The book of Daniel in the Old Testament contains several references to God revealing “hidden things” or “mysteries.” Two key verses that mention this are Daniel 2:22 and Daniel 2:28.
Daniel 2:22 states: “He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” This verse comes in the context of Daniel praising and thanking God for giving him the ability to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream when none of the king’s own wise men could do so.
Daniel 2:28 records Daniel telling King Nebuchadnezzar: “but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.” This statement comes after Daniel interprets the king’s dream and reveals what God has shown him about future kingdoms and events.
These verses reveal some key truths about what it means when the Bible says God will “reveal hidden things”:
1. Hidden things are mysteries that humans cannot understand on their own
Daniel makes it clear that the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, which revealed the future of human kingdoms, was a “mystery” that no human wisdom could unravel. Only God fully understands the future and the deepest spiritual truths. Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us “The secret things belong to the LORD our God.” As Isaiah 55:8-9 declares, God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our own. Therefore, many things are mysterious and hidden to us until God chooses to reveal them.
2. God sometimes reveals hidden truths to his prophets and people
While humans cannot discover the deepest spiritual truths by themselves, God sometimes chooses to reveal hidden mysteries to His people. In the case of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, God gave the interpretation to Daniel, an Israelite prophet in exile in Babylon. Other prophets like Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Amos also received visions from God that revealed future events and spiritual truths.
In the New Testament, Jesus’ disciples asked him why he taught the crowds in parables. He replied that while the mysteries of the kingdom were hidden from many, as their teacher he was revealing these secrets to them (Matthew 13:10-11). Through the Holy Spirit, God still illuminates the minds of Christians today to understand the mysteries of biblical truth (1 Corinthians 2:10).
3. God reveals hidden things in his timing and for his purposes
Daniel makes it clear to Nebuchadnezzar that God has shown the king his dream and its interpretation according to God’s timing and will: “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days.” (Daniel 2:28). God is sovereign over what hidden things He chooses to reveal and when He chooses to reveal them.
God revealed the future in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in order to demonstrate His power and authority. By revealing details that later came true, God proved Himself the only true God with perfect knowledge of the future and all mysteries. Other times, God reveals hidden things in order to bless, instruct, or warn His people (e.g. the prophecies and visions of Revelation). But ultimately, He reveals mysteries for His glory and purpose.
4. Hidden things include God’s plans for the future and end times
The dream God gave Nebuchadnezzar contained an outline of future kingdoms that would rise and fall through the centuries. It ended with a kingdom established by God that would destroy the previous kingdoms and last forever (Daniel 2:44). This prophesied the realm of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The book of Daniel contains many other visions and dreams that revealed details about future events and the end times. These include prophecies about the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, the final resurrection, and Christ’s second coming.
Other biblical books like Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation contain glimpses into the future “latter days” and the culmination of human history that God provided to his prophets. So exploring end times mysteries can lead to better understanding God’s unfolding plan.
5. Hidden things include spiritual truths about God, humanity, and salvation
In addition to plans for the future, the “hidden things” and “mysteries” that God reveals include deep spiritual truths that humans could not otherwise discover. These include insights into God’s divine nature, character, purposes and ways.
For example, the mystery of the gospel revealed that salvation would come through Jesus Christ and be offered to both Jews and Gentiles alike. This was not fully understood until after Christ’s death and resurrection (Colossians 1:26-27, Ephesians 3:4-6).
Other mysteries explained through the New Testament include wisdom about human nature, the meaning behind Old Testament symbols and types, principles for relationships, spiritual gifts, insight into angels and demons, and truths about the final resurrection.
6. God reveals hidden things to humble humans and display His wisdom
At the heart of why God shows hidden mysteries is to humble mankind and glorify His own wisdom. Isaiah 55:9 declares that God’s ways are higher than man’s ways. God’s knowledge is perfect, but humanity’s is limited and flawed.
By unveiling secrets about the future or spiritual truths, God displays His infinite understanding compared to man’s finite thinking. He also shows that He is sovereign over all things. As Psalm 25:14 says, “The secret counsel of the Lord is with those who fear Him.” God shares mysteries to increase awe at His greatness.
7. Those who receive God’s revelations should respond in trust and obedience
In the book of Daniel, both Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar responded to God’s revelations with praise. Daniel thanked God for revealing mysteries to him, while Nebuchadnezzar blessed the God of Daniel and acknowledged God’s everlasting kingdom (Daniel 2:20-23, 47).
But more than praise, the appropriate response is to place our trust in God’s sovereignty over the future and our lives. If God can reveal hidden things that come true, we can depend on His word. We also should respond with obedience, following God’s instructions and living in reverence of Him.
As Deuteronomy 29:29 states: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.” God uncovers mysteries so we will obey Him.
8. Full understanding of all God’s hidden plans remains future
Although God may reveal some future events and spiritual truths, the full mystery of His hidden plans remains. As 1 Corinthians 13:12 explains, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” We cannot yet grasp the full breadth of God’s mysteries.
But one day, when Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom, we will know fully and see God face-to-face. All hidden things will be uncovered. Until then, we see glimpses and know only in part. The greatest mysteries remain to be discovered in the future revelation of Jesus Christ.
9. Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation of God’s hidden mysteries
The book of Daniel contains prophecies and visions that reveal many hidden things about the future and God’s plan for the world. But Jesus Christ is the climax and full revelation of all God’s mysteries. Colossians 2:2-3 says that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
As the very image of God in human form (Colossians 1:15), Jesus perfectly displays the invisible qualities of divinity. He also interprets and completes the meaning of all previous Scripture (Luke 24:27). And after His death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide His followers into even greater understanding of truth.
So the mysteries revealed in the book of Daniel find their ultimate unveiling in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the key to unlocking all the hidden things of God.
10. We should pray for and study God’s word to understand revealed mysteries
Since God sometimes chooses to disclose hidden truths, we should pray as Paul did that God would open our eyes to understand and have insight into the mysteries He discloses in His Word (Ephesians 1:15-19). We also must diligently study Scripture, which contains all that God has revealed for our understanding (2 Timothy 2:15).
Even if we cannot yet grasp everything, we can grow closer to the Lord and gain greater wisdom through His Spirit as we contemplate the mysteries He unveils in the Bible. With humility and faith, we can rely on the revelation of God to show us what is unseen and discover purpose in His plans.
The mysteries disclosed to Daniel provide a framework for history and hope in God’s unseen purposes. Daniel studied and believed them, enabling him to live wisely and faithfully. As we similarly seek understanding of what God reveals in the Bible, we can gain greater insight into His hidden plans and our place in them.