As we quickly approach the last days before Yeshua/Jesus returns, the mystery to awaken and restore Israel into the family in the One New Man becomes tantamount in God's glorious plan to establish His kingdom upon the earth.
In this light, the Holy Spirit is shifting His focus onto a very necessary spiritual restoration in God's family between Jew and Gentile, in order that His end-time plans may actually come about through us. I call this the Re-connection. The truth is that both groups are intricately linked together into these plans and are actually in great need of one another, yet presently the family of God is divided and separate.
As a result, I am beginning a new series called, "What is The One New Man?" In these articles we will explore and re-examine the pertinent Scriptures on the One New Man, as well as issues related to Israel and the Church. We will interview leaders from both sides of the family to gain a better understanding. However, the main goal here is to help bring the body of Messiah/Christ into a greater unity and depth of understanding of this mystery; the goal is not necessarily to see it anymore from either a Gentile or Jewish lens, but rather through the heart of the Father who longs for His family to be one. To be united into His end-time purposes and plans to mobilize us into the fray (John 17:23).
Ephesians 2:11-22 - Written For God's Children From The Nations
This is the only text in the entire New Covenant Scripture that refers to the term, "One New Man", so it is a good place for us to start. This text is written specifically to Gentile believers to clearly communicate what has now transpired through the releasing of the New Covenant in Yeshua/Jesus.
Verse 11 begins with "Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh." However, it may help us to better comprehend this text if we have a clearer understanding of the apostle Paul's vision and purpose for his ministry here, which was to win the Gentiles to the faith and to unite the family between Jew and Gentile.
Please also understand that within this context Paul had quite a challenge on his hands to be able to convince Gentile believers of their now complete and total equality with their Jewish brethren in Messiah/Christ. After all, referring to the Jews, Paul writes, "Israelites, to whom belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises, to whom belong the patriarchs, and from whom, according to the flesh, is Christ, who is over all, God forever blessed. Amen" (Rom. 9:4-5).
So one could imagine that, in the beginning of Paul's ministry, he had to work hard to lay a strong foundation and be able to explain how this was now possible, as both Jew and Gentile needed to embrace the cross in order to pass over from sin's curse, which the law fully exposed. Messiah/Christ now made an entrance for all of His children, both Jew and Gentile alike. The fullness of the law through the Spirit indwelled each of us as we yielded to Messiah/Christ, who are now joined together and rise to become His Holy Temple (Eph. 2:21).
While the Jews actually came through the law, and Gentiles came after it through Messiah/Christ, both had to fully embrace the message of the cross in order to find the fullness of the New Covenant: "And He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father (Eph. 2:17-18). This alone should be enough to kill the concept of dual covenant theology, which somehow gives a pass to the Jews believing in God but not embracing the cross concerning their salvation.
As a result, Paul lays out to us one of the clearest explanations in the Bible of what has actually transpired through the Gospel, as it relates to both Jew and Gentile in the family of God. Look at the very first point he makes here. He reminds Gentile believers what they were excluded from before they believed in Yeshua/Jesus, obviously now inferring that through Messiah/Christ they are now fellow citizens with Israel, or as the NAS and KJV put it, a commonwealth of Israel and sharers of the covenants of the promise.
Ephesians 2:19 continues, "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." Please note here that Paul did not have to explain this to the Jewish believers. By this time, they were already aware of how the Holy Spirit had opened the door for Gentiles coming to faith. Rather, Paul needed to convince God's children from the nations that they were now included in the Israel of God.
Ephesians 2:20 points to an Israelite-like body built upon the apostles and prophets, of which the Messiah was its cornerstone. This was the Jewish governing authority that the Lord established the Kingdom of God to go out from, along with its five-fold focus to equip the saints for good works. We are grafted into Israel as fellow citizens with equal rights.
Ephesians 3:6 makes clear another component of Paul's argument: "The Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel." Yet why is it today that, when we think of the Church, we see it as such a separate entity from the very commonwealth that we have been grafted into, as if the Gentile Church replaces Israel?
Am I missing something here, for is not belief in Yeshua/Jesus actually Jewish? When one believes in Him, do we not become children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and inherit the covenants that were also given to Israel? So why do we consider Christianity in such a gentile manner?
