This is part of my Exegetical Compilation series which I’m slllooowwwwly posting up here.
As I was picking up some important spares today, catching up my ExCom entries with my notes, I figured I might as well fill in a very interesting portion of Ephesians I hadn’t posted on yet.
Ephesians 3:7-11: one of the purposes of the church, and of St. Paul as a saint, in cooperation with the purpose of the ages which God the creator of all things brought about in Christ Jesus our Lord, is to make known the inimitable riches of Christ and the manifold wisdom of God, not only to the Gentiles (as well as the Jews), but even “to the rulers and authorities in the heavens”.
That these are paralleled with the Gentiles is evidence in itself that Paul is talking about rebel angels; but he also uses identical (though somewhat expanded) phraseolgy later in the same epistle chapter 6:12 when talking about our war against the world rulers of this (present) darkness, against the authorities and against the spirituals (in other words the spiritual authorities) of evil in the heavens.
Since the goal of making the inimitable riches of Christ known to Gentiles is to seek their salvation from sin, calling them to loyalty with the one and only God Most High, so the goal would be the same when making this known to the rulers and authorities in the heavens.
Notably, Paul says earlier in chapter 3 that this mystery in Christ was not made known previously to the sons of men as it has now (in Paul’s day) been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; but while he refers first to the inheritance of the Gentiles as fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of Christ, Paul writes elsewhere (such as to the Romans) that this was revealed plainly and often enough to Israel of old, but due to their hardness of heart Israel wouldn’t hear it.
Refusing to hear that we are supposed to be evangelizing even rebel angels to salvation, this being Paul’s example of the utter scope of evangelical outreach (in other words if the demons are included, the Gentiles could not possibly be excluded), would thus be parallel to Israel refusing to hear that Gentiles would be grafted into the promises of Israel.
As always, forum members are free to add to and discuss these verses in the comments below, pro or con, and also to link to other discussions of them on or off site.
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