Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 4 (The OT points to the perfection to come).
length: 61:41 - taught on Aug, 2 2019
Friday August 2, 2019
EPH 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles--
EPH 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;
EPH 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
EPH 3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
EPH 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
The church-age, where so much could be seen that was dark prior to it, was not revealed in the OT.
JOH 1:9 There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
JOH 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
JOH 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
JOH 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
JOH 1:13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The age of the church, an age when the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant would be given to all men who by faith alone believed in Christ as their Savior, was not revealed in the Old Testament.
This was an age which would eradicate all dividing walls, the most significant of which was the Law dividing Jews and Gentiles, and the full revelation of God would be given through the person of Christ.
So much is seen in this age which could not be seen before it. The most significant of which is the person of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.
As He said to Phillip, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”
JOH 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
To reveal Himself to us, He had to come to earth as a man, do the work that revealed His heart, and transform us into righteousness so that we could comprehend it.
The mystery of Christ is the reality of fulfillment of what had been promised from long ages past. It is not something brand new.
The resurrected Christ revealed this to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. He did the same to the disciples in the room. Both of these are revealed in Luk 24.
We may have wished that Luke wrote which particular OT passages that the Lord pointed to in order to open their minds to prophecies so dimly apprehended before, but now illuminated by the radiance of His risen glory. But isn’t it best that Luke didn’t? Given to the church is the giant measurement of the Old Testament - Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms into which to look for the same illumination. What He did tell them is that all this spoke of Him.
LUK 24:44 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
LUK 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
LUK 24:46 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day;
LUK 24:47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
In other words, Moses, the prophets, and the writings all tell of His humiliation, exaltation, and reign; of the story of sin, righteousness, and judgment; of man, Christ, and God; or in more theological language, that they contain anthropology, soteriology, and eschatology - in short, the history of the kingdom of God.
It is not only the prophecy of special predictions, like the King on a donkey, but also all of its history, from the “Out of Egypt I have called My Son,” to “A prophet like unto me shall the Lord your God raise up unto you.”
Thus the OT pointed beyond itself to the perfectness which it announced and for which it prepared. The life of the King.
MAL 3:1 "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me [John the Baptist]. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the Lord of hosts.
He would be a Prophet.
DEU 18:18 'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
DEU 18:19 'And it shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.
He would be a Priest.
After God proclaimed to the current high priest Eli that his family would no longer serve Him, God says.
1SA 2:35 ‘But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.
Initially this refers to Samuel, who is currently a young man serving in the Temple, but Samuel would not be a priest “always” in an “enduring house.” Samuel is blessed here to become a type of Christ, who is the fulfillment of this prophecy.
PSA 110:4 The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,
"Thou art a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek."
ZEC 6:13 "Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices."'
He would be a King.
GEN 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
NUM 24:17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near;
A star shall come forth from Jacob,
And a scepter shall rise from Israel,
And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,
And tear down all the sons of Sheth.
PSA 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
PSA 2:2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord
and against His Anointed, saying,
PSA 2:3 "Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!"
PSA 2:4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
PSA 2:5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,
PSA 2:6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
PSA 2:7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
PSA 2:8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.
PSA 2:9 'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,
Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.'"
Again, we ask ourselves, if these OT passages and the history of Israel were all I had, what picture of the Messiah could I see and to what depth would I know Him?
The OT pointed beyond itself to the perfectness. That perfectness consists in the removal of all the evil which sin has wrought, in the restoration of man to God, and in the fulness of blessings which flows from fellowship between God and man.
This is the kingdom of God.
To announce it and to prepare for it, was the object of the OT.
This shows us that prophecy didn’t only have a predictive element but a moral one. The same was true of the miracles performed, especially by Christ. They all had an ethical standard. The people were to prepare for the kingdom of God, which is precisely what all the prophets told them, the greatest of which was John the Baptist.
The OT, prophecy, Israel’s history all have a predictive and a moral quality. The people of the kingdom were to prepare for it, i.e. sinners consciously unqualified and in need of a Savior.
MAT 3:1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
MAT 3:2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
“Repent” - to change the mind and turn around (act on the change - not only remorse or confession).
MAT 3:8 "Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance;
MAT 3:3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet [40:3], saying,
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
'Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight!'"
MAT 3:4 Now John himself had a garment of camel's hair, and a leather belt about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
MAT 3:5 Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan;
MAT 3:6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed (Greek: exomologeo = public, not private confession) their sins.
Jesus said in MAT 21:31-32 that the tax-collectors and harlots believed John while the Pharisees and Sadducees did not, and even after they had seen the fruit of repentance in those “sinners” they still did not feel remorse so as to believe.
The religious leaders thought they were good enough to please God, the “sinners” of Israel who believed John understood they were not because what they did was sin.
If one agrees with God concerning sin, he must conclude that it must not be done. And for Israel, in possession of the Law, which at the time was well known by the people, the knowledge of sin was very deep. The pagan world didn’t know near as much about it.
The people, being told for so long, by some, that the kingdom was coming, and by others that the kingdom would not come, and coupled with this that the kingdom had been promised for thousands of years, would easily grow lackadaisical concerning their lifestyles. Sinners easily violated the Law. Pharisees and priests walked by the letter of the Law while violating its weightiest commands of love and mercy.
Then comes this man in the wilderness that some are curious about. And when they see him and hear him, his fame spreads and people come for miles.
Israel hadn’t had a prophet for over 400 years and now the greatest of all the prophets was in the desert dressed like Elijah.
He tells them that the kingdom of God and its King are at hand and that you must be prepared for the King. The preparation is that you realize that you are not qualified to enter the kingdom. But it is more than just admitting you are a sinner and caring nothing for the sin against God. That is no different than offering sacrifices of animals to God for sin, thinking it is sufficient. The sacrifices were always to be given with a broken and contrite heart. Without that they were just rituals.
John’s water baptism was a type of the true cleanliness that was to come, that was prophesied. And, no one in Israel ever baptized in concert with repentance.
EZE 36:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.