The Bride of Christ and the One New Man made up of both Jew and Gentile

Key Scripture:

Ephesians 2:11-15

“Therefore, remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh… you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated 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 once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall… that he might create in himself One New Man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility… For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

If you are a gentile believer, that is a non-Jewish believer, do you know that now you have been made “one new man” with your Jewish brothers and sisters?

You have been given the same access in the same Spirit to the same Father (thanks to the same Messiah) since you are fellow citizens – a member of the household of God along with the people of Israel. You are no longer strangers as Paul says here, but part of the commonwealth of Israel. The dividing wall that once stood in the temple court, beyond which only Jewish people could enter, has gone. Gentiles are not second class in any way – thanks to Jesus, we all now have equal access to the God of Israel, the Father of us all.

But the gentile Church is not used to thinking like this, that is, from a Jewish perspective, because the Church today is mostly made up of Gentile believers and we have forgotten that is was of Jewish origin and predominately Jewish in membership. At first Christianity was a development of the Jewish faith but as time passed, it became more and more gentile in make-up.

However the early Church was made up of two groups of people …. Jews and Gentiles and for the Jew the world was divided between these two groups.

Consequently there are two key problems that Gentiles within the Church used to wrestle with back then in the first century. The Bible gives us wonderful solutions to these two problems, but they still plague many believers today!

What are these problems, and what help does the Bible give to us to solve them especially in relation to the ‘One New Man’?

Problem One: “I’m a worthless Gentile… I wish I were Jewish!”

The first problem is a deflated sense of self-worth. Sadly, there are Gentiles who are unhappy with the identity God has given them, and wish they were something else. They have believed the lie that Jewish people are somehow “better”, and that Gentiles are second class citizens. But this is not how God sees it at all. God’s answer is given in the Epistle to the Ephesians

Ephesians 2:19 sums it up so clearly:

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”.

If this problem of Gentile identity is one that ever troubles you, the surrounding context of the verse should straighten things out, and provide even more encouragement for you:

Problem Two: “I’ve replaced Israel. I’m the new Jew!”

This second problem is the opposite – an inflated sense of worth, thinking that Israel has been cast aside and is of no further consequence, as if the church is all that counts now. This has given rise to a heresy called ‘The Replacement Theology’. Again, the Bible has some great wisdom to give on this matter:

God’s answer is found in the Epistle to the Romans

“Do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you” Romans 11 v 18

This verse in itself should knock the problem of Gentiles feeling superior to Jews on the head, but there is more to explore in the book of Romans on this subject. In particular, it is important to understand the “To the Jew first” concept in Romans 1 v 16, where Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek”.

Let’s look at Romans 1:16 in the context of Romans as a whole.

What does it mean – to the Jew “first”?

The word “first” in the original Greek is the word “proton” (πρῶτον), which we need to understand in order to appreciate all that Paul is saying here. There are a couple of ways of understanding how the gospel is to the Jew “first”.

1. The Sequential View: To see it as in a sequence

This word ‘proton’ can mean first sequentially – that the gospel went to the Jewish people first (historically), and then went out to the nations after that. The trouble is that people then mistakenly think that the Jewish people have had their chance back in the first century, but that they blew it. The rest of the book of Romans is giving an altogether different message. The letter is encouraging Gentiles to remember that God has NOT given up on the people of Israel.

2. The Particularity View: It’s particularly and especially for the Jews

‘Proton’ can also mean first as in particularly, especially, or in prominence… We would argue that it is this sense in which Paul writes about the Jew being first. The gospel is particularly and especially for the Jew and also for the Gentile. Why must it be read this way and not in the sense of sequential order? Because when we read the rest of the book of Romans, we can see that is precisely what Paul means. In the very next chapter, he uses exactly the same phrase – judgement will also come to Jew first, and also to the Gentile: “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Gentile, but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Gentile.” Rom 2:9-10.

So, the gospel is first for the Jew, and also for the Gentile. Rom 1:16

And judgement will come to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. Rom 2:9

When we put these two phrases next to each other, we understand that Paul is saying that the Jewish people are especially accountable before God, because they have been given so much revelation, and so will be judged “first”.

In the same way, the truth was entrusted to the Jewish people – as Paul explains throughout his book, it was the Jewish people who received the “Oracles of God” – the Scriptures. It was their very history as a people, and it was through the Jewish people that the Messiah came to redeem the whole world.

