The Power God Offers Us
Ephesians Series #045
September 29, 2019
“Father, we’re thankful for all that You’ve provided for us and given to us and the fact that we have already been enlightened by God the Holy Spirit to understand the truth of Your Word at the instant of our salvation through regeneration.
“Now that we have new life in Christ, Father, as the Apostle Paul prays in the passage we’re studying, we pray that we too might increase our intimacy with You and that that might be accomplished as we come to understand more fully the expectation that is ours through the calling, the invitation, of the gospel through understanding the role that we play in this great inheritance, great possession, of Yours, the body of Christ.
“That we might come to understand that You have given to us the opportunity to be strengthened and empowered according to the standard of Your omnipotence; and that Your omnipotence stands ready at all times to strengthen us in whatever circumstances or situation we find.
“We thank You for our ability to understand what our Lord Jesus Christ is doing today as He is seated at Your right hand and is the Head of the church.
“We pray that as we study this passage this morning that we may come to understand what these phrases and terms mean and that they will have greater significance for us each day. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
Let’s open our Bibles to Ephesians 1. Or as I heard a pastor say the other day, take out your cell phones and turn in your cell phone to Ephesians 1, which is becoming more and more the general rule of thumb. I know that if I were sitting in a congregation, and this happens when on occasion I’m out there, I’ve got my iPad or my cell phone or my laptop, and I do more study there. I never open a physical print Bible anymore or rarely do. Now I’m almost always using some sort of electronic version, so that is where we are today.
As we’ve been studying in Ephesians 1, the focus at the end of the chapter is on God’s power that He offers to us. This is to support the believer. We have studied this in our passage in 2 Peter 1:3–5 that God’s power is at our disposal, not in the metaphysical—and I use that in pejorative sense because it has more to do with sort of a New Age kind of idea that is present in the health and wealth movement—but that God’s power is made known to us through His promises, and through His Word.
It is not that He intervenes with signs and wonders and other things of that nature, but that as we come to understand the truth of God’s Word, then God uses that to strengthen us in the inner man to empower us to live the spiritual life and to win the battles with the internal enemy of our sin nature and also the external enemies of Satan and the world system.
We are coming to understand that, and the example that God gives of the standard for His power, which is the resurrection of Christ, the ascension of Christ, and the current session or seating of Christ at the right hand of God the Father, and what that means for us.
We have seen in this opening section that Paul is praying. His overall prayer is focused on the fact that he is asking God that on the basis of the fact that our understanding has already been enlightened. Going back and doing more study on that passage, very few English translations get that participle right.
They translate it as the King James and New King James does, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” Some even, I think it’s the NIV, make it future tense or a potential that they might be enlightened, but that is not what the text says.
Very few times, in fact, do English translations accurately translate the perfect participle. Perfect tense—for all of you whose eyes glaze over when grammar is mentioned—the perfect tense indicates completed action. It’s over with. It’s done. It’s in the past and the emphasis is on the present results of past completed action. So this participle indicates that we have already had the eyes of our understanding open. That happens at regeneration, as we’ve studied.
There’s a purpose for that, which is that once we’ve had the eyes of our understanding open, Paul then prays that God would use the Holy Spirit to further help us understand His Word. The phrase “Spirit” is the Holy Spirit who works in the realm of revealing God’s Word to us and helping us to gain wisdom or skill at living in the Scriptures. And this is all for the purpose of growing more intimate with God.
Then he goes on to say this is based on three other things, so you can put together a process here of growth: that in order to know God more intimately we need to understand the hope of His calling. Hope has the idea of confident expectation.
When you were saved, and you heard the gospel, you had developed at some level an expectation of what that would mean in the future. As you study the Word, then that expectation becomes more and more refined. So, the calling is what the invitation to trust in Christ was when you were saved, but it’s looking forward to this expectation.
I know that many of us have had experiences where you have been or I have been invited to some event. Maybe it was to meet somebody to go out to dinner or maybe it was to go to a film, a play, or some event. You had some idea of what was going to happen and what happened had nothing to do with your expectation of what might happen.
The Scripture tells us that we have a certain, a confident, expectation. That’s what hope means. It is based on that invitation to trust in Christ, that we will have new life in Him, and that life isn’t just something that is eternal, it’s here and now. But a lot of times people are so focused on the fact that it’s in the future, that they forget that Jesus promised to give abundant life today.
