Romans 1:16-17 Part 4
The Gospel is Unto Salvation–From Eternity
I. Remember: The Gospel is the ETERNAL display of God’s Power and Wisdom.
We must get over the contemporary mind set that the Gospel of salvation is all about us and somehow begins at the fall of man. Yes, salvation is about us, and it’s “contemporary history” begins at the fall, but God’s salvation is from Eternity unto Eternity–It is Eternal Salvation. The ignoring of this Biblical Revelation has led to a “felt need’s” approach to “evangelism” that has led to the “egocentric” christianity we see today.
II Timothy 1:9 Remember our first study, “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ”? In Vs 8, Paul is exhorting Timothy to “not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,” nor of Paul and invites him to share with him “in the sufferings for the Gospel according to the Power of God.” Now notice Vs 9, “Who (God) has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE which was given to us IN CHRIST JESUS”, now notice carefully, “BEFORE TIME BEGAN.”
The Gospel of the Grace of God isn’t the message of HIS process of “catching up with Satan’s deceit and fallen man’s sinfulness and His costly method of doing something about it. The Gospel of the Grace of God is the Display of God’s ETERNAL PURPOSE!!! And God’s Eternal Purpose is more than just a good plan that will work out if we do our part! Consider this:
Isaiah 14:24-27 Vs 24 “The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, as I HAVE THOUGHT, so it shall come to pass, AND AS I HAVE PURPOSED, so it shall stand.” This is in the context of God’s destruction of Israel’s enemies, who He has used in their chastening, even including Lucifer! (Vs 12-15) In Vs 25 Isaiah speaks of “the Assyrian”, Which I think is a veiled reference to Satan. I think that because of Hebrews 2:14-15 and Vs 26. “This is the PURPOSE that is PURPOSED AGAINST THE WHOLE EARTH that is stretched out over all the nations, For the LORD of Hosts HAS PURPOSED, and who shall annul it? His Hand is Stretched Out, and who will turn it back.”
II. God’s “Before Time” PURPOSE:
Following the “rabbit trail” of God’s Eternal Purpose into the “rabbit hole” of God’s Wonderland. I say “wonderland” because this pursuit leaves me with, “I wonder”. My conclusions in the following are my “wonderings”. Ponder them carefully, compare them with Scripture, be Bereans and study to see if these things are so!
Ephesians 3:10-11 Remember the context, Vs 8-10 are Paul’s “defense” of the Grace given to him to preach among the Gentiles the “unsearchable riches of Christ” , and in it, He makes the statement, Vs 10 “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known BY THE CHURCH to the principalities and powers in heavenly places.”
That “Divine Intent” takes the purpose of the Church, the redeemed people of all human history, way beyond the here and now, actually, way beyond human history! Now notice”
Vs 11 “according to THE ETERNAL PURPOSE WHICH HE ACCOMPLISHED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.” Did you notice? Past tense, He accomplished!!! And He did it in Christ Jesus our Lord!!!
Ephesians 1:3-11 describes the “Eternal outworking” of this Eternal Purpose of God in preparing the “living stones” (I Peter 2:5) for the Church, the display of the Wisdom of God.
Vs 4 “He chose us IN HIM (Christ Jesus) BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame BEFORE HIM in love.”
Vs 5-8 God makes this all a Divine “Family affair” in that we are “predestined TO ADOPTION AS SONS BY JESUS CHRIST, according to the GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL.”
Vs 9 “Having made known to us the mystery of His Will (in the Gospel) according to His Good Pleasure WHICH HE PURPOSED IN HIMSELF.”
VS 11 “IN HIM also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to THE PURPOSE OF HIM Who works all things according to the counsel of His Own Will.”
III. Purpose, what does it mean?
PURPOSE #4286 prothesis–“a setting forth, a proposal, an intention–and here comes the Divine Wonderland– the showbread in the Temple as exposed before God.” (NSEDBW & Thayer) translated purpose 8x, showbread 4x
Showbread: Mt 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4 All are recounting David & his men eating the showbread taken from the Table in the temple. (I Sam 21:1-6) In Hebrews 9:2 “& the table & the showbread.” Expressing the shadow of the old emblems.
Purpose: Where used in reference to God’s purpose: Eph 1:11, 3:11; II Tim 1:9
Purposed: Ephesians 1:9 #4388 “To place before, to set before–to set before to be looked at, to expose to view.” (Thayer)
The “I Wonder” part:
Leviticus 24:5-9 (1) The showbread in the tabernacle and temple were 12 loaves placed in two rows. Why? According to the 12 tribes as in the stones of the breastplate? (2) Unlike the passover bread, I can find no mention that it should be unleavened. (3) It is placed in order on the table of Gold (I Kings 7:48) (4) It is called the “continual bread” (Numbers 4:7), Placed fresh before the Lord every Sabbath–Hot bread!! (I Samuel 21:6)
My “tentative” conclusion:
The showbread and its table in the tabernacle and temple foreshadowed the Eternal Purpose of God expressed in Ephesians 1:9 & 11, 3:11, and I Timothy 1:9. The showbread points to the Church, the Body of Christ, on display before God and by extension the Manifestation of His Wisdom before the principalities and powers in heavenly places. Why do I think this?
(1) 12 speaks of the people of God, 12x12 in Revelation 21 indicates the whole of God’s people out of human history. The 12 foundations bearing the names of the 12 Apostles, the 12 gates bearing the names of the Patriarchs. The revelation of the Mystery of the Gospel through the 12 Apostles coupled with the Partriarchal testimony to the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 15:1-6) yields the 144,000 (the complete, perfect number) of the redeemed of all ages of Revelation 14:1-5.
(2) There is no mention of this bread being unleavened seems to speak of the “earthen vessels” of the redeemed. The Holy Spirit is very precise in speaking of no leaven in the passover bread, but no mention of that here.
(3) The bread had pure frankincense on each row. (Lev 24:7) II Corinthians 2:14-16 speaks of the people of God as those through whom, “God diffuses the fragrance of His Knowledge (Christ’s) in every place.”
(4) The bread was placed in order on the golden table, supported by and displayed “before God”, and that table surely prefigures our Lord Jesus Christ. His people are “before the Father” only through and only supported by our Lord Jesus. And remember, hot bread (I Sam 21:6) was placed on the table only on the Sabbath. The bread was baked and placed on the table on the day that Israel was commanded to do no work, even baking! We are before our God in the Sabbath Rest that is in our Jesus. (Heb 4:8-11) Christ Jesus and His finished work is the table that holds us, the bread, up before the Father for all Eternity–The bread is called the continual bread in Numbers 4:7.
(5) Leviticus 24:9 “And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place.” And so, we who are priests before God, because we partake of the Bread of God, our Jesus, continually, we who dwell in the Presence of the Most High by faith, we are nourished by the fellowship of the saints.
And one final PURPOSE passage: Romans 8:28 And this is why “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to HIS PURPOSE.” Our salvation is the Eternal Purpose of the Most High God. Take all your temporal, here and now “wonderments’, fears, and concerns, and ponder them in the Light of His Eternal Purpose. The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His (Eternal) glory and grace!!!