The book of Romans in effect reminds the Gentiles, “You’ve not taken over, so don’t be arrogant towards your Jewish brothers and sisters!” The Messiah is Jewish, according to the flesh (Rom 1:3), the “oracles of God” were given to the people of Israel (Rom 3:2) along with promises, temple, glory, the patriarchs, the adoption, and all our redemptive blessings are Jewish (Rom 3:1-2; Rom 9:1-5, Rom 11:28-29).

Romans 11:24 tells us that the very root is Jewish, which is why the gospel is especially (proton) for Jews, who are the natural branches that need to be grafted back in. Gentiles are unnatural branches which can now be grafted even though they are not naturally from that Jewish tree.

Romans 1 teaches that mankind has seen the general revelation of God through nature and our consciences, and so all are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20). But the rest of the book explains how special revelation was given to the people of Israel in particular, making them all the more accountable. So the Jewish people will be particularly judged (proton). In the same way, we understand that Paul is saying that the gospel is particularly and especially (proton) for the Jewish people, because the groundwork has already been done – the tracks are already laid… but the gospel is now ALSO and EQUALLY for the Gentiles. The way has been opened up for all.

So, what does this mean for us today and particularly for the Gentile Church?

The Church must remember that historically, contextually and covenantally, the gospel is, was and will always be particularly and especially for Jewish people because it’s such a Jewish thing!

The “Replacement theology” that considers the Church to have taken the place of Israel is sinful and heretical, not only because of its arrogance toward the Jewish people which the Bible warns us against, but also in terms of its failure to appropriate Romans 1:16 in its understanding of the Great Commission. The gospel is for the Jewish people today as much as it ever was. Our challenge is to boldly and joyfully embrace the truth that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for both Jew and Gentile and look forward to that day when the One New Man is revealed on the earth.

The One New Man is the Bride of Christ in her maturity and are made up of, as scripture describes, those ‘Sons of God made manifest upon the earth’ that even nature is groaning to see revealed.

Part 2 The Bride of Christ and the One New Man

Truly, it is no secret that we are living in unprecedented times. The unfolding of history in our century has been so remarkably fast and at times shocking, as societies, nations and whole cultures have been shaped and reshaped in a single generation. Not only has this generation witnessed the rise and fall of ideological and political empires, but also the coming forth of nearly 100 sovereign nations since World War II.

For the first time in nearly nineteen hundred years, the world and the church are faced with the phenomenon of restored Israel. And as the social, political and strategic challenges surrounding Israel seem enormous they are nevertheless small in comparison to spiritual implications of her resurrection and survival.

Most doctrinal errors are born when an over emphasis is placed on part of a truth rather than on the whole. It is like trying to put together a puzzle; trying to decipher the whole overall design by looking into the many and varied pieces while ignoring the picture on the box which alone provides the complete design. In the same way, insight into the mystery of Israel and the Church can come only as we consider the “Big Picture,” thus understanding God’s overall design and Eternal Purpose. The larger picture is found within the Bridal Paradigm.

God has always planned to create, out of a born-again remnant of both Jews and Gentile, a most beautiful woman, who being made of the same DNA as the Godman Christ Jesus, that is…. born of and by the Spirit of God, is totally compatible with Him and in character is “without spot or blemish”. Of such She only could be His Bride, the One New Man or Creation.

There is no greater “picture” than that of “the summing up of all things in the Bride and the Messiah (Christ), things in the heavens and things upon the earth”

Ephesians 1:8–10 says so clearly that…..

“With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”

All things ages and realities in the entity of creation can only find their true essence in Jesus alone and will come to their true fulfilment in Him only. Jesus is the beginning and the end of all things. He is the reason, the means and the purpose of all creations and in the union between Him and His Bride all unfulfilled prophecy will find it fulfilment’.

Whatever is not “from Him and through Him and to Him” is not real but is merely a fleeting illusion. Romans 11:36

Both Israel and the Gentile church and the destiny of the nations, will have no reality apart from Christ for He is the Head of the Church and the Bridegroom of the Bride. The re-establishment of ethnic Israel in our century is not accidental. Indeed, the mystery of God in Messiah as it unfolds in these last days encompasses the drama of both His Bride drawn from among the nations, of Jew and Gentile and of the national and the spiritual resurrection of the people of Israel in their land. The two are inseparable. The culmination of all history according to prophecy concerning both, will be played out in the land of Israel and in the city of Jerusalem.