That no matter what the circumstances might be, we can live above them and experience the joy, the stability and the happiness that God provided for us and have a richness of our experience in this physical life because of what Christ has done for us.
Secondly, that we may know the wealth of the glory of His inheritance. And that often looks to us like we are the inheritance, as we saw back in Ephesians 1:14, but back in Ephesians 1:11 we are looked upon as God’s possession—the body of Christ as God’s possession—and what we will be when we are glorified. We can’t comprehend that.
In fact, when we get down to the end of the next section, interestingly, the introduction, Ephesians 1 ends with a prayer. The next section is Ephesians 2 and 3, and that ends with a prayer. Then the next section also ends in a prayer. I’ll just read it to you, look at the end of this next section.
Paul is praying, Ephesians 3:20–21, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think …”
In other words, no matter what you think you’re asking for or your expectations are, the reality is far beyond that. It would blow our minds if we truly comprehended all that is ours in the future and all that is part of what God is giving to us as Church Age believers in Christ Jesus.
We can come to understand more and more of what that entails as we grow closer to the Lord and as we study His Word.
Ephesians 1:19, we began last week, that we may know, “… what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe e…” It’s focused on that which is for believers, and it is a greatness that is ours.
I think many of us live more like we are living in a spiritual ghetto than that we are royalty in the royal family of Christ, and that we have been given so very much in Him. But we get so caught up with all the distractions of this life and all the details and all of the ephemeral pleasures of this life that we just lose sight of all that we truly have in Christ and to really grow and mature in that.
In Ephesians 1:19–20. Paul uses hyperbole, and I was using sort of a pun on that, because the Greek word for exceedingly is the word from which our word hyperbole derives.
It’s the verb HUPERBALLO, and it just means that this goes beyond anything that we can imagine, which is actually what Paul is alluding to as again when he gets down to Ephesians 3 at the end in terms of the passage that I just cited.
Ephesians 1:19, “…exceeding greatness of His power…” His omnipotence is beyond anything that we can imagine. If you just take time to reflect on creation, if we take time to reflect upon the intricacies of our bodies of how God made us. As the psalmist said, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
To understand all of those dynamics, the intellect behind that is beyond anything that we can imagine. And then the power to bring us and the universe and all the systems that are entered into existence out of absolutely nothing. He spoke and it came into existence. That power is what Paul is talking about. That it is applied to us who believe.
We have these words power, DUNAMIS, which will see again when he talks about powers in the next verse, and it is according to a standard. That’s the Greek preposition there translated “according” as the preposition KATA, which indicates that there is a standard.
He’s not emphasizing that God does this from His omnipotence, but it’s according to a standard. I talked about a standard which is His creation; but the standard that Paul gives us here is the standard of what was involved in the resurrection, the ascension, and the session of Christ.
He says that it’s “… according to the working of this mighty power …” words that are often used to express God’s omnipotence. We have KRATOS for power, ISCHUS for strength, DUNAMIS in Ephesians 1:19; we have ENERGEO for working. We have all these different words that are piled on top of each other because human language just falls far short of being able to really paint for us a full picture of God’s omnipotence.
Then it is this working of His mighty power, for working is the antecedent of the word “which,” so the working of this power He worked. I pointed out last time that that verb “work” is the cognate of the participle here for the working of His mighty power to show us that this is what He performed in Christ.
He focuses on two things: that He raised Him and that He seated Him. He left something out didn’t he? But by giving us the beginning and the end, it automatically includes the ascension; it doesn’t need to be mentioned. He’s raised Him from the dead.
Think about the power that is necessary to raise someone from the dead—the ability to give genuine life. There’s a lot of arrogance today. Have you noticed the talk about artificial intelligence? There is even thought that you can upload your mind to some computer or something.
The world is desperate to find eternal life and to somehow avoid the physical consequence of sin in our lives and avoid physical death. This will never happen, but it’s the arrogance of man and his fantasies that somehow he can do what only God can do.
The main word, EGEIRO, is used again and again and all the resurrection passages that God gave life to Jesus. He didn’t raise Himself from the dead. It was God the Father who gave Him life and it was eternal life. He had received a new body at the instant of that resurrection, which is the pattern for us, that we will receive a new body.
What’s interesting is that it’s not some new body that God’s going to make for us that’s different from the present body. Because if you notice the tomb was empty. God didn’t say, “Okay, You had one body while you are on the earth, and I’m going to give You another body now.” He took that which was the physical, mortal body of Jesus and transformed it into an immortal body, a resurrection body.
