Pages Navigation Menu

Online Resource Center

The Manifold Wisdom Of God Revealed

The Manifold Wisdom Of God Revealed

Mystery of Christ Seminar – Session 5

 

DESCRIPTION

In Ephesians 3, Paul tells us that through the multi-ethnic church birthed through the gospel made known “according to the mystery of Christ,” God is making an important point to the fallen powers and principalities of the air. Who are these powers? What is their relationship to the nations of the earth? Why does the New Testament make such a big deal about Jesus being seated far above these powers at the Father’s right hand? What is the biblical storyline concerning these powers presupposed by Paul’s statement in Ephesians 3? What is the point God is making to these powers through the church? Join us as we conclude this series on the gospel “according to the mystery of Christ.

Play

< 4 THE COVENANTAL NATURE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

 

Download the Session Diagrams for “The Manifold Wisdom of God Revealed”

NOTES

The content of this teaching’s notes are below with partial formatting. If you would like to see the notes with complete formatting,

Download “The Manifold Wisdom of God Revealed” Notes.

The Manifold Wisdom Of God Revealed

REVIEW

REVIEW

A.    Tonight we are concluding this series on the gospel “according to the mystery of Christ.” The reason we have been studying this topic is that the apostle Paul tells us that an adequate understanding of the gospel according to the mystery of Christ has important implications for discipleship.

Romans 16:25-27 (NIV)

25 Now to him who is able to establish you (in faith and obedience, cf. vs. 26, Rom. 1:5) by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

B.    We started our exploration of this topic in the Garden, where there was perfection of life, perfection of government (the kingdom of God), and perfection of fellowship. These were lost in the Fall, and God promised that one day the Seed of the woman would crush the Serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15).

C.   The gospel in its most basic form is that one day the Seed of the woman, the Messiah, would come and restore all things lost in the fall. Life will be restored in the resurrection of the body. Perfect government will be restored when the Messiah sets up His kingdom at the Second Coming. Perfect fellowship will be restored as we walk with God again in the cool of the day.

Acts 3:19-21 (NKJV)

19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of  restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

D.   As we see in Romans 16 above, as well as in Ephesians 3:5, the “mystery” of Christ refers to the dimensions of God’s plan that were not fully made known by God or understood by the saints until the first coming of Christ, even though they had been prophesied about in the Old Testament.

E.    Central to God’s plan were the covenants that God made in the Old Testament. We spent a lot of time studying God’s covenant with Abraham. God promised that He would make of Abraham a great nation and a great assembly of nations. He promised Abraham that He would be a governmental father of those nations in the age to come.  He promised Abraham that he and his seed would be resurrected from the dead unto the inheritance of the earth forever. He promised that in Abraham and His Seed all the nations would be blessed.

F.    At Sinai, God entered into the Mosaic Covenant with Israel. According to the Mosaic covenant, Israel had to fully obey the stipulations of the Mosaic covenant in order to inherit the promises made to Abraham. Israel failed to do this, so they were expelled from the land. However, at the fullness of time, God sent Jesus, a Jew under the authority and stipulations of the Mosaic Law (Gal. 3). Jesus fully met the stipulations of the Mosaic Law, therefore He inherited the promises to Abraham and his seed. How then would the rest of Israel inherit the land? The answer: in Christ, as co-heirs. And not only Jews, but also Gentiles. When Gentiles believe and receive the Spirit, they too are “in Christ,” which means they are “in” or “one with” the one who has legitimately received the promises. Those “in Christ” receive the inheritance as co-heirs. “In your seed”= “in Christ”= oneness in bridal covenant. In Christ, the bridal mystery is revealed. God’s desire and passion for us is put on display.

