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Hiddenness

“Christ was hidden in the Scriptures, which could not be understood until the time when the things that they had spoken of had come to fulfillment; the book had been ‘shut up‘ and ‘sealed, until the consummation‘ (Daniel 12:4) and so is full of enigmas and ambiguities; those who read it without possessing the proper explanation only find a myth, for the truth that it contains is only brought to light by the cross of Christ, and only reading it in this way do we find our way into the Wisdom of God and ourselves come to shine with the light as did Moses…” (St. Irenaeus of Lyons)


“The meaning of Scripture is hidden for many reasons: first, that we might be seekers (zetetikoi), and ever on the watch to discover the words of salvation; secondly, because it was not fitting that all should know this meaning, for fear they might come to harm through misunderstanding what was said by the spirit for their salvation…” (Clement of Alexandria)


“Looking for the things not seen—which are eternal—is how many of the Church Fathers read the scriptures. The readily seen things are the literal readings of the text which might be obvious to anyone. This level of understanding requires no faith or love as even a nonbeliever can comprehend it. The ‘unseen’ things, which are eternal, require us to look even deeper into the text, beyond the literal, to find that which is the mystery which God has hidden in Scripture. For in that which is not readily seen by the naked eye, they hoped to see God in what God was choosing to reveal to us in His love. This looking requires faith, hope, wisdom and love. The ‘unseen’ is made visible by God in His love to those who are capable of seeing.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“As Christ is the treasure hidden in the scriptures, the scriptures will themselves yield abundant riches as disciples continue to contemplate the precious pearl that is Christ…If there were [only] one meaning for the words [of scripture], the first interpreter would find it, and all other listeners would have neither the toil of seeking nor the pleasure of finding. But every word of our Lord has its own image, and each image has its own members, and each member possesses its own species and form. Each person hears in accordance with his capacity, and it is interpreted in accordance with what has been given to him.” (St Ephrem of Syria, Fr. John Behr)


“Perhaps the single most astounding statement in the Scriptures is St. John’s “and the Logos (Word) became flesh and dwelt among us.” Christ is the lens through which we “read” all of creation, and certainly the lens through which we read the Scriptures. St. Maximos, in speaking about these things, uses the image of “clothing” or “robes” to describe the relation of creation and Scripture to the Logos. We see the clothing, and we can make out the shape beneath it of the One who so clothes Himself. But the One who is clothed is also “hidden” by that clothing. This is profoundly true of the Scriptures as well. A simplistic literalism fails, pretty much every time. The reason such treatments fail, I think, is that those who imagine themselves to be literalists are unaware of the “distorted logos” that guides their thought. Their own perversions and damaged hearts are drawn towards distortions. The reading of Scripture is a difficult undertaking that properly belongs under the heading of “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” It is why we always lean on the guidance of those whose wisdom and discernment has proven its worth.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Jesus Christ our Savior, came and dwelt within our limited human realm in order to deliver God’s wisdom in a manner we could grasp. He became a man, thereby manifesting God’s hidden wisdom before our very eyes (1 Corinthians 2:7)…[but often we have]…a spiritual blindness in which either willingly or for other reasons, we either cannot or will not see the spiritual reality which is right in front of us.” (Dynamis 9/18/2021, Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“The Kingdom of God has this aspect of hiddenness not because of some pernicious desire of God. The hiddenness exists in order to nurture within us the proper disposition of the image of God. We fail to understand that God Himself seeks, asks, and knocks. We are the lost coin, the lost sheep, the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price. God leaves everything in order to come among us and “find” us. His commandment to ask, seek, and knock, is similar to the commandment to be like God. It is, I think, what love does.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“God has hidden the mysteries from the wise of the world, not out of malice toward His creatures, but because of their own unworthiness; it was they who chose to trust their own fallen wisdom and judgment rather than God. Furthermore, it is out of love that God withholds this revelation from those who would scorn it so that they do not receive an even greater condemnation.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 11:25)


