Study Notes

Ephesians 1:21-23


When we left off in the book of Ephesians, Paul had pointed out to us that Jesus has been seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavens. The seat at a ruler's right hand was the position of power (Matt. 26:64; Luke 22:69) and authority (Acts 5:31)

As Paul continues his thought, we read that His seat, His authority, is...

1:21 Far Above Every Authority

Jesus is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name. Every boss you've ever had, every king that's ever taken power, every president that's ever been in office, are all below Jesus in authority. In fact, He is called,

1Tim. 6:14-15 ...the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords

Every power is subject to Him, because...

Col. 2:10 ...He is the head over all rule and authority;

The rulers on this earth are subject to Him, even if they do not choose to glorify Him.

Prov. 21:1 The king's heart is {like} channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

All through the Bible, we see that rulers who did not serve God still served God's purpose.

Once, a strange decree went out from Caesar Augustus, the ruler of the Roman Empire. Not only would the government be taxing its citizens and taking a census of them, but everyone would be forced to travel to their city of origin to do it. This caused a man named Joseph and his very pregnant fiancee Mary to have to travel to a town called Bethlehem. God's Word had prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but Mary was up in Nazareth. The decree was just what was needed to accomplish God's purpose. Caesar did not serve God, but he served God's purpose.

When God was going to bring judgment upon the the Persian Empire, He wanted the faithful Jews to be spared from the devastation. But they were slaves, having been taken captive some seventy years prior.

And so the Lord stirred up the heart of Cyrus, the king of Persia. Cyrus was supernaturally given the idea that the temple in Jerusalem needed to be rebuilt. He sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, saying, "Anyone who is a Jew is free to return to Israel and rebuild the temple. I'll even pay for their moving expenses!" Once again, a ruler who did not serve God served God's purpose.

This is of great comfort to me, because I often feel like I'm stuck in subjection to a godless government and an atheistic authority. But we don't need to fear their decisions, because

Col. 1:16 For by Him all things were created, {both} in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —all things have been created by Him and for Him.

Every authority is accomplishing God's plan and purpose. And since God knows the plans He has for us, to give us a future and a hope, then those authorities are not to be feared.

This Age And The One To Come

Notice too, that Jesus' rule is not only over the authorities in this age, but also in the age to come.

Some people are confused as to what is meant by "this age." As you read the Scriptures, you'll notice that there are two distinct ages, or periods of time, described in the Bible. Paul said that this present age is evil (Gal. 1:4). Jesus told us that at the end of the age, there will be a harvest (Matt. 13:39). The angels will take out the wicked from among the righteous (Matt. 13:49) and they will be burned with fire (Matt. 13:40).

The age to come will begin with the resurrection of the dead (Luke 20:35), and we will receive eternal life (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30) and powers. This is always fascinating to think about, because we are usually so linear in our thought. We're always under the assumption that...

2Pet. 3:4 "...all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."

But it hasn't continued uninterrupted since the creation. Up until the day Noah entered the ark, people thought the same thing they do now - everything is always going to be the same. Then everything changed radically. The earth as they knew it ceased to exist. And one day soon, the same thing will happen again - not by water this time, but by fire.

2Pet. 3:7-13 ...the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one {fact} escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

There are a lot of people thinking that the "new age" is going to start with everyone's enlightenment. In reality, the "new age" will happen after they've been "enlightened" on fire!

This age will end, and another age will begin. And the age to come will have a new heavens and a new earth, where there will apparently be more people, since names will be named in that age. And Jesus will be the supreme authority in that age as well.

1:22-23 Head Of The Church

God has made all things subject to His Son, Jesus Christ. So it would stand to reason then that He would also be the authority over His church. He certainly deserves to be, since He bought it and built it.

The church is called "the body of Christ" because we are the physical representation of Him on this earth. While He is in heaven, we have been called to be His hands and His voice.

These truths are often forgotten. Many church congregations do not let Jesus be the authority - instead, they are run by man's flesh. Many church leaders do not consider that as the body of Christ, we are ambassadors, called to do His will, not our own.

My desire in the ministry is to only do what He would do, teach what He would teach, and say what He would say. As Paul said,

2Cor. 5:20 ...we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us...

Now, this isn't just the leaders' position, but all of us who are in the church. We are all called to be His voice, to be His hands, to be His body. That means we must be led by the Head, Who is Jesus, and represent Him rightly in this present, evil age.

Jesus said,

John 9:5 "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Then He told us,

Matt. 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do {men} light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

I pray that this week, each of us will be keenly aware that we are His body on this earth, called to be His ambassadors, His voice, His hands, the light of the world.

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