October 12, 2012
Plainer Words since 1968
PLAINER WORDS ONLINE … FOCUS ON EPHESIANS
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4)
The fact that “He hath chosen US in Him” is of great magnitude. This fact cannot be accentuated enough. A major point here is that God has made a choice. His choice was “us.” I am of the opinion if you are one of the “us,” you know it. It has been revealed to you. Paul asserts, unequivocally, in Ephesians 1:9, that the One Who CHOSE US—also—MADE KNOWN TO US THE MYSTERY.
Were we chosen because our credentials were bona fide? No. There was nothing about our character, our works, or our good intentions that would qualify US ! God chose, selected, picked out, elected, or set US apart for an office—that being an office in His Government when the Day of Christ is manifest. An indescribable act of grace and GRACE ALONE, resulted in His CHOICE of US as members of His Ekklesia.
The foundation upon which He chose us, before the foundation of the world, lies in Christ and His merits—certainly, not ours.
Not only that, but the Personal Pronoun, First Person Plural, “US,” is used 16 times in THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE EPHESIANS. This indicates that the choosing of “US” is a very integral part of the revelation of the Mystery, as indicated by the following references:
Eph 1:3 - Who hath blessed US
Eph. 1:4 - He hath chosen US
Eph 1:5 - Having predestinated US
Eph 1:6 - Hath made US accepted
Eph 1:8 - He hath abounded toward US
Eph 1:9 - Having made known unto US the mystery
Eph 2:4 - He loved US
Eph 2:5 - Hath quickened US together with Christ
Eph 2:6 - Raised US up together, and made US sit together
Eph 2:7 - His kindness toward US through Christ Jesus
Eph 2:14 - Hath broken down the middle wall of partition between US
Eph 3:20 - The power that worketh in US
Eph 4:7 - But unto every one of US is given grace
Eph 5:2 - Christ also hath loved US, and hath given Himself for US an offering
The “US” in all of these passages is, also, a reference to the Church (Ekklesia) which is His Body, as per Ephesians 1:22-23.
“The Epistle to the Ephesians” has 6 Chapters, 155 Verses, and 3,039 words. It is significant that “we,” meaning “US,” are mentioned 16 times. We are set in contrast to “them.”
Do you remember in your school-yard-days when the boys lined up to be chosen to play baseball? Usually, the boy appointed to choose the team was the best player. He looked-over every boy before he started to make his selection. He would choose eight boys and tell them what position they were to be. The boy who did the choosing was, usually, the Pitcher. Each boy knew where he was to go when the game started.
This mundane illustration is likened to our being chosen to fill a definite Office in the Government of God. This will be during the Pre-Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. The “US,” in this context, will hold the highest Offices in His Administration when He assumes all the Rights of the Sovereign of the Universe. The thought is staggering. We will have a function, a job to do, a service to perform, and very weighty responsibilities. Most of the Bible Commentators go no further in their teaching than the saints having been saved and raised from the dead, or changed. They make very little comment or none at all, on what will the saints be doing throughout the ages to come. An understanding of what the Ekklesia really is, and will be, provides the believer some insight into their resurrection-life.
Our “Resurrection-or-Change” Office will not be on “Easy Street.” All of this has been said to emphasize that we will have adversaries as members of the Administration of the Lord Jesus Christ! It is foolish for us to think that our Divine assignment will be one filled with everlasting leisure, fun, and games. We may not win the universal praise of the masses—however, the contrast will be that the Spiritual powers in the heavens will continually hear God praise of US as members of a Company of redeemed who will be to the praise the Glory of HIS GRACE. Our joy will be everlastingly “in Christ.”
But, it must be pointed out that—
TO BE CHOSEN IS AN INVITATION TO SPIRITUAL ATTACK
Certain men in the Bible were “called-out” to perform certain specific task. As such, God positioned each man in a place in which he will be able to perform the assigned mission. He will be Divinely appointed, selected, or designated to do a particular work. Some were chosen to perform specific tasks in his life. Some were chosen to do “good works” in their life time, as well, as in being selected to do a particular job in resurrection. Some men were chosen to live Godly in this present world while waiting to be assigned their mission in the life to come—during The Day of Christ.
