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Doctrine of Pleroma

August 2, 2014

DOCTRINE OF PLEROMA

A. Definition of PLEROMA.
1. While the verb TELEIOO indicates completion of the postsalvation spiritual life for the Church Age, PLEROMA is the equivalent of Jeshurun status in the Old Testament.
2. PLEROMA is defined as that which fills, that which is brought to fullness or completion, the sum total, super abundance. It means fullness in the sense of fulfillment.
3. PLEROMA means complete in itself, complete in quota, complete in quality, complete in duration.

B. The Church Age is “the dispensation of the fullness of times.”
1. This phrase in Eph 1:10 means the Church Age is the dispensation of the fullness of times. The Church Age is fullness in the sense of fulfilling the unique spiritual life in the unique dispensation. Never in human history has God given believers such a plan whereby all is complete in itself, having such great assets with equal privilege and equal opportunity to every believer. Eph 1:10, “With reference to the dispensation of the fullness of times to gather together in Christ those in heaven and those on earth.”
a. Fullness is therefore a title for the Church Age.
b. The dispensation of the fullness of times corresponds to the times of the Gentiles.
(1) Lk 21:24 refers to the times of the Gentiles. Rom 11:25 refers to the fullness of the Gentiles.
(2) Lk 21:24 emphasizes that only Gentile nations are client nations to God. Rom 11:25 says that a maximum number of Gentiles will be come royal family of God in the Church Age.
2. Since the Church Age is complete in itself, in quota, in quality, and in duration, this means you should have no relationship with three things.
a. No relationship with any past dispensation. Ritual is out in the Church Age. Our only ritual, the Lord’s table, is designed to remember Jesus Christ, which fulfills the first function of this dispensation: relationship with God supersedes relationship with people. Our only ritual has nothing to do with people, but with concentrating on the Lord.
b. No relationship with the future dispensations of the Tribulation and the Millennium.
c. No relationship with any form of human experience related to the natural. The spiritual supersedes the natural in the Church Age. Experience is not the major issue in the Church Age because of the unique nature of this dispensation. Experience and application to experience is always emphasized where ignorance of the Church Age exists. It is not the quality of our experience in relationship to mankind that is placed first in the protocol plan of God; it is the quality of our relationship with God that comes first, and that can only occur through Bible doctrine.
3. Therefore, PLEROMA is a technical term for the greatest dispensation–the Church Age. The Church Age is greater in challenge and opportunity than even the Millennium with its perfect environment!
4. The Church Age is the dispensation of the fullness for two reasons.
a. God’s provision of the portfolio of invisible assets.
b. God’s provision of the protocol plan of God.
5. The Church Age is designed to have the highest quality of believers ever. The ordinary man should be of the greatest and highest quality. Every believer is royal family of God. You have the most fantastic opportunity with your assets. You must know and use them.
6. PLEROMA carries even greater greatness than the Jeshurun status of a few great Old Testament believers.

C. The Church Age believer is designed to be the “fullness of Christ.”
1. The dispensation of the fullness of times demands that every believer advance to the same spiritual status as our Lord Jesus Christ, “the fullness of Christ.”
2. Eph 4:13, “Until we all attain the unity of doctrine and the epignosis knowledge of the Son of God [advancing] to a mature person to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
a. The unity of doctrine is the fact that the doctrinal content of the spiritual life for the Church Age has no contradictions and has a system of fantastic progress.
b. The “fullness of Christ” is the unique spiritual life, which Jesus Christ invented and provided for every believer of the Church Age, Heb 12:2. He invented and executed the prototype spiritual life and then gave it to the Church.
(1) The highest honor given to any believer in the age of the patriarchs was the status of “friend of God.” It was given to Abraham and to Moses.
(a) Ex 33:11, “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face-to-face, just as a man speaks to his friend.”
(b) Abraham’s honor is mentioned in:
i. 2 Chr 20:7, “O our God, did You not drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?”
ii. Isa 41:8, “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham My friend.”
iii. Jam 2:21-23, “Was not Abraham our father vindicated by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? Yes, he was. You see that faith [faith-rest drill] was working with his deeds, and out from his deeds, his faith was completed [Abraham maximized the postsalvation spiritual life of the Old Testament]; and so the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘But Abraham had believed God, and it was reckoned [evaluated] to him for righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God.” Offering Isaac was Abraham’s evidence testing. Abraham was saved [justified] by faith in Christ, but vindicated in his maximum use of the faith-rest drill fifty to sixty years later when he had maximized the spiritual life and offered up Isaac as a part of evidence testing, and therefore, was decorated with the highest honor he could receive from God, being called “the friend of God.” Heb 11:17-19, “By faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, even he who had received the promises was offering his uniquely born son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed will be called,’ believing that God is able to resurrect him even from the dead, from which he received him back as an analogy.”
(2) The highest honor given to any believer in Israel was Jeshurun status, such as Moses, Caleb, and Joshua.
(3) In the Church Age, the highest honor given to any believer is PLEROMA status, “the fullness of Christ.” It is greater than being the “friend of God” as Abraham was or being in Jeshurun status as Moses was. Jeshurun status is on hold during the Church Age. The highest spiritual life function during the Church Age is PLEROMA status. Maximizing the spiritual life is becoming a PLEROMA believer, having executed the very spiritual life that our Lord executed.
c. Since we have the operational spiritual life, we have the opportunity of executing God’s plan to come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
d. Our Lord set the standard when He lived inside the prototype divine dynasphere during the first Advent. Under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit and with momentum from metabolized doctrine, He made a rapid advance to spiritual maturity. Because of the prototype divine dynasphere, He arrived at the cross impeccable in His humanity.
e. Our Lord pioneered protocol modus operandi in the spiritual life. We now have equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute the protocol plan of God.
3. In Jn 1:15‑16, “fullness” refers to royalty and the Church Age. Verse 16 is the transition when ritual is out and the reality of the protocol plan of God is in. “Grace instead of grace” means the portfolio of invisible assets of eternity past and the protocol plan of God of time have replaced the unconditional covenants and the ritual plan for Israel.
4. Gal 4:4‑5. See the Doctrine of Adoption.
5. Rom 11:12, “If their transgression . . . how much more will their fullness be.” The Church Age is the dispensation of the fullness for both Jews and Gentiles, for all believers in the royal family of God under the protocol plan of God. Therefore in the Church Age, both are under the same plan with the same privileges and opportunities. Equal privilege leads to equal opportunity. We must learn the protocol plan of God; we must learn how to live like royalty.
6. The “dispensation of the fullness of times” in Eph 1:10 indicates the uniqueness of the Church Age as a royal family of God dispensation. After our Lord’s resurrection, ascension, and session, He instituted this new dispensation.
7. The Church Age was inserted for the formation and completion of the royal family of God, which is absolutely unique, in order to make a demonstration to history that even though Satan is the ruler of this world, it is possible for a believer to take these magnificent invisible assets and turn them into something that is fantastic, so that you have a mini-millennium in your soul, having perfect happiness, perfect blessings, and everything beyond your imagination.
8. Never before in history has the ordinary life of the believer had such power, privilege, and opportunity. Every believer has his very own portfolio. You must become aware of your fantastic, glorious heritage. You must understand what God has wrought and begin to utilize it. This will only occur as you understand your invisible assets from invisible God.

D. PLEROMA is related to Operation Footstool.
1. Eph 1:22-23, “Now He [God the Father] has subordinated all things under His feet [Operation Footstool]; furthermore, He has appointed Him ruler over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness [PLEROMA] of Him who has filled [PLEROO] all [winner believers] with all things.”
2. Paul did not finish this prayer because the Church Age is not yet completed, and will not be completed until the exit resurrection of the Church.

E. The Christology of PLEROMA.
1. The christology of PLEROMA is found in Col 1:15-19, “For it was the good pleasure of the Father for all the fullness to dwell in Him.”
2. This refers to the humanity of Christ living in the prototype spiritual life in hypostatic union.
3. What is all the fullness that dwelt in the human nature of Jesus Christ in hypostatic union? Col 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of deity in bodily form.” The PLEROMA of deity here is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Col 2:10, “and in Him you have been made complete [PLEROO].” In bodily form, God the Holy Spirit indwells each one of us and we are filled with the Holy Spirit when we are in fellowship with God. We are made complete through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.

F. The Integrity of God and PLEROMA.
1. The integrity of God defined–what the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes through the love of God expressed in the grace of God.
2. What the righteousness of God approves, the justice of God blesses through the love of God, namely, an expression of the grace of God–the dispensation of the fullness of times, Eph 1:10.
3. What the righteousness of God approves, the justice of God blesses through the love of God, namely, the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13); therefore, the fullness of Him who has filled all winner believers with all things (Eph 1:23). The measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ is your spiritual life, given to you at salvation. This is the most that God has ever done for the ordinary believer and He has done it for you.
4. What the righteousness of God approves, the justice of God blesses through the love of God, namely, all the fullness of blessing from God (Eph 3:19) as a grace gift to Jeshurun equivalent status of the spiritual life of the Church Age.

G. Conclusion.
1. Church Age believers who attain Jeshurun equivalent status are classified as PLEROMA believers. You have the fullness of God’s blessing for time and eternity.
2. PLEROMA believers fulfill the true definition of the postsalvation spiritual life–harmonious rapport with God.
3. PLEROMA status quo in the Church Age is analogous to Jeshurun believers of Israel and before Israel existed. Abraham is classified as “the friend of God.” Moses is classified as the friend of God and the originator of Jeshurun. David classified as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22).
4. PLEROMA believers play an important part in Operation Footstool, for they will rule nations for one thousand years during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
a. At the present time, our Lord Jesus Christ is the ruler of all of us.
b. Beginning with Operation Footstool, Jesus Christ will supercede Satan as the ruler of this world and PLEROMA believers will rule with Him during that one thousand years.
(1) Rev 5:10, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”
(2) Rev 20:6, “Privileged and set apart to God are those who have a part in the first resurrection [the Rapture]; over these the second death has no jurisdiction, and they will be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him for a thousand years.”
(3) The PLEROMA believers are those who receive the decoration of the order of the morning star, which includes ruling with Christ. The decoration of PLEROMA believers is the issue in Rev 2:26, “Furthermore, the winner, even the one who keeps My accomplishments [the function of Jesus Christ in the execution of the prototype spiritual life] until the end [death or the Rapture]–to him I will give authority over the nations.” cf. Rev 2:28, “Furthermore, I will give to him the [order of] morning star.” and Rev 22:16, “…I am the root and the descendent of David, the bright morning star.” For maximizing the spiritual life of the dispensation of the fullness of times, the PLEROMA believer will be decorated with the order of the morning star. Loser believers will be on earth during the millennium, but only as observers and not as rulers with Christ.
(4) A Gentile, named Balaam, made a verbal prophecy of this in Num 24:17, “I see Him [Jesus Christ at the first Advent], but not now. I behold Him, but not in near history. A star [Jesus Christ] shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter [ruler] shall rise from Israel…”
(5) There is a Jewish prophecy given by Peter, 2 Pet 1:19-21, “Furthermore, we keep on having a more reliable prophetic doctrine, with reference to which doctrine you perform honorably by habitually concentrating your right lobes on a lamp shining in a dark place [the word of God] until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your stream of consciousness. But we know this first, that all prophecy of Scripture does not come from one’s own interpretation; for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human volition, but men spoke from God, being carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
c. There are three indirect approaches to the millennial rulership of PLEROMA believers.
(1) The a fortiori approach of Rom 5:17, “For if by the transgression of the one [Adam’s original sin], [spiritual] death ruled through that one, and it did, much more [it follows a fortiori] those who in life received the surplus of grace and the gift of righteousness shall rule through that One, Jesus Christ.”
(a) A fortiori is a system of logic related to comparison and inference.
(b) If God did the most for us at salvation, and He did, it is obvious with greater reason that He can reward PLEROMA believers during Operation Footstool with rulership with Himself of the world.
(c) If God did the most for us at salvation, He can do much more than the most for us after salvation, Rom 8:32. For the winner believer that means ruling with Christ. The spiritual life for the PLEROMA believer is not finished until that believer rules with Christ for one thousand years.
(2) The sarcastic and idiom of the impossible wish approach is found in 1 Cor 4:7-8 when Paul is addressing the carnal believers of Corinth. 1 Cor 4:7-8, “For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it [the spiritual life], why do you boast as if you had not received it? You think you already have all [the spiritual food] you need; you have already become rich; you have become kings without us. Would that you did indeed reign, so that we also could rule with you.”
