Vol. 15 No. 14
Eph 3:9, “And to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things.”
Here we have the commission or stewardship of Paul, and the responsibility of all Pastor-Teachers / Ministers who would follow. The second purpose is now given for the ministry, the first being to bring the believer to the super-grace status and the normal function of the Royal Priesthood. The second purpose is to orient the believer to the uniqueness of the Church Age and the resultant intensification of the Angelic Conflict, vs. 10
“To bring to light,” is the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of PHOTIZO, φωτίζω that means, “give light to, light up; bring to light, reveal, make evident, or enlighten.” Figuratively its meanings include, “enlighten, illuminate, instruct, teach, or to throw light upon.” Its transitive use, as here, conveys the idea of bringing someone or something to light, i.e., to reveal it. This is where we get our English word “photo” from.
Its use here makes it synonymous to APOKALUPSIS, “reveal,” of vs. 3, yet with greater emphasis on leading others to the understanding of the revelation, rather than the fact of revelation. It also gives the end result for the purpose of EUANGELIZO, “preaching,” to lead them to understanding the mystery doctrine for the Church Age. So Paul’s stewardship involves exposing the entire world to the revelation that God had made known to him.
The Lord made it very clear to His disciples in His commission to them, Mat 28:19- 20, that believers have two main responsibilities relative to people in this world. One is to evangelize them. The apostle Paul took this challenge seriously. The second responsibility Jesus gave His disciples was to help other believers to mature in their faith. Again, Paul took this matter seriously, and much of his ministry was involved in training people to minister to others.
Specifically, Paul’s preaching was to enlighten the Church of “the dispensation of the mystery,” OIKONOMIA MUSTERION. This is one of the functions of the Pastor‑Teacher; the context is Eph 3:2‑6. Never before in human history has the grace policy of God promised so much for the ordinary believer, no matter how insignificant his life may be.
There are two categories of communicators of this mystery doctrine for the Church Age.
1) The Apostles and Prophets communicated Mystery doctrine in the pre‑Canon period of the Church Age, and some wrote it down, especially Paul after being confined in the first Roman imprisonment.
2)The Pastor‑Teacher communicates the Mystery doctrine in the post‑Canon period of the Church Age to his generation as he is prepared to do so.
1 Cor 2:7, “But we communicate God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden assets which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”
1 Cor 4:1, “Let mankind regard us (Paul, Apollos, Peter), in this manner as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” The same principle is found in our passage, Eph 3:7‑9.
1 Tim 3:9, “With a pure conscience, keep holding the mystery of the doctrine.”
Col 2:2, “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.”
You too have a special mission in this life: to glorify God! You do so by becoming an invisible hero.
Next in vs. 9 we have, “which for ages has been hidden in God,” AION APOKRUPTO EN THEOS. The teaching of dispensations is most important. It helps to orient us to the time in which we live, the circumstances under which we live as members of the Royal Family on this earth.
“Has been hidden,” is APOKRUPTO, ἀποκρύπτω in the Perfect, Passive, Participle. It means, “hidden from, hide from, to conceal, or hide from sight.” It is the antonym of PHOTIZO. This mystery had been hidden, APOKRUPTO, from the ages past, but has now been made manifest to His saints. It is also used this way in 1 Cor 2:7; Col 1:26.
The Perfect Tense is a consummative perfect. This denotes a completed action. Here the action focuses on the fact that the action has been completed, rather than the result of the completed action. Therefore, the consummative Perfect emphasizes the process by which the state was completed. Up until the time of the Church Age, this doctrine was completely hidden from all members of the human race. This doctrine was only known for the first time when it was announced by the Lord Jesus Christ during the Upper Room Discourse, where He merely outlined what was to come. The detailed announcement was given by the apostle Paul. The doctrine of the Mystery in past dispensations was concealed so that no one had a clue as to what it was all about. Furthermore, the Church Age is the only dispensation that comes in as an interruption.
The Passive Voice: The mystery doctrine of the Church Age receives the action of the verb.
This is a telic Participle, which indicates God’s purpose to hide Church Age doctrine until the Church Age interrupts the Age of Israel. It is translated “having been hidden” or “having been concealed.”
