“God has now revealed and made known to us the mystery and secret of His will and plan which is in harmony with and according to His own kind intention and His good, merciful and benevolent pleasure which He ordained and purposed in Himself.” (Ephesians 1:9. My own translation)
Nobody could talk like this prior to the day of Pentecost. Nobody could make this assertion before Peter stood up to preach to that huge mass of humanity and reap 3,000 people into the kingdom in those opening moments of the birth of the church of Jesus Christ. Oh yes! It was explained and demonstrated in the person of Christ. It was declared and manifested in every moment of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. The complete whole was deposited in the mind and the understanding of all those who followed the Master and imbibed the things that He said and did. But it was not theirs properly until that mighty wind blew on the 120 in that upper room (Acts 2:4). Nobody could truly say, “I have it! I understand it! You too can have it! I give it!” until that definitive moment when tongues of what looked like purifying fire from heaven sat on the napes of those on whom the Holy Spirit fell. It was so deep and profound, so heavenly and eternal, so momentous for the cause of humanity’s existence that they couldn’t speak their own language to declare it. It was a series of utterances that the Spirit of God Himself uttered in the new homes He had just moved into. The secret of past, present and future and the actions of God was out on the streets. It was for all nations and races of people.
Yet what had happened was so much a shaking of the status quo of the invisible cosmos also that languages that belonged to angels, principalities and powers were used. It was indeed a secret that had been hidden in God from before the foundation of the world. It was a secret of such gigantic and time shaking proportions that had been hidden since time began, yet now it was open and being widely discussed and debated by every Tom, Dick and Jacob that was in Jerusalem. It was so astonishing that 3,000 people went to bed that night (if they went to bed at all that night) knowing God more intimately than Elijah, Isaiah or Jeremiah had. The very least of them was now greater than even John the Baptist had been. We can make that assertion simply because Jesus did. Something new and so revolutionary had happened. No man or woman had known this truth in any previous generation.
This secret is exactly what is explained throughout these first eleven verses of Paul’s missive to the Ephesians. God was out on the streets. His word was to be discussed and responded to by all who heard it. It did not shake the world because of the great preachers, or the great budgets or advertising campaigns to grab people’s attention. It shook the world because every person that was converted was walking in a new life, a new power, a new insight into what life was all about, and a new and glorious understanding about Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament prophets saw it. Somehow they knew He was coming. Yet, 1 Peter 1:12 says concerning the writing Hebrew prophets, “To them it was revealed that they were serving not themselves but you, when they foretold the very things which have now been openly declared to you by those who, having been taught by the Holy Spirit which had been sent from Heaven, brought you the Good News. Angels long to stoop and look into these things” (Weymouth Version). They knew it, but they surely could not envisaged that the common folk on the street could be filled with the Holy Spirit by the thousands, that the intricacies of Bible prophecy concerning Messiah would be a comfortable discussion amongst children of all ages and intellectual capabilities. The Prophets saw and explained, yet could not have perceived the true depth of what they were saying.
Somehow, like Caiaphas in the days of Christ, who prophesied how that it was necessary that “One man should die for the people,” yet had no understanding of the power and the truth of the words he spoke, so spoke the likes of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Micah. Caiaphas had no clue of the depth and the power of the insight that his words afforded to others that heard him.
Professors and academics of Old Testament Theology differ and argue like a bad day in the House of Commons. It is the mist that covers the entire substance of the study of Old Testament Theology; Who knew what? How much did they know? How much could they say without understanding all of it? From a New Testament perspective, when we read Isaiah 9, and those first few verses of chapter 11, and then browse through Isaiah’s so called servant songs and Isaiah 53, we could uneducatedly surmise that Isaiah knew as much as Paul did – almost. But they spoke in plain language what must have sounded to their students like riddles, cryptic beyond decoding. He would reign in power and glory, yet almost in the same breath He would suffer and like a lamb before the shearers is dumb He would open not His mouth. What sort of a nonsense riddle was that to people who had never met face to face with the glorious wonder that was Jesus Christ? How could it please the Lord to bruise Him, and in so doing how on earth was He to bare our pains and sicknesses?
Having encountered the Spirit of the living Christ and engaged with the only source of a legitimate understanding of Who and What Christ was in the pages of scripture in both the Old and New Testament it is as plain as the noses on our faces. There are literally millions – nay, surely billions – who are completely au-fait with the language of being “In Christ,” “filled with the Spirit,” “Baptised in the Holy Spirit,” and being His disciple. It is so straight forward and assumed by Holy Spirit enlightened people around the globe that intelligent scholars argue as to how much (or how little) they understood what Messiah was coming for to do. Some academics exclaim how full was Isaiah’s and Ezekiel’s insight into the whys and wherefores of Messiah, yet fail to give us a clue as to why the academics of Israel in the days of Christ new so little that their ignorance sent them to hell and prevented them from being converted.
It was a secret, but now it’s utterly open to the world. The picture Paul gives us in Ephesians 1 is that God has always been in an ecstasy of delight with the depth and breadth and height of God’s plan manifested in Christ for the entire planet of every generation since He rose from the dead.
The secret is that the entire cosmos, seen and unseen, near and far, large and small, throughout all time and beyond time has been made by, and exists for, and will be consummated through the person and work of Jesus Christ, all accomplished through the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God the Father.
That’s it! That is the secret! It is all about Christ! And though it was channelled through the Jewish nation, and although God has a plan still to be fulfilled through the Jewish nation, the impact of this secret is intended for all people everywhere of every generation who hears the good news.
Jesus Christ died to correct every wrong that has ever been committed. Jesus rose from the dead to ensure that the Gospel, although may start with issues of forgiveness, must continue and be energised by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven and manifesting in power and glory in radically improving people’s lives, healing them, speaking prophetically into their futures and sealing and locking them in to a sure and certain hope for eternity.
We need to grasp the nettle and understand that God has now revealed and made known to us the mystery and secret of His long held secret will and plan. It is a plan which is in complete harmony and oneness with His own infinitely kind intention. It is all summed up in this gospel message which is the straight forward demonstration of His good, merciful and benevolent pleasure which He ordained and purposed in Himself. And it’s all aimed at anybody who calls them self human.
On top of all this, the most glorious thing about it all is how we know these things. It is nothing but the revelation of the Holy Spirit on issues that are invisible to us. They are historically behind us by 2,000 years. They are spiritually invisible to us. They are Biblically hidden from us in what seems to the unconverted like cryptic coded messages that defy proper understanding. Yet to the man and woman in Christ it is in such plain straightforward language we are almost tempted to defy the world to attempt to misunderstand it. To the open minded Christian one literally needs help to misunderstand it. Jesus Christ is indeed Lord of all. The world needs to be made fully au fait of this open secret.