The Abrahamic Covenant
Part 10
Lessons from Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

John Plunkett
June 13, 2015


Last time in Part 9 we delved into the third and fourth chapters of Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, which included the discussion of the covenants in light of the symbolisms of Hagar and Sarah.  We finished with the thought that in God’s Church today, whether we are physical Israelites, physical Gentiles, or a Heinz 57 mixture of both, if we have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are spiritual Israelites, spiritual Isaacites, spiritual Abrahamites, spiritual descendants and heirs of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac.


Keeping this in mind, let`s move on into Paul`s epistle to the Ephesian congregation.  (Ephesus was close to the west coast of Asia Minor, in what we now refer to as the country of Turkey).


In this epistle, God uses Paul`s words to reinforce this very same concept about the welcoming of the Gentiles.


The word “covenant” in the Greek is ‘diatheke.’ This word only appears once in the whole epistle; but the context surrounding that single mention is very enlightening in this regard.  We are going to go stay in the second chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians today, and study it from beginning to end:


Ephesians 2:
1:  And you has He {God the Father} quickened {past tense} who were dead in trespasses and sins;


God the Father has “quickened” His spiritually dead people – both Israelite and Gentile – both then, now and in the future:

1.     Now – during this physical life, He has given us new life – a new way of life – His way of life.

2.     In the future – assuming that we will “stick with the program” - and God assumes that we will stick with the program – He has given us eternal life – effectively beginning at the time of our calling and conversion; but continuing through the remainder of our human lives; then, after a short sleep (perhaps to recharge our batteries?), we’ll be “up and at ‘em” again at the return of Jesus Christ.  That will be real life!  And it promises to be a very busy life!


2:  Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:

In order to make his point here, Paul appears to be singling out the Gentile church members, referring to them as “you.”  However, as he continues, we will see that Paul was not inferring that the Gentile church members had been any more sinful than the Israelite church members – including himself.


3:  Among whom also we all {including, or even specifically now, “us Israelites”} had our conversation {conduct} in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others {i.e. Gentiles}.


Paul is including the sin of the Israelites with the sin of the Gentiles - all of us having been subject to the wiles of the prince of the power of the air.


4:  But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,


Because of His great love for us, He didn’t cast us off permanently, even despite our sinful pasts.


5:  Even when we {all of us – both Gentiles and Israelites} were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ.  By grace you are saved.


It is interesting when he says that we were dead in our sins, because for a very short time, Jesus too was “dead in sins”!  But not in His own sins, obviously – because He never committed any sins.  No!  He was dead in – and because of – our sins!


6:  And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:


Again, we see a wonderful duality here:


1.     First of all, in the past and present time-frames, when we were converted and when we first received the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, we were raised up – virtually resurrected – from being spiritually dead in our sins.  Even though we were physically alive at the time, we were quickened and given a new life.  And again that new life was – and still is – God’s way of life, which is totally different to the way that we were living before we were called into His church.  Also, still talking about the past and present time-frames, for the very first time upon our conversion, we were given access in prayer to heavenly places – to the very throne-room of our Heavenly Father via Jesus (as we always pray in His name).  This is almost as if we are able to sit in their presence and talk with them. 


2.     Secondly, in the future time-frame, at the return of Jesus Christ to this earth, again using Paul’s same words here, we will be raised up, this time literally!  We will be raised up from the sleep of the first death.  We will be quickened, we will be given eternal life and we will be granted personal face-to-face access to Jesus Christ; and ultimately, with God the Father (Revelation 20:3). 

The fact that we are going to reign on the earth (Revelation 5:10) doesn’t negate the possibility of us ever having the opportunity to visit the Third Heaven.  There are some strong scriptural indications that, following our resurrection, when we are spirit beings, we will have opportunities to visit the “Third Heaven” (e.g. Revelation 14:1-5).  That will be literally when we will have access to these “heavenly places” mentioned by Paul.


Please notice how God, through the apostle Paul, uses the word “together” here.  He uses the word five times in this one chapter, so putting a solid emphasis on the Abrahamic Covenant promises to both Gentile and Israelite brethren, including promises of togetherness and unity between the Gentile and Israelite brethren; but also between the Gentile and Israelite brethren and Jesus and God the Father.


