This is Chapter 26 of the book titled The Destiny of Israel and the Twilight of Christianity: In Quest of the Meaning and Significance of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, by John Saggio.









(Philippians, Ephesians/Colossians, 2 Timothy)

Table of Contents

          The Messianic Jews
          The Messianic Gentiles

List of Structures







(Philippians, Ephesians/Colossians, 2 Timothy)

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The Prophesied Bonds and Afflictions, Acts 21:1-14

Paul’s entire journey to Jerusalem as a priest bearing the collection gathered from among the Gentile Messianics for the Saints of Jerusalem and Judea is accompanied by prophetic revelations coming from the spirit as to the forthcoming bonds and afflictions which await him in Jerusalem:

And now, lo! I, bound to the interest of the spirit, am going to Jerusalem, not being aware what I will meet with in it, more than that the holy spirit, city by city, certifies to me, saying that bonds and afflictions are remaining for me. But of nothing have I a word, nor yet am I making my soul precious to myself, till I should be perfecting my career and the dispensation which I received from the Lord Jesus, to certify [bear witness to] the evangel of the grace of Yahweh [to the Jew, the Gospel of the Circumcision, and also to the Gentile, the Gospel of the Uncircumcision]. (Acts 20:22-24 CV modified)

Paul’s journey to Jerusalem with this eschatologically significant offering is in accord with the interest of the spirit. He is aware that he will suffer bonds and afflictions on behalf of this Gentile Messianic offering representing their debt to Israel as a result of sharing in Israel’s spiritual blessings (Rom. 15:26-27).

But he is prepared to lose his soul (his soulish, bodily life) for the sake of the righteousness and proclamation of the Gospel. His commitment is to successfully complete the course of his Apostolic commission to proclaim the Gospel of Yahweh’s grace to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. Necessary to the faithful completion of his divine commission is the offering up of the Gentile Messianic monetary contribution to the economic needs of the Saints (both Messianic Jews and non-messianic Jews) dwelling in Jerusalem and Judea (the holy land and the navel of Israelite worship and service of Yahweh). This contribution coming from the Gentile Messianics is to be a provocative sign to the Jewish nation. It will demonstrate the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:6; 60:5; and 56:6-7:

But you will be called the priests of Yahweh; You will be spoken of as the ministers of our Elohim. You will eat the wealth of nations, And with their glory you shall change yourselves [put on the glory of Yahweh promised you]. (Isaiah 61:6 NASB modified)

Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you. (Isaiah 60:5 NASB)

Also the foreigners join themselves to Yahweh, To minister to Him, and to love the name of Yahweh, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [their becoming living sacrifices and their contributive offering to the Saints dwelling in Jerusalem and Judea] will be acceptable on My altar [Jesus the Messiah, the stone of stumbling]; For My house [the New Born-From-Above Israel, the New Restored Davidic Kingdom of Jesus, the Temple not made with hands] will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. (Isaiah 56:6-7 NASB modified)

In Tyre, the disciples, through the spirit, confirmed the previous prophetic revelations concerning the coming bonds and afflictions in Jerusalem (Acts 21:3-4). In Caesarea, the four daughters of Philip the evangelist, prophesying, also declared the coming bonds and afflictions (Acts 21:8-9). While still in Caesarea, the prophet Agabus, coming from Judea, removed Paul’s waistband and bound his own feet and hands with it, prophesying, “Now this the holy spirit is saying, ‘The man whose girdle [waistband] this is, shall the Jews in Jerusalem be binding thus, and they shall be giving him over into the hands of the nations’” (Acts 21:11b CV). Paul had already been apprehensive regarding this journey to Jerusalem, for he had previously written to the Messianics at Rome, “to struggle together with me in prayers to God [Yahweh] for me, that I should be rescued from the stubborn in Judea” (Rom. 15:30b-31a CV). Thus, Paul associated this priestly journey to Jerusalem with the eschatological completion of his apostolic commission and the imminent arrival of the time of Jacob’s trouble and the approach of the Parousia of Jesus the Messiah, the Davidic Warrior-King.

Paul’s response to the prophecy of Agabus confirms his conviction. This journey with its priestly offering up by Paul (in obedience to Yahweh’s commission) of the Messianic Gentiles (to Yahweh in Jerusalem, the navel of the holy land) as an approach present for Yahweh’s official sanctification and acceptance (signified by the deliverance of the Messianic Gentile contribution to the Saints in the holy land) is an eschatological sign of the nearness of the conclusion of the season of salvation and the beginning of the Day of Yahweh’s indignation against the stubborn, rebellious, uncircumcised-in-heart Jews:

What are you doing, lamenting and unnerving my heart? For I hold myself in readiness, not only to be bound, but to die also in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 21:13b CV)

His readiness to even die in Jerusalem indicates his conviction that the conditions making possible the successful completion of his apostolic commission had already been accomplished. It might not have been Yahweh’s will to extend the proclamation of the Gospel into the territories west of Rome.

Paul perceives his priestly offering to be related to the eschatological separation of the two Jewish communities: Apostate Israel and Born-From-Above Israel. The sanctification of the Messianic Gentiles by Yahweh in Jerusalem, the navel of the holy land of Yahweh, will provoke a response shortly to result in an open declaration of civil war. The stubborn, uncircumcised-in-heart Jews will openly repudiate the legitimacy of the Messianic Jews. This repudiation will be stimulated by the apostate nation’s preparation for and ultimate commitment to open revolt against Rome. All those Jews and gentiles in the land refusing to support the war against Rome would be denounced as anti-patriotic to the Jewish nation in her sacred effort to restore her covenantal independence from and superiority over Rome.

Thus, Paul, unlike the disciples’ understanding of the prophetic revelations of the spirit, perceives the message of the spirit in these prophetic revelations as the command of his Lord to proceed to Jerusalem. As Jesus had set His eyes on Jerusalem to suffer the death of the cross on behalf of the salvation of Israel, so also Paul sets his eyes on Jerusalem to suffer persecution on behalf of the salvation of Israel. As the disciples of Jesus had attempted to dissuade Him from going to Jerusalem and death, so also the Messianic disciples attempt to dissuade Paul from going to Jerusalem and sure binding and affliction. In both cases, the journey to Jerusalem is imperative, being vital to the eschatological purpose of Yahweh. As Jesus’ ministry to the circumcised seed of Abraham divided Israel,

Lo! He is lying [set, KJV] for the fall and rising of many in Israel, And for a sign contradicted. (Luke 2:34b CV)

I did not come to be casting peace, but a sword. For I came to pit a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And the enemies of the [circumcised-in-heart Jewish] man are those of his household. (Matthew 10:34b-36 CV modified)

so also, the ministry of Paul to the uncircumcised seed of Abraham is to separate and make clearly distinguishable Apostate Israel from the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh. As Jesus’ ministry to the circumcision had been and continued to be a sign contradicted, so also Paul’s ministry to the uncircumcised has been, and is about to reach its zenith as, a sign contradicted.

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Acceptance and Persecution in Jerusalem:
Prelude to Jewish Civil War, Acts 21:15-26:32

Reception by the Jerusalem Messianic Community:
Welcomed With Gratification, Acts 21:15-25

Arriving in Jerusalem, Paul presents to James and the elders, authorities in the Messianic Community’s central headquarters, the eschatological contribution of the Messianic Gentiles. Paul and the contribution are welcomed with gratification by the Messianic brethren in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17). There is no discord among the Messianic brethren or authorities. The ministry of Paul to Jews, as well as Gentiles, among the nations is perceived as the work of Yahweh’s spirit. The New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh is unified in this matter. This new nation of Yahweh within the old, decaying nation is well aware of both the Gospel of the Circumcision and the Gospel of the Uncircumcision. This has been made clear to the Messianic Saints by the spirit.

The entrance of the Messianic Gentiles is not a problem for this divinely created/generated Israel of Yahweh. The problem resides in the larger Jewish Community within which the Messianic Community is dwelling and testifying to the truth of the Gospel. Within the Messianic Community, however, there are those pseudo-Messianic Jews who claim to follow Jesus as messiah, but they remain offended by the entrance of the Messianic Gentiles. They seek to mix the terms of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant with the terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, thereby contaminating both covenants.

These pseudo-Messianics whose hearts are uncircumcised are tares (weeds) growing up in the midst of the authentic Messianic wheat. These pseudo-Messianics are secretly offended by the entrance of the Messianic Gentiles as represented by Paul’s priestly offering up of the Gentile Messianics to Yahweh in the central headquarters of Messianic Jerusalem (the holy of holies of the New Spiritual Temple not made with hands) symbolized by the Messianic Gentile contribution. They soon will be removing their hypocritical masks, joining the apostate nation in its revolt against Rome in the name of Jerusalem’s new molten calf representing its defiled image of Yahweh as alien elohim, The Adversary, Satan.

Paul’s report concerning Yahweh's blessing of the Messianic Gentiles responding in faith to Yahweh’s call is received with much joy:

And, greeting them [the Messianic Jews in Jerusalem], he unfolded, one by one, each of the things which Yahweh did among the nations through his ministry. Now those who heard glorified Yahweh. (Acts 21:19‑20a CV modified)

The ministry of Paul concerned his commission by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel of the Uncircumcision as Yahweh’s confirmation of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Rom. 15:8-9). This commission and this Gospel were in accord with the testimony of the Law and the Prophets. Thus, Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles is in accord with the hope of Israel and the corporate resurrection of Israel from the dead.

The Messianic Community consisting of Messianic Jews and Gentiles is the promised newly restored Davidic Kingdom, the promised newly Born-From-Above Israel. The sect which the larger Jewish Community refers to as “the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5b CV), “the way which they [the non-messianic Jews] are terming a sect” (Acts 24:14 CV) is Yahweh’s New Born-From-Above Israel. All Jews are covenantally bound to receive this work of Yahweh as His fulfillment of the prophecies of the prophets. Thus, the Messianic Jews testifying to Jesus the Nazarene as Yahweh's Messiah promised by the prophets are authentic, faithful Jews conforming themselves to the word of Yahweh spoken by the prophets. They are not merely a sect of Judaism; they are the legitimate, covenantal people of Yahweh.

The persecution of Paul soon to occur in the Temple by zealous, blind, and ignorant circumcised-in-heart Jews and unzealous, unblind, and knowledgeable uncircumcised-in-heart Jews committed only to their own political, social, economic, and religious welfare under the dominion of Rome is a prelude to the Jewish civil war about to politically, socially, economically, and religiously divide the nation in two. At the present time, the nation is not so divided. The Messianic Jews remain as a tolerated sect within Judaism. Dialogue continues to occur. The Messianic Community continues to worship and serve Yahweh in the synagogues and the Temple. The rejection of Paul and his ministry to the Gentiles is an eschatological sign of the nearness of this open civil war, the nearness of the time of Jacob’s trouble, the nearness of the final judgment of Apostate Israel when the season of salvation will have ended and the time of national repentance will have passed.

The Messianic leaders in Jerusalem, having glorified Yahweh for His mercy and compassion sent to the diaspora Jews and to the Gentiles among whom they dwell, now take up the peril resulting from Paul’s presence in Jerusalem. The Messianic Community has dwelt in peace with the larger Jewish Community. A vast multitude of Messianic Jews continue to be zealous of the Mosaic Law, and rightly so. But they have falsely been informed that Paul teaches the Jews of the diaspora to forsake the Law of Moses, “telling them not to be circumcising their children, nor yet to be walking in the customs” (Acts 21:21b CV). These zealous Messianic Jews, having believed these erroneous reports, might become disturbed over his presence among them, evoking discord in the Messianic Community which could result in arousing the larger Jewish Community against the Messianic Jews.

