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: Biblical Zionism XII: Grafted into the Holy Root

Monday, June 11, 2018

Biblical Zionism XII: Grafted into the Holy Root

Biblical Zionism XII
Grafted into the Holy Root

    It is to two outcomes that the phrase “but rather through their {national Israel’s} fall {side-slip; backsliding} salvation is come unto the Gentiles {ethnos; foreigners to national Israel and by implication all heathen ethnicities}, for to provoke them to jealousy” refers in Romans 11:11.  Therefore, God has two purposes in this:

1. That this new priesthood of evangelists could lead both Jews and all other ethnicities (“whosoever” of Romans 10:13) to salvation “by grace through faith” in the “finished” work of redemption in the death, burial, and resurrection/glorification of Jesus Christ.
2. So that the nation of Israel would be provoked to “jealousy” and repent, turning to faith themselves one day in Jesus as the Christ.  This will happen during the last half of the Tribulation through the miraculous witnessing of the two witnesses and the 144,000 sealed Jews who all will preach Jesus as the Messiah and redemption “by grace through faith” in Him. 

          This is all important because, during the Church Age, national Israel is set aside and exists in the very place to which they have backslid.  Although still God’s chosen people, they are presently viewed by God as common sinners like everyone else in the world and need to get saved the same way any Gentile needs to be saved. 

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13).

          From this contextual continuity, we can transition into the statement of Romans 11:12, “Now if the fall {paraptoma or backsliding; same as the second use of “fall” in verse 11} of them {national Israel} be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them {national Israel} the riches {full spiritual wealth} of the Gentiles; how much more their {national Israel’s} fullness {referring to the restoration and salvation of national Israel during the Tribulation time}?” 

When the priesthood of national Israel side-slipped away from maintaining the faith-way of salvation and the blessings of God, the riches of God’s grace were extended into every ethnicity in the world through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by those sent into the world through the Great Commission.  The very notion of Ecumenicism is a compromise of the believer’s responsibility to maintain the purity of the Gospel by any type of acceptance of the corruption of the gift of salvation offered solely by grace and received solely through faith. 
The “riches of the Gentiles” does not refer to material wealth or material blessings.  The phrase refers to the “riches of grace” in the new priesthood of all believers of the Church Age.  Election primarily refers to God choosing a priesthood.  First the Levitical Priesthood under the Mosaic Covenant.  They failed to maintain a Gospel of the gift of salvation out of God’s pure grace received purely by faith alone.  Because the Levitical Priesthood refused to repent, even to the degree they were willing to crucify the very Messiah promised in the Abrahamic Covenant, God elected a new Melchizedecan Priesthood of all Church Age believers “born again” of the Spirit and baptized with the Spirit into the New Creation “in Christ.” 
God’s election of a new Melchizedecan Priesthood is corporate and vocational election.  This corporate and vocational election of the Church as this new Melchizedecan Priesthood is the substance of the epistle to the Ephesians.  The following texts refer to the Church corporately. 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us {the Church corporately} with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us {the Church corporately} in him before the foundation of the world, that we {the Church corporately} should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us {the Church corporately} 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 {the Church corporately} accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we {the Church corporately} have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us {the Church corporately} in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us {the Church corporately} 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 {Jesus as the ‘firstborn’ of the New Genesis} also we {the Church corporately} 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 {the Church corporately} should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye {Gentiles} also trusted, after that ye {Gentiles} heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye{Gentiles} believed, ye {Gentiles} were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our {the Church corporately} inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).

          Clearly, from Ephesians 1:3 where Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us {the Church corporately} with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” we can see that the “riches of the Gentiles” of Romans 11:12 refers to eternal and heavenly blessings, not temporal earthly blessings.  The word “heavenly” in Ephesians 1:3 is “literally the heavenlies . . . the word signifies that which is heavenly in contradistinction to that which is earthy.”[1]  The intent here is the emphasis on a change in the realm or place of where the blessings from God upon a believer’s faithfulness exist.  These are not material blessings (real estate).  These heavenly blessings are much more valuable blessings than silver, gold, or real estate because they are eternal in nature.  This presents to all true Christians a radical change in the way we view life and live our lives. 