“In God” is incorrectly translated. This is not e)n plus the locative, it is e)n plus the instrumental of qeoj. There is also a definite article and it should be translated “by the God.” It is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the creator of all things, according to John 1:3; Heb 1:10; Col 1:16-17.
A “mystery” cannot be found out by the searching of men. God alone must reveal it. Human wisdom never stumbled on such a plan. A veil of secrecy had covered the truth of the dispensation of grace to the Gentiles until God revealed it in Paul’s day.
The one who has previously hidden this information is God, Jesus Christ Himself, the One “who created all things,” HO KITZO PAS. KITZO, κτίζω means, “create, form, shape, or found.” In classical Greek, it is used to talk about something that is “conceived or existing in the mind,” and it refers to things actually “brought into being” or “established.” That is what God did regarding the world and all that is on it. Therefore, the power / omnipotence of God that created the heavens and the earth, and all that reside in them, is the same God who planned to parse out human history by various dispensations with unique doctrines for each, to be revealed according to His choosing and timing.
Jesus Christ ordered the concealment of Church Age doctrine until His own incarnation when the God-Man in His humanity could reveal this information. In hypostatic union Christ made the first declaration of Church Age doctrine in John 14-17. The Creator of all things is the initial revealer of Church Age doctrine.
So this leads us to: The Divine Hiding of the Mystery Doctrine in Old Testament Times.
1) The Church Age and its unique doctrines are classified as the Mystery. The Church Age is an interruption of the Jewish dispensation, the Age of Israel. The Age of Israel has not been completed, it is interrupted. The interruption caused trauma in Israel. Now we are in the dispensation of the Mystery and intercalation.
The strategic victory of Christ on the Cross brought the Age of Israel to a halt temporarily. The Church Age or Mystery Age was inserted to provide a Royal Family for our Lord’s third royal patent. Yet, the mechanics of salvation are not a mystery; it has always been the same. The mystery begins with the Church Age believer after salvation, i.e., the Christian Way of Life. The mystery then, is the sum total of the unique doctrines of the great power experiment of the Church Age. As noted previously, the O.T. reveals all details of the First Advent but then skips to the Tribulation.
2) More scripture for the Dispensation of the Church is found in John 14‑17; Mat 16:18. This is the dispensation in which the ordinary man has the most fantastic privileges. This dispensation has more emphasis on the individual than any other age. None of the following unique doctrines were known to the O.T. writers of Scripture:
– The baptism of the Holy Spirit with its eight results.
– The new spiritual species of the Royal Family of God.
– The unique Protocol Plan of God with its precisely correct procedure,
– The equal privilege and equal opportunity of every Church Age believer to execute the Plan of God.
– Our portfolio of Invisible Assets.
– The unique royal commissions of the Royal Priesthood and the Royal Ambassadorship.
– The indwelling of each member of the Trinity in the body of every Church Age believer,
– The 100% availability of Divine power, (the omnipotence of the Father, Son, and Spirit).
– The Dispensation of invisible heroes having personal, national, international, and angelic impact.
3) The Lord left out of the O.T. Scriptures these important Church Age doctrines. He could have mentioned them but chose to pass over it. For example, between the following passages the Church Age occurred and so could have been revealed, but it was passed over in silence:
Dan 2:40 ( ) 41, 7:23 ( ) 24, 8:22 ( ) 23, 11:35 ( ) 36; Hos 5:15 ( ) 6:1.
4) Furthermore, God never deals with Israel and the Church at the same time. Therefore, there is a vast difference between Israel and the Church regarding doctrines pertaining to the spiritual life. For example:
|Specialized priesthood||Universal priesthood|
|Shadow Christology||Historical Christology|
|Ritual plan of God||Protocol plan of God|
|Election to new racial species||Election to new spiritual species|
|Related to God through unconditional covenants||Related to God through the Baptism of Spirit|
|Old Testament Canon||New Testament Canon|
|Only Jewish client nations||Only Gentile client nations|
|Christ indwelt the temple||Christ indwells the believer|
|Enduement of the Holy Spirit||Indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit|
|Spirituality by faith‑rest||Spirituality by the filling of the Spirit|
|Salvation by faith in Christ||Salvation by faith in Christ|
|Limited spiritual gifts||Everyone has a spiritual gift|
|Some Problem Solving Devices||Eleven Problem Solving Devices|
Eph 3:10, “In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.”