It is the desire of the leaders of the Messianic Community to remain at peace with the larger Jewish Community as long as possible. In this way, their testimony to the truth of the Gospel continues to lead many Jews to Jesus the Messiah. Paul is in complete agreement with this evangelistic policy. All understand that such a peaceful relationship with the larger Jewish Community cannot last too much longer. The Parousia/Approach of Jesus and the day of Yahweh are near at hand. The season for salvation will soon come to a close.

Thus, it behooves the Messianic Jews in Jerusalem to maintain the peaceful relationship as long as possible. The Gospel has successfully liberated many Jews from the apostate nation, the larger Jewish Community Cainishly opposed to the saving work of Yahweh operating in its midst. Until the Messianic Community in Jerusalem receives a sign from Yahweh indicating the prelude to the civil war prophesied by Jesus, these Messianic Jews would seek to avoid offending the larger Jewish Community.

The contribution delivered by Paul on behalf of the Gentile Messianics would provoke that anticipated sign. The presumptuous arrogance of Apostate Israel resulting from pseudo, unrighteous covenantal pride would cause this apostate nation to become offended by Paul and his mission among the Gentiles. Yahweh’s graciousness to the Gentiles would be perceived by those apostate Jews as an insult to their superior status as the distinguished, holy people of Yahweh. The mission of Paul to the Gentiles would be interpreted to be a threat to the religious basis of Israel’s covenantal uniqueness. Israel’s identity as Yahweh’s superior nation would be perceived as being under attack. The perpetrator of such an attack would be perceived as blasphemous, hence deserving of death by stoning.

Paul is advised not only to purify himself, but also to pay for the vows of four local Messianic Jews. In this way, the entire Jewish Community would be enlightened as to Paul’s observance of the Law of Moses. Since Paul understands that the Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh must faithfully observe Yahweh’s Law in order to fulfill the purpose of Yahweh for His elect nation, he has no qualms in following the advice of the Messianic leaders of the Messianic Community in Jerusalem. Such observance glorifies Yahweh according to His command recorded in Exodus 19:3b-6a:

Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (NASB)

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Turmoil in the Temple:
Paul Accused of Apostasy From Moses, Acts 21:26-39

While in the Temple completing this observance of the Law of Moses, some non-messianic, zealous Jews from the province of Asia, attending this last and significant festival of Pentecost recorded in Acts, see Paul and violently seize him, shouting,

Men! Israelites! Help! This is the man who is teaching all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this holy place. (Acts 21:28a CV)

Their accusation against Paul has to do with his ministry to the Gentiles. He is accused of attacking the holiness of Israel. According to these zealous, non-messianic Jews of the diaspora, Paul blasphemes Yahweh and His people by denigrating the holiness of the Jews, the holiness of the Mosaic Law, and the holiness of the Temple. They claim Paul is teaching the nations that the Jews are not holy, uniquely distinguished from the gentiles in terms of Israel’s special covenantal relationship to the One, True, Living Elohim, Israel’s special law given only to Israel among all the nations, and Israel’s distinguished Temple, the only temple within which dwells the presence of Yahweh the One, True, Living Elohim of Israel. Paul’s teaching, they claim, is threatening the survival and welfare of Israel.

In addition, these Jews claim Paul has contaminated the Temple by leading Greeks beyond the court of the Gentiles into the Temple proper. Paul is thus encouraging the Jews to abandon the customs of Moses, the traditions and commandments of the fathers, and the cultic worship in the Temple. Such blasphemy demands death by stoning.

All the Jews in the sanctuary, becoming rampantly agitated by the words and action of these Asian Jews, join them in dragging Paul out of the Temple in order to stone him to death. The turmoil in the Temple stirs the whole city, so that people come running together from all directions, curious to know what the disturbance is about. The intended stoning is aborted by the Roman garrison assigned to the Temple area in order to prevent any riots from occurring. Rescuing Paul, they bind him with chains and proceed to ascend the stairs leading to the citadel of Antonia with Paul in their custody. Paul, however, persuades the captain to let him speak from the stairs to the people.

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Paul’s Defense Speech in the Temple:
The Jews Offended by the Mission to the Gentiles, Acts 21:40-22:29

Paul, speaking in the Hebrew vernacular to the throng in the sanctuary, addresses these Jews as his brethren. Though they may be enemies of the Gospel, they are beloved brethren as Yahweh's elect people (Rom. 11:28). The Messianic Community is a Jewish community. Its dispute with the larger Jewish Community, the Jewish National Commonwealth, is intra-Jewish. At this time, the larger Jewish Community perceives the Messianic Jews as a sect within Judaism, the sect of the Nazarenes. They have much in common, especially a belief in the Hebrew Scriptures, on the basis of which they carry on their interpretive dialogue.

Paul announces he is a Jew educated at the feet of the well-respected Rabbi Gamaliel. He had been “trained according to the strictness of the hereditary law” (Acts 22:3b CV). He has been zealous to the interest of Yahweh, even as all they are zealously acting against him that very day. As the Jews from Asia had zealously seized him in defense of the tradition and commandments of the relatively recent fathers, so had he zealously persecuted the way of the Nazarenes, believing he was righteously defending the integrity of Yahweh’s holy, elect nation against a group of blasphemous Jews polluting the holy nation.

However, his blind eyes and ignorant understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures had been opened and enlightened when Jesus the Nazarene appeared to Him in a vision occurring at midday. He had been zealously persecuting the promised Messiah of Yahweh. He had done this in blindness and ignorance, sincerely believing he had been carrying out Yahweh’s will. Now, having been enlightened, he was commissioned to “witness to all men of what you have seen and heard” (Acts 22:15b CV).

Paul continues addressing these Jews by stating that later, after returning to Jerusalem, while praying in the Temple, he came to be in an ecstasy. In this ecstatic state, he was commanded by Messiah Jesus to quickly depart out of Jerusalem because his Jewish kinsmen in Jerusalem would not receive his testimony concerning the Messiahship of Jesus the Nazarene. In spite of Paul’s testimony concerning his own erroneous and unrighteous persecution of those Jews faithful to Jesus the Nazarene, Yahweh’s promised Messiah, his kinsmen would not believe his testimony. Consequently, Messiah Jesus commanded him, “Go! For I shall be delegating you afar to the nations” (Acts 22:21 CV).

Paul’s Jewish audience had listened to him until this command to go to the nations. Arrogant, self-righteous pride infuriated their hearts against such a blatant blasphemer of Israel’s privileged status. Like Saul/Paul of Tarsus, many of these zealous Jews were blind and ignorant. They had been deceived by errant scriptural scholars. However, many others had not been deceived. They were not blind and ignorant. They were children of rebellious Cain, concerned only with their own political, social, economic, and religious welfare at the expense of the righteous appropriation of Yahweh’s statutes, judgments, commandments, testimony, and instruction incorporated in the Hebrew Scriptures. They were content with the status quo of contemporary Judaism.

This apostate nation of stubborn people glorying in their superior, elect status as Yahweh’s only covenantal people could not endure the insult (to their covenantal pride) of a message and messenger claiming their Elohim had commanded him to go to the inferior, idolatrous gentiles. Such a messenger and message were an abomination in their eyes. Thus, this nation like Israel of old, did what was right in its own eyes, rather than what was right in the eyes of Yahweh its Elohim.

However, many walked this path in blindness and ignorance, sincerely believing they were zealously carrying out the requirements of Yahweh’s Law. The entire nation was not apostate in heart. Many loved Yahweh their Elohim with a circumcised heart, but had been deceived into believing the lie of their Cainite rulers and teachers. But it also must be noted that many of their rulers and teachers had also been deceived by the erroneous traditions and commandments which had come down to them from their pseudo-exilic fathers who had misappropriated the letter of the law, isolating it from the spirit of the law, thereby transforming the Law of Yahweh into the law of men. Hence, the circumcised-in-heart members of the apostate nation were not yet ready to receive the truth of the Gospel. Soon, however, Yahweh would open the blind eyes and melt the hardened hearts of His deceived people, even as He had done for Saul/Paul of Tarsus, the once zealous persecutor of Yahweh’s New Born-From-Above Israel.

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Paul’s Appearance Before the Sanhedrin:
The Hope of
Israel and the Resurrection of the Dead
(The Jewish Authorities Divided), Acts 22:30-23:11

The captain of the Roman garrison, attempting to ascertain the charges of the Jews against Paul, orders the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin to come together. Paul is then brought before this prestigious Jewish Supreme Court. Again, he addresses his kinsmen as brethren. Paul is a Jew. He never denies his status as a Jew. After all, salvation is of the Jews. The Jews are Yahweh’s elect, covenantal people. Paul is a redeemed Jew, faithfully carrying out his obligation to bring the light of the Gospel, first to the Jews, and also to the Gentiles. He is a priestly member of a kingdom of priests.

He testifies before the Sanhedrin that he has “in all good conscience . . . used my citizenship [in Israel] for Yahweh’s interest until this day” (Acts 23:1b CV modified). He claims to have been conscientiously faithful to what he believed was Yahweh’s will, both before his encounter with Jesus the Nazarene and after. His zealous persecution of the sect of the Nazarenes had been motivated by a circumcised heart totally committed to the law of his Elohim and his people. He acted sincerely, though in blindness and ignorance. His sinful persecution of the Messianic Jews had been carried out with a sincere desire to please Yahweh his Elohim. In all good faith, he believed he was observing the requirement of Yahweh’s Law.

Ananias, the High Priest, hearing this confession, is disgusted that this Jew could claim “in all good conscience” to have used his sacred covenantal citizenship to Yahweh’s interest when taking what belonged distinctly to Israel and giving it to the uncircumcised nations. He perceives Paul a traitor to his people. Paul had properly persecuted those of the blasphemous sect of the Nazarenes, but had himself become a traitor to the holy nation by joining them in their contemptible claim that Jesus the Nazarene is the promised Messiah of Yahweh, that a new covenant had been consecrated, and that the Temple made with hands would be superseded by the Temple not made with hands. Hence, he orders Paul’s face to be slapped. Paul prophetically responds,

God is about to slap you, whitewashed wall! And you are sitting to judge me according to the law, and illegally are you ordering me to be slapped! (Acts 23:3 CV modified)

In this prophetic pronouncement is an allusion to Ezekiel 13:10-14:

It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying “Peace!” when there is no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash; so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will break out. Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, “Where is the plaster with which you plastered it?” Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD [Yahweh Elohim], “I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath. There will also be in My anger a flooding rain and hailstones to consume it in wrath. So I will tear down the wall which you plastered over with whitewash and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation is laid bare; and when it falls, you will be consumed in its midst. And you will know that I am the Lord [Yahweh].” (NSAB)

Jesus had said He had brought a sword, not peace (Matt. 10:34). These Cainite wolves seek the peace of the status quo associated with their lawless judgments against the people and on behalf of their own welfare. They reject the righteousness of Yahweh and the Righteous One of Yahweh.

