EPHESIANS 4:1-10  


 

EPHESIANS 4:1-10

V 1-3 Exhortation for adherence to the Divine Priority
The Divine Priority is the demand placed upon the believer in view of God’s eternal plan.
That plan is stated at Ephesians:
At 1:6, “To the praise of the glory of His grace.”
At 1:12, 14, “To the praise of His glory.”
At 2:7, “to show case the surpassing riches of His grace.”
At
2:10, “created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS, which God designed
beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
At 3:10, “that the manifold wisdom of God might be made known
to the angelic beings, by the church.”
At
3:21, “to Him be the glory by the church and by Christ Jesus.”

As God’s creatures we are under a mandate to relate to Him on His terms and fulfill HIS righteousness
here on earth. Matthew 6:33,
“But seek FIRST The Kingdom and His righteousness.”
The DEMAND placed upon all believers is to “do all things for the glory of God.” 1 Cor.
10:31; 6:20

Verse 1
1. I therefore:
The divine priority is fulfilled through the church by
(1) the increase of converts (Eph.
2:21)
(2) the growth of believers that produces an imitation of God; a dwelling of God by the Spirit (Eph. 2:22).

At Ephesians 3:1, Paul’s intent is to state the details of the divine priority placed upon believers,
but he interrupted himself to explain more details about the plan of God, “the purpose of the ages,”
(Eph. 3:11).
Having finished that explanation, he returns to his intent here at verse 1.

So now, as at verse 3:1, Paul begins to explain the believer’s responsibility to the Divine priority
of bringing glory to God.
As members of the kingdom and family of God we have -
A new RELATIONSHIP: Sons of God, 1 Peter 1:17
A new FUNCTION: Priesthood, representation of Christ.  Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:15; 1 Peter 2:7

2. The prisoner of the Lord (cf. v.3:1)   for the sake of you Gentiles:
     A. He is in prison because of his representation of Christ in the world and specifically to the Gentiles.
     B. not really in a prison, but chained to two Roman soldiers in fairly descent living quarters.

     C. The principle already hinted at by Paul using this phrase is that the Divine priority takes precedence
          over everything else in life.
          No matter where it leads us, it is our only purpose for remaining on earth.
          (servant of the Lord, prisoner of the Lord, ambassador)

The word, “entreat you,” is a present active indicative of parakaleO, and means to beseech, exhort, encourage.
The preposition para, means BESIDE. With the verb kaleO, to speak, it means to bring information along side
the soul in order to motivate to a particular course of action.

Walk, is peripateO, as an aorist active infinitive, and means to have a way of life, and specifically here, to live
the Christian way of life.
The aorist tense looks at the life of the believer as a UNIT of time that should be lived THE SAME WAY,
every day and every minute.
That UNIT of time is broken down into making moment-by-moment decisions to abstain from sin (1 Pet. 2:11)
and radiate Christ’s love.
However, for those many and varied moment-by-moment decisions to be made consistently, there must first
be an the attitude of commitment and dedication to the Divine priority; knowing what God wants you to do,
and wanting to do it!

It is that attitude of dedication to God and dependence on him that gives strength to make those moment-by-moment functional decisions.
Jesus said, “if you love me you will keep my commandments.” John 14:14.
And “we love Him because He first loved us,” 1 John 4:7-19
A true understanding of the love of God makes a deep and long-lasting impression on the believer that motivates us to pursue growth.     2 Cor. 5:14; 1 John 3:1.

The aorist tense views our Christian life as a single unit of time that has NO ROOM for interruptions or gaps of failure.
It is God’s will that we DO NOT SIN (1 John 2:1), and we should live with that INTENTION.
Thus, the normal Christian life is a life that is characterized by being IN FELLOWSHIP and RADIATING
Christ’s love and righteousness.

True dedication sees the Christian walk as a single unit and applies a “forever attitude” to every area of life.
The attitude of dedication is viewed here, by the aorist tense of WALK, and the aorist tense at Romans 12:1,
by the placement of our entire BEING at the disposal of God’s authority, viewpoint and policy.
“I exhort you therefore, brethren, by the merciful expressions of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”

However to FULFILL this attitude, one must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
(2 Pet. 3:15).
This is stated by the present tense at Romans 12:2.
“And stop being conformed to this age’s viewpoint but be undergoing transformation by the renewing of the
mind so that you can evaluate approvingly what is the will of God; that it is intrinsically good,
and pleasingly good, and sufficiently complete,” (BFT).

Only in this way can we be considered to be walking WORTHY of the salvation that God has given us.
The word, worthy, is axiOs, and it means suitable or in a manner conforming to.
We are children of God; we should act like children of God.
We are saints, we should walk like saints.
We have God’s righteousness assigned to us, we should live righteously.
We are in the plan of God. This PLAN is called ELECTION or CALLING.

The CALLING with which we have been called IS our salvation status.
The noun, klAsis refers to the status the believer has through
sonship; a position/status of privilege, rank and function.
The privilege of election is Grace. We cannot earn it or deserve it.
God provides it and we simply accept by faith His gift. And at that very moment of time that we trust in Christ,
we are placed into His plan of election; we are made children of God and made perfectly righteous.
The rank of election is spiritual ROYALTY. This further amplifies the PRIVILEGE of our status by focusing
on the RIGHTS that we now have as members of God’s family.
The function of election is priesthood. This includes representing people to God and God to people.
Priesthood involves both evangelism of unbelievers and exhortation to believers.

ELECTION is the whole package of God's plan for us and is actually a description of the Divine priority.
The verbal construction here is an aorist passive indicative of kaleO.
The verb means to call or invite.
All have been invited into the plan of God, but only those who trust in Christ will be accepted into that plan.
The word, CALLED, refers to one who has been both invited and who has accepted.
Thus, it refers to the STATUS of our election; the fact that we have accepted God’s gift
and are now IN HIS FAMILY.
The aorist tense refers to the point of time of the grace privilege.
The point of time that faith in Christ was expressed.
The passive voice indicates that the believer received the election from God and based on the work of Christ.
And the indicative mood indicates the present reality of this salvation position.

