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    Premier Christian Radio Your voice of hope!

Yeshua Explored

True Balance

todayOctober 18, 2021 14

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It’s when we look at people groups as a whole that our perspective can change. In terms of the Jewish people as a whole, we have already looked at what they could offer the Church, in those eight Hebrew words; moedim, chaim, simcha, berachot, limmud, mishpachah, kadosh and chesed. Romans 11 provides an emphasis, that perhaps alludes to this:

But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! (Romans 11:12)

For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15)

Life from the dead! A promise of chaim … and the rest? We also looked at Gentiles and asked, what did they bring to the table? And the answer was perhaps unexpected. They have, in the form of the remnant, those who have stuck to Biblical principles and have refused to be drawn into the ways of the world, given us the Church itself.

But again, there’s a rider, one spelled out in Romans 11.

Do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you (Romans 11:18)

Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. (Romans 11:20,21)

It’s a warning to Gentiles that fell on deaf ears mostly. It is virtually a prophecy and God knew that Gentiles would fail here, that they would, in their arrogance, act against the natural branches, the Jews. I don’t see much trembling, perhaps there’s still a judgement coming on the Church? However you view this, perhaps the Gentile Church still has a function to perform here? Those who have preserved the remnant Church largely have a good track record regarding their Jewish brethren, but perhaps there is more they can do to educate the rest of the Church and bring it to acknowledgement and repentance on the heinous crimes of their forebears and perhaps their current indifference (and maybe worse).

It has always been a puzzle for me that One New Man never seemed to find true fulfilment in history. The first generation of believers were Jewish and a critical issue that arose was ‘what to do with these Gentiles’? Once basic methodologies were established by the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, Gentiles began trickling, then flooding into the Church. Then we move into post-Biblical history, where there is an initial silence, followed by reports of an established Church run by the Gentile Church Fathers in the 2nd Century onwards, with every intent of purging all Jewishness from their thoughts and practices. Where was One New Man all this time? Did it flourish briefly during those silent years of transition … or had it not happened at all? It appears that, after that first generation, the Jewish and Gentile believers began to move apart, even physically, especially since the Jews flew to Pella in the east, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in AD70. From that point onwards, sadly, the Jews exit stage left for the remainder of the performance that was Church history. The Diaspora, the Galut, became a spiritual one as well as a physical one.

Does this mean that Paul, in Ephesians 2, was writing specifically about a fulfilment that may only just be flickering into existence a full 2,000 years later?

I decided to revisit the letter to the Ephesians, but I decided on a different approach, to see if I could gain extra insights. I created a visual representation of the letter, using Powerpoint, to the accompaniment of the David Suchet NIV audio commentary (Hodder and Stoughton audiobook). You can see it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcjF2KOUKvA&t=748s

In this presentation I cut back on some of Paul’s flowery and devotional language and instead concentrated on the key concepts being developed. The story that began to unfold was that in the context of God’s masterplan to bring unity to His creation (Ephesians 1:9-10), the major thrust was God’s own answer to that question, ‘what to do with these Gentiles’? The Jews were a given, they were the near people, the natural branches and the natural inheritors of the promise. God’s intentions were wrapped up in the mystery of the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:6), how the far people, the unnatural branches can be grafted in as an equal partner in the ‘Grand Undertaking’ of the Body of Christ, the great temple of believers.

Most Gentiles probably don’t understand what a privilege they have been granted, yet they must have known that right at the beginning, when Paul was first revealing his revelation. Yet how quickly this went sour and the Gentile Church was eventually responsible for creating a “Church of Unnatural Branches”, Christendom, the power structures that have dominated most of Church history. They have made a mockery out of a mystery and surely the promises of those chapters are still yet to be fulfilled, when Jew and Gentile can truly be reconciled in Unity:

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:10-12)

This is a major declaration and speaks of a time when even the demonic world is going to sit up and notice, because it is going to see a Church in true unity, characterised by the one-ness of the One New Man, of Jew and Gentile. This, I believe, is still in the future, but, perhaps a future fast approaching. 

If these things can begin to happen then I believe we can finally see a shalom of Oneness emerging in God’s Church and a loud message proclaimed to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. The message is this: watch out, we have finally got our act together!

This is an extract from the book, Shalom, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/shalom-239-p.asp

Has the Church found true balance?

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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