Also, please note how this will be accomplished.  It will be accomplished by, with, and even in, Christ Jesus, as Paul states here.  Whether we are Israelites or Gentiles, prior to Jesus’ unifying sacrifice, we were all separated from God, separated from each other, and dead in our sins. 


There is an old saying that “death is the great leveler” and, if you think about it, to some extent, the Gentiles and the Israelites were kind of “unified in death.”  God said to Adam, “Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.”  And there is probably no difference at all between Gentile dust and Israelite dust!


God the Father raised us up together, quickened us together, and made us sit in heavenly places together.  So we can ask the questions: Does He mean just together with each other?  Or just together with each other and our Gentile brethren (from an Israelite point of view)? 


No! In fact, primarily, the really important togetherness is between us (all of us) and Jesus Christ.  We are unified and reconciled with Jesus (and the Father, too, of course) through Jesus’ death, which He endured for our sins.


As Jesus was the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5), He was the ultimate Pioneer and Forerunner in so many ways.  He was the Pioneer and Forerunner of human beings (actually ex-human beings!) being raised up to eternal life.  I say specifically to eternal life because there had been previous miraculous resurrections to physical life.  But Jesus was the first one to be raised to eternal life, which makes Him the Pioneer and Forerunner in that respect.  He was also the Pioneer of human beings (ex!) being quickened to receive eternal life and to sit in heavenly places.


7:  That in the ages to come He {the Father} might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.


There are twelve mentions of the word “grace” (Greek “charis”) in this short epistle – three in this second chapter.


8:  For by grace are you saved through faith {like Abraham!}; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:


If you have been in the church for a long time, that is probably one of the scriptures that we really do remember.


9:  Not of works {ergon}, lest any man should boast.


Some read this and claim that it means that no works are necessary under the terms of the Abrahamic Covenant or under the terms of the New Covenant.  Is that what Paul is saying here?  No!


10a:  For we are His {God’s} workmanship…


The Greek word for workmanship is “poiema” and can actually mean “work” as well.  We are God’s work. We can think of Him looking at us and saying “You’re quite a piece of work”!  J


10b:  … created in Christ Jesus unto {for} good works which God has before {previously… in the past!} ordained that we should walk in them.


Just to make it clear then:

1.     We’re not saved by our works – and certainly not by the sacrificial works of the Sinai Covenant.

2.     We are saved by two of the very many gifts of God: grace and faith.  They don’t come of ourselves.  We can’t work them up or self-generate them.  They are wonderful gifts from God.


3.     But we were and are “created in Jesus for good works.


4.     God has ordained that we “should walk in” good works!


5.     So, good works certainly are necessary.


11:  Wherefore remember, that you, being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “uncircumcision” by that which is called “the circumcision in the flesh made by hands”…


Just like their Roman and Galatian brethren that we read about in recent months, many Ephesian church members were physically uncircumcised Gentiles who had been called by God the Father and welcomed into His church.


There is an implication here – not a definite one; but a suggestion that Paul could perhaps have been homing in on a fact that there were some local Jews who saw themselves as “the circumcision of the flesh made by hands” that may possibly have been disparaging the Ephesian Gentile members and calling them “uncircumcision” in a derogatory way.  Again, this is not a definite; but just a possibility.


There is also another implication here that, although like many Jews, these ones thought that their physical circumcision somehow made them superior; but in reality, it was inferior.  It was inferior when compared to the circumcision of the heart, which God inspired Moses, Jeremiah and Paul to prioritize as more important (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Romans 2:29).


12:  That at that time {prior to the Gentile members’ calling and conversion} you {Gentile members} were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:


There is a lot of information in this verse. 


This is the single appearance of the word “covenant” in the whole epistle of Paul to the Ephesians; but you can see how the verses around it is so apropos to the context of our study.


The grammar of this verse is very interesting, and especially the plural tense of the word “covenants.”  The appending of the words “of promises” indicates that God, through Paul, was referring primarily to the Abrahamic Covenant, specifically the spiritual promises of its “Grace” Part which, as we know, is the same as the New Covenant.  So we might include the New Covenant in the sense of the plural word “covenants” here.


It is also kind of interesting that, to a much lesser extent, the Sinai Covenant may also have been alluded to here – although very slightly.  At the time when the apostle Paul wrote this, the Sinai Covenant and its sacrificial rituals were still being observed.  The Temple was still standing and many Jews and Levites were still performing those ritual sacrifices, although they were by then unnecessary because they had already been made obsolete by Jesus’ death.  Of course, these Jews and Levites didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah, nor that His death had been the fulfillment of all of those sacrifices.  But, in the context of verse 12, the Gentiles had also been excluded from the ritual sacrifices of the Sinai Covenant law just as much as they had been excluded from the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. 