The Divine priority was fulfilled from the standpoint of salvation.
God made the plan; God did the work; and God gets the glory.
Now Paul exhorts that they fulfill the Divine priority from the
standpoint of experience and function.
And that's the subject of all of chapters 4 through 6

Verse 2, THE CHARACTER OF THE MAN WHO REFLECTS THE DIVINE PRIORITY
This is what is expected of the believer who is now a light bearer for God’s kingdom.
It is basically, imitation of God and of Christ as per Eph. 5:1-2.
That imitation is SINLESS CONSISTENCY through expressing the 15 virtues of love as detailed at 1 Cor. 13:4-8.

There, he listed the virtues. Here, he will give us details and examples.
Those details revolve around HUMILITY and TRUTH.
Humility refers to the attitude that recognizes OUR place under God’s authority, viewpoint and policy.
True humility will always radiate God’s love.
Truth is conformity to the revealed word of God; doctrinal accuracy.
Conformity to truth is summarized here by listing the SEVEN unity doctrines.
These are the doctrines that require agreement in order for there to be genuine peace between believers.


1. With all humility: tapeinophrosunA, grace thinking
(pas = total-complete)
This is the mental attitude of Grace orientation.
     A. Knowing who God is and what He has done
     B. Knowing who and where we are because of God's work
     C. Knowing who and where others are in relation to God and us.
     D. Grace-thinking is a viewpoint that sees everything through the eyes of God's Grace.
         THIS REQUIRES KNOWLEDGE!
         2 Peter
3:15 says that we are to -
“grow in the GRACE and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We LEARN about grace and we BUILD the ability to both RECEIVE  and GIVE grace.

2. and gentleness: This is the word, prautAs.
It refers primarily to the overt expression of that grace orientation in every area of life.
That's why it is translated, gentleness.
It is the ability to deal with other people in Grace.
It includes understanding and sensitivity to their needs.
It includes, then, the factors of compassion and mercy.
It does not HURT others; ridicule, malign, antagonize, or bully.
The only exception is when the NATURAL rebuke from the word of God
does these things.

3. with patience: The preposition, meta, means in association with.
The noun, makrothumia means literally, long-passioned.
It refers to the expression of grace orientation under emotional
pressures. When we are faced with challenges concerning time factors
and personality factors, we remain emotionally in control.


4. showing forbearance to one another,
anechO, is a present middle participle and mans to endure, put up with
or accept. Accepting one another is a good translation.
     A. The present tense: constantly accepting one another based on grace orientation
     B. The middle voice: this word only occurs in the middle voice in the New Testament,
          so is actually active in function.

Grace orientation gives the mental framework for accepting all believers through the eyes of God's character.
But in any given point of time and continually throughout the Christian way of life, each believer must make individual volitional decisions toward those around him.

     C. The participle indicates that the overt dealing with other believers is directly related to the concepts
          of Grace orientation already mentioned.

The noun, in love, is agapA. It is the attitude that places such VALUE on the object of love,
that it continually seeks that which is beneficial for the other person before that which is beneficial to self.
Romans 13:8-lO; Galatians
5:13-16

It is actually LOVE that is the operative word here. Love embraces all the other character factors that radiate divine righteousness in our life and produces an imitation of God and of Christ. Ephesians 5:1-2.

Love is the ultimate goal of the growth process. 1 Tim. 1:5; Eph. 3:19
When the Holy Spirit is in control, love and all of its virtues are produced. Gal. 5:22-23
However it takes the volitional decision of the believer, on a moment by moment basis,
to apply the instruction and to keep the Holy Spirit in control.
We are instructed to ABSTAIN from the lusts of the sin nature. 1 Peter 2:11.
We are instructed to NOT grieve (Eph. 4:30) and to not quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thes. 5:19).
We are instructed to ABIDE IN HIM and LET THE WORD ABIDE IN US,
and the result will be sinless consistency. 1 John 2:24, 28; 3:6, 9, 23-24.


Verse 3
THE PRESERVATION OF CHRISTIAN UNITY
through love and doctrinal accuracy

Diligence is the volitional discipline to apply Bible Truth.
The most important aspect of diligence is the discipline to maintain the growth process. At 2 Timothy 2:15,
Paul instructs Timothy, and through him, all of us, to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God,
a workman unashamed, guiding straight the word of truth.” (BFT)
In order to GUIDE STRAIGHT the word, one must STUDY it and LEARN it.
That is why this verse is often translated as “study.”
Once we have learned the basic fundamentals of THE FAITH,
we have a service responsibility to apply it accurately and promote it with other believers.
True Christian unity is based on agreement in the fundamentals of THE FAITH,
but such agreement requires a consistent expression of LOVE and HUMILITY.
This requires much DILIGENCE.
The verb is a present active participle of spoudadzO. Diligence requires desire, concentration and dedication.
This in turn requires alertness and ability.
The present tense, indicates that diligence should be continually maintained.
It is an issue all throughout the Christian life, every day, moment by moment.
The active voice, indicates that each believer has an individual responsibility to operate
according to the standards of God's design.
And the participle follows naturally from the expression of love, and goes hand in hand with it.

The direction of this diligence is the preservation of UNITY.
The verb, to preserve, is tAreO, as a present active infinitive. It means to guard, protect and preserve.
It is the same word used to instruct us to “keep His commandments, (John 14:21, 23-24; 1 John
3:24).
This idea of PRESERVATION, indicates that there exists an inherent UNITY within the body of divine truth,
that must be learned and guarded by the believer personally, and by all believers collectively.
This is done through the consistent expression of love.