Moses was chosen by God to fulfill a particular assignment which is easy to understand. He was chosen to be a priest and a judge in Israel (Exodus 18:15-16). This was an awesome responsibility. Moses was Divinely equipped by the Spirit of God to perform this task. He was to be the earthly Governor of Israel. The Lord never gives a job without first equipping the chosen one to complete the work. This was the case with Moses, as you shall see.
In the beginning, Moses operated alone in this capacity. In reading Exodus 18:18-24 we note that the father-in-law of Moses (Jethro) suggested to him that he appoint able men from every Tribe to be judges in Israel. This was to ease the case-load that Moses shouldered. Jethro assured Moses that God “would be with” him in this selection.
Moses was to choose able men, “such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them.” Jethro suggested that Moses select them to be rulers over thousands, and rulers over hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. Moses followed Jethro’s advice.
“And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves” (Exodus 18:25-26)
The Israelites were to be numbered “by their armies” (Num.1:3). There were 603,550 fighting men numbered by Moses and Aaron. Break these numbers down by thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, and this totals almost 80, 000 (my count is 78,603). These men were chosen and selected by Moses and approved by God to be judges/rulers in Israel. They were to handle the small matters. The hard cases, they were to bring to Moses for him to adjudicate.
The point we will make is that these men were chosen by God, through the person of Moses, to perform functions as judges and rulers. They were the first ruling body in Israel. In both the Old and New Testaments the governing bodies were referred to as a “church.” Honesty compels me to say frankly the English word, “church,” does not “do justice” to the Greek word, “Ekklesia.”
The men, who were called-out, or chosen, or selected by Moses, while Israel wandered in the Sinai, was named the “church [Kahal] in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). Their Old Testament function was the same as the New Testament’s “Ekklesia,” i.e., Church. What we have in the OT is the word “Kahal.” It has the same meaning as the New Testament Greek word “Ekklesia”—Church.
When we use the word, “Church,” we are not referring to a building with a steeple on it and seated with people. We are referring to folks who have been chosen-appointed-selected-positioned-called-out by God to be part of a Calling chosen, by Him, to perform governmental functions. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, “kingdom” has one meaning as “the government of God.” These 80,000 able men, selected by Moses, were chosen, or called-out to execute “Kingdom functions,” to wit, functions in God’s Government in Israel.
These 80,000 judges/rulers of the Israelites made up the first Bible “Ekklesia.” In this study, I will use the word “Kahal.” Some Lexicons use the word “Qahal.” They both have the same meaning. “Kahal” is used 123 times in the Old Testament. It is “congregation” 86 times. It is singular—not congregations. It is “assembly (not plural) 17 times; the word, “company” was used 17 times, never companies; and “multitude” 3 times.
This “Kahal” (Congregation) worked for a time and, then. the LORD later told Moses to gather 70 men. The Seventy were to meet with God.
“And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease” (Num. 11:24-25).
These seventy men were actually called “Ekklesia” in Acts 7:38, to wit; they were the “Church in the wilderness.” They were the God’s Government in Israel. We will not catalog the events in which Satan stirred up trouble for the Hebrew Ekklesia. The troubles were numerous. There was trouble from the nations during their migration and trouble even within the Hebrew camp itself. And, not only that, but there was major conflict within the Ekklesia, itself.
THE INVITATION TO SPIRITUAL ASSAULT—JEALOUSY
Satanic powers stirred up contention and jealousy within the “Ekklesia in the Wilderness.” Korah was the ring-leader who, being stirred-up by jealousy, contended against Moses and Aaron because of the authority they exercised in the Ekklesia. The wilderness Ekklesia, to wit, the “Kahal” was the ruling body within the nation of Israel. Authority in government is the very essence of the meaning of “Kahal” in the OT and “Ekklesia” in the NT—the Kahal or Ekklesia is the instrument of God’s Government when the context requires it.
He appoints to His Government whoever He chooses. Korah, via Moses, was God’s appointee to the “Church [Kakal] in wilderness.” The Devil zeroed-in on a “Kahal” member. The Satanic target was Korah. He was a chief of an Edomite tribe (Gen 36:18). Korah was the son of Izhar and a first cousin of Moses and Aaron (Ex 6:21). He was equal, in rank, with Aaron within the tribe of Levi—but subordinate to Moses.
