Ephesians 2:11, Gentiles.
Paul says in a number of places that those who come to Yeshua are no longer Gentiles but are the children or seed (literally “sperm,” which is the meaning of the Greek word) of Abraham (Eph 2:11–19; Rom 4:16; 9:8–11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28–29).
The word Gentiles as used in the Scriptures (both in the Hebrew and the Greek languages) simply means “ethnic groups or nations.” There are even many places in the Scriptures where Jews and Israelites are referred to as “Gentiles.” Despite this fact, there is no class of people called Gentiles in the spiritual body of Yeshua. Scripture uses the following terms for the redeemed of YHVH: the saints, the called out ones (or church), the body of Yeshua (1 Cor 10:16; 12:27; Eph 4:12) the one new man (Eph 2:15), sons of Elohim (Rom 8:14, 19; Phil 2:15; 1 John 3:1, 2), children of Elohim (Rom 8:16, 21; Gal 3:26; 1 John 3:10), or Abraham’s offspring (Gal 3:29), the bride (Rev 18:23; 21:2, 9; 22:17) for example, but the saints are technically and spiritually no longer Gentiles. This is a biblical fact that many in the church overlook when they refer to non-Jewish Christians as “Gentiles-Christians”. This is an oxy-moron: spiritually speaking, it’s impossible to be a Gentile and a disciple of Yeshua or a saint at the same time.
Any attempt by anyone to keep the Jew—Gentile division alive within the body of Yeshua is in effect keeping up the middle wall of partition that the Paul gave his ministry life and eventually his physical life to tearing down (see Eph 2:11–19). It is also going against the clear teaching of the Scriptures, which say that within the spiritual body of Yeshua, there is no longer Jew or Gentile/Greek (Rom 10:12; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11).
The Scriptures reveal that ultimately spiritually speaking there are only two classifications of people: Israelites and non-Israelites or Gentiles. The former has eternal life because of their relationship with the Elohim of Israel through the Messiah of Israel, while the latter group, unless they repent of their sin (i.e. lawlessness or Torahlessness, see 1 John 3:4), will burn in the lake of fire because their names weren’t written in the book of life (Rev 20:11–15).
Whenever Paul uses the term Gentiles, he is either referring to ethnicity, and not using the term as a spiritual designation, or he is using the term Gentile to mean “worldly.” In the latter case, it is a moniker referring to those who are carnal in that they act like gentiles (heathens) who are “without God and without hope” (Eph 2:12).
Throughout the Epistle to the Ephesians (and elsewhere) Paul, when speaking to the believers in that congregation, uses terms like saints, we, us, sons, the church, his body, one new man, one body, fellow citizens, members of the household of Elohim, the whole building, a holy temple, body of Messiah, a perfect man, the whole body, children of light, her, she, and members of his [Yeshua’s] body. In Ephesians, Paul uses the term Gentiles only five times (Eph 23:11; 3:1, 6, 8; 4:17), and this not as the ultimate spiritual designation for redeemed believers who had come from a non-Jewish background. Rather, Paul uses the term Gentiles as he was either referring to their past spiritual history (Eph 2:11; 4:17), to his mission to evangelize non-Jewish people (Eph 3:1, 8), or in stating that the non-Jews or Gentiles should take their place as fellow spiritual heirs along with the Jews within the spiritual body of Yeshua (Eph 3:6).
The term Gentile is not a spiritual designation for a redeemed believer, for they have been called out of the Gentile world and have become a member of a special group that the Testimony of Yeshuas labels as “the called out ones” or “church” (Gr. ecclesia). Scripture also calls called out ones or redeemed believers saints meaning “set-apart” (Gr. hagios) from the Gentile world that is without Elohim and without hope. Scripture teaches that those who are redeemed or who are “in Messiah” are no longer Gentiles, for they have been grafted into and become part of the nation of Israel (Rom 11:13–24 and Eph 2:11–19). They have become the one new man about which Paul speaks in Ephesians 2:15.
Now that we know that we are really part of a people group called “Redeemed Israel” or “the one new man” (Eph 2:15), or the Israel of Elohim, as Paul terms it (Gal 6:16), what does one do with this information? That is up to you. Pray and ask your Father in heaven to help you to live out your new identity as an Israelite.
Upon finding out that Scripture actually defines them as Israelites (through the blood of Yeshua, Eph 2:11–16) and not Gentiles, many people begin to sense a need to begin acting more like Israelites in their lifestyle and beliefs. As a result, they become interested in the biblical feasts and Sabbaths of Israel and their life takes on a more Hebraic flavor as they see themselves more in the light of the Book of Acts believers. This is a spiritual path that many people believe that they need to begin to explore. If you are one of these people and you want to go down this path, please keep in mind the words of Yeshua in Matthew 5:17–19; John 15:15 and the words of the apostles in 1 Corinthians 11:1 and 1 John 2:3–6 along with Romans 7:12, 14 and 3:31, where we are admonished to keep our eyes on Yeshua while, at the same time, learning about and then living out the Hebraic truths.