This verse tells us of the significant part the Church plays, with its mystery doctrines, inside the Angelic Conflict, during the appeal trial of Satan and the fallen angels.
In the Greek this verse is reversed and reads, “That it might be made known now to the principalities and the authorities in the heavenlies, through the Church, the diversified wisdom of the God.”
There are five parts to this verse.
1) When is God’s wisdom to be revealed?
“Now,” NUN. The Greek text includes the adverb “now” to indicate that God’s multifaceted wisdom regarding the revelation of His secret Plan, (the mystery doctrines), is displayed “now” during the Church Age, as opposed to in O.T. times.
2) What is to be accomplished?
The action of this verse is to “make something known,” which is the Aorist, Passive, Subjunctive of GNORIZO that means, “to make known, reveal, or declare.” We saw this word in Eph 1:9, 3:3, 5, and will see it again in Eph 6:19, 21. In all of these cases, it emphasizes the making known of Paul’s revelation of the mystery doctrines for the Church Age, as it does here too. The Aorist tense views the entirety of the action with a focus on the end result of making God’s wisdom known through the mystery doctrines. The Passive voice tells us the intent that some will receive this knowledge. The Subjunctive Mood tells us the intended desire for the audience to receive this information, which is a potential. So we translate it “might be made known.”
3) What is to be made known?
The thing that is desired to be made known is the “manifold or diversified wisdom of God,” which is the subject Nominative of POLUPOIKILOS SOPHIA with the Genitive of possession of HO THEOS. POLUPOIKILOS πολυποίκιλος means, “variegated, many-sided, or manifold.” It is a compound word from POLUS that means, “much, many, or great,” and POIKILOS that means, “Of various colors, of many kinds, diverse, or manifold.”
POLUPOIKILOS is used only here in Scripture, and describes the SOPHIA, wisdom, of God, which is His Omniscience personified that has many facets to it. Often it refers to insight into spiritual things, as God has insight into everything. So this is the total sum of everything that omniscience knows, ever has known, or ever will know. Omniscience does not learn anything new; it already knows everything. As such, in relation to man and angels, it reveals itself in a variety of forms according to whatever the need of the moment might be, and is beyond our way of thinking, Isa 55:8-9.
Isa 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Here the wisdom of God is “made known” or revealed in the knowledge of Dispensational Theology and specifically the mystery Doctrines for the Church Age, founded on the fact of Christ indwelling every Church Age believer and the accompanying blessings associated with His indwelling. Therefore, the Church Age is different than the Age of the Law, or the previous dispensations, as God’s plan for mankind inside the Angelic Conflict is diversified.
4) Who is going to make known God’s wisdom?
The agent or agency used to make the manifold wisdom of God known is “through the Church,” DIA HO EKKLESIA, ἐκκλησία that means, “assembly, congregation, church, etc.” It comes from the root words EK and KALEO meaning “from the called ones, or those summoned.” It is synonymous with SUNAGOGE, which was primarily used for Jewish congregations, except in James 2:2 where it was used for a Christian congregation. The early Church chose EKKLESIA to distinguish themselves from the Jewish religion, and pagan Greek religions that used other various words for their assemblies. This word is used for both the overall body of Christ, Mat 16:18, and for the various Christian local assemblies, Mat 18:17. Paul uses it over 60 times.
A significant element of the thought of Jesus is the relationship of the congregation to the kingdom of God. These are two distinct threads which are woven together in a most intimate way. The congregation is the manifestation of and a piece of the eschatological reality of the kingdom of God, representative of the royal power of God in the world. The congregation is the people to whom God, by His Messiah, has promised the blessings of the latter time, Mat 5:3-11, including:
- The forgiveness of sins, Mat 26:28.
- The gift of the Holy Spirit, Luke 24:49; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7.
- The right to address God as “Father,” Mat 6:9.
