What is the ultimate purpose of God? To what goal is history heading?
Commenting on Ephesians 1:19-23, author W.W. Fereday (1866-1959) puts it as succinctly as it has ever been put:
“Before the ages of time God, in His infinite wisdom and love, purposed to place the whole universe under His beloved Son in manhood, with the Church in union with Him as His body. The grace of this is overwhelming, for the body is composed of sinners, some of them of the grossest description (1 Cor 6:9-11). Believers of other dispensations are not included in the body of Christ. The body had no beginning until Christ took His seat on high and the Holy Spirit came forth, and it will be completed when the Lord Jesus descends into the air (1 Thess 4). Saints of Old Testament times, and the saints who will succeed it in testimony upon earth, will have their part in the City for which their hearts yearned (Heb 11:10); but God in His sovereign wisdom has provided something better for us than for them (Heb 11:40).
“The place and portion of Christ’s body in God’s eternal counsels is set forth in Eph 1:22. When men had done their worst to Christ and had cast Him out of the vineyard (Matt 21:39) with the utmost scorn, God did His best for Him. It was no afterthought, but the development of a purpose settled before the world began. “He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” Marvellous vision for faith to contemplate! The whole universe (not this small planet only) filled with the glory of Christ; His headship everywhere acknowledged; and His body in union with Him, His fulness — the expression in redeemed humanity of all His divine perfections. Creature responsibility does not come into this. It is grace alone, and the work is divine. All the saints from Pentecost to the Rapture will have their full part in it. The body in this aspect is in course of formation, but, oh, that the power and blessedness of all that is bound up in this counsel of divine wisdom and love had present command of our souls! It would influence our whole deportment in every sphere of life.”