Ephesians 1:9-10

"...he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth". ESV; my emphasis.

A. Does this mean, to unite all things which are already "in him", but separate, as some are in heaven and some on the earth.

B. Or, to unite all things into Christ's headship including those things which are not "in Christ".

Acts 2:34-35

"...Sit at my right hand , until I make your enemies your footstool".

The footstool being not "in Christ".

  • To avoid the heresy of pantheism, (B) is the only option.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 23:41

2 Answers 2


Ephesians 1:9 speaks of this “to unite all things” as a mystery. The Greek scholar A.T. Robinson said the Greek word “MUSTERION,” translated “mystery” here, means “something that could not be known by men except by divine revelation, but that, though once hidden, has now been revealed in Christ and is to be proclaimed so that all who have ears may hear it” (Handbook to Ephesians, p. 19).

The specific mystery that Paul was speaking about is explained in the next verse (Ephesians 1:10). The truths of God are mysterious only to those who do not soften their hearts (Mark 8:17) by seeking God with their whole hearts. As Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

The truths of God are hidden for His children, not from them (Matthew 13:11). The Holy Spirit has been instructed to teach us all things (John 14:26) and has given us an unction so that we know all things (1 John 2:20). We only have to appropriate what is ours (1 Corinthians 2:16).

A dispensation is simply a period of time during which God deals with mankind in a certain way. Some scholars have designated seven different dispensations of God’s dealings with mankind (1 Corinthians 9:17). The two dominant dispensations in Scripture are the dispensation of Law and the dispensation of grace, or as some call it, the “church age,” in which we now live (Luke 16:16).

Here, Paul was speaking about the end of this dispensation of grace, or the Millennium, when Christ will rule supreme over all.

The New International Reader’s Version translates Ephesians 1:9-10 as “He showed us the mystery of his plan. It was in keeping with what he wanted to do. It was what he had planned through Christ. It will all come about when history has been completed. God will then bring together all things in heaven and on earth under one ruler. The ruler is Christ.” Today’s English Version translates the end of Ephesians 1:10 as “to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.”

These translations are in keeping with what Paul was saying because the phrase “gather together in one” comes from one compound Greek word that means “to sum up” (Strong’s Concordance). The last part of this Greek word “ANAKEPHALAIOMAI,” “KEPHALAIOMAI,” is derived from the word “KEPHALE.” KEPHALE means “the head” (Strong’s Concordance).

The thought is that God is bringing everything together under the headship or Lordship of Jesus. That has always been God’s purpose and plan, and it will be accomplished. Those who do not make Jesus Christ preeminent and Lord over their lives are entirely out of focus with the eternal purpose of God.

The things that God will bring together and subjugate under Christ are not spelled out for us, but certainly, they include angels and man, as well as the government of heaven and the government of earth. All of these will be ruled by Christ from one throne. We will live together with all of God’s creation (angels included) on the new earth (Mark 12:25).

  • +1. But you say, 'We will live together" -Can you make it clearer if "we" includes His "enemies"? ["enemies His footstool"].
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 15:11

Op's question:

A. Does this mean, to unite all things which are already "in him", but separate, as some are in heaven and some on the earth. B. Or, to unite all things into Christ's headship including those things which are not "in Christ".

Great question. Basically it boils down to are ALL things going to end up being in Christ where uniting things on heaven and earth can even take place.

having made known to us the secret of His will, according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself,
In regard to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth — in him;

First of all we have to see that this is a secret or mystery that has never been revealed until Paul writes these words.

3466 mystḗrion (the root of the English term, "mystery") – mystery. In the Bible, a "mystery" (3466 /mystḗrion) is not something unknowable. Rather, it is what can only be known through revelation, i.e. because God reveals it.

This is going to give God great pleasure to see this happen because he purposed it in Himself.

This word purpose is used only three other times in the New Testament.

◄ 4388. protithémi ► Strong's Concordance protithémi: to set before, Original Word: προτίθεμαι Part of Speech: Verb to set before, propose Usage: I purpose, design beforehand, determine.

Cognate: 4388 protíthemai (from 4253 /pró, "towards" and 5087 /títhēmi, "to place, set") – properly, to place before, setting forth in advance to achieve a particular purpose. [4388 /protíthemai ("to purpose") is the root of 4286 /próthesis ("God's providence, eternal purpose)

This is going to give him a great pleasure to do this. It is something that he purposed in Himself.

This is what He purposed:

with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages]—to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth.

This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.

in regard to the dispensation of the fullness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth—in

Pulling from a few other scriptures might shed meaning to that.

Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Colossians 1:16 For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Colossians 1:20 and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross.

Scripture shows is that everything was created through him and for him and he's going to reconcile ALL things.

Things in the heavenly realm need to be reconciled to him as well. That's where this administration that is brought to light in the book of Ephesians will have a big part in this heading up. The grace that was bestowed on someone who believes now, had been called out for a purpose to be part of Christ 's body heading up those in the celestial realm where we have all of our celestial blessings.

In all wisdom and insight 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 fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth (Ephesians 1:8

As unflattering as it may be to the human ego, the coming of Christ was not only to save men from their sins. According to Ephesians, man’s salvation is not the ultimate purpose of the coming of Christ. God’s eternal purpose is the “summing up of all things in Christ.”

This happened because he made known to us the once hidden but now revealed secret of his will, for so it was his good pleasure to do. The secret was a purpose which he formed in his own mind before time began, so that the periods of time should be controlled and administered until they reached their full development, a development in which all things, in heaven and upon earth, are gathered into one in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:8-10, Barclay’s paraphrase).21

The purpose of God in history is to bring glory to Himself by bringing all of creation under the headship (the authority and rule) of Christ.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

and when ALL things have been subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will be made subject to Him who put all things under Him, so that God may be ALL in ALL.

In Christ, Everything is perfect, and makes it possible for God to fill each creature with Himself!!!!

Could it be that this is what Christ was looking forward to on the cross?

  • You say,'he's going to reconcile all things'. That could be to reconcile all things to his headship/kephale. e.g. things under the earth will bow to him not because they are saved but in submission. see Philippians 2:10. Do you agree?
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 15:28
  • @C.Stroud, Christ descended from the highest to the lowest place in obedience in order to glorify God, His Father. and every tongue may confess that Jesus Christ [is] LORD, to the glory of God the Father. This would not bring glory to God to have creatures say this under false pretense . This will not be a forced submission like Hitler did out of fear but will be out of praise. Through all the rebellions, ages, judgments, the whole universe everything will be reconciled to God because of Christ's cross. His whole creation.
    – Sherrie
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 22:33
  • Everything that has been lost will have been found and reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ. Nothing will be lost. All will come to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and in doing will bring Glory to God the Father!
    – Sherrie
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 22:33

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