Unto the Principalities and Powers

Ephesians 2-3
1 Corinthians 2.6-9, 15.20-26
Luke 4.5
John 12.30

During our study of the Letter to the Ephesians a week ago Tuesday, we discussed Paul's revelation of a mystery that God had kept hidden from the principalities and powers in heaven.

The journey begins when Paul tells the gentile believers in Ephesis to "remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."(Ep 2:12-13) In context this means that gentiles, through the Blood of Messiah, now are members of the commonwealth of Israel and can partake in the covenants that God made with Israel. This point is crucial because, after Noah, God did not make any covenants with gentiles - including the New Covenant.

Paul goes on to say, "For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father."(Ep 3:18) In context again, 'we both' referrs to Hebrews and gentiles.

Next he says, "This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."(Ep 3:6) Here 'fellow heirs' refers to Gentiles and Hebrews, 'the same body' is the commonwealth of Israel and 'the promise' is that of the New Covenant.

To Paul, grace was given, "...to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places."(Ep 3:9-10)

This is where it gets exciting. Paul is saying that a central purpose of the church is to show the wisdom of God to heavenly rulers and authorities. As we'll see in a bit, this especially means those heavenly rulers and authorities who are in rebellion.

To see this, first look at 1 Cor 2:6-9 where Paul says, "we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." In light of the Ephesians passages, the rulers of this age are more than just the corrupt humans who ran Jerusalem. Paul is saying that if those heavenly rulers had understood the ramifications, they never would have allowed Y'shua to be crucified.

We see from the Luke passage cited above that Satan had ownership of the Earth before the crucifixion. The passage in John shows that the Messiah's death and resurrection will break that hold. This is confirmed by Paul, "Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power...The last enemy to be destroyed is death.(1 Cor 15:24,26)

To summarize then, Paul has revealed a mystery known only to God before the resurrection. This gospel is that the Gentiles will be brought into Israel and its promises. (Note that Gentiles are brought into and join with Israel, they do not replace or supplant him.) If the heavenly principalities and powers had realized this, they never would have allowed Y'shua to be killed, because in His death and resurrection is their defeat.