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Home > Weekly Columns > Greek Thoughts > Archives >
Article for April 5, 2009

Greek Thoughts Archives
First available on April 5, 2009

EN* - In

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Author Bio

Bill Klein has been a pastor, counselor, and educator for the past 36 years. He has had extensive training and education in biblical languages, and has authored a Biblical Greek course.

He is currently serving as Professor of Biblical Greek at Master's Graduate School of Divinity, and president of BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America, a non-profit organization located in California that provides Bible study tapes and Greek study materials through their website BTEMinistries.org.

 

Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.


This week we are studying the fourth word in our series of studies relating to the believer's battle with the attacks of Satan. We first considered the verb diw/kw (Strong's #1377, pronounced dē ō kō**), meaning "to pursue" or "to chase." It is from diw/kw that we developed an understanding of the first principle relating to dealing with evil forces in the spirit realm: Satan (the devil) is only able to chase or pursue those who are in Christ; but he is unable to spiritually overtake them, since the Spirit of Christ resides within their souls (spirits) thereby sealing them—making them spiritually impenetrable (see Ephesians 1:13). Because only the flesh is left exposed, Satan attacks here, in an attempt to chase believers. His desire is to continually divert their thoughts and emotions away from God.

We next considered the word aŽnqi/sthmi (Strong's #436, pronounced än thēs tā mē**), which means "to resist" or "to oppose." It holds the concept of our second principle—that the plan of God for each believer is revealed as he or she resists the devil's attacks. Believers are to resist Satan while resting in the finished work of Christ. This, of course, is the opposite of what Man would implement– which would be to fight Satan in an attempt to chase him away.

Last week we studied the word ièsthmi (Strong's #2476, pronounced stā mē**), which means "to stand, set or place." It reveals the third principle involved in comprehending how believers are to respond to Satan's attacks, in that it brings to light the purpose God has for believers in resisting Satan. God's designed plan for Christians is that we resist Satan's attempts to chase us, and the purpose for this is that of being able to stand in a one-place position.

In this week's study our attention is focused on the place in which believers stand. Our word of study is the preposition eŽn (Strong's #1722, pronounced ĕn**), which is translated "in" and represents a position or location. We will again be looking at Paul's letter to the Ephesians, noting that its theme is "In Christ." Paul has this letter distributed to all of the churches, in order for believers to understand their position within the spirit realm. This is one of the most misunderstood truths of the Christian faith, because Satan works through the physical realm to try to convince believers that their spiritual condition is based upon their physical circumstances and feelings. In contrast, Paul writes that everyone who has received Christ has the Christ living within them and that they are positioned in Christ in the spirit realm.

Ephesians 1:3
) Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who has blessed us in (eŽn) every spiritual blessing, in (eŽn) the spirit realm, in (eŽn) Christ.

The aorist participial form of euÌloge/w (Strong's #2127, pronounced ū lō ō**), which means "to bless," indicates that God's blessing upon us has already been given at a time in the past (which would be at salvation). The use of "in (eŽn)" tells us the location in which He has blessed us – "in (eŽn) every spiritual blessing." This tells us that we are positioned in every – not some – spiritual blessing from God.

Paul then tells us that every spiritual blessing is located "in (eŽn) the spirit realm." The traditionally used word "heavenlies" is a translation of the Greek word eÌpoura/niov (Strong's #2032, pronounced ĕ pö nē ōs**), which literally means "the spirit realm." So our blessings are found in every spiritual blessing and are located in the spirit realm. Next Paul gives us the exact location of our blessings in the spirit realm: "in Christ." The location of our blessings is spiritual, in the spirit realm, specifically in Christ.

Ephesians 1:20-21
) which He worked in (eŽn) Christ, having raised Him from out of the dead, and seated Him in (eŽn) His right hand in (eŽn) the spirit realm (eÌpoura/niov),

21)
above every ruler, and authority, and power, and lordship, and every name being named, not only in this age, but also in the one being about to come;

Our consideration now is to understand the position of Christ within the spirit realm. In verses 20,21, Paul presents the power of God having first said, in verse 20, that it is the same power that worked in Christ when He raised Him from out of the dead and seated Him "in (eŽn) His right hand in (eŽn) the spirit realm." These verses tell us that God raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in (eŽn) the right of the throne of God in (eŽn) the spirit realm. Verse 21 reveals even more about the surpassing power of God and the spirit realm. In it we see that Christ is seated in (eŽn) the right of the throne of God, "above every ruler, authority, and power, and lordship, and every name being named, not only in this age, but also in the one being about to come."

From a study of Ephesians 3:9-10 and Ephesians 6:11-12,we can identify the rulers, authorities, powers, and lordships referred to in Ephesians 1:20-21.

