Updated: Feb 7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
This is the Epistle selection from Episcopal Lectionary for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 10. It will next be read aloud in a church by a reader on Sunday July 15, 2018. This is important it touches on the predestination of Saints, where God released all human souls on the material plane with the instruction: “Come back. Don’t get lost in a physical body.”
When I was a young boy being raised in an Assemblies of God church, I remember there was a “prayer room.” It had folding chairs in it, at which people would kneel and pray.
As best as my young brain could discern (from what I saw happen in that room) was the room was a place to be trained in how to “speak in tongues.” According to the methods taught to me, as I knelt in front of one of those folding chairs, I was told to repeat the word “Glory,” over and over. I would do that until my tongue got so tied up it would stop saying “Glory” and start making unintelligible noises. I was told those unintelligible sounds was “speaking in tongues.” One traveling evangelists actually encouraged me to just make up any noises that I wanted. When I did, I was praised by the congregation for “speaking in tongues.”
Reading this greeting written by Paul to the Christians of Ephesus, it dawned on me how repetition being the key to leading one to speaking in tongues was the truth. Someone, somewhere along the line of the foundation of the Assemblies of God church mistook reading Scripture (the Glory of God in writing) over and over, until it begins to make deep, spiritual sense, as how one speaks in the tongues of God. What is unintelligible to those who have no time for repetition then becomes crystal clear to those who eyes and ears (and mouths) that God has opened.
Paul is a classic example (in all his writings) of how repetition is the key to understanding. The faster one reads Paul the more it sounds like babble. However, when it is read slowly, over and over, praying for the deeper truth to be exposed, it begins to amaze with how accurately detailed Paul’s words were. They are of divine origin.
With that short lesson about speaking in tongues complete, read this over and over and contemplate its deeper meaning: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Perhaps knowing the Greek text will help, along with knowing alternative English translations: “Eulogētos ho Theos kai Patēr tou Kyriou hēmōn , Iēsou Christou” or “Worthy of praise the [one] God and Father of the Master of us , Jesus the Messiah.”
Ask yourself as you repeat those words, several of which are capitalized, showing importance, “Is this a simple church greeting, where important words are written ceremoniously, or formally, or ritually, rather than with the intent to express the truth?”
Ask yourself, “Is God truly Worthy of praise, such that God is the epitome of ones Blessings?”
Was Paul pointing out that God is the Father of all Creation, including himself, all the people breathing air in Ephesus, as well as every living being on earth? Or, was Paul making an important statement about God being exclusively the Father of himself – an Apostle – and those true Christians of Ephesus – also Apostles? Did Paul intend his use of Patēr (capitalized as “the Father,” versus “ancestor, elder, or senior” in the lower case) to be meaningless or meaningful?
Why did Paul further that by stating God is the “Father of the Lord,” going on to say “the Lord of us”? What does the word “Kyriou” mean, when it is the “Lord” and/or “Master of us”?
If God is King of Heaven and Jesus was not a king of a nation, where would he be Lord? Where could his kingdom be, if not within an Apostle?
When a comma is placed after “hēmōn” (“of us”), indicating a pause in this line of thought, how then does that mark in the text act to denote a separation between “us” and “Jesus Christ”?
When you read these ten words over and over … slowly … allowing the truth and full scope of intent to sink in … can you see Paul stating, “I praise the One God as do you praise the One God [“Blessed be the God”], for together we are blessed to know God as the Father [“and Father”] of new state of spiritual being, having been born of His love in His sending us our Master [“of our Lord”], the new Lord of our souls in our flesh, such that we each have become a kingdoms of Jesus Christ [“Jesus Christ”], each being the resurrection of Jesus Christ”?
When your eyes begin to open to Paul having just made a powerful statement that he was a member of the church of Ephesus, where “church” is defined by Jesus as being “where two or three gather in my name, I am there in their midst,” (Matthew 18:20), those to whom Paul wrote were just like him, in the sense they had each been “Blessed” by “God,” who then was the “Father” of their rebirth, where the “Lord” of their bodies, minds, and souls was “Jesus Christ.” They had each become Jesus Christ incarnate. When that becomes clear, then you can begin to do the same repetition of the rest of this reading.
To speak in the tongue of God, as Paul was writing “in tongues” using the Word of God spoken to him, each Apostle in Ephesus was then capable of “reading in tongues” (a.k.a. “speaking”) and reading the words of Paul on a divine level of understanding (above a human brain level). To an Apostle, there is not thought that goes into word selection, as some brain-powered trick of language. Words naturally come to one filled with the Holy Spirit. However, a disciple can be trained to begin proving the divinity in such tongues by following logical methods.
