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Ephesians 3:5-6


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Heavenly Father,


I do not know what to expect from todays reading of Your Word, but I ask Father, the life, the answers, the direction, the knowledge...all that You have hidden here, would be revealed and applied to our hearts and minds.


Teach us Father, who we are in Christ, how to stand in that position, so that ultimately the glory and honor will be Yours...


5.Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;


Calvin states, "Which in other ages was not made known. He had simply called it a mystery, but now calls it a mystery of Christ, because it was necessary that it should remain hidden, until it was revealed by his coming; just as the appellation of “prophecies of Christ” may be given to those which relate to his kingdom. We must first explain the word mystery, and then inquire why it is said to have remained unknown in all ages. The mystery was,


“that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”

(Verse 6.)


When this name is given to the gospel, it has other meanings, which do not apply to the present passage. The calling of the Gentiles, then, was a “mystery of Christ;” that is, it was to be fulfilled under the reign of Christ.


But why does he affirm that it was not known, when it had been the subject of so many predictions? The prophets everywhere declare, that people shall come from every nation in the world, to worship God; that an altar shall be erected both in Assyria and in Egypt, and that all alike shall speak the language of Canaan. (Isaiah 19:18.) It is intimated by these words, that the worship of the true God, and the same profession of faith, will be everywhere diffused. Of the Messiah it is predicted, that he shall have dominion from east to west, and that all nations shall serve him. (Psalm 72:8,11.) We see also, that many passages to this purpose are quoted by the apostles, not only from the later prophets, but from Moses. How could that be hidden which had been proclaimed by so many heralds? Why are all without exception pronounced to have been in ignorance? Shall we say, that the prophets spake what they did not understand, and uttered sounds without meaning?


I answer, the words of Paul must not be understood to mean that there had been no knowledge at all on these subjects. There had always been some of the Jewish nation who acknowledged that, at the advent of the Messiah, the grace of God would be proclaimed throughout the whole world, and who looked forward to the renovation of the human race. The prophets themselves, though they spoke with the certainty of revelation, left the time and manner undetermined. They knew that some communication of the grace of God would be made to the Gentiles, but at what time, in what manner, and by what means it should be accomplished, they had no information whatever. This ignorance was exemplified in a remarkable way by the apostles. They had not only been instructed by the predictions of the prophets, but had heard the distinct statement of their Master, (John 10:16,)


“Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold and one shepherd;”


and yet the novelty of the subject prevented them from understanding it fully. Nay, after they had received the injunction,


“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15,)




“Ye shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth,” (Acts 1:8,)


they dreaded and recoiled from the calling of the Gentiles as a proposal absolutely monstrous, because the manner of its accomplishment was still unknown. Before the actual event arrived, they had dark and confused apprehensions of our Savior’s words; for ceremonies were


“a vail over their face, that they could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.” (2 Corinthians 3:13.)


With unquestionable propriety, therefore, does Paul call this a mystery, and say, that it had been hidden; for the repeal of the ceremonial law, which admitted them within the vail, was not understood.


As it is now revealed. To lay claim to information which none of the patriarchs, prophets, or holy kings, had possessed, might wear the aspect of arrogance. To guard against this imputation, Paul reminds them, first, that in this respect he was not alone, but shared the revelation with the most eminent teachers of the church; and, secondly, that it was the gift of the Holy Spirit, who has a right to bestow it on whom he pleases; for there is no other limit of our knowledge but that which he assigns to us.


These few words, as it is now revealed, throw additional light on the admission of the Gentiles to be the people of God. It is on the condition that they shall be placed on a level with the Jews, and form one body. That the novelty might give no offense, he states that this must be accomplished by the gospel. (Ephesians 3:6.) Now, the gospel was itself a novelty; for it had never till now been heard of, and yet was acknowledged by all the godly to have come from heaven. Where, then, was the wonder, if, in renewing the world, God should follow an unwonted method?


It's interesting to read the great struggle that Israel had with accepting the Gentiles under the, as Calvin says, new novelty of "The Gospel"...


It makes me wonder about the obvious intense repulsion that the jews had for the gentiles. And although, as he said, it was foretold over the centuries, or at least alluded to, that no one knew exactly how it would all unfold.