We must also keep in mind that there are only twelve gates through which one can enter the New Jerusalem, and these gates are named after the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 21:12). There is no Gentile gate! The only way that one will be able to enter the New Jerusalem will be through spiritually identifying with the tribes of Israel. So which tribe are you?
Finally, YHVH Elohim, the God of the Bible, never made any covenants with non-Israelite nations—only with the nation of Israel. To be in covenantal relationship with YHVH, one has to accept the Jewish Messiah, and be grafted into the Israelite olive tree through the Messiah and become an Israelite—PERIOD! For example, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews clearly states that the New Covenant is made with the two houses of Israel—not the Gentile nations (see Heb 8:8 and Jer 31:31,33). This may come as a shock to some people reading this, but this is the truth of Scripture.
Ephesians 2:12, Covenants. The Paul the apostle makes a very interesting and often overlooked statement in Ephesians 2:12. For context we will quote the surrounding verses:
Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth [citizenship] of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Elohim in the world: but now in Messiah Yeshua ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah. (emphasis added)
Paul, talking to the redeemed believers in Ephesus, states that they had been (past tense) Gentiles (comprised of various ethnic or people groups) without Elohim and without hope, but now, through the work of Yeshua at the cross, provision had been made for these alienated people-groups to become citizens of the nation of Israel. Elsewhere Paul refers to these (former) Gentiles as now being Israelites and defines them as heirs to the promises YHVH made to Abraham and calls them “seed” or descendants of Abraham (Rom 4:15; 9:8, 11; Gal 3:7, 14, 29).
Paul further says that these same people had been aliens from YHVH’s “covenants of promise” and relates this to the “Gentile” believers at Ephesus. We know that the principles laid out in this teaching apply to all the redeemed believers down through the ages. So what covenants of promise (plural) were these redeemed believers strangers to in times past prior to their conversion? Most in the church have been taught that the New Covenant is the only covenant that pertains to them, yet Paul spoke of covenants (plural) of promise. To what was he referring?
The two main covenants of the Tanakh (the Old Testament) affecting the nation of Israel were the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic or Sinaitic Covenant. Additionally, Jeremiah prophetically speaks of a New (Renewed) Covenant that YHVH would make with the two houses of Israel (Jer 31:31–33); that is, a refreshed version of a former (marital) covenantal agreement which Israel broke with YHVH (verse 32). These are the three principal covenants that the Scriptures reveals affect YHVH’s people. Clearly, Paul is referencing these three covenants in Ephesians 2:12 (see the Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, p. 583).
Which of the three covenants forms the bedrock upon which the others are based, and upon which Elohim predicated his glorious plan of redemption for mankind? In Romans four, Paul references the Abrahamic Covenant in discussing the means by which one is saved. In his discussion of the Abrahamic Covenant, Paul gives us no indications that the provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant are passé or invalid as pertaining to believers in Yeshua as relating to the New Covenant. He clearly shows us that this covenant forms the basis for man’s redemption (salvation) and subsequent relationship with his Creator.
Covenants of promise. There are three covenants to which Paul is referring here: they are the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Renewed Covenants. Paul mentions “covenants of promise” (plural) in Eph 2:12 of which the ex-Genitles are now a part when they come to Messiah and become the one new man (v. 15), the seed or offspring of Abraham (Gal 3:29), part of the olive tree of Israel (Rom 11:11–32) and the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16). The mainstream church focuses only on “the New Covenant,” while omitting and rejecting the first two covenants. Obviously, the exclusion of the first two covenants wasn’t in Paul’s thinking or else he would have said “covenant” not “covenants.” This is because the Word of Elohim never changes; his laws and standards are immutable. Therefore, each succeeding covenant is built upon the foundational truth of the previous covenant and is an expansion of the previous one (e.g. Isa 42:21).
Those who are walking in accordance with Elohim’s entire word including all three of his covenant are those that John describes as keeping the law and having the testimony or faith of Yeshua (i.e. they walk in accordance with the OT and NT covenants; Rev 12:17; 14:12).
It follows, therefore, that these saints are those who haven’t bent the knee to Baal (i.e. they’re not following the downward, gravitational pull of the carnal or evil inclination by following the world, the flesh and devil as does the world around them, and, for the those in churchianity, this includes all forms of Torahlessness, following Christo-pagan traditions, and whitewashed church doctrines of men by which the word of Elohim has been made of none effect). To wit, the number 7,000, as in the righteous saints who hadn’t bowed the knee to Baal in the time of Elijah to which Elohim makes reference in 1 Kgs 18:18, has the following metaphorical or drash-level biblical meaning: seven is the biblical number of perfection, and the three zeros are the three covenants YHVH Elohim made with Israel to bring them into a relationship with them potentially ultimately leading to them becoming his glorified sons and daughters in his everlasting heavenly kingdom.