By Charles H. Welch
Habitation, katoiketerion, occurs twice.
The goal of the mystery of godliness, and the goal of the mystery of iniquity is in some measure suggested by these two most opposite passages. The passage in Ephesians two is of dispensational importance in more ways than one. The church of the Mystery is likened to a "temple", and it should be observed that the word employed here by the Apostle is naos "the innermost shrine" and not hieron, the whole sacred structure in which money changers could erect their tables, or where doves could be bought and sold. Naos is used in Matthew 27:51, "the veil of the temple", and is translated "shrine" in Acts 19:24. It is where the ark could be seen (Rev. 11:19) and is contrasted with the court (Rev. 11:1,2). This temple, like the tabernacle in the wilderness (Exod. 25:8) and the tabernacle at the time of the end (Rev. 21 :3) is for an habitation or dwelling of God.
Katoikeo means to dwell permanently, as opposed to paroikia which means to sojourn. Paroikos, foreigner or sojourner, occurs in Ephesians 2:19, from which the passage before us flows. Terms that have the root oik as their basis are plentiful in this section. In 2:19-22: paroikos "sojourner" (2:19), oikeios "household" (2:19), epoikodomeo "to build upon" (2:20), oikodome building (2:21), sunoikodomeomai "to build together" (2:22), katoiketerion "habitation" (2:22). It is very evident from this preponderance of the word oikos that we have, in the conception of a dwelling place, a most vital feature in the Divine plan. The reference to the "family" in Ephesians 3:15 carries the idea forward, but the Apostle's immediate concern appears to be the spiritual experimental acquaintance with this glorious fact of Divine dwelling.
The Vatican MSS. reads "a habitation of Christ" instead of "God", but this may be a reflection back from a statement we must consider presently. The words "through the spirit" need to be examined. First we must remember that there is no article "the" used here. The words are literally "in spirit".
Secondly, the translation "through" is rather too wide. En pneumati is rather the sphere in which anything operates or takes place. So in Revelation 1:10, John was en pneumati in the day of the Lord, or as in Revelation 21: 10 was carried away en pneumati to the yet future day of the descent of the New Jerusalem. To come nearer home, en pneumati which stands at the close of Ephesians 3:5, as though it spoke of the inspiration of the apostles and prophets, more truly stands at the head of verse 6, and reveals the only sphere in which Gentiles can hope to be "fellow-heirs" -this term being placed over against en sarki "in flesh" of Ephesians 2:11.
It is evident upon reading Ephesians 3:1 that the Apostle does not finish the sentence. The verb is missing. Instead, he enters into a careful explanation of the claim he made of being "the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles" . That being accomplished, he reverts to his original intention at verse 14 and continues. This is indicated by the repetition of the words "for this cause". He then leads on to the prayer "that Christ may dwell (katoikeo) in your hearts by faith (Eph. 3:17). This association which the Apostle makes between the "dwelling place" (katoiketerion) of Ephesians 2:22 and the "dwelling" (katoikeo) of Christ in the individual heart by faith, can be made evident thus.
Not only does the Apostle stress the dispensational privilege of the Gentile during this present time under the figure of the innermost shrine of the temple, he is also concerned that the experimental side of this most wonderful truth shall be the believer's desire. It is all too easy to think of this calling as it embraces the whole, and to forget that it must of necessity be concerned with every member. This same line of teaching is seen in Ephesians four. After having emphasized the unity of the spirit, he turns to the individual, saying:
The structure of Ephesians (see article EPHESIANS)
throws into correspondence Ephesians 2:21,22 with Ephesians 4:16, where
the words "fitly framed together" and "fitly joined together" are translations
of the Greek word sunarmologoumene,
thereby emphasizing the truth that the "Temple" of the doctrinal portion
is "The Body" of the practical portion, and by a strange introversion,
which however but enforces this relationship, the Apostle speaks of the
temple "growing" (Eph. 2:21) as well as being built and of the body as
being "edified" or "built" as well as "growing". Paul uses the word naos
in his epistles seven times, as follows:
The Greek word naos is found in the N.T. forty-six times, translated "temple" in every place except one where it is rendered "shrine" (Acts 19:24). The word naos occurs sixteen times in the Book of the Revelation, more times than any other book of the N.T., and is a key to the judgments that fall and the character of the opposition at the time of the end. It is the glory of the New Jerusalem that John records:
In like manner, neither the "temple" character nor the "body" relationship carries over to the eternal state, the last title of the church of Ephesians being not "The Body" but "The fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:23). See articles entitled FULFIL and PLEROMA.