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Ponce Leon Ministries: Declaring the Victory of the Cross, Kingdom ...

Paul tells us that “the principalities and powers” are also involved in this great secret. God is “educating” the angels by means of the church! By “the principalities and powers,” Paul means the angelic beings created by God, both good and evil. Angels are created beings and are not omniscient. In fact, Peter indicates that during the Old Testament period, the angels were curious about God’s plan of salvation then being worked out on earth. Certainly, the angels rejoice at the repentance of a lost sinner; and Paul suggests that the angels watch the activities of the local assembly. “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels,” Paul writes (1 Cor. 4:9).

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But there is another facet to this truth that must be explored. What are the evil angels learning from God’s “mystery”? That their leader, Satan, does not have any wisdom!

  • Satan knows the Bible, and he understood from the Old Testament Scriptures that the Savior would come, when He would come, how He would come, and where He would come.
  • Satan also understood why He would come, as far as redemption is concerned.
  • But nowhere in the Old Testament would Satan find any prophecies concerning the church, “the mystery” of Jews and Gentiles united in one body!

Satan could see unbelieving Jews rejecting their Messiah, and he could see Gentiles trusting the Messiah, but he could not see both believing Jews and Gentiles united in one body, seated with the Messiah in the heavenlies, and completely victorious over Satan! Had Satan known the far-reaching results of the Cross, no doubt he would have altered his plans accordingly.

God hid this great plan “from the beginning of the world,” but now He wants “the mystery” to be known by His church. And this is why He made Paul a “steward” of this great truth. Ephesians 3:9 should read, “And to make all men see what is the stewardship of the mystery.” Here is an amazing truth: Now all believers are to be faithful stewards of this great truth! This “sacred secret” that was so important to Paul, and to the Gentiles, and to angels, is now in our hands!

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of the Messiah [Christ], and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in the Messiah Jesus our Master [Lord], in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So, I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

ESV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ephesians 3:7–13

  • Matthew 16:18 — 18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
  • Ephesians 6:12 — 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
  • 1 John 2:14 — 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Source: Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 28–29.