Korah apparently was jealous that Aaron held the position of high priest. The Reubenites were the descendants of Jacob's eldest son. They thought the responsibility for leading Israel should rest with their tribe rather than the Levites. The four ringleaders (including Korah were Dathan, Abiram, and On) gathered 250 leaders of the congregation, publicly charging Moses and Aaron with abusing their power. They claimed that all members of the congregation should have equal access to the LORD. (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Moses and Aaron were not really wrestling against Korah and the 250 princes of Israel. They were contending with the Satanic rulers of the darkness of this world—not flesh and blood. The malcontents were Satanically energized. As it was already pointed out—to be chosen as a member of the Divine Government is an invitation to “spiritual attack.” It was true in the “Church in the Wilderness”—Will it, also, be true for us, as members of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head (Eph. 1:22-23)? That is to say, when we are called into session during the Day of Christ, Satan will be de-throned. Peace and righteousness will rule the world through our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, the Wicked one will start his underground operations of “sowing tares” in Lord’s Field, which is the world. The underground “tares” will stealthily multiple and began to gain some positions of authority within the earthly-function of the Government of Jesus Christ. In our labors as ministers in His Government during the Day of Christ we will gradually begin to undergo our participation in the prophesied “Invitational.” By way of illustration, Professional Tennis Players and Professional Golfers contend in “Invitational Tournaments.” We will become contenders in the “Invitational to Spiritual Wrestling.” We have been forewarned to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6”11).
This will that be the time of “the evil day,” mentioned in Ephesians 6:13, of intense spiritual warfare. Will this be when we are called upon to “quench the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16). The “evil day” begins when the Day of Christ has ended and the Day of Lord is ushered-in. I see this “evil day” commencing with “the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:8).
Spiritual warfare will be far more intense than any we might encounter while we are waiting for OUR CALLING ON HIGH (2 Tim. 4:1). This being said doesn’t mean to imply that our struggle, today, with the wicked forces of darkness is not a reality. Our wrestling against spiritual powers is a foretaste of the world to come—the Day of Jesus Christ.
A close reading of The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles written during that time reveal that the Church of God was not immune to spiritual warfare. The Ekklesia during the Acts Period (the Divine Government) found its officials engaged, at times, in spiritual warfare. The Apostle Paul enumerates some of his spiritual attacks in 2 Corinthians 11:20-33. But, these are not all of his assaults because they were “above measure.” In plainer words, there were too many to count.
I have come to believe that the spiritual attacks that we encounter during this lifetime will probably be like “a church picnic” when compared to the battles that will rage during the “beginning of sorrows” and the Tribulation. Some of us may believe we have really been through some extreme spiritual combat. I might be one of those who might reckon on having been baptized into some spiritual combat in this Age of Grace. The Apostle Peter noted that during the Day of Christ, the Devil, who will have been deposed of his role as the prince of this world, will be going about as a roaring lion seeking those he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He will not be chained and imprisoned in the Bottomless Pit until the Thousand Year Parousia begins (Rev. 20:1-2).
The Ekklesia over which Christ Jesus is the Head will be fully engaged. Our address during the Day of Jesus Christ will not be on Leisure Street, in a corner office filled with potted plants and eucalypts trees. Rather, I think we’ll be in “war rooms” contending with the wicked principalities and powers.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).
(To be continued)
No Subscription Price
We endeavor to put in print and in plainer words, Bible Studies which we recommend to students and teachers alike. This is our 44th year of publishing Plainer Words. Plainer Words is emailed to anyone upon their personal request.
Visit our Web Site:
If you find that “Plainer Words” to be a blessing and contributes to your understanding of the Word of God you might want to confirm your appreciation by making a contribution to Plainer Words.
Tom Ballinger/Plainer Words
P.O. Box 1302
Lancaster, TX 75146
From Plainer Words
Focus on Ephesians - Part 3
Posted in: 2012
By Tom L. Ballinger
Oct 16, 2012 - 9:25:16 PM
Oct 16, 2012 - 9:25:16 PM
© Copyright 2013 by Plainer Words