Jesus demands righteous repentance, pitting the repentant ones against the unrighteous, whitewashed, uncircumcised-in-heart Jewish lovers of the status quo. Jesus had referred to these proclaimers of status quo peace as “whitewashed sepulchers which outside, indeed, are appearing beautiful, yet inside they are crammed with the bones of the dead and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27b CV). These renegade, arrogant Jews despise the fact that Yahweh would cleanse the uncircumcised, idolatrous gentiles on the basis of repentant faith, yet they themselves remain unrepentantly unclean. Those whitewashed sepulchers and their plastered whitewashed political, social, economic, and religious walls would soon come falling down as a result of the wrath of Yahweh. In that imminent Day of Judgment, the Jewish wolves in sheep clothing, the uncircumcised-in-heart sons and children of Cain “will be consumed” under the collapsing walls of their decayed house.

Having spoken this prophetic pronouncement, Paul is reprimanded for disrespecting the High Priest. Immediately, Paul apologizes, for the law dictates that one is not to declare evil against an anointed ruler of Yahweh such as the anointed King of Israel or the anointed Aaronic High Priest (Ex. 22:28). Such anointed rulers must be left to the judgment of Yahweh, as illustrated in David’s refusal to take the life of the unrighteous King Saul who had been unjustly seeking David’s righteous life. Though David had been prophetically anointed by Samuel as Yahweh’s future king, only Yahweh is authorized to remove King Saul from his throne.

Again, Paul reveals his commitment as a Jew to his people and the Law of Yahweh his Elohim. As a Messianic Jew, he is a priest after the order of Melchizedek and a member of the newly restored Davidic Priestly Kingdom mediating Yahweh’s Gospel and Yahweh’s New Covenant to the Jews first, as well as the Gentiles (see Rev. 1:6; Ex. 19:5-6). The Gospel of Christ has not initiated a new religion. It is consummating the promise made to Abraham and Israel. It is creating/generating Yahweh’s intended faithfully righteous, holy, elect Israel. This holy, elect, faithful, righteous Israel of Yahweh is now, during the last days of the Mosaic Eon, during the last Mosaic generation, fulfilling her predetermined destiny as Yahweh's instrument of blessing to the nations and to Adamic humanity.

In this defense of Paul before the Sanhedrin, he claims,

Concerning the expectation [hope] and resurrection of the dead am I being judged. (Acts 23:6b CV)

The real issue is not Paul’s guilt or innocence regarding the incident in the Temple. The real issue concerns the hope of Israel and the resurrection of the dead. Apostate Israel denies that the hope of Israel is in process. It denies that Jesus the Nazarene has risen from the dead and has initiated the long awaited national resurrection of Israel.

Paul claims the process of national resurrection has already begun. Many Jews have experienced the reality of this resurrection in progress. Apostate Jews, non-messianic Jews, are turning their backs on that which belongs primarily to them. The hope of Israel is the Messianic Kingdom of David founded upon national resurrection. The Messiah has risen from the dead and national resurrection has already occurred in the creation/generation of the New Born-From-Above Israel. A new Israel has been born in a day (the Day of Pentecost of Acts, chapter 2).

With this hope-of-resurrection claim of Paul, the Sanhedrin becomes divided. The Sadducees deny resurrection, celestial messengers, and spirits. The Pharisees advocate both. A vicious debate ensues. The angered Sadducees, enraged by both the Pharisees and Paul, attempt to manhandle Paul in the midst of the violent clamor between the members of the two parties. Again, the Roman garrison rescues Paul out of the agitated hearts and hands of the Jews.

Jesus had come to bring a sword, not the status quo peace of Israel’s pseudo, hireling shepherds. Members of the Sadducees and the Pharisees no longer can remain on the proverbial fence of indecision. A choice for or against Messiah Jesus must be made. The nation is about to be divided in two. Each Jew must decide to which nation he or she is to belong, to which kingdom and king he or she is to be committed in worship and service to Yahweh.

Already, according to the account of Acts, “a vast throng of the priests obeyed the faith” (Acts 6:7b CV). Many Pharisees had also obeyed the faith. Though many continued to be unconvinced, many others had become convinced, causing the New Born-From-Above nation to increase in numbers and spiritual strength. All Israel had not abandoned Yahweh, and Yahweh had not abandoned all Israel. The new nation of Yahweh flourished while the old nation putrefied due to spiritual malnutrition. The old nation would come under the wrath of Yahweh. The new nation would enter into the promised Celestial Allotment, having experienced the hope of Israel, the consummation of national and individual resurrection.

During the ensuing night, Jesus stood by Paul in a night vision. Paul is encouraged. He is assured that as he has testified in Jerusalem, he would also testify in Rome. His course was almost completed. The Approach/Arrival Parousia of the Lord was near at hand. The Mosaic Eon would soon be consummated. Before this could occur, however, it is necessary for him to testify in Rome:

Be courageous! For as you certifiedly testified in Jerusalem about the things concerning Me, thus, it is necessary for you to testify in Rome also. (Acts 23:11 my translation)

Though Paul would continue to be bound and afflicted, his life would be preserved from the malignant intentions of his enemies. He must and would successfully complete his commission. Yahweh’s word will not return to Him void of achieving His intended purpose. Malignant Israel would deteriorate in the terrestrial realm. Hygienic Israel would become progressively vigorous in the Celestial Realm of her exalted worship and service of Yahweh. By 70 A.D., the Gospel would have successfully completed its intended course, thereby consummating the authorization of its proclamation.

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The Jewish Conspiracy Against Paul:
The Zealous Anathematic Vow, Acts 23:12-35

As Paul is assured that he must testify in Rome also, his zealous Jewish enemies conspire to assassinate him. They vow themselves to be anathema (cursed) from Paul and his Messiah Jesus. There are more than 40 of these zealous Jews who take this extravagant vow. Approaching the high priests and the elders, they vow, “With an anathema we anathematize ourselves to taste nothing till we should kill Paul” (Acts 23:14b CV). They request that these prestigious rulers, together with the consent of the Sanhedrin, inform the captain of the Roman garrison that they desire to have Paul appear before them once again. In the process of escorting Paul to the court of the Sanhedrin, they plan to assassinate him.

As previously in the case of Saul/Paul of Tarsus, the chief priests and the elders, not being so zealous, perceive this as an opportunity of ridding themselves of a troublesome political and religious enemy without dirtying their hands. These zealous Jews bring to memory Saul of Tarsus who also zealously had desired “to be anathema from Messiah [Jesus] (Rom. 9:3 CV modified), requesting authorization from these same rulers to persecute the Messianic Jews.

Like Saul of Tarsus, these zealous Jews, vowing themselves to be anathema from Paul, could very well have been blind and ignorant. They could very well have possessed a sincere conscience in the sight of Yahweh their Elohim. Their zealousness could very well have been an indication of their circumcised hearts. They could very well have sincerely believed that they were acting righteously, lawfully, on behalf of Yahweh’s honor and the covenantal welfare of the people.

The very unsuccessfulness of their plot might have caused them to come to their senses, concluding that their failure and the cursed consequence was due to Yahweh’s rejection of their attitude and action and His acceptance of Paul’s attitude and actions. The deadly consequence of their unsuccessful, extravagant vow may very well have shaken their erroneous confidence in their understanding of recent events. If their hearts had been truly circumcised and their consciences pure in motivation, the failure of their plot and the failure to fulfill their vow would certainly be used by Yahweh to extend to them the same mercy extended to Saul of Tarsus.

For Paul had later declared, “but I was shown mercy, seeing that I did it [persecute the saints, Jewish Messianics] being ignorant, in unbelief. Yet the grace of our Lord overwhelmed [me]” (1 Tim. 1:13b-14a CV). It is this conscientious zealousness which would provoke a righteous jealousness in response to the Messianic Gentiles’ possession of the gifts and blessings belonging to Israel. This jealousy results in the repentance and faith of those zealous, circumcised-in-heart Jews temporarily opposing Messiah Jesus and Paul in blindness and ignorance. Yahweh would not leave those circumcised-in-heart children of Abraham in blindness and ignorance. His grace would open their blind eyes and melt their hardened, deceived hearts in His appointed time, even as He had done for Saul of Tarsus.

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Imprisonment and Trial Before Felix in Caesarea:
Impending Resurrection and Impending Judgment, Acts 24:1-27

The failure of the assassination plot results in Paul’s removal from Jerusalem to Caesarea. There, Governor Felix resumes the trial of Paul. Ananias the High Priest, some elders, and a hired orator travel to Caesarea to charge Paul before the judgment seat of Felix. The case against Paul is weak and unconvincing. However, again Paul claims he is on trial concerning the resurrection of the dead. Paul testifies to the fact that he has always been a devout Jew. He has worshiped and served Yahweh according to the dictates of the Law and the Prophets.

His hope, like the Jews charging him, is the national resurrection of Israel. This resurrection is impending. Though Paul knows it is already in progress, his accusers do not believe this, so he emphasizes what they have in common. Thus, he refers only to the consummation of this impending national resurrection. Paul proclaims this consummation to be imminently impending. The Messiah has come. The Messiah has suffered the death of crucifixion and has risen from among the dead. He is soon to come in judgment of both the just and the unjust. The time for repentance is running out.

Paul has been faithfully testifying to this truth among the Jews and gentiles. Many Jews and Gentiles have received this truth. Those Jews opposing his testimony have been offended by his proclamation to the Gentiles and his acceptance (into the Israel of Yahweh) of faithful, uncircumcised Gentiles as equal citizens with circumcised Jews. He is now on trial, not for creating turmoil in the Temple, but for his priestly offering up of the Messianic Gentiles as an acceptable approach present to Yahweh, “Now after the lapse of more years, I came along doing alms for my nation” (Acts 24:17a CV). The acceptance by the Jerusalem Messianic Jews of the contribution of the Messianic Gentiles worshiping and serving Yahweh together with the diaspora Jews has provoked the infuriated anger of the non-messianic Jews in Jerusalem against Paul.

Felix postpones the trial, claiming to need time to become acquainted with the teachings of the way, the Jewish sect of the Nazarenes. However, he already realizes that the evidence against Paul is insufficient to warrant a verdict of guilty. Paul, meanwhile, is to remain a prisoner in Caesarea, though with much leniency.

After some days, Felix, together with his wife Drusilla, sends for Paul, desiring to hear from him concerning the faith in Messiah Jesus. As Paul explains covenantal righteousness, self-control, and “the impending judgment” (Acts 24:25 CV), Felix, becoming frightened, abruptly terminates the interview. Realizing the implications of an imminently impending judgment and his own unrighteous shortcomings, his fear of negative judgment (condemnation) causes him to immediately dismiss Paul. He had been also hoping to receive a bribe from Paul. His fear and disappointment cause him to dismiss Paul at this time. But his hope to obtain a bribe results in his frequent calling of Paul. Though his conscience responds to Paul’s proclamation of the truth of the Gospel, he is able to suppress its inclination in favor of the wealth and pleasure which comes from power and unrighteous adjudication.

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Imprisonment and Trial Before Festus in Caesarea:
Paul’s Appeal to Caesar, Acts 25:1-12

After two years of imprisonment in Caesarea, Paul’s trial is resumed under the governorship of Festus who was the successor of Felix. Paul had remained a prisoner in Caesarea because Felix had sought to favor the Jewish authorities for political reasons. Upon becoming governor, Festus journeys to Jerusalem in accord with expected protocol and due to the recent riots in Caesarea under Felix which had involved Jews.

