Eph 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
For which cause? Because He preached the Gospel to the Gentiles and taught that the Gentiles and Jews were all one in Christ. In his previous argument included in Chapter 2, Paul taught that all are one in Christ: Jew, Gentiles, male, female (Gal 3:28). Gentiles include all the different peoples in the world that are not Jews. Hence all races, nations, ethnic groups, countries, etc., including Israel, which have salvation through Jesus Christ, are one body.
Many assume that this refers to the fact that Paul was imprisoned in Rome for preaching the Gospel when he wrote this Epistle. However, a better way of understanding the phrase is that Paul was a prisoner and slave of Christ: “On this account I, Paul, the prisoner of the Messiah, Jesus, on behalf of you, the Gentiles” (Wuest’s Word Studies). Paul was imprisoned in Rome for his doctrine that there was no other way to be saved except through faith in Jesus Christ. In other words, Paul taught that Christ was Lord even over the Roman Emperor who believed he was a god. That was an unlawful doctrine for which Paul was jailed. The Romans cared not whether Paul taught that saved Gentiles were included in saved Israel.
Being a prisoner of Christ can also mean being His captive. Being a captive of Christ is not a burden. It is a calling and pleasing to the captive. A captive of war could also become a slave or a bond servant. In numerous places, Paul called himself a servant, or literally a slave (Greek δουλος, doulos) of Christ. So there is a double entendre here. Both meanings are correct. Paul was a prisoner in Rome because of Christ and was also a captive servant of Christ because of his love for the Savior.
Eph 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
A dispensation is a certain order, system, arrangement, administration, or management. It could be rendered an office or some special responsibility. Some translations use stewardship in place of dispensation. The uninflected Greek word here, οἰκονομία, oikonomia, sounds very similar to the English word ‘economy,’ which is derived from the Greek word; it also has a similar meaning. It has additionally been used to describe the different systems God has used with men throughout history. Dispensationalists divide the Bible, according the date, into several different time periods in which God worked in different ways with different groups of people.1
That type of dispensation is not in view here. What we have here is a special office or responsibility given to Paul the Apostle to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. The Gentiles had heard of Paul’s special responsibility to preach the Gospel to them. Paul reminds them of this.
Eph 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Paul wrote of this briefly in an earlier letter. He may be alluding to the revelation or the mystery to both. There is a case for both, and we will look at both. Paul wrote about the mystery in a few words in the first two chapters of Ephesians, which we have already studied. He tells us to pay attention to what he has written so we will have a thorough understanding of it.
Here are two passages he wrote about the revelation he received from Jesus Christ:
(Gal 1:11-17, NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors. But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace. Then it pleased Him to reveal His Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus.
(2 Cor 12:2-7, NLT) I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Eph 3:4-5 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) (4) 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;
This is easily understood. Throughout the ages, the Mystery has been a secret that was not revealed to God’s people. This is not a Mystery religion like Mithraism, Gnosticism, Paganism, etc. Such mystery religions were popular in Paul’s day. Some of them are still around today as they were in the past. Some have evolved into other mysterious religious organizations like Freemasonry, which calls itself a fraternal organization, but with the oaths to certain creeds and gods, it is more like a religion. Paul is simply discussing something that was not fully revealed to men until the time was right. The Old Testament has many references of the Messiah, but until Messiah came, they were not perfectly clear. After Messiah came, all was revealed, thus the mystery. In other words, this mystery was not revealed until Christ came and fulfilled the law. Now the mystery is revealed to apostles and preachers of the Gospel by the Holy Spirit. An apostle is one sent out under orders. A prophet is one with a spiritual gift that allows him to speak the mind and counsel of God to men. Some prophets were seers—those given visions of the future, but not all prophets are seers. Actually, only a few prophets were seers. We see them in the Bible. They are the Major and Minor Prophets (Isaiah through Malachi) as well as some other historical prophets like Moses and David. A preacher of the Gospel is a prophet but not a necessarily a seer.
Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
This is the mystery. It is not mysterious, obscure, or elaborately rhetorical like the writing of some secret societies. It is plainly written and easily understood. It is also simple:
MYSTERY REVEALED: The mystery is that we are saved by the blood of Christ through grace and that Gentiles and Jews who believe in Christ as Savior comprise a single body and share equally in the promises God made to His people. This is the Gospel, which was not clearly understood until Christ came.
