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Volume 7 - Page 36 of 133 Index | Zoom | |
Studies in the Epistles of the Mystery.
The Blessings of the Son (Eph. 1: 7-12).
The Inheritance and the Prior Hope.
(A new light upon a much debated theme).
The third blessing particularized in this series is that of inheritance. This inheritance
is directly linked with the glorious sphere of blessing brought to light in verse 10. In
Him, the One Who heads up all things in the dispensation of the fulness of the seasons, in
that One also we have obtained an inheritance. The R.V. reads, "We were made a
heritage". Rotherham reads, "We were taken as an inheritance". It will be seen that the
A.V. speaks of our obtaining an inheritance, while the R.V. speaks of our being made a
heritage--presumably for the Lord Himself (see verse 18).
In I Sam. 14: 41 the Septuagint uses this word in relation to the casting of lots,
"And Saul and Jonathan were taken", i.e., were taken by lot. The primary idea in the
word translated "inheritance" is something taken by lot. Israel as distinct from the
nations are spoken of not only as receiving an inheritance, but of being an inheritance.
"But the Lord hath taken you. . . . to be unto Him a people of inheritance"
(Deut. 4: 20); "For the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance"
(Deut. 32: 9). By a special decree, the tribe of Levi and the priestly family of that tribe
had no inheritance in the land.
"And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither
shalt thou have any part among them. I am thy part and thine inheritance among the
children of Israel" (Numb. 18: 20).
In the future restored kingdom of Israel this will still hold good (see Ezek. 44: 28).
The passage in Eph. 1: 11, if read in the light of God's dealings with His earthly people,
seems to take a more definite shape. The first thought is not that we have obtained an
inheritance, but that we have been taken by the Lord to be His heavenly inheritance.
Verse 18 records the prayer that we might know what is the riches of the glory of His
inheritance in the saints. Surely there can be no honour, no heritage so great, there can be
no glory so high, as that of being the Lord's heritage. To the most favoured tribe of Israel
God did not give even an equal inheritance in the land, He deprived them rather, and gave
them in a special sense their heritage in Himself. To the most favoured of all those
companies that are outside the commonwealth of Israel the Lord has not given an
inheritance so much, as He has glorified them in making them His inheritance. What can
we covet more than being able to say in the language of the faithful Shulamite, "My
Beloved is mine, and I am His?"
God has described the very stones that form the foundation of the New Jerusalem. We
know its measurement; we can picture its street of gold, and its gates of pearl, but where
is there in the Prison Epistles any attempt to describe the "inheritance of the saints in the
light"? It is a present glory to know that we have been taken to constitute His