The inherent unity that exists through revealed truth is indicated by the phrase, “the unity of the Spirit.”
Such unity is FIRST a positional factor based on the mutual election IN CHRIST, that all believers share.
All believers are positionally in ONE BODY and are members one of another (1 Cor. 12:13, 20, 27; Gal. 3:26-28).
The only way that unity can be maintained here on earth, is through doctrinal agreement.
Without agreement in the fundamentals of THE FAITH, there will be conflict and strife.
Love is understanding and patient, but love will not, indeed, can not compromise truth.
Since we have no apostles to govern our interpretation of the written word of God,
there are many areas of differences and disagreement between believers.
Some of these issues can be placed on the table of forbearance (allowance and acceptance),
but the fundamentals are absolute and cannot be watered down.
Yet, in today’s “church,” there is still disagreement in some of the fundamentals between otherwise well-studied and devoted believers. And there is disagreement on exactly what some of those FUNDAMENTALS are.
There can be no unity and peace in such cases, for we are dealing with serious and germane doctrines,
where compromise by either party is impossible except in individual cases.
When we get to passages such as 2 John 10-11, where the doctrine in view is ABSOLUTE,
“that Christ has come in the flesh,” our point of unity is clear.
But when we consider issues such as salvation security, speaking in tongues, baptismal regeneration, where EACH position is held by those who are usually strong in the fundamentals, AND claim that these issues ARE ALSO FUNDAMENTAL, unity is just as impossible.
The only thing we can do is be diligent in our personal studies and apply the principle of Romans 14:5,
“Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind.”
Each believer must be confident within himself concerning the proper understanding of the various
doctrines that comprise THE FAITH. Then, he must make his own decisions concerning exhortation
and rebuke, and the degree of separation.

“The bond of peace,” refers to the absence of enmity and conflict. It clarifies what unity in doctrine will establish.

Every believer has positional equality and peace in election.
The plan of God provides peace with God and peace with one another in one body IN CHRIST. Ephesians 2:11-22

Only love, as it is expressed through grace orientation, can produce a reflection of that positional equality
and unity into the Christian way of life.
And only certain believers are able to be a catalyst in preserving this unity because it requires knowledge
and application of the Word of God.
(1) you who are strong: Romans 15:1
(2) you who are spiritual: Galatians 6:1

But it is part of the divine priority for all believers.
(1) Philip.
1:27, “standing firm in one spirit with one soul
striving together in THE FAITH of the gospel.”
(2) Col. 3:12-14, put on “THE LOVE, which is the unifying bond of
maturity.”

Verses 4-6, The basis for positional unity: the reason for love

Verses 7-16, the provision of spiritual gifts to communicate Divine truth
which provides the building up of the body in love.

Verses 17-19, exhortation to discontinue the darkening process
Verses 20-24, renew the spiritual growth process
Verses 25-32, specific areas of sin that must be corrected.

Verses 4-6
The basis for Christian unity is the 7 unity doctrines that revolve around the character and plan of God.
There is overlap between these 7 doctrines as they all meld together kind of like a web.
That web-like CONNECTION is what helps determine that one has the right understanding of the truths
that are listed.


Verse 4a
The first unity doctrine is positional UNION WITH CHRIST in one body.
1. There is: There is no verb here, but it is implied.
2. One body: Doctrine of the body of Christ.

The body of Christ consists of every person, Jew or Gentile who receives Jesus Christ as savior.
1 Cor. 12:12-13; Gal. 3:26-28
“Spiritually speaking” from the point of salvation, these cease to be Jew or Gentile and become "church."
 Galatians 3:26-28; Col. 3:11; 1 Cor. 10:32. For that matter, all gender and social distinctions are removed through this positional identity IN CHRIST.
This "body" then, is called the church. Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23.
Theologically two terms have been applied to the church to help clarify the difference between the
POSITIONAL body and the local groups or assemblies
of believers that exist throughout the world.
     A. Universal church: because it consists of every believer who has ever lived.
     B. Invisible church: Because this body is built "in the heavenlies" and is not measured by any visible
         standard.

Accordingly, the body consists of both dead and living believers and the "dead In Christ" who are now in heaven, 
 are just as much a part of the church body as the living.
The body also consists of all believers of all previous ages, as they are all positionally ONE in Christ and living in the heavenly
Jerusalem in the presence of God. Ephesians 2:11-19; Hebrews 12:22-24
This does not violate dispensational theology because dispensations deals only with the FUNCTION
of the evangelistic agency that is living on the earth at any given point in human history.
See Topic: Dispensations

Christ is the head of the church: Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23
     A. And every believer is a member: Eph. 5:30
     B. Each member is necessary for the whole and each member has one basic responsibility -
         ambassadorship. Every believer is a representative of Christ on the earth. 2 Cor. 5:20

The body of Christ is incomplete in regard to "number" but is continually being built.
     A. It is growing by members being added through receiving Christ as savior. Ephesians 2:21; 4:12 c
     B. The Lord Jesus Christ builds the body with Himself as the foundation. Matthew 16:18
     C. Members are added through salvation. Acts 2:47
     D. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which actually puts the believer into the body of Christ. 1 Cor. 12:13

The purpose for the body of Christ on the earth is to function as an evangelistic agent (a new priestly house)
to "proclaim the glories of Him" in place of the nation of Israel which has been temporarily set aside.
     A. Matthew 21:42-46; 23:37-39
     B. 1 Peter 2:5-10; Isaiah 28:16-17
     C. Eph. 2:10

At the rapture of the church which Jesus will accomplish at the Day of the LORD (1 Thes. 4:13-17; 2 Thes. 2:1-3) all members of the body of Christ will be united in heaven and become the bride of Christ which will reign with Him for all eternity.
     A. On earth, the body is constituted by its "spiritual" POSITION IN CHRIST.
     B. In this "position" the body is perfect. Eph. 5:25-27; 1 Cor. 1:8
     C. Once raptured and in heaven, the body of Christ will be cleansed from all "experiential" stain and blemish
          through the evaulation at the Judgment Seat of Christ. 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 19:7

The reality of the body of Christ was planned from the foundation of the world but unknown to all previous ages and is therefore, referred to as the Mystery. Eph. 3:1-10

However, it was taught in "mystery" and parabolic form throughout the Old Testament especially in the book of Isaiah.

