1. Thus they had to acknowledge that he was an apostle on equal terms with them. He was Caesar's prisoner. "You have broken with all that.  Remarkably, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, through the following six references, reveals such knowledge which would have remained unknown otherwise. God had committed a certain responsibility to him. Ah, but in the realm of the Spirit the breakthrough has already occurred. If you and I had been in Rome with Paul as he wrote this letter, and could have stood in the room of the hired house where he was living, chained day and night to a Roman soldier, and watched as he dictated to his amanuensis, his secretary, watched him as he paced the floor, perhaps, with the soldier having to walk along with him, stopping now and then to make corrections, we would have understood something of Paul's concern for the recipients of this letter. And there is much yet to be learned, even in this realm. "A people who sat in darkness saw a great light," (Isaiah 9:2 RSV).  Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago: They died in hope, but that hope was not very well defined. We are being swamped by our own inventions. The word mystery occurs about twenty-eight times in the New Testament, twenty-one of which are found in Paul’s writings (six in Ephesians). Jewish scruples and prejudices were terribly offended by the fact that Paul had the nerve, the effrontery, to say to the Jews that the Gentiles were received by God equally as they, that the Gentiles could have equal standing before him. This is why the ecological problems of today are unsolvable. Paul speaks of the Father's Plan for Salvation (Ephesians 1:3-6), that he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Christ. The promise was of the giving of the Holy Spirit -- that God's Spirit himself would live in us, and empower us to do everything God wants us to do. Therefore, he never saw himself as being the prisoner of Caesar. (1 Corinthians 4:1 RSV). (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1993), 622. But I pray that God will open the eyes of your understanding, that you will see how fantastic is this great mystery, and how important it is to understand it thoroughly, and to enter into it. Paul tells us that, “beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great.” Then he records what may be an early hymn of the church: “He [Jesus] appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). In verse 2 Paul refers to his ministry to the Ephesians. It is the only hope you will ever have of living according to the glory God designed for man when he created him in the beginning. In Christ, God is beginning a new creation, one that lives by a wholly different principle and is not subject to this law. My name is Thomas Overmiller. There is the mystery: The first thing he says about it is that it has been hidden in the past. In fact, perhaps the best definition of this word mystery is Paul… 2:15-16). And he sums it up in these words: "the mystery of Christ" -- Jesus Christ, at the heart of all things. He had been arrested because he was charged by the Jews with sedition, or treason, against the emperor. This is a tremendous lesson to us, who sometimes become worried and anxious about what the political powers-that-be are doing in the world today. In Christ there is no longer any distinction. But, as we have already seen, it was the Lord Jesus who began to unveil it. Particularly in Ephesians chapter 3, he speaks of the mystery that has been revealed. a. Ephesians The Aramaic word so translated is raz which according to the Brown, Driver and Briggs Lexicon is a Persian loan word and is to be translated "secret." But they didn't know what kind of life, what it would be like. Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand This is Paul's explanation of the great mystery. God revealed this mystery to Paul and to other apostles and prophets as well (Eph 3:5), who would reveal it to the church (3:3). What is the "great mystery" that the apostle Paul refers? And the book of Hebrews tells us that we do not yet see all things subject to Christ, but we do see Jesus, the One who has been made heir of all things, and in him we share that heirship, so that one day all things subject to this new law will be ours. The first is that he was a prisoner on behalf of the Gentiles. As we saw in Ep 1:3-14 2. And here he makes up three words which you find nowhere else in the Greek New Testament. There is no way we can break through this law. The whole experience of life is transformed, right now. I have already written to you briefly about this. Also, try to pick out the word “mystery” in these verses and see how Paul is defining this term. You may live your life as a member of the new creation -- in the midst of the old, but not part of it any more -- "no longer strangers, no longer foreigners," says the apostle. 