The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 135 of 251
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The Plan of God.
(Being a series of studies in the Scriptures, made for broadcasting in America.
They have the beginner and even the unbeliever in mind,
and are an attempt to present the Truth of the Scriptures in the simplest possible way.)
The Epistle to the Ephesians (5).
pp. 16 - 20
Having stressed the inestimable privilege of uninterrupted access to the Father, for
both Jewish and Gentile believers in this Body, Paul now informs the latter that they are
no more strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens of the saints (literally) and of the
household of God (2: 19). "Fellow-citizens of the saints" is a strange expression, but
when we realize that the word translated "saints", can mean holy things as well as holy
people, and that in Heb. 9: 8 it is rendered "holiest of all", we can see that the Apostle
is stating something more wonderful than that the Gentile is now being blessed with the
Jew, for this had been clearly revealed as God's purpose through Abraham and was
always true of Gentile proselytes. He is now revealing the supreme truth that Gentiles,
once so far off and distant from God and from blessing, are now so near that they belong
to the very holiest of all, the most holy place in heaven where the ascended Christ has
now entered (Heb. 6: 19, 20). What an overwhelming change God's abounding grace
had made! It sounds too good to be true!
The Apostle continues "having been built (literally) upon the foundation of the
apostles and prophets". Does this mean the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets,
or are they themselves the foundation?  In chapter 4:, verses 8-11 make clear that at
His Ascension the Lord Jesus gave a new order of apostles and prophets which must not
be confused with the calling of the twelve apostles in His earthly lifetime. The ministry
given through the new apostles, of which Paul was chief, was a foundation ministry, built
of course upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3: 11), and He is the chief
cornerstone upon Whom the whole Temple building rests, the Greek term being derived
from the Septuagint of Isa. 28: 16. It is important to note that the emphasis here is
not on this Temple's magnificence, like Solomon's, but upon the fact that it is a home.
The words "household", "built", "building", "builded together", and "habitation" all
contain the Greek word for "home". This means that the great purpose of God which lies
behind the preparation and erection of this edifice, is to provide a permanent home for
Himself. Up to this point God has had temporary homes. The material heavens He
spread out as a tent to dwell in (Isa. 40: 22) and later on, when His earthly people were
journeying from Egypt to Canaan, He dwelt in another tent, in the holy of holies of the
Tabernacle. But as the figure suggests, these were only temporary homes. It is not too
much to say that God desires a permanent home, and this home will be provided by this
church, now described as the Body of Christ. When this calling is taken to the highest
heavens, completed, and the figure changes from Body to a Temple, a dwelling place for
God, and each believer, Jew or Gentile, is likened to a living stone, "fitly framed
together" by the great Architect and Builder. Chapter 2: 5, 6 is going to tell us that God