Reposted from 2011:
Read Ephesians 3 at Bible Gateway.
By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; Eph 3:4-5
I am discovering that some of the objection people have to Paul, especially Jews or those who are learning to embrace the Hebraic roots of our faith, is that he claimed to have a revelation which was hidden in Old Testament times, or hidden to others. They say this is evidence that while Jesus and the disciples taught and continued to practice Biblical faith in God, Paul really went off on a rabbit trail and is responsible for starting a whole new religion (Christianity) that God never intended. I obviously do not believe this is true, but those of us who are witnesses need to be able to answer objections like these.
We know why God couched eternal truths and spiritual truths in mysteries. He said one thing to the serpent:
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Gen 3:15
And the enemy took that little bit of knowledge, and almost destroyed the human race in an effort to make the prophecy void. It was not man that God was hiding truth from, but it was the enemy. He was not going to give the enemy ammunition to use in attempting to thwart His purpose.
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 1 Cor 2:6-8
In fact, every fact which Paul asserts about the Messiah, His ministry, His grace, and the Gentiles, was first revealed in Torah, the first five books of the Bible that Moses wrote, then confirmed in the Prophets, only in ways that are not casually discerned. But they are revealed by the Spirit to anyone who studies and searches out God’s Word, treating it as precious treasure, as God entreats men to do from the beginning in the Old Testament.
Jesus said the same in several places.
“Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” Joh 5:45-47
And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Luk 24:25-27
Peter says the same, that what the prophets prophesied about, they desired to understand, but it was hidden from them, because it was not for them but for the time when the Messiah would be revealed:
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into. 1 Pet 1:10-12
Peter even indicates that the angels desired to understand the mystery, but even from them it was hidden.
Peter then goes on to call Paul’s writings, “Scripture,” showing that the apostles did not consider Paul an interloper who was trying to start something new, but someone called and anointed by God, who taught the same message which they themselves taught, and Jesus taught.
… and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 2 Pet 3:15-16
The mystery is that the Gentiles would be brought to salvation by the blood of the covenant – not through the door of the Abrahamic covenant, which required them to be his biological descendants, or through the door of the Mosaic covenant, which required them to convert to Judaism first, but through the door of the covenant made with the blood of Yeshua. The Gentiles would be included in fellowship with God, through the door of Israel, through the door of Israel’s Messiah.
(Furthermore, later covenants do not nullify earlier ones; the covenant made in the blood of Yeshua does not nullify the Mosaic or Abrahamic but builds upon it — the covenants of promise are no longer limited to biological descendants or Jews, but become open to Gentiles also.)
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, Eph 3:8
… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Eph 3:16-19
The riches of Christ, the riches of His glory, are twice mentioned in this chapter. Riches is in Greek, ploutos, meaning fulness of wealth, money, and possessions, or figuratively, abundance, richness, bestowment. In fact the riches which Christ has are unfathomable, or not able to be tracked or measured, so great as to be untraceable. Remember that the amount of bronze Solomon used in the Temple was so great it was impossible to count it? That is the extent of the wealth we are talking about. The richest man in the world, the richest countries in the world, even though their wealth is in the trillions of dollars, still it is not so great that it cannot be counted. But God, who is rich in mercy, so rich in mercy that it is impossible to approach the limit of its breadth, length, height, and depth; has out of that wealth given to all men generously.
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