An Alphabetical Analysis Volume 10 - Practical Truth - Page 21 of 277 INDEX |
the citizenship of Israel, that now they have, badly miss the point and
mislead their readers. The church of the dispensation of the Mystery has no
place in the covenants or the commonwealth of Israel, their citizenship is
where Christ sits 'far above all heavens'. Again, in view of another
interpretation put forward, the reader should note that the two words
translated 'being aliens', in Ephesians 2:12 and in Ephesians 4:18 are
We learn from Acts 16:12 that Philippi was a 'colony', its full Roman
name being Colonia Augusta Julia Philippensis, as a coin in the British
Museum shows. A Roman colony was a miniature resemblance of Rome, and it was
at Philippi that Paul claimed the privilege that attached to Roman
citizenship. Rome divided the world into two classes, 'citizens' and
'strangers', those who lived in Italy being citizens.
'The City of Rome might be transplanted, as it were, into various parts
of the empire, and reproduced as a colonia; or an alien city might be
adopted, under the title of municipium. The privilege of a colonia was
transplanted citizenship, that of a municipium was engrafted
'The colonists went out with all the pride of Roman citizens, to
represent and reproduce the city in the midst of an alien population.
Every traveller who passed by a colonia saw there the insignia of Rome.
He heard the Latin language, and was amenable, in the strictest sense,
to the Roman law' (Conybeare and Howson The Life and Epistles of St.
Paul pp. 224, 225).
Every believer in Philippi when he read the words 'our politeuma is in
heaven' would realize the apostle's intention. Just as the Philippian
citizen, though miles away from Rome, yet lived as far as possible as a
Roman, so the believer far from his heavenly city, lives here below as 'a
citizen of no mean city'. The Revised Version has placed 'citizenship' in
the text here, and 'commonwealth' in the margin.
This citizenship, Paul says, 'is' in heaven. The verb eimi 'to be' is
not used here, but a richer, fuller word is employed, namely huparcho. We
have given a fairly full examination of huparcho in chapter 5 (2. a), of the
book The Prize of the High Calling and have seen that it means the
persistence of an original possession, in spite of extreme changes in
circumstance. The two occurrences of huparcho in Philippians should be read
together. Concerning Christ, Who passed through all the changes from glory
to the utmost humiliation of the death of the Cross, yet never at any time
did He lose that which was persistently His original possession 'Being in the
form of God' (Phil. 2:6). Concerning the believer, who was originally chosen
to this high estate as a citizen of heaven itself, which citizenship persists
as an unalterable fact, even though for the time being he may be in the
flesh, in the world and encompassed by infirmity. His citizenship is as
truly in heaven, even though he may not be there, as the Philippian
citizenship existed in Rome, even though miles of sea and land intervened.
It should be noted that in Philippians 3:20, the Greek word ouranois is
plural, 'heavens'. The words translated 'from whence' ex hou are singular,
and can only refer to politeuma 'citizenship'. Out from that heavenly
commonwealth we are expecting a Saviour.