I don’t understand all of the implications of that. I often joke that, “Well, won’t that be interesting if when you die, you donate your heart and your liver and your eyes and other body parts, and they’re used in some sort of transplant, does that mean that if Jesus were to come back the next day that those body parts are going to be rejoined together in your resurrection body?”
But the pattern with Jesus seems to suggest that the new body is formed from those same molecules, those same physical parts that were once ours. See the power of God is such that if you died 3,000 years ago, then when you are resurrected, God will bring back together all those particles, and they will have turned to dust and been blown to the four winds, but God in His omniscience knows where every molecule is.
People who worry and say, “I can’t be cremated because how will God give me a new body?” Because God knows where every particle is, and He has the power to do that. I’m just being facetious with my example. I don’t know how any of this is going to work, but that’s not the concern.
It’s to know that takes incredible power, and it is according to that standard of power that God is going to and does sustain us. That’s what Paul is focusing on here.
The raising of Jesus from the dead, # 1; #2, not stated, is His ascension, and to think about all that was involved as Jesus left this earth and went through the heavens to the right hand of the Father, then #3, seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.
What’s important about that is we’re going to see, is seating Christ at His right hand. He is putting Him in a position of authority.
Ephesians 1:21, goes on to say that He is seated “… above—and this references authority—all principality and power and might and dominion …” That refers to two angelic hosts.
He is above all of the angels, not in His deity because in His deity, He has always been higher than the angels. This is talking about Him in His humanity, that He’s seated at the right hand of the Father. At the helm of history and the universe is a man, the God-Man.
This relates to our future destiny, as we will see, because He was, like all men, created a little lower than the angels. But because of Christ’s elevation above the angels, we in Christ will be above the angels. We will have that authority, that position in eternity.
We need to look at the physical ascension of Christ, which was described for us in Acts 1:9–10 when He was with the disciples, and suddenly as they were watching, He just takes off. They just watch Him go up to Heaven, and they keep looking. They’re just dumbfounded. They have never seen anything like that.
Then an angel appears to them and says, “Why do you stand there gazing into heaven?” Then we have a great promise that Jesus will return in the same way.
We have a picture of Jesus taking off and they’re just flummoxed. They’ve never seen anything like it.
Hebrews 4:14 gives us a different aspect of this, “… that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens …”
The Bible talks about three levels of the heavens. The first level is the atmosphere around the earth. The second level includes all of the universe beyond the atmosphere of the earth all the way out to its edge. The universe, contrary to modern science, is not infinite. There can only be One Who is infinite and that’s God. Because it is created, it must of necessity be finite, and there is a border, so this is talking phenomenologically.
I think there’s some truth to this—that Jesus went through the heavens in a second, a particle of a second—and He arrives in Heaven and is seated then at the right hand of the Father.
There are a number of key things to think about. We’re not going to go through all of these, but you’ll see some of these passages repeatedly quoted in some of the passages we look at this morning.
1. Four Messianic psalms that are foundational.
Last time I fumbled around a little, trying to put them in a chronological order as opposed to just listing them. The first would be Psalm 89 because that is on the Davidic Covenant, so we could also include in that 2 Samuel 7:14 and following. But Psalm 89, as we studied quite a bit in the spring on Tuesday night, is the foundation for the Messianic role as the King who will come.
Psalm 110, which is quoted more than any Old Testament passage in the New Testament, is where “… the Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool …”
That doesn’t occur until the end of the Tribulation period. Jesus is seated; He is not ruling now. He is in that position of session. He is the head of the church. That is what His authority extends to at this time. That’s Psalm 110:1.
In Daniel 7:13–14, we see the Son of Man, which is the Messianic title, coming to the Ancient of Days to ask for the Kingdom. Finally the Ancient of Days gives Him the Kingdom, and after that He comes to the earth to take the Kingdom. That hasn’t happened yet, but it tells us we are not in the Kingdom right now.
There are psalms that talk about God, Elohim, God the Father, being the King. That is not Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, being the Davidic king. God is the sovereign King because He is the Creator.
Psalm 2 talks about how the kings of the earth are gathered together in rebellion against God’s Anointed One, the Messiah, and He will chastise them with a rod of iron and defeat them, and then establish His Kingdom. That’s talking about what happens at the end of the Tribulation period, at the campaign of Armageddon and Christ establishing His Kingdom.