While in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the Jewish leaders present their case against Paul, requesting that Festus send Paul to Jerusalem for his trial. Their intent is to attempt a second ambush, giving the zealous Jews under the anathema vow another chance to fulfill their vow to assassinate Paul. Festus, however, resists this opportunity to ingratiate himself with the politically and socially important Jewish authorities. He, thus, invites those Jews having accusations against Paul to return with him to Caesarea where he will sit in judgment.

At the trial, the Jewish accusers from Jerusalem bring “many and heavy [serious] charges against him [Paul] (Acts 25:7b CV), none of which they can prove substantially. Paul, defending himself, substantially establishes his case: “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the sanctuary, nor against Caesar did I any sin” (Acts 25:8 CV). He claims and substantiates his innocence of all charges brought against him. Everything he has done and said is in accord with the law of the Jews. He has spoken only that which is written in the Law and the Prophets. He has not defiled the sanctuary of Yahweh. He has not denigrated the holy people of Yahweh. He has not spoken against the Law of Moses.

On the contrary, he has spoken and confirmed only that which Moses and the prophets declared would come. He is, therefore, on trial for believing the Law and the Prophets concerning the arrival of the hope of Israel, the arrival of the promised Messiah, the arrival of the national resurrection of Israel. It is this Jewish belief for which he is being unjustly persecuted.

When Festus, seeking to curry favor with the Jews, asks Paul if he is willing to go to Jerusalem “to be judged there before me concerning these things?” (Acts 25:9b CV), Paul realizes he is not going to receive justice before Festus. He answers that he stands before the judgment seat of Caesar. It is before this judgment seat he is to be judged, not the judgment seat of the Jews in Jerusalem. He had defended himself worthily. His accusers have not been able to prove their case. This, Festus knows well. Since Festus will not render just judgment, Paul’s only alternative is to declare, “To Caesar am I appealing!” (Acts 25:11b CV). Knowing he must of necessity testify in Rome, Paul must have perceived the turn of events to be Yahweh’s means of getting him to Rome. His appeal to Caesar is in accord with the completion of his commissioned ministry.

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Paul’s Defense Before King Agrippa and Festus:
The Hope of the Promise of Yahweh to the Fathers, Acts 25:13-26:32

Soon after Paul’s appeal to Caesar, King Agrippa visits Festus. The recent affairs of Paul are submitted to King Agrippa. Festus indicates that the trial, in actuality, centered on certain religious differences between Paul and the Jewish authorities. Paul claimed that a certain Jewish man named Jesus had died and had risen from the dead. This angered the Jewish authorities. This account of Festus to King Agrippa confirms the fact that the real issues of the trial of Paul have been the hope of Israel and the resurrection of the dead. The dispute is an intra-Jewish dispute concerning different opinions as to the significance of the Jew known as Jesus the Nazarene: “they had certain questions concerning their own religion against him, and concerning a certain Jesus, who has died, whom Paul alleged to be alive (Acts 25:19 CV).

Hearing this report, Agrippa confesses he has intended to hear this man for himself. Agrippa had, thus, been aware of the commotion over the teaching of this controversial Jewish rabbi. On the following day, Paul is brought before King Agrippa and Bernice his wife who had come “with much pageantry and entering the audience chamber together, besides captains and prominent men of the city” (Acts 25:23b CV).

Paul, given permission to make his defense, indicates that he is privileged to be able to testify before the king, since he knows the king is “an expert, versed in all, both the customs and questions of the Jews” (Acts 26:3b CV). He requests King Agrippa to patiently, carefully, listen to his solemnly momentous testimony. He first testifies “that, according to the strictest sect of this [Jewish] ritual [religion] of ours, I lived a Pharisee” (Acts 26:5b CV). From his youth in Tarsus to his education in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel, he had lived according to the strictest requirements of the Pharisees. Many who knew him personally at the time could substantiate this assertion. His life and zealousness for the teaching of the fathers had been no secret.

Hence, the recent charges against him by the Jerusalem authorities are unjust and false. He is innocent of the accusation that he has forsaken and demeaned his people and the Mosaic Law. He is being judged by his kinsmen, not because he has forsaken his religion, not because he has taught the Jews to forsake Moses, and not because he had polluted the Temple. No, he is being judged because of his belief in the hope of Israel promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

And now, in expectation [hope] of the promise which came by God [Yahweh] to our fathers, I stand being judged, to which our twelve-tribed people, earnestly offering divine service night and day, is expecting to attain. Concerning which expectation I am being indicted by Jews, O King! Why is it being judged unbelievable by you [plural, all of you Jews], if God [Yahweh] is rousing the dead? (Acts 26:6-8 CV)

Paul has not forsaken his Jewish heritage. He believes the Law and the Prophets. He believes that Yahweh the Elohim of Israel has raised Jesus out from among dead ones. He believes that in the resurrection of Jesus the national and individual resurrection of the dead has already begun and is still in progress. The hope of Israel has arrived. It will soon be consummated. But to participate in this progressive resurrection of the New Born-From-Above Israel one must believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that He has died, risen from the dead, ascended the throne of David, and is soon to return to the terrestrial realm as the triumphant, conquering Davidic Warrior-King. Salvation or judgment are presently the only alternatives for Israel. The end of the Mosaic Eon and the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets have arrived for the elect, holy nation. The prophetical end is now in sight. This present generation shall not escape the eschatological salvation or judgment now being proclaimed to His people in the Gospel of Yahweh.

Paul, then, testifies to his previous persecution of those Jews believing in Jesus and the present reality of the hope of Israel, the resurrection from the dead. He describes to Agrippa his revelational encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He reports to Agrippa the message spoken to him by Jesus,

I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet, for I was seen by you for this, to fix upon you before for a deputy and a witness both of what you have perceived and that in which I will be seen by you, extricating you from the people and from the nations, to whom I am commissioning you, to open their eyes, to turn them about from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God [Yahweh], for them to get [receive] a pardon of sins and an allotment among those who have been hallowed [sanctified] by faith that is in Me. (Acts 26:15b-18 CV)

Paul, now, testifies to Agrippa his obedience to the revelational commission:

Whence, king Agrippa, I did not become stubborn as to the heavenly apparition, but first to those in Damascus, besides in Jerusalem also, besides to the entire province of Judea, and to the nations, I reported that they are to be repenting and turning back to God [Yahweh], engaging in acts worthy of repentance [associated with the Law of Yahweh]. (Acts 26:19-20 CV)

It is because the Jewish authorities (the stubborn sons of Cain), the stubborn uncircumcised-in-heart Jewish children of Cain, and the stubborn circumcised-in-heart blind and ignorant (therefore, deceived) Jewish children of the woman Eve refuse to believe that the hope of Israel, the national and individual resurrection of Israel, has already begun to occur that Paul had been apprehended in the Temple and falsely accused of religious treason. These Jews remain stubborn to Yahweh’s present work among them. They stubbornly resist His presence, His work, and the word of His voice.

Having escaped the malignant schemes of his enemies, with assistance from Yahweh, Paul continues to attest

both to small and to great, saying nothing outside of what both the prophets and Moses said would occur: that The Messiah must suffer, and that becoming the first to be resurrected from the dead, He would announce light both to the people and the nations. (Acts 26:22b-23 my translation)

What the prophets and Moses had said would occur had now become a reality. The consummation of all that had been written in the Law and the Prophets had now come upon the present generation. What had been distant future for Moses and the prophets is now present, soon to be consummated. The Parousia of Jesus the Messiah, the Day of Yahweh, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and the entrance into the promised Celestial Allotment were about to occur during the very lifetime of Paul and Agrippa.

Festus, then, abruptly interrupts Paul, shouting, “You are mad, Paul! Much scripture [study of the holy Hebrew Scriptures] is deranging you to madness!” (Acts 26:24b CV) Paul immediately responds,

Not mad am I, most mighty Festus, but I am declaiming declarations of truth and sanity. For the king is adept concerning these things, to whom I am speaking boldly also, for, that any of these things is eluding him, I am not persuaded, for this is not a thing that has been committed in a corner. King Agrippa, are you believing the prophets? I am aware that you are believing! (Acts 26:25b-27 CV)

Agrippa responds, “In so brief a time do you propose to make me a Messianic?” (Acts 26:28 my translation). Paul boldly and confidently answers, for all to hear,

I would pray to the interest of Yahweh that sooner or later [before the end of the present season of salvation], not only you but all the ones listening to me today [in this chamber] might become as I am, except for these chains. (Acts 26:29 my translation)

At the conclusion of Paul’s evangelistic desire, King Agrippa, Festus, and Bernice arise. The interview is over. Though both Agrippa and Festus acknowledge Paul’s innocence, he remains in Christ the prisoner of Messiah Jesus in chains on behalf of the hope of Israel which in essence is also the hope of the nations (see Eph. 3:1-7). His appeal to Caesar will now send him to Rome.

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Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

While imprisoned in Caesarea, the seeds of discontent and revolt had already begun to be scattered throughout the holy land and the Jewish diaspora. The events in Jerusalem and Paul’s imprisonment and trial have made it clear that the time of Jacob’s trouble is near at hand. Paul is completing his course. He is the prisoner of Messiah Jesus in chains for the sake of the hope of Israel.

The contribution of the Gentile Messianics dwelling in the territories of the Jewish diaspora (a sign of Gentile submission to Yahweh and Jesus the Messiah, implying the fulfillment of the prophetic light of Yahweh to be sent to the nations) has stirred up the furious resentment of the Jewish Community in Jerusalem. The sacred identity of this Jewish Community has been threatened by Paul’s Jewish evangelistic work among the uncircumcised gentiles. It is this same sacred identity which has been perceived as being threatened by the unjust and cruel activities of the Roman procurators against the Jews in the holy land. Thus, the Messianic Jews, representing the Jewish sect of the Nazarenes, are beginning to come under intensified scrutiny. This sect of the Nazarene, by its association with the Gentile mission of Paul, has further aroused the suspicious tendency of distrust among the members of the larger non-messianic Jewish Community.

The acceptance of the Messianic Community as a sect of Judaism is now in the process of disintegration. As the Roman procurators are perceived as an enemy of Jewish identity and survival, so also the sect of the Nazarenes is progressively coming to be perceived as alien to the essence of national Judaism. This attitude of suspicion has now been carried back to the Jews of the diaspora by those diaspora Jews attending the recent Festival of Pentecost during which the commotion over Paul had occurred. The winds of discontent and rebellion in the cause of Jewish sacred identity are on the verge of becoming a disastrous, national tempest.

Meanwhile, the Messianic Community at Philippi, hearing of Paul’s imprisonment, sends Epaphroditus to Caesarea with supplies contributing to Paul’s needs (Phil. 1:3-5; 4:18). Epaphroditus arrives in Caesarea during the autumn of 59 A.D. While attending Paul’s needs, Epaphroditus becomes seriously ill. He remains in this condition long enough for the Philippian Messianic brethren to learn of his ordeal and convey their concern. By the spring of 60, he has recuperated and is well enough to return to Philippi. He returns with a letter written by Paul.