“…knowledge is hidden from those who wrongly seek it principally for two reasons: first, when the one who seeks it does not have sufficient capacity to understand what he is seeking for, and second, when through contempt for the truth one is unworthy of having the subject of his inquiry explained to him.” (St. Bebe)


“Our inner lives are often quite noisy. Highly selective memories ladened with emotions and colored with varieties of shame combined with a cultural bombardment of noise, engineered to excite the passions, serve as a layered cocoon beneath which is the self, often unattended and little recognized. Instead, we “identify” with the stuff. We work with the noise in an effort to make it more bearable, both for ourselves and for those around us. Our moral efforts strive to make the noise behave, often achieving little more than making our noise conform to the noise we see around us. The whole effort, including our reflections and reading, often do little more than push our inner fog into various shapes. Nothing becomes clear. The gospels give a glimpse of something different. There we see Christ encounter individuals whose identities would seem at odds with what He is asking them to do. Matthew, a tax-collector, is called to be an Apostle. Fishermen are called to become theologians. As often as not, people are given new names. The Hidden God is calling the hidden man, like calls to like. Slowly, they begin to see who (and what) He is, only to discover that they are other than they had imagined.” (Fr. Stephen Freeman)


"At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants…” (Lk 10: 17-21)...As the Lord says in the above-cited passage, these things have indeed been “hidden from the wise and intelligent,” and “revealed to infants.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“…God has hidden the mysteries from the wise of the world, not out of malice toward His creatures, but because of their own unworthiness; it was they who chose to trust their own fallen wisdom and judgment rather than God.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 11:25)

“The light of Jesus’ truth is revealed to us, not hidden. But we may not be able to see or to use all of that truth right now. Only as we put God’s teachings into practice will we understand and see more of the truth. The truth is clear, but our ability to understand is imperfect.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 4:24-25)

“The gift of spiritual knowledge—that is, when we begin to perceive the hidden things of God—is conferred on us through repentance and the fear of God, which gives birth to a deeper faith.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Job 42:5)

“…when a man’s knowledge is raised above the concerns of the world, he sees noetically – that is, with his heart – “what is hidden from the eyes. . . .Then faith . . . itself swallows up knowledge, converts it, and begets it anew. . . . Then it can soar in the realms of the bodiless. . . . Then the inner senses awaken for spiritual doing.” (Saint Isaac the Syrian)

“The word “apocalypse” has come to mean a terrible disaster at the end of the world…But this popular meaning has robbed us of an essential word, one worth recapturing. Apocalypse means “to reveal,” or, better, “to take out of hiding.” Nothing within the word itself has anything to do with disasters (or zombies)…It is a “revealing” of “hidden things”…If we understood things correctly, we would understand that the whole of the Christian faith is apocalyptic. Our faith is about learning to live in the revealing of things that were hidden. True Christianity should never be obvious. It is, indeed, the struggle to live out what is not obvious. The Christian life is rightly meant to be an apocalypse.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The parable of the pearl of great price illustrates those who have been searching in their hearts for Him and finally find Him and His Church. The other pearls represent all the various teachings and philosophies of the world. These treasures are hidden in that they are neither recognized nor valued by those immersed in worldliness.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew

13:44-46)

“Transparency of the heart must rule if we are to have an honest relationship with God. Nothing can be hidden from the Lord, yet we often live as though we could hide what we know is not pleasing to Him. Putting on a face may work with relatives, but trying to fake piety and goodness does not work with God. If we are truly desirous of a relationship with God, we must begin by being honest with ourselves, confronting that part of us that needs to be changed.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“The point of Christianity is not to make that which is hidden to be more obvious. It is to take our life into what is hidden and live in a new manner. For what is hidden is an entirely new way of being.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The eyes of the Lord look continuously into our own hearts to see if we serve Him…The eyes of the Lord see every movement of our hearts!...No niche or secret recess within the human heart remains hidden from the Lord.” (Dynamis 3/24/2015)


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