And prophesied by Jesus during His earthly ministry. Mat.
16:18; Jn. 14:20; 13-17.

Having begun at Pentecost, it was then fully revealed to the apostles and prophets and recorded completely
in the New Testament scriptures. Eph. 3:1-3;
Rom. 16:25-26. Accordingly, it is no longer a "mystery"
but can be fully known by those who learn the scriptures.


Verse 4b
The second unity doctrine involves a true understanding of the HOLY SPIRIT.
And one Spirit: Reference to the Holy Spirit as the agent of both positional and experiential unity.
This provides the first area of OVERLAP since the ministry of the Holy Spirit is directly related to building the body of Christ.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit can be summarized by 7 factors.

a. regeneration: At the very moment of faith in Christ, the Spirit
bestows spiritual life to the new believer, which constitues a new
birth into the family of God and is in fact, the eternal life that
we now have. See Regeneration
b. Indwelling: At the moment of salvation, the Spirit comes to indwell
the body (via the soul) of the believer, so that the believer now
becomes a special dwelling place of God here on earth.
c. baptism: This will be covered in detail below, but to summarize.
At the moment of time that one trusts in Christ, the Holy Spirit
PLACES (baptizes) that person into union with Christ.
d. Sealing: The indwelling presence of the Spirit functons as a
guarantee of God’s gift of salvation so that our salvation depends
on God’s word, and not on our works. See Sealing
e. Gifting: At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit gives one
special gift to that believer to enhance his ministry here on earth.
See Spiritual Gifts
f. Filling: At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit begins to lead
and guide the new believer. This is based on forgiveness of sins and
is maintained only through continued fellowship with God through
sinless consistency. See Filling of the Spirit
g. Teaching: The Holy Spirit through the written revelation of God,
the bible, teaches the believer what he needs to know to grow up
spiritually and to function here on earth as an efficient ambassador
for Christ.


Verse 4c The third unity doctrine is SALVATION SECURITY
1. Just as you were called: a. p. ind. of kaleO refers to the act of
election and the completed status of election. Rom. 8:29-30
2. Doctrine of Election
3. In one hope: elpis means expectant confidence and assurance
     A. It is the idea of knowing that what God has promised he will fulfill. 1 Thes.
5:24
B. It is a reference to the character and security of salvation. 1 Peter 1:3-5;
Rom. 8:29-30
C. The confidence of salvation is crucial for advancement in spiritual growth and for victory in the angelic conflict.
Eph. 6:10-17 + 1 Thes. 5:8

D. Salvation security is a direct commentary on the faithfulness of God and therefore is a vital area of unity
 doctrine. God's character  and plan must never be compromised.

4. Of your calling: klAsis is the noun that refers to the status of
election; the entirety of God's plan for the believer.
     A. Positionally: In union with Christ FOR the praise of the glory of His grace. Eph. 1:4-6
     B. Experientially: sinless consistency. That we should be holy and blameless before Him here in this life.
               Eph. 1:4

Verse 5a
The fourth unity doctrine is the person and work of JESUS CHRIST.
1. One Lord: The use of the word, kurios (lord) is a reference to Jesus
Christ as possessing Lordship deity. Jesus is God. Luke 2:11;
Acts 2:36, “God has made Him both LORD and CHRIST.”
2. This does not refer to God the Father, although He too is to be
recognized as LORD, and in fact, is so addressed in any of the prayer
passages. But in post-resurrection theology, the term LORD
is usually a reference to God the Son except when prayer is in view.
This is seen also at 1 Cor. 8:6,
“one God the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ.”
3. Based on doctrinal frame of reference it also recognizes Him as the
only mediator between God and man. John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5

Verse 5b
The fifth unity doctrine is the function of FAITH THINKING as the only basis for properly relating to
God’s character and plan.
1. One faith: the act of volition that chooses (God’s viewpoint over
all the advancements of darkness viewpoint.
     A. Faith for salvation:    Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6; John 3:16-18, 36; 5:24
     B. Faith for living the Christian life:    Col. 2:6; Heb. 4:1-11; Heb. 11
2. This combats any works system of salvation as Paul has already amplified at Ephesians 2:8-10.

Verse 5c
The sixth unity doctrine is the BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT as the
agent of our union with Christ. Here again, we have overlap within
these unity doctrines, especially as they relate to the Holy Spirit.
1. One baptism: 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27-28
2. Refers also to the indwelling presence of the Spirit as the
     A. seal of our salvation: Eph. 1:13-14
     B. Agent of living the Christian life: Gal. 5:16-25
3. The reason that this does not refer to water baptism is because water baptism is only a symbolic ritual to testify of one’s salvation.
It is not instrumental in acquiring salvation, nor required in order to be saved. Nor is water baptism a major doctrinal category, for it has no bearing on function in fellowship with God.
See topic: Baptismal regeneration

Verse 6
The seventh unity doctrine is the doctrine of GOD THE FATHER.
1. One God: Emphasis on knowing His essence and character.
2. And Father: Emphasis on relationship with believers.
     A. Of all: all believers as being in the family of God.
         John
8:37-44; 1:12-13; Acts 17:24-31 (Jer. 32:27)
         Gal. 3:26; Eph. 3:14-15; 1 Pet. 1:17; Heb. 12:6-9
     B. over all: epi + genitive to indicate absolute authority over the
         church. Sovereignty also governs the entire universe (Acts
17:24) but this context deals with believers.
     C. through all: dia + genitive is a reference to the omnipresence of God, but with special emphasis on His
        “general” presence with believers for fellowship and encouragement. Heb. 13:5; Josh. 1:5; Deut. 31:6, 8.
         S. D. F. Salmond of The Expositor’s Greek Testament writes that this refers to “the pervading, animating,
         controlling presence of that one God and Father.”
     D. in all: en + locative of sphere to indicate the specific location of the Father dwelling in each believer.
         The KJV has “in you all” but there is no “you” in the Greek. Even so, it is a valid idea since the focus
         is on God’s relationship with BELIEVERS, and specifically, the believers whom Paul is addressing.
         This is a reference to the personal indwelling of God through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
         1 Cor.
3:16; 6:19-20  God does not dwell inside the unbeliever.