Paul addresses this letter to “all the saints” (Messianic Jews) together with “the supervisors and servants” (Phil. 1:1 CV), among these Messianic Jews, who have positions of authority. These Jewish supervisors and servants are responsible for the orderly operation of the community, maintenance of moral conduct, and scriptural instruction concerning the truth of the Gospel, especially in relation to the Messianic Gentiles. The Messianic Jews together with these Jewish supervisors and servants are responsible for the welfare of the entire Messianic community at Philippi. The community is a Jewish community within which the Gentile Messianics have become joint-members apart from circumcision, apart from the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, but on the basis of the terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant.

Paul thanks these Messianic brethren for their faithfulness to Messiah Jesus and to the truth of the Gospel. He prays that their love in Christ will continue to superabound in their thought and conduct. They are to distinguish-by-testing those thoughts and deeds which are consequentially significant in continuing faithfully into the imminently coming “day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10 CV).

He informs them that though he has suffered binding and affliction for the sake of the truth of the Gospel, this persecution has resulted in the progress of the Gospel (Phil. 1:12). The significance of his “bonds in Christ” (1:13) has become apparently clear to all those people associated with the pretorium, the residence of the Roman provincial governor within which Paul is held a prisoner. The majority of the local Messianic brethren have become bold in their proclamation of the Gospel. Even though some Messianic Jews are proclaiming Jesus as Messiah in order to dishonor Paul and increase his affliction, nevertheless the Gospel is being proclaimed.

These envious Messianic Jews have yet to understand the full implication of the Gospel in relation to the gentiles. They proclaim Jesus as the Messiah of the Jews, yet they remain offended by Paul and his commission to the uncircumcised. In envy and strife, they work against Paul’s welfare, denying he is being afflicted for his defense of the Gospel, for the hope of Israel which (from Paul’s perspective, the perspective of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision) necessitated the incorporation of the Gentiles responding to Yahweh’s call. For these envious Messianic Jews agree that the Law and the Prophets have testified that Yahweh would be calling out from among the uncircumcised nations a people for His name. However, from their perspective, these Gentiles are to sing the praises of Yahweh with His people the Jews, but as inferior in status to the Jews, as guests of the Israel of Yahweh.

These ignorant Messianic Jews “are announcing Christ [Messiah] out of faction, not purely, surmising to rouse affliction in my bonds” (Phil. 1:17 CV). If they continue in this erroneous mind-set, they will be inviting apostasy from Messiah Jesus, resulting in their becoming disqualified, refusing to receive the whole testimony of Yahweh, thereby calling unclean what Yahweh has called clean. Such disqualification would mean, on the one hand, forfeiture of entrance into the soon-to-come Celestial Allotment and, on the other hand, participation in the imminent destruction of Apostate Israel.

Paul is confident he will be delivered from his present Jewish enemies and from his imprisonment in Caesarea. He knows he has not yet completed the course of his divine commission. He also has been assured by Yahweh that he would testify in Rome. His work on behalf of the Gospel and the Saints has not yet been perfected. It is still necessary that his life be preserved, since “staying in the flesh is more necessary because of you [the Messianic brethren]” (Phil. 1:24 CV).

As Paul has suffered affliction on behalf of Jesus the Messiah and the Gospel, so also he exhorts the Messianic brethren in Philippi not to flee from such persecution:

Only be citizens [of the New Born-From-Above Israel] walking worthily of the evangel of Messiah [unlike those proclaiming the Gospel in envy and strife, denying the truth defended by Paul], that, whether coming and making your acquaintance, or being absent, I should be hearing of your concerns, that you are standing firm in the interest of one spirit [the spirit of the counter-alteration], one soul [the five senses of the body led by this spirit], competing together [as members of the spiritual Body of Christ] in the faith of the evangel, and not being startled by those who are opposing in anything [pertaining to the truth of the Gospel], which is to them a proof of destruction, yet to you, salvation, and this from God [Yahweh], for to you it is graciously granted, for Christ's sake, not only to be believing on Him, but to be suffering for His sake also, having the same struggle which you are perceiving in me, and now are hearing to be in me. (Philippians 1:27-30 CV modified)

Opposition to the truth of the Gospel in any of its strategic facets is a sign, a proof, of spiritual deterioration and eschatological destruction. Suffering for the sake of the Gospel, on the other hand, is a sign, a proof, of eschatological salvation, since such suffering is from Yahweh. Apart from sharing, participating, in the sufferings associated with Jesus the Messiah, there can be no eschatological sharing in the salvation provided by Messiah Jesus. This is the faith/faithfulness of Abraham which Yahweh accounts for righteousness.

Paul, then, exhorts the Philippian brethren to have the same sound mind as Messiah Jesus. As Jesus had poured out His life for His brethren, humbling Himself so as to obediently endure a crucifixion death in response to Yahweh’s command, so also all those in Christ are to share in His crucifixion death and resurrection in order to be alive unto Yahweh, walking in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-5),

so also you be accounting yourselves dead, indeed, to the interest of the Law of Sin, but living to the interest of Yahweh in the sphere of the rule of Messiah Jesus. (Romans 6:11 my translation)

In fear and trembling, those in Christ are to be carrying their own salvation into effect. For Yahweh has empowered each one to walk in newness of life. By means of the counter-alteration Yahweh is “operating in you to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight” (Phil. 2:13 CV), even as Jesus had delighted in perfecting the work of Yahweh: “My eating food is in order that I should be producing the will of the One having sent Me and should be completing His work” (Jn. 4:34 my translation). The mind of Jesus is to delight in producing the will of Yahweh and in completing the work Yahweh assigns Him. So all those in the sphere of the rule of Jesus the Messiah, having His sound mind, should be delighting to produce Yahweh’s will revealed in the Gospel and to complete, perfect, the work of Yahweh assigned each one in the completion, the perfection, the maturation, of Yahweh’s living Temple not made with hands. As Paul had confessed, “For me to be living is Christ” (Phil. 1:21a CV).

Living according to the mind of Messiah Jesus means doing all things without murmurings and arguments while worshiping and serving Yahweh in the midst of the present eschatological crooked and perverse generation of Jews, the last Jewish generation of the Mosaic Eon (Phil. 2:14-15a). Paul perceives his contemporary generation of Messianic Jews and Gentiles as those shining as luminaries in the covenantal darkness of the Sinatic/Mosaic world-order (Phil. 2:15b). Their faithfulness to the consummation of Jesus’ Parousia will be Paul’s “glorying in the [imminent] day of Christ” (Phil. 2:16 CV). The hope of Israel was about to be completely fulfilled. There would be no need of sealing any visions for a distant future (see Dan. 12:9; Rev. 22:10).

The terms of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant are no longer gain for Paul and the Messianic brethren. The superior terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant have superseded the obsolete and inferior terms of the terrestrial covenant. Identity with Moses is superseded by identity with Jesus the Messiah, the Only-Begotten Son of Yahweh:

But [those] things which were gain to me [as a Jew under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant], these I have deemed a forfeit because of the Messiah. But, to be sure, I am also deeming all these things to be forfeit because of the superiority of the knowledge of Messiah Jesus, my Lord, because of Whom I forfeited all the terrestrial advantages of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant [in order to gain all the celestial advantages of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant], and am deeming them to be refuse, in order that I should be gaining Christ, and may be found in Him [in the sphere of His rule], not having my righteousness [as a Sinatic Jew], which is of [the Mosaic] law, but that [righteousness] which is through Christ’s faithfulness, the righteousness which is out of Yahweh based upon the [following] faithfulness: to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, conforming to His death, if somehow I should be attaining to the out-resurrection [Greek, ekanastasin, the outstanding standing up], the one from among dead ones. (Philippians 3:7-11 my amplified translation)

In Christ, the terrestrial advantages of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant are accounted refuse in order to participate in the celestial advantages of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant. To forfeit Moses is to gain Christ. To gain Christ is to receive the counter-altering spirit which enables one to walk in newness of life identified with Christ in His crucifixion death, burial, and resurrection. The old Adamic soulish/soilish man is accounted dead. The new celestial soulish/spiritual man is accounted alive to Yahweh, operating according to The Law of the Spirit of Life. This new man in the sphere of the rule of Messiah Jesus, having a new heart and a new spirit, is accounting himself dead to The Law of Sin and Death operating in the members of his body.

If this new man faithfully walks in the newness of this counter-altered life to the consummation of the Mosaic Eon, he will attain to the outstanding resurrection, the consummation of the resurrection of Israel. This out up-standing (ekanastasin) is from among those who, having shared in the death and resurrection of Christ, receiving the counter-alteration, but having failed to continue walking in the newness of this resurrection life to the consummation of the Parousia of Jesus the Messiah, fail to attain the completion of the resurrection, becoming covenantally dead. It is out from these dead ones that the conquering spiritual-warriors (Jesus the Davidic Warrior-King’s mighty men/women of valor) stand up, clothed with the glorious robe of their valiant honor.

Paul confesses that he has not yet obtained this honor. He has not yet attained to this out-resurrection, this roll-call of the valiant, this perfection of the present resurrection in progress. He is continually pursuing the prize of Yahweh’s High Calling. Forgetting the terrestrial advantages of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant which are now behind him, belonging to the past eon, the past Adamic, soulish/soilish man, he is strenuously stretching out to grasp, to appropriate, the celestial advantages of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant which stretch out in front of him,

Not that I already obtained, or am already perfected. But I am pursuing, if, indeed, I may be grasping [laying hold of] that for which I was grasped [laid hold of] also by Messiah Jesus [the counter-altering life of the celestial soulish/spiritual man]. Brethren, not as yet am I accounting myself to have grasped, yet one thing [I am accounting], forgetting those things left behind, yet stretching out to those in front, I am pursuing on toward the goal for the prize of Yahweh’s High Call [the out-resurrection call, the call of exalted honor, the call of valiant honor, the call of distinguished honor for valor in battle] in the sphere of the interest of the Commander-In-Chief Messiah Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 my amplified translation)

This prize for distinguished valor in spiritual/covenantal battle can only be obtained at the consummation of the spiritual conflict. Thus, all in Christ should be pursuing this High Call of Yahweh. All are called to perform according to the standard set by Jesus the Messiah. All are called to remain valiantly faithful to the consummation of the covenantal conflict. But not all will attain this honor. For not all will remain faithful to the end. Not all will courageously stand fast against the affliction of the enemy. Some will turn and run in fear. Others will turn away from Messiah Jesus, joining the forces of the enemy, turning away from the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant back to the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant:

Become imitators together of me, brethren, and be noting those who are walking thus, according as you have us for a model, for many are walking, of whom I often told you, yet now am lamenting also as I tell it, who are enemies of the cross of the Messiah, whose consummation is destruction, whose god is their bowels, and whose glory is in their shame, who to the terrestrial [the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant] are disposed. (Philippians 3:17-19 CV modified)

The present citizenship of all those in Christ is in the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh (Eph. 2:19). This citizenship is, thus, in the New Jerusalem which has descended out of heaven from Yahweh (Rev. 21:2; Gal. 4:26). This is a spiritual Jerusalem, the new heavenly Zion of Yahweh’s Messiah Jesus, which metaphorically and covenantally resides in the heavens over all the nations metaphorically and covenantally residing on the earth below:

For our citizenship is possessed in the sphere of the interest of the heavens [the New Jerusalem above], out of which we are awaiting a Saviour, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will trans-schematize [reprogram the terrestrial to suit the celestial] the Body of our humiliation [the spiritual Body of Christ made up of members possessing terrestrial bodies counter-altered, but not yet completely metamorphosed into celestial bodies], to conform it to the Body of His Glory [the completely metamorphosed Celestial Body of Christ made up of members possessing celestial bodies] in accord with the operation which enables Him even [now] to subject all these terrestrial, counter-altered bodies to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21 my amplified translation)

The present covenantal citizenship of all those in Christ is possessed in the sphere of the covenantal rule of the new heavenly Jerusalem, the Jerusalem above which came down from Yahweh when He poured out His spirit upon His people, setting them above all the nations of the Roman Empire, including Apostate Israel, as citizens of this new, heavenly Jerusalem of His creation/generation. This new nation, the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh, is equivalent to the Ecclesia of Jesus Christ which is equivalent to the corporate, national spiritual/covenantal Body of Christ (the New Born-From-Above Israel, the new heavenly Jerusalem). This spiritual/covenantal Body of Christ consists of all those in Christ who have been made members of this spiritual/covenantal Body by identification with His death, burial, and resurrection.

