This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
The above, Ephesians 5:32, comes in a chapter speaking of submitting to the higher power in a natural hierarchy. This idea initially appears as Paul, in verse 1, directs us to be “followers” of God, using the Greek word mimetes, meaning to imitate. It is calling us to be the likeness of God, referring to Genesis 1:26 where the LORD states His goal in creating us in Him image (first as flesh) and after His likeness (spirit inhabiting flesh, with Him).
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another [this is the LORD telling of His coming in a different flesh, unknown as the Holy Spirit] Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you [He is the same One God, here in the flesh].
19 Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also.
20 At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
21 He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas [Judah – the elect remnant] said unto him, not Iscariot [not the leaders who’ve betrayed Him, who have not kept His word from being polluted, corrupted, leavened, by men, until the whole was corrupt and world became blinded to His forever presence], LORD, how is it that you will manifest yourself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words [in a pure and uncorrupted form, as received]: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him [One God will inhabit flesh man and bring him to life, quicken him, from the dead].
24 He that loves me not keeps not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name [JESUS, Jehovah’s Salvation manifested in human flesh], he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
28 You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, you might believe.
It is in this context, John later, in 1 John 3 & 4, says we are born of God, in this way becoming His sons, and those who deny He is in our flesh are speaking by the spirit of antichrist in them, which keeps them from seeing and hearing this truth.
1 John 3
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
4 Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5 And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6 Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.
11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death.
15 Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoso has this world’s good [this word of God, this good news, freely given as received, in charity, love], and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed [which is charity] and in truth.
19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
24 And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.
1 John 4
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world hears them.
6 We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
Paul continue on, in Ephesians 5, after telling us to be imitators of God (as John describes in 1 John 3:16 above), after describing those who aren’t, saying it is because of this (following the wrong ideas and ways) the wrath of God comes upon the children of “disobedience.”
1 Be you therefore followers [mimetes] of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
7 Be not you therefore partakers with them.
8 For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the LORD: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the LORD.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever does make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he says, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light [understanding].
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the LORD is.
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the LORD;
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ;
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the LORD.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the LORD the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
The word “disobedience,” in verse 6 above, is the Greek word apeitheia, meaning those who are not persuaded. It is from peitho, meaning convinced, and the letter a, which reverses the meaning. Peitho is the word rendered “persuaded,” in Luke 16:31, when LORD is telling the story of the rich man in hell. The LORD quotes Abraham, as the man asks him to send someone to warn his brothers of hell. In answering Abraham says, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
In this we see the “disobedient” are those who put their trust in earthly wealth and power, and refuse to trust (believe) in the warnings coming, even though the one telling them has risen out of hell to tell them. As we have seen, the great gulf (chasma), what keeps men from crossing over into the kingdom of heaven, is these men’s even open mouths. As we have also seen, this one time used Greek word chasma is the origin of the one-time used word ketos, rendered “whale’s” as the LORD tells of what swallowed Jonah. It, like the great gulf, the ever-open mouths of those who put their trust in mammon, the spirit of disobedience at work through them, are what removed understanding and thereby removed seeing and hearing (the LORD) from the world.
1 And he spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint [referring to verse 7 & 8];
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the LORD said, Hear what the unjust judge said.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?
9 And he spoke this parable unto certain which trusted [peitho] in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [validated] rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself [as a little child, who can be taught and receives correction] shall be exalted.
15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
17 Truly I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Those above, who don’t enter because they refuse to become as little children, instead choosing to not receive God’s teaching and correction, not submitting to this order, are the “disobedient” Paul speaks of earlier in Ephesians 2:2.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the LORD Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.
1 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience [apeitheia]:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)
6 And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
The word apeitheia is rendered “unbelief” in Romans 11:30 & 32, there telling of God concluding all His people at large are in this state disobedience, again because of the ever-open, already know-it-all, mouths of those they follow in God’s place.
25 For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel [all God’s people at large], until the fullness of the Gentiles [of those who aren’t called God’s people] be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30 For as you in times past have not believed [apeitheo] God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief [apeitheia]:
31 Even so have these also now not believed [apeitheo], that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God has concluded them all in unbelief [apeitheia], that he might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who has known the mind of the LORD? or who has been his counselor?
35 Or who has first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Here is the dictionary definition of the word apathy:
- Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference.
- Lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness.
- Want of feeling; absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement; insensibility; indifference.
Apeitheia is telling of the complacency that results from prosperity achieved by following God. Those in such a condition are never convinced it’s the time to take action.
16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.
In Colossians 3 this apathy (apeitheia) is spoken of, again telling of the wrath of God that comes upon those in this state. This is the same apathy we saw, in Deuteronomy 32:15, when Jeshurun (meaning upright), a name for God’s people in prosperity, is mentioned.
1 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience [apeitheia]:
7 In the which you also walked some time, when you lived in them.
8 But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image [likeness] of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you.
14 And above all these things put on charity [giving this word as received, for this world’s good, of which it has an evident need], which is the bond of perfectness.
15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: you are waxen fat, you are grown thick, you are covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
18 Of the Rock that begat you you are unmindful, and have forgotten God that formed you.
The last two of the seven times apeitheia appears are in Hebrew 4:6 & 11, there again describing the “unbelief” that keeps God’s people from entering His rest. This is referring to what is said in the prior chapter, refusing to hear His voice, verse 15 saying, “While it is said, Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”
6 Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief [apeitheia]:
7 Again, he limits a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labor [not be apathetic] therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [apeitheia].
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of your mercy: teach me your statutes.
65 You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according unto your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept your word.
68 You are good, and do good; teach me your statutes.
69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep your precepts with my whole heart.
70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in your law.
71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
73 Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments.
74 They that fear you will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me.
76 Let, I pray you, your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to your word unto your servant.
77 Let your tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for your law is my delight.
78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in your precepts.
79 Let those that fear you turn unto me, and those that have known your testimonies.
80 Let my heart be sound in your statutes; that I be not ashamed.
81 My soul faints for your salvation: but I hope in your word.
82 Mine eyes fail for your word, saying, When will you comfort me?
83 For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget your statutes.
84 How many are the days of your servant? when will you execute judgment on them that persecute me?
85 The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after your law.
86 All your commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help you me.
87 They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not your precepts.
88 Quicken me after your lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of your mouth.
89 Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness is unto all generations: you have established the earth, and it abides.