10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
In verse 10, Paul spoke of another purpose for the church.
10 to the intent that now
The words “to the intent” hark back to verses eight and nine.
God revealed the church in His own good timing. God unveiled the mystery of the church “now.” “Now” is a contrast to the previously hidden period or the time of “other ages” (v. 5).
the manifold [many-colored] wisdom of God
“Manifold” means variegated (1 Pe 4:10). Classical Greek used this word for the variety of colors of flowers in an embroidered pattern. The variegated pattern is the combination of various peoples in the church, such as Jew and Gentile.
might be made known
The means by which the variegated pattern was to be made known to angels was the church. The church is the theater where angels watch what God is doing through the transformation of its people. They see God’s wisdom in this.
by the church
The word “by” shows that the church is the intermediate agent of God’s wisdom. The church is the teaching agent to angels. As angels observe what God is doing through the church and individuals in the church, they see the “manifold wisdom of God.”
Each conversion testifies to the unseen world what God is doing. Watching the salvation of souls is striking to angels. They will observe that growth in Christ manifests the wonder of who God is. As superior beings, angels watch in amazement what God is doing through lesser beings. Angels go to school by seeing God’s work in the believer.
to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
“Principalities and powers” are orders of angels, both good and bad. All angels have rank with their various officers and followers. These angels must admit the immense wisdom of God in forming the church.
The church is in God’s plan whereby He demonstrates His wisdom to rebellious angels as well as to good angels. He does this in spite of any weakness the church might have. The church is the theater for angels to see what God is doing in the world (1 Co 4:9). This is why God’s wisdom is so variegated or multicolored.
The church does not exist for itself but for a greater purpose.
The church is the angel’s classroom. It serves as a school for the immaterial world of angels so that they can learn about the marvelous wisdom of God for creation. They can see how God is vindicated in what He does. They will see how time and space will end in victory for God’s purposes.
It is encouraging to Christians to know that God sovereignly deals with evil principalities and powers. The presence of the church means that these authorities have not defeated God’s purpose in time. This is especially true for spiritual warfare.
It is difficult for men or angels to understand what God is doing if we look at isolated events in time. God has an eternal purpose or scheme where He is progressively fulfilling His designs for the universe (3:11).