Each spiritual member of this spiritual/covenantal Body possesses a counter-altered terrestrial body which is in the process of resurrection metamorphosis, but which will not attain to complete resurrection metamorphosis to the celestial state until the consummation of the Parousia of Christ. Therefore, the present spiritual/covenantal Body of Christ is a Body of humiliation in the process of being transschematized into the Body of Christ’s Glory, the Body of the completed resurrection metamorphosis.

The power and authority accomplishing this completed metamorphosis is the same power and authority which Messiah Jesus is presently using to enable all the present members of His spiritual/covenantal Body to serve Him in newness of life while remaining in a terrestrial body counter-altered by His spirit, but not yet becoming a completely celestial body. This means those in Christ must be accounting themselves dead to The Law of Sin and Death residing within the members of their terrestrial bodies. This can be accomplished by appropriating the power of the counter-altering spirit now dwelling within them. Such faithfulness makes one a loyal subject of Messiah Jesus, Yahweh’s Anointed Davidic Warrior-King.

The time for pursuing the prize of Yahweh’s High Calling is short. The time for faithful, valiant, spiritual-warrior service is not only short, but is soon to become horrendous. Having come so close to the consummation, Paul exhorts the Messianic brethren to “be standing firm . . . in the Lord” (Phil. 4:1 CV). It would be a pity to forfeit the prize with such an abbreviated length of time until the consummation. The Lord is near (Phil. 4:5b). Stand firm so as not to have your name blotted out of “the scroll of life” (Phil. 4:3b CV), the Lamb’s scroll of life (Rev. 13:8; 21:27) listing the faithful lion-hearted spiritual-warriors valiantly serving at the right hand of the Lion out of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5). There is no question in Paul’s mind that Messiah Jesus is coming in his generation. His confidence would not be proved erroneous. His valiant faithfulness to the consummation would not be shamed through disappointment.

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Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians

The Significance of the Addressees

In writing (from Paul’s imprisonment in Caesarea) to the Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles in Ephesus, Paul continues to stress the importance of Yahweh’s calling in relation to the present eschatological conflict. The Messianic brethren have been called to participate in the liberation militia of Jesus the Anointed Davidic Warrior-King. They are called to live in newness of life, the counter-altered life of Yahweh’s spirit. With the power of the indwelling spirit, they are to announce the Gospel of Christ to their contemporaries dwelling within the territories of the Roman Empire. Those receiving this Gospel and faithfully waging the spiritual warfare to the consummation of the conflict become the firstfruits of the new humanity headed by Jesus the Messiah, the Second Man, the Celestial Man. As the firstfruits of this new humanity, they are a guarantee of the future harvest, the future completion of the new human creation.

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The Messianic Jews

Paul reminds these Messianic brethren of the need to “perceive what is the expectation [sure hope] of His [Yahweh’s] calling” (Eph. 1:18 CV) and zealously exhorts them “to walk worthily of the calling” (Eph. 4:1 CV). He addresses the letter “to the saints [Jews], who are also believers in Messiah Jesus” (Eph. 1:1 CV modified). He addresses the Messianic Jews who have been assigned the responsibility of the spiritual welfare and instruction of the Messianic Gentiles.

He reminds these Messianic Jews that as the covenantally elect people of Yahweh, they have been blessed by Yahweh the Father of “our [Israel’s] Lord Jesus Messiah” (Eph. 1:3 CV modified). Yahweh the Elohim of Israel has blessed “us [Messianic Jews] with every spiritual blessing in the sphere associated with the celestial promises of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant operating in the realm of the Kingdom of Messiah” (Eph. 1:3 my amplified translation, see also Col. 1:12-14). These blessings are the result of Yahweh’s having chosen “us [Jews] in the interest of His Covenantal Kingdom [the interest of the Sinatic Covenant] before the casting down [establishment] of that world-order [the Sinatic world-order] (Eph. 1:4a my amplified translation).

Yahweh’s purpose was that “we” (Jews) were “to be holy and flawless in His sight [as His special people] (Eph. 1:4b CV). In His love for Israel, He had predesignated “us” (Messianic Jews) to enjoy in His Fatherly presence “the place of a son” through the faithfulness of Messiah Jesus (Eph. 1:5 CV). Thus, Yahweh has favored “us” (Messianic Jews) “in the sphere of the interest of the Beloved [Messiah Jesus] (Eph. 1:6 my translation). In the realm of the rule of Jesus the Messiah “we [Messianic Jews] are having the deliverance through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses [deviations] in accord with the riches of His grace, which He lavishes on us [Messianic Jews] (Eph. 1:7-8a CV).

Consequently, Yahweh has made “known to us [Messianic Jews] the secret of His will” (Eph. 1:9a CV). Yahweh had secretly willed

to have an administration of the complement of the eras, to head up all the faithful seed of Abraham in the sphere of the interest of the faithfulness of the Messiah—both the faithful seed in association with the covenantally metaphoric heavens [the Messianic Jews] and the faithful seed in association with the covenantally metaphoric earth [the Messianic Gentiles]—in the interest of Him [Christ] in the sphere of Whom also our [Messianic Jews] lot was cast. (Ephesians 1:10-11a my amplified translation)

This destiny (lot) of the Messianic Jews had been predesignated

according to the purpose of the One [Yahweh] Who is operating all the terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant in accord with the counsel of His will, that we [the Messianic Jews] should be for the praise of His glory, we who are the ones having previously hoped in the interest associated with the Messiah. (Ephesians 1:11b-12 my amplified translation)

The nation Israel, alone, had been given the promise, the hope, of Messianic blessing. Israel alone, of all the nations, had been promised the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, the national and individual resurrection. Thus, Israel had been preexpectant. To Israel first the promise of salvation would be sent. After Israel’s reception of the Messianic salvation, the nations would also have the opportunity to be blessed. Since the Jews, as the Southern Kingdom of Judah, represented Israel, salvation was of the Jews (Jn. 4:22b). Paul’s use of the pronouns we, us, and our refers to Israel, the Jews, and the special covenant relationship this holy, elect nation enjoyed with Yahweh. The hope of Yahweh’s calling in the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ is associated with the promises made to Israel as Yahweh’s elect, holy, covenanted nation (the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant) and as Abraham’s circumcised seed (the Abrahamic Covenant of Circumcision).

Accordingly, Israel has now been blessed with every promised spiritual blessing associated with the celestial promises of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant. This New Covenant promised in the prophets had now been revealed as providing a celestial hope. The promise made to Abraham concerning his circumcised seed provided a terrestrial allotment (the holy Land of Promise, Canaan). This had been fulfilled under Moses and Joshua. The promise made to Abraham himself and all his faithful seed (circumcised and uncircumcised) was to come through THE SEED. This promise would be fulfilled by THE SEED of Abraham, the Messiah of Israel Who was both THE SEED of Abraham and THE SEED of David.

That this promise would provide a Celestial Allotment had been concealed in the Hebrew Scriptures. It had not been revealed (see Deut. 29:29). This promise of a Celestial Allotment and the promises associated with the blessings of the Messiah became operative in the realm of the Kingdom of the Messiah, the newly restored Davidic Kingdom  ruled by Jesus the New Davidic Warrior-King and His appointed judges/princes, the Twelve Apostles (see Lk. 22:28-30). Messianic Israel, the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh, having been created, resurrected, and generated on the momentous Day of Pentecost recorded in Acts, chapter 2, had proclaimed the Gospel of the Circumcision. Thousands of Jews in the holy land had received the truth of Jesus the Messiah.

Thus, having first heard and received the truth of the Gospel, Yahweh revealed through His spirit that the time had come for the uncircumcised seed of Abraham (the nations) to have the Gospel proclaimed to them. Messiah Jesus through the spirit had directed some Messianic Jews to proclaim the Gospel to some Yahweh-fearing Greeks in Antioch of Syria. Prior to hearing of this occurrence, Peter, the other Apostles, the elders, and the rest of the new Messianic nation had been perplexed when Peter had been sent by Messiah Jesus to proclaim the Gospel to Cornelius and his household, also uncircumcised Yahweh-fearers. Upon hearing and believing the Gospel, these uncircumcised gentiles had been baptized with the spirit. Peter and those Messianic Jews with him had been shocked by this outpouring of Yahweh’s spirit upon gentiles. This timing had been hidden from the Apostles and the Messianic nation. They had expected the completion of Israel’s salvation before the uncircumcised nations would be blessed.

The perplexing events associated with Yahweh’s extension of Israel’s salvation to the uncircumcised Yahweh-fearers worshiping Yahweh in the Jewish synagogues were explained when Messiah Jesus called Saul/Paul of Tarsus and revealed to him the Gospel of the Uncircumcision. This newly revealed aspect which had been hidden within the Gospel of Christ now explained the plan and purpose of Yahweh which had previously been concealed in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the instruction of Messiah Jesus given to His Apostles. The word of the prophet Isaiah concerning the blessing of the nations had now begun to be fulfilled:

It is a light thing that thou [Yahweh’s Messiah Son] shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I [Yahweh] will also give thee [Messiah Jesus] for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6 KJV)

The blessing of the nations had been no surprise. However, the timing and the fact that the gentiles would become joint-citizens with the Jews in the New Born-From-Above Israel had been totally unexpected.

It had now been revealed that Yahweh had predesignated Israel to occupy the place of a son in His presence (Eph. 1:5). The promise of sonship had been accomplished through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. In the sphere of Yahweh’s Beloved Son would be the place of sonship (Eph. 1:6). As Yahweh’s Only-Begotten Anointed Son sat metaphorically/covenantally at His right hand, those in Messiah Jesus The Son sat metaphorically/covenantally with Him at Yahweh’s right hand as adult sons. This blessing predesignated by Yahweh for Israel had now become shared by the faithful, uncircumcised Gentiles, the Messianic Gentiles, who had now become joint-citizens with the Messianic Jews of the new spiritual Israel, the new nation now operating according to the terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant.

