Several hundred years before the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, there was a famous Chinese warrior; he was also an accomplished philosopher. His name was Sun Tzu. He wrote what became a famous treatise on warfare. In his treatise, he wrote extensively that it was imperative to—KNOW THY ENEMY.
He was an outstanding General of the Chinese Army in his day. According to the General, in order to wage successful warfare, one must “know thy enemy.” This concept that Sun Tzu promoted - knowing your enemy – turns out to be a Biblical Principle. The Apostle Paul, centuries later, wrote that Christians must be spiritually mindful of the warfare being waged against them and the warfare against the Christian Faith’s influence on the present civilization in the Western World.
OUR ENEMY IS SATAN
We know who Satan is. We know he was created as a superhuman being, a personal adversary, the father of evil, and a world-power. He is represented in Scripture as the adversary, both of God and men. But, we are to know much more than this about our Enemy.
Late in the magnificent ministry of the Apostle Paul, when he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles (Eph. 3:1), he gave a very striking revelation concerning our Enemy.
From the depths of the Mamertine Prison in Rome, the Ambassador of Jesus Christ, Paul, was conducting his embassy in a chain. The Ambassador had a Secret visitor from outer space—the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:9-10). Jesus Christ was the King of His Government. He was in a self-imposed exile, waiting for the “Epiphania.” No one knew of this secret meeting until Paul revealed it. It was there that the Lord Jesus Personally revealed to His “Ambassador in bonds” (Eph. 6:20) “the Mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but NOW is made manifest to his saints” (Col. 1:26).
It was NOW time to make known the Great Secret that God had kept hidden in His Heart since before the Six Days of His Creation.
The Ambassador Paul wrote, “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward: How that by revelation He made known unto me the Mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the Mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is NOW revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel" (Eph. 3:2-6).
The word “NOW” must not be ignored. In the context of Ephesians and Colossians “NOW” meant “at this time.” It [this Mystery (Secret)] could not have been revealed until Paul could say “It is NOW revealed at Acts 28:28”—after the OT had closed; after the Period of the Four Gospels was concluded; and after the Pentecostal Period (to wit, the Acts Period) came to a sudden suspension.
None of the Prophets preached the Truth of the Mystery because it had not been made known in their day. Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, and the rest of the OT Prophets knew nothing concerning the Mystery. The Lord Jesus had not YET made it known to the Prophets or, for that matter, He hadn’t revealed it to anyone! The twelve Apostles didn’t proclaim the Mystery because they knew nothing about it until the Apostle Paul told them he had a new and fresh revelation from God, and it related to the Gentiles. The Mystery was the Latest Report from the Heavenly Throne. Ever since the revelation of the Mystery was made known, the Lord has remained silent to mankind.
Paul delivered the message of the Lord’s last communiqué to Gentiles. The Gentiles who embraced the Latest Report from the Throne of God would be made “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph.1:6), and they would form a unique corporate body of believers, separate from all others—the Ecclesia over which Christ Jesus is the Head (Eph. 1:22-23). This is the only true Body of the Called-Out Ones today. Paul emphatically stated that today there is only ONE BODY!
“And that He might reconcile both unto God in ONE BODY by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:” (Eph. 2:16).
“There is ONE BODY, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;” (Eph. 4:4).
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in ONE BODY; and be ye thankful” (Col. 3:15).
When the Apostle Paul wrote Ephesians and Colossians, he made known the revelation of the Sacred Secret—the Mystery. Jews who believed this Truth had to accept it as if they were a Gentile. “Now” also meant that AT THAT TIME and even until NOW, as far as the Lord is concerned, the Jew was looked upon as if he were a Gentile.
After Acts 28, there was a new body of believers whose official title is found in Ephesians 1:22-23, “…the Church, Which is His Body.” Don’t get this confused with the Acts or Pentecostal Period’s “Body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:27, Rom. 7:4). In “The Body of Christ,” the Jew had the priority and prominence; whereas, the Gentile member had very few privileges in the “Body of Christ.” They could not hold any official position in the Church—the Body of Christ, such as Bishops, Deacons, or Elders.
The Truth revealed in the Prison Epistles comprises Truth for Today (i.e., Present Truth). Most Christians fail to follow Paul’s command of 2 Timothy 2:15, which is “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” The Truth relating to the Mystery is not found in New Testament Scripture, or Old Testament Scripture. Paul wrote that comprehending the revelation of the Mystery comes by way of being divinely enlightened. Notice that Paul prayed that the saints might be so enlightened:
“Wherefore I also, …Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Eph. 1:16-18).
(To Be Continued)
Copyright© 2017 by Thomas L. Ballinger
Tom L. Ballinger
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From Plainer Words
Know the enemy - Part 1
Posted in: 2017
By Tom L. Ballinger
Jan 31, 2017 - 3:13:20 PM
Jan 31, 2017 - 3:13:20 PM
© Copyright 2017 by Plainer Words