Israel is NOT that Gentiles become Israelites. Gentiles have an
equal standing in Messiah’s body with Israelites. Messiah’s body is
the ultimate Israel. Gentiles are inplaced within spiritual Israel.
The disciples of Messiah did not begin a new Israel, but represented
the true Israel, the spiritual remnant within Israel that God had
been using all throughout the Old Testament. When the nation
rejected Messiah, the remnant still believed and ushered in the
kingdom of God in a way that was unexpected. The Holy Spirit was
poured out, the gospel was preached throughout the entire world, but
Israel was not raised to her place of prominence as prophesied in the
Gentiles are able to become a part of this working of the Holy Spirit
and stand on equal ground with Israelites within Messiah’s body.
They do not become Israelites, but maintain their own ethnicity. Yet
the scriptures declare them to be Abraham’s children, Galatians
3:29. Since they are Abraham’s children, they are also heirs of the
promise. They stand to inherit everything that was promised to a
child of Abraham. There are not different seeds of Abraham, one for
Israel and another for Gentiles, but only one seed, Galatians 3:16.
Christ is the fulfillment of that promise and all must abide in Him
or stand outside of the inheritance. It is none other than the
blessing of Abraham coming upon Gentiles who believe in Christ,
Galatians 3:14. At the end of this epistle, Paul refers to this
entity of Israel and Gentiles brought in as "the Israel of God". Of
course Paul is referring to the church.
Now let’s examine Ephesians 2. Without Christ ~ In time past, that
is, before their salvation, these unsaved Gentiles had an identity
which included being without Messiah. Now these Gentiles are in the
Messiah. The Messiah (or Christ) was to visit and redeem His people,
Israel. He would rule from the throne of David and save Israel from
their enemies. He would fulfill the covenant, the oath which God
swore to Abraham.
Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. Before entering the body of
the Messiah, these Gentiles were shut out from the commonwealth of
Israel. You, being a Greek scholar, should recognize this word as
having an application of citizenship. Before salvation, they were
aliens, as in, foreigners, not belonging to the citizenship of
Israel. But now, they must have entered into citizenship within the
commonwealth of Israel for the contrast of what it means to enter the
Messiah to be demonstrated in this verse. They are no longer aliens
from the commonwealth of Israel, but benefactors of the commonwealth
Strangers from the covenants of promise. The covenants were made by
God with Israel. Beginning with Abraham, then with the nation of
Israel through Moses, the covenants were all made with the nation of
Israel in mind. This includes the New Covenant in the blood of the
Messiah. The New Covenant was prophesied to be made with Israel,
Jeremiah 31:31-34. This was fulfilled in just this fashion in the
New Testament. Jesus came to Israel. Israel did not receive Him as
a nation, but a remant did. Jesus confirmed the covenant with Israel
in His blood with the believing remnant at the last supper. Gentiles
are no longer strangers to these covenants of prommise which were
made with Israel. They are full participants in the covenants.
No longer strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens. This verse
encapsulates the entire theme which began in verse 12 and brings it
to a conclusion by utilizing the terms strangers and foreigners which
were mentioned in verse 12.
Fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God, and are
built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The prophets
were the prophets of and to Israel. The apostles also were the
spiritual remnant of Israel at the time of Messiah’s appearing. The
twelve apostles will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes
of Israel, Matthew 19:28. The twelve apostles are the foundation
stones for the church and they have a place of judgement over Israel.
This was the mystery which was not understood in the Old Testament.
Paul explains it in Ephesians 3:6. The Gentiles would be fellowheirs
of all that Israelites were promised to inherit. The Gentiles would
coexist in the same body with the Israelites. The Gentiles would be
partakers of the promises that were promised to Israel.
The nature of Gentile salvation in relationship to the nation of
Israel is more distinctly defined in Romans 11. The entity that
exists is Israel, believing Israelites still bearing fruit on the
tree, while unbelieving Isralites are broken off. Believing Gentiles
are grafted, but there is nothing permanent about this relationship.
Gentiles may not always have this opportunity. God is able to break
these unnatural branches back off again. Since it is in God’s plan
to graft the natural branches back in when the fullness of the
Gentiles has come in, those who currently are grafted in contrary to
nature should beware. Not that God will take away their personal
salvation because that is not the subject matter. The topic here is
the relationship of the nations to salvation within Israel’s Messiah.
The New Covenant is with Israel, and Gentiles are allowed to
participate in this covenant with an equal standing to Israelites.