While the church prospered greatly under the persecution of the then Roman Empire with great signs and wonders accompanying its efforts, something hugely significant was lost when Rome looked to adopt the faith and nationalized it. I call this the Disconnection. Not only was the governing structure and focus of the Church altered through its leadership—adapting numerous pagan beliefs in the process and moving us away from God's calendar—but all connections to its roots and heritage to Israel were cut and eventually lost.
This established Christianity as a separate and distinct religion, even teaching that the Church had now succeeded Israel with all of the promises and covenants relating to them and not to Israel. In reality, belief in Yeshua/Jesus is the only true and proper extension of Judaism fulfilled in the New Covenant itself, which was given to Israel through Yeshua/Jesus, who then took its message out to the nations through the apostles and prophets so that God's other children could be grafted into the fold (John 10:16).
There are key words for us to understand here, such as "together with Israel" and "fellow citizens with God's people" that point to the fact that, within the unity of the One New Man, there existed two distinct groups, one that was Jewish and one Gentile. Yet both now co-existed in a heavenly unity within the Spirit that will ultimately reflect God's priesthood upon the earth when Yeshua/Jesus comes back to reign.
The One New Man does not wipe out these distinctions, as the Church has taught; rather, it upholds and blesses them. God was not calling Gentiles to be Jews from within this unity, for He created the Nations and their uniqueness, but rather to express their beliefs through Israel, which was lost when the Church disconnected itself. This must be restored now if Israel is to be won back to faith.
Yet it wasn't long after the Roman world took control of the Church that the only entrance into the olive tree of Israel became fully Gentile, with absolutely no Jewish expression being permitted.
While the disconnection may have been tolerable during God's sole focus on gathering His children from the Nations (God has been equitable in time spent on His family: 2,000 years on the firstborn from Abraham to Yeshua/Jesus and 2000 years on His children from the Nations), as we enter the time of the fullness of the Gentiles, the Holy Spirit is shifting us.
As a result, this breach must be restored to reunite us and make us one. This will not only prepare us for His coming to properly reflect the commonwealth we are grafted into, which is inherently Jewish, but also for one of our greatest ever roles, which is to help breathe spiritual life back into the rest of Israel with the mercy of God we have received, who must be awakened before He returns (Rom. 11:30-32). For we will become far more effective in our evangelism and witness back towards the Jewish people when we are reconnected to our roots and heritage properly, drawing them to jealousy instead of presenting the current Gentile branch of the faith, which is completely foreign to them and which was used to persecute and kill their ancestors.
The Natural Branch Must Be Restored
My second book, The Ezekiel Generation, really focuses on this. His family is not complete until the broken branch of Israel is grafted back into the tree and our Father's covenants and promises to restore His firstborn children have come to pass.
Israel cannot be grafted back into the Gentile branch of the faith, but must be restored to their own natural branch, which calls for a great realignment in our thinking and our eschatology, which up to this point has had the Church and Israel on separate paths before the Lord's return. There are reasons why we have not been able to see this role and Reconnection up until this time, which The Ezekiel Generation fully brings to light.
The natural branch is already re-emerging in the form of the Messianic Movement and many Jewish believers coming to faith in the Church. However, they truly need our help and support to fulfill their own callings. They need to live out their own identities as Jewish believers, so that Yeshua's light can shine back to the rest of Israel through them.
It is time for us both, as Jews and Gentiles in the faith, to begin to hang up our own individual perspectives that are keeping us apart. The fullness of the revelation of the One New Man will not come to us from either side, but only when we are dwelling together in unity.
We need to see this reunion in His family from our Father's perspective, who loves all of His children equally but longs for His firstborn to be restored. It is only with His heart and His Spirit that we will be able to fully engage and fulfill His plans for us. His purposes have us intricately linked during these days to fulfill His plans upon the earth and which includes a mutual love and respect for one another.
In next month's article, I will teach from Romans 11.
To listen to the Bible Study at Messiah's House on Ephesians 2:11-22, please click here.
Grant Berry is a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus and author of The New Covenant Prophecy and The Ezekiel Generation. He has founded Reconnecting Ministries with the specific focus to help the church reconnect spiritually to Israel and considers it vital to the kingdom of God in the last days. His website is reconnectingministries.org.