Ephesians 3:9-10
) and to enlighten everyone as to what is the fellowship of the mystery, the one which has been hidden from the ages in (eŽn) God, the One who has created all things through Jesus Christ,

10)
in order that might be made known now to the rulers and the authorities in the spirit realm (eÌpoura/niov) - through the church - the manifold wisdom of God.

In Ephesians 3:9, Paul expresses that it is God's desire to enlighten everyone about the "fellowship of the mystery" which has been hidden in ages past in (eŽn) God who created all things through Christ. The next verse is connected to this one by the phrase "in order that" and presents the purpose for God's desire to enlighten everyone about this mystery– …to make known the manifold wisdom of God through the church to "the rulers and the authorities in the spirit realm (eÌpoura/niov)." Here Paul reveals that the rulers and authorities are ranks of spirit beings in the spirit realm; but he defines them more specifically in Ephesians 6:11-12.

Ephesians 6:11-12
) Put on the full armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the methods of the devil;

12)
because the wrestling for us is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual forces of evil in (eŽn) the spirit realm (eÌpoura/niov).

In Paul's conclusion to this letter, he emphasizes the absolute necessity of putting on the full armor of God, in order to have the ability to stand against the continuous attacks of the devil. He gives the reason for this in verse 12: because our wrestling "is not against blood and flesh, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual forces of evil in the spirit realm." Paul is teaching that Christians wrestle and struggle against the spiritual forces of evil "in (eŽn) the spirit realm (eÌpoura/niov)." In verse 12, he defines the spiritual forces of evil as ranks of rulers and authorities and world rulers "of the darkness of this age."

Therefore, since Christ is seated in (eŽn) the right hand of God in (eŽn) the spirit realm, as we see in Ephesians 1:20-21, He is seated far above all the forces of evil that inhabit and operate in the spirit realm. Understanding this positioning of Christ is foundational to understanding the position of believers, especially as it relates to responding to Satan's attacks.

Ephesians 2:5-6
) and while we being dead in trespasses, He made us alive together in (eŽn) Christ (by grace you are having been saved);

6)
and raised us up together, and seated us together in (eŽn) the spirit realm (eÌpoura/niov) in (eŽn) Christ Jesus.

In Ephesians 2:5-6, Paul uses resurrection terminology to describe the salvation experience. He writes that God makes people, who are dead in trespasses, alive together in (eŽn) Christ, raises them up together, and seats them together in (eŽn) the spirit realm in (eŽn) Christ Jesus. This teaches us that three things happen in the salvation experience: First, a person is made alive in (eŽn) the life of Christ being born within; Second, a person is raised from out of the spiritual dead; Third, a person is seated – at the time of salvation – in (eŽn) the spirit realm, specifically in (eŽn) Christ Jesus.

This is the great teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has been hidden in ages past and is still a mystery to many believers: When Jesus Christ was raised from out of the dead, He was exalted above every spiritual force, whether good or evil, and every name being named, both now and in the coming age. He is now seated in (eŽn) the right hand of the throne of God far above the ranks of evil spiritual forces in the spirit realm; and once a person is born of the Spirit of Christ, that believer is then in a spiritual position of being seated in (eŽn) Christ in (eŽn) the spirit realm. "In (eŽn) Christ Jesus" is the present and continuous spiritual position of every believer.

With an understanding of this basic fundamental truth, we can better comprehend our part in the battle against Satan's attacks. Since believers are already in (eŽn) Christ in (eŽn) the spirit realm, Satan attempts to chase them by using elements of the physical realm, in order to make them feel that they are under attack and must run. Satan's ultimate goal is to make believers think that they are not in a spiritual position of safety, but are rather in a position of vulnerability where Satan must be fought with every ounce of effort and attention. The Bible, however, establishes that believers are spiritually positioned in (eŽn) Christ in (eŽn) the spirit realm, and this is the reason that God's plan for them is to "resist" aÌnqi/sthmi (Strong's #436, pronounced än thēs tā mē**), in order that they can "stand" ièsthmi (Strong's #2476, pronounced stā mē**). The position in which a believer is to stand is in (eŽn) Christ, in (eŽn) the spirit realm. Therefore, the Good News message is that those who have been born by the life and Spirit of Christ are spiritually protected by the armor of God, Jesus Christ.

Next week we will study the biblical teaching of overcoming evil.

*EN is the English font spelling of the Greek word eŽn.

**English pronunciation of vowel sounds & accented syllables: āle, ăm, fäther; ēve, ĕnd; īce, ǐll; ōld, ǒdd, whö; oi as in oil; ow as in cow; ūse, ŭp, rüde. Bold type indicates an accented syllable.


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