Ephesians 5:28-32 (NIV)

28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

G.   Other core dimensions of the mystery of Christ

1. Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:18 -2:8); sufferings (Is. 53, Ps. 22, etc)=crucifixion

2. Messianic mission executed through two comings – suffering before entering His glory (Lk. 24:25-27)

3. Administration of resurrection (two-fold) – Christ the first-fruits of the resurrection (1Cor. 15:3-7, 20; cf. Lev. 23:9-14)

4. Administration of the Holy Spirit (two-fold) – first-fruits of the Spirit now, fullness in resurrection (Rom. 8)

5. Administration of covenants to Israel (two-fold) (Rom. 11:25-26)

6. Administration of covenants to the Gentiles – (e.g. Eph. 1-3, Col. 1-2, Rom. 11) – provoking Israel to jealousy (Rom. 11)

THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD REVEALED

THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD REVEALED

A.    Paul tells us that through the mystery of Christ, God has a point to make to powers in the heavens.

Ephesians 1:8-13 (NIV)

8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery (how God is administrating His promises in the covenants in Christ), which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church (the assembly now made up of Jews and Gentiles “in Christ”), the manifold wisdom of God (Gk: polypoikilos: “multicolored,” “much-variegated,” “marked with a great variety of colors;”i.e., multi-national, multi-ethnic) should be made known to the rulers and authorities (NKJV – “principalities and power”) in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose (the redemption of Israel/nations/earth) which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (and not through the Law). 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you (sufferings on their behalf because of this gospel), which are your glory (in the Day of the Lord/resurrection).

B.    Through what He is doing between Jew and Gentile in Christ, God is making a serious point the powers in the heavens. In order to understand all of this, we need to understand the Old Testament background of this statement.

THE REBELLION OF THE SONS OF GOD

THE REBELLION OF THE “SONS OF GOD”

A.    When God created the earth, present were a class of heavenly beings called “the sons of God” or the “morning stars.”

Job 38:1-7 (ESV)

1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Dress for actionlike a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God (LXX – angelos=angels) shouted for joy (Hebrew parallelismà morning stars=the sons of God)?

B.     One key facet of Hebrew poetry is its parallelism-based structure. This means that the second line of a verse is a reiteration of the thought/meaning communicated in first line. In other words, the second line communicates the same thing in a different way. Accordingly, in Job 38:7, the “sons of God” and the “morning stars” are referring to the same class of beings.

C.   In the Hebrew text, different words are used for “sons of God” (bene elohim) and angels (mal’ak). In the Septuagint, both are translated with angelos (angels – though you really must pay attention to context). Angel on a general level means “messenger,” and the context of a passage indicates whether it is a messenger sent from the heavens or a human messenger.

D.   Some (e.g. Michael Heiser[1]) believe that the distinction in Hebrew words denotes two different categories of celestial beings. Others think that they are only angels as we typically understand that term because of the Septuagint’s use of angelos (although Ps. 82 in the Septuagint indicates otherwise; context of angelos of God therefore important, e.g. Deut. 32:8, Job 1). (This point becomes relevant to the discussion of Genesis 6, where it says that the “sons of God” went down and had children by the “daughters of men.”)

E.    Whatever the case, clearly the “sons of God” being talked about here are not human beings. We know that when God created the universe, these morning stars/sons of God rejoiced. They were happy and felt joy as they watched God create the world.

F.    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The heavens and the earth make up His kingdom, over which He sits enthroned as Sovereign King. The Scriptures reveal that when God created the universe, He chose to administrate facets of His government and rule in the cosmos through delegated authorities. As with human governments, positions of authority in God’s cosmic government apparently varied in type, degree, sphere, domain, assignment, etc. Principalities are territories governed by princes (See Diagram 1).

Perfection-in-the-beginning

Ephesians 1:19-21 (ESV)

19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Colossians 1:16 (ESV)

For byhim all things (thrones, dominions, etc.; indicating territory, not just the powers) were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

1 Kings 22:19-23 (NIV)

19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “ ‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “ ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ 23 “So now the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”

G.   The center of God’s government was/is His throne room. When God created His throne room, He surrounded Himself with a council or an assembly made up of this class of beings called “sons of God” or “morning stars.” He called these beings “gods,” not because they were eternal; nor because they had the power to create like He does; but because they were originally created not to die. In other words, they were immortal. However, their immortality was by definition contingent on the Creator. At some point, at least some of these “sons of God” rebelled against God. Many ancient pagan religions had a corrupted and perverted version of the true divine council as revealed in Scripture (similar to the Flood accounts).

