There is a ton packed into these 3 verses of Ephesians 3:9-11, but I want to focus on one word that is used twice in this passage. It is the Greek word αἰών, meaning age. This word has always intrigued me because it is kind of a mysterious word. One of my favorite Bible verses is 1 John 2:17-
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who is committed to the will of God abides unto the forever.
The word forever is the same word in our text, αἰών. This word has been translated ages, time, world, eternity, and forever, which is a pretty wide range of meanings for one word, but that is what is so intriguing about it.
I was reading Ephesians 3 yesterday and saw this word show up twice in these three verses, but yet our English translation, again has two different English words for the same exact Greek word. I started digging in, and like always found a treasure!
The main thrust of verses 9-11, and the first three chapters of Ephesians for that matter, is Paul telling us of the incomprehensible idea that God has given us His Son for the purpose of having an eternal family to live and abide in Him forever! This multifaceted wisdom of God, ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία, as we see in verse 10, was hidden in Him from after the ages, but has now been revealed to us in these last times. This wisdom has always been according to His purpose to have a family.
The text in verse 9 says God hid the wisdom of His plan of redemption from after the ages, ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων. The English translation portrays He hid this since the beginning of the ages were created or a better translation is "from after" the ages. We know the ages were created by the Word of God and committed to Jesus, Heb 11:3, 1:2. Therefore, the ages are part of creation. The Greek text in verse 11 says, "πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων" the purpose of the ages. This is slightly different from verse 9 because the text does not say, "ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων", from after the ages, but instead omits the ἀπὸ, from. The English translates this as eternal purpose, changing this noun into an adjective. This would be a correct translation if ἀπὸ was in the text, but it isn't. Therefore, αἰώνων is a noun in the genitive case, not an adjective, and it should be translated "purpose of the ages". I agree that God has an "eternal" purpose, but that is not exactly what is being said here. It is according to the purpose of the ages which He committed to Christ Jesus. In both instances in verses 9 and 11 we see the αἰώνων portrayed as a created being and we also see it having a purpose in the plan of redemption.
I know this may sound a little strange, but we must allow ourselves to think that "the all", τα παντα, of creation is alive. For it says in the Gospels that the stones will cry out, Lk 19:40. In the Psalms it says the creation will praise His Name, Ps 66:4, 148:3-6. In Romans it says the creation is groaning for it's redemption, Rom 8:20. Isaiah says the creation will sing and clap their hands, Is 55:12. In Revelation, all of creation worships Him, Rev 5:13.
So if we follow this line of thinking, what was the purpose of the ages? Ages can most closely be attributed to time. God is outside of time, but the creation is subject to time, and time is probably the most valuable resource there is. Therefore, God, after subordinating His creation to the condition of time, namely the ages, He committed, ἐποίησεν, Eph 3:11, this precious resource to His Son, Jesus Christ, and in this resource of time, God fulfilled His purpose of having a family. For thousands of years, God developed His plan thru the constraints of His creation, namely time and men, to ultimately fulfill His redemption plan and purpose, and at the appointed time, Gal 4:4, Rom 5:6, He sent His Son into the world as its Savior to redeem mankind from the bondage of sin and death; giving mankind the opportunity to be reconciled to Him for τοῖς αἰῶσι τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις, the ages to come, Eph 2:7.
The ages is one of the fundamental building blocks in God's creation. If God would not have created the αἰῶν, He could not have fulfilled the redemptive act of the cross in which His Son was sent to this world to accomplish. It was through these ages, that God chose to deal with mankind; to deliver His Law, make a remedy for sin, administer His grace on all who would believe, and ultimately live in the τοῖς αἰῶσι τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις, the ages to come with His family forever. God had to create forever for us to live with Him in the forever!!!
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen
Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ πάντων υμῶν. ἀμην.