2010), 194. Hoehner says, “Paul’s mission [had] no place for secrecy; it [was] to be openly shared.” In doing so, he shared something that had been hidden from previous generations entirely. The Mystery of His Will—Ephesians 1:9-10 Juli Camarin March 24, 2015 Ephesians 1. There are a few references -- just enough to teach the truth, so that the Old Testament believers knew there was life beyond death. In verses 3-6 Paul again talks about the “mystery of Christ”. But it isn't over. This is what Christmas is all about. But Paul says that in Christ the breakthrough has occurred. They could not understand why the mighty apostle had to be a prisoner -- limited, unable to come to them in their need as a growing young church -- and why all communication with him had to be by correspondence. Paul wrote Ephesians as a rough draft for Colossians, but it was mistakenly inserted into the collection of Paul's letters. God understands us so thoroughly that he has hidden mystery in everything in life. Paul's letter called "Ephesians" emphasizes. Two other passages in the New Testament use the word in this sense, Colossians 1:24-29 and Rom. And he recognizes that they were written on behalf of the Gentiles. He saw him as John did in the book of Revelation -- as sitting on his throne, holding the reins of government in his hands. In Chapter 1, Verses 9-10, he says, For he [God the Father] has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. God commissioned him. They had been listening carefully to him as he spoke of his conversion, of how he had been called by God, until he stated that he had been sent out unto the Gentiles. Do not forget that the reason Paul was charged by the Jews with sedition against the emperor was because they were so angry that he would carry any message from God to the Gentiles. Ralph P. Martin and But when people began to operate on its basis, even though they didn't fully understand it, they began to change the world. Two other passages in the New Testament use the word in this sense, Colossians 1:24-29 and Rom. He saw that Caesar was not the one who had the final say about him; Jesus did. And you are either a part of the new creation, or you are a part of the old; one or the other, but never both. This is a great parable that God teaches us in nature. In fact, Paul’s point at the end of this passage is to compare human marriages to the relationship between our Savior Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church. Paul wrote the Ephesians in Ephesians 1.9-10: 9 He made known to us the mystery [secret] of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is , the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. Finally, the apostle touches the matter of power: "partakers of the promise." “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.” (1:9-10) This insight into God’s eternal redemptive plan had never been disclosed before. This was hidden from them. But God has a program for a caterpillar. Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 1215. In the realm of performance this is already true. 2010), 188. Amen. One day there will be a reversal of the law of decay, and all things will begin to pick up energy again and be renewed, revitalized, in tremendously increasing degree. Think of this! So he invents new ones. © 2018 - ShepherdThoughts.com. The quantum theory, upon which much of modern physics is based, and which has unleashed the whole realm of nuclear fission, has at its heart, say the physicists, a principle of indeterminism, a hidden principle. When Paul spoke to the Jewish mob in his own defense, after he was arrested in the temple courts, the thing which triggered their renewed ire was the word Gentile in his message. Therefore, he requested prayer from the Ephesian believers that he would discharge his mission with clarity and confidence. The cocoon is the old creation, and in the midst of it the new is taking shape. He understood everything they did, knew everything Jesus had taught them in the days of his flesh. 4 By reading my letters you will understand the mystery of Christ as I do” (Ephesians 3:1-4). It has already begun. And even then he had not fully revealed this mystery. The words apply to the type, as well as to the Antitype. His first statement is this: "I am a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles -- ." Ephesians 5:32, KJV: "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." THE MYSTERY WAS REVEALED EXCLUSIVELY TO PAUL, THE PRISONER. The “mystery” of Colossians 1:27 is explained in the two previous verses.  In fact, he “goes beyond analogy” by claiming “we are (ἐσμέν) members of [Christ’s] body (Eph 5:30).” This underscores the profound spiritual closeness and union we share with Christ and one another in the church. writings (Rom 11:25; 16:25; 1 Cor 2:7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; Eph 1:9; 3:3-4, 3: 1). It is The Second Law of Thermodynamics, if you want the scientific term for it, the law of entropy. Well, in those three terms you have the answers to the greatest struggles with which we humans are engaged today: "Joint-heirs" has to do with possessions. Why can't we get along with one another? In the closing verses of Romans 16 there is a very clear statement on the unveiling of this mystery: Now to him who is able to strengthen you, according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings [i.e., the Scriptures] is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith -- to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! And the effects of it can be felt in our relationships with others, in our attitudes within, in our treatment of the environment around, in our enjoyment of the world of nature which is already present around us, and ultimately, in the power of the Holy Spirit imparted to us to make us live as we ought to live, in the fullness of joy and peace and life and glory and rejoicing before God. As Paul came to understand the One whom he served, he knew that Jesus is in control of history. The internal evidence in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Philemon designate that they were the Apostle’s writings while he was a “prisoner of Jesus Christ.” Paul also states that he is a prisoner for you Gentiles” (Eph. That is the brief statement he had written to these Ephesian Christians, and to which he refers. In this expositional study of Ephesians 1:9, Nathan Johnson gives an overview