Verse 7-16

In this section, Paul changes focus to what Christ has given to every believer as a result of the salvation
 relationship that has been accomplished. Christ has given to the church the communication spiritual gifts
 required to LEAD and GUIDE and TEACH the church the truths of God so that individual believers might
advance in spiritual growth and be equipped to function efficiently as ambassadors for Christ.
The issue of spiritual growth was first introduced in the letter at verses 1:18-19 in Paul’s first prayer for the
growth of these believers. Then again, at verse
2:22, and again in his second prayer for growth at verses 3:14-19.

Verse 7
1. But to each one of us: Every believer receives a GRACE GIFT from God based on what Jesus provided for us
 upon His ascension to the right hand of God the Father after His resurrection.
There are no exceptions. Every believers has one spiritual gift.  1 Cor. 12:7; 1 Peter 4:10

2. The grace was given: The aorist passive indicative of didomi indicates the point of time that the gift was
given to each believer. This would be the point of salvation. When Paul instructs the Corinthians to “earnestly
 desire the greater gifts,” at 1 Cor. 12:31 and to “earnestly desire the spirituals” at 1 Cor. 14:1, he is talking
about the FUNCTION of the spiritual gifts within the local assembly
and NOT the personal possession of the gifts.
The word “the grace” is used because the giving of this gift is based on GRACE and not merit.
God gives to whom HE chooses through the Spirit.
1 Cor. 12:11, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
Paul discusses spiritual gifts at Romans 12:6-8, and at verse 10 writes,
“since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.”
When he writes at verse 3, “for through the grace given to me,”
he is referring specifically to His spiritual gift of apostle and not his salvation.

3. according to the measure of Christ’s gift: the word MEASURE, refers to what is measured or meted out.
It is called Christ’s gift because it comes FROM HIM. It is not the gift that He possesses, but the gift that he gives.
We will learn that he has given or measured out gifts to the individual believers of the church.
This is done through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.
12:11).
See: Detailed study of Spiritual gifts

Verse 8
1. Therefore it says: This is a quote from Psalm 68:18 which shows a transition from the age of Israel to the
new priestly body that functions between the two advents of the Messiah and is based on the ascension of
Jesus to the right hand of the Father.
Psalm 68
Vs. 1-6 focuses on deliverance for God’s people, Israel, at the second coming of the Messiah.
Vs. 7-17 reviews the history of Israel from the Exodus to the Monarchy.
(1) vs. 7-10 is about the deliverance from Egypt
(2) vs. 11-14 is about the promised land.
(3) vs. 15-17 is about the monarchy. It mentions God’s faithfulness to
Israel, for “He will dwell there forever.”

Verse 18 is unique as it speaks of things that have not been mentioned before in the Old Testament,
and not mentioned again until Daniel and Hosea.
The ascension of God the Messiah to heaven (on high);
the removal of the believers from Hades into the third heaven; and the giving of gifts to the new priestly body
that functions in place of Israel after that nation rejects the Messiah at His first coming.
This gives us a transition to the church age which temporarily replaces Israel until the Messiah’s
second coming (Mt. 21:33-45;
23:37-39).

Vs. 19-20 shows us GENERAL spiritual principles with no reference to
Israel.
This is the way of life of the new priestly body - the church.
While these principles apply to believers of all ages, the purpose here is to indicate that there will be a new body of believes separate from the nation of Israel.
This covers the time of the church including the overlap with Israel during the 70th week of Daniel.

Vs. 21-23 shows us the arrival of the Messiah at the Day of the Lord to judge His enemies.
There is not mention here of the removal of the church, but simply a return focus on
Israel since
the new priestly body will have been removed.

Vs. 24-27 shows us the reaction to the Messiah’s arrival by a specific group of Jews.
This would be the conversion and ministry of the 144 thousand Jewish bond servants of Revelation 7:1-8,
after the new priestly body has been removed.

Vs. 28-35 focuses on the Messiah’s defeat of His enemies and the establishment of His earthly kingdom.

2. Paul’s quote of this passage establishes the validity of the general outline of events listed above.

3. When He ascended on high: This refers to the physical ascension of Jesus into heaven IMMEDIATELY after His resurrection as well as the OFFICIAL ascension to the Father’s right hand 10 days later.
Hosea 5:14-15; Isaiah 52:13; Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:13
The IMMEDIATE ascension of Jesus is mentioned at John 20:17,
“I have not yet ascended to the Father . . .” say to them, “I ascend to My Father and your Father,
and My god and your God.”

But before this intermediate ascension to the Father, Jesus spent 3 days and 3 nights in Hades with the
Old Testament believers (Luke 23:43; Mat. 12:40; Eph. 4:9) and also visited the fallen angels who were
 imprisoned in the bottomless pit to make a proclamation of victory to them (1 Pet. 3:19).

The reason for this intermediate ascension is to take all the Old Testament believers to the third heaven where
 they will then reside in the Heavenly Jerusalem (Heb.
12:22-23).
He then ascends to the Father, taking all dead believers to the third heaven, and returns shortly to appear
to the disciples many times over the next 40 days (Acts 1:3). He then ascends FORMALLY
at the end of that 40 day period to be seated at the right hand of the Father (Acts 1:9-11).
See Topic: The ascension of Jesus

4. He led captive a host of captives: It is at this IMMEDIATE ascension of Jesus that he takes all the Old Testament believers out from Paradise in Hades and transfers them to Heaven.
The Bible indicates that at death, the body returns to the chemicals (dust) of the soil (Gen. 3:19; Job 34:15) via decomposition.
The soul and spirit return into the hands of God (Job 34:14).
Thus, the significance of what Jesus said at the point of dying, “into your hands I dismiss my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS AT DEATH:

During the time period prior to the resurrection of Jesus, God placed the spirits of those who died into the
“the depths of the earth” (Psalm 63:9-10) in a place called in the Hebrew, sheol and in the Greek, hades.