And as the Father is summing up all things in His Son, it is in His heart to bring forth at the closing of this age that most glorious demonstration of all His creation, the “ONE NEW MAN”

Let’s look at that key scripture again…..

Ephesians 2:11-15.

11 “Therefore, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, who are called “Uncircumcision” by those who called themselves “Circumcision,” [itself a mere mark] which is made in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that at that time you were separated from Christ [excluded from any relationship with Him], alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise [with no share in the sacred Messianic promise and without knowledge of God’s agreements], having no hope [in His promise] and [living] in the world without God. 13 But now [at this very moment] in Christ Jesus you who once were [so very] far away [from God] have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace and our bond of unity. He who made both groups—[Jews and Gentiles]—into one body and broke down the barrier, the dividing wall [of spiritual antagonism between us], 15 by abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the hostility caused by the Law with its commandments contained in ordinances [which He satisfied]; so that in Himself He might make the two into One New Man, thereby establishing peace. 16 And [that He] might reconcile them both [Jew and Gentile, united] in one body to God through the cross, thereby putting to death the hostility. 17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED THE GOOD NEWS OF PEACE TO YOU [Gentiles] WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE [Jews] WHO WERE NEAR. 18 For it is through Him that we both have a [direct] way of approach in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens [outsiders without rights of citizenship], but you are fellow citizens with the saints (God’s people), and are [members] of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the [chief] Cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure is joined together, and it continues [to increase] growing into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, set apart, and sacred to the presence of the Lord]. 22 In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

This creation of the One New Man, which is neither Jew nor Gentile, but is derived from both, takes on the very nature and life of the Son of God. Thus, in this ultimate display of both humility and unity by Jew and Gentile, the fullness of the life He has for us will find its richest, most glorious and eternal expression.

Psalm 133 expresses this so clearly.

”Where brethren dwell together in Unity, there the Lord commands the blessing.” This is not a reference just to unity amongst the believers in the Gentile Church but a reference to unity or ‘Oneness’ between believing Jews and believing Gentiles.

Jesus saw this when He prayer John 17:21,23. “Father I pray that they may be One even as we are One. I in You and You in Me and We in them”.

This relationship of perfect harmony and unity that He prayed so earnestly for, was described by Him as ‘Oneness’. It’s what He cried for to His Father. And the ultimate expression of this is found in the mystery of the One New Man – a new creation of both Jew and Gentile

But before the Gentile Church can come into an experience of this, and before Israel can fully come into the embrace of the Messiah, there MUST be reconciliation of the two groups. The fact is that both parties have failed the Lord and each other. They are both in need of healing and restoration and MUST extend forgiveness in order to be forgiven.

Just as the Jewish people, according to Scripture Ezekiel 36:16–23 “have defiled themselves and the land with uncleanness and unbelief” so has the Church forsaken her foundational devotion to Jesus and grazed for centuries in the fields of secular humanism and pharisaic doctrines of legalism.

However, as much as Israel’s need for restitution and repentance is concerned, we find no clearer scriptural indictment than that spoken by the Prophet Ezekiel as he prophesied of Israel’s drama of failure and future restoration.

Israel the very nation chosen and fashioned to represent God to the world had missed the mark. Israel has failed and the only scriptural remedy for re-experiencing the graces of God is through repentance.

It is clear in our Time and Season that God is drawing Israel and the Church into the precious and glorious oneness of the One New Man spoken of in Scripture. Both need forgiveness and salvation. Yet, for reconciliation to fully have its redeeming impact both peoples must humble them and receive the forgiveness of one another and of God!

The Roots of all Divisions. How did this division between Jew and Gentile begin?

For the Jew the world is divided into two communities, the Jews and the Gentiles. Anyone who is not a Jew belongs to the Gentiles races. The exclusivity of Israel being ‘Gods uniquely chosen people’ is the cause of the deep division between Jew and Gentile. The separation that exists between these two peoples started as soon as God called Abraham to become the father of a nation.

Exodus 19: 5–6

5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

From Genesis, Chapter 12 and on to the end of Malachi we witness the specific and exclusive dealings with God with one nation only. The nation was the sole recipient of the revelation of God – His favour, His blessing and His chastisement.

As the testimony of the Old Testament records God’s dealings with the human race through this chosen nation, so the testimony of the New Testament clearly displays the expansion of the divine plan. The Jews were to receive this Messiah and the salvation He procured as “the sacrificial Lamb of God” but God’s plan was that they were to share that revelation and gift of God with the Gentile nations.

