The Hope of HIS Calling
EPHESIANS 1:17-18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling...
The reason Paul prayed that GOD would give them this spirit of revelation in the knowledge of HIM, the eyes of their heart being enlightened, was that they might know what is the hope of HIS calling. GOD wants us to know the hope of HIS calling!
Hope is defined as "the expectation of something future". In essence, Paul was praying for these Believers to understand what they could expect in the future as a result of GOD's calling them. That ought to send Roman candles off in our heads! GOD wants us to know what lies ahead for us as the result of HIM calling us. Why? Because the more we see the hope of HIS calling, the more we see how wondrous HIS plans are for us; then the more we will heed HIS calling, the more we will live for HIM. The more we live for HIM, the more fulfilled and satisfying our life will become.
2 TIMOTHY 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
GOD saved us and called us, but not because of "our works". HE called us "according to HIS Own purpose". That purpose, which HE had "before the world began", finds itself in Yeshua (Jesus). Let me say that another way. The secret purpose which GOD had before the world began, which was given to us, finds itself in Yeshua.
According to EPHESIANS 1:23, COLOSSIANS 1:18 and other scriptures, we Believers make up the spiritual Body of Christ. He is the Head and we are "members in particular". Therein is our calling. That is what GOD has chosen us to. That is where our purpose lies. That is why our callings, our blessings, even our hope is all "in Him".
EPHESIANS 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world...
The Bible records that the Old Testament Believers as well as the Gospel Believers were chosen from the foundation of the world (MATTHEW 25:34) but this is something beyond that. This is something from before the foundation of the world, not from its foundation. We were, as awesome of a thought as it is, chosen from before the foundation of the world. The Christian Believers of this age (since ACTS 28:28, around 60 A.D.) are the Body of which Yeshua is the Head.
This gets even more interesting, because the word translated "foundation" here, really doesn't mean foundation at all. It is the Greek word "katabole" and means "a throwing or laying down". I understand why the translators may have decided to use foundation for "katabole", because one could say that a foundation is "laid down", but they were obviously ignorant of the truth we are approaching here, and "throwing or laying down" made no sense to them. To us however, the Apostle Paul was making perfect sense when he said we were chosen from before the throwing down of the world.
There are other Greek words, like "themelios" in EPHESIANS 3:20 and 1 CORINTHIANS 3:11 that mean "foundation". If GOD wanted Paul to write that we were chosen from before the "foundation" of the world, HE could have used one of these, but HE didn't. HE used "katabole", a "casting down" as it is translated in 2 CORINTHIANS 4:8-9.
So our minds naturally ask, "when and what was this casting down that we and Yeshua were chosen from before"? This is an intriguing question which deserves our full pursuit.
We must go back to the beginning, to GENESIS 1. But let us read it, not into it. Let us read it free from the fetters of tradition and let it speak to us as it was first written. With GOD's help perhaps we can break through the dark vale that evidently blinded these "King James" translators.
GENESIS 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep...
We assume that this is how GOD created it, "without form and void", but that is not what it says. It says that the earth was without form, not "was created" without form. GOD plainly states to us later in HIS Word that HE did not create it without form (tohu).
ISAIAH 45:18 For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain [tohu], he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.
The trouble with the second verse of GENESIS 1 is not in how GOD created the heavens and the earth, but instead with how the translators translated the Hebrew. Again they were ignorant of the truth before us, for had they understood that truth, they would never have handled this verse so poorly.
There is no verb "was" in the language from which GENESIS is translated. The verb should be "became" as they accurately did translated it in chapter two.
GENESIS 2:7 ...and man became [not, was] a living soul.
GOD did not create this earth "without form and void", it became that way at some point after creation.
GENESIS 1:2 And the earth became without form and void, and darkness was ["was" is not in the text as is indicated by the italics] upon the face of the deep...
What happened between verse one where GOD created the heavens and the earth and verse two where the earth "became" without form and void, isn't spelled out here in GENESIS. That space between these two verses could have lasted millions of years, the Bible doesn't tell us. But it isn't totally silent concerning that "hidden age". During that period between the creation of the heavens and the earth and the "without form and void" of the earth in verse 2, there was some sort of a rebellion in heaven.
The Devil was not always the Devil. Originally in GENESIS 1:1 he was Lucifer, the "son of the morning" (ISAIAH 14:12), the "anointed cherub" (EZEKIEL 28:14). Every precious stone was his covering. He was perfect from the day he was created, until iniquity was found in him.
ISAIAH 14:12-15 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
He attempted to "ascend above and be like the Most High" but was cast down. It is likely this war in heaven was that which resulted in the earth becoming "without form and void". This could be the "throwing" or "casting down" which Yeshua and we were chosen from before. Amazing stuff isn't it?
Because of GOD's foreknowledge, HE knew Lucifer would try to "exalt his throne" and the result of his rebellion may have left GOD's creation "without form and void". That is why "in the beginning" GOD allowed for this "setback" by already having everything in place to return HIS creation from the darkness Lucifer plunged it into, to the light GOD would return to it. And GOD knew that Satan and his fallen angels would begin their deceiving with Eve, persecuting and accusing mankind throughout the ages. So, back in the beginning, in GENESIS 1:1, GOD prepared for man's redemption and Satan's final extermination.
