What is Ephesians 3:10-11 about?
Answer: Ephesians 3:9, 10-11 is used to illuminate the unfathomable majesty and omniscience of God in the revelation of Christ.
- Ephesians 3:8-12: "To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him."
Although there are signposts (everywhere) that we might look back on with 20/20 hindsight, the mystery of salvation in Christ was often misconstrued or incomprehensible to the most scholarly O/T luminaries. It will be remembered that sacrifices extended back to the days of Abel and Cain, and almost certainly to Adam and Eve (post-Fall) as well. Naturally, all of these pointed to salvation in Christ.
The reason for this, as we now understand, is that ALL sacrifices looked forward to the ultimate Sacrifice of God Himself in the Person of Christ. We might understand the need for "God's death" from the Letter to the Hebrews:
Hebrews 9:16: "For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it."
The Law of Moses was fulfilled in Jesus. Spiritually, as God, Christ could do this because He possessed a material body, one that was (voluntarily) subject to death. Thus, in the economy of God, the Law of Christ would now become the means of our N/T salvation. However, this was not foreseen (discernably) in the covenant of Moses, or in other covenants such as that with Noah, Adam, and so forth.
In fact, it appears that God's Plan was unforeseen by many, if not all, the angels themselves:
1 Peter 1:12: "It was revealed to [the 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" (emphasis added).
The reference in Ephesians 3:10: "[So] that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places" might actually have two meanings.
First, it might symbolically refer to those of great authority in the world, that is, earthly kings and majesties who have elevated their own stature to their destruction. Of course, there is one authority on earth that is not of human origin: Satan. It should come as little surprise to the Accuser that God's intellect is well beyond imagination, and it may be to this that the verses are referring.
This leads to the second possibility, one which will undoubtedly be more palatable to some. We see that even the angelic host of heaven were not aware of the full counsel and wisdom of God (1 Pet. 1:12). Everything to be known would progressively be revealed in the New Covenant of Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Something we should understand in this vein is this: demons — the lost, etc. would never need further degradation through some divine act of humiliation. After all, God has ordered us to love our enemies. What that means is that we must pity them because of their profound loss. Further, it is beneath the dignity of the faithful to do otherwise. Spirits in prison are desperately aware of their circumstances and need no further instruction or disgraces heaped upon them at all; eternal torture in the fires of Hell is sufficient. (That is also why it is absurd to believe that Christ preached to the lost. For what possible purpose?)
God's sovereign grandeur is on full display throughout Scripture, and Ephesians 3:9-11 is a stark reminder of that fact.