Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The moral quality of prophecy and miracles.
Wednesday October 16, 2019
As with prophecy so also in the miracles there is a moral quality.
They do not point to a moral but have within their fabric moral quality.
The cleansing of this man from leprosy is an obvious indication that all men must be cleansed from sin if they are going to enter the kingdom of God and fellowship with its King, and only God can cleanse us. We can easily find the moral fabric of every miracle – casting out demons, healing blindness, deafness, lameness, leprosy, and even raising from the dead.
This is also true of prophecy. Every prophecy has a moral fabric to it. All of it points to Christ, so then it is not surprising since everything Christ did contained a moral fabric.
So then, Christianity is the fulfillment of a great portion of the Old Testament, but there is still more to come, specifically to the nation of Israel.
The claims of the NT are based on the OT. If the OT is in doubt then the NT has nothing to stand on.
The Ethiopian eunuch was reading Isa 53 and upon the arrival of Phillip, asked of whom the prophet wrote. The apostle Phillip revealed the subject was Christ. That great chapter of the suffering Servant was fulfilled in Christ.
Christianity is not something brand new but the fulfillment of that which is very old.
Luk 4:16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.
Luk 4:17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,
Luk 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are downtrodden,
Luk 4:19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."
Our Lord purposefully stops reading at this point:
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
“And the day of vengeance of our God” is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ.
Luk 4:20 And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him.
Luk 4:21 And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
He had come to fulfill the part that He read – His incarnation and cross.
A part of the Abrahamic Covenant is fulfilled in the church.
The earthly blessing of “I will make you a great nation” is yet future, but the “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed, has been fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled until the end of history.
Gal 3:7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
Gal 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you."
Gal 3:9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
Gal 4:5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
When Jesus arrived at the fullness of times, the great amount of prophecy concerning Him was a disjointed outline in Israel. The time and the manner of His coming was not understood.
He would present Himself in exact accordance with those prophecies, and still the time and the manner were not understood, and so Israel rejected Him.
1Pe 1:10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry,
1Pe 1:11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
“Person” is not found in the original.
“searching what time or manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point to…” [Robertson]
1Pe 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things into which angels long to look.
The angels are not recipients of salvation. They are only spectators.
God is patient, gracious, and merciful. Jesus would rise again, and when He did, He would put into operation much of what was promised in Him, Eph 1:19-23. Not at that time to the nation of Israel – not yet. The fulfillment of the covenant to the nation of Israel would have to wait. This was decided before He died, when the leaders of Israel stood in the witness box and the evidence presented to them of His Person was overwhelming, and they declared that He was an agent of Satan.
The nation was doomed at that moment, but only for a time. Understand, the nation was doomed for a time but not the Jews themselves. Any and every Jew could hear what was said at Pentecost through 120 witnesses of Christ with their leader the apostle Peter and repent and believe so as to be saved and become members of the body of Christ and recipients of every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. Indeed, the church began fully with Jews and the final revelation of God would be written by Jews.
The OT is full of Christ. Prophecy must be understood as a whole, fulfilled in Christ.
This shows us that understanding prophecy is more than knowing any one in particular, for they all point towards one King and His kingdom come. Prophecy must be viewed as a whole pointing towards a living and historical fulfillment in Christ.
Prophecy is the necessary attendant of God’s revelation of Himself in the history of Israel. God designed to make a personal manifestation of Himself in human history. Historical circumstances, place and time, must be prepared that this manifestation may be congruous, understood, and utilized. For this end He chose Israel, and by a long-continued process educated them to know Him, to wait for His salvation, to furnish Him with a sphere of life in which it was possible for Him to manifest His glory.
“Israel was the tree out of which was to spring that Branch on which God was to find satisfactory fruit. The tree therefore was throughout its growth a prophecy of the Branch.” [Edersheim]
Every detail of their constitution, every movement of their history, had a reference to the end for which they existed, and in so far prophesied of that end. The relation of God and man, which was perfectly accomplished in Christ, was throughout established between God and His people, though it could only be expressed in much less adequate forms than the humanity of the Son of God.
In this way, prophecy is much easier to comprehend. Know all of them in the light of a resurrected Savior, first and foremost, and then you can safely look at them individually to study them.
Every blessing we have in the church was foretold in the OT. The manner of our age was not, hence it was a mystery. The fullness of the Person of Christ could not be revealed in prophecy alone, and so He was a mystery.
It was foretold in the OT that the Gentiles would be blessed by God and enter into God’s covenants. That is not a new thing. That man would be saved and justified by faith alone was not a new thing. We have noted several times lately that the New Covenant as related by Jeremiah and Ezekiel are partially fulfilled in our age, and so our cleansing, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the word alive and powerful within us, our sins and iniquities no longer remembered, our King, our kingdom, and our ability to know God were also foretold.
This does not make the church the nation of Israel. Neither does it drive a wall between the church and the nation of Israel to come. All prophecy points to the King and His kingdom and the church and the nation of Israel to come share them in common. The church is in the kingdom of God, but she is not the fulfillment of the Millennial kingdom to come, yet she will be a part of that kingdom as well.
Distinctions have been made and lines drawn where God has not put them, and I think a lot of that has to do with our fight against false doctrines, like covenant theology, as well as getting too narrow minded by studying individual prophecy while not seeing the overall purpose of God for the human race.
“It is altogether a narrow principle which has been applied to the study of prophecy, and which too often results in disputes about words instead of presenting the grand and indubitable (cannot be doubted) facts of fulfillment.” [Edersheim]
He goes on: “It is sometimes supposed that those who uttered a prophecy, perhaps even those who heard it, must have understood its full meaning, its complete Messianic bearing, or at least have had full conception of the personal Messiah as now in the light of fulfillment we know Him. … But it is a kind of Jewish literalism which lies at the basis of this erroneous view of prophecy, a narrow and utterly unspiritual view of it, a mechanical view also, which treats its fulfillment in its relation to prophecy as if it were a clock made to strike the precise quarters of the hour. But it is not so. … [Learn it well:]
“The fulfillment is always both wider and more spiritual than the prediction. It contains it and much more, and it can only be properly understood which viewed in relation to prophecy as a whole.” [Edersheim]
It is from the narrow and unspiritual treatment of prophecy that come the two camps of covenant theology and the strict form of dispensationalism that keeps Israel and the church separate on all counts. The nation of Israel and its future fulfillment of blessing is not the same as the church, but there is much more that we share in common than some dispensationalists would have us believe. Dispensationalism is definitely true but it is also true that the church enjoys many of the blessings promised to Israel under what Jeremiah called a “New Covenant.”
Rom 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
Rom 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,
Rom 16:26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;
Rom 16:27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
The OT revelation of Christ will make you appreciate much more what you know of Him now.