Luke 8:10, The mysteries of the kingdom. The Greek word for mystery is musterion meaning “hidden thing, secret, mystery; religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals; a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding.”
Of the some 136 subjects recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and John pertaining to the life and words of Yeshua, there are 144 verses dedicated to Yeshua speaking about the kingdom of Elohim (or heaven). In fact, it was the fourth subject he talked most about (after himself, his Father and the hypocritical religionists of his day). In the four Gospels, there are 109 direct references to the kingdom of Elohim (or heaven).
This being so, why do we not hear much about this subject in churches? What is the kingdom of God/Elohim (or heaven)? What are the mysteries of the kingdom? Matthew 4:23 characterizes the message Yeshua preached as “the gospel (good news) of the kingdom.” Just prior to this (verse 17), we read that Yeshua preached saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Again, is this message preached in the church? If not, why not?
Mark 12:34, You are not far from the kingdom. Yeshua makes this complimentary statement to the scribe who had correctly and succinctly summarized the message of the Torah (both its letter and spirit intent) in verses 32–33.
However, note that Yeshua didn’t say, “You are in the kingdom of Elohim (i.e., you have eternal life).”
What was the one thing that kept the scribe from being in the kingdom? It was doubtless the same thing that kept the rich young ruler from obtaining the eternal life that he sought (Matt 19:16). After having obeyed the Torah the best he could, the young ruler still needed to surrender all to Yeshua the Messiah, and to follow him unreservedly (Matt 19:18–22).
Not only is it difficult for humans to surrender all to the Master, and then to follow him wherever he leads, but having followed the Torah the best we can, we must still humbly recognize that without the righteousness of Yeshua in the equation, our best efforts at Torah-obedience will still miss the mark of YHVH Elohim’s acceptable standard of righteousness, thus leaving us maybe not far from the kingdom, but definitely not in the kingdom of Elohim.