The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 1:22-23 ~ Christ is the Head of the Church

Vol. 14 No. 37

Christ head believers body

As we noted in vs. 21, the humanity of Christ at the right hand of the Father is superior to all super demon leaders. That is, Jesus Christ as a member of the human race seated at the right hand of the Father in His resurrection body is superior to all the fallen angels put together, and not only superior to them but separate in every way.

Vs. 22-23

Eph 1:22-23, “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Having noted Jesus’ superior authority over the angels in vs. 21, we now see in vs. 22-23 that Jesus Christ is superior in authority over the church, which is His body. This is all part of Operation Footstool. This statement actually comes from Psa 8:6 that has a special emphasis on the God-Man man, Jesus Christ.

Psa 8:6, “You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.”

These two verses also conclude Paul’s prayer for the Church, which began back in vs. 17. This prayer emphasizes Paul’s desire that we understand the power of God that is available to us, the believer, with a reminder that the Church is the beneficiary of that power, i.e., Jesus has been given all authority as head over all things, i.e. all of creation lost by Adam in the Garden of Eden and handed over to Satan, c.f. Luke 4:6.

Having manifested the power of God by subjecting all angelic creatures to the authority of the God-Man Jesus Christ, a second manifestation of God’s power in Christ is seen in these verses in His placing “all things under Christ’s feet.” Whereas Adam lost his headship over Creation when he sinned, Christ was made Head over all Creation, cf. Eph 1:10 due to His victory at the Cross. And as we have noted, this will be fully realized in the future, Psa 8:6; 1 Cor 15:27; Heb 2:6-8.

This authority is “to the Church,” because the Church is a living organism with Christ as its head by which God manifests His power through.

The third manifestation of God’s power in Christ in these verses is His appointment of Christ as Head over… the Church. That God’s power is available for his people is underlined in the assertion that God has given Christ as head over all things to the Church. Though the final manifestation of Christ’s headship over all Creation will be in the future, He is now Head over the fellowship of believers. He is called the Church’s “Head” in Eph 4:15; 5:23; Col 1:18. Although the Church is implied in Eph 1:10, it is specifically mentioned for the first time in Ephesians here in vs. 22b. As such, the Church is “His body” vs. 23; cf. 4:4, 16; Col 1:18. His body is the universal church consisting of all believers of the entire Church Age.

Jesus has been given the rank of “head,” KEPHALE, κεφαλή over “His body,” SOMA, σῶμα. KEPHALE meaning, “head,” is also used metaphorically in classical Greek for that which is superior and which has authority. So it is used in the N.T. not only literally but also as a symbol of authority, strength and leadership. It means He is the supreme rule and authority over His body, the Church.

In Col 2:10, KEPHALE is used for Jesus’ authority over the fallen angels as we noted in vs. 21, but here and elsewhere, it is used of His authority over the Church, Eph 4:15; 5:23; Col 1:18; 2:19.

Eph 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.”

Eph 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”

Col 1:18, “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.”

Col 2:19, “And not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.”

As the human head governs the body to which it belongs, so authority is vested in the headship relation wherever it exists. In the N.T. there are at least five such authoritative relations of Christ as head over, including:

1.  He is the “Head of the Cornerstone,” Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7. Eph 2:19-22, speaks of the entire Church as a building of God, Christ being the Headstone of the corner. It figures the stability that Christ gives to His body to function rightly.

2.  He is “Head over Every Man,” 1 Cor 11:3; cf. Eph 5:23. Whether recognized or admitted by men, Christ is ruling over all of them. To Him they must one day render an account. So even though Satan rules the world, Jesus Christ continues to control history, as all men are subject and accountable to Him.

3.  He is “Head over the Mystic Body of Christ,” the Church, Eph 4:15; Col 1: 18; 2:19. This figure is used more than any other to represent the service and manifestation of Christ by or through the members of His Body.

4.  He is “Head over the Bride,” Eph 5:23-33. Here again the Church is in view with a unique relationship, which relationship is to be realized fully after the marriage of the Lamb. It figures the day to day authority Christ has in our lives.

5.  He is “Head of principalities and powers,” Eph 1:21; Col 2:10. Christ has universal authority over all angelic hosts, as we have noted.

Col 2:10, “And in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”

In our passage, Christ is the Head over the “Church,” which is the Greek word EKKLESIA, ἐκκλησία that means, “assembly, congregation or church.” It comes from the Preposition EK that means, “out or out from” and the verb KALEO that means, “to call.” Therefore, the believers in the Church Age are the “called out ones,” those summoned by God to Himself and being set apart from the world for God’s special purpose. All who have received the calling of God and believed in Jesus Christ as their savior are entered into the Body of Christ and are called “the Church.”

The sense in which Christ is the “Head of the Church” is that He is the source of its life, its supreme ruler, ever present with it, sympathizing with it, and loving it as a man loves his own flesh, Eph 4:15-16; 5:23, 29; Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:27. The main ideas expressed by this metaphor are that Christ and His Church have an intimate union, dependence and community of life.