- Victory over the power of Satan, Luke 11:20-22.
- Participation in the gift of eternal life, John 5:24-27.
This new expression of the kingdom of God was characterized by several distinct traits:
- The unifying of the people around the mystery doctrines of the apostles, Acts 2:42.
- The breaking of bread together, Acts 2:42.
- Participation in the daily prayers, Acts 2:42.
- Unique love and sense of brotherly fellowship created by the Holy Spirit resulting in a sharing of property, Acts 2:44f.
- The powers of the coming world, which were mightily active in the healing of the sick, Acts 3:2f.; 4:29f.; 5:15; the raising of the dead, Acts 9:36-40, and victory over demonic powers, Acts 19:11-12.
“The surprising thing in vs. 10 is not what is made known, but how and to whom. First, God’s wisdom is made known through the very existence of a multi-ethnic Church.” (The Moody Bible Commentary.)
Therefore, God operates in and through the local church with Christ as its head. The early churches were diverse geographically, ethnically, and culturally. Nevertheless a single thread, union with Jesus Christ the Son of God, bound them together into a Body, with Christ as its head. Therefore, God uses the Church to demonstrate His manifold wisdom to others, especially the fallen angels.
5) Who will be made known of God’s Wisdom?
The Moody Bible Commentary states, “Second, evil spiritual forces (rulers and the authorities, cf. Eph 1:21) come to see that God is overturning their work of sowing hatred and division.”
Therefore, the ones to whom God’s manifold wisdom is shown through the Church are, “the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places,” which is the Dative case of HO ARCHE KAI HO EXOUSIA EN HO EPOURANIOS. These are the first two classes of fallen angels also noted in Eph 1:21; 6:12.
“Rulers” or ARCHE ἀρχή means, “beginning, origin, authority, rule, domain, or sphere of influence.” In Classical Greek it represented primacy in time or rank; rank is used here, as was also the case in Eph 1:21. So these are the highest ranking in authority fallen angels; the demon general officers.
“Authorities” or EXOUSIA, ἐξουσία means, “authority or power.” It is the authority to rule, one bearing such authority, the sphere controlled by this authority, and the power to do something. It is closely related to DUNAMIS, but differs by its intent of the delegation of authority, rather than the capability of the inherent power of DUNAMIS. Here it is used for the “commissioned officers” of the demonic ranks.
They are both linked with EPOURANIOS, ἐπουράνιος that means, “heavenlies or in the heavenlies.” Here it is speaking, as in Eph 1:21; 2:2; 6:12; Col 1:16, of Satan and his horde of fallen angels that rule his cosmic system. They constitute the entire demon leadership under the command of Satan. These are the ones that the manifold wisdom of God will be revealed to through Church Age believers.
1) “The heavenlies,” refers to the third heaven, the abode of God; the courtroom of heaven, the place of trying the case called the Angelic Conflict. Satan’s case was tried in heaven. The third heaven is the place of angelic convocation and that means that the Angelic Conflict not only occurs on this earth, this is the battleground, but it also occurs in heaven.
2) The use of “heavenlies” in Ephesians.
- It is the sphere of Divine blessing, Eph 1:3.
- It is the sphere of strategic victory of Christ in the Angelic Conflict, Eph 1:20.
- It is the sphere of positional victory for the believer, Eph 2:6.
- It is the sphere of angelic judgement, Eph 3:10.
- It is the sphere of the Angelic Conflict, Eph 6:12.
Satan and his horde thought that they had defeated God’s plan and evidence of the appeal trial, when they turned the Law upside down through the people of Israel. But God’s wisdom and plan triumphed, when He sent His Son to the Cross, which is now being manifested throughout the Church Age, also called the Age of Grace, with its mystery doctrines. Satan believed the promises of God to Israel through the Covenants could not be fulfilled through Israel, thereby abrogating the promises and word of God. Yet, God’s wisdom prevailed through His Son, where now both Jew and Gentile are now “heirs, members of the Body of Christ, and partakers in the promises of God, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Eph 3:6. What had been veiled from the angelic hierarchy, is now to be declared through the body of Christ on earth, a letter that will be for all of eternity, Eph 2:6-7; cf. 2 Cor 3:2-3, 6, in condemnation of Satan and his league of fallen angels.
