Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:20-23

Ἣν ἐνήργησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ ἐγείρας ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ καθίσας ἐν δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἐποθρανίοις ὑπεράνω πασῆς ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ κυριότητος καὶ παντὸς ὀνόματος ὀνομαζομένο οὐ μονόν ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τοῦτῳ ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι· καὶ πάντα ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας καὶ αὐτὸν ἔδωκεν κεφαλὴν ὑπερ πάντα τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἥτις ἐστὶν τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου. Who worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and causing him to sit down at his right hand in the heavenly realms far about every ruler and authority and power and angelic lord, and every name being named, not only in this age but also in the coming one, and subordinated all things under his feet, and gave him as head over all things in the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every respect.

Paul really likes long sentences. Ephesians 1:20-23 is long, but it is actually tied to the “action” of v. 19, so that it is part of the previous sentence, vv. 15-23. What we have is really one long sentence from v. 15 through v. 23. The English translations and even the Greek text in Nesle-Aland split up this long sentence into smaller sentences for better English understanding. Βut we should consider vv. 15-23 as one sentence. This consideration is not really a problem, for Paul already did give a long sentence (vv. 3-14), and so the style is in keeping with what we have already seen in Ephesians.

God is now seen as the one who worked in the Messiah. He worked in Christ in four ways. First, he raised him from the dead.  The verb here is an aorist participle, identifying that this action constitutes the result of the work God has done in Christ. What work did God do? He raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Second, he caused Christ to sit down at his right hand. This verb is also an aorist participle identifying the result of the work God has done in Christ. Not only did God raise him from the dead, but he also sat him down at his right hand. This action signifies judgment in First Century usage. Sitting down at the right hand is also significant; this position was of the favored one (we might say that the Son became the Father’s right-hand man). Christ is placed by the Father into a position of foremost authority where he is seen as the judge. He is placed as the authority in the heavenly realms and is superior to every ruler, authority, power and angelic lord, and every name being named. There is no one, human or spirit, who is not under Christ’s position of authority. This truth applies to this age and the one that is coming. Third, God subordinated all things under his feet. Everything is subject to Christ, who rules over all things. Fourth, he appointed Christ as head over all things in the church. The church, that is, the church universal, is the body of Christ and Christ is the head of the church, being placed there by the Father. The church is the fullness of Christ, and Christ is the one who fulfills all things in every respect.

Who worked in Christ, with the result that he raised him from the dead, and he caused him to sit down at his right hand in the heavenly realms far above every ruler, authority, power, angelic lord, and every name being named, not only in this age, but also in the coming age, and he subordinated all things under his feet, and he appointed him head over all things in the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

God has done some major work. The Father has worked in Christ, the recipient of the action, raising him from the dead and placing him into a position of authority over everything in the universe, whether physical or spiritual, but also as head of the church, the congregation of believers everywhere. The church universal is the fullness of Christ, and as Christ fills everything in every way, it is in the church universal that Christ is fully represented as of now. We should recognize or bear in mind that Christ is not only our ruler, but also the ruler over all things, and there is nothing that has not been placed under his authority.

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