So, although “the covenants of promise” refer primarily to the Abrahamic Covenant and its promises, the Sinai Covenant did have some promises attached to it, although to a far lesser extent.


What were those Sinai Covenant promises?  Basically, God said to the Israelites, “If you will do your best to obey all of my Sinai Covenant laws, I will bless you.”  But also, there was another part of it that they understood even less.  If they had understood it and abided by it, it would have been a blessing to them.  Again, God was, in effect saying to them, “Every sacrifice that you offer under this Sinai Covenant points to and symbolizes the future, ultimate sacrifice of your Messiah – Jesus – and the many New Covenant promises that would stem from that sacrifice.


Please also notice the repetition of the word “without” in verse 12.  The Greek word for “without” is “choris” and it can, significantly, mean the same as the English word “outside.”  Although the Gentiles had definitely previously been “without” Christ – in other words they did not previously have Christ in their lives – they were also outside of Christ; they were distant from Him; they were not close to Him.


Also in verse 12, the Greek words for “aliens” and “strangers” can also mean that, formerly, prior to Jesus’ death, as well as being separated and estranged from the Israelites, the Gentiles were also totally cut off from any fellowship with God; even from any true knowledge of Him.  Prior to the opening up of salvation to the Gentiles through the death and resurrection of Jesus, all the Gentiles were considered to be total foreigners, totally cut off from Israel, totally cut off from God, and not part of the people of God (although there was some very limited access granted to proselytes).

13:  But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh {near} by the blood of Christ…


We are going to pass over the “blood” part of this verse for now and we’ll go into the relevance of it in a future episode.  But remember what we just read in verse 12, that the Gentiles were formally without Christ, and they were outside of Him.  They were far off, distant and separated from Him, from His people and from His promises.  But His blood and His death made the impossible possible.  His blood and His death made it possible for the Gentiles to be brought near to the Israelites; but more importantly, near to Him.  Even in Him – as Paul wrote here, “in Christ Jesus.”  Being in Christ Jesus is the very opposite of being outside of Him, as they had been previously.  A human being cannot get any nearer to Jesus Christ than being in Him.  Of course, He is in us, as well, through His Holy Spirit.  This is mentioned in many, many scriptures and the apostle Paul taught it right here in verse 13.


14:  For He is our peace, who has made both {physical Gentiles and physical Israelites} one; and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.


This “peace” that God, through Paul, is talking about here is referring to the God-given peace and unity between Israelites and Gentiles.  Initially and specifically, between physical Israelite Christians and physical Gentile Christians; but eventually it is going to be offered to the whole world. 


Previously, this was absolutely impossible and it only could become possible through Jesus Christ who was (and is) a kind of spiritual catalyst and in some respects a spiritual arbitrator.  He was the only one who could bring them together.  And in the future, He is the only one who will be able to bring them together. 


“He is our peace,” Paul says here.  He is the one who, even during His human lifetime, possessed an unlimited measure of the Holy Spirit.  We are all familiar with Paul’s listing of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5.  Fruit number three in that listing is peace.  He had an unlimited supply of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34), and therefore, all of the fruits of the Holy Spirit too.  So then, Jesus had an unlimited supply of peace.  And as a result, He was the only one able to make peace between the Israelite and Gentile peoples who were once at war, both physically and religiously.


Also, please note the phrase “the middle wall of partition between us.”  Even for any proselytes or other Gentiles who may have believed in the true God, there was still a huge wall between them and the Israelites.  When I think of Israel and a wall together, there are a couple of different things that come to my mind:


The first thing – or things – that come to my mind are the walls of God’s temples which separated the Gentiles from the Israelites and which effectively separated those Gentiles from God. 


Please consider Herod’s temple which had a large area called the “court of the Gentiles.”  This was an area that, whether right or wrong, was incorporated an area which the Gentiles were permitted to enter.  However, they were not allowed to venture beyond a special set of walls that were built around the inner courts of the temple and the main temple building itself – i.e. the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.  Those walls were called the “Soreg.”  I searched the internet; but I couldn’t find a satisfactory translation for the word. 


