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EPHESIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 15

Verse 15. Of whom the whole family. This expression, "of whom," may refer either to "the Father" or to the Lord Jesus. Commentators have been divided in opinion in regard to it. Bloomfield, Chandler, Erasmus, Koppe, and some others, refer it to the Father. Locke, Doddridge, Calvin, and some others, refer it to the Lord Jesus. This is the more natural interpretation. The whole "family of God" means all his children; and the idea is, that they all bear the same name, derived from the Redeemer; all are Christians. No matter where they are, in heaven or in earth; no matter from what nation they are converted, whether Jews or Gentiles, they an have one name, and one Redeemer, and all belong to one family. See Eph 4:4-6.

In heaven. Spirits of just men made perfect. It does not properly refer to angels, for he is not speaking of them, but of the family of the redeemed. If the phrase, "in heaven," could ever be taken to denote the Jews as contradistinguished from the Gentiles, I should think that this was one of the places. Many expositors have supposed that it is frequently so used in this epistle, but I see no clear evidence of it, and no instance where it seems very probable, unless this should be one. And it is not necessary here, for it may mean all the redeemed, whether in heaven or earth, though the connexion would seem rather to have suggested a reference to the Jews and the Gentiles. An expression similar to this occurs in Col 1:20:—"To reconcile all things to himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." The passage before us is one that is commonly explained by a reference to Jewish opinions. The Jews were accustomed to call the angels in heaven God's upper family, and his people on earth his lower family. See the passages cited from the Rabbinical writers in Wetstein.

Is named. This means substantially the same as is. They are all of one family. They all have one Father, and are all of one community. The expression is taken from the custom in a family, where all bear the name of the head of the family; and the meaning is, that all in heaven and on earth are united under one head, and constitute one community. It does not mean that all are called by the same name, or that the name Christian is given to the angels, but that they all pertain to the same community, and constitute the same great and glorious brotherhood. Part are in heaven, near his throne; part in distant worlds; part are angels of light; part redeemed and happy spirits; part are in the church on earth; but they are all united as one family, and have one Head and Father. This glorious family will yet be gathered together in heaven, and will encompass the throne of their common Father rejoicing.

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