of how Paul talks about the “mystery” in Scripture and then gives clarity as to what it is and how knowing and living in the reality of this mystery will change our lives – for this mystery is … "That you'll die, that you'll come to the end, that somehow all your old life as a caterpillar will decay and you will be left lifeless and dead, in a cocoon of your own spinning, hanging on a limb, and apparently it will all be over." Shepherd Thoughts is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. And I wonder if sometime the Lord isn't going to lock me up to give me a chance to write some of the things he has laid on my heart. May God help us to make it personal in our own lives. So he begins to bring it in ahead of time. This union together with Christ would be profoundly intimate and widely publicized. That is, great men of God in the Old Testament did not understand this mystery.  This union would occur through the redemptive work of Christ and encompass the spiritual world. That is, "You can understand that I have great grasp and understanding of what this mystery is, that it is really the secret of all things, touching everything in life.  Arthur G. Patzia, “Mystery,” ed. He tells us very plainly in his letter to the Galatians that when he was converted on that Damascus road, "I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ," (Galatians 1:12 RSV). What was the ministry?  Apart from Paul making this connection, we would never have considered it. This mystery has now been revealed through Jesus Christ: we are all one body. 5. Who carries and delivers the letter to the Ephesians? The key mystery is Christ, says the apostle. Scholars are not exactly sure what he meant by that. He runs out of language, is unable to put what he wants to say into the words at his disposal. Therefore, live life as members of a new race," is his exhortation. There are those who tell us that the Apostle Paul learned his gospel from the other apostles, who in turn had heard it from Jesus, and that, therefore, Paul's apostleship is somewhat less than theirs. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. [/q] This law states that energy is becoming less available, everything is running down, deteriorating. Paul discusses a “mystery” four times in Ephesians. So it is obvious, from what the apostle says here in Ephesians, that God needed to prepare human beings for the unfolding of this secret. (Matthew 13:34 RSV). But personally I think it is a reference to what he has written previously in this letter. What is interesting is that the word "mystery," in Paul's writings, occurs in close proximity to the word "stewardship" that Paul used in verse 2. It states that we never can discover fully the truth about anything; there is an element of hidden information about every subject we go into. 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. This may seem like old stuff to you, for unfortunately these words have come so frequently to our ears that we've lost the impact of them. Here was a man who spoke with direct authority, commissioned by the Lord Jesus himself. But it has now been revealed, Paul says, "to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."  This study will explore the meaning and significance of this concept in Ephesians. And God understands this. It cannot see very far, and doesn't know which turn to take. Ephesians 3:9 Context. The word mystery occurs about twenty-eight times in the New Testament, twenty-one of which are found in Paul’s writings (six in Ephesians). I'm glad the Revised Standard Version translates this word stewardship instead of dispensation, for dispensation is often misunderstood in our day. Paul in Ephesians 6:18b-20 (ESV) writes: [q] To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Why don't they run around on four legs? Paul reveals a profound (“great”) correlation between the intimate union of a husband and wife and the union of Christ with the church (cf. 1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—. Some feel that he had written another letter before this, which had explained much of this mystery. The words apply to the type, as well as to the Antitype. We struggle constantly trying to understand what are the great realities they represent. None of us can help but be aware that this is an extremely troubled time in which we are living: We do not know how to solve the problems which are overwhelming us. As Paul looks back upon these great men of the past -- Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others -- he says that though they understood much, though they looked into the future far beyond our own day and God showed them what the end of all things would be, nevertheless they did not understand this mystery. It revealed that God, through Christ, would join believing Jews and Gentiles into a new spiritual entity called the church. It will also show all people that the gospel of Christ is the means of genuine ethnic and social reconciliation. It consistently refers to something previously concealed but presently revealed. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Thanks for asking! Ephesians 5:32 (NASB) This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. What is he talking about? Sometimes it is difficult for those who do not read Greek to see how Paul builds his letters. Christ would be like Paul am the prisoner of Caesar, but we do know! Is an apt description of the Gentiles Paul had written to these Ephesian Christians, and joint-partakers 16 ] this... The basis of this mystery ; Ephesians 2:11-22 ) and even then he saw that Caesar was not in ;! 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