Ephesians 1:9-10

having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him.

having made known to us the mystery of His will (v.9) — continues the thought in v.8 — “He hath abounded, in that He made known”

mystery (v.9) = something not understood until revealed — and when revealed, not hard to understand for the Spirit-enlightened believer

God’s grace as manifested in redemption is a mystery in virtue of its riches and depth — as the expression of God’s very nature. The mystery of the redemption in Christ, belonging to the eternal plan of God, could be known to men only through revelation. — Wuest, pages 43-44

of His will (v.9) = pertaining to His will

will (v.9) = (here) desire based on emotions — so, based on God’s love

according to (v.9) — the Greek suggests domination, — God’s will is dominated by His good pleasure

pleasure (v.9) = that which seems good or well — choice, delight, satisfaction

purposed (v.9) = lit. “to set before oneself” — to determine

that in (v.10) = with a view to

dispensation (v.10) — It is not preceded by the definite article. The word is oikonomia, which is made up of oikos, “house,” and nomos, “law.” The compound word means, “the management of a household, or of household affairs, the management, oversight, administration of others’ property, the office of a manager, overseer, stewardship.” Thus, it speaks here of an administration by God of a certain period of human history designated as “the fulness of times.” Our word “dispensation,” used in Bible teaching nomenclature, refers to a certain period of time marked by a certain method in which God administers the affairs of mankind, such as the dispensation of grace, etc. It does not have that meaning here. Instead of referring to a dispensation itself, it speaks of the method by which God administers the particular time referred to in the words “the fulness of times.”

The Greek word translated “times” here is kairos. In Galatians 4:4 we have the words, “when the fulness of time was come.” The Greek word for “time” there is chronos, which refers to “time, contemplated simply as such, the succession of moments. In our Ephesian passage, the word is kairos … the joints or articulations in these times (chronos), the critical, epoch-making periods foreordained of God … when all that has been slowly, and often without observation, ripening through long ages is mature and comes to the birth in grand decisive events, which constitute at once the close of one period and the commencement of another.” The word could be translated “season.” The word “fulness” is pleroma, “fulness, completeness.” The kairos (“times”) refer to the various periods of human history as they have to do with Israel and the Church in which God deals with these in a particular manner, each season, age, or dispensation being marked by a separate and distinct manner of dealing, such as the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. By the fulness of these seasons is meant the time when the succession of the ages has come to a close in the plan of God. We are now living in the Age of Grace. The season or dispensation which will complete the succession of seasons is the Messianic Kingdom. — Wuest, page 45

gather together (v.10) = to bring back and gather round the main point

all things (v.10) — all created things — Romans 8:21; 1 Corinthians 15:28

The dispensation of the fulness of times is the counsel of His will regarding the eternal state. In eternity God is planning to sum up all things in Christ, both in heaven and on earth. Notice that the distinction will remain between heaven and the earth throughout eternity. But there’s also an ominous omission here.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

Here, as in Ephesians, the “things in heaven” is clearly the Body of Christ that will be seated with Christ in glory. And the “things in earth” is a reference to the redeemed prophetic saints who will rule and reign with Christ upon the new earth. However, it is a solemn thought that those “things under the earth,” the unsaved of all ages, aren’t included in God’s plans and purposes for eternity. When the unbelieving world is cast into the lake of fire, they are forever removed from God’s presence and the glory of His power (2 Thessalonians 1:9). — Sadler, pages 57-58.

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