The uptick to this is that all believers are now the children of God. Saved Jew and saved Gentile share and share alike in the benefits God’s children enjoy. See the study entitled “The Relationship between Israel and the Christian Church.” That study takes an in-depth look at this subject. The reason for the mystery is explained later in this epistle. God’s reason is that the church was to make the mystery known to all peoples and to the principalities and powers in heavenly places and the church was not yet extant (see Eph 3:10). Once Christ came and the church began, the mystery was revealed.
Eph 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
By the incredible power of God, Paul, who had hunted down Christians to punish them, was made a minister to the Gentiles. We see this in the previous verse and the next. We also know this from Acts 9:15-16 where the Lord spoke to Ananias in a dream about Paul, “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. (16) For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.'” God chose him, an unexpected choice, to be His Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul considered it to be God’s grace that he, Paul, was given this ministry to the Gentiles. He thought he was a most unlikely candidate for such a calling, as he explains in the next verse. But the ways of men are not the ways of God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD” (Isa 55:8), and “As for God, his way is perfect. . .” (Psa 18:30). Hence God’s choice of Paul was perfect as we know from Paul’s life and his writings.
Eph 3:8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
This verse shows Paul’s true humility in Christ because he puts all other Christians above him. He said he is less than the least of them. He practiced the acronym J.O.Y.—Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. Paul also addressed this subject in 1 Cor 15:9 where he said he was not worthy to be an apostle because he persecuted the church. His old man was Saul of Tarsus the blasphemer, the man who caused injury and pain to many believers; the man who held Stephen’s clothes and egged on his murder. That was the old man, Saul, the big shot Pharisee who persecuted the church. The new man was Paul, the little man with great humility that preached to the Gentiles. He may not have been worthy in himself, but being clothed in Christ’s righteousness, he was worthy because Christ is worthy. By the power of the Holy Spirit in him, he was an outstanding preacher and teacher of the Gospel.
Paul knew it was not his own power that enabled him, but Christ’s. Therefore he gave all credit to Christ and none to himself, not his education, his standing in the community, his position of authority, or any attribute he may have once had. Philippians 3:8-9, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” He owed it all to the unsearchable riches of Christ, Whose riches are hidden from us in the flesh for they are Spiritual. Now we cannot see them; but when we are glorified, we will see Christ face to face and have full knowledge of those unsearchable things (1 Cor 13:12). Paul taught about those unsearchable riches when he preached the Gospel to the Gentiles.
Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
We must do a little Greek investigation here concerning the word ‘fellowship’ in this verse. The KJV Greek text, known as the Textus Receptus (or the TR, or the Received Text), has the uninflected Greek word κοινωνια, koinōnia, koyn-oh-nee’-ah, which is easily understood as fellowship. In fact, in evangelical circles, we use the transliteration of the word, Koinonia, to mean Christian fellowship. However, the Majority Text, of which there around 5000 extant, and the Greek New Testament (Nestle Aland) have the Greek lemma οικονομια, oikonomia, oy-kon-om-ee’-ah, (very similar to the pronunciation of the English word economy) which does not mean fellowship. It is usually translated dispensation, steward, and stewardship in the KJV. However, note the similarity between the words. Apparently TR copy of the Greek had the word misspelled. If we look the TR of which there are only a few manuscripts and Majority Texts, which are a huge majority of manuscripts, I suspect that the latter are correct, while the former are copyist mistakes. KJV-Only believers will dispute this. The transliteration of the word oikonomia reminds us of the English word economy, which has a similar meaning. In fact the English word comes form this very Greek word. A steward manages the resources of his master; the word economy, like the Greek οικονομια, also means management or administration of resources. That will help us to understand the statement here. Let us look at the phrase two ways:
1. And to make all men see what is the stewardship of the mystery. . .
2. And to make all men see what is the administration of the mystery. . .
While we saved Jews and Gentiles do have fellowship because of the mystery, this is not Paul’s meaning here. Stewardship and administration are synonyms with similar meanings. Paul’s job was to administer the preaching of this mystery and be the overseer or steward of it. Thus
This was hidden from the ages, which is the literal rendering of the phrase “beginning of the world.” Ages could refer to the ages or history of the earth, or it could refer to the age or ages before the creation of the world. God did not reveal it to men until the advent of Christ.