Luke 16:19-31 indicates that prior to the resurrection of Christ, hades was comprised of three sections.

ORIENTATION TO LUKE 16:19ff

This story is not a parable. It is an actual historical event that Jesus shares with us in order to teach the urgency of adjusting to God’s terms for relationship with Him, while one is still here on earth. Hebrews 9:27.
However, even if one believes it to be a parable, that same person must realize that Jesus always used situations of human reality to make His points. Accordingly, whether one chooses to accept the rich man and Lazarus as historical personages is inconsequential, but the fact remains that the nature of the event is true.

God’s plan of salvation and the promise of everlasting life for those who trust in the Messiah,
revolves around the success of Messiah’s first advent career. God’s agenda for dealing with the forces of evil
 under the control of Satan uses Messiah’s progenitors (the nation of Israel) and Messiah’s spiritual offspring
(the church). Through Messiah’s victory on the cross, both groups have been made into one,
but the first group, could not be given the promise of COMPLETENESS in a heavenly dwelling place
until the second group was formed.   Hebrews 11:39-40
“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

Thus, the members of the first group, Old Testament believers, experienced great comfort in a “way station”
in Hades until the resurrection of the Messiah.

This “comfort” in hades was not the ultimate salvation blessing anticipated by Old Testament believers.
Hebrews 11:13-16 tells us that they were looking for a heavenly city.
There was also the promise of physical resurrection given to these believers (Job 19:26-27; Dan. 12:2)
although that resurrection would not take place until the 2nd coming of the Messiah.

There needed to be then, a transfer from hades within the earth, to a heavenly abode.
This was taught throughout the Old Testament and was accomplished immediately after
the resurrection of Jesus, “when He ascended up on high He led a captive company (in hades)
into captivity (in heaven). Eph. 4:8.
In addition to the Psalm quoted here there are four other passages that speak of this transfer.
Psalm 49:15
“But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; For He will receive me. Selah.”

It is perhaps probable that this intermediate transfer from Hades prior to physical resurrection was not known to the writers of the Old Testament. But the quote of Psalm 68:18 gives us precedent for understanding
these other passages as anticipatory of that transfer.
The redemption of the soul from the grave (sheol) takes place in two stages; (1) transfer and (2) resurrection.

Isaiah 61:1
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives, And freedom to prisoners”

The redemption from sin is certainly in view here, but in that we have a repetition of the “captivity” idea,
it is quite safe to see the redemption from the grave as well, which takes place in the two stages.

Hosea 13:14
“Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death?
O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight. “

Again this deliverance from the grave (Sheol) takes place in two stages.
Paul quotes the last part of this verse as relating directly to resurrection (1 Cor.
15:55).

Psalm 73:24
“With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.”

The Psalmist focuses on the promise of divine provision for living the Christian life here on earth,
and then the promise of a heavenly future.
This reception of the Old Testament believer to glory takes place in the two stages already established.

When Jesus took captivity captive, He actually took the “location” called paradise and all the saints
dwelling there, to the third heaven.
It is therefore significant that whereas, Jesus speaks of “paradise” being in the earth (hades), which we know by comparing Luke 16:22-23; 23:43 and Eph. 4:9, Paul speaks of “paradise” being in the third heaven at 2 Cor. 12:1-4.

Now, since the resurrection of Christ, whenever a believer dies, they go into the presence of the Lord
in the third heaven which is where paradise is now located (2 Cor. 5:8; Philip. 1:23; 2 Cor. 12:1-4).

There has been dispute as to how CAPTIVITY can refer to believers.
There is no problem here, for the word is not a negative in and of itself.
The believers who resided in Abe’s bosom prior to the resurrection of Jesus were in a “captive” situation;
a holding tank, if you please; and when they are taken to heaven, they are placed in another “holding tank”
to await their physical resurrection at the second coming of Jesus.

It has also been suggested that “captivity” refers to Satan and his defeat through the resurrection of Jesus.
This is not valid for a couple reasons.

     A. Satan was not "captured" at the cross, nor is he captured at this present time.
         1. One cannot use Eph. 4.8 to support this because the word captivity indicates that which is already
             in a "captive" situation. Satan was not in a captive situation prior to the cross.

         2. The only other place that even comes close to support is Col. 2:15, "when he had disarmed.
               a. But disarmed is different from captured.
               b. We must be careful not to misunderstand "disarmed" in that we find Satan and his hosts far from
                   disarmed in actuality (1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:10-12).
     B. The scripture indicates that Christ's victory on the cross was a "strategic" victory, paving the way for a
          tactical follow through at a later time. The tactical victory will begin at the day of the  Lord (his parousia)
          and be culminated at the end of His kingdom.  1 Cor.15.24-26.
     C. There is ample evidence that Satan is not presently captured or "disarmed" for that matter.
             1 Pet. 5.8; 1 Cor. 7.5; 2 Cor. 11.14;  Eph. 6.12; 1 Thes. 3.5; Rev. 12.10
     D. It is true that we have "victory" language throughout the NT in reference to the cross and resurrection,
         but this is STRATEGIC and provides the basis for spiritual victory over the forces of Satan here on earth
         in our Christian living. But Satan is not in a captive situation, nor for that matter, even in a position of
         weakness. He will lose in the long run, of course, but at the present time he is “alive and well.” He is in
         fact, functioning now as “the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), and “the ruler of this world”
             (John
12:31;14:30; 16:11; Eph. 2:2).