Psalm 132 describes the assent of the Messiah to the temple when He establishes His reign.
That’s the order in which to read those.
2. Key terms:
- Son of Man, emphasizing Christ’s humanity
- Son of God, emphasizing His deity
- Son of David, indicating His right to the throne according to the Davidic Covenant
- King of kings and Lord of lords, the title given to Him at the Second Coming
That’s when He returns. He is not referred to biblically as the king today. He is referred to as our Advocate, as our Intercessor, as our High Priest, but He is not described today as our as our King.
2. The Davidic Covenant is the foundation for understanding all of the above
That’s one of the reasons I took the time to take us through all the passages related to the Davidic Covenant in our Samuel series last spring because that shows how central the Davidic Covenant is to everything that transpired following that. It is important, second only to the Abrahamic Covenant.
3. Understanding the Melchizedek priesthood and its fulfillment in Christ.
He was not a Levite. I learned something new yesterday. I was doing some other study in a different area and went to a passage in John 4, where Jesus is talking to the woman at the well, and He makes the statement that salvation is from the Jews.
If you look at the Greek, that’s not what it says. It says salvation is from the Judeans. All the way through just the Gospel of John, John refers to the Jews in the English, and that became a basis for the rise of anti-Semitism. The idea was that John had become a Christian, so he didn’t consider himself a Jew anymore, and so he’s pointing out how bad and evil the Jews are.
But Greek word is “Judean,” which means that John, as a Galilean, is talking about what the Judeans did. He’s telling the woman at the well that salvation is of the Judeans, which takes us back to Genesis 49 and the prophecy that the scepter will not depart from the tribe of Judah.
Here’s what I learned: that the Samaritans believed the Messiah would come from the tribe of Levi, because they saw that He would have a priestly role. They didn’t understand that there is another greater order of priest, the king-priest—the order of Melchizedek, who was the king-priest of Salem, an ancient name for Jerusalem—and he was Gentile.
Christ’s priesthood, according to Hebrews 8, is according to the priesthood of Melchizedek. That’s important. All of this is fulfilled in Christ and central to understanding what role the ascension and session have to play in the role of Christ today.
Slides 16 and 17
We looked at the ascension last week; today I want to look at:
What the Bible Teaches about the Present Ministries of Christ in the Session.
1. The term session comes from the Latin word sessionem, which means “the seating.” Currently Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven.
A technical theological term was developed that Christ is now seated, and this is the session of Christ. He is not pictured as being active other than the headship over the body of Christ.
I’ve listed a number of passages there that are foundational for understanding the assertion of the seating of Christ.
Acts 7:55 is an interesting passage: This is at the end of Steven’s speech, his lecture to the Pharisees and Sadducees, and they get really mad at him, God gives him a vision of Heaven, Stephen sees to the throne of God, and Jesus is standing at the right hand of the Father. Some people try to make something out of that, but the picture is Jesus is welcoming Stephen to Heaven. He’s still at the right hand of the Father, a position of authority and a position of power and royalty.
This is based on Psalm 110:1, “The Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, until—that means there is a future point at which He will stop sitting, and then something else will happen. You’re going to sit—until I make your enemies Your footstool”—until it’s time for You to destroy the enemies and establish your Kingdom.
Psalm 110:1 is central.
We will look at other passages as we go through this. Romans 8:34 ties it to intercession; Colossians 3:1 is similar to what we have in Ephesians; Hebrews 1:3, 13; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; 12:2; and 1 Peter 3:22. I’m not going through all those passages; we will touch on some of them in the other points.
Hebrews 1:3, “… who—referring to Jesus—being the brightness—or the effulgence or the reflection—of His glory—He’s identified with the glory, the essence of God as full deity—and the express image—the imprint, the character as it is in the Greek—of His person—He is an exact replica in terms of His essence of God the Father: He is fully divine—and upholding all things by the word of His power …”
Here it’s talking about the same thing as in Colossians 1: Christ sustains the world. It is not up to us in passing some silly destructive “Green New Deal” to make sure that the earth will survive another 11 years.
Let me make a point of this because it is all over the news this last week. When you do not believe that the universe and the world and everything in it was created by omnipotent God, then you must live in fear, because if you believe in the myth of evolution, then everything around us is just a cosmic accident. And if everything is a cosmic accident, then just some little bitty thing can destroy it all, just another cosmic accident and it’s all vaporized.
