THE MYSTERY OF MESSIAH

Eph 3:4-11

v. 4   Paul received a revelation from God which gave him insight and understanding of the mystery of Messiah beyond what others received. (Even Peter and the other apostles acknowledged Paul’s special wisdom).

v. 5   This mystery now revealed to him was something new and different than what had ever been revealed before.  It had been a secret with God alone until then, which no one could even think or imagine about; even the clues fall short of the actual revelation of the church.
         –Through Paul, the other apostles and prophets (2:20; Acts 15:32) –disciples– understood by faith (Heb. 11:3) the personal revelation given to Paul of the mysteries which distinguish the Christian faith.  They are not known or understood by people at large in the world at this  present time.

v. 6   There are three elements of this mystery of Messiah:
         1. that gentile believers should be joint heirs on equal terms with Jewish believers
             –in O.T. there are blessings for nations and the world, but only secondarily compared to the Jews and to Israel; there is no joint and equal inheritance, but rather a head-and-tail analogy
             –the inheritance for believers is also different in that we are heirs in and with Christ.  We share an inheritance above and beyond what the O.T. promises to its saints –or at least to what was revealed to them to be understood in their time– yet is theirs also with us whose faith has been in God the Creator’s word and promise regarding His Redeemer and Savior.

          2. that gentile believers should be a joint body (2:16) with Jewish believers
             –in O.T. there were native Israelis, and strangers who joined themselves to the people and the God of Israel –but who nonetheless remained of lesser status (God-fearers; keepers of the Noachic commandments)
             –a living body, not just a pluralistic nation, joined to its Head based upon new birth and an exalted Son of Man in Heaven        

         3. that gentiles and Jews are joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus by the gospel
             –under O.T. expectations, Messiah to be King and Lord of His people, who otherwise have no part in Christ
             –not identified with Him previously as Messianics/Christians as we now are who believe (Is. 65:14-15)
                –this promise in Christ was therefore not revealed before –not to Israel and certainly not to Jews and gentiles equally
               –a promise in that its fulfillment is still future, though now it is apprehended by faith in God’s Word

v. 7   Of this gospel Paul became a minister by the effective working of God’s power according to the gift of the grace of God given to him
         –power of God needed to be a faithful servant of Christ –a prisoner– for such a revelation of this mystery to be taught and lived and demonstrated so as to bring true believers together in love in Christ, to the praise of His glory
         –this gospel is still not fully apprehended today by believers, and is under continuous attack

v. 8   the unsearchable riches of Christ preached amongst the gentiles by the grace of God
         —unsearchable: that which can not be understood; known, but surpassing all comprehension

v. 9   fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of time has been hid in God (Col. 1:25-27)

v. 10 now made known unto principalities and powers in the heavenlies –both angelic and powers of darkness (1 Pet. 1:12; Eph. 6:12)
         –through the church, the Bride of Messiah, is revealed the manifold wisdom of God (Rom.11:33)

v. 11 eternal purpose of God in Jesus displayed here on the Earth from Jerusalem, Israel (1:4,11)