There is another manuscript dispute about this verse. In many Greek manuscripts, the words του χριστου δια ιησου χριστου, “by Jesus Christ,” are not there. They are included in the Textus Receptus, Nestle and Aland’s Greek New Testament, and the Majority Texts, but are missing from many others. Some scholars say the words are spurious, that is, added by a copyist most likely as an emendation or attempted improvement.
In English there are basically two renderings. The NASB, renders it “the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things.” The KJV renders it “the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.” Various translations render it either way, many of them footnoted with the difference. Let us note, however, that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all one. Moreover, Scripture tells us in John 1:3, that Jesus Christ created all things. Hence, even if there was a copyist emendation, the Scriptures support both examples.
Eph 3:10-11 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, (11) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
It appears, once again, that Paul is talking about the devil and his minions when he says principalities and powers in the skies, for that is the heavenly places to which he alludes. Then again, this could simply mean those earthly principalities and powers in high places. That is exactly what Paul does in 1 Cor 2:7-8, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” There, Paul speaks only of those with political power in this world. Here it appears he is speaking of demonic forces. Many commentators see this as the angels in heaven as well. Apparently God never disclosed this to anyone before the Advent of Christ. Certainly He disclosed the coming Messiah to Israel, but not the mystery. The reason it was hidden, is that the church was to make the mystery known to all those people and beings covered in this verse. Before the resurrection of Christ there was no church, hence no entity to which to reveal the mystery (see Eph 3:4).
Eph 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
We have boldness in Christ. While many Christians have the gift of preaching or teaching, or evangelizing, and with those gifts comes boldness to speak the Word directly to the public, that is not what is in view here. Paul is talking about the boldness to go directly, as it were, into the Holy of Holies and have direct access to God. When Christ cried “It is finished” and gave up His life, the curtain in front of the Holy of Holies was torn in two, indicating that through faith in Christ we too can enter the Most Holy Place and speak directly with God. Prior to that event, only one person, the High Priest, could enter that sanctum only once per year, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
Literally, the Textus Receptus (KJV Greek manuscript) and the Majority Texts (nearly 5000 manuscripts) have την προσαγωγην, tēn prosagōgēn, (tayn prŏs-a-gōw-gain’), “The access,” instead of just “access.” The minority texts (2 manuscripts), from which most modern translations originate, leave out the article “the,” which slightly alters the connotation. However, their English translation still gets the point across correctly. It is not necessary to render the article in English, but in the Greek it gives added significance to the word. According to Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (JFB), “‘THE access’ (Greek) implies the formal introduction into the presence of a monarch.” BDAG echoes this as do several other lexicons. The definition of the word rendered access means the ability to speak freely in the presence of a monarch; in this case the King of kings.
We may, because of our faith in Christ, come boldly before the Throne (Heb 6:20), and speak freely in God’s presence just as a child may speak to his or her father. We need no intermediary or earthly high priest to go between us and God, for Christ is our High Priest (Heb 8:1-2, but see the whole chapter) and has granted us direct access to Him because of our faith.
Eph 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
As we read of Paul in Acts, we see that he was heavily persecuted. He tells of some of the things that happened to him:
2Co 11:24-28 (NLT) Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. (25) Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. (26) I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. (27) I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. (28) Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.
Paul was not complaining. He was showing the Corinthians that he had endured persecution and that he was boasting to show how weak he was. But we know that he was willing to suffer for Christ. Let us not forget that he was in prison in Rome when he wrote so he was under tribulation when he dictated this Epistle. Here he wanted the churches to know that even though he had tribulations while preaching to the Gentiles, his sufferings were our glory. We received Christ because of his tribulations.
Many in the world even today are heavily persecuted. We read of Christians beheaded, raped, tortured, their possessions and children taken away from them, women and children sold into slavery (yes slavery exists today, AD 2015). In communist countries, Christians are imprisoned, beaten, and treated roughly. Christians in many countries must hide from the authorities when worshiping as a congregation. Even in the United States of America, where we have the Constitutional guarantee that our right to practice our religion will not be infringed by the government, which for 200 years had been the bastion of freedom of religion, we see Christianity being targeted for persecution.
