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Friday, November 9, 2012

The Tragic Interlude

We have mentioned that between the "before times eternal" and the first era of time there took place something which has affected in a tragic way the whole course of events. The Bible has much to say in relation to that, but Paul in his final three Letters (excluding those to Timothy, Titus and Philemon) gives a very strong place and meaning to that event. We refer to the invasion into the universe of:

The Great Schism

As to the particular Letter with which we are occupied, there are three allusions to this cosmic disruption.


The first, and  this is a supreme factor in the significance of Christ, is in a very brief phrase. The fuller context is this (Eph. 1:9): "having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Him (Christ) unto a dispensation of the fullness  of the times, to sum up all tings in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in Him, I say ..." The clause we want is "to sum up all things in Christ."

The word (one long Greek compound) "to sum up" means "to bring back and to gather around the main point," that is, "in Christ." It is to re-gather the "all things." In the companion letter, Colossians, Paul says: "For in Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth" (Eph. 1:16). This means that originally all things were in God's Son. That it should be necessary to say that in the fullness of the times all things would be re-gathered or brought back into Him clearly means that something happened to take things out of Him, or away from Him. Oh, what a lot there is that points to that! Jesus said that He came "to seek and to save that which was lost." He gave a parable of wicked husbandmen who slew the heir in order to appropriate the inheritance. He said that "All that came before me are thieves and robbers" (John 10:8). It is an aspect of truth which has an immense amount of teaching in the Scriptures. Something was done to rob God's Son of His place and rights in the eternal purposing of God, making it necessary to re-gather, re-cover, re-unite. Back to that later.

The second thing pointing to that great event and breaking in of disruption is the state, the condition against which the purpose revealed in this Letter stands. It is a horrible picture.

"Dead through your trespasses and sins," "Ye walked according to ... the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience ... in the lusts of our flesh ... by nature children of wrath" (Eph. 2:1-3). "At that time separate from Christ (note that) ... having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12) ... as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God ... being past feeling ... lasciviousness ... uncleanness ..." (Eph. 4:17-19). How did all this come about when all things were in God's Son originally? All this is outside of, and apart from, Christ! Surely we can say of this: "an enemy hath done this."

Very well: let us pass to the third thing in this Letter indicative of the great schism. How well known the words are, but how little known their vast, sinister context. "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." "Stand ... withstand... having done all,stand" (Eph. 6:12-14).

Relations between the Son of God and some evil Power and his hosts have been so ruptured and disrupted that there can be no appeasement, no compromise, no fellowship, until that evil system has been destroyed beyond remedy. That great schism began somewhere outside of this earth; it then invaded the earth, and it has been the source and cause of all the schisms and disruptions in history. The Bible labels that responsible one satan, the devil.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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