Psalm 82 (ESV)

1 God (Heb. elohiim) has taken (singular verb) his place (the highest place) in the divine council; in the midst of (indicating plurality; cf. vs. 6) the gods (Heb. elohiim) he holds judgment: 2 “How long will you judge unjustly (misuse of authority) and show partiality to the wicked3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 5 They (the fallen “gods” or “sons of God” in the council) have neither knowledge nor understanding (no fear of the Lord, cf. Job 28:28; Prov. 1:7, Prov. 9:10), they walk about in darkness (without light, without direction, like blind men); all the foundations of the earth are shaken (in the day of the Lord; their wickedness and folly actually leads the nations to judgment, cf. vs. 8, Is. 24). 6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High (i.e. immortal, cf. vs. 7), all of you; 7 nevertheless, like men (NIV – “like mere men”) you shall die (first Sheol, then second death lake of fire; cf. Is. 14:15; Is. 24:21-23; Rev. 20), and fall like any prince (cf. Is. 24:21-23).” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth (shaking of vs. 5); for you shall inherit all the nations (who shall be brought out from under the influence of these fallen sons of God)!

H.   Before he rebelled against God, Satan seems to have originally been one of these “morning stars” or “sons of God” that made up this divine council. We learn from Isaiah that in his pride, Satan wanted to usurp God’s position at the head of the council.

Job 1:6-8 (NIV)

6 One day the angels (Heb. “sons of God) came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” 8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

Isaiah 14:12-15 (NIV)

12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star (ESV “Daystar;” NLT – “O shining star”; NKJV – “Lucifer”; Heb. haylayle – Strong’s – “1 shining one, morning star, Lucifer”; Lucifer= “light bearer”), son of the dawn (cf. Job 38:7; i.e. was there at the earth’s beginning, the “morning”)! You have been cast down to the earth (cf. Lk. 10, Rev. 12), you who once laid low the nations (cf. Ps. 82)! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God (i.e. take Yahweh’s high throne over the “sons of God” or “morning stars”; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly (cf. Ps. 82), on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain (Heb. Zaphon; cf. Ezek. 28:14). 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit (like a “mere man,” cf. Ps. 82:7).

I.      Satan originally had been appointed a guardian cherub. A guardian is a “person who cares for persons or property” (WordWeb). Assuming that all the morning stars had been given a similar job assignment as Satan within the cosmic government, this would mean God had originally entrusted the “sons of God”/ “morning stars” with the task of caring for and guarding the “property” of His kingdom, made up of the heavens and the earth. Unto this end, they were given “thrones” in the heavens (Col. 1:16). In Psalm 82, God rebukes them for not doing their job.

Ezekiel 28:14 (NIV)

14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.



[1] Michael Heiser’s home page, http://www.michaelsheiser.com.

THE REBELLION OF THE NATIONS

THE REBELLION OF THE NATIONS

A.    Most of us are familiar with the story of the tower of Babel. After the Flood, human beings built a city in the plains of Shinar (or Babylonia) in rebellion against God. After the flood, God commanded them to “multiply on the earth and increase upon it” (Gen. 9:7). However, instead of spreading out, they came together in one place and in their pride and rebellion decided to build a city and tower in order to “make a name for themselves.”

B.    In Deuteronomy, we learn that in the Tower of Babel event, something more happened than God simply confusing the languages of the nations. God let the nations have what they wanted. They wanted to worship the fallen “gods”/ “sons of God” instead of Yahweh the Creator, and so when God divided up the languages and dispersed the nations, He gave them what they wanted. It is possible that these “gods” offered the people knowledge/gnosis in exchange for worship. The fallen sons of God watched God create the world, and so would probably possessed significant knowledge about how to manipulate the elements. (Henry’s story) (Diagram 2)

Giving-up-of-Nations-at-Babel-Call-of-Abraham

Deuteronomy 32:5-9 (NIV)

