The Two ONE

In the book of Acts we see the apostles having to learn to accept Gentiles into the faith.  This took a dramatic event in the life of Peter when God lowered a sheet with unclean animals for Peter to kill and eat.  God did this three times and the message was not the food, it was “do not call unclean what (God has) made clean”, meaning the Gentiles.  Immediately following this Peter goes to a Gentile home and shares the good news of Jesus with them in their home, something that was forbidden for a Jew to do. 

We then see Paul becoming the apostle to the Gentiles.  He took the good news as far as he could, no matter the personal cost.  Immediately on his heals were the Judaizers who claimed that the Gentiles first had to become Jews before becoming a believer in Jesus.  Paul flatly rejected this in very graphic terms.  In fact, I want to be clear on this point, once one is a believer in Jesus they are no longer a Gentile because a Gentile is a foreigner and alien, but in Christ we are made citizens of His nation, the holy nation of Israel over which He is king.  This was the situation in Bible times.

Fast forward 2000 years and what do we see happening in the land of Israel today?  We see many who want to separate the Arabs and Israelis living in the land onto different sides.  Truth is they are on different sides.  On one hand Jews have the right of return to the land of Israel, the land promised to them, and on the other side the Arabs want the Jews completely out of the land and consider the Israelis to be occupiers and colonialists.  There are those who wish to divide the land calling a part of it the West Bank.  What some like to call the West Bank in indeed a part of the historical land of Israel once known as Judea and Samaria. 

This land is proportioned specifically in Scripture among the tribes of Israel.  It was to eventually be the Israelis land.  So how can this be resolved?  How is reconciliation in a land that just about everyone seems to want to divide possible?  There is only one answer to this question.

Those who believe in Yeshua the Messiah are the light in a dark situation.  For the Arab believers in the land there is a group called Musalaha (www.musalaha.org), which is Arabic for reconciliation.  They organize camps for Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians to come together as brothers and sisters in Christ.  This effort needs our prayers. 

Musalaha also puts events together so that Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians can come together in worship experiencing how both sides worship Messiah.  At the same time they also reach out to Muslim Arabs in the land to show them the love and truth of Christ through different outreach opportunities.

On the other side there are Messianic Jews in the land who want a strong bond relationship with Arab Christians as well.  These Messianic Jews are trying to reach out to their fellow Jews with the love and truth of the Messiah.  One such ministry in Israel is Heart of G-d Ministries (www.heartofg-d.org).  While Heart of G-d seeks to encourage Aliyah (Jewish right of return) of all Jews both Messianic and not Messianic, there are some elements of the Israeli government that are trying to keep Messianic Jews from having the right of return, claiming they are not real Jews.  They too need our prayers.

Both sides report a good relationship with the other.  A relationship that is only possible through Christ.  These two sides are coming together.  As they do they will begin to look more and more like each other.  Why?  Because they will look more and more like the Savior. 

The Arab does not have to become a Jew and the the Jew does not have to leave behind his roots, on the contrary they are both the spiritual nation of Israel.  Both grafted into the one tree that is Israel, God’s nation of princes, His holy nation and priesthood.  The root of that tree being the Old Testament (Covenant) fulfilled in Yeshua who spilled His blood, the blood of the New Covenant.

It should be our prayer that as more and more Jews come into the land they will come to know their Messiah as they are surrounded by the truth of who they are and who He is.  Also, that the Arab Christians will spur them on to jealousy as they continue to grow in their own faith and grow closer and closer to the Messianic Jews. 

Jesus is the answer for the peace of Jerusalem and the land of Israel, ONLY Yeshua.  What an awesome time we live in.  We have before us a living example of the two becoming one if only we will take the time to see.

Yes, Jesus has put to death their hostility.  Now it is up to these believers to live that out in a land and an environment that would rather them not.  Yet it is the life that Yeshua calls them to live.  A life that the cross of Christ demands.  They must pick up their cross daily and follow Him where others do not want to go.  How blessed they are as they daily live out the mystery.  May God grant them His grace and His power to live this life.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all the land.

Vicky 

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The Hope to Which You are Called

 Ephesians 1:15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

This is an awesome prayer that is great to pray over ones personal life and family. Paul commends the believers on their faith in Yeshua/Jesus and also in their love for all the saints (whether Jew or Gentile).  Their priorities are just what God the Father would want them to be and this is commended by Paul.  Their love for all the saints is essential to everything we are talking about.  It is because they have faith in Jesus our Messiah that they know obeying His command to love one another must be followed, and follow it they do.  Because of this evidence of faith that Paul continually gives thanks for them and expands his prayers for them.