If you’ve rejected God, then, as Adam and Eve discovered in Genesis 1, when God came to walk in the Garden with them, as was His habit, what was their response? Existential fear—a fear that you and I have not experienced. Because they had been told that if they eat of the tree they will die and they ran and hid. They hit the panic button over and over again. They were scared down to the marrow of their bones.
This is how the unbeliever is when he is confronted with the temporary nature of his existence: he is scared to death of death; and that is what produces this. It is a result of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, Romans 1:18.
But the hope that we have is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all involved in creation. They have created everything, and it is sustained moment by moment by the power of Jesus Christ. Therefore, there is not one thing that any industry, any mad scientist, any human being, or any other creature can do to destroy the earth and mankind.
The Scripture lays out exactly how the end will be, and this idea that some sort of environmental disaster is going to happen, but not the way they think. It is going to happen because of what transpires in the Tribulation as God the Father brings out judgment on this earth through the three series of judgments: The Seal Judgments, Trumpet Judgments, and Bowl Judgments during the seven years of the Tribulation period.
But we won’t be here, because if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you will be raptured when Christ returns in the clouds, and we will be taken to Heaven. During that time, we will be with Him and not so concerned about what’s going-on on the earth.
Hebrews 1:3, we’re told that He upholds “… all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins—that means He paid the penalty for our sins. We were cleansed from our sins, and He then—sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
2. The place of the right hand of the Father is a place of authority, a place of power where He, Jesus Christ as a man, is raised to a position of authority over the angels and over everything else in creation.
He is in a position of power and authority over all things from the point of His session.
Hebrews 1–2 deal with this. In Hebrews 1:4–5, the subject here is still Christ “… having become so much better than the angels—not just the demons, but the angels, all of the angels: The elect angels, the fallen angels, everything else—as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
This is in His humanity, not in His deity. He is still the God-Man for all eternity. But this is emphasizing His role as the Son of Man who will come to establish His Kingdom.
The writer of Hebrews says,
“For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You?” Quoting Psalm 2:7, one of these passages I talked about as foundational to understanding this. He is the Son of God who has come as the Messiah, and that is what that passage describes.
“And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son?’ ” 2 Samuel 7:14.
This is the Davidic Covenant again. This is why I say these passages that I mentioned are so foundational.
Hebrews 2:7 quotes from Psalm 8:5, “You have made him—that is, man, human beings—You have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor—that’s the ascension and seating of Christ—You have crowned Him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands”—authority over all things.
Hebrews 2:8, “You have put all things in subjection under his feet—that’s quoted from Psalm 8:5, then the writer of Hebrews says—For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.”
Note that. The writer of Hebrews says, “we don’t see this yet.” It’s a potential because He hasn’t yet been given the Kingdom.
Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels—going back to the first line of Hebrews 2:7 quoted from Psalm 8:5. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
The word for taste doesn’t mean just getting a little sample. You know how it is when you go to HEB or Costco or a lot of grocery stores, they give you little samples and you just get a little taste. This is taking a bite, fully eating something and absorbing it, so it indicates Jesus’ full death on our behalf.
3. During the session, Christ is preparing dwelling places for the Church Age believers in Heaven.
John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many—I should add the word temporary—dwelling places; if it were not so I would’ve told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
Many of you learned this in the King James Version, where it says, “in My Father’s house are many mansions.” That was based on a Latin translation of the Greek term manse, which had the idea in English at the time of a mansion, but it refers to a temporary dwelling place.
It’s temporary because we’re going to go to Heaven for a short time, then we return with the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will be dwelling where? On the earth in the Millennial Kingdom to rule and reign with Him. Then there will be a new heaven and new earth, and then there will be our dwelling place in the New Jerusalem on the earth.
It is a misnomer to think that we spend eternity in Heaven because the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit will make Their abode on the earth with us, according to Revelation 21–22. That’s why it should be translated “in my Father’s house are many temporary dwelling places.” That’s what Christ is preparing for us, so that when the church is there during the seven years of the Tribulation, we have a place to stay. He is preparing those dwelling places now.
4. He is currently functioning as our High Priest, not functioning as our King.
Christ had three roles: Prophet, Priest, and King:
- He mostly functioned in the role of Prophet at the First Coming.
- He is functioning in the role of Priest in the Church Age.
- He will function in the role of King in the future Kingdom.
