Let the Bride Come Forth
Summing up the Lord’s eternal triumph through His cross, the scripture says that “He Himself is our peace, who made both groups (Jew and Gentile) into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, that in Himself He might make the two into ONE NEW MAN, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in ONE BODY to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” Eph. 2:14-16.
The Word of God makes it clear that Jewish/Gentile reconciliation in God is attainable only through the cross, and that it is inseparable from our personal reconciliation to God in our own salvation experience. Simply put, the ONE NEW MAN phenomenon is a post-cross reality that is at the heart of God’s new creation. The beauty of God’s design is that our reconciliation to Himself in the Messiah therefore complemented by and guides us toward our reconciliation to one another in one body. This has always been the Father’s ultimate plan from the dawn of time.
The Battle Over the Promise
This finished work of the Messiah has to be contended for by faith by those who believe the Word since the battle is fierce and far from over. The Jewish/Gentile enmity of which Paul spoke is very REAL and most people prefer to stay in their own camps separated from one another, rather than take on the difficult task and labor of love of bridging the two people groups by the Spirit.
The ONE NEW MAN is an ancient mystery that surfaces throughout biblical prophecy in both old and new covenant scriptures. Veiled behind centuries of ignorance, religious pride, fear and hardness of heart, it nevertheless has lived on until it was ultimately realized in the Messiah’s own life and work.
Many ask if the phenomenon Paul prophesied about is, in fact, present among us today. How will this Body manifest itself before the end? How can church leaders guide, guard and administer this Jewish/Gentile connection? Is it an exclusive doctrine for “Messianic devotees” only; or rather a universal truth for the entire Body?
These issues are becoming progressively more critical as the nation of Israel is drawn closer toward the final battles and the promised great revival; as waves of anti-Semitism continue to increasingly flood the world; and as all the nations are being tried and weighed in God’s balance. For her own spiritual wholeness and integrity and for the soon coming Kingdom, the Spirit is calling the Bride to open up her heart to this promised oneness in the Messiah.
While the veil remains upon many Jewish eyes, Gentile disciples who believe this truth are called to exercise their faith and uphold the attitude of love and honor the apostle taught, saying that “From the standpoint of the gospel they (the Jewish people) are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Rom 11:28-29. Those who fail to recognize the enormous gravity of these seemingly conflicting truths risk compromising their full potential in God.
It is imperative that the universal Body of believers be enlightened and equipped in these matters, for which reason we published the book “One New Man” (order through firstname.lastname@example.org) addressing the broad spectrum of the historic and prophetic aspects of this mystery. We hear from many asking for clarity and guidance who seek to discover and cultivate a truly One New Man congregational life. Given the glorious outcome and culmination of this promised oneness (see Eph. 2:18-22), the intense warfare over its fulfillment, and the prophetic implications it carries, the Spirit of God is breathing divine life, power, grace and instruction to all who hunger for this promise to be realized among us.
How badly do you want it? There is always a choice in the things of God otherwise we are not truly free. There is also the cost associated with this call, and the faithful must budget and prepare for warfare in the strength of the Lord. There will be the “Ruth believers” whose commitment to ancient Naomi (Israel) carries them to their destined appointment with Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer. And there will be the “Orpah believers” who remain anchored in their own cultures and comfort zones instead of reaching toward the biblical culture and their inheritance in the commonwealth of Israel.
As the Scripture commands us, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one.” Eph. 2:12-14.
One Family Under Heaven
While there were always true seekers from the nations who loved the God of Israel, it was only after the cross and the outpouring of the Spirit that a “formal invitation” was extended to humanity as a whole to join the plan of salvation. In fact, the Apostles’ primary mandate, once the Jerusalem Congregation was established, was to “export” the message and the power to the rest of the world. “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'” Mark 16:15.
This was (and still is) a glorious yet risky enterprise. While this initiative resulted in millions of gentile souls harvested into the Kingdom of God, it also introduced the danger of diluting the Gospel message. “Hellenizing” its true essence through compromising, ignoring and denying the Hebraic roots and origin of the Faith, the risk of incorporating pagan cultures into the “Israel of God” is an ongoing challenge to this very day.
This is what the Apostle Paul was warning about while rebuking the Gentile’s perception that they had “replaced” the Jewish branches in God’s Olive Tree. Paul saw the beginning of the heresy of “Replacement Theology,” and sternly warned of the perils and outcomes of such attitudes, saying, “Do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.” Rom 11:18.
Not only looking back to their origin, but also gazing forward toward the fulfillment of God’s plan, Paul instructed the new disciples, saying, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘the Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.'” Rom 11:25-27. Take these words to heart in your prayers as well as in your walk of faith.
Oneness In Diversity
In every family there are varied positions, callings and functions. And as in every dysfunctional family, there are also jealousies, insecurities and competition among the siblings. Wise parents, however, know how to affirm each child in his or her unique position; how to allow them to shine in their gifts; and promote the spirit of camaraderie and unity in the household.
Likewise our God, the greatest and most perfect Parent of all, is calling His family into order today as the various sibling-nations of the earth are being shepherded into a greater sense of identity and destiny. Yet, in the big picture, what are the corresponding roles, duties and privileges of the firstborn Jewish people compared to the younger Gentile siblings in God’s family?
From the Father’s perfect perspective, the Jewish firstborn nation, as Paul wrote, “…are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:4-5. According to these words, the foundational elements, the roots of God’s Olive Tree, are Hebraic in nature.
The Gentile believers, on the other hand, are the great prize and the desired fruit springing from the Jewish root. Paul, himself a Jewish Apostle, referred to these disciples as “.my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown.” Philippians 4:1. The truth is that the Gentile harvest of the past 2,000 years is the very purpose of Jewish sacrifice and labors, even the very calling of the Jewish people. This is why Paul considered the Gentiles his crown, his great joy and trophy.