Like I am instructing, one has to practice reading slowly, repeating each word as it was meant to be read – using the full scope of each word’s usage, not just the standard or typical. That requires learning Greek (and Hebrew) as well as God knows Greek (and Hebrew), or using a tool to make up the difference (such as an online Interlinear translation of the foreign to the known. One has to know God’s Mind is so great it chooses the precise words necessary to convey depth beyond the standard and typical; but intelligence is elevated to inspiration when one proves to oneself how great God is to choose words with so much meaning unseen.
(I am now going off the script above and will be using the literal (interlinear) English translation of the Greek written. Feel free to see how English alters the ordering of words written, to satisfy syntactical differences from Greek.) By seeing that Paul said “Blessed [be] the [One] God,” as the source of Apostles having been reborn as Jesus Christ, next read:
“the [One] having blessed us with every blessing spiritual in the heavenly realms in Christ.”
God is “the [One] having blessed” Apostles. God has bestowed upon His servants “spiritual blessing,” rather than physical rewards. The spirit of a human being is the soul, so an Apostle’s soul has been made “worthy of praise,” due to it having been cleansed of sins by the Holy Spirit of God. They have been spiritually blessed so their souls can gain spiritual reward in the “heavenly realms.” The plural number of “realms” shows how heaven has become one with earth in an Apostle, of which there are many. They have been blessed with the knowledge of God that comes to them because they are in Christ. They have been blessed with the Christ Mind.
“just as he chose us in him before foundation of world , to be for us blameless and holy before him ; in love.” [Notice the presence of punctuation marks, which are ‘road signs’ that say how to slow down more and shift gear.]
Again, “he” is God, who has Blessed them and they praise Him for those blessings. Paul is saying Apostles are predestined to become Saints. The Greek words “katabolēs kosmou” imply verbiage that says, “the foundation of the world,” but that is a limitation that plays on one’s brain. A brain thinks the only way that can be interpreted is from Creation, a long, long, time ago. It does not have to be that far-stretched. Each soul in “the world” is reincarnated into new flesh each earthly life. The word “katabolé” actually has a meaning that is relative to “conception,” so each human being’s “foundation” in “the world” is their birth. When rebirth is factored in, then being chosen “before being born as Jesus Christ” is the call to be a disciple. In Paul’s case, the spirit of Jesus Christ knocked Saul off his donkey and blinded him for three days before he took on the name Paul and began serving God as Jesus Christ reborn. The choice one makes that answers that call from God is completely and totally “to be blameless and holy before [God].” An Apostle is not forced to serve God; but one serves out of “love.” An Apostle falls “in love” with God. An Apostle becomes married to God [the cleansing of sin from the soul] and God’s love reigns in an Apostle’s heart.
After absorbing that, then next read:
“having predestined us for divine adoption as sons through Jesus Christ , according to the good pleasure of the will of him.”
The Greek word “proorizó” means “I predetermine,” but it equally means “preordained” and “marked out beforehand.” By seeing how Paul said Apostles were “chosen at birth,” and that means being reborn “in him” – Jesus Christ – the view is now broadened to show one’s responding to God’s call is one’s “pre-ordination” towards becoming the Son of God. This is then a “divine adoption” by all human beings, of both sexes, those who answer the call, to be reborn as Jesus Christ. His Spirit is resurrected within one’s soul, so all who are so adopted divinely are transformed into “sons through Jesus Christ.” This Spiritual adoption goes beyond human gender because of the “love” of God, so accordingly all “sons” are everyone who is filled with the “happiness of the will of him,” which is the presence of the Holy Spirit – the same that surrounded Jesus of Nazareth.
That revelation then prepares one to read further:
“to praise of glory of the grace of him , which he has freely given us in the [One] beloved.”
This “good pleasure, happiness, and delight” that is brought on by God’s love, His Holy Spirit and the Mind of Christ is then the elation that instantly causes an Apostle to “praise the unspoken manifestation of God” inwardly. Such feelings of joy are due to the “favor” and “gift” of God, leading one to give in return “thanks” and “gratitude” to God. It means an Apostle acts as did Jesus of Nazareth, giving all “honor and glory to God.” This does not come by asking for favor. It comes “freely,” given by God to His ‘wives’, those who have subjected their will in marriage to God, accepting him into their hearts as “the [One] beloved.”
If that is difficult to grasp, keep repeating those words over and over, slowly. Understand that “praise” comes from inner delight that is beyond natural emotions, which are impossible to maintain by self-will. However, seeing “happiness” as a “gift of God” allows one to then read:
“in whom we have redemption through the blood of him , the forgiveness all of trespasses , according to the riches of the grace of him.”