(a) Who regarded the Corinthians as superior? The Corinthians regarded themselves as superior. They were very smart people. They assume that because they are smart and know a little doctrine that they are going to rule with Christ.
(b) They understand that those who execute the spiritual life are going to rule with Christ in Operation Footstool. The Corinthians knew prophecy but have no clue as to what the spiritual life is.
(c) Church Age believers who do reach PLEROMA status will rule with Christ. What we have here is the case of very smart believers in perpetual carnality who think they will rule with Christ.
(d) Paul understood the true doctrine and brings it out in this passage in sarcasm and in an impossible wish. Paul understood that at this time the Corinthians were in a state of perpetual carnality, and they were not qualified to reign with Christ in the millennium.
(e) This is a case of sanctified sarcasm. It becomes a challenge to the Corinthian believers to rebound and get moving in their spiritual life, because as things stand now they are not going to rule with Christ.
(f) It is obvious from Paul’s use of Attic Greek that he had their attention, and he drove home his point with powerful sarcasm.
(g) In a state of carnality, the Corinthians considered themselves experts in doctrine (they did not need any more).
(h) This explains Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 3:1, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual persons, but as to persons under the control of the sin nature [SARKIKOS, which implies perpetual carnality].” The Corinthians had great intellect, but were distracted by their own emotions.
(i) Some believers will not rule with Christ during the millennium. Jam 4:4b, “Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes themselves the enemy of God.” The BEMA or judgment seat of Christ eliminates believers who are enemies of God. This leaves only five enemies of Christ to be made the footstool of His feet at the second Advent: Satan, fallen angels, religion, unbelievers, and death.
(3) The third approach is the eternity security approach and is found in 2 Tim 2:12, “If we persevere [in the execution of the spiritual life], we shall also rule. If we refuse [failure to execute the spiritual life], He will also refuse us [rewards at the judgment seat of Christ].”
5. The rewards and privileges to the PLEROMA believer.
a. There are three rewards and privileges related PLEROMA believers as associated with the decoration of the order of the Morning Star which they receive: the uniform of glory, the new royal title of knighthood, presentation in the court of heaven. Rev 3:4b-5, “…in fact they will walk with Me in whites [This is the translucent uniform of light worn over the resurrection body.], because they are worthy. Thus the winner [the PLEROMA believer] shall be clothed with white garments; and I will never blot his title out of the book of life, in fact I will acknowledge his title in the presence of My Father and before His angels.”
b. The PLEROMA believer receives a new title of royalty. Rev 2:17, “…To the winner I will give him from the hidden manna, also I will give him a white stone, and on that stone has been inscribed a new title which no one knows except the person who receives it.” The white stone is the citation of accomplishment in the decoration of the Morning Star. It verifies the PLEROMA believer’s appointment to the order of the Morning Star and is the title of nobility with all of its privileges that belong to that decoration. Upon receiving the white stone at the BEMA (evaluation throne of Christ), no one except the recipient knows the title until the honors list is posted at the second Advent. When the honors list is posted at the second Advent, the rulers’ list is published at the same time, and at that time both will be revealed. There is a special title that goes with each believer who rules a country in the millennium. The principle of 1 Cor 14:40 applies to all preparation and all function of Operation Footstool, “Let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.”
c. The PLEROMA believer receives membership in the Paradise Club of God. This white stone is also a membership card for entrance into the Paradise of God, Rev 2:7b, “To the winner, I will authorize you to eat from the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.” The PLEROMA believer has access to the Paradise club of God.
d. The PLEROMA believer receives a permanent historical record in heaven. The white stone is a copy of the permanent historical record of the PLEROMA believer’s accomplishments on one of the pillars in the temple of God in heaven. Rev 3:12a, “The winner, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, furthermore he will never vanish from history [this is the correct translation of the idiom ‘he will never go outside again’];”
e. The PLEROMA believer receives permanent access to the New Jerusalem, Rev 3:12b, “also I will emblazon on him the title of My God, and the name of the city of My God [this is his pass to enter the satellite city of the eternal state which is suspended above the earth and where the tree of life is located and it is called the New Jerusalem], the new Jerusalem, which shall descend from heaven from My God, also My new title.” Temples in the ancient world were used to record the permanent record of the deeds of famous people.