Nothing is greater to a parent’s heart and gives them greater satisfaction and joy than seeing their children walk with God and come into their calling and destiny in Him. That is also the attitude of a godly firstborn toward the younger siblings. Such is the true relationship between Israel and the nations in Christ and that is where the enmity is removed.
Oneness In Warfare
No prophetic word better illustrates how strategic is this oneness between Jew and Gentile for the purpose of spiritual warfare than Zechariah’s vision. As his epic prophecy zeros in on the end time battles he prophesied, saying, “”For I will bend Judah as My bow, I will fill the bow with Ephraim. And I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece; and I will make you like a warrior’s sword. Then the Lord will appear over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning; and the Lord God will blow the trumpet, and will march in the storm winds of the south. The Lord of hosts will defend them.” Zech. 9:1-16.
Ephraim, who was the offspring of Joseph and Asenath the Egyptian (himself a Hebrew-Gentile persona), represents prophetically the Gentile believers added to the household of faith. In God’s vision of the end-times, the bow of Judah, the Jewish people, is armed with the arrow of Ephraim, the Gentile disciples. In oneness, these sons of Zion form God’s ultimate weapon against the forces of this world. Apart from one another, neither Israel nor the Church can withstand the spiritual darkness of this age. In unity, however, roots working in harmony with fruits, the two are invincible in God’s hand.
Four Dimensions of Oneness
The Father is calling leaders today to secure an environment in His house in which the Jewish and Gentile elements can compliment each other while together reaching for the fullness of the Messiah’s stature. He is calling for oneness among us, and this oneness is expressed in four deepening dimensions:
FIRST – it is a spiritual oneness, “For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” Eph. 2:18. It is a natural and an instinctive outcome of our new birth, one which cannot be improved upon by works of man.
SECOND – it is a oneness of purpose as that of family members who unite in a joint vision for the common good of the clan. The realization that we are “in this together” will continue to increasingly impact both Israel and the Gentile Church as we draw closer to the end days.
THIRD – it is a covenantal oneness for those who (like ourselves) were called into a Jewish-Gentile marriage where the One New Man reality is lived out in real-life dynamics. Not many have been called into this type of a “Ruth commitment”, male or female, walking with ancient Naomi (the Jewish nation) while literally embracing the people of God.
FOURTH – From these marriages is born a oneness that is realized in the lives of the offspring of these Jewish/Gentile couples. These children live at the heart of the revelation as they instinctively experience a life that draws from both Jewish and Gentile wells, yet a life that is bigger than either one.
How to Cultivate a One New Man Congregational Life?
Because the One New Man creation in the Messiah has been hidden, compromised and embattled for many centuries, most congregations and Christian movements are somewhere between ignorance and infatuation. Many have no revelation of or a heart for the people of Israel, while others, overreacting to this spiritual vacuum, have embraced all things Jewish without discernment or sound judgment. For the many who ask us for advice, the following are practical principles that can ensure a positive congregational (or family) environment toward the One New Man creation.
1 – The Shepherds
What local leadership does not embrace, uphold, model and provide oversight for will never take root in the congregation no matter how many “Israel loyalists” you may have. Apostolic fathers and networks must provide consistent opportunities for the shepherds to be educated, inspired and encouraged to keep the One New Man vision alive and thriving. Beware of laziness, complacency and apathy.
2 – The Message
Israel, as a real people with a real past and a real future, ought to be woven into the messages as often as possible to combat the relentless “replacement theology” teachings that still influence many. A trickle down effect of these great truths over time is far more effective than “sensationalized events” every few years (events that usually only the “Israel loyalists” will attend anyway). Honor the “people of the book”; remember Romans 9:3-5, and do not forget the trunk of the Olive Tree (the commonwealth of Israel) into which all the branches were grafted.
3 – Prayer
As often as the people of God gather, prayers should be offered for the harvest, our governments, the troops in battle zones, the coming of the Kingdom, Israel’s salvation, and any other defining issues of our time that should be on the congregational intercessory agenda. This, led with dignity and authority from the front, does not have to take more that five minutes, and will create a powerful and sustainable reality of the things that are most important for this congregation or movement. People learn far more by example, consistency and demonstration than by words alone.
4 – The Children
God’s promises and purposes for Israel ought to be incorporated into the children and youth programs including the Feasts of the Lord. What we teach the young ones will endure and stand the test of the fleeting influences of this world. “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
5 – Ambassadorial Ministries
Schedule regular (quarterly recommended) ministry visits by an Israeli or Jewish “ambassador” who will put a face and a voice on the otherwise distant reality of the people of Israel and their calling. This will take commitment and planning, but consistency will bear the desired fruit among the saints as nothing replaces personal touch and experience. This type of ministry should encourage, edify and equip the saints from a Hebraic perspective while magnifying the Lord, without ever creating carnal infatuation toward the Jewish nation. The goal is always to strengthen the church while introducing the revelation of the One New Man in the Messiah.
6 – Giving
Budgeting Israel into the church’s (or family’s) financial giving pleases the Lord and is a powerful statement in the heavens. God promised to bless those who bless the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3), and said of Jerusalem that “They will prosper who love thee.” Psalm 122:6. There is no shortage of Jewish ministries in or out of Israel that are worthy of support.
The End of This Mystery
As you consider these principles of growth and maturity, we leave you this profound command and promise from God’s Word which says “Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her, that you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, that you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom. For thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall be nursed, you shall be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.'” Isaiah 66:10-13. As you carry God’s heart toward His people Israel, the promise of His Word is to comfort and bless you in return.