5 They have acted corruptly toward him; to their shame they are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation. 6 Is this the way you repay the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator (NIV alternative – “who bought you”) who made you and formed you? 7 Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders (those who preserve knowledge), and they will explain to you. 8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance (inheritance= 1. the false gods/or the true God, cf. e.g. Deut. 10:9, Ps. 73:26, Jer. 10:11-16; and 2. land, e.g. Deut. 2:18-19, Ps. 105:11), when he divided all mankind (Tower of Babel, Gen. 11), he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel(Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint) sons of God). 9 For the Lord’s portion is his people (contrasting to the gods of the nations, who received the nations as their “portion”), Jacob his allotted inheritance (God has a portion, and He is His people’s portion; the gods have their “portion”, and they have their “portion”).

Daniel 10:12-14, 20-21 – 11:1 (NIV)

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” 20 So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. 11 1 And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)

Romans 1:18-32 (ESV)

18 For the wrath of God (coming judgment in Day of Lord) is revealed from heaven (gospel message in the constellations, cf. Ps. 19) against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature (God of Israel, as Creator, set apart from the gods/fallen sons of God), have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made (signs in the heavens, cf. Gen. 1, Ps. 19, etc). So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him (for sparing them from the Flood?), but they became futile in their thinking (like Satan, cf. Is. 14:13-14), and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise (knowledge and “gnosis” from their gods in exchange for worship), they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God (the Creator) for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (cf. Is. 44; idols=depiction of the gods/fallen sons of God). 24 Therefore God gave them up (to those gods/idols, cf. Deut. 32:8; God gave them what they wanted) in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves (sexual immorality in worship of the false gods, cf. Gen. 38:21-22, Num. 25:1-3, Deut. 23:17, 1 Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7; Job 36:14; Hos. 4:14), 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature (fallen sons of God+their images) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error (fire from heavens, cf. Gen. 18). 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die (Gen. 9:5-6; Ps. 82:7), they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

C.   Satan’s “kingdom”

John 12:30-31 (NIV)

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

Luke 4:5-6 (NIV)

5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me (Tower of Babel? cf. Deut. 32:8), and I can give it to anyone I want to.

1 John 5:19-21(NIV)

19 We know that we are children of God (destined to receive the promises of the covenants), and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding (concerning the mystery of Christ, i.e. the means “in Christ” unto the inheritance, cf. 20b), so that we may know him  (face to face, in the resurrection, as we are known, cf. 1 Cor. 13:12 )who is true (faithful to the covenants). And we are in him (in Christ, unto inheritance) who is true (to His word in the covenants)—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God (the Creator) and eternal life (resurrection from the Creator in the Day of the Lord). 21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols (the images of the false gods under Satan’s control, cf. vs. 19, the worship of which will result in the second death).

Matthew 12:24-27 (NIV)

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.

1 Kings 11:1-10 (NIV)

1King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth (alliances) and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. 7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. 9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command.

1 King 11:7 (NIV)

On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh  the detestable god (fallen son of God, cf. Ps. 82) of Moab (land/people), and for Molech the detestable god (fallen son of God, cf. Ps. 82) of the Ammonites (land/people).

2 Kings 23:10 (NIV)

He (Josiah) desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech.

D.   For Israel to make a political alliance with other nations for the sake of protection, was spiritual harlotry in God’s eyes because of the close link between the fallen gods/powers of the air, kings, and land. To make a covenant or alliance with a foreign nation, was to make an alliance with the god/fallen son of God/principality of that nation.

Isaiah 30:1-5 (NIV)

1“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. 4 Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, 5 everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.”

E.    People sometimes don’t know what to do with the connection between land and “gods” in the Old Testament. Those who impose evolutionary thinking on the Bible claim that there was evolution “henotheism” to a “strict monotheism.” This is a false paradigm. God has always owned the earth (Ex. 19:5; Ps. 24). But in His sovereignty and wisdom, God actually gave the nations what they wanted. He gave them a real taste what it is like to be governed by demons that didn’t care about them.