These spiritual blessings are to be viewed as treasures that are being laid in store in “the heavenlies” as opposed to the treasures of this world.  19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

The reality of this eternal faith-view of God’s blessings is a manifestation that a believer genuinely understands the differences between the Mosaic Covenant under the Dispensation of the Law and the New Covenant under the Dispensation of Grace.  Christ taught this when He taught the blessing and curse aspects of the New Covenant in Matthew chapters five, six, and seven and in Luke chapter six.  In Matthew 5:3-12 and Luke 6:2-23, we are given the conditions for God’s blessings.  In Luke 6:24-26 Christ pronounces four conditions for God’s curse upon the lifestyle practices of believers in the four uses of the word “woe.”  Matthew 5:21, 27, 33, 38, and 43 each begins with the words “ye have heard” referring to what had been taught regarding the necessities for God’s blessings under the Mosaic Covenant.  These man-made interpretations of the Law merely reflected the “letter” of the Law, but not its “spirit.”  In Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, and 44 Christ gives the “spirit” of the Law and establishes God’s original intent in the conditions for His blessings in obedience “from the heart” (Romans 6:17 and Ephesians 6:6).  

To make Romans chapter eleven and Ephesians chapters one through three mean that God has replaced national Israel with the Church, as does Covenant Theology, is a complete misrepresentation of the text.  God is replacing the Levitical Priesthood with the Melchizedecan Priesthood.  Earthly and temporal blessings are directed towards the physical seed descendants of Abraham.  Heavenly and eternal blessings are directed toward the faith in the Seed descendants of Abraham (those of the “the regeneration,” Galatians 3:16).
          Paul is clearly referring to the Church corporately in Ephesians chapter one and this is the contextual continuity that continues into chapters two and three of the epistle.  Although all these truths extend to individuals, the focus of these texts are upon those individuals as they are a new spiritual construct “in Christ” corporately as the Church and “body” of Christ that forms the eternal and living “temple” of God (Ephesians 4:20-22).  This “body” of Christ is the “new creation” or “the regeneration” that unfolds in time to the final eternal state in the New Heaven/Earth.  Christ is eternally the “head” of that “body” and the indwelling Spirit is eternally the heart of that “body, which brings all those in “the regeneration” into perfect union and into perfect, eternal fellowship (unity; Ephesians 4:1-6) with the Father. 

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off {Gentiles}, and to them that were nigh {Jews}. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye {Church Age believers, therefore the Church} are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints{‘born again’ Jews}, and of the household of God {true Israel}; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets {all Jews}, Jesus Christ {a Jew} himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:4-22).

          In Ephesians 3:1-13, Paul explains this previous hidden “mystery” regarding God’s spiritual blessings upon salvation offered to the Gentile nations (“whosoever,” Romans 10:13) and the new ministry of the evangelism of all ethnicities through the priesthood of all Church Age believers.  Gentile believers from the Church Age would be grafted in to true Israel at the beginning of the Kingdom Age as Israel’s new ruling priesthood directly under the headship of their High Priest Jesus Christ.  

This “dispensation {stewardship} of the grace” and the fact that Paul “should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” is the pattern for, and expectation of, all believers in the Church Age and is what defines the “perfecting {maturing; equipping} of the saints, for the work of the ministry” in Ephesians 4:12, which is available to all Church Age believer-priests through union with Christ and in unity with the Father (Ephesians 4:1-6). 

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation {stewardship} of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory” (Ephesians 3:1-13).

          In Ephesians 3:8, Paul refers to this great and previously mysterious blessing of preaching to Gentile ethnicities “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”  The word “riches” in Ephesians 3:8 is from the Greek word ploutos (ploo'-tos), which means abundant or complete/full wealth.  The word from which “unsearchable” is translated means beyond finding out or beyond comprehension.  Again, this is spiritual, heavenly wealth that is beyond comprehension this side of eternity. 

[1] 1917 Scofield Reference Bible Notes, SwordSearcher Software 4.8

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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.

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