The prayer of Paul in this chapter is amazing when you take a close look.  He begins with a very interesting statement, “I keep asking”.  This is not a one time prayer for Paul on their behalf.  If is one he prays for them time and time again.  Therefore, one might say that this is very much on his heart for these believers, not just a casual thought now and again. 

He asks the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ – that’s right Jesus worshiped, honored, obeyed, prayed to, praised, and glorified His Father during His earthly life, God the Son did all these things in regard to the Heavenly Father – for the Holy Spirit to give wisdom and revelation to the believers.  He offers this prayer so that they will know God better and thereby so that they would be able to properly acknowledge their God.

In this knowledge and acknowledgement of Him, as they gaze at His glory and brilliance, Paul asks that the God would shed His rays of light on them.  In other words, “that the eyes of [their] heart may be enlightened”.  Or to put it another way, as the believers looked upon God’s light that God would share that light with them or reflect it upon them.  Our glory is not our own, it is merely a reflection of His.  We would do ourselves a great service to remember this. 

Paul asked for this reflection of God’s glory in their lives for three reasons: 1) that they would know the hope to which they were called 2) that they would know the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and 3) that they would know His incomparably great power for all (Jew or Gentile) who believe.  Let’s break them down one at a time.

The first one, that they would know the hope to which they were called, reveals the foundation of their faith.  The hope that Paul speaks of here is a confidence, not wishful, in the promised expectations.  Knowing that they can fully rely on the promises of God with joyful anticipation and steadfast confidence.  This hope is unshakable.  This hope or joyful and steadfast anticipation is firmly imbedded in their calling or God’s invitation in their lives.  God’s invitation to wholeheartedly follow Him in all His ways.  Just as Jesus called the disciples.  He did not just say, “come”, He said, “come follow me”.  We come to God through Jesus and then proceed to follow Him.

The second reason God reflects His glory on us, making us more like Him, is so that we can know the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.  These riches are the abundant life in our Messiah.  As we know the abundant life is not just for the here and now, but also for eternity.  It is the life lived to the full forever.  A life lived to the full, think about that for a moment.  To know this life that can only be lived with His glorious inheritance that He has placed in His saints.  This refers back to the love He has commanded to have toward one another and ahead to the power of the Spirit in our lives.  However, for this particular point it is important to note that the whole of the saints are in view here, not individuals.  We, as the saints of God, can only live the life to the full, the abundant life, or experience God’s glorious riches in our lives when we live within the whole of the body of Christ.  We cannot forsake the assembly of ourselves together as the writer of Hebrews to eloquently put it.

Lastly, on this list, is to know the power and not just a little power, but super dynamite power for us who believe.  To say it another way, a super-duper magnitude of power for us who come and follow.  Power that goes beyond anything that you and I can comprehend and yet that is the vastness of power that He has placed in His people.  It is also not an arbitrary power, but it is His power.  Then just to make sure his readers understand the true magnitude of this power Paul describes it.  And what a description. 

A power that is according to God’s mighty strength, or strength strength, or power power, or might might.  The two Greek words used here could have easily been translated this way.  They are two different words with very similar meanings.  In other words, Paul was driving home the enormity of God’s power, strength or might.  It was this power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead and to seat Him at His right hand.  No small task to be sure.  Again to be clear, Paul explains the powerful seat of the Messiah.  Yeshua is above all and not just a little above them, but far above or super-duper above.  It is the same Greek prefix used above on “immeasurably”, it is the “hyper” prefix.  So Jesus is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”  Needless to say, that is a High Seat. 

Paul does not stop at just how high that seat of power is, but also let’s us know what God placed under His (Yeshua’s) feet.  He placed everything or “the whole” under His feet.  He is the head, the One to take hold of, of the church or the “assembly” of His saints.  He was given this position by His Father, to say it another way, this position was committed to Him by His Father.  He is our head, He is the One we take hold of, in everything – absolutely everything – that concerns His people.  He is our Rock, our Firm Foundation, our Anchor, our Cornerstone and He is the One who holds us steady in any storm.  He has absolute supreme authority over His body.

What a body it is, it is what He died for – it is of utmost importance to Him.  His body, His people, are the fullness of Him – the One who fills everything in every way.  WOW, the fullness of Him.  That is who we are.  Do not let that escape you.  The whole of the body or bride of Christ is the fullness of Him.    We were given His fullness when He gave us His Holy Spirit.  We lack nothing in Him.  Everything we need for life and godliness has been given to us.  We are His reflection to a lost world.  Let us live a life worthy of that calling!

According to His Power That is at Work in Us Who Believe,

Vicky