This new nation (consisting of both Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles) and this New Covenant (providing salvation and the hope of the Celestial Allotment) had now been revealed to be the secret of Yahweh’s will, previously “concealed from the eons [ages] in God [Yahweh] (Eph. 3:9 CV),

the secret of the Messiah, which, in other generations, was not made known to the sons of the men [the Jews] as it was now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets: in spirit [the counter-alterating spirit] the nations are to be joint enjoyers of an allotment [the Celestial Allotment], and a joint body [joint-citizens in the New Born-From-Above Israel], and joint partakers of the promise in Messiah Jesus [the new life of the counter-alteration], through the evangel of which I [Paul] became the dispenser [the Gospel of the Uncircumcision]. (Ephesians 3:4b-7a CV modified)

Paul also refers to this secret as “an administration of the complement of the eras [the past seasons characterizing the affairs of the seed of Abraham] (Eph. 1:10 CV). This new administration concerned the heading up of all the faithful seed of Abraham (both circumcised and uncircumcised, both the Southern Kingdom of Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim/Israel) under the ruling headship of Messiah Jesus. These two seeds are metaphorically referred to as those in the heavens and those upon the earth, alluding to the Sinatic covenantal distinction between Israel and the nations, Israel being covenantally placed in the metaphoric heavens over the nations situated upon the metaphoric earth.

The destiny (lot) of Israel had been identified with the destiny of the Messiah. Israel’s salvation and Celestial Allotment would become a reality only in the sphere of the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah Jesus. This destiny was in accord with the purpose of Yahweh now operationally being administered according to the terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant presently being carried out in the faith-obedience of the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh, the Ecclesia of Christ Jesus, the national, corporate spiritual/covenantal Body of Christ. This new Israel, according to Paul, was presently Yahweh’s liberating spiritual militia, priestly-warriors and spiritual-warriors waging spiritual/covenantal warfare under Yahweh’s Commander-In-Chief, Jesus the New Davidic Warrior-King. The Messianic brethren were soldiers currently carrying out the spiritual tactics dictated by the ruling terms of the New Covenant as expressed in the truth of the Gospel. Their mission was not only to liberate the faithful, circumcised-in-heart Jewish seed of Abraham held captive primarily by the Jewish religious power-elite of the darkness of the Mosaic Eon, but also to liberate the faithful circumcised-in-heart Gentile Seed of Abraham held captive by the religious power-elite of the nations operating in the darkness of the world-order of the gods.

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The Messianic Gentiles

Paul, having referred only to Israel and the Messianic Jews in the first 12 verses of Ephesians, chapter 1, beginning in verse 13 now addresses the Messianic Gentiles. The transition is made evident by his change of pronouns. He had been using we, our, us. Now he employs the pronouns you and your. The pronoun you indicates he is now addressing the Messianic Gentiles: “In Whom you also—on hearing the word of truth, the evangel of your salvation [the Gospel of the Uncircumcision committed to Paul as Apostle to the nations]—in Whom on believing also, you were sealed with the holy spirit of promise [the counter-altering spirit effecting the promised New Covenant life] (which is an earnest [a pledge] of the enjoyment of our [Israel’s] allotment . . . ) (Eph. 1:13-14a CV). The Gentile Messianic is sharing in the allotment belonging to Israel. This is in accord with the Gospel of the Uncircumcision committed to Paul on behalf of the gentiles. This Gospel permits the believing gentiles to become full-fledged joint-citizens, together with the Jews, of the New Israel of Yahweh without having to submit to the ritual of circumcision and without having to maintain all the Mosaic laws required of a circumcised Jew.

Paul praises the Messianic Gentiles in Ephesus for their faith in Jesus as Lord and for their faithful subordination to all the Saints, the Messianic Jews bearing the responsibility for the welfare and instruction of the Messianic Gentiles. He prays that Yahweh the Elohim of the New Born-From-Above Israel may be giving them a spirit of wisdom and revelation toward the realization of Yahweh’s presence in their lives, as well as enlightening their minds and hearts to the practical significance of the hope of His calling and the advantages they now have access to in their sharing of Israel’s covenantal allotment (Eph. 1:15-18). He also reminds these Messianic Gentiles of the counter-alterating power of the spirit of Messiah Jesus dwelling within each of them (Eph. 1:19-20a).

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The New Creation and the Headship of Messiah Jesus

Paul then informs the Messianic Gentiles of the exalted position and rule of Jesus the Messiah. Messiah Jesus is seated in the sphere of the interest of Yahweh’s right hand in the interest of the celestial terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant (Eph. 1:20). Seated metaphorically upon the throne of David in the sphere of the interest of the right hand of Yahweh, Messiah Jesus has authoritative rule “over every sovereignty and authority and power and lordship, and every name that is named [with the exception of Yahweh], not only in this eon [the Mosaic Eon], but also in that which is impending” (Eph. 1:21 CV). Yahweh has subjected all rule (with the exception of Yahweh) in both the Celestial and terrestrial realms under Messiah Jesus’ feet (Eph. 1:22). This cosmic authority is presently being administered on behalf of His Ecclesia, His Body, the New Born-From-Above Israel, in the present terrestrial realm and the present eschatological days of the Mosaic Eon. The hope of the New Israel is near. The Mosaic Eon is reaching its consummation. The new eon of the new Jesuic humanity is impending. The New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh will soon be entering her promised Celestial Allotment. Thus, the Messianic Community in Ephesus is to be motivationally encouraged to endure the present and near persecution, because the triumphant end of the present spiritual conflict is in sight. The approach of their Lord and King is imminent. They shall all soon see Him face to face.

The priority of this all-inclusive authority of Messiah Jesus is the defeat of the present enemy, Apostate Israel, and the triumphant victory of the New Born-From-Above Israel. Upon the completion of this victory, Messiah Jesus will humbly and obediently turn His Davidic Kingdom over to Yahweh in order that, once again, Yahweh will be the Elohim of all nations, no longer covenantally favoring terrestrial Israel above all other nations. The impending new eon will initiate the deterioration of the ancient world of the gods, thus, progressively liberating all nations from superstition and mythological darkness.

In subjecting all rule under the feet of Messiah Jesus, Yahweh has especially given Him, as Supreme Head over all Celestial and terrestrial rule, to the Ecclesia which is His Spiritual Body, which is His own complement, together with whom He is in the process of completing, in accord with Yahweh’s purpose and glory, “the all in all” (Eph. 1:23b CV). This all in all refers to all the faithful seed of Abraham (making up the New Born-From-Above Israel) in the interest of the unified welfare of all the names named (all the reputable ones worshiping and serving Yahweh faithfully, including The Adversary, Satan) in the Celestial and terrestrial realms. With the completion of the defeat of Apostate Israel representing the sons and children of Cain within Adamic humanity and the completion of the New Born-From-Above Israel, His Ecclesia, His Spiritual Body, His Royal Complement, Messiah Jesus, in the Celestial Realm in the interest of the right hand of Yahweh, will rule as the Second Man, the Celestial Man, the Head of the New Humanity (the New Man of Eph. 2:15), together with His Royal Complement, over the new Jesuic humanity.

Writing also (during his imprisonment in Caesarea) to the Messianic Gentiles in Colossae, on the same subject, Paul informs them that they have been made competent by the counter-alterating spirit to participate with the Messianic Jews in the New Born-From-Above Israel allotted to the faithful, circumcised seed of Abraham. This newly generated nation represents the realm of light in the terrestrial world-order of the Roman Empire. The Sinatic/Mosaic Covenantal world-order of this same realm is described as the jurisdiction of darkness. The Messianic Jews, and so, the Messianic Gentiles, have been rescued “out of the jurisdiction of this Darkness, and transported . . . into the kingdom of the Son of His Love” (Col. 1:13b CV). This kingdom refers to the restored Davidic Kingdom of Israel. The liberating spiritual militia of Jesus the Messiah-King represents the spiritual armed forces of this kingdom presently operating in the terrestrial realm of the territories of the Roman Empire. The chief weapon of warfare is the proclamation of the Gospel.

In this letter to the Colossians, Paul characterizes Messiah Jesus as

The image of the invisible Elohim, Firstborn of every new-creation member of Christ’s spiritual Body, for in the realm of His death, His burial, His resurrection life and rule were created all the administrative offices [plural, neuter] of His new-creation kingdom, those offices in the heavens [masculine, thrones] and those offices on the earth [feminine: lordships, sovereignties, authorities], the visible offices [to the perception of the non-messianic Jews] and the invisible offices [to the perception of the non-messianic Jews], whether thrones [masculine], whether lordships [feminine], whether sovereignties [feminine], whether authorities [feminine]. All these administrative offices have been created through Him and for Him. And He is in rank before [superior to] all these administrative offices; and all these administrative offices have their cohesion in the realm of His administrative rule. And He as the Royal Administrative Ruler is the Head of the Body, His Ecclesia, Who is her beginning [her source of origination], Firstborn from among the dead ones [biologically and covenantally], in order that He may be holding the first place in the administrative concern of these administrative offices. [All this has come about] because in the realm of His [Jesus’] Headship the entire Fullness of Yahweh was delighted to dwell, and through Him [Jesus] jointly-counter-alter [apokatalasso] to Himself [Yahweh] the covenantal relationship between all the Jewish members and the Gentile members of Christ’s Body now becoming joint-citizens in the New Born-From-Above Israel, [Yahweh] having made peace between the circumcised Messianic Jews and uncircumcised Messianic Gentiles through the blood of His cross, through Him [Jesus], whether the members on the metaphoric/covenantal earth [Messianic Gentiles] or the members in the sphere of the metaphoric/covenantal heavens [the Messianic Jews]. (Colossians 1:15-20 my amplified translation)

Paul is here referring to Messiah Jesus and the new creation in Him. Jesus the Messiah is the visible image of Yahweh Who has elected to remain invisible to Adamic humanity. Paul is not teaching that in essence Yahweh is invisible. Yahweh merely chooses to reveal Himself to Israel and the nations during the eschatological years of the Messianic Eon in and through Messiah Jesus functioning as Yahweh’s reflected Image in the Sinatic/Mosaic world-order of Adamic humanity. Yahweh can be seen visibly when He so chooses to reveal Himself, as was the case in relation to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders of Israel on Mount Sinai (Ex. 24:9-11): “And they [the 70 elders] saw the Elohim of Israel and beneath His feet as it were a work of sapphire tiling, as the very heavens for purity” (Ex. 24:10 CV).

Messiah Jesus is characterized by Paul as the Firstborn of every new-creation member of His Spiritual Body. In Paul’s second letter to the Messianic brethren in Corinth, referring to this new creation, he writes, “So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive things [of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant and Adamic man] passed away. Behold! There has come new things [the New Covenant and the counter-altered new man] (2 Cor. 5:17 my translation). The New Creation is the Ecclesia (the called-out ones) of Christ, His New Covenantal Body, the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh created and generated in one day (the momentous Day of Pentecost of Acts, chapter 2): “Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion [the New Jerusalem above, Gal. 4:26] travailed, she also brought forth her sons” (Isa. 66:8b NASB).

In the Colossian passage, Paul’s focus is on the administrative offices of this New Creation, this new-creation kingdom, this new-creation nation. The highest ranking offices (metaphorically described as those in the heavens) are referred to as thrones. The lower ranking offices (metaphorically described as on earth) are referred to as lordships, sovereignties, and authorities. The metaphoric heavens are in the masculine gender, equating the highest ranked offices with the thrones, also in the masculine gender. The metaphoric earth is in the feminine gender, equating the lower ranking offices with lordships, sovereignties, and authorities, all in the feminine gender.