JESUS EXALTED ABOVE ALL THE FALLEN POWERS

JESUS EXALTED ABOVE ALL THE FALLEN POWERS

A.    Jesus the Unique Son of God – Yahweh the Creator Himself Made Flesh. In Second Temple Judaism, Yahweh’s place at head of the council was understood in terms of one God in two Persons, both of whom were understood as Yahweh. Yahweh sat on his throne, and He executed His plans through the agency of His vice-regent, identified as the Wisdom and Word of God through whom all things were made. This theology – a monotheism articulated in terms of what Alan Segal and Michael Heiser call “the two powers in heaven” (I think a different term should be used)– was rooted in passages where Yahweh and the Angel/messenger of Yahweh are clearly identified as being one and the same God, but clearly manifest in two distinct persons (e.g. Judges 6). This understanding was considered a completely orthodox expression of Jewish monotheism until the Second Century AD.[1] One of the reasons it was later condemned by Rabbis, is that there was a sect that kept applying the Second Person idea to that crucified carpenter from Nazareth! This is because Jesus revealed himself as such.

John 10:22-39 (NIV)

22 Then came the Feast of Dedicationat Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me (cf. Ex. 23:20-21), 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life (like the Father, cf. John 5), and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law (Psalm 82, the divine council Psalm), ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them (the “sons of God” who fell)  ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came (the gods who received the decrees in Psalm 82)—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world (i.e. the Son who, as God himself, is above the other “gods” of the council)? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38 But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

B.    In the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles make a big deal about the fact that Jesus has been seated above the rebellious powers who have been exerting their blinding influence over the nations. Now, through the gospel, Yahweh, the Creator and only One worthy of worship, is calling them back to Himself, in Christ. (Diagram 3)

Bride-Called-out-from-Nations-Through-Gospel

Matthew 28:17-20 (NIV)

17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven (over the powers) and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Ephesians 1:19-23 (NIV)

19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Philippians 2:5-11(NIV)

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6     Who, being in very nature (or NIV alternative – “in the very form of”) God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature (or form) of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV)

9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

1 Peter 3:21-22 (NIV)

21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

C.   At Babel, God “gave up” the nations to that which they wanted more than Him – the flunky fallen sons of God. At Babel, God “gave up” the nations to the false gods that they wanted. He gave them what they wanted, knowing that many within those nations would eventually get sick of being ruled by demons and “ripe” to return to Him in repentance.

Acts 26:15-18 (NIV)

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 17:22-31 (NIV)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth (Israel’s God) and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands (idols – the work of men’s hands, cf. 2 Chron. 32:19), as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live (cf. Deut. 32). 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked  (i.e. was longsuffering) such ignorance (ESV – “the times of ignorance God overlooked”; cf. Ac. 26:17 – blindness/open their eyes; cf. Eph. 4:18 – Gentiles hardness of heart, unto ignorance, unto darkened understanding and alienation from the life of God), but now  (shift in season) he commands (through the gospel) all people everywhere to repent (Yahweh the Creator calling the nations out from under the grip of the fallen powers through the gospel; no longer handing them over). 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

Acts 14:15-17 (ESV)

15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God (NIV, NKJV “the living God”), who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them (turn to Israel’s God, the Creator). 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”

1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 (ESV)

8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

D.   It is significant that a Jewish man is seated at the Father’s right hand, because only a Jew could administer the blessings the Jewish covenants to both the Jewish nation and to the Gentiles. As we saw, both groups are addressed in the Abrahamic covenant.

John 4:22 (NIV)

You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Ephesians 2:12 (ESV)

remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise

Revelation 22:16 (ESV)

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root (Creator, fully God) and the Offspring of David (fully man, and Jewish – therefore, can administer the blessings of the covenants), and the bright Morning Star (as God Himself, the Bright morning star with authority over all the other created morning stars).”

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,  Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

E.    In the Day of the Lord, Jesus will punish both the fallen powers and the kings that wielded power through their wicked influence. Revelation 2:28 may indicate that once they have been dethroned, Jesus will fill their role with resurrected saints. (Diagrams 4 and 5).

