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Yeshua Explored


todayOctober 11, 2021 10

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In terms of the relationship between Jew and Gentile, we have identified two key passages of Scripture. We have the One New Man of Ephesians 2, of course, but we also have the warnings to the Gentiles given in Romans 11. Taking the two together and using the tools of form and function I believe we can formulate a pretty good summary and way forwards in our search for ‘Oneness’.

We start off with the form. What is the form of a Jew and a Gentile? Who is a Jew and who is a Gentile? Paul gives us a good clue in Ephesians:

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) (Ephesians 2:11)

The Jews are the circumcised ones, the ones with the physical mark. It is a physical indicator, not something that is chosen or spiritualised or imagined or even hoped for. Ironically the Nazis got right to the point with the Nuremberg Laws, forbidding ‘impure’ relations between Jews and Germans. For them a Jew is someone with three or four Jewish grandparents, it was purely a matter of blood not religion. So should it be for us, a bloodline, just like the one that connected Jesus to his forbears. This makes it easy for us to decide who is a Gentile … everybody else who isn’t a Jew.

Oh, if it were only this straightforward for some. It is beyond irony to realise that despite Jewish people being those most hated, reviled and persecuted in history, there are some who even wish to hijack their very identity. This is identity politics – something I spoke about in detail in Into the Lion’s Den – gone mad. There is a current trend for whole swathes of humanity to define themselves according to a form defined by others, an aspect of their origin or behaviour or lifestyle, groupings usually allied to culture, race, gender or religion. This is often to the detriment of any function that God may have for them, which helps us to understand the anti-God origins of the process.

Unfortunately, this has spread to some aspects of the Church. Historically we have the anathema of Replacement Theology, taking many forms, and asserting that the Gentile Church is the ‘New Israel’ (This is comprehensively refuted in Outcast Nation), thus stripping away any spiritual identity Jewish people may have in God’s purposes and rendering ‘null and void’ many of the cast-iron promises that God gave the Jews in the Old Testament, such as in Jeremiah 31:35-37:

This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.” This is what the Lord says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the Lord.

But there is also a more sinister aspect of this. There are “Christian” groups who assert that many modern Jews aren’t even physical Jews, but imposters, descendants of Gentile tribes living in Russia many centuries ago. This is a thoroughly discredited theory but convenient in feeding an anti-Semitic narrative. It allows the ‘British Israelites’, ‘Black Hebrews’ and various revisionists to make claims to being the ‘true Jews’, in order to bolster their own sense of “identity”, even if there are no solid facts to back them up. This is all part of the post-modern “believe what you like” world that we currently live in! Of course, if the neo-Nazis ever came to power, these movements would disappear like a flash and drop their faux Yiddishkeit like a ton of bricks!

So a Jew is a Jew and a Gentile is a Gentile. Now for the function. This is where it gets interesting and where we broaden our outlook, looking at individual Jews and Gentiles, but also at the Jewish and Gentile people as a whole.

As individuals it is easy, but often misunderstood. The clue is in Galatians:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

For an individual, in terms of your salvation and your place in God’s purposes, we are all the same, there is no difference in Jew or Gentile. We all share in the same function:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Our function as Christians is to be transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus, our model. Does this also mean that, in Christ, our form is not fixed, with our goal to achieve the form of Jesus himself? No, we need to think about form in a physical sense. We are physically and biologically either Jew or Gentile and although we wish to be transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus, this is not a physical transformation, but a functional change, through the process of sanctification.

There is only one rider to this, a controversial one and a mystery to all, save God Himself. In terms of the impact that individual Jews have made on our world – for good and for bad – there is something going on there. Perhaps it is an outworking of God’s blessings to Abraham (Genesis 12 etc.), or perhaps it can be explained in other terms, the fact is that … it is a fact. It has been estimated that 22% of all Nobel Prize winners in the 20th Century were Jewish, a people who comprise just 0.19% of the population! There is definitely something going on here!

More next week …

This is an extract from the book, Shalom, available for £10 at

Jews and Gentiles in the Church

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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