Anybody who transgressed that rule received the death penalty.  In 1871 some archeologists found a sign in the temple area, written in Greek.  It is known as “the Soreg Inscription” and it warns non-Jews to keep out of the Temple area.  This is its English translation:


No foreigner is to enter the barriers surrounding the sanctuary.  He who is caught will have himself to blame for his death which will follow.


I studied into the previous temples of God – Zerubbabel’s temple, Solomon’s temple and the original Tent Tabernacle; but I couldn’t find any reference to a “Court of the Gentiles” in any of those three.  I am thinking that it was possibly something that Herod I had put in his reconstruction; and as we know, Herod I was not a very righteous guy!  So if you look for a Court of the Gentiles or a Soreg Wall in the earlier temples, you won’t find them.  And you won’t find mention of them in Ezekiel’s prophetic account of the future temple either (Ezekiel 41 and 42).  No Court of the Gentiles and no Soreg Walls.  However, in those temples the Gentiles couldn’t even go in any of the temple areas at all.  Although there may have been some special set-up for proselytes, any other Gentile, in the days of the Tent Tabernacle, for example, couldn’t go beyond the curtains that surrounded the courtyard.


The second thing that comes to mind when I read this phrase “the middle wall of partition” is in modern-day Israel, and it is called the “West Bank Barrier Wall” which is about 670 kilometers (400 miles) long.


Even though, physically, there is still serious enmity that continues to fester and occasionally boil over in the modern state of Israel today between the modern tribe of Judah and its various Gentile enemies, in a spiritual sense, Jesus has already broken down the wall of partition between the physical Israelites and the Gentiles – in order that God’s calling can effectively go out to everyone.


15a:  Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances {those of the Sinai Covenant}


We must be really, really careful with this verse – because in our own time in God’s church, some have tried to use this verse to justify the throwing out of all of God’s laws – even to the extent of the throwing out of God’s Commandments! 


So what was abolished by the death of Jesus’ flesh?  The answer, right here in verse 15, is “the enmity.” 


What enmity?  The enmity against the non-sacrificial Laws of God – just because we may not like all of “those pesky dos and don’ts” which place restrictions on what we want to do – whether what we want to do is good for us or not? 


No!  Context is king!  Paul is referring to the very same enmity that he had been writing about throughout this whole chapter.  It was the enmity that came about between the Israelites (who had formally been subject to the Sinai Covenant, including its laws and inherent blessings for obedience) and the Gentiles who had no part in those things.


15b:  … for to make in Himself of twain one new “man,” so making peace.


If we look at the world’s peoples from a spiritual standpoint, prior to the death of Jesus Christ, there was what Paul refers to here as “twain.”  In modern language that simply means “two.”  Or in this case, “two men.” 


God, through Paul, is saying, “I am going to make one new man out of two men.” 


In the vernacular of today, we often hear people say, “There are two kinds of men” or in this case, more accurately, we might say, “There are two kinds of people.”  And this is true.  There are Israelite people – and there are non-Israelite people – Gentiles.


In the Old Testament times, the Israelites had a very limited access to God – specifically to YHVH.  They never knew God the Father (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 8:19; 16:3; 17:25).  But the Gentiles had none! The Gentiles had no access to YHVH – unless they converted to the Israelites’ religion as proselytes.  Even then their access was very, very limited – even more limited than that of the natural Israelites.


But in God’s sight, the walls that separated the Israelites from the non-Israelites had been torn down through Jesus’ death.  As a result those “two men” that he talks about, became “one man.”  Or again, in modern terminology, those “two kinds of people” became “one kind of people” – or “one people.”


Except for a few racialist hiccups in the early Church of God (some of which, sadly, we occasionally see reappearing today), this “making of one man from two” resulted in a very special and unique kind of unity and peace.  Again, that peace was initiated by our leading peacemaker, Jesus Christ.  Actually, not just by Jesus Christ; but as Paul wrote in verse 15, “in Himself.”


I would like to repeat that Jesus was, and still is, the catalyst and the arbitrator of the peace and unity in the church – the peace and unity that can only come through Him.  This is just as true in our present time.  It is exactly the same – whether that peace and unity is between the physical Israelite and physical Gentile brethren of yesteryear, or between the modern-day brethren and their differing preferences.  Whatever our preference for church attendance, church teaching, church leadership styles, no matter how those preferences may diverge, with the indwelling of Jesus Christ that is common to us all, can we still love one another?  Can we still have fellowship with one another?