The-Purging-of-the-Heavens-and-Earth

Renewed-Heavens-Renewed-Earth-Restoration-of-all-Things

Isaiah 24:21-23 (NIV)

21 In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison (Sheol) and be punished after many days (Lake of Fire, cf. Rev. 20). 23 The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.

Revelation 19:11-12 (NIV)

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.

Ephesians 1:9-10 (NIV)

9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment (NKJV – “in the dispensation of the fullness of the times,” i.e. God’s plan administered when the time was ripe for the gospel to go forth; Harrigan – “that in the fullness of the times of God’s household administration”; cf. Gal. 4:4)—to bring all things in heaven and on earth (cf. Mt. 28:18-19, Col. 2:10) together under one head (under one governmental authority, Yahweh himself), even Christ (Yahweh incarnate, the arm of the Lord).

Revelation 2:26-29 (NIV)

26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations – 27 ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’— just as I have received authority from my Father (the Bright Morning Star – Yahweh Himself, Highest Place of Rule in the Cosmos). 28 I will also give him the morning star(place of cosmic rulership lost by fallen morning stars? cf.1 Cor. 6:3; under the leadership of Jesus, who is set apart and distinct as the Bright Morning Star, the Highest Governmental Ruler as Yahweh himself, cf. Rev. 22:16). 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Psalm 29 (NIV) (in first century, sung on the Day of Trumpets, which celebrates the Day of the Lord when God’s triumph over His enemies[2])

1 Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones (Heb. – “sons of God”), ascribe to the Lord  (the Creator) glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness (Yahweh, as Creator, set apart from all gods). 3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters (cf. Gen. 1:1-3); the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. 5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion (NIV note – Mt. Hermon)like a young wild ox.7 The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. 8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” (the whole earth shaken on the day He judges the powers, cf. Ps. 82:5)10 The Lord sits (or “sat”) enthroned over the flood (when some of the sons of God/their wicked seed were punished, cf. Gen. 6, 2 Pet. 2:4, Jude 3:6); the Lord is enthroned as King forever (the sons of God will be judged; God will never be moved from His throne). 11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace (like Noah, the sons and daughters of Yahweh will be delivered in Day of the Lord).



[1] Michael Heiser, “The Divine Council,” http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/; Also, see Michael Heiser, <http://www.twopowersinheaven.com/2powersweb1/player.html>

[2] Edersheim, A. (2003). The Temple, its ministry and services as they were at the time of Jesus Christ. (294). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

CONCLUSION

CONCLUSION

A.    At the end of the day, Satan and the other fallen powers of the air don’t like God. They hate Him. They hate His plans, His ways, His methods, and His destiny for human beings. I believe that one of the reasons Satan and the other sons of God rebelled, was that they knew God’s plan to ultimately give His Son a Bride. This Bride would be one with Christ in bridal covenant, and by virtue of this oneness with God, would eventually acquire a superior rank in authority over them. My speculation is that the idea that the Creator would actually take these small little creatures made from the dust; “marry” them; and then exalt them above the morning stars governmentally; was one that required humility on the part of Satan and the other morning stars, and many of them failed. This resulted in accusation against God, and the thought that they could do it better, should be the ones in charge, etc. Satan’s charge against Job, was that he would not stay faithful to Yahweh through difficulties. Yet Yahweh knew that Job and many from Israel and the nations would voluntarily choose Him if they really knew what He was like, and how that contrasted with Satan and his flunkies who thought they knew so much. On the cross, God put His heart on display – completely humility and self-sacrifice for the well being of His creation – and through the gospel, multitudes from Israel and the nations realize who really is out for their well-being, and who isn’t. Through the mystery of Christ, God is telling the powers that the way of love, long-suffering, humility, and servanthood will always triumph in the end.

 

< Back to Mystery of Christ Home

 

Tim Miller Tim Miller (124 Posts)

Tim is founder of the Daniel Training Network. His passion is to see followers of Christ embrace a life of the cross. He, his wife Emily, and their four children itinerate regularly as part of their ministry, and are presently living in New Mexico.


Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This

Share This!

Let others know!

%d bloggers like this:
Read more:
Fire from the Heavens

The Sprinkling

Close