5. and gave gifts to men: This is an aorist active indicative to refer to the same “general” point of time of the Messiah’s promotion to the right hand of the Father “on high.” In actuality, the gifts were not officially
bestowed upon the church until the Day of Pentecost, 40 days after His ascension, when the Holy Spirit
was given to indwell all believers.
There are four types of gifts given to the church. They are revelation, sign, service and communication.
There are also two classifications, which are temporary and permanent. For a detailed study of spiritual
gifts connect to TOPIC: Spiritual gifts.
Paul’s primary focus HERE is on the communication gifts that provide the key to the spiritual growth of individual believers. At verse 11, he lists two temporary gifts; apostle and prophet, and two permanent gifts;
evangelist and pastor-teacher.
Before Paul lists those gifts and their purpose, he gives a parenthetical amplification of Christ’s descent
into hades and his ascension into the third heaven.

Verses 9-10
THE DESCENT AND ASCENT OF CHRIST
Verse 9
1. Now the ‘He ascended,’ what is it except: This is the literal from the Greek, but the NASB gives a smoothed out translation that expresses the true meaning. “Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except.”
What Paul is saying is that the fact of His ascension tells us that He had descended first
into the lower parts of the earth.
This is what we see in David’s prophetic insight of the Messiah at Psalm 16:10,
“You will not abandon my soul to sheol.”
As I previously showed, Jesus first descended into hades where he remained before His physical resurrection.
 Paul states the fact of the case. He does not offer any explanation. The Holy Spirit reveals truth in this manner so that we of the church must now search the scriptures diligently to piece together the details of the plan and
 character of God. Thus it was necessary and beneficial for the positive-minded “God-fearers” of the Apostolic
era to search “the scriptures daily” to see if the facts about Jesus lined up with Messianic revelation,
(Acts 17:11).

2. except that he [first] descended into the lower parts of the earth:
The older manuscripts do not include the word, first. However, it is implied by the sentence and is not WRONG,
 for the “sense” of the sentence includes the idea of “first” whether the actual word was originally penned or not.
Jesus said to the believing thief on the cross next to Him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43.
He told the scribes and Pharisees, “so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights
in the heart of the earth.” Mat. 12:40.

Verse 10
1. He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens:
Here is one of the very few New Testament references to a plurality of heavens.
2 Cor. 12:2 tells us of “the third heaven.”
Hebrews
4:14 says that Jesus “has passed through the heavens.”
In the Old Testament we find “heavens of heavens” (Psalm 148:4), “the heaven of heavens” (Deut.
10:14),
“heaven and the heaven of heavens” (2 Kings 8:27), God has made “the heavens, the heavens of heavens
with all their host” (Neh. 9:6), and, God “rides upon the heaven of heavens” (Ps. 68:33).
When all is considered, it seems that the first heaven would be the earth’s immediate atmosphere, or our SKY.
 The second heaven would be SPACE, or the rest of the physical universe. And the third heaven would be the
 “official” dwelling of God; a composite of the physical and spiritual dimensions so that
The Godhead can interact with man and angels to the benefit of all.
This “third heaven” is described five times as “the heavenlies;”
Eph. 1:3, 20; Eph. 2:6; Eph. 3:10; and Eph. 
6:12.

To ascend far above the heavens, then, is to ascend into the third heaven,
where He was seated at the right hand of the Father there to await the fulfillment of the Messianic destiny
which is stated at Psalm 2:8.
“the nations as Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as Your possession.”
This is described by Paul as -

2. that He might fill up all things:
The verb, plAroO, here indicates a bringing to fulfillment of all things in the universe. At Col. 2:10,
this same verb is used to describe the believer’s positional fulfillment in Christ
(“and in Him you have been fulfilled.”)
The idea of FILLING UP all things refers to bringing those “all things” to the place of completion or perfection
 (spiritual and physical fulfillment) within the plan of the Godhead.
This is the destined purpose of Christ, to be executed BY Christ,
and specifically BECAUSE OF Christ’s victory on the cross.
At Ephesians 1:10, Paul calls it “the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens,
and things upon the earth.”
This destiny is stated at Eph.
1:23 as, “Who fills up the all things in all.”
And the divine “plan of the ages” is said to be accomplished by Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Eph.
3:11).
At Colossians
1:20, this “filling up” or “fulfilling” is given further explanation as it is related to bringing all things into a reconcilitory relationship to God the Father. “For He (the Father) thought it good (beneficial) . . .
through Him (the Son) to reconcile all things to Himself (the Father) . . .
whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

It is important to note that this function of FULFILLING all things relates to the Father’s extension
of sovereign authority to the Son.
At the ascension and session to the Father’s right hand, Jesus is given authority over all things.
“And He put all things in subjection under His feet,” (Eph.
1:22). “And He is the head over all rule
and authority,” (Col. 2:10b). Jesus spoke of this authority when He said, “but He (the Father) has given all judgment to the Son in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father,” (John
5:22-23).
He is speaking of a yet future reality that will not begin until the ascension, for Jesus prays, “And now,
glorify Me together with Yourself, Father, with the glory which I had with you before the world was,” (John 17:5).
The session at the Father’s right hand is a place of honor and TOKEN authority rather than FUNCTIONAL
 authority. The prophecy states,
“Sit down at my right hand until I make your enemies the footstool for your feet,” (Psalm 110:1),
and the statement of fulfillment is given at Hebrews
10:12-13. “He . . . sat down at the right hand of God,
waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.”

THE END OF DANIEL’S 70th WEEK

His FUNCTIONAL authority will not begin until the end of Daniel’s 70th week.
We learn this at Revelation 11:15-17 with 10:7.
The angel with the 7th trumpet blows it after the 70th week has concluded. We know this because it is blown after the 1260 day testimony of the two witnesses, which will begin at the midpoint of the week.
Thus, when we get to the end of the 70th week and the blowing of the 7th trumpet in heaven,
we have the announcement of Messiah’s reign, the response on the earth,
and the events that will now occur through His reign.