The Holy Seed of God was planted in the earthen womb of a young Jewish girl called Mary, and the Messiah was born. But as He, their Messiah became “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the World” and died upon that cross He died not only for the Jews but for the Gentiles too.

Simeon the prophetic intercessor when he held the young child Jesus in his arms in the Jerusalem temple decreed that Jesus would be “A light to lighten the gentiles and the glory of My people Israel.” Luke 2:32

Later, as the church declared and demonstrated the Kingdom of God, a new race was born made up of many different ethnic groups and who carried the image of God within them. They were the Church/Bride who were made of His spiritual DNA and so being compatible to him would able to be His Bridal companion in the ages to come.

“But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God.“ John 1:13

However, the Bride and One New Man was to be not just a Jewish or a Gentile company of believers. It was and is both Jewish and Gentile but the ancient division between the Jew and the Gentile and between Israel and the Nations, soon worked its way into this new Church race of the redeemed and found more poisonous expressions as time went on.

Whole Jewish communities were forced into physical ghettos in order to heighten the effect of their distinctiveness and cut them off from the Gentile world. Sadly, as long as Jew and Gentile remain un-reconciled there will always be various divisions throughout the Body of Christ.

But things are changing. More and more Gentile believers are eagerly desiring to fellowship with their Jewish Christian brothers and sisters, and Gentile nations are beginning to recognize Israel as a sovereign state and Jerusalem as their eternal capital city. More and more Jews are finding Yeshua as the Messiah.

Of course, Israel has not been perfect and blameless herself. The Bible itself is full of words of rebuke for God’s chosen people. The Lord told Moses that they were stiff-necked (Exodus 32:9) and He informed the Prophet Ezekiel that if He had sent him to the Gentile nation rather than the Jews, they would have listened to Him (Ezekiel 3:4–7).

The Gospels record conflict after conflict between Jesus and the leaders of His people in His own day and the book of Acts states that the first believers were persecuted by abusive Jewish groups.

Much later in Church history false teachings and the ‘Replacement Theology’ that was first taught by St Augustine during the 3rd Century AD re-appeared, and this basically concluded that God was finished with the natural Jew and that all God’s anger is upon the Jew whilst all His blessings are upon the Gentile believers. His chosen people were no longer the Jews but was upon those who from amongst the Gentiles that had received Salvation through Christ.

History records that what began as a predominantly Jewish Church just after the resurrection of Jesus, became a totally Gentile Church within a few centuries.

How tragic that Christians – a people redeemed by a Jewish Messiah and instructed by Jewish Apostles, joint heirs of the Jewish Scriptures and through grace grafted into Israel’s olive tree – should now today be almost totally ignorant of their Jewish roots. And worse, ignorant of the Jews suffering and their isolation experienced throughout the 2000 years since that early beginning. During times of great Jewish persecution right up to this century much of the Church has remained indifferent to the Jewish people’s pain and even at time ben the very the perpetrator of such persecution.

For this sin too, the Gentiles must take blame. These are the seeds of anti-Semitism that festers still among believers and is raising its head in the world today. For all these things, we must repent.

Jesus cried out on the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). However, the consummation of His finished work was to be fulfilled progressively throughout Church history.

Yet some revelations and truths, in the wisdom of God, were to be reserved for these End Times.

This is the time and season when the Spirit is bringing the message of the Bride and the One New Man to His people.

Paul, in his appeal to the Ephesians to properly recognize their glorious position in Jesus Christ and their place in the Body, places a special emphasis on the term the ‘One New Man.’

Paul explains that God through Jesus had abolished the enmity between Jew and Gentile, broke down the dividing wall and made both groups into one.

But it is only by the Cross of the Messiah that these two un-reconcilable groups, who were locked in mortal animosity and conflict, can be brought into ‘One Body.’ In fact, so profound is the unity of this new body of redeemed persons that the scripture testifies, “through Him we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by the one Spirit through the Father,” Ephesians 2:18 thus emphasizing that this unity is Spiritual in nature!

We understand that the eternal purpose of God was to surround Himself eternally with people of faith, vision and passion who would be a ‘tabernacle’ for Him to dwell amongst. Paul himself describes the newly created race, drawn from both Jews and Gentiles, yet growing into the likeness of Messiah as “building material” and that in Jesus, the whole “the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2)

This mutual humbling of both Jew and Gentile, this laying aside of those things that divide, whilst being formed into the ‘One New Man’, will result in the ultimate exultation and glory of the Father that is promised. Whatever this ‘temple’ will look like, or what new ‘Wine Skin’ shape that it will take on, we do not know, but it will be incredible and will be in ‘tabernacle‘ or dwelling place of our God!