God's provision in the death/burial/ressurection of Jesus, is undoubtely the final word. What more could the Father give, to attone for OUR sins (obviously He is sinless) that would refute any philisophical or theological disagreement from His original people.


It's touching how carefully Paul worked to write these words. With his background and knowledge, he understood the opposition's arguments and through the Spirit of the Living God, was given precisely the exact words that he would need to communicate the new Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Clarke comments, "Which in other ages was not made known] That the calling of the Gentiles was made known by the prophets in different ages of the Jewish Church is exceedingly clear; but it certainly was not made known in that clear and precise manner in which it was now revealed by the Spirit unto the ministers of the New Testament: nor was it made known unto them at all, that the Gentiles should find salvation without coming under the yoke of the Mosaic law, and that the Jews themselves should be freed from that yoke of bondage; these were discoveries totally new, and now revealed for the first time by the Spirit of God.


I can imagine the Jewish nation's shock over these new revelations lol...we all tend to be creatures of habit and can get quite territorial over that which we think is 'all mine'.


Wesley further supports the above commentaries by stating, "Which in other - In former, ages was not so clearly or fully made known to the sons of men - To any man, no, not to Ezekiel, so often styled, "son of man;" nor to any of the ancient prophets. Those here spoken of are New Testament prophets.


That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.


Calvin has no specific commentary on this verse, but is probably addressed in part, in his commentary on verse 5.


Clarke states, "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs] This is the substance of that mystery which had been hidden from all ages, and which was now made known to the New Testament apostles and prophets, and more particularly to St. Paul.


His promise in Christ] That the promise made to Abraham extended to the Gentiles, the apostle has largely proved in his Epistle to the Romans; and that it was to be fulfilled to them by and through Christ, he proves there also; and particularly in his Epistle to the Galatians, see Gal. iii. 14. And that these blessings were to be announced in the preaching of the Gospel, and received on believing it, he every where declares, but more especially in this epistle."


I liked what Clarke said when he stated, "And that these blessings were to be announced in the preaching of the Gospel, and received on BELIEVING IT...."


God revealed completely the 'mystery' in Christ, and all we have to do is believe it.


There's just something deeply profound in that simple statement.


Wesley just reiterates and confirms the above by, "That the gentiles are joint-heirs - Of God. And of the same body - Under Christ the head. And joint-partakers of his promise - The communion of the Holy Ghost."


Heavenly Father,


I just love You so much. I need You, I want You and sometimes I just feel that that alone, would be enough.


I do believe, I do accept, but I'll never be successful with any of it, outside of You. Thank You for Your hands that hold on tightly when I run...thank You for that tenderness, gentleness and Holy love that binds me and keeps me whole when for all intents and purposes, it sometimes feels about over.


Teach us who we are in You. Show us how to stand in You. Birth in us the knowledge we need to fight that, which we cannot see. You are the Holy One, You already fought a battle that is over, but that keeps raging on with its lies and deceptions, trying to convince us that all is lost. There is power in Your Word though, and just as Christ used that to defeat the enemy when tempted, teach us how to use YOUR Word to maintain the ground that has already been given us, but that the enemy is always always always, trying to take back.


Our lives are Your ground, You own it, You are Lord over it, so protect it Father, till the final battle is done, and we are finally in Your presence where You reside, in eternity.


In Jesus Name,

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It makes me wonder about the obvious intense repulsion that the jews had for the gentiles. And although, as he said, it was foretold over the centuries, or at least alluded to, that no one knew exactly how it would all unfold.



This is the passage that really catches my attention. What comes to mind is Jonah's assignment to go to Nineveh. He did everything he could to avoid it and literally run from it. And yet, God had His way in and through Jonah and Nineveh (the whole huge city) repented. Jonah hated the Ninevites for past acts of war that led to great bitterness. And God had His way.

The other scripture that comes to mind is from Is 11. It's in the part right after the 'righteous reign of the Branch' prophecy and describes a 'restored remnant'. Notice, it's a remnant. In verse 13 He says 'Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, and Judah will not harass Ephraim'. Then it goes on to talk about the two as one conquering 'together' and possessing lands they didn't even desire.

Lord, we look to the end of the jealousy of Ephraim and the end of the provocation of Judah by Your Hand.

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this today. And such ARE the mysteries of our great God.

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