“And the seventh trumpet sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying -
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His anointed one,
and He will reign forever and ever.”

The voices are recognizing something that has HAPPENED.
We see nothing directly stated in the context that indicates such a CHANGE of authority.
It occurs because of divine mandate.
1. The ENDING of one mandate: The reign of the beast which was given to him, and was to last for 42 months
 (Rev. 13:5). “And authority to act for 42 months was given to him.”
Daniel
7:25, “and they will be given into his hand for a time, times and half a time (3 1/2 years).”
Daniel
7:26, “and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.”
His reign ended because the time expired. God said, “time’s up.”
But he is still alive on the earth and it is for the new KING to physically depose him and prepare the earth for God’s righteous reign.

2. And the BEGINNING of another mandate: The reign of the Messiah which is an everlasting dominion
(Dan.
7:14, 27; Psalm 2:7-9).
Upon the successful first advent of Jesus the Messiah (His sacrifice and resurrection) He was invited
and accepted to sit at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Psalm 110:1
“Yahweh says to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
Jesus will SIT at the Father’s right hand in heaven as His official location until IT IS TIME for the change in mandates.
“But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,
waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet,” (Hebrews 10:12-13).

The issue is TIMING. When the TIME comes to make his enemies his footstool,
then He will “leave” the seat of the right hand and descend to the earth in the clouds of the sky with power
and great glory. This is the second coming PROPER that is prophesied at Matthew 24:29-30 and Revelation
 6:12-17 as the 6th seal. He then BEGINS to take control through the trumpet judgments as he executes
divine justice on the unbelieving earth dwellers. At the conclusion of the 6th trumpet, the 70th week has
come to an end, the dominion mandate of the beast has been removed and Jesus will accept the dominion
 mandate that is handed to Him.

This is recorded prophetically at Daniel 7:13,
“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days (in heaven)
And was presented before Him.” (in heaven)

This is NOT the second coming but the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father after His resurrection.
Verse 14,
“And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom
that all the peoples, nations, and of every language
might serve Him.”

Upon the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the Father, the Father says,
“Ask of me and I will surely give the nations as your inheritance,
and the very ends of the earth as your possession.” (Psalm 2:8)
Upon the success of Messiah’s first-advent ministry, a strategic victory is accomplished over Satan.
The Father ASSIGNS all authority to the Son at that time. Ephesians 1:20-22,
“which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the
 heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named,
not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet.”
But this authority is not PHYSICALLY given to Him until the end of the 70th week,
when the authority of the beast is removed (Dan.
7:26-27).

The distinction between the SPIRITUAL decree and the PHYSICAL reality is seen at Hebrews 2:8-9,
“YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.” For in subjecting all things to him,
He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, Jesus,
because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor.”

Then, with the beast and a world of unbelievers still present on the earth,
Jesus takes possession of the kingdom and is told to “rule in the midst of your enemies” (Psalm 110.2).
That is why at Psalm 2:9, it is necessary for him to
”break them with a rod of iron and . . . shatter them like pottery.”

Thus, at Daniel
7:14, after many years of waiting, “to Him was given dominion.”
In between verse 14 and 15 is the lengthy period of time from 30 AD to the end of the 70th week.
The issue here is not to give us the details, but to give us the two HIGH points;
the ASCENSION of Jesus after His successful first advent ministry,
and the REIGN of Jesus which begins at the end of the 70th week.

Returning to Revelation 11:16-18, we have the worship and proclamation of the 24 elders
who apprise us of the situation as of the end of the week. Remember,
they are mentioning things that occur as of this point in the chronology, that is, the end of the 70th week.
This is the basis for translating the aorist tense of REIGN, as an ingressive aorist, “begun to reign.”
1. You have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
As mentioned above, there is a change in dominion mandates.
The beast’s mandate is removed and the Messiah’s is established.
Two verbs are used to indicate the establishment of the Messiah’s reign.
(a) you have taken: This is a perfect active indicative of lambano.
The perfect tense indicates something that has occurred in the past,
and the results will continue on into the future. The word POWER,
is dunamis and refers to FUNCTIONAL power. The “past” from the perspective of the elders is the 6th seal
 descent of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with POWER (dunamis) and great glory (Mat. 24:30).
He TOOK this POWER from the Father, and exercised it on the earth dwellers through the 6 trumpet
judgments. (b) has BEGUN to reign. This verb is an aorist active indicative of basileuo.
The context indicates that this is an INGRESSIVE aorist, which is very commonly used
to indicate the beginning of the action in view.
This BEGAN when the beast’s mandate was removed and the Messiah’s mandate was established.
The preparation for that was the administration of POWER (dunamis) through the first six trumpets.

At the present time then, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father; at the place of honor and glory.
Here He can make intercession for the saints as our defense attorney in the face of the many accusations
from Satan (1 John 2:1; Rom.
8:34; Rev. 12:10).
But He will not begin to reign until His second coming.
At that time He will begin to judge the world through the trumpet and bowl judgments,
culminating in Armageddon and the defeat of all His enemies.
He will then establish His 1000 year earthly kingdom, after which Ephesians 4:10 will be fulfilled,
for He will “fill up the all things.”
The extent of this personal authority has been greatly debated.
There is language at 1 Cor. 15:28 suggesting that after all things have been subjected to Jesus,
then “the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God
(the Godhead) may be all in all.” This suggests a return to a pre-incarnate “status” of the Godhead,
when the three persons of the Godhead interrelated in a mutually equal relationship (
John 1:1; Philip 2:6; John 17:5).

Continue to Ephesians 4:11-16
 

 
 

Questions and comments are always welcome

Return to BIBLE FRAGRANCES index

 

 

©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.

 

Home | Recent Additions | Studies | Commentary

 

Prophecy | Articles | Topical | About Us