Hebrews 4:14–15, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but in all points tempted as we are.”
Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 5:5–10; Hebrews 7:17–21, 26–27; and Hebrews 8:1, 3. Many other verses in Hebrews 7 and 8 relate to the High Priestly ministry of Christ today.
5. One role of the High Priest is to be our legal Advocate before the Supreme Judge of the universe, against the charges of Satan.
He is our Legal Advocate. He is our Defense Attorney, so that when Satan brings up charges, Christ defends us.
1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
He defends us because we have had our sins paid for and we are new creatures in Him.
6. Part of the role of the advocate involves prayerful intercession for each believer. In the model that we see of Christ’s intercessory prayer in His prayer in John 17, referred to as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus. That is the true Lord’s Prayer.
The prayer in Matthew 6 is the Disciples’ Prayer.
Romans 8:34 states, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
His intercession is in response to Satan’s condemnation for us. Christ makes intercession for us, not Mary, not the saints, but it is Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit also makes intercession.
That is one reason we pray to God the Father. We do not pray to God the Son or God the Holy Spirit. You do not pray to your Intercessor. You pray to the One to Whom even the Intercessor is praying. So we pray to God the Father.
7. He is forming His body, a new people, to rule and reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom.
This is the church. This is our passage that we are talking about, the central passage for this principle. He is the Head of this new body.
He is elevated to the right hand of the Father, and according to Ephesians 1:21, He is “… far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name—not most names, not some names—every name that is named—every entity, everything that has nomenclature—not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
We have to look at two things here. In the first part, to what do these terms refer? Often we see them, and they refer to the fallen angels. They refer to the hierarchy of powers among the fallen angels.
The angels were originally created by God before He created the earth, and they sang for joy. According to Job, they sang together in harmony before the fall of any angels.
God created the angels, then He created the earth. Then there is a rebellion led by Satan, where 1/3 of the angels are led in rebellion against God.
The angels were organized. You have archangels, you have cherubs, you have seraphs, you have different orders of angels; they are described as having this sort of hierarchy of power. You have those that are described as principalities, others as powers and might and dominion. These are not restricted to demons.
The term for principality is the term ARCHE. These are the first ones that are related to the noun for beginning or for first, and it indicates rulers—those who have extensive authority and have authority over a realm.
The second word is EXOUSIA, and this has to do with authority. They have authority over a domain or a realm.
The next word is might, which is DUNAMIS, and it relates to power or authority, or strength.
The fourth word translated dominion is KURIOTES, and it describes a power or authority to rule.
It is mentioned in Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.” That refers to either holy angels, elect angels, or fallen angels.
Romans 8:38 uses two of these terms together. When Paul concludes the section on Romans 6–8, He says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life—he uses all these opposites, these mirrors. That includes everything. That there is—neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers …” There it probably means the organization of the demons. So neither angels on the one hand nor all of the different powers in Satan’s organization on the other hand—“… nor things present, nor things to come.”
Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, so there it probably has the sense of the fallen angels.
1 Corinthians 15:24, “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule—that’s ARCHE—and all authority—EXOUSIA—and power—DUNAMIS.”
Three of those four terms are used there. And that seems to not be restricted to just demonic powers, but it describes human authorities and human dominions and human structures in that particular verse.
It takes place at the end of the Millennium. I will show you why we say that in just a minute—and that is when they are destroyed. All of these who oppose God, everything else is destroyed, and then there’s a new heaven and new earth.
Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.” So there’s no distinction here to indicate that this just refers to fallen angels. It refers to all of the angels and their organizations. He says— “all things were created through Him and for Him.”
In Hebrews 1:3 we get clarification. It’s describing Jesus, “who being the brightness—or the effulgence—of His glory—that is God’s essence—and the express image of His person—together this says He is fully God—and upholding all things by the word of His power—you can’t have enough power that it takes to uphold all things, unless you’re fully God—when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
Hebrews 1:4, “having become so much better than the—demons. Is that what it says? No! It’s not restricted to the fallen angels. It just says—having become so much better than the angels—that’s both fallen and elect angels—as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
When we read in Ephesians 1:21 that He’s “… above all principality and power and might and dominion …” though this is used in Ephesians 6:20 and following in reference to the fallen-angel hierarchy, here it refers to both. He is above everything in the universe. There’s nothing that is not under Him.
Then this phrase “… not only in this age but also in the age to come.”
