Sunday, April 28, 2013

Responding to a Friend's Questions About the UMJC and Ephesians 2

A friend of mine asked a great question about how the UMJC interprets Ephesians 2.  Thought I'd paste my response below in case it helps someone else who has the same question:

Hey, brother!  Been thinking about you.  Regarding the questions, I'll just jump in and if I miss something then feel free to ask a follow-up question.

The UMJC believes that non-Jews are not part of Israel.  So with that hermeneutic, they interpret Ephesians 2 as talking about a "commonwealth" of Israel in which there is a state of Israel (for Jews) and multiple, satellite states for non-Jews.  However, the word mistranslated into English as "commonwealth" is politeia and specifically refers to "rights of a citizen".  We see this in other places in the NT (e.g. where Paul refers to his Roman citizenship).  

I've actually had a former president of the UMJC tell me that "brought near" in Eph. 2 doesn't mean "the same as."  The problem with his analysis?  He's overlooking the covenantal context.

Check this out.  What does "brought near" really mean?  Let's look at Acts 2:39 

"The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

So note that he's talking about ALL who are far off, not just Jews.  And if there's any doubt about that then check out Acts 2:17 and 21 which is a quote from Joel 2:

"I will pour out my Spirit on all people
"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved"

The other thing to note about Acts 2 is that it is Shavuot, the day commemorating the giving of the Law on Sinai.  That particular Shavuot inaugurated the New Covenant.  The New Covenant is (1) a national covenant of Israel and (2) involves the Ruach writing Sinaitic Torah onto the heart.

So "brought near" is really a covenantal concept.  And, if there's any doubt about that, note that the mechanism for being brought near is Yeshua's blood.  His blood just happens to be that of the Passover Lamb, the blood of the New Covenant (Matt. 26:28; 1 Cor. 11:25).

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