God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth

Recent posts touched the change from the created earth at the beginning of the Bible to the new earth at the end of the Bible. The change is necessary because of Satan’s rebellion and man’s fall. But what was God’s original goal in creating the earth? Here is an answer from Ephesians 3, but remember that the Bible eventually shows New Jerusalem as the goal, the completion of everything God does.

New JerusalemEphesians 3:9-11 speak of God’s eternal purpose, a mystery that was hidden throughout the past ages in God, “who created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church.” This is the mystery of creation.

God created everything for manifesting His multifarious/multi-faceted/ manifold/all-various/infinite* wisdom now through the church. This is something of God’s eternal purpose accomplished in time. God’s desire is such a display now! And this display is through His people knit together in Christ, the church. Surely this display will continue into New Jerusalem.

Since God had this purpose from eternity, why are there so many problems in the world? It is because God does not force His will on us. He is loving and merciful, but we have a choice. Satan’s deceptions and man’s free will are the source of the problems and degradations in the world.

God did not choose to have problems, but He has allowed them. More problems give more opportunity for His wisdom to be manifested in overcoming them. The proper church today shows, and eventually New Jerusalem will fully show, that God’s wisdom is greater than all the evils and failures in humanity.

* Various translations in Ephesians 3:10, thanks to Bible Hub.
More about God manifested through the church per Ephesians 3.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Mystery and the End of the Mystery

In Mark 4:11 the Lord Jesus spoke of “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” This mystery includes New Jerusalem, the ultimate stage of God’s kingdom.

New JerusalemPaul often speaks of this mystery, as in Romans 16:25, “…my gospel, that is, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which has been kept in silence in the times of the ages.” And Colossians 1:26, “The mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations…”

This mystery, even the existence of this mystery, was hidden in God before the Lord Jesus began to minister. The Lord said something about it in His parables. Paul spoke further, for example “I came to you, brothers,…announcing to you the mystery of God” (1 Cor. 2:1).

Paul and his companions were “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). And he asked for prayer “that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known in boldness the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19).

He was announcing the mystery because God predestinated the wisdom hidden in it “before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor. 2:7). Since the wisdom of the mystery is for our glory, it is for our glorification and participation in New Jerusalem.

Today we are in the age of mystery and New Jerusalem surely is part of this mystery. But, “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel when he is about to trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished” (Rev. 10:7).

“The seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). This is from the second coming of Christ unto eternity, including New Jerusalem.

Photo by Scott Mecum, courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.

The Multifarious Wisdom of God Manifested thru the Church then thru New Jerusalem

New JerusalemChrist as the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30) is manifested through His believers, through the church, and eventually through New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 3:8-10 says, “To me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel and to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is…in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, according to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Here grace is given for announcing the unsearchable riches of Christ. As we receive this bountiful supply, we are enlightened to see God’s purpose, God’s economy, for both this age and eternity. The issue of our seeing is the manifesting of God’s multifarious/multi-faceted/manifold/all-various/infinite* wisdom through the church to subdue the negative powers in the universe. Eventually, all the negative powers will be in the lake of fire but God’s infinite wisdom will eternally be manifested through New Jerusalem.

• In John 1:14-17 grace comes in Jesus Christ,
• in Ephesians 3:8 the unsearchable riches are of Christ,
• in Ephesians 1:17-18 our being enlightened is to see our Lord Jesus Christ,
• in Colossians 2:3 Christ is the embodiment of all the treasures of God’s wisdom,
• in Ephesians 3:10 this Christ, God’s wisdom, is manifested through the church,
• and in Ephesians 3:11 God’s eternal purpose is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Apart from Him we have nothing and in Him we have everything.

Today in the new man Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). In eternity Christ will be all and in all in New Jerusalem.

* Various translations in Ephesians 3:10, thanks to Bible Hub.

Springtime photo from space, courtesy of ESA and Flemish Institute for Technological Research.

Love God to Partake of What He Prepared

Through Christ’s death and resurrection, God gained us as vessels to contain and display the riches of His glory. He also created us as His masterpiece in Christ Jesus to walk in the good works He had prepared beforehand. These steps are part of the preparation of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2).

New JerusalemGod has completed another preparation. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

These things are spiritual, not material. Rather, 1 Corinthians 2:6-14 shows that these things have the following three characteristics which relate them to New Jerusalem.

✽ These God-prepared things are of God’s wisdom, in a mystery, predestined for glory (v. 2:7). Both God’s wisdom and glory will be manifested through New Jerusalem.

✽ These God-prepared things are of the Spirit, revealed through the Spirit, known by the Spirit we received, and discerned spiritually (v. 10-12, 14). Like all of God’s New Testament building work, New Jerusalem is a spiritual city with the Spirit Himself flowing as the river of water of life to supply the city.

✽ These God-prepared things are spoken in words taught by the Spirit to full-grown spiritual men (v. 13, 6). New Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb, Christ and in Revelation 22:17 the Spirit and the bride speak together. Also, God’s New Testament building work is a matter of growth in life (Ephesians 2:21, 4:16); in New Jerusalem as the consummation of the New Testament all the believers are full grown.

