Casting Lots

Numbers 26.52-59
Joshua 15-21
Ezekiel 20.33-44
Micah 2.3-5
Ephesians 1.11-14

We started studying Ephesians this past Tuesday, and were treated to one of those 'Holy Spirit' moments where the discussion veered from the planned path and took us to something new and wonderful. The Spirit had prepared the gound in my studies the day before, so all He had to do was give a little shove.

The shove came when Brian offered the information that in Ephesians 1 the word 'inheritance' means to cast lots in the Greek. Since I had been reading Micah the night before, lights went off in my head.

In Micah 2:3-5, the prophet is pronouncing woe to evil doers in Israel and Judah. The punchline in verse 5 is 'Therefore you will have no one to determine boundaries by lot in the assembly of the Lord.' We know from Numbers that land in Israel was divided by lot among the tribes. Lots were also used to divide the tribal allocation among families. What that means is that God is the one who determines matters of real estate in Israel. Thus, the passage in Micah foretells exile, loss of inheritance and loss of the ability to get it back.

With that in mind, let's go back to the passage in Ephesians. There Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit is '...the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession...'

It is a common teaching that the 'purchased posession' is the Church which Y'shua bought with His blood. While we certainly are His possession, it is not at all clear that the Church is what is in view here. Given the meaning of the word 'inheritance,' I would argue that Paul is talking real estate.

This conjecture is bolstered if we believe that we're going to repeat the events of the Exodus. In that pattern, the people of God are preserved through the plagues of Revelation, taken into the wilderness where the rebels are purged and finally brought into the Land. Real estate in the Land is divided by lot at the hand of Joshua (Y'shua).

This is all very exciting. Paul is foretelling the restoration of God's economy where land is divided under His annointing. He is further assuring the body of believers, where gentiles are grafted into Israel, that they too will be alloted a portion.

We're going to have to quit calling deviations from the lesson plan 'bunny trails'.