Another deep concept when we really think about the term “in Christ Jesus,” true godly unity, whether between Israelite and Gentile brethren, or between CGI brethren, LCG brethren, UCG brethren, CGG brethren, or brethren who choose attend with whatever Church of God group, that true godly unity cannot go laterally and directly from member to member.  Rather, it must go from member to Jesus Christ to member.  That is the only way that it can work.  It must go through Jesus.  And also, perhaps, through Jesus to and through God the Father.  (We should take care never to leave our supreme Father out of the picture).


The apostle Paul writes about this again in the very next verse:


16:  And that He {Jesus} might reconcile both {i.e. physical Gentiles and physical Israelites} unto God {the Father} in one body by the cross {Greek “stauros”}, having slain the enmity thereby:


There is another interesting implication here – that the enmity requiring reconciliation was not just between Israelites and Gentiles.  Yes, it was between Gentiles and Israelites; but both groups had been equally at enmity with God the Father.  What difference does it make whether a person is a Gentile or an Israelite if he is sinning against God?  That sin and its resulting enmity (with God) that needs reconciliation is common to both.


So we see that reconciliation is necessary with God the Father and with each other; also that Jesus was the one who made both reconciliations possible.  How?  By the means of His single sacrifice; His death on the cross (stauros).


Once again, how was the wall of enmity and separation torn down?  And how were the Israelites and the Gentiles peacefully united with one another?  Was it directly, laterally, human-to-human, Israelite to Gentile?   No!  Both groups first had to be reconciled to God the Father.  How?  Through a body.  Through one body.  The human body of the firstborn Son of God the Father. 


The logic in the writings of the apostle Paul are bang on!  But how can we better understand this process?


First, once again please consider Paul’s phrase “in one body” and please remember that, due to the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, Jesus’ brothers and sisters (including you and me) are in Jesus Christ and He is in us. 


For the second part of this explanation (hopefully a clarification), I want you to consider this little analogy of my own.  I don’t know if any of you took chemistry classes at school; but my analogy (which builds on Paul’s different symbolism in Romans, I Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians) is the mixing of the ingredients for a chemical reaction.


In my analogy, we have three ingredients which we can imagine to be in powder form or liquid form.


The first ingredient is a single measure of the “Head of the Body” ingredient – Jesus Christ, of course. 


Secondly, we have multiple measures of the “Israelite Body Part” ingredients. 


Thirdly, we have multiple measures of the “Gentile Body Part” ingredients. 


The Israelite and Gentile Body Part ingredients are brought together by God the Father to a spiritual “mixing bowl” (John 6:44, 65) which already contains the single Head of the Body ingredient.  The Israelite and Gentile Body Part ingredients are infused with God’s Holy Spirit and poured into the mix. 


What happens?  A spiritual chemical reaction takes place.  Then what happens?  Is a brand-new compound created – as happens with a physical chemical reaction?  No!  In this spiritual reaction the Israelite and Gentile Body Part Ingredients become parts of the pre-existing whole.  They become integral parts of the one Body – along with the Head – Jesus.  When this happens, they take upon themselves and adopt the very nature of the Head! 


Of course, the Head – Jesus – stays the Head!  When we are mixed in with Him, He doesn’t become the same as us.  Rather, we become the same as Him.


But in this process, the Israelite and Gentile Body Part Ingredients are mixed in together.  We have seen a lot of this word “together” – five times in this second chapter of Ephesians.  All of the Gentile Body Part Ingredients are not carefully separated and located on the left side of the Body while all of the Israelite Body Part Ingredients are located on the right.  No!  In a truly unified mix, the Israelite and Gentile Body Parts are thoroughly mixed and co-exist side-by-side together throughout the Body of Christ.  That is how it should be!

Moving on from that analogy; but once again, still referring to verse 16, how was it done?  It wasn’t done in a mixing bowl, of course.  God tells us here that it was done by the cross (stauros).  It was done by the death of Jesus Christ – by Him being slain


We see an interesting, converse, mirror-image event happening here.  Jesus was rejected and slain by His own human Israelite countrymen. 


Back in the grafting scriptures of Romans 11, we read that Jesus (and His Father) temporarily rejected the Israelites.  Here in verse 16, we read that they slew the spiritual enmity and separation between the Israelites and Gentiles.


17:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off {i.e. Gentile Ephesian brethren}, and to them that were nigh {i.e. Israelite brethren}.


The wording here “them that were nigh” implies that some members of the Ephesian congregation were Jews or – although much less likely – from other Israelite tribes.  But many – perhaps most – of the members of the Ephesian congregation likely were physical Gentiles.  This meant that, prior to Jesus’ death and prior to their calling and conversion, they were considered to be “afar off” spiritually-speaking.  They were spiritual aliens – cut off from access to God.


But the apostle Paul writes here that, while slaying the enmity between the Ephesian Gentile and Ephesian Israelite members, and the enmity between them and Himself and His Father, Jesus also came and preached peace to them!


I don’t know about you; but I have repeatedly read through the gospels and as far as I am aware, there is no record whatsoever of Jesus ever having personally visited the city of Ephesus.  It is a long way from Jerusalem and Nazareth – 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) over today’s roads!  I don’t believe that He actually made such a journey during His human sojourn; rather that He did the preaching of peace mentioned here through His human agents – His apostles and ministers, including the apostle Paul.


And what did Jesus preach through those apostles and minsters?  It says right there, they preached peace.


Because Paul mentions peace and the derived words from it, almost fifty times in his epistles including seven mentions in this epistle to the Ephesians, it must have been important to him.


The peace that was preached by Jesus through His agents included exactly the same kind of peace that Paul mentioned back in verses 14 and 15 – the miraculous God-instituted peace, unity and reconciliation between the Israelite and Gentile brethren.  This peace was the very opposite to the former enmity between them.  Again, let’s not forget that this peace, unity and reconciliation must come first between them and God, as repeated here in the very next verse:


18:  For through Him {Jesus} we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.


There’s that word “both” again!  When He says “we both,” he means that Israelites and Gentiles both have the very same access to God the Father.  How?  Yes, through Jesus and His atoning sacrifice, of course; but also, as Paul says here, “by one Spirit” – through the subsequent receiving and indwelling of one Spirit – the one and only Holy Spirit.

19:  Now therefore you {Gentile brethren} are no more strangers and foreigners {Greek “paroikos”: temporary residents}, but fellowcitizens [with] the saints and of the household of God;


There is a mistranslation here in the phrase “fellowcitizens [with] the saints” which makes the Gentile brethren sounds kind of second-class church members, doesn’t it?  The way it is translated, it is almost like Paul was saying that the Israelites were “the saints”; but you Gentile members are “fellow-citizens” with them.  But there is no Greek word for “with” in the original text.  It shouldn’t have been inserted. 


No.  These Gentile Ephesian members were saints too – just as much as the Israelite saints were.  They were full, first-class Church of God members – not lesser, second-class ones.  Neither were they merely proselytes either, as they would have been had they converted to the Jewish religion.  No.  They were – and are – full members of the “household of God” – fellow sons and heirs with the very same benefits and inheritance as their Israelite brothers and sisters.


As we continue, let’s just read the end of verse 19 again:


19b:  … and of the household of God;

20:  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief cornerstone;
21:  In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto a holy temple in the Lord:
22:  in whom you also are builded together
{Israelites and Gentiles} for a habitation of God through the Spirit.


We see an interesting transition here.  As we move on from verse 19 to verse 20, the apostle Paul goes from the use of the term “the household of God” – perhaps referring to the actual members of the household – to the symbolism of the building itself. 


Paul calls it “a habitation of God,” “a holy temple in the Lord,” “the building fitly framed together” with “Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone” – the integral Base of His building. 


Of course, this is not a physical temple built of wood, stone, brick and mortar.  It is a spiritual one – built of human beings that have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them.  It is being built up by God the Father with Jesus Christ being “the Chief Cornerstone” and His brothers and sisters, being spiritual pillars and building stones (I Corinthians 3:12; Galatians 2:9; I Peter 2:5; Revelation 3:12).


And there in verses 21 and 22 is that word “together” again!


As we have seen in our recent studies in Paul’s epistles to the Romans and Galatians, so we see the same message here in this second chapter of his letter to the Ephesian brethren – that whether we are Gentiles or Israelites, we are all fitly framed together and built together through God’s Holy Spirit into a holy spiritual temple. 


We are – and we must continue to be – the habitation for God the Father and Jesus Christ.