So what? Jesus told us that the world would hate us just as it hates Him. Throughout history Christians have been targeted for persecution. For a period of time, that persecution abated. With the advent of radical Islamists gaining power and gay rights, persecution is returning with its full force. What are we to do about it? Suffer with Christ. Remember these verses:
Mat 28:19-20, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Act 1:8, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Rom 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:35-39, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2Ti 3:12, Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Eph 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
For this cause is echoed from Eph 3:1, and applies to all of the things Paul has discussed in the letter so far. For the cause of his apostleship; for the cause of his stewardship; for the cause of the mystery he revealed, etc. he bows down in worship to pray to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. The verses that follow this statement are the words of Paul’s prayer.
Eph 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
What is this whole family in heaven and earth? In sermon 1249, “Saints in Heaven and Earth One Family,” Spurgeon said that the whole family is made up of the saints. He said that not only are the saints on earth the family, but those saints in Heaven are also a part of the family. Several commentators echo this. Not being a Greek Scholar, this author will refer to Greek Scholars for this exegesis. The word rendered whole in this verse in the KJV and others is πασα, pasa, which is an inflection of πας, pas, meaning all. The Greek manuscripts are unanimous in the sentence construction here that there is no article in the front of the adjective πασα (pasa). Each lexicon and Greek grammar I have in my library indicates that without the article, the word should be rendered “every.” With the article it is rendered “the whole,” without the article it is rendered “every.” This leaves us in a quandary. The KJV and several other translations keep the phrase, “the whole,” while most others render it “every.”2
The whole family is the family of God, or the church. However, if translated “every family” then we must explain further. Every family applies to individual families. But all the individual families that are Christians also make up the whole family of God. Thus the difference is minimal. Either way, Spurgeon was correct when he said that not only are the saints on earth the family, but those saints in Heaven are also a part of the family.
Our first duty is to understand who these families are named after. We know from the previous verse (Eph 3:14) that they are named after “the Father of or our Lord Jesus Christ.” Being the First and Second Persons of the Godhead, both are God, so these families are named after God, which means these families are those who honor God. This leaves out demons or devils (evil spirits, false gods, etc.—see 1 Cor 10:20 & Luk 8:29), fallen angels, Satan, and human sinners not redeemed by the blood of Christ. All others are families named after God. Accordingly all believers on Earth, in Heaven, and the heavenly hosts of God are included in Paul’s statement. This includes believers from the past, the present and in the future.
The following verses are the words of Paul’s prayer that he prayed for all Christians of all times, which includes believers of today.
(Eph 3:16) That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
A grant is a gift, which means there is no charge, or consideration required. It is freely given by the graciousness of the giver. Paul is asking for God to grant us, according to His grace the things he prays for in the last verses of Ephesians Chapter 3.
To understand the riches of His glory, it is necessary to let Scripture interpret Scripture. Here are some verses that expound on that theme:
Joh 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.“
Col 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Christ in us is the totality of God’s riches in glory. God’s riches in glory are all-inclusive in Jesus Christ our Savior, for He, Christ is our Hope of Glory.
Eph 1:17-19, “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: (18) 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, (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” Thus some of the riches are wisdom and knowledge of Him; our understanding of Godly things will be enlightened; our hope is in His calling or invitation; and the exceeding greatness of His power.
2Th 2:16-17, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, (17) Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” The riches here are eternal comfort, wonderful hope, and strength to accomplish every good work. (Good works are what we do after salvation; works that please God).
2Pe 1:3-4, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Everything we need to live life as God’s people is provided for us. If you decide to make one, this will be a very long list.
1Jn 2:25, “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” Eternal life is the first and most important of the riches God grants us.
We could add hundreds more things God does for us when we are saved. Things such as temporal things like our possessions; spiritual things like families, children, and fellowship with other Christians; eternal things, such as things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words (2 Cor 2:4); things that no human eye has ever seen, no human ear has ever heard, and no human mind has ever imagined that God has prepared for us who love him (Isa 64:4; 1 Cor 2:9). There are many, many more things we could mention, but his is enough to help or understanding of the riches in glory God grants us.