That is why HE chose Yeshua as the head of a wonderful spiritual Body, and this is when HE chose us, as members of that same spiritual Body. But in order for all of GOD's plans to come to pass, HE had to keep certain details secret.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:7-8 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Isn't that something?! Crucifying Yeshua meant everything to the prince of this world, Satan, yet had he known the secret purpose of GOD he would never have crucified Him. GOD kept it a secret because HE could not allow the "Jews enemy" to know it as we are now learning it.
This secret may be the mystery the Apostle Paul is referring to in EPHESIANS.
EPHESIANS 3:2-3,5 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; as I wrote afore in few words...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;
GOD kept it a secret from before the "casting down" of the world until this age when HE revealed it unto "HIS holy apostles and prophets". Nobody in the Old Testament knew it. Nobody in the Gospels or ACTS knew it. It is the great secret or mystery of the ages, "which is now revealed".
The epistle to the Ephesians is the only place in Scripture where it is revealed that we were chosen from before the foundation (casting down) of the world. It tells us that we were chosen "in Him", in Christ. EPHESIANS also tells us that when GOD raised Him from among the dead, He was seated at GOD's right hand, in "heavenly places".
Where are these "heavenly places"? There are only five times in the Bible where GOD has chosen to use the phrase "heavenly places", and all five are in the Epistle to the Ephesians. The first in 1:3, tells us we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in "heavenly places". The second in 1:20 reveals that GOD set Christ at HIS right hand, in "heavenly places". The third in 2:6 tells us that we are seated there also, in "heavenly places". The fourth in 3:10, reveals that certain principalities and powers in "heavenly places" might know by the church the manifold wisdom of GOD. And the fifth and last in 6:12 reveals that certain spiritual wickedness is also in "high (heavenly) places", though not the same place Christ sits, I assure you.
Upon the mountain of GOD, is from where Lucifer will be cast down and Yeshua has ascended there, awaiting GOD to unite us in Him. Though Lucifer has been cast down from his throne, he has not yet been cast out. He is still in "heavenly places". Still, but surely his time is quickly rushing upon him. Soon we pray, will be fulfilled this vision of John recorded in REVELATION;
REVELATION 12:7-10 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
"The accuser of our brethren is cast down." He accused righteous Job before GOD in JOB 1:6ff. He is the accuser against which Yeshua is the Advocate in 1 JOHN 2:1. But he was spoiled at the cross (COLOSSIANS 2:14-15), having laid the axe to his own neck. And will, during REVELATION times be cast out of heavenly places to the earth, later to be extinguished forever.
What is our calling? Well, we have two, our immediate calling and our final calling. Our final calling will be "that day" when GOD calls us up on high (PHILIPPIANS 3:14), "far above all" to be with Christ in the heavenlies, as members of His Body.
2 TIMOTHY 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
But until then, until "that day", we also have an immediate calling, where GOD "hath begun a good work in you...until the day of Christ Jesus" (PHILIPPIANS 1:6). After our salvation GOD begins to perform a work within us.
EPHESIANS 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are HIS workmanship, not our own workmanship. We are HIS, created in Christ Yeshua unto good works.
This is our immediate calling - to walk as HIS workmanship unto good works. GOD has prepared for us to walk unto these good works since before the world began.
Certainly it is ludicrous to consider pursuing anything other than that holy calling. When we are saved and begin to answer GOD's call, we begin to realize our reason for existing. We begin to pursue HIS purpose. See why we can't be fulfilled or satisfied apart from this calling?!
TITUS 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
To redeem us from all iniquity is why He "gave Himself for us", that we might be zealous of good works. To be zealous of good works means that we pursue those works GOD directs us to. This is the reason the Scripture gives for why Yeshua gave Himself for us.
"that he might redeem us"
"Good works" are not the key that unlocks the door to our salvation. Yeshua has already unlocked and opened that door for us. "Good works" is simply exercising the rights and responsibilities as a resident of that salvation.
Many times in these few Epistles GOD charges us to do good works but few seem willing to continue in them. That's because we get so wrapped up in the affairs of life that we neglect to live for Him.
2 TIMOTHY 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him...
To please HIM who has chosen us we cannot live in the flesh (ROMANS 8:8). There is another life, an afterlife which is eternal, after this world is passed away. The more conscious of that we are, the less important this life and this world becomes.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
This life is but a speck in eternity yet we are tempted to treat it as if it were eternity. We are tempted to think that this hobby or this new car or this romance is going to continue without end. These thoughts begin to entangle us in the web. We must not allow it! Let us "cast off the works of darkness" and "let us put on the armour of light".
PHILIPPIANS 3:14 I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Our calling is "in Christ Jesus".
For those who do endure, the reward will be great indeed. In 2 TIMOTHY, Paul writes of a salvation with an "eternal glory". He says that if we endure "we shall also reign with Him". To reign with Christ in "heavenly places" is this "eternal glory" which we shall receive if we endure.
2 TIMOTHY 2:10-13 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer [endure], we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Our salvation is assured, for He cannot deny Himself, His Own Body which is the Church (EPHESIANS 1:22-23). But this is something beyond salvation. A reward for endurance! An eternal glory which is to "reign with Him". This is the hope of HIS calling!