The Body of Messiah - Jew and Gentile - Better Together
We as believers in Messiah, whether Jewish or Gentile, are all on a journey together. Our destination is ultimately a new heaven and a new earth with the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21). However, we are sometime away before we experience this reality! While we wait and journey towards this end, Adonai has designed it so that we travel this road together. Both Jews and Gentiles are not to travel it alone!
There are so many options about how to write an article regarding Jews and Gentiles as one in Messiah. My goal is to whet your appetite by telling you some of my own journey to hopefully provoke you to go deeper as you seek to understand the Lord’s heart for Jew and Gentile together.
Let’s start with this key principle from author David Hoffbrand: “If God has brought Jew and Gentile together into one community, they must be better together than either one on their own.”
“Better Together” sounds logical, right? Two are better than one, right? If this logic is true, then why have we found ourselves so often apart? Why the confusion? Why the theological walls of division? Why the history of persecution from the Gentile body of Messiah upon the Jewish people?
The Messianic Jewish leadership of the book of Acts only wrestled with inclusion of believing Gentiles into the community of faith for about a century. However, as the Gentile body of Messiah, we have wrestled with acceptance and inclusion of Jewish people who believe in Jesus for about 1,900 years!
As a pastor, I found myself on this journey of understanding Adonai’s heart for Israel the people, the land, and Jerusalem about 18 years ago. I began to study the Scripture, read books regarding these matters, took classes, and labored through much prayer. I found myself asking this question: “if the story from Genesis to Revelation is about God the Father revealing the mystery of the ages in Messiah featured Jews and Gentiles as one (Romans 16:25-27, Ephesians 2-3) then why the division?”
The Apostle Paul addresses this mystery in Romans chapters 9-11 and teaches on the mystery hidden in ages past that is now revealed in Messiah from Ephesians chapters 2 and 3. The Apostle Paul pulls on the shadows of this mystery found in the Torah and Prophets (Genesis 12, Isaiah 56:3-8) combined with revelation from the Holy Spirit to validate that God has always planned to join Jew and Gentile in Messiah as one. Truly we are better together!
Therefore, keep in mind that once you—Gentiles in the flesh—were called “uncircumcision” by those called “circumcision” (which is performed on flesh by hand). At that time you were separate from Messiah, 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 Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility— the law code of mitzvot contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups, making shalom, and to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross—by which He put the hostility to death. And He came and proclaimed shalom to you who were far away and shalom to those who were near—for through Him we both have access to the Father by the same Ruach. So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. You have been built on the foundation made up of the emissaries and prophets, with Messiah Yeshua Himself being the cornerstone. In Him the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple for the Lord. In Him, you also are being built together into God’s dwelling place in the Ruach. — Ephesians 2:11-22 TLV
My journey has led me to these points:
- Yeshua prayed for us to be One in Him and the Father (John 17)
- Paul urged and prayed for us to be One (Ephesians 4:1-6 and Romans 16:25-27)
- God the Father desires us to be on this journey to His eternal Kingdom together (Romans 15:9-12)
I pray that wherever you are on this journey that the Great Shepherd of the sheep (both Jew and Gentile) leads you into His heart. His desire is that we are destined to be together for His glory and as His bride both now and forever!