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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)




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PAGE 190

Chapter 2


1. The Angels of the Ecclesias.


Thus was the One Body created in Ephesus. It became a lightstand, and the Holy Spirit bestowed through the laying on of Paul's hands, a light shining from its Eldership, the members in particular, for the illumination of the surrounding darkness. We need not here repeat what has been already said about the lightstands and "Stars" (in ch. 1, sec. 5, No. 4). Suffice it to remind the reader, that the Presbytery anointed with Holy Spirit as the particular STAR of the Ephesian ecclesia; and consequently, "the Angel" of the body here.

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It was to this angel that the writing was addressed. This word was appropriately used for the presbytery of an apostolic ecclesia, as already shown in the place referred to above. It does not indicate one man, as clerical commentators suppose, who can see nothing sparkling as "a bright particular star" in what they call "a church," but the dark body that ordinarily aims at "starring it" behind a velvet cushion! I say dark body, for what else is a blind leader of the blind into the ditch of perdition? The spiritual guides accepted of the people, are the "blind Pharisees" of our day, whose "light within" is the darkness of a "Christendom," apocalyptically designated, "the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt" (Apoc. 11:8). The writing before us, which contains "what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias," is not spoken to papistical and protestant "churches" through their priestly and clerical, or ministerial "angels:" it is spoken neither to their "churches" nor to their angels; for these all belong to the party of the power apocalyptically styled "the Dragon and his Angels;" and by Jesus, "the Devil and his Angels" (Apoc. 12:7,4; Matt. 25:41). They pertain to "the Dragon's tail" which draws after it "the Stars of the heaven" of this evil world. No; the writing before us contains what the Spirit saith to "the servants of the Deity;" to them of the party of "Michael and his Angels;" to them who have believed and obeyed the gospel, and are intelligently and faithfully waiting for the kingdom and glory of which it treats, and which are symbolized in the glorious book.

When Paul was on his way from Macedonia to Jerusalem, where he desired to be on the Day of Pentecost, he halted at Miletus, a city and sea port of Caria, about thirty-six miles south of Ephesus, waiting for the Star-Angel of Ephesus to meet him there. In Acts 20:17, this Star-Angel is styled (!greek!) the Presbyters, or Elders, of the Ecclesia. When they arrived, he rehearsed what he had done while a resident with them, "disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity." He reminded them of the persecutions he had endured, and told them, that "he kept back nothing that was profitable, testifying both to Jews and Gentiles, change of mind concerning the Deity, and faith concerning the Anointed Jesus our Lord." This was the result he aimed to produce by his disputations and persuasions in connection with the kingdom -- first, to give them correct ideas of the Deity, and his promises; next, to work faith in them concerning Jesus, and the things pertaining to him, as the propitiatory set forth for a covering of sin (Rom. 3:25). This he styled, "testifying the gospel of the grace of the Deity," "preaching his kingdom," and declaring "all his counsel;" from all which it is evident,

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that Paul's teaching and course of public ministration are not those of the Angels of Satan's Synagogue, who deceive the whole world in its present constitution. These neither know God, nor the gospel of the grace of God, and do not, therefore, nor can they, declare his counsel. All these things the Star-Angel of Ephesus was well versed in; for they showed their approval of what Paul said, by their overflowing sympathy with him at the parting hour.

But while he reminded them of the past, he forewarned them of the calamitous future, about which he was much troubled; for he perceived that, on every side the hidden principle of lawlessness was already at work in and among the ecclesias; he therefore forewarned the Star-Angel that he might be forearmed. Hence, addressing him, he said, seeing that such have been my labors among you, "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock (!greek!) in which the Holy Spirit appointed you (!greek!) overseers to shepherdise the ecclesia of the Deity, which he purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departure, grievous wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock: yea, of your own selves will men stand up speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." This was the last interview Paul had with the Ephesian brethren, whose "first works" are approved by the Spirit in this apocalyptic epistle. Paul afterwards wrote to them "the Epistle to the Ephesians," in which he told them that he was then "an ambassador in bonds;" being "the prisoner of the Anointed Jesus for you Gentiles." The Jews had effected his arrest by the Romans, before whose emperor he afterwards appeared, and was sentenced to lose his life. He was victimized by them because he declared that the Lord Jesus had sent him to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21). For this cause, he styled himself "the prisoner of the Anointed Jesus for the Gentiles," whether in Ephesus or elsewhere.




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