1 Peter 1:12, “It was revealed to them (O.T. prophets) that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”
Even the elect angels did not previously know what God had planned for the Church Age. Therefore, all heavenly beings, described in this verse as “the principalities and powers,” did not understand the “mystery” of the New Testament Church until God chose to reveal it through His Son, the apostle Paul, and now through us.
“The Church becomes a mirror through which the bright ones of heaven see the glory of God. And in order to show them this glory, God committed the gospel to Paul, (Beet, p. 319).” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary.)
A final point is that of the responsibility of the Pastor-Teacher is to orient his right congregation with the mystery doctrines for the Church Age in regard to the Angelic Conflict. It explains so much of God’s Word, His plan, and purpose for our lives here on earth, inside the Angelic Conflict.
- Part of the mystery doctrine is the fact that the Church Age with its Royal Priesthood is the means of resolving the Angelic Conflict.
- The Church is used to make known to fallen angels, (the condemned), the validity of Divine judgement on Satan and his adherents in the angelic realm.
- The angels learn through the Church that God’s wisdom has many sides; many ways and means.
- The Church is also an integral part of Operation Footstool, 1 Cor 15:27; Eph 1:22; Heb 2:8.
- The Church teaches fallen angels in the future that it, being the body of Christ, will remove them under Operation Footstool, Zech 13:2; 1 Cor 15:24 25; Col 2:15.
The Four Phases of Satan’s Appeal Trial.
Before the restoration of planet earth, Gen 1:2ff, Satan and the angels rebelled against God. At that time, God held a trial and found Satan and one third of the angels guilty of remaining in rebellion. Also at the time, God sentenced Satan and one third of the “fallen angels” to the Eternal Lake of Fire, Mat 25:41. Upon that sentencing, Satan, on behalf of all the fallen angels, appealed God’s sentencing. As a result, the Righteousness and Justice of God granted the appeal trial. For this appeal God called for the creation of a lower creature called man to resolve the appeal trial of the Angelic Conflict. There are four phases to Satan’s appeal.
The Formal Appeal Trial:
- The prosecution, God, presents His case, and the defense, Satan, cross‑examines many of the witnesses, (mature believers of the O.T. were entered as evidence, Heb 11). This phase is now over.
- Satan presented his case, e.g., the infiltration of fallen angels in Gen 6, Job and the cross- examination of the high priest Joshua in Zech 3:1‑2.
The Rebuttal Phase of the Appeal Trial:
- It first starts with the two rebuttal arguments of the prosecution: the great power experiment of the hypostatic union, resulting in our Lord’s strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict, and the great power experiment of the Church Age, in which some mature believers win the tactical victory of the Angelic Conflict. The Church Age is the most intensive time of the Angelic Conflict. When any Church Age believer utilizes the omnipotence of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit to advance to spiritual maturity, there is a tactical victory in the Angelic Conflict.
- This is followed by the rebuttal arguments of the defense: the violence of the Tribulation. Violence is all that is left to Satan, a demonstration that Satan lost in the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict by our Lord, and in the Church Age by the tactical victory of a few believers in every generation.
The Closing Arguments and Summary:
- For the prosecution, the Second Advent and Millennial reign of Christ. In contrast to the terrible violence during the Tribulation, the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ will be one of perfect environment in every way.
- For the defense, the violence of the Gog and Magog revolution at the end of the Millennium.
The Final Sentencing: Then there is a post‑historic sentence carried out against Satan and all fallen angels when they are cast into the Lake of Fire forever, Rev 20:10. Unbelievers of the human race are resurrected and also cast into the Lake of Fire forever, Rev 20:11‑15. This ends the trial and appeal trial of Satan and the fallen angels, and the Angelic Conflict, where they will never be seen or heard from again, and never to negatively influence angelic or humankind ever again.
*As always, the eternal purpose of God is accomplished through Christ.*
Eph 3:11, “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
*Jesus is the Star witness of the appeal trial of the Angelic Conflict.*
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:
16-042 through 16-044
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.
To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!