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Tuesday, March 5 2013
Ephesians: Put On The Whole Armour Of God
In the first century AD, Ephesus was a major city of Asia Minor, as Turkey was then known. Although then under the occupation of the Roman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars), the city remained very much influenced by the earlier Greek Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids). Ephesus was most famous at that time for the temple of the idol Diana, as the Romans called it (it was known to the Greeks as Artemis), as well as the great theater - the ruins of which are shown in the photograph below.
The apostle Paul visited Ephesus during his missionary journeys. Despite the opposition (including a riot that started in response to his calling the idol Diana a worthless thing; see Acts 19:23-41), believers were made in the city. It was to those "saints which are at Ephesus" that Paul addressed his epistle to the Ephesians.
"1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God [see The Passed Over Pharisees and Straight Street], to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 1:2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ [see Who Is The LORD?]." (Ephesians 1:1-2 KJV)
Many have debated "predestination," however it should be kept firmly in mind that no one is saved until they are saved e.g. "10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 10:22 KJV). God's knowing ahead of time who will be saved does not in itself get them saved (see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners).
"1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 1:4 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: 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself [see The Church: Mission Accomplished], according to the good pleasure of his will, 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 1:10 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:
Overall, the Christians of Ephesus held strong in their faith and obedience to the LORD. That fidelity can be attested by another epistle, written about thirty years later by the apostle John, as dictated to him by Jesus Christ ("1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: ... 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea" Revelation 1:1,11 KJV). Although no doubt greatly troubled by Satan, they "for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted."
"2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;
Paul was a Jew and an academic Pharisee, but the LORD sent him to preach mostly to "Gentiles." The Gospel began with a man who would be called a Gentile today, Abraham, which made Paul's ministry a full-circle to where it began. Even in the matter of circumcision, righteous Abraham lived his life as both (see Circumcision).
"2:11 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; 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah], and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Paul seemed very joyous with the Ephesians. He prayed that they would be strengthened even further (a prayer that was obviously answered, as attested by the apostle John thirty years later, as we read above).
"3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man [see Written In The Heart Of Our Tabernacles]; 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
As he did in all of his other epistles to Gentiles, he never made them feel less for being who the LORD created them - while emphasizing that everyone is responsible to and before the LORD. He admonished them to "henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind," just as he warned Jews of the same (i.e. "1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" Romans 1:16 KJV).
"4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk [see What Did The Messiah Say About Gentiles?], in the vanity of their mind, 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Some present-day "feminists" have criticized Paul for his statement "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord," however the full context of the statement began with "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God," while the entire point was "the bride of Christ," the Church of God, composed of men and women. For those who bother to read his entire statement, Paul said, of it all, "I speak concerning Christ and the church" (see Brides From Their Sides).
"5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
The famous "armour of God" teaching is found in Paul's epistle to the Ephesians.
"6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil [see Who's Hiding On Your Wall?]. 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Studies For The Book Of Ephesians
Fact Finder: Where is the church of "Ephesus" today?
This Day In History, March 5
363: Emperor Julian of Rome left Antioch with a force of 90,000 to attack the Sassanid Empire.
1179: The Third Lateran Council opened under Alexander III. The 300 bishops enacted measures against the Waldenses and Albigensians. Lateran III also required that popes were to be elected by two-thirds vote from the assembled cardinals (see also The Struggle For The Papacy).
1496: King Henry VII of England issued letters patent to John Cabot and his sons, authorizing them to explore "unknown lands."
1616: Nicolaus Copernicus's book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was banned by the Roman Catholic Church.
1778: Thomas Arne, English composer of Rule, Britannia, died.
1790: Flora Macdonald, Scottish Jacobite heroine, died. In 1746 she helped "Bonnie Prince Charlie," the Stuart claimant to the British throne, escape from the Hebridean island of Benbecula.
1824: The British, concerned of a Burmese invasion of Bengal, launched the First Anglo-Burmese War. It lasted nearly 2 years.
1912: Italian forces became the first to use airships for military purposes, using them for reconnaissance behind Turkish lines.
1918: The Soviets moved the capital of Russia from Petrograd to Moscow.
1926: Clement Ader, French self-taught engineer, inventor, and pioneer of flight died at age 85. In 1890 he flew his steam-engine powered aircraft a distance of 160 feet; the Wright brothers did not fly their gasoline-engine powered aircraft at Kitty Hawk until 1903, 13 years later.
1933: U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt ordered a 4 day "bank holiday" in order to stop large amounts of money from being withdrawn from the banks during a financial panic.
1933: Election returns in Germany gave the Nazis and their allies 52% of the seats in the Reichstag (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1936: The Spitfire fighter plane went on display for the first time in England.
1946: In a speech at Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill uttered his now-famous: "From Stettin in the Baltic, to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent."
1953: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin died.
1974: During the Yom Kippur War, Israeli forces withdrew from the west bank of the Suez Canal.
1979: Voyager 1 made its closest approach to Jupiter. Voyager 2 followed 4 months later.
1982: The Soviet probe Venera 14 landed on Venus.
1999: Paul Okalik was elected the first Premier of Nunavut.