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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Even the Angels Didn't Know

God's manifold wisdom.

Ephesians 3:8–13 (NKJV)

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

This passage contains something shocking – “the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” There’s something even the angels didn’t know until it was made known to them, and it was made known by the church. That something is the manifold wisdom of God. What in tarnation is Paul talking about here?

First of all, the Greek word translated as “manifold” (polupoikilos) means multi-faceted or variegated. In other words, God’s wisdom isn’t one-dimensional. It’s complex.

So, what’s the complexity that even the principalities and powers in the heavenly places didn’t know about? It’s the same thing Paul’s been talking about all along – the expansion of the covenant to the gentiles. But how is it that this was made known by the church? That’s where it unfolded, live.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. – Acts 10:44-45 (NKJV)

So, this adds another layer of impressiveness to the plan of salvation – even the angels didn’t see it coming. That leads to the conclusion of the passage.

Don’t have a cow about Paul’s imprisonment. Bigger things are afoot.

Obviously, we don’t need to not lose heart at [Paul’s] tribulations. So, what’s our takeaway? Is there something we need to not lose heart about?

No. Not if we ignore the persecuted church around the world. Here in our comfy chairs in the US, there’s nothing to not lose heart about.

But around the world Christians are kidnapped, enslaved, raped and murdered for their faith. We want to avert our eyes from this nightmare, but we owe it to them, and to our Lord, to get informed and to pray.

The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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