Bible Study The Book Of Ephesians
Verse By Verse

Lesson 20 Chapter Three Verses 9 - 11


Vs. 9 "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."


In verse eight (8) Paul states the purpose of his call, it was, he says, "... I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."  In vs. 9 Paul states that he was especially chosen of God to bear the light of grace to the Gentiles, it was to Paul, God gave the responsibility of revealing the mystery to the Gentiles, and it was his duty to see they knew what it was and how to arrange it.


The word "fellowship" in vs. 9 is from the Greek word "oikonomia", and a more correct translation would have been, "administration, or stewardship."  To Moses God revealed the plan of the tabernacle, and it was the responsibility of Moses to see that the tabernacle was built according to the pattern given him in the mount.  To Paul God gave the secret of the church when he called him up into the third heaven, and to Paul was given the responsibility of proper arrangement of the church.


The word "men" in vs.9 is in italics, meaning it was added by the KJV translators, and the word "all" is rejected by some of the better Greek authorities as having never been in the original mss.  Among those who reject the word "all" are nestle, Westcott and Hort.  Thus, vs. 9 would read, "And to make see what is the administration of the mystery...."


This mystery was hid in God before the beginning of the ages.


Vs. 10 "to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God."


In vs. 9 according to the KJV the mystery was unveiled, so as to cause "men" to see the mystery and the administrator of it, in vs. 10 it is also to the intent that "principalities and powers in heavenly places" might know that God's wisdom is manifested by various means.  In this age, Paul says, it is through the church God has made known his manifold wisdom.


Paul was faithful:  to his "heavenly vision" (Acts 26:16-19), and at the finish line of his earthly course we hear him say, "I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7).  And as Moses was the steward of tabernacle erection, making sure every detail was carefully arranged, there was a place for everything, and everything must be in its place.  The tabernacle being finished its administration and services was turned over to the Levites.

And so it was with Paul, his work finished, churches established the work of manifesting God's wisdom was now their responsibility.  In the light of properly functioning churches Paul could say, "I am now ready to be offered."


Vs. 10 "...principalities and powers in heavenly places...Ē this is a reference to heavenly angels which desire a greater comprehension of God's multi-sided grace.  The intermediate agency whereby this wisdom may be gained is the church, thus it is, the church becomes the school of learning for the holy angels.


Peter speaking of the gospel of grace and the things which relate to it says, "which things the angels desire to look into" (1 Pet. 1:12).  It is to the church that the holy angels look to discover the mystery of the church and its relationship to Christ.  God's grace issues forth in various ways, and is manifested in redemption, and providential care of the redeemed.  The richest of God's blessings which a redeemed person can experience on earth is to be added to the church which is the bride of Christ.


Angels will never be in the church as participants, but attend as spectators on the sideline.  They are passionately interested in the church, for it is by the medium of the church that angles are given broader dimensions of God's grace.

He (Paul) that hated Christ, and persecuted his followers unto death, is given an apostleship to the Gentiles from which the Lord would build His church, not exclusive of Jews, but primarily Gentiles.  From this innumerable host of saved Gentiles, who were formerly idol worshippers and utterly ignorant of the true God, a number has been elevated to bridal status, which is the very extreme of their previous condition.  The church is a reality, and the mystery of its existence which was locked up in God's secret counsels from before the ages is made known to those elected to be in the church.  Yet, the only answer we can give as to our being in the church, is, "even so, Father; for it seemed good in Thy sight."


The tabernacle's Holy of Holies contained the mercy seat upon which the cherubimís (an angelic order) of gold constantly looked.  It was upon this seat the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled.  While the blood being accepted of god made an atonement for all of Israel, it cannot be successfully denied that it had an added and special meaning to the Levites, for they were the tabernacle functionaries, and teachers in Israel.  And so it is, Christ's blood was shed for the elect family of God, but it purchased for the church a richer blessing than it did for the nation of Israel or the family of God.

This is what Paul meant when he says, to the Ephesians pastors, "...feed the church of god, which he hath purchased with his own blood."  and it is what he meant when he said, "...Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it" (Acts 20:28 & Eph. 5:25).


Christ died for all of the elect, but his death procured more for his bride than for any of the other people which the father gave Him.  To her it is granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white.  Her institutional gown will be spotless and blemishless, but not so with Israel, nor with any other organization, though it be made up of born again Christians.  In fact, there is not room but for one executive body, ecclesiastically speaking, during this age, and that body is the Lord's church.


Angels in attendance at the worship services of the church is one of the reasons Paul gives for women wearing a head covering in public worship.  Angels know the order of creation, and that the token of a woman's subjection to man is a head covering.  Angels are constantly in the service and employ of God, and happily so.  They are satisfied with the divine order and arrangement.  Their greatest delight is in pleasing their creator.


The angels as ministering spirits are represented in the assemblies of the church, and being conscious of this should constrain us from taking any undue liberty with divine things.  Our worship services should be designed so as to show reverence for God, and when a woman wears a head covering as a token of submission to her head, man, and her husband in particular, she is showing reverence for God.


Paul knowing angels are present in the official worship services, and knowing they without ceasing reverence God, and knowing that woman is to acknowledge the headship which God has given to man by wearing a head covering in the worship services, says, "for this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels" (1 Cor. 11:10).


Vs. 11 "according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."


God's purpose to reveal Himself through the church is eternal.  This purpose was not an afterthought of God resulting from Israelís failure, no, this purpose of God is eternal, ante-dating the ages.


Adam's sin did not pose a problem for God, for long ere Adam was created, Christ Jesus was crucified in the infinite counsels of God.  He was God's lamb, "from the foundation of the world."

Israel's failure posed no problem for god, for long ere there was an Israel on earth there was the church in the mind and eternal purpose of God.


The church is not an extension of ancient Israel.  Israel is an eternal and distinct body, separate from the church.

The church is not spiritual Israel, and the promises made to Israel by God cannot be made to apply to the church, Israel will be regathered to their own land from the four corners of the earth from whence they have been scattered,  and will once again be the chief nation among the nations of the earth.

The church will soon be gathered to her head and home in heaven.


God has not cast away Israel, "...hath God cast away His people? God forbid.  ...God hath not cast away his people which He foreknew..."  (Re. 11:1-2).  They have not been cast away, but Israel fell from her exalted position as God's executive body on earth, and she has been temporarily set aside.  But the time is soon when Israel will be grafted back into the true vine, and her glory will excel any she has heretofore known.


Yet, it is God's eternal purpose to give His church that most coveted position, the bride of Christ, and she shall sit at his right hand in the eternal age.


While the saved shall never perish, and Christ is their surety, all the saved are not in the church, be it further understood, that it takes more than regeneration, Baptist baptism, and observance of the Lord's supper to be in the bride in glory... Faithfulness is enjoined, and is essential for bridal status in glory.