Notice the repetition of the word “grace,” which in Greek is “charis.” The form written by Paul, “charitos,” is now being linked to “the blood of him,” where the Greek word “haimatos” means “blood” that has been spilled. This means that like Jesus of Nazareth spilled his “blood” in the act of crucifixion, where he willingly became a sacrificial lamb for a higher cause, so too are Apostles called to the same higher cause, through self-sacrifice.
By being reborn as Jesus Christ, one has been given the higher reward of “redemption,” where the sins of one’s life have been “ransomed” through a “blood” payment. Therefore, the “blood” of self no longer leads one’s body, because it has been replaced by the “blood of Christ.” The “blood” of Christ is the Holy Spirit that protects one from death. Achievement of that reward means “forgiveness of all sins” – the baptism of one’s soul by the Holy Spirit. That cleansing is “according to the abundance of the kindness of God” – through His “granting the favor of Jesus Christ” to one.
Keep repeating those words until they speak to you on a personal level, rather than as a bystander looking at an old letter written by an Apostle to a church in ancient Greece. See how Paul was not spreading the truth of some blanket promise of redemption and worldwide forgiveness of sins, given to anyone who did little more than profess belief in Jesus as the Son of God. One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without letting go of selfishness and actually living as Jesus of Nazareth lived. When one has a firm hold on that “grace of him,” then read:
“which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and understanding ; having made known to us the mystery , of the will of him , according to the pleasure of him , which he purposed in him.”
The Greek words that begin this series of segments, “hēs eperisseusen,” can equally translate as “that exceeded the ordinary” or “which abounded.” The use of “lavished” means the amount of the spirituality richly given by God to His Apostles is much more than they could ever possibly comprehend with a human brain. Those “riches” are now stated as “wisdom and understanding.” It is such divine insight that allows them to understand Scripture (“the mystery” is the hidden meaning in the words – such that I am expanding upon now) is made known instantly or with quick inspiration to know, not by the will of one’s intellect (a Big Brain) but by God’s whispers. God then delights in His servants finding enjoyment in seeing Scripture unfold before their eyes – meaning that astonishes – because everything was written with that deeper purpose intended. This is the knowledge of God being conveyed through the Mind of Christ, made available to an Apostle that has been reborn as Jesus Christ.
Then read the next series slowly and with repetition:
“for administration of the fullness the [one] of times ; to head up the all things in the Christ , the things in the heavens , and the things upon the earth.”
This series begins with the Greek words “eis oikonomian,” which can also state “for stewardship.” The translation read aloud in church states, “as a plan for.” The Christian view of “Stewardship” has been applied to the responsibility of Christians to take care of the earth. There is “a plan for” this type of “administration.” However, that view frequently turns into pleas for donations to the churches, so the burden will be taken on by Church, directing funds to outreach programs, allowing the individuals to have the comfort of knowing that doing little more than contributing money absolves them of this “administrative” duty.
The meaning here is different. It means Scripture is never to be read as a stagnant story of one time past. Apostles are given divine insight so Scripture is seen to always apply to current times, so there is a “full complement” of timely interpretations of meaning. The one who heads this organization is not a bishop or pope, but Christ – the head of the Church. Therefore, Stewardship can only come through Apostles who are enlightened as to the “administration” of all things that fit the requirements that bring one to God and project the Christ in the flesh. The “administration” is not for a body of people – an organization called a church – but that which ensures each soul can return to heaven. Those are the deeds one’s flesh does, through the Christ, as one in the name of Jesus Christ, while here on the earthly plane.
Being able to grasp that vital message, then slowly read and reread this:
“in him , in whom we also we have obtained an inheritance , having been predestined according to purpose of the case all things working , according to the counsel of the will of him.”
This begins with “in him,” which is a statement of being in Jesus Christ. The Greek words “en autō” state “in him,” but also can convey “with the same” or “in self.” This says an Apostle and Jesus Christ are one, not one on earth and the other in heaven. The Greek word “eklērōthēmen” expands on the root “kléroó,” where “inheritance” means an “allotment” or “a share.” When “inheritance” is understood to be defined as, “something, as a quality or characteristic, received from progenitors or predecessors,” then the share received is the resurrection of the Son, born of the Father, into the inheritors. That makes them also be (regardless of human gender) “sons of the Father.” Again, the “predestination” is less a birthright that comes from professing belief that Jesus was the Son of God, but more a statement about that period of devotion preceding one being filled with the Holy Spirit, married to God, and reborn as His Son. The Greek words “panta energountos” (“all things working”) means the “predestination” is “according to the purpose” of inheritance, where one does the works of the LORD – “of every kind.” This is how Saint James could truthfully argue: “Faith, without works, is dead.” (James 2:14-26)
Those “working” acts are then not led by brainstorming with a denomination of Christianity and its political agendas, where one is blindly led by the will of other human beings. Instead, one possesses a brain that functions, made fully cognizant of how what one does under the direction (“counsel of the will”) of the Christ Mind is works based on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. That subjection to the Will of God is how one inherits the resurrection of Jesus Christ within one’s being.