How magnificent our God is to keep the best until the end! This house of the Lord, this ‘later house’, this dwelling place of God in the Spirit, this ‘tabernacle with man on earth’ Rev 22:3, this New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven dressed like a Bride, not made of natural ‘stones’ but of ‘living stones’, will be the best of all God’s creation. Rev 22:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.

Truly, even as it required both Jew and Gentile to join together in crucifying the Lord, so it requires both Jew and Gentile to harmonize again, this time to bring about the full expression of His resurrection life. As the Psalmist David sums it up, “how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! … For there the Lord commanded the blessing – life forever. Psalm 133

True Reconciliation:

At the cross of Jesus, complete reconciliation was accomplished. At the cross, man was not only reconciled to God, having our sin atoned for, but man was also reconciled to man and to creation, as all hostilities cease, and the possibility of ‘man to man’.

The Lord does not desire a Jewish Church and a separate Gentile Church, a Jewish Bride or a Gentile Bride.

There is only One Bride just as there is only One Bridegroom. For this we must pray!

The Gentile Church will be healthy only when it grieves for the Jewish people. The Jewish people have suffered for their sins against God and the Jewish people have suffered because of mankind’s sins against them. For all this suffering, the Church must grieve. Likewise, the Jewish Church must grieve for the sins of the Gentile Church and seek reconciliation and ‘Oneness’.

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears” Heb 5:7 and “Now, in heaven He always lives to intercede” Hebrews 7:25.

Do you think Jesus weeps tears for Jerusalem today? When He rode into Jerusalem the first time on the donkey He wept.

But there is a Jerusalem more real than that which is in Israel today. It’s the “New Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven dressed like a Bride.” This is the real Jerusalem, the One New Man for which He weeps.

Today, God is raising up Apostolic Ministries, spiritual fathers, who by the Spirit will lay foundations for His ‘later house’ which will be greater than the former. He is also raising up an End Time Elijah and Joshua Generation, a generation who carry a John the Baptist anointing to “Prepare the Way for the Lord”, a glorious Bridal Company. These ‘Sons of God; made manifest’ will minister like Elijah uncompromisingly and

confront any form of compromise in the Body of Christ and in society. Like Joshua they will sanctify themselves because they will go into the land, crossing the Jordan of ‘self-will and the flesh’ and possess their inheritance. But also they will worship in Churches where Jew and Gentile fellowship together and constitute the “One New Man…. ”being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Ephesians 2:19-22 Amplified Bible (AMP)

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens [outsiders without rights of citizenship], but you are fellow citizens with the saints (God’s people), and are [members] of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the [chief] Cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure is joined together, and it continues [to increase] growing into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, set apart, and sacred to the presence of the Lord]. 22 In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Today believers right around the world are becoming aware of their Bridal identity and are crying out, “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus Come!” People from every nation are praying for the Messiah to return.

The Jews too are praying for Messiah’s coming. They believe that a new Messianic age is about to dawn.

But something very important has to happen first. Jesus must be received by His Jewish brothers too if the Bride is to be complete both in number and form, as well as in character…that is ”Without spot or blemish”!

Without this the Wedding of the Lamb cannot take place.

Matthew 23: 38-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’’

Until then, the Rapture and the Wedding cannot take place.

So, all believing Gentiles must prayer earnestly and work for a deep and genuine reconciliation between themselves and their Jewish brothers and sisters and ask for their forgiveness for their arrogance and pride in excluding them, judging and condemning them and in seeing themselves, the Gentile Church as having the monopoly on God’s grace.

Today’s Church has received such an inheritance from and through them such as the Sacred Scriptures; an understanding of our Priestly and Kingly position, order and authority; a picture of the Spiritual heavenly realms, of angels and Courts and Thrones; of Heavens pattern and activity; a knowledge of our ancient origins and of God’s Eternal Purpose for planet Earth and all of His creation.

This is owed to all Jewish brothers and sisters.

AND Gentiles must remember that Gentiles are grafted back into them and not them into the Gentile Church.

They are the true Olive tree and gentile believers are the wild Olive branch.

It is by grace that both Jew and Gentile are saved and not by any inherited right.

“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son”