These things are God-prepared “for those who love Him.” As the bride, New Jerusalem surely loves the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

 

Vessels of Mercy, Prepared unto Glory

New JerusalemThrough Christ’s death and resurrection, God gained us as vessels so that He can live in us and we can live in Him. These steps to our mutual indwelling are preparation for New Jerusalem. Here are two more aspects of the preparation:

One, we are vessels for God firstly by His creation and secondly by His redemption and regeneration. Romans 9:23 calls us vessels of mercy because we did not arrive at mutual indwelling by our own doing. The verse says that God “might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory.”

God has prepared us as vessels for His glory. He will make known not only His glory but the riches of His glory! Eventually New Jerusalem will be a corporate vessel of mercy with a full display of  the riches of God’s glory.

Two, we, as God’s corporate vessel, are a masterpiece, but not in or of ourselves. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand in order that we would walk in them.”

This masterpiece was created for us to walk in the good works prepared beforehand by God. These works should be very special, in accord with the content and flavor of Ephesians, and consistent with our being God’s masterpiece in Christ Jesus.

Surely these good works include making known the multifarious wisdom of God, being filled to the fulness of God to express HIm, and manifesting glory to God (Ephesians 3:10, 19, 21). These good works should be our experience today, leading to much more in New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem Displays the Wisdom of God

Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) and He is God’s wisdom imparted to us (1:30). In His resurrection He as wisdom is manifested through His believers, displayed through the church, and eventually exhibited through New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 1:30 says that of God we “are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God.” This wisdom is not for human activities; rather it is “righteousness and sancti-fication and redemption.” God’s wisdom is Christ our righteousness, Christ our Sanctifier, and Christ as our Redeemer.

In Jesus Christ we have the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). This grace abounds to us through God’s wisdom and prudence (1:8) not for human affairs but for carrying out God’s will according to God’s good pleasure and purpose (1:9). God’s purpose, God’s good pleasure, God’s will, culminates in exhibiting His wisdom through New Jerusalem as the center of the new creation.

Christ as wisdom is spoken by the apostles (1 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Peter 3:15) as an expression of the Christ who lives in them. The speaking of the apostles brings forth the church, the Body of Christ. As members of the Body, when we “let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom,” this indwelling wisdom is manifested in our interactions with one another and in our singing with grace to God (Colossians 3:16). We can also “walk in wisdom” (Colossians 4:5).

As we all live out Christ as our wisdom, “the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church” (Ephesians 3:10). The Greek adjective translated “multifarious” occurs only here in the New Testament. Marvin Vincent says, through the Church God’s wisdom in its infinite variety is to be displayed.* This display is now because it is through the church.

Ultimately the display of God’s multifarious, infinite wisdom through the church will become a display through New Jerusalem.

*Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, reprinted by Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1946 (originally published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887).

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

To the Only Wise God be the Glory

New JErusalem

Romans 11:36 concludes a praise of God. Romans 16:27 adds a shorter praise, ” To the only wise God through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The ultimate display of God’s wisdom and glory will be in New Jerusalem. More on this soon. But there is no need to wait to sing the praise of Romans 11:33-36 (thanks to Hymnal.Net).

O the Depth of the Riches & Wisdom of God!

New Jerusalem

 

Romans 11:33-36 is praise of God, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, and it will be repaid to him? Because out from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

The ultimate display of God’s wisdom and glory will be in New Jerusalem. More on this next week (after a short break).

#NewJerusalem

Unsearchable, Immeasurable, Exhaustless

Recently in reading Ephesians two phrases about our present Christian life touched me as also being descriptive of New Jerusalem. The two phrases are

the unsearchable riches of Christ
the multifarious wisdom of God

In Ephesians 3:8 the unsearchable riches of Christ are announced as good news today. We should also look forward to such riches in New Jerusalem.

“Unsearchable” is a frequent translation in Ephesians 3:8 but boundless, endless, unfathomable, incalculable, immeasurable, exhaustless are used by other translators. All these words should impress us. How wonderful and bountiful are the riches of Christ! Even in eternity we will not exhaust these riches. We will never get tired or become bored with all that Christ is and has.

New JerusalemIn Ephesians 3:10 the multifarious wisdom of God is made known through the church today. We should also expect this wisdom to manifested by New Jerusalem.

Synonyms of “multifarious” in Ephesians 3:10 include manifold, multifaceted, infinite variety, innumerable aspects. God’s wisdom is beyond our comprehension! Nevertheless, in this age He is willing to enlighten us that we may see the economy (or household administration) of the mystery which has been hidden within Him and which was the reason for all of creation (3:9).

The riches of Christ and the wisdom of God far exceed our little needs and situations because these riches and this wisdom are for accomplishing God’s eternal purpose. Our problems will get solved while we participate in God’s purpose, which is much grander, much more marvelous than what we can conceive.

Praise Him for these unsearchable and unlimited riches. Praise Him for His infinite variety of wisdom. Both the riches and the wisdom will be fully manifested in New Jerusalem for our delight and to be appreciated by the whole universe.

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