The Berean Expositor
Volume 6 - Page 13 of 151
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Answers to Correspondents.
pp. 43 - 47
No. 11.--S.F.K., SOUTH AFRICA.
(a) "Why does Paul class himself in Eph. 1: 12 with the fore-hopers (`We
who have before hoped in Christ')? and again in Heb. 13: 14 with
those whose hope is a city (`For we have not here an abiding city')?"
By the wording of your question you evidently do not consider the word translated in
A.V., "who first trusted," to have reference to priority of realization, but that the word
proelpiz§ means to "hope before," as proeide§ (Gal. 3: 8) means "to see before, or to
foresee."
This is in harmony with the usage of the preposition in composition. The suggested
rendering that makes the passage mean that the Apostle, and those who believed with
him, were to realize their hope before other "orders," though doctrinally true, is not a
true interpretation of this word. "We who had (or have) hoped beforehand" is the
meaning of the word. You ask why Paul links himself with these. You assume that Paul
must of necessity be referring back to a previous dispensation when he with others
shared in the "hope of Israel." There is no necessity for this; all that the passage says is
that Paul and those with him (the "we") hoped in Christ before the Gentile believers
(the "ye" of verse 13).
Even though it were to be proved that Paul did refer back to the hope which he shared
with others before the revelation of the Mystery, it should constitute no difficulty. Faith
and hope rest upon revealed truth. Until the dispensation of the Mystery was made
known, all who believed could truthfully include themselves in such as expression as
"we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" (I Thess. 4: 15), even
though they were to relinquish that hope upon the proclamation of the Mystery. If there
is any difficulty in believing this, then no Jew who believed under the Law could ever
come under Grace, no disciple of John Baptist could ever become a disciple of Christ.
To become a member of the One Body, whether previously a Jew, a Christian of the
Pentecostal assembly, or a Pagan, necessitated as the outward expression just faith in
"the word of truth" (Eph. 1: 13), as made known through the Apostle Paul (Eph. 3: 8, 9),
and if that new revelation made any change in the doctrine of hope (as we know it did),
that was accepted as a matter of course.
Regarding Heb. 13: 14, "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to
come," the Apostle is urging the separation which the epistle emphasized throughout.
He, Paul, would go "outside the camp," whatever different things that "camp" may
indicate. He, Paul, had no continuing city, but he sought one to come. There was no
necessity for the Apostle to interfere with the main argument to turn aside and say, "But
you must understand that I, as a member of the One Body, no longer look to that New
Jerusalem, the Holy City, as the realization of my hopes." We must be careful not to
make difficulties, for the Apostle simply says, "we seek one to come," and although he