Application of  EKKLESIA.

1.  The word “church,” EKKLESIA, means simply, “assembly,” such as any group of citizens who gather for a specific purpose. It is used 114 times in the N.T., 62 times by Paul, and 9 times in Ephesians. It can refer to a local church, 1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thes 1:1, to several churches in a province or country, Acts 15:41; 1 Cor 16:1; Gal 1:2, 22, or to the universal church, 1 Cor 12:28; 15:9; Gal 1:13, as it does in all occurrences in Ephesians. The church is composed of believers who transcend cultural, language, ethnic, gender, and geographical domains.

2.  EKKLESIA was first used in Attic Greek for an assembly of citizens convened to conduct the affairs of state. It is so used in Acts 19:25, 32 for the assembly of the Ephesians to handle the problems of their city- state. It was also used for citizens who gathered in the city to conduct business, Acts 19:30.

3.  EKKLESIA is the Greek root word that was used in the second century B.C. translation of the LXX in the O.T. connotation for the assembly of Israel for example, Judges 20:2; Psa 149:1; Micah 2:5, cf. Acts 7:38, i.e., “the assembly or congregation.” It was used for the assembly of Jews in their synagogue, as in Mat 18:17. In fact, the book of Ecclesiastes is the Greek transliterated into English that comes from the Hebrew equivalent QOHELETH that means, “one who convenes and speaks at an assembly,” i.e., an ecclesiastic or preacher.

4.  It is used for occasions when a group of believers in a particular geographical location got together, even as few as two or three. Such a group was called a local church, as in 1 Cor 11:18, 14:19, 28, 34‑35; Phil 4:15; 1 Thes 1:1; 2 Thes 1:1; Rev 2‑3.

5.  It is used for the Church universal, composed of all members of the Royal Family of God, i.e., all believers in this dispensation of the Church Age, Eph 1:22‑23, 5:25‑27; Col 1:17‑18. As Chafer notes, It is “a company of saved people (who are, by their salvation), where called out from the world into living, organic union with Christ to form His mystical Body over which He is the Head,” (Systematic Theology). It is a reference to the “Body of Christ” made up of the whole company of the redeemed throughout this present dispensation, the Age of Grace / the Church Age, as prophesized by Christ in Mat 16:18. Therefore, you are “Church” as a member of the Royal Family of God in this dispensation.

6.  There are two categories of “Church” in the Church Age.

a.  The Church universal, synonymous with the Royal Family of God or the Body of Christ, which is composed of all Church Age believers. You enter the Church universal at salvation through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the resultant Positional Sanctification by which the Royal Family of God is formed. The power which God gives to the Church is the omnipotence of God the Father related our Portfolio of Invisible Assets and the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit related to God’s Power System (GPS).

b.  The local church is an assembly of believers in a specific geographical location under the teaching ministry of their right Pastor, either face to face, or through some other system of communication. The local church has a policy and an administrative system based on doctrinal principles. This is why there are deacons and other administrative authority in a local church.

7.  Jesus Christ is the ruler of the Church. It is you as an individual that He rules or does not rule, depending upon your volition. He is your ruler. But whether He is allowed to function in your life as your ruler depends upon whether you understand and apply the pertinent mystery doctrine. If you understand this doctrine, you have the basis for submitting to the authority of Jesus Christ as the ruler of the Church. If you are advancing in the spiritual life and living inside of God’s Power System (GPS), then you have accepted the authority of Jesus Christ as the ruler of the Church. But the majority of Christians have rejected our Lord’s authority as the ruler of the Church.

8.  Jesus Christ has delegated the authority for the communication of Bible doctrine in the local church to the Pastor‑Teacher, 1 Cor 12:28-29; Eph 4:11 e.g., “joint(s)” in Eph 4:16; Col 2:19. If believers have rejected the authority of Jesus Christ over their personal lives, they will obviously reject the authority of any Pastor who communicates the Word of God, the mind of Christ. If you do not know God’s Word / Bible doctrine, you cannot accept the authority of Jesus Christ in your life.

9.  In its relationship to Jesus Christ, the Church is called:

a.  The body of Christ on earth, 1 Cor 12:12; Eph 3:6; 4:12; 5:23.

b.  The bride of Christ in heaven, Rev 18:23; 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17.

10.   Therefore, there are 3 main components to the study of Ecclesiology (the Church):

a.  The Church as Christ’s body and His fullness; That He is made full in them, and we in Him. (Positional and Ultimate Sanctification.)

b.  The local church, an assembly composed of those who in any locality profess to be followers of Christ and gather together under the delegated teaching authority of a Pastor-Teacher to learn God’s Word and serve Him.

c.  The high calling for a daily life in conformity with the position which the believer sustains being in Christ. (Experiential Sanctification)


 If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:

15-115 & 15-116



If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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