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"To make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery"
(Eph. 3: 9, R.V.)
The Audience Chamber
(2: 11 - 19-).
Gentiles, "far off", "made nigh".
pp. 1 - 4
We saw when examining Eph. 2: 1-4 that the interposition of the words "But God"
changes the whole doctrinal position of the unsaved Gentile. On the one side of this
gracious interposition was sin, with an energizing spirit of evil, on the other side salvation
by grace, and His workmanship. So we now see that the interposition of the words
"But now" in Eph. 2: 13 changes the whole dispensational disability of the Gentile from
distance to nearness, giving him access in `one spirit' and exchanging citizenship for
alienation, and the creation of a new man in the place of the hopeless condition of the
Gentile in the flesh and in the world. These Gentiles were "far off". In the O.T. this term
`far off' was used of the people of Israel in the lands of their captivity, and the same
Greek work makran that is used here, is used in the Septuagint:
"If they sin against Thee (for there is no man that sinneth not), and Thou be angry
with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away
captives unto a land far off or near" (II Chron. 6: 36).
"And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all
the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far" (Est. 9: 20).
`Far off and near' refer in both cases to the one people, Israel. So Daniel prayed for
all Israel "that are near and that are far off, through all the countries whither Thou hast
driven them". Likewise Peter intended his words to be understood on the day of
Pentecost, when he said:
"The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off" (Acts 2: 39).
Up to this point the words "far off" applied solely to the dispersed of Israel and to
these both James and Peter addressed their epistles.
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are
scattered abroad, greeting" (James 1: 1).
When the Jew wanted to use an expression that indicated remoteness from their own
centre of activity, they thought of the Gentile world lying about them; so when the
Saviour told them that He was going away, and that where He would be they cannot
come, they replied:
"Will He go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?" (John 7: 35).