The Berean Expositor
Volume 6 - Page 36 of 151
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The nearer Scripture approaches that section of God's purpose that is connected with
Israel, the plainer and more definite it becomes. Israel's history fills the bulk of the
Bible. The Nations have a comparatively small space, while the Church occupies a small
portion of the New Testament. The things in heaven, the spiritual powers, are connected
with the great purpose unfolded in the Word, yet we know very little of what their place
in that purpose will be.
There are many references in the Scriptures to the fact of a purpose, and it may be
well for us to establish this before we proceed to enquire into the details of that purpose.
Rom. 8: 28, 9: 11, Eph. 1: 11, and II Tim. 1: 9 are sufficient to show that the
salvation of men is part of a purpose. The word prothesis means "a placing before," and
indicates a well-considered plan. That this plan or purpose is unalterable Eph. 1: 9 and
Jer. 51: 29 will be sufficient to prove.
The words in II Tim. 1: 9, "Before the world began," are not strictly true as a
translation. The original reads pro chronõn aiõniõn, and should be rendered "Before
age-times." Another occurrence of this same expression is found in Titus 1: 2, where a
somewhat parallel doctrine is discovered. Before the age-times, then, the purpose of God
was formed, and in harmony with this is the teaching that the members of the One Body
were "chosen in Him before the foundation of the world" (these words will be dealt with
shortly, D.5:). Not only is it important to see that the purpose or plan of God was made
before the age times, but that the very ages themselves are necessary part and platform
for the unfolding and ripening of that purpose. Eph. 3: 11 (A.V.) speaks of an "eternal
purpose." Now while the thought in these words is very majestic, the teaching of the
passage is not strictly rendered by them. The word "eternal" is an adjective, whereas in
Eph. 3: 11 it is not the adjective aiõniõs that is used, but aiõn, "age." The true rendering
of the passage, therefore, should be, "According to a purpose of the ages."
The Bible is occupied with that purpose. The Bible spans the ages. What was before
the ages, and what lies beyond, is not strictly within the scope of the Book. Men labour
to explain and emphasize eternity. Philosophy may burden the mind with the effort to
grasp "that which has neither beginning nor end, that which has neither centre nor
circumference," but the Bible does not. Scripture commences with, "In the beginning
God." From that basis, the Scriptures commence to unfold the purpose of the ages.
Having surveyed the Scriptures with regard to the fact of the purpose, we next
consider some passages which relate to its fulfillment. Here at once we learn that the
accomplishment of God's purpose does not rest with the creature, but with God Himself.
Eph. 1: 11 is emphatic on this:--
"Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after
the counsel of His own will."
Isa. 46: 9-11 also shows that the O.T. equally with the New demonstrates this fact:--