THE SON’S DISPENSING TO MAKE THE BELIEVERS GOD’S INHERITANCE UNTO THE ECONOMY
OF THE FULLNESS OF THE TIMES
TO HEAD UP ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
We all have seen that the first main point in Ephesians 1 is the threefold dispensing of the processed Divine Trinity. The Father’s dispensing is to make us holy unto sonship. God chose us with a purpose to make us different from everything in this universe, that is, to sanctify us and to make us holy for the purpose that we could be begotten of God to be His sons. The secondfold aspect of the dispensing is somewhat complicated. For the firstfold dispensing there are only two verses, but for the secondfold dispensing of the Son, there are verses 7 through 12.
Verses 10 and 11 are some of the hardest verses in the whole Bible for readers to apprehend. These verses say, "Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him; in whom also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will." God’s economy will be consummated at the fullness of the times. In God’s economy there are four main ages, and these ages are called "the times." There are the age of sin from Adam to Moses; the age of law from Moses to Christ’s first coming; the age of grace from Christ’s first coming to His second coming; and the age of the kingdom. In these four ages, God is working to recover His lost creation back to His purpose. Then at the fullness of the times, God’s economy will be consummated. This economy is to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.
Verse 11 says that we have been designated as an inheritance. Designated in Greek means "chosen or assigned by lot." We have been designated, marked out, and assigned by lot to be God’s inheritance as a treasure. In the secondfold dispensing of the Trinity, Christ has redeemed us. In His redemption He has redeemed us back to Himself, even into Himself, and He has imparted Himself into us. Thus, the redeeming Christ has become a realm in which we are enjoying the dispensing. He is also the element by and with which we are being renewed and transformed to be a treasure, a heritage of worth, to God.
God created us, but we fell into sin, forsaking God as our Head. Then we became a collapse. Since Satan’s rebellion plus man’s fall, the entire universe has lost its order. It became collapsed in death and darkness. Now Christ came to redeem us out of Adam into Christ, and this redemption implies the forgiveness of our sins. After forgiving us, Christ brought us back to God, to Himself. Now we are in Christ as a realm and an element. In this realm and with this element, after we have been redeemed, the Triune God is now in Christ as the life-giving Spirit dispensing His element into us daily and hourly to renew us day by day and transform us hour after hour, making us a treasure, an inheritance of worth.
We were in the collapse as God’s enemies, but Christ redeemed us out from Adam, from sin, and from the collapse. Then in this redemption, gradually, as we are growing in Christ, we are headed up in Christ. This heading up is the order of the church, the order of Christ’s Body. In our physical body there is an order. Things are not upside down but right-side up. Generally speaking, the church is a setting up of the proper divine order. This will lead to a consummation at the fullness of the four ages when all things in the heavens and on the earth will be headed up in Christ. That will be the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth depicted in Revelation 21 and 22. The New Jerusalem will be the consummation of today’s church.
In Christ’s redemption the life-giving Spirit is dispensing hourly into us the element of the processed and redeeming Triune God in Christ to renew us and transform us. While we are being transformed, we are being regulated and put into an order. That order is the church. This heading up leads to the final heading up at the fullness of the ages. That will be the new heaven and new earth with the consummation of the church as the New Jerusalem, in which everything will be in order under one Head. The whole universe will be new at that time. Being new means to be out of the collapse. There is no more collapse in the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth. Today the church life should be a miniature of that situation.
The firstfold dispensing of the Divine Trinity is to produce sons, but we need the secondfold dispensing to redeem us back to God in Christ. In this realm with this divine element we are being renewed, transformed, and brought into order. There is the heading up today in the church which leads to the final and consummate heading up at the fullness of the times, the ages, in the new heaven and new earth. There we can see the New Jerusalem with everything in order. This is the issue of the secondfold dispensing of the Son, which speaks forth the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose.
CONCLUDING NOTES TO CHAPTER TWO
The Son’s dispensing in His redemption and transformation of the believers issues in a heritage of worth, a private possession, transforming God’s chosen people, with Christ as the element of life, into a treasure to be God’s inheritance as His personal possession. This is to bring the redeemed universe from the collapse into a good order, to head up all things (collapsed in death and corruption) under Christ through the church built up as the Body of Christ. This is also carried out by the Lord as the transforming Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17-18), to make God’s chosen people a new creation by the renewing of the transforming Spirit.
(The Issue of the Dispensing of the Processed Trinity and the Transmitting of the Transcending Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)