Allowing that vision to slowly appear makes one able to then progress to this series of words:
“for this to be us , to praise of glory of him ; those having first trusted in the Christ.”
Here we see Paul stating that doing the works of faith, directed by the presence of Jesus Christ within on, is the only way such works can be done. It means the self must be sacrificed to serve the Will of God. It is the self that becomes filled with doubts and fears and hesitates doing the works the whispers (conscience) tell one to do. “for Jesus Christ to be us,” following the counsel of his will, “all things working” are accomplished. That accomplishment is in no way attributed to the power of the self, but to the “glory of God.” As an Apostle watches him or herself doing the works of Jesus Christ – according to the talents given, listed by Paul elsewhere – “praise” is given to the Trinity having involved oneself: as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit converging in one’s flesh. That promise of accomplishment is then the “predestination,” where “one first trusted in Christ,” which is faith. Faith alone is not enough, but it is a “first” step in the direction of discipleship. To do the works of faith, one has to learn belief through study of Scripture, praying for the truth to be revealed. Until one sees that truth personally (not simply being told, like I am doing here), such that “all things working” become one’s personal acts of investigation, one will not be enabled by God to progress to Apostle status.
Seeing that insight of a search for the truth and the acts of faith coming from personal belief, read this next series of segments slowly, repeating until the meaning is clear:
“in whom also you , having heard the word these of truth , the gospel of the salvation of you , in whom also , having believed , you were seated with the Spirit this of promise , the Holy.”
Notice how the last segment ended with the word “Christ,” who offered one “hope” (another translation of “proelpizó,” which states “trust”) as one’s “first” step towards marriage with God and giving birth (resurrection) to Jesus Christ, Paul then stated “Christ” is “in whom also you,” where Paul was in the name of Jesus Christ and so were the true Christians of Ephesus. They have all been elevated to the status of Apostle, as completely devoted servants of the LORD, because their “works” involved study of Scripture, through divine insight. By “having heard the word these of truth” coming from whispers of enlightenment inside one’s head, one has been able to find a personal relationship with God that gives delight in His glory. That experience moves one spiritually (in one’s soul-being) to submit to the Will of God. When one has become the wife of God (males and females He weds them), the “love” child is Jesus Christ reborn into another Son of the Father. That presence of Christ in one becomes the “good news” of one’s personal soul’s salvation. The Holy Spirit has baptized the soul clean, with all sins forgiven, and “all things working” henceforth are the Will of God, through Jesus Christ reborn in flesh (“in whom also”). All comes from true belief, not just obedience to dogma and being told what one should say that one believes. One is then “seated” with salvation through having received the Holy Spirit of God.
Having grasped that last important series of segments, look now closely at this final series in this reading:
“that is guarantee of the inheritance of us , to redemption of the acquired possession , to praise the glory of him.”
The Greek word “arrabōn” can be translated as “guarantee,” but the truest sense of the word “arrabón” is: “an earnest, earnest-money, a large part of the payment, given in advance as a security that the whole will be paid afterwards.” This means the receipt of the Holy Spirit must be seen as a pre-payment made in the worldly realm (while alive in the flesh) that then “guarantees the balance” that assures “the inheritance of us” in Heaven. This means one cannot sin an entire lifetime, doing nothing for anyone other than self (where all forms of altruism, without being led by the Christ Mind as one with a human being, is ultimately for selfish purposes) cannot find God on one’s death bed. Repentance must be pre-paid by selfless acts. Try borrowing money for a house in the same manner, where one has never worked to earn anything that would then act as a promise that more productive work will qualify one for total repayment. No house loans come to slackards, just as no heaven comes to those claiming faith, but without works. One has to become Jesus Christ reborn to insure entrance into the heavenly realm for eternity. In order to acquire that heavenly promise, one has to “deliver” on the promissory note of living a “Holy” life, once married to God. The act of “redemption” is payment in full for works done. Again, nothing is self-praiseworthy as no self-willed donations of time or possessions will cause one “to praise the glory of God” for one’s acts of faith. Self-acts of faith are then due to guilt or delusions of grandeur (the prayers of the Pharisee and the Publican), where neither is worthy of divine reward.
