No one has been able to understand these things and appreciate them except those who have given their hearts to the Lord. The apostle Paul says: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. (1 Corinthians 2:14). Jehovah has so arranged that only those who have their minds illuminated by the holy spirit, which follows their consecration, justification, and acceptance by the Lord, can understand and appreciate the mystery of God. These are the ones designated by the prophet Joel as the servants and handmaidens of God; and in the gospel age God pours out his spirit upon them; which means to give them his spirit. But in God’s due time he will pour out his spirit upon all mankind, so that all can understand his wonderful plan.—Joel 2:28,29.
The hiding of this mystery was illustrated by Jehovah in the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness and its furnishings. The inside walls of the tabernacle were covered with pure gold. Inside the Holy were the golden candlestick, the table covered with gold for the showbread, and the golden altar; and in the Most Holy, was the ark of the covenant. The tabernacle inside, therefore, was beautiful, but it was hidden from the people on the outside because it was covered with three heavy layers of cloth and skins. The priest ministered inside the tabernacle, and therefore was unseen by the people. As God thus hid these things which were typical of greater things, so he has hidden the glories and beauties of spiritual things, seen only by those who have come into relationship with him through Christ.
The gospel age is the antitypical day of atonement. With the Jews there was one day each year called the day of atonement. In that day the priest alone was in the Holy and the Most Holy; and even so on the antitypical day of atonement no one is in the Holy condition except those who are in relationship with Christ, the great high priest. The Lord has been pleased to permit these during the gospel age to have some understanding of his Word, therefore receiving the sweet and refreshing music from his harp; and the light has grown in brilliancy and the music in harmony as the understanding has increased. To the world in general, Christians have been despised because not understood. The Lord of glory, when on earth, was despised because he was misunderstood. And so his true followers seem to be a mean and despised people. The poet has truly said: