Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: January 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Four Horns and Four Carpenters

Chapter Four
The Four Horns and Four Carpenters

In Zechariah 1:18, Zechariah is given a vision of “four horns.”  We know from Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12 that these are four of ten Gentile kings.  We must understand that God’s resistance of these kings is His resistance against satanic globalism.  This satanic globalism, in its many attempts, opposes God’s divine dominion.  God’s divine dominion will be established through the restored nation of Israel and His promised Messiah fulfilled in the incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, glorification, and second coming to establish God’s one world Kingdom on Earth.  Therefore, a major aspect of satanic globalism is the destruction of the nation of Israel by scattering the Jews around the world.  Gentile globalism is predominantly Anti-Semitic characterized by extreme hostility towards Jews and the support of the nation of Israel.  Therefore, Antisemitism is a predominant characteristic of Antichristism.   The promise of the vision of Zechariah 1:18-21 is that although Satan will succeed for a short time, ultimately Satan’s plan will fail.

     At the time of Zechariah’s prophecy only two of these four horns had come into power; Babylon and Medo-Persia.  Graeco-Macedonia Empire would succeed the Medo-Persia Empire as Zechariah 9:13 foretells.  The Roman Empire would be the fourth and last as spoken of in Daniel chapters two and seven.  The Roman Empire will be revived as the one-world Antichrist government of the seven-year Tribulation period. 

18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. 19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. 20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters. 21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these {the four carpenters} are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1:18-21).

          These “four horns” are described as “the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:21).  God was giving hope to the faithful remnant of Israel through prophecies like this.  Although there was going be centuries where Israel would remain scattered, the promise of God is that He would restore and revive the nation of Israel one day in the distant future.  For people who see the consequences of their faithfulness beyond themselves into their future generation, these prophecies were a great encouragement. 

          What we see in these prophecies of Zechariah, given to the faithful remnant of Israel, gives us great insight into understanding God’s empathy for the faithful within the nation of Israel.  God gives these prophecies to the faithful remnant while they are in the middle of the crisis of chastisement for the failures of the unfaithful in the nation of Israel.  God gives these prophecies because the faithful must never forget that the unfaithful are a major responsibility of their prayer life and their ministry in preserving the Word of God through teaching.  In other words, even though God was not going to restore and revive the nation of Israel for thousands of years, there was something every faithful person in every generation could do.  They could be faithful, and they could try to persuade the unfaithful to become faithful.  We have a very similar message to the Jews professing faith in Christ during the Church Age in the epistle to the Hebrews.

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one {Abraham}, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city {New Jerusalem}” (Hebrews 11:8-16).

          Every generation of faithful believers must be able to see all the difficulties and impossibilities of life in the light of faith in God’s eternal promises.  They may have no control over the circumstances of the governments and wickedness of the people with which they must share this planet, but they can maintain a faith vision that sees past it all so as to keep their hope in God’s promises.  This is the testimony of the faithful recorded by God in Hebrews chapter eleven.  Faithfulness remains faithful because these people shared an eternal hope that transcended the temporal difficulties of their lives.  This does not mean that these people did not struggle with occasional bad choices within the difficulties of their lives, but that God saw their faithfulness within those struggles and counted them faithful. 

          The faithful remnant had to maintain a spiritual perspective of the work they were sent back to Jerusalem to do.  The Temple upon which they were making reparations was merely symbolic, or typical, of an ongoing and constant need of spiritual revival in their own lives and in the lives of every generation that would follow them.  The Temple upon which they worked to restore, repair, and rebuild was just a building made with stones.  God wanted them to see that the real temple they were building to His glory was the recovery of lost souls and the lives of people who had lost hope in God’s eternal promises.  It is easy to get lost and discouraged when we are blind to the spiritual and preoccupied with the daily routine of just working at surviving in the middle of the temporal.  It is a difficulty every person faces; especially the faithful.  It becomes easy to forget God and just give up on spiritual goals.  The satanic influences of this world, the curse upon this world, and the worldly people we seek to win to Christ entice sinners with promises of momentary pleasures.  They do this while mocking the things the faithful hold precious.

          The prophecy of the “four horns” of four coming world powers that would dominate, control, and scatter Israel for thousands of years was not a prophecy to discourage, although it might be discouraging.  It is not discouraging because God does not end with just telling them the bad news.  God gives them good news with the bad news.  God is going to raise up “four carpenters,” one for every “horn.” 

The prophecy of the “four carpenters” is God telling His remnant that they are just one of many generations of repairers, restorers, and rebuilders.  God is telling His faithful remnant, to which Zechariah prophesied, that God was going to maintain a faithful remnant under every one of these world powers.  God’s maintenance of the remnant is God’s working with them to recover and restore souls.  The faithful remnant was not abandoned by God as the circumstances made it appear.  However, abandonment is how the forces of evil want the faithful remnant to see their circumstances. 

     God is working through His Spirit anointed and Spirit-filled redeemed people.  God will not over-ride His gift of the free-will given to humanity.  God uses the faithful remnant to persuade those lost in the darkness of unbelief or within the numerous corruptions of false doctrines and idolatry.  We cannot blame God for the ever-increasing growth of iniquity in the world when the professing faithful remnant is increasingly being seduced into worldliness.  This is what Paul addresses in Romans chapter ten in his second of three chapters addressed to national Israel.  Any one and everyone can be saved according to Romans 10:13. However, the problem is not with God’s provision and offering of the gift of salvation.  The problem is with the silence of the redeemed regarding the message of Gospel of Jesus Christ.  “Whosoever” could be saved, but the “whosoever” needed to be told they could be saved and how to be saved (Romans 10:1-17). 

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:13-17).

God uses the faithful redeemed to persuade and convince the lost and the unfaithful of righteousness and His judgment of unrighteousness.  This goes on in the Church and in the world.  This persuasion is the substance of preaching, teaching, and evangelism.  Paul’s epistles to the Church at Corinth exemplify the careful art of persuasion.  The Church at Corinth was a particularly carnal bunch.  They had professed faith in Christ, but were integrating their previous worldly and idolatrous practices and lifestyles in with their Christianity.  Paul’s emphasis in his persuading arguments to them was that what they were presenting to their world as Christianity was not Christianity at all.  Paul admonishes these believers in one of the most remarkable chapters of Scripture in the Bible.

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God {our motives; Paul was being accused of men-pleasing and of trying to win the following of people for his own personal gain}; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. 13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (II Corinthians 5:1-15).

     The faithful remnant’s maintaining of an eternal perspective in life will always be one of the greatest difficulties in the Christian life.  The world is no friend to maintaining this perspective of time in the midst of eternity.  The very people to whom the faithful remnant ministers will be the faithful remnant’s most discouraging foes.  The faithful must always remember that their responsibility is to be faithfully and lovingly persuasive.  Peter addressed this problem in his second epistle as does Jude in his epistle.  Notice that each call believers to remember

1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days {the Church Age} scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? {maintain a Biblical and eternal perspective of reality} 13 Nevertheless we {the faithful}, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things {the faith perspective of life}, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Peter 3:1-18).

          Zechariah 1:21 says, “these {the ‘four carpenters’} are come to fray them, to cast out the horns {the dominating world empires} of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”  The word “carpenters” is from the Hebrew word charash (khaw-rawsh’).  The word refers to a skilled carver in wood or skilled engraver in stone.  The intent is that skilled craftsmen enabled of God shape the lives of individuals thereby rescuing those individuals from the pending and inevitable judgment of God.  The world will not be changed! 

     The word “fray” in Zechariah 1:21 is from the Hebrew word charad (khaw-rad’).  This word means to shudder with terror or to hasten with fearful anxiety.  As the faithful minister to individuals in the world, they must be careful not to eliminate the warnings of God’s pending judgment.  This is the foolishness of giving the good news of God’s gift of salvation without warning people with the bad news of God inevitable and eternal judgment upon the lost.  This is Jude’s reminder to believers in his epistle. 

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all {to fully convict of their pending punishment} that are ungodly {irreverent and therefore wicked} among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches {harsh and severe comments that are blasphemous towards God and His redeemed}, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling {overloaded} words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate {disjoin by creating factions and sects} themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:15-25).

       That God has entrusted the preservation and propagation of His truth from generation to generation to His faithful redeemed is a reality that should overwhelm our senses with both gratitude and responsibility.  Many professing Christians spend their lifetimes trying not to offend anyone.  They do not share their understanding of the Bible because of fear of offending people.  They finally discover at the end of their lives that they have been unfaithful to their primary purpose in life – confronting the world with eternal realities of God’s judgment and the provisions of His grace in Christ Jesus.

     Francis Schaeffer made an excellent comment about the moral obligation of faithful believers confronting error and apostasy in his appendix to his book What Difference Does Inerrancy Make? He says:

“When [one] come[s] to the central things of doctrine, including maintaining the Bible’s emphasis that it is without mistake, and the central things of life, then something must be considered.  Truth carries with it confrontation.  Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless.  If [one’s] reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there’s something wrong.

22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:22-26).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Defining the Church

Defining the Church

         There is almost complete ignorance by most professing Christians of what God’s Word teaches about the Church (Ecclesiology).  Most professing Christians have simply accepted what they have been wrongly taught because they have believed in the authority and expertise of their pastors and priests.  These pastors and priests, in most cases, have never looked beyond what their denominations have taught them. 

          When Christ says to Peter, “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” what is He saying?  The translation is somewhat misleading.  Jesus is actually saying, “thou art Petros (pet’-ros; literally a piece of rock), and upon this Rock (the foundational truth of Peter’s proclamation of faith that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”) I will build my church.”  The very first criterion for constituting a local church is that every member must be examined to ensure he has this same testimony of faith in Christ before he is added to the church.  Embodied in Peter’s testimony that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” is all the Scriptural testimonies of what “the Christ” (Messiah) was prophesied to do, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Faith in what the Bible teaches about Who Jesus is and what He was incarnated to do is the foundational truth necessary for acceptance into the membership any local church. 

Apart from the reality of Jesus being “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the work of redemption could not have been completed, God could not have been propitiated, and justification “by grace through faith” could not have been offered.  From this proclamation of faith and upon this foundational “Rock,” Jesus would begin to build His church one living stone at a time.

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (I Peter 2:4-8).

          When we read the Epistles of the New Testament Scriptures, we can clearly see that they are addressed to the Church.  However, is this Church some ambiguous entity without geographical boundaries or theological definitiveness?  Is this Church universal and international in scope and governance?  Is the Church a hierarchal and Theonomic institution intent upon ruling over nations and kings establishing and dictating moral Law to the people of the world?  Does this Church hold the “keys of the Kingdom,” determining who can be saved and who will go to Hell?  According to the teaching of Scripture, we must answer each of these questions with a resounding - No! 

          For what purpose does the Church exist and how is it to be governed and administrated?  Every local church is a gift from God and a “holy priesthood” of every believer (I Peter 2:5).  Therefore, every local church as a “holy priesthood” is governed by our Great High Priest Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the “chief Shepherd” (I Peter 5:4).  Jesus governs every local church by gifting local churches with pastors to teach, guide, and administrate the individuals that constitute the ministering priesthood of believers united with that local assembly.  This Biblical and Dispensational definition of the Church helps us answer all questions about why God has established local churches.  The epistle of Paul to the Ephesians is the Magna Carta for teaching the administration of the priesthood of all believers in every local church. 

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

          How we answer these questions about the purpose and administration of local churches is singularly important to our worldview and establishing God’s purpose for believers in the world.  Our answer to these questions will also define how believers are to be trained to fulfill that purpose, how believers are to be administrated in their ministry to one another and to the world, and how accountability to God, His truth, one another, and moral culpability is to be administrated.  Therefore, every believer needs a doctrinally sound local church.  Finding a doctrinally sound local church is the great difficulty. 

          When we read of “the church” in the New Testament Scriptures, its use is directed to all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ living after the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-3).  The term “church” cannot be divorced from a dispensational transition from the Dispensation of the Law (Mosaic Covenant) to the Dispensation of the Church Age (commonly referred to as the Age of Grace or New Covenant).  Although Jesus began building His church with the Apostles, the Church was not ordained into existence until the coming of the promised Parakletos (Holy Spirit).  This historical event of the coming of the promised Parakletos marks the beginning of the Church Age. 

The Church is a living organism built upon the foundation living Rock of Jesus being “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  The Church is a building of “living stones” built upon the Rock of the life-giving Stone, Jesus Christ.  These are metaphors revealing deep spiritual Truths defining what the Church is and for what purpose it is created.  Therefore, the Church is much more than an organization (although it is organized).  The Church is a living organism spiritually energized by the indwelling Holy Spirit intended to be a synergism of believers united into a working/ministry partnership with God.  These believers are united by truth {“the faith”) and enabled by the power of God in them. 

1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house {the Church collectively}, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye {the Church collectively} are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (I Peter 2:1-12).

          However, before this spiritual dynamic of the Church being a living organism, believers must be sanctified to bring glory to God.  Therefore, the teachings of the doctrine of grace (supernatural enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit) must be taught and understood as this doctrine relates to the sanctification and then the consecration of the Priesthood of believers that makes up the living organism Christ calls His Church.
          Where then do we find the Bible’s teaching regarding the true doctrine of the Church?  Gathering all that the New Testament teaches about the doctrine of Ecclesiology must be done inductively (the sum of the parts equals the whole).  However, the epistle to the Ephesians gives us the greatest depth of teaching regarding the doctrine of the Church. 

“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).

Notice that every pronoun in chapter one referring to believers is plural.  This is evident in the KJV, but not all other English translations.  This is important in that the election (“chosen,” vs. 4) of Ephesians chapter one is the election of the Church corporately to be a new priesthood.  It is not the election of individuals to be saved.  Election is vocational, not salvational.

If we draw the rest of Scripture revelation together with the teaching of the epistle to the Ephesians, we can formulate a thorough inductive understanding of the doctrine of the Church.  A basic outline of Ecclesiology from the epistle to the Ephesians chapter one is as follows:

A. The Church is a corporation of “saints” (sanctified priests), as “born again” believers, faithful to the commands of Jesus Christ (v.1).
B. The Church is distinct from the nation of Israel and her blessings are eternal and spiritual rather than temporal and earthly (v. 3).
C. The Church is chosen corporately “in Christ,” her High Priest, as a new, spiritual Priesthood before “the foundation of the world” (i.e., not an afterthought, but a before creation thought, v. 4).
D. This whole new priesthood, that is “saved by grace through faith,” is predestined to glorification (v. 5).  This is the meaning of the word “adoption” – translated from the Greek huiothesia (hwee-oth-es-ee’-ah).  The word means the placement or position of the sons of God.  This cannot be understood apart from the placement of the “firstborn” as the typical priesthood now fulfilled in the Church as the priesthood of all believers in the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23). 
E. This new priesthood is “accepted” (positionally sanctified and consecrated) in Christ, “the beloved” (vs. 6-9).
F. The Church is embryonically what all believers of all Ages will be in “the regeneration” in the new Heaven/Earth – a kingdom of glorified priests (vs. 10-14).
G. Paul’s prayer for the enabling power of the indwelling Christ-life of the believer’s High Priest to be realized, actuated, and released in and through the local church as the “body” of Christ (vs. 15-23). 

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.