especially in dreams and visions—are often symbolic in nature. And many times, His communications are brief and fragmented, as though He is leaving us a clue to follow.
Why does God communicate to us in this way? After all, wouldn’t it be easier if He spoke in clear, easy to understand speech?
6 Biblical Insights on Why the Holy Spirit Speaks in Mysteries
1. Mysteries are a Sign of the Kingdom
It is not surprising that the Holy Spirit speaks in mysteries, given that Jesus also taught in parables, stories and metaphors (symbolic pictures) that needed interpretation in order to be understood.
Unlock the parable, and profound Kingdom truths are broken open.
When Jesus’ disciples asked why He spoke to the crowds in parables, His response was: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matt 13:11-12) Jesus also said, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables” (Mark 4:11)
2. Mysteries create Seekers
When God communicates in mysteries, it separates the seekers from the skeptics. A mystery has a meaning to uncover, one that is available to those who pursue it. Those who are being drawn by the Holy Spirit have a thirst to discover that meaning.
When the Holy Spirit speaks in a picture, a fragment or a mystery, He is inviting you to go on a journey with Him. The heart of God longs for those who will seek after and pursue Him.
‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ (Jer 29:13)
Humanity has always been fascinated with mysteries, dreams and symbols. It is something God has placed deep in the DNA of people, to cause us to hunger for Him.
Interpreting dreams is one significant way that we can reach those who do not know God.
Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that ‘there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.’ (Dan 2:28) After Daniel gave the interpretation of the King’s prophetic dream, King Nebuchadnezzar reflected back to him, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” (Dan 2:47)
3. Mysteries Require Intimacy with God to Understand
God longs for relationship with His sons and daughters.
Mysteries invite us into relationship and intimacy with God, as we seek Him for further revelation.
The Greek word translated ‘mysteries’ in the New Testament is ‘musterion’ (Strongs G3466). It also means ‘secret.’ The Vines Concordance has this to say about it: ‘In the NT [mystery] denotes…that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit’ .
A mystery cannot be understood by natural means. But we can discover the meaning of a mystery with the help of the Holy Spirit, in our intimate relationship with God.
4. Mysteries are Comprehended as we Study God’s Word
Mysteries from the Holy Spirit send us to the Scriptures for further insight. The Bible should be the first place we go to understand dreams, visions, words and stories from the Holy Spirit.
Mysteries of the Kingdom are grasped as we study God’s Word. Jesus said to the Sadducees, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (Matt 22:29)
It is not enough to be acquainted with God’s power, we must also be full of God’s Word.
Your knowledge of the Bible is a storehouse that the Holy Spirit draws from as He leads you towards the meaning of a vision, dream or prophetic insight.
5. Mysteries Foster Humility
‘For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.’ (1 Cor 1:25)
Being a recipient of a mystery fosters humility and perseverance in us.
Many people do not understand, and skeptics may scorn. But in spite of the opinions of others, you determine to pursue God and His revelation.
‘For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.’ (1 Cor 14:2) When we pray in the Spirit using the gift of tongues, we are praying heaven’s secrets—things that haven’t been revealed in the earth realm yet. ‘We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.’ (Rom 8:27)
It takes humility to enter that place of fellowship with the Holy Spirit where the mysteries of God are birthed into reality through prayer. And it takes humility to bring prophetic insights received in that secret place into the light of community, where they can be weighed up and tested.
6. Mysteries are Unfolded in Community
How can we be sure we have interpreted a mystery from the Holy Spirit accurately? Mysteries are best understood in the place of community. (1 Cor 12-14) It is in the church body that the gifts needed to steward a word from God are present. For example:
- Discernment, to ensure that the mystery (revelation / prophetic insight) is truly from the Holy Spirit
- Wisdom, to know what to do, how and when as we respond to a prophetic insight
- Pastoral oversight to bring godly direction
- Others with prophetic gifts to help weigh up what God is saying
And, it is in community that Jesus’ command to love one another is obeyed.
‘If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.’ (1 Cor 13:2-3)
 Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Has this teaching on why the Holy Spirit speaks in mysteries encouraged you today? I would love to hear about it in the blog comments section, or on Facebook or Instagram. If the blog comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family