What is the mystery which Revelation 17:5 and 7 reveal? Does the mystery refer to the title of the woman (“Mystery Babylon the Great”; NKJV) or is the name of the woman “Babylon the Great”, about which Revelation 17 reveals a mystery (cf. NASB)? And if so, what is the mystery?
A common argument against the doctrine of the rapture is that it is a new teaching and, so the argument goes, because it is new, it cannot be true (cf. Ladd 1956:31). Du Rand (2007:317) writes that teaching about the rapture only gained momentum after 1830 when the dreams of a certain Margaret MacDonald were revealed. But is teaching about the rapture new, or is it rather old? Is something true or false because it is old or new?
The rapture is neither a secret nor something mysterious, but rather a New Testament mystery that God revealed almost 2000 years ago. South African theologians such as Snyman (1940:83-87), Oosthuizen (1963) and Malan (2014:251-266) did not think that the rapture was a secret. However, if people think that the Church is Israel or some other group of Old Testament saints, then teaching about the rapture may remain, ironically, a mysterious secret to them.