To the end
That we who were the first to hope in CHRIST
To the praise of HIS glory
I have been doing a personal study through The Book of Revelation. I wanted to understand through The WORD, the background of the saints in the Church of Ephesus (Rev 2:1), so I could better understand our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST’s message to them (Rev 2:2-7). After praying for understanding, my Beloved LORD JESUS led me first to do a background study in The BIBLE on the activities and events surrounding Ephesus. I was amazed at all that occurred there, but we won’t be discussing it in this study. HE then directed my study to Ephesians where I studied the saints in Ephesus, and HIS instruction to them and us today. From the very first chapter HE begin sharing awesome truths. In this study of Ephesians 1:12, we will look at why and how the following two purposes of GOD were accomplished:
• Those who were first to hope in CHRIST
• To the praise of HIS glory
Who are “those who were first to hope in CHRIST?” The Jewish nation. The Gospel was first preached to this nation by JESUS HIMSELF (Mrk 1:14-15, Luk 4:16-21, Luk 20:1) the apostles (Luk 9:1-6, Act 13:2-5, Act 14:8-15), and the brethren from the Church in Jerusalem (Act 8:1-4, Act 8:25-40, Act 11:19-24).
Why did GOD choose the Jewish nation to be the first to hope in CHRIST? For three reasons:
1) The nation of Israel was HIS firstborn (Exd 4:22). Israel was the first nation on earth that GOD chose to be HIS people (Exd 19:5-6, Deu 7:6, Psa 100:3), and as such, GOD called them HIS firstborn (Jer 31:9).
2) Fulfillment of prophesy. Sinful rulers, prophets and priests (Mic 3:1-12), destroyed and scattered GOD’s flock from the house of Israel (Jer 23:1-2, Eze 34:1-10). But through the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, our Beloved LORD GOD prophesied “HE would gather the remnant of HIS scattered flock” (Jer 23:3-4, Eze 34:11-16). When Immanuel (Mat 1:23), The Great Shepherd (Heb 13:20, Jhn 10:11, 1 Pet 2:24-25), came into the world HE fulfilled these prophecies by gathering the remnant of the lost from the house of Israel (Mat 10:5-6, Mat 15:24, Act 3:26).
3) Fulfillment of prophesy. Our Beloved LORD GOD through HIS prophets Isaiah and Micah prophesied that “The WORD of The LORD would go forth from Jerusalem” (Isa 2:3, Mic 4:2, Luk 24:47).
Is that why HE says “to the Jew first?” Yes (Rom 1:16). The Good Shepherd came first to save the lost from the House of Israel (Rom 9:27). We must also realize that salvation comes from the Jews through our Beloved Savior JESUS CHRIST (Jhn 4:22, Rom 9:4-5). And the Jewish nation was the first nation entrusted with The WORD of GOD (Rom 3:1-2), starting with Moses (Act 7:38, Luk 24:44-45).
Has all the remnant from the Jewish nation been gathered? No, the gathering of the remnant began among those who turned to The LORD JESUS CHRIST and away from their sin during the first coming of JESUS; but it will continue until HIS return, or second coming (Rom 11:25-28).
What does it mean that the Jewish nation “would be to the praise of HIS glory?” Through Jewish prophets, JESUS CHRIST and Jewish believers in JESUS, men from every nation will praise GOD for the display of HIS power, grace, mercy, lovingkindness, forgiveness and fulfillment of HIS WORD. Men from every nation throughout the New Testament and today, witness:
• fulfillment of ancient prophecies through the mouth of HIS Jewish prophets (King David-Psa 16:8-11↔Act 2:22-32; Isaiah-Isa 9:6-7↔Mat 1:21-23, Isa 53:1-12↔; Daniel- Dan 9:25-26↔Luk 2:11, Jhn 4:25-26; Joel-Joe 2:28-32↔Act 2:14-21; Luk 24:44)
• mighty acts performed through our Precious JESUS (Act 2:22↔Luk 7:21-22) and through HIS apostles (Act 12:1-18, Act 16:16-34)
• powerful miracles performed at the hands of JESUS (Mat 14:15-21, Mat 15:32-38, Jhn 2:1-11) and HIS apostles (Act 3:1-10, Act 8:4-8, Act 19:11-12)
• undeniable transformations of the apostles (Act 4:13, Act 9:19-22)
• irrefutable events occurring at the point of JESUS death (Mat 27:45-54), at HIS resurrection (Mat 28:1-10), and before HIS return to ABBA FATHER (1 Cor 15:3-8)
Do men still today give GOD praise because of the lives of HIS people? Yes, because JESUS is the same today, as HE was yesterday and forever (Heb 13:8), and when we truly follow HIM, men of all nations glorify ABBA FATHER (Mat 5:16). It is also important to mention, that when people profess to know The LORD JESUS CHRIST, yet do not walk faithfully with HIM, it causes HIS NAME to be blasphemed (Rom 2:17-24).
Departing from there, JESUS went along by the Sea of Galilee
And having gone up on the mountain, HE was sitting there
And large crowds came to HIM
Bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others
And they laid them down at HIS feet
And HE healed them
So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored
And the lame walking, and the blind seeing
And they glorified the GOD of Israel