The word “mystery” is derived from the Greek word mustérion and describes the imparting of things hidden or invisible, the initiation into a truth or understanding that had formerly been unreachable or unknown. Our Lord, Jesus the Christ used this word when He spoke to His disciples saying, “...it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” as He expounded to them the divine truths of His Gospel. The Apostle Saint Paul used it many times as he spoke of the mysteries that had been made known to him, which he preached unto the Gentiles. And the Church has used it for 2,000 years to speak of the deep and fundamental revelations of the Lord’s teaching and how they are celebrated and revealed through the doctrine, actions, and traditions of the Church.
The purpose of this treatise is to reveal, to remind, to inspire, to illuminate, to strengthen, and to encourage all of the people of God and the leaders that make up the Global Body, the Church—from the English-speaking believers to all the people of the East, down into Africa, and to the far reaches of the Earth—concerning the depth of strength and power inherent in the ancient ineffable mysteries of the Church.
In the early Church, a mysterious1 empowerment took place in the lives of ordinary human beings as the Holy Spirit baptized one hundred and twenty disciples with His Fire. This early Church community would immediately multiply to fill the entire city of Jerusalem with thousands of believers, and continue to spread the Good News of the Lordship of Jesus Christ to the whole known world. These first century disciples received their mandate directly from the Lord’s teachings and the apostles’ doctrine2.
This foundation as an apostolic, universal, pre-denominational family of believers carried the orthodoxy of doctrine and the right way of pursuing God’s holiness and service. The Holy Spirit’s activity in the earth touched the heart and affected the life of man in many multifaceted ways.
The election and the calling of God is infinite according to His sovereignty. His will and ability to move outside of the perimeters of human understanding is clearly and visibly seen in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus who was an enemy of the Church3. The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior is ministered to us regularly and continually. He nourishes the Church, strengthens believers, and equips the community of the redeemed to best serve God and to be a contribution to humanity.
These works of divine grace are accomplished through holy mysteries—or sacraments—instituted by Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. The sacraments were taught to and transmitted by the Apostles and the disciples through example, practice, and teaching, thus enabling the Lord, our Savior to use His original authorized agents as channels of impartation for the proper preservation of these holy mysteries throughout the ages.
The Holy Spirit regenerates and imparts new creation life continually to the members of the Household of God (the Church), through the supernatural support and reverent acknowledgment of the established divine grace agencies, the Holy Mysteries.
Extensive historical writings from the earliest centuries of the Church by the Syriac Fathers throughout the regions of the world bear witness to the universality of these Sacred Secrets or Holy Mysteries.
- + The Mystery of Baptism Repentance
- + The Mystery of Chrismation Anointing with Holy Myron or Myrrh
- + The Mystery of Confession Reconciliation
- + The Mystery of the Eucharist Holy Communion, the Lord’s Table
- + The Mystery of Marriage The Crowning
- + The Mystery of Unction for the Sick Laying on of Hands, The Prayer of Faith
- + The Mystery of Ordination Elevation, Holy Orders.
The original, primitive Holy Church, supernaturally infused with power, spread the message of the Gospel in an unprecedented historic momentum to the surrounding nations, and in a very short time, to the ends of the Earth.
This living, apostolic, global movement, as predicted by our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ,4,5 was communicated through Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, as well as many other languages as it spread across the globe, communicated through the God-breathed writings of the very first generation of believers—direct inheritors and eye-witnesses of the gospel. These world changing writings were transmitted, translated, protected, diligently studied, and expounded upon by the powerful doctors and teachers of the first centuries, passed and preserved from generation to generation, from believer to believer.
So evident was the God breathed nature of these sacred New Testament works that in the late fourth century when the bishops gathered in North Africa, to formally authorize the canon of Scripture, and once and for all put a stop to the continued attempts of heretical groups to add spurious and inaccurate works to their number, St. Augustine who led the synod had already long since considered the canon settled and closed. Despite being spread across the face of the earth, translated into well more than three hundred distinct languages, and taught in far off nations with wildly varied peoples and cultures, the scriptures had nonetheless been preserved and relayed by the people of God in such a unified manner, that when St. Athanasius of Alexandria wrote in 367ad—decades prior to the synods that would declare such—he could refer to the canon of Scripture as a settled matter, believed by the entire pre-denominational Church.
From its original, primitive expression, the Body of Christ provides today an unbroken connection through the person of the Holy Spirit to two of the earliest communities of Faith that represent multiple ethnic backgrounds and cultural heritages: firstly, the Church in Jerusalem—as bishoped by James the Apostle, the Lord’s brother—and secondly the Church of Antioch6—where prophets and teachers, as well as the beloved Saint Paul the Apostle, would flourish and be sent out from.
It is within this scriptural context that we see another Sacred Secret or Holy Mystery which has always been pertinent to the expression of the Gospel. This is the mystery of speaking, preaching, teaching, and reaching the peoples of the world with the power of the Living Word.7,8,9,10,11
This spiritual inheritance was distributed to the disciples by impartation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. The Anointed One taught us, preached to us, and breathed into our very nature jurisdictional right and divine empowerment to profess the same apostolic Faith12 we received through grace all over the world13. The Mysteries or the Sacraments of the Church, and our faithful observation and practice of them, enabled the Body of Christ to become a funnel or riverbed distributing this pure undiluted grace and faith from generation to generation.14
It is our desire as heirs of this holy and sacred honor to be good stewards over the Mysteries of God. We obey the Lord’s command and commission to preach the Good News to the world which helps and aids humanity, expressing the love of God and His salvation plan. This is defined in both the Old and the New Testaments and confirmed by His Holy Apostles, disciples, and by the Church Fathers.
It is my desire to encourage our sons and daughters, disciples of the Lord, and students of this pre-denominational living movement, that you would be strong in your service to the Lord. Remember us in your prayers as we continue to remember you and your region of the world. We will remain united together with you contending for the Glory of God to be revealed as promised to all humanity.
The above is an excerpt from the treatise On The Holy Mysteries by +Apostle Doctor Christian Harfouche, soon to be made available in limited form to our global leaders.
© 2019 Apostolic Global Church. ISBN: 978-1-888966-50-3. All Rights Reserved.
View more from this series:
The Miracle of the Living Word
- Acts 2:12. “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?”
- Acts 2:42. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
- Acts 26:14. “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
- Mark 16:15. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
- Acts 1:8. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
- Acts 11:26. “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
- 1 Corinthians 1:21. “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:6. “Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?”
- Mark 16:20. “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
- Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
- Acts 4:2-4. “Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.”
- Matthew 16:16. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
- Matthew 24:14. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
- Jude 1:3. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”