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Ephesians 3:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

That now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places - Who are these principalities and powers? Some think evil angels are intended, because they are thus denominated, Ephesians 6:12. Others think good angels are meant; for as these heavenly beings are curious to investigate the wondrous economy of the Gospel, though they are not its immediate objects, see 1 Peter 1:12, it is quite consistent with the goodness of God to give them that satisfaction which they require. And in this discovery of the Gospel plan of salvation, which reconciles things in heaven and things on earth - both men and angels, these pure spirits are greatly interested, and their praises to the Divine Being rendered much more abundant. Others imagine the Jewish rulers and rabbins are intended, particularly those of them who were converted to Christianity, and who had now learned from the preaching of the Gospel what, as Jews, they could never have known. I have had several opportunities of showing that this sort of phraseology is frequent among the Jews, and indeed not seldom used in the New Testament. Dr. Macknight, whose mode of arguing against this opinion is not well chosen, supposes that "the different orders of angels in heaven are intended, whose knowledge of God's dispensations must be as gradual as the dispensations themselves; consequently their knowledge of the manifold wisdom of God must have been greatly increased by the constitution of the Christian Church." Of this there can be no doubt, whether the terms in the text refer to them or not.

By the Church - That is, by the Christians and by the wonderful things done in the Church; and by the apostles, who were its pastors.

The manifold wisdom of God - Ἡ πολυποικιλος σοφια· That multifarious and greatly diversified wisdom of God; laying great and infinite plans, and accomplishing them by endless means, through the whole lapse of ages; making every occurrence subservient to the purposes of his infinite mercy and goodness. God's gracious design to save a lost world by Jesus Christ, could not be defeated by any cunning skill or malice of man or devils: whatever hinderances are thrown in the way, his wisdom and power can remove; and his infinite wisdom can never want ways or means to effect its gracious designs.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

To the intent - Greek, “that” Ἵνα HinaThe sense is, that it was with this design, or that this was the purpose for which all things were made. One grand purpose in the creation of the universe was, that the wisdom of God might be clearly shown by the church. It was not enough to evince it by the formation of the sun, the stars, the earth, the seas, the mountains, the floods. It was not enough to show it by the creation of intelligent beings, the formation of immortal minds on earth, and the various ranks of the angelic world. There were views of the divine character which could be obtained only in connection with the redemption of the world. Hence the universe was created, and man was made upon the earth, not merely to illustrate the divine perfections in the work of creation, but in a still more illustrious manner in the work of redemption. And hence the deep interest which the angelic hosts have ever evinced in the salvation of man.

That now - the word “now” - νυν nun- is missing in the Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic; and is omitted by many of the fathers; see Koppe. If it is to be retained, it means that this display is to be made under the gospel. “Now, since the Messiah is come; now, under the Christian dispensation, this revelation is to be made to distant worlds.”

Unto the principalities and powers - To the angelic hosts - the intelligent beings that surround the throne of God; see the notes at Ephesians 1:21.

By the church - By the incarnation of the Redeemer to save it; by I the mercy shown to it; by the wise arrangement made to recover his people from the fall; and by all the graces and beauties which that redeemed church will evince on earth and in heaven.

The manifold wisdom of God - Literally, “much-variegated.” It means the “greatly-diversified wisdom.” It does not mean merely that there was “great” wisdom, but that the wisdom shown was diversified and varied; like changing, Variegated colors. There was a “beautiful and well-ordered variety of dispensations” toward that church, all of which tended to evince the wisdom of God. It is like a landscape, or a panoramic view passing before the mind, with a great variety of phases and aspects, all tending to excite admiration. In the redemption of the church, there is not merely one form or one phase of wisdom. It is wisdom, ever-varying, ever-beautiful. There was wisdom manifested when the plan was formed; wisdom in the selection of the Redeemer; wisdom in the incarnation; wisdom in the atonement; wisdom in the means of renewing the heart, and sanctifying the soul; wisdom in the various dispensations by which the church is sanctified, guided, and brought to glory. The wisdom thus shown is like the ever-varying beauty of changing clouds, when the sun is reflected on them at evening. Each aspect is full of beauty. One bright; cloud differs in appearance from others; yet all tend to fill the mind with elevated views of God.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Those whom God advances to honourable employments, he makes low in their own eyes; and where God gives grace to be humble, there he gives all other needful grace. How highly he speaks of Jesus Christ; the unsearchable riches of Christ! Though many are not enriched with these riches; yet how great a favour to have them preached among us, and to have an offer of them! And if we are not enriched with them it is our own fault. The first creation, when God made all things out of nothing, and the new creation, whereby sinners are made new creatures by converting grace, are of God by Jesus Christ. His riches are as unsearchable and as sure as ever, yet while angels adore the wisdom of God in the redemption of his church, the ignorance of self-wise and carnal men deems the whole to be foolishness.
Ellen G. White
Education, 308

“The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Matthew 20:28. Christ's work below is His work above, and our reward for working with Him in this world will be the greater power and wider privilege of working with Him in the world to come. Ed 308.1

“Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.” Isaiah 43:12. This also we shall be in eternity. Ed 308.2

For what was the great controversy permitted to continue throughout the ages? Why was it that Satan's existence was not cut short at the outset of his rebellion? It was that the universe might be convinced of God's justice in His dealing with evil; that sin might receive eternal condemnation. In the plan of redemption there are heights and depths that eternity itself can never exhaust, marvels into which the angels desire to look. The redeemed only, of all created beings, have in their own experience known the actual conflict with sin; they have wrought with Christ, and, as even the angels could not do, have entered into the fellowship of His sufferings; will they have no testimony as to the science of redemption—nothing that will be of worth to unfallen beings? Ed 308.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 9

The church is God's appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God's plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places,” the final and full display of the love of God. Ephesians 3:10. AA 9.1

Many and wonderful are the promises recorded in the Scriptures regarding the church. “Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” Isaiah 56:7. “I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” “And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord God. And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 34:26, 29-31. AA 9.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 367.1

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:10, 11. TMK 367.1

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 366.4

Before Him who ruleth in the heavens the mysteries of the past and future are alike outspread, and God sees beyond the woe and darkness and ruin that sin has wrought, the outworking of His purpose of love and blessing. Though clouds and darkness are round about Him, yet righteousness and judgment are the foundation of His throne.... Through the plan of salvation a larger purpose is to be wrought out even than the salvation of man and the redemption of the earth. Through the revelation of the character of God in Christ, the beneficence of the divine government would be manifested before the universe, the charge of Satan refuted, the nature and result of sin made plain, and the perpetuity of the law fully demonstrated.32 TMK 366.4

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