One is acquitted of his sins before God, but neither can keep from further sins without the Holy Spirit’s assistance.
As a selected Epistle reading for the eighth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry to the LORD should be underway – like that of Paul and the true Christians of Ephesus – the lesson here is a personal relationship with God, one where oneself has become subjected totally to God’s Will. A minister supports other ministers, while being a light of truth to those “predestined” to also become ministers.
The words of Paul are written minister-to-minister. This means it requires one be led by the Holy Spirit to write in divine ways, so only those who are filled with the Mind of Christ can fully grasp the deeper meaning. In the story told in Acts 2, where Peter stood with the eleven other new Apostles and “spoke in foreign tongues,” the pilgrims in Jerusalem who heard them were amazed. It was not amazing how twelves ‘rubes’ from Galilee, who had no foreign travel experience or formal training in foreign languages, were speaking fluently in languages that were understood by those who recognized their tongue being spoken. Some wrote that marvel off as being drunk on new wine, where some slurring drunkards had been mistaken before as speaking in foreign languages. That notion was discounted because of the knowledge that came from each foreigner hearing the truth of Scripture in his or her own native tongue. Therefore, we learn that three thousand pilgrims were filled with the Holy Spirit that Pentecost morning, because their ears were opened to the truth of God’s Word for the first time.
The repetition of Scripture can be found in those three thousand pilgrims having lived a lifetime studying the Torah, Psalms, and the Prophets, so they recognized what the Apostles were speaking about in their language. They wanted to know the truth, so their hearts were opened to receive it. They were predestined to receive the truth through devotion to a religious doctrine; but they had never been told the deeper meaning of God’s Word before that time.
Decades after I left the Assemblies of God church, I heard someone say that one can speak in tongues that are not understandable, but confirmation is then required as proof. The confirmation requires one who can understand the tongue spoken. When this is guttural noises of meaningless origin being interpreted by someone who says what the meaning of meaningless is, I see that as wolves in sheep’s clothing leading lambs to the slaughter. However, that still makes sense as a valid test of one having a gift of the Holy Spirit, which prophesying and interpreting prophecy are two.
Paul wrote in the tongues of the LORD. This reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has 255 words in it, with only six periods. That is an average of 24.5 words per “sentence.” Because the human brain is not accustomed to comprehending such long-winded statements, the “normal Christian” gets confused easily when reading Paul. This is because the sacred texts are not written to be read “normally.”
Paul’s letters, like all Scripture, requires the willingness to read them meditatively and then listen for insights. Those whispers come from the Mind of Christ. Thus, the reality of one speaking unintelligible words of divinity (Paul and the other Biblical writers) is indeed confirmed by others who interpret those unintelligible words (Apostles) as the truth. From what I have heard said to be a confirmation of one speaking in tongues, this could be what the Assemblies of God believes.
Still, when people stand and quote Scripture (such as a reader does in an Episcopal church each Sunday) and no one can understand what that Scripture means, it can seem as if it is double-talk or nonsense. But, if a priest can stand before a congregation and explain that meaning, so that everyone present is suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit and transformed into Jesus Christ reborn, then an Apostle has confirmed the meaning publicly. Both Paul and the Apostle-priest have spoken the truth as Jesus Christ. However, the purpose of understanding the unintelligible is not to make a living writing books of explanation or standing on the stage of a mega-church selling oneself as a prophet.
God chooses who can understand His words; and He does that for the purpose of transforming disciples into Apostles.
Somewhere, long ago, someone laid that truth before those who were not filled with the Holy Spirit, but they felt the power of the truth and believed. Speaking in tongues is not gained by repeating the word “Glory” over and over. But, it is seeing the “Glory” of God in Scripture that must be repeated over and over.
The true meaning of a church of Christ is everyone who is a member is an Apostle. When Scripture is read in that church, everyone understands, because everyone is a priest that can stand up and speak the truth to a chorus of “Amen’s.” Those churches were where Paul sent letters that were fully understood. Therefore, those churches were more like a ‘teacher’s break room’, where they gathered in the name of Jesus Christ, to rest before going to a synagogue here or a meeting place there (a classroom), where the truth could be taught to those “predestined” to receive the Holy Spirit.
This is the time to begin doing “all things working” towards one’s personal salvation and earning the down payment required for a loan for eternal happiness. A minister of the LORD makes him or herself available to those seekers of faith. A minister of the LORD teaches those how to believe with praise to the glory, glory, glory of God.