By Stan Brown
Ephesians 3:10 in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
The purpose of Paul’s ministry to present the mystery (the manifold wisdom of God) is described here. This is truly an interesting verse (it is also a difficult verse to understand) as it says that the purpose or result of this display is that the manifold wisdom of God is made known to those who are the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This display is meant for the place and the rulers where spiritual warfare takes place (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. (Eph. 6:12 )). It is the unity of the church in bringing Jews and Gentiles together as believers in one body, that speaks of the manifold wisdom of God to the angelic beings, both good and evil, that inhabit the heavenly places. It was something that even they did not understand until God revealed it.
We probably do not understand the sharp division that existed between the Jews and the Gentiles in the Old Testament. Gentiles could previously come to God through becoming Jewish proselytes but now to the shock and awe of all in both the heavenly places and on earth all believers were united together in the church functioning together and fitted perfectly together in one body. The unity of the universal church screams this out to whomever would listen including the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
OK, so how does this affect us in the local church? The following includes my own thoughts on the application of this verse and are in no way inspired. Let’s start with the manifold wisdom of God. The Greek word translated manifold is used only here in the New Testament. Hoehner describes the meaning in classical Greek as referring “to the beauty of an embroidered pattern or the variety of colors in flowers”. It may be thought of as multicolored. God’s creation is multicolored. Even the people are multicolored. So once the evil ones in heavenly places came to the realization of this new fact, they would do everything they could in order to divide the church. They would divide it by race, by geography, by social status; indeed, in every way they can. They would attack the world culture as well as the culture of the church. We who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, are united together in one body to declare God’s wisdom to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places as well as to those who live in this world with us. In stark contrast, Satan and his minions seek disorder and chaos. As such, the only true unity must be God’s way through His church. Satan desires to spread disunity there as well.
From before the universe was created, it was always God’s plan to bring all together in one body of Christ. Certainly, the Old Testament foresaw the suffering Savior and the ministry extending to the Gentiles but the church is a remarkable evidence of the multicolored wisdom of God as displayed to the residents of the heavenlies that even they did not see coming. Our unity today displays this remarkable wisdom of God. The unity is not based on our view of God’s truth but rather on God’s truth as revealed in His word by the Holy Spirit.
Each of us as believers has been gifted and placed in a particular place in the body of Christ to display the multicolored wisdom of God to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places, and I suspect as well to those living on this earth. Satan desires to destroy this display of God’s wisdom. We as members of one body remain God’s messenger to all.