We had a paper presented at the Chafer Seminary Conference a couple of years ago that was a good paper in the sense that there was a view that was held by early dispensationalists that there was another period following the Millennial Kingdom. This was made popular by Clarence Larkin.
The position of Larkin and several other dispensational scholars at the end of the 19th century was that in this passage “not only in this age but also in the age to come …” The “age to come” was referring to the age after the Millennial Kingdom.
We need to look at the major problem with this view, and that’s in 1 Corinthians 15:22 and following. 1 Corinthians 15:23, “But each one—that is, Old Testament, New Testament, Tribulation saints—each one in its own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterword those who are Christ’s at His coming”—probably refers and summarizes Rapture and Second Coming together in one event.
1 Corinthians 15:24, “Then—in the Greek EITA, which means, ‘and the next event’ or ‘next in sequence’—Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.”
That happens at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, when He gives the Kingdom to the Father. There is no additional dispensation. That is the first period in the new heavens and the new earth.
“For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.” 1 Corinthians 15:25.
He reigns—the millennial reign—until He puts all enemies under His feet, at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. The Millennial Kingdom is never meant or expected to be a perfect reign in every way because many of the people who are born will have a sin nature and there’s going to be a satanic rebellion at the end. That is put down by destroying them, and this is when the Lingdom is given to the Father. That is when He puts all things under His feet, the second half of Psalm 110:1.
Ephesians 1:22 concludes, “He put all things—He being God the Father—put all things under His feet—that is Psalm 110:1b, the second half of the verse—and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.”
He establishes Christ as the authority over the church. “Head” doesn’t mean source. In English the idiom that a river has a source, so you talk about the head of a river, but in Greek KEPHALE, which is a word for head was used metaphorically to refer to someone who’s in authority. It’s never ever used to refer to source.
So-called evangelical feminists have attempted to say that when it talks about the man is the head of the woman, that that simply means that he’s the source, because Eve was taken out of the side of the man.
There was a debate at a Presbyterian school in Washington State back in the 80s between Wayne House and an evangelical feminist, and she made this assertion in the debate. I would not want to debate Wayne. Wayne was very well prepared, and this is not long after computers made things like this possible. He had printed out a stack like this of every use of KEPHALE in Classical and Koine Greek.
He turned to her and said (she couldn’t read Greek), “I have every verse, every statement made in Classical Greek and Koine Greek of KEPHALE. Would you please point out any places where this is used to refer to source instead of authority,” which pretty much ended her argument.
It is an argument for authority. Is it true Christ is the source of the church? Yes, but that’s not what it’s saying. It is saying He is the authority over the church, and this is how Paul ends this prayer.
We finally come, after about 40 hours, to the end of the first chapter. Next time we will either do an overview of the first chapter, because I’d like to pull it all together for everybody, or we will start chapter 2. But this is really the first section, so I think it deserves a good overview, trying to wrap it all up, and pull it all together in one concise message.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity that we have to study Your Word, to realize that Your power is available to us, and the example of that is in Christ’s resurrection, ascension, and session. We cannot imagine the power that that involved.
“Yet that power is available to us to sustain us in our spiritual life, our spiritual struggles, the warfare we encounter spiritually, that we have Your omnipotence available to us, and it is provided for us in Your Word.
“As Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3–5, it is through the magnificent promises, that it is through Your Word that You give us and You bequeath us this power. It is not some mystical infusion of power, but it is a power that strengthens our mentality through an understanding of reality defined as Your truth.
“Father, we pray that if there is anyone listening today, that they would realize that there is real hope in this world. It’s not a world that is doomed in 11 years to some destruction caused by human error. But it is a future that is laid out in the Scripture, and that there is a future for those who have trusted in Christ as Savior that goes on into eternity.
“That You still have a plan and purpose for this earth, and it will not be destroyed for at least 1,007 years, seven for the Tribulation and a thousand years for the Millennium, so we are not at all concerned that man will somehow self-destruct in our lifetime.
“Father, we pray that those who are listening would understand the gospel, the hope that we have, that Christ died for our sins, and He has given us eternal life, and that is ours simply by believing, trusting in Him.
“So Father, we pray that You would make these things clear to those who are listening, and challenge believers with the great magnificent vision that Paul gives to us here to know You more intimately, to understand the hope of the calling, to understand the wealth of Your possession in the body of Christ and the power that worked in the resurrection that is ours.
“Father, we pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.”