Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 8 (The OT points to the perfection to come).
Thursday, August 8, 2019
That the Jews did, for many centuries, look for a great King to arise in the line of David, who should establish a perfect kingdom of God upon earth, is beyond dispute.
Differences of opinion might exist regarding the time of His coming, or the signs of it, or the nature of His person, or the characteristics of His kingdom, but no Jew doubted that the Messiah would come and reign on earth.
Luk 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Luk 2:26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luk 2:27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,
Luk 2:28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luk 2:29 "Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart
In peace, according to Thy word;
Luk 2:30 For my eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Luk 2:31 Which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
Luk 2:32 A light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Thy people Israel."
Luk 2:33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.
Luk 2:34 And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed —
Luk 2:35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul — to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
The mystery – this spiritual life would be in operation without the earthly kingdom of Israel or the King on David’s throne, but that the King would be fully revealed, dwell in His people, and unite them in love.
The truth of all of this is wonderfully summarized by Paul in Rom 5-6.
Rom 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
Rom 5:19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
Rom 5:20 And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
Rom 5:21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?
Rom 6:2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.
Alive to do what or to live how? God has empowered us to live as His sons, through grace.
Let’s go fishing!
The Bible tells all of us that we should be teachers.
Heb 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Heb 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
This does not mean that each of us should be teaching Bible classes, but that we should be teachers of the spiritual life, the life of the kingdom of God, to all those around us. This is done in living the life and also instructing them about it.
And we see in this passage that to be a teacher is to be mature, discerning good and evil.
God told Ezekiel that before he taught God’s message that the new prophet should “eat the scroll.” I’m not going to weigh in on whether he actually ate some scroll, but what it represents is that the message of that scroll should be flowing through his own blood. We have to live the life of Christ if we are going to be teachers of it.
Learn for the sake of living.
Do not learn for the sake of condemning or judging others, or for being thought wise, or even for the sole purpose for instructing, as if God commissioned us to receive a text and recite it like a king’s herald. We are heralds and ambassadors, but in the case of this kingdom, a kingdom in which the truth is itself alive and powerful, we cannot properly speak unless we have fully digested and lived that truth.
There was not one prophet in the nation of Israel that we know of who did not themselves live in the ethical principle of their message – not one.
There were schools of prophets or prophetic orders in Israel that contained hundreds of prophets. Many of the men in them were legitimate in the service of God, but like all organizations of power, others in the order became corrupt.
Jer 5:30 "An appalling and horrible thing
Has happened in the land:
Jer 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule on their own authority;
And My people love it so!
But what will you do at the end of it?
The end of it is going to be the Babylonians with siege engines. What will you do then? When your false prophecies have not come to bear?
Jer 28:1 Now it came about in the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azzur, the prophet, who was from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the Lord in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying,
Jer 28:2 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.
Jer 28:3 'Within two years I am going to bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord's house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon.
Jer 28:4 'I am also going to bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles of Judah who went to Babylon,' declares the Lord,' for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.'"
Jeremiah said “Amen, may the Lord do so.” And Jeremiah, humble man of truth that he was, waited for the Lord to reveal if this prophecy may have been so. The Lord revealed to Jeremiah that it was a lie.
Jer 28:15 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah the prophet, "Listen now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie.
Jer 28:16 "Therefore thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This year you are going to die, because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord.'"
Jer 28:17 So Hananiah the prophet died in the same year in the seventh month.
Why did Hananiah tell this lie? If he had lived the life prescribed by God to the OT saint, he would never had said it. It seems very likely to have said it to please the wicked king of Judah and gain favor.
Jeremiah and the others like him, lived their lives in the way that they called Israel to live. Their prophecies all had their foundation in that way, being far more a part of them than predictions of the future.
1Co 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
1Co 9:25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1Co 9:26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
1Co 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
The King, the kingdom, and the life of the kingdom was promised long ago, when Israel rejected the King, the offer was rescinded from them for a time, but not rescinded from the world.
This was prophesied long ago in the OT, and when Israel rejected their King, equating His miracles with the work of the devil, the offered kingdom was rescinded from Israel for a time, but it was not rescinded from the world. It was still given to all who would believe upon Him, but in a way and in a dispensation of time that was unknown in the past.
And, because all of God’s promises are “Yea and Amen,” the spiritual and material kingdom would still be given to the nation of Israel, but at a future time upon the Second Coming of Christ.
So, why did John convict Israel of her sins, have them openly confess them and then baptize them in the Jordan? It was all in preparation for them to know and understand that as sinners, unqualified for the kingdom of heaven, the Son of God would have to cleanse them and qualify them by propitiating the Father.
There was only one hope for Israel to enter into the kingdom of God – the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.
The perfection of the kingdom of God would consist in the removal of all the evil which sin has wrought. All the people in the kingdom would be cleansed. This was prophesied by Ezekiel.
It wouldn’t be water that would cleanse us in the church or any saint from any dispensation, but the blood of Christ would do it, meaning His substitutionary spiritual death for us.
but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
The unfolding of prophetic revelation in the OT showed that the King would conquer by suffering.
Though this was shown, it was still not seen, not even by those who believed in Christ during His incarnation. Jesus told the disciples on many occasions that He was to suffer and die at the hands of the leaders in Jerusalem.
Mar 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mar 8:32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
Yet still, they did not understand.
Not daunted by their unbelief, the resurrected Christ showed them this in the revealed scripture.
And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day;
Side note: Christ’s suffering and our own
This should give us pause concerning our own suffering. And while it is true that Jesus never suffered as the result of His own sin, He suffered because of sin from others.