Eph 3:17-18, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19a) And to know the love of Christ,
Some translations add the first part of verse 19 (the love of Christ)to verse 18: “people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love–how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is.“Paul prays for us to be fully given over to the Lordship of Christ and be good stewards of his grace as well as good attentive servants or slaves of Christ. This will enable our walk to be thoroughly centered in God’s will
Verse 18 reminds one of a hymn by Patrick Lehmann, the last verse of which is attributed to Jewish cantor, Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai who wrote it in Aramaic in the Eleventh Century. The name of the hymn is “The Love of God.”
Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.
Copyright1917, Renewed 1945 by F.M. Lehman Nazarene Publishing House
Eph 3:19, And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Such love, as mentioned in the previous verse, is so vast that it is beyond our wildest understanding. It is love that, like the peace of God, that passes all human understanding and knowledge. Paul asks God to help us to understand that love, which is not understandable. The reason? To know as much about God as is knowable in our human condition. This may be more fully comprehended by Paul’s statements in 1 Cor 13: 9,10, & 12: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Ephesians 3:20-21, Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
There is nothing the God cannot do; nothing too hard for him; nothing the He does not understand. Therefore He is able to answer all our prayers and abundantly supply all our needs, and even some of our desires. If we need something to accomplish the will of God for us, he will surely provide it. When we submit to God, His power works in us and no power on earth or above earth or under the earth can stop that power in us; as long as we remain in God’s will, we are unstoppable until everything God wants to accomplish through us is accomplished. As the Apostle wrote, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14).
Ephesians 3: 21, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
- Dispensationalism is a Theological system developed in the Nineteenth Century, in which the time of the entire earth age from creation until eternity is divided into three to eight distinct time periods of history in which God works with the people in different ways. There is nothing wrong with looking at history this way. Unfortunately some of the doctrines of Dispensationalism do not square with the Bible. Regrettably, that is a large study and there is not time or space here to delve into it. There are several articles online, and several books available on Dispensationalism. I will briefly discuss it here.
The main objection I have to Dispensationalism is their belief that the Church and Israel are forever separate and have two different avenues of salvation (though Dispensationalists will unconvincingly dispute this). That is not a Biblical stance therefore I cannot accept the philosophy as true. Most evangelical churches operate under this philosophy, including many Southern Baptists (which I am). The philosophy, through a misreading of Daniel and Revelation, teaches the seven year tribulation against Israel while the church is away at some mystical feast. It also teaches that Jesus will return secretly and rapture the church secretly so that millions of people will simply disappear leaving those left behind in bewilderment. This is a farcical interpretation of several eschatological scriptures that is simply untrue. ↩
- The KJV-only folks will dispute that and tell you that the underlying Greek has nothing to do with the English translation and that the KJV is perfect and without error; thus, to them, it is the infallible English translation.
They are entitled to their opinion, an opinion I once shared. However, I could not reconcile the fact that the Holy Spirit would translate the Greek word for Passover, πασχα, pascha, as Easter in Acts 12:4. Everywhere else it is correctly translated Passover. I cannot believe that the Holy Spirit would translate such a holy word as Passover into a pagan word for the celebration of Ēostre, or Ostara, the goddess of spring. From the celebration of this goddess we derive colored eggs and white bunny rabbits. It is not possible that the Holy Spirit would intone that we celebrate such a pagan deity.
KJV-only folks have divined a way around this but it is a precarious explanation. They claim that Easter was the English word in use in King James’ day for the celebration of Passover. That is provably incorrect; in James the First’s day, they celebrated the Roman Catholic feast of Easter, which is demonstrably not Passover. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. Passover is always on the fourteenth of Nissan. If the fourteenth of Nissan occurs on the first Sunday after the first Vernal full moon, then Easter is deliberately moved to the next Sunday to avoid all conformity with the Jews in this matter. In Acts 12:4, Peter had been arrested by Herod. Because Passover was near, Peter was jailed to await trial before the people until after the Jewish Passover. Easter did not even exist when Peter was taken prisoner. Thus Easter is not Passover (πασχα, pascha), and should not be rendered so. It is absolutely and incorrect translation and I call that an error.
This does not mean that I disdain or disavow the KJV as a translation of God’s word; I do not. You will notice that I use the KJV in these Bible commentaries you are reading at this moment. I prefer the KJV; it is a good one, but it is not an infallible translation. ↩