”For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Messiah Yeshua for you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of G-d which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Messiah), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Messiah through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of G-d given to me by the effective working of His power.”
- We continue to see that there are two major conflicts addressed in the Apostolic Scriptures:
- The Kingdom of Light vs the Kingdom of Darkness
- Gentile inclusion into Israel without ritual conversion vs Gentiles included only by ritual conversion.
- The second conflict (ritual conversion debate) must always be seen as an intra-Judaism conflict – not one between “Christianity” and “Judaism.” From a historical perspective, “Christianity” as distinct from normative Judaism was not something that existed until the early 2nd Century.
- Paul, as the self-proclaimed “Apostle to the Gentiles” has both of these conflicts in mind in most of his epistles.
Ephesians – One People of G-d, Created by Grace
- Eph 2:8-10: Motivation (grace), means (Messiah), purpose (unto good works).
- Eph 2:11-22: A mystery, Gentiles become a part of the commonwealth of Israel, through the work of Messiah.
- Eph 2:15: Not the anti-Semitic “… the law of commandments contained in ordinances…” dogma always refers to man-made commands or traditions. This is speaking of the laws of ritual conversion.
- Eph 3:1-11: Mystery, unveiled. Something never conceived of: Gentiles a part of the family of HaShem along with Israel! It is a testimony against the very kingdom of darkness.
Philippians and Colossians – Messianology: Who is Messiah Yeshua?
- Phil 2:1-11: Not an ontological (e.g. “made of?”) discourse. Judaism is not concerned with ontology – it is concerned with what is done by someone. (xref Is 45:23; Aleinu prayer)
- Col 1:15-19: Not ontological. Notice the focus on what Yeshua did, to define and explain Him.
- Col 2:8-17: Not through philosophy. Reality is revealed by the “Shadow Caster” – Sabbaths, New Moons, etc. speak of Him.
- Our faith, our religion is not western. It is not an amalgamation of Bible and Plato. We are called as the people of G-d, to live life His way. We are made the people of G-d not by human effort, or man-made identity markers – we are made His, Jew and Gentile, by grace, through faith. Yeshua did this.
Closing Stanza of the Aleinu Prayer (ArtScroll Translation)
“…Therefore we put our hope in You, HaShem our G-d, that we may soon see your mighty splendor, to remove detestable idolatry from the earth, and false G-ds will be utterly cut off, to perfect the universe through the Almighty’s sovereignty. Then all humanity will call upon Your Name, to turn all the earth’s wicked toward You. All the world’s inhabitants will recognize and know that to You every knee should bend, every tongue should swear. Before You, HaShem, our G-d, they will bend every knee and cast themselves down and to the glory of Your Name they will render homage and they will all accept upon themselves the yoke of Your kingship that you may reign over them soon and eternally. For the kingdom is Yours and You will reign for all eternity in glory as it is written in Your Torah: HaShem shall reign for all eternity. And it is said: HaShem will be King over all the World, on that day HaShem will be One and his Name will be One.”