To the perception of the non-messianic Jews of the larger Jewish Community, the administrative activities of the leaders of the Messianic sect, the sect of the Nazarenes, are visible. But the spiritual significance of the administrative offices of this controversial Jewish sect is invisible to the perception of the non-messianic Jews of the larger Jewish Community. Only by faith can one perceive the New Creation, the New Kingdom, the New Nation, the New Davidic King.

All these administrative offices (Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers, see Eph. 4:11) have been created through the spirit of Christ. They have also been created for Him, since these administrative offices contribute to the life and growth of His Body “into a holy temple” (Eph. 2:21 CV), “for the upbuilding of the Body of the Messiah, until we, all the members of His Body, reach . . . the status of a mature man [the one New Man of Eph. 2:15], to the measure of the stature of the complement [fullness] of the Messiah [the full stature completing the Spiritual Body of Christ] (Eph. 4:12b-13 my translation). Messiah Jesus, Himself, as Chief Executive overseeing the competency of these administrative offices, is the administrative Head of the Body. As a result, all the administrative offices function cohesively, efficiently attaining the ultimate goal of the Body, her spiritual completion and maturity, and her entrance into her Celestial Allotment to rule together with Christ as His Royal Queen.

As Firstborn from among dead ones, Messiah Jesus is the source of resurrection life for every member of His Body. Therefore, every administrative office is concerned with His will, His decisions regarding the operation and growth of the Body. For the fullness of Yahweh’s spirit dwells within the realm of Messiah Jesus’ Headship decisions. Consequently, Yahweh, through Messiah Jesus’ Headship (gained as a result of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension) has jointly-counter-altered (apokatallasso) to Himself both Jew and Gentile, thereby drawing both to Himself in One Body, in One New Man. This joint-counter-alteration has nullified the covenantal difference between the Messianic Jew and the Messianic Gentile, making them joint-citizens of the Body of Christ, the New Born-From-Above Israel.

In Paul’s letter to the Messianic brethren in Ephesus, he elaborates on this joint-counter-alteration. He reminds the Messianic Gentiles that with the establishment of the Abrahamic Covenant of circumcision and the Sinatic Covenant, they had been “set apart from Messiah” (Eph. 2:12 my translation). They had been “alienated from the citizenship of Israel (2:12 CV) and, at best, could only be “guests of the covenants of the promise” (2:12 my translation). They had been without hope and without Yahweh Elohim during the period of time represented by the rule of the Sinatic Covenant world-order, that world-order established by Yahweh Elohim making Israel His elect, holy nation. Drawing Israel close to Himself by contracting with her the Sinatic Covenant, Israel performing the function of a priestly mediator between Yahweh and the nations had been placed above the nations.

However, now, in the realm of the rule of Messiah Jesus associated with the establishment of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, the Messianic Gentiles who once had been covenantally far off have become near by the blood of Messiah Jesus. This blood of Jesus had served as the consecration of the New Covenant, within which there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile, the circumcised and the uncircumcised, since the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant had been superseded (Eph. 2:13) and the old Adamic Man contaminated by The Law of Sin and Death had been put to death (Rom. 6:6). Paul now describes the creation of the New Man, as indicated in Structure 25 (see next page).

Messiah Jesus is the One in Whom both the Jew and the Gentile are at peace. In Him, in the realm of identification with His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, the Jew and Gentile are one, since His death and resurrection have put to death the reign of the old Adamic Man. This Adamic Man (Adam and Adamic humanity) is condemned to the death common to all Adamic men because of the contaminating Law of Sin and Death dwelling within the members of the soulish/soilish body of flesh.

If the reign of the old Adamic Man (Adam) is dead, then the fleshly distinction of circumcision existing in the old Adamic men no longer exists, for the new soulish/spiritual men are not contaminated by The Law of Sin and Death. In Christ, these new soulish/spiritual men are dead to The Law of Sin and Death and living to the interest of Yahweh according to the new power of The Law of the Spirit of Life. This also means that the Mosaic Law, the Mosaic legislation in decrees, can no longer condemn these men dead to The Law of Sin and Death, since it could condemn only the old Adamic Man (Adam and Adamic humanity).

Thus, the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant is annulled, superseded by the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, but the letter and the spirit of Yahweh’s Law expressed in the Mosaic Law and legislation now characterize the new soulish/spiritual men, being written on the tablets of their hearts by the spirit of Yahweh/Christ. Therefore, the new soulish/spiritual men stand the Mosaic Law in its proper place (Rom. 3:31). These new soulish/spiritual men stand alongside the Mosaic Law’s objective written form; for the hearts of these men reflect the love of this law. As adult sons of Yahweh in the sphere of the interest and identity of The Adult Son of Yahweh, Messiah Jesus, the hearts of these new soulish/spiritual men are in complete harmony with the Mosaic Law’s spiritual essence.

Structure 25: Literary Structure of Ephesians 2:14-16


    v. 14   A    For He [Jesus] is our [Messianic Jew and Gentile] peace

                       B    c    The One making

                                         d     the both [Messianic Jew and Gentile] One and

                             c    The One loosing

                                        d    (1)  the middle wall [between Jew and gentile] of the partition
            [between Yahweh and Adamic men],

                                                     (2)  The Enmity in the sphere of he interest of His flesh.

    v. 15                c      The One annulling

                                        d      the Law of Commandments in the sphere of the interest of decrees,

                A    In order that The Two [Messianic Jew and Gentile]

                       B    c      He should create in the sphere of the interest of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension

                                        d      into One New Man, the one [the Ecclesia, the Born-From-Above Israel]                 presently making peace, and

    v. 16                 c      He should jointly-counter-alter [by doing away with circumcision which             separates Jew from Gentile]

                                        d    (1)    The Both [Jew and Gentile] in the sphere of the interest of one body                     to the interest of Yahweh through The Cross,

                                                  (2)    Putting to death the enmity [the old Adamic man contaminated by                     The Law of Sin and Death] in the sphere of the interest of IT [His                     soulish, physical body];

(my amplified translation and literary structure)

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Hence, the middle wall between Jew and gentile is circumcision of the flesh. The partition between Yahweh and Adamic Man is The Law of Sin and Death operating in these men. Remove the partition and the middle wall comes falling down! Thus, the enmity, death, produced by The Law of Sin and Death, is destroyed when Christ as the last (eschatos) Adam (the only legitimate Son of Adam since He is not contaminated by The Law of Sin and Death), in obedience to His Father Yahweh, pours out His soul (His life) unto death (Isa. 53:12 KJV), empties Himself of His uncontaminated life (Phil. 2:7), becomes obedient unto the death of a cross (Phil. 2:8).

The enmity (The Law of Sin and Death, the death common to all Adamic men) had been put to death in Jesus’ physical, soulish body of flesh (Eph. 2:16). Since The Law of Sin and Death had not operated in the members of His body, Jesus was not affected by the death common to all Adamic men. Death had not been operating in Him. Therefore, by giving Himself up to the Law of Death and thereby subjecting Himself to Adamic men for the suffering of death, He had been able to completely satisfy the verdict of death placed upon Adamic Man by Yahweh.

Christ’s death and resurrection, thus, surmounted the affect of the verdict of death by obtaining from Yahweh a superseding verdict of life on behalf of all Adamic men. The verdict of death was no longer the last word of Yahweh in relation to Adamic Man. Adamic Man would die, but he would not remain in the grave. A new word had been obtained by Christ on behalf of Adamic Man, a word of life out of death; a new verdict had been rendered by Yahweh on behalf of Adamic Man, a verdict announcing the justification of immortal life.

Adamic Man would be transformed through death into the immortal, trans-schematic condition of The Celestial Man. His Ecclesia, His Spiritual Body, the New Born-From-Above Israel, the New Man (Christ and His Ecclesia, His Spiritual Body) in the sphere of the counter-alterating identification with His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension consists of the firstfruits guaranteeing this Celestial transformation for the rest of Adamic men. This New Covenantal Man, the subject of Paul’s present discussion, would soon experience this trans-schematic metamorphosis and, thus, equipped, enter into the promised Celestial Allotment.

As a consequence of this achievement of Messiah Jesus, the Messianic Gentiles are no longer set apart from Yahweh. They are no longer relegated to the status of alien guests sojourning within Israel, eating the crumbs which fall from Israel’s table (see Matt. 15:24-27 KJV). They are now, as a result of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision and the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, “fellow-citizens of the saints [Messianic Jews]belonging “to God’s [Yahweh’s] family, being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the capstone of the corner being Messiah Jesus Himself” (Eph. 2:19b-20 CV modified). As such, they are joint-citizens together with the Messianic Jews of the New Born-From-Above Israel. They, therefore, are full-fledged Israelites.

Hence, the New Creation is the achievement of Yahweh accomplished through Messiah Jesus,

For His [Yahweh’s] achievement are we [Messianic Jews, and, as a result, you Messianic Gentiles share in this achievement], having been created in Messiah Jesus for good works, which Yahweh made ready beforehand, in order that we should be walking in them. (Ephesians 2:10 CV modified)

Prior to this achievement, the nations had been walking “in accord with the eon of this world [Adamic eon within which operated the world-order of the Sinatic Covenant, the Mosaic Eon], in accord with the chief of the jurisdiction of the air [The Adversary, Satan], the spirit now operating in the sons of stubbornness [Apostate Israel] (Eph. 2:2 CV). As the nations had been given up to a disqualified mind and had been walking in the darkness of The Adversary, so also Israel had come under Yahweh’s judgment. As the nations had been walking in their sins (Eph. 2:1), so also Israel, in defiance of Yahweh’s warning through the foreboding prophets, had been walking in her covenantal sins,

among whom [the disobedient, disqualified nations] we [the Jews as a nation] also all [the Northern Kingdom of Ephraim/Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah] behaved ourselves [collectively] once [under the kings during the word of the foreboding prophets] in the lusts of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the comprehension, and were, in our nature [as soulish/soilish men], children of indignation, even as the rest [of Adamic men]. (Ephesians 2:3 CV)

However, writes Paul, Yahweh, the merciful Elohim of Israel, because He loved His elect, holy nation, and in spite of her covenantal deviations, vivified, first, the Messianic Jews, and also the Messianic Gentiles.

Yet Yahweh, being rich in mercy, because of His vast love with which He loved us [Israel] (we [Messianic Jews] being dead to our covenantal deviations [as also you Messianic Gentiles being dead to your deviations]), vivified us [Messianic Jews] together [with you Messianic Gentiles] in Messiah [in the sphere of the interest of identification with His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension] (in the interest of this grace are you Messianic Gentiles saved!) and roused us [Messianic Jews] together [with you Messianic Gentiles] and seated us [Messianic Jews] together [with you Messianic Gentiles] in the sphere of the interest associated with the celestial promises [Messianic Kingdom, counter-alteration, Celestial Allotment] in the realm of the rule of Messiah Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6 my amplified translation)

Yahweh’s covenantal love and faithfulness to Israel, His elect nation, led Him to redeem Israel. In showing mercy to Israel, He had first proclaimed the Gospel of the Circumcision to His elect people. Those who received this Gospel, becoming identified with Messiah Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, became dead to their covenantal deviations and vivified to the new resurrection life of the new man, the counter-altered man, the soulish/spiritual man, the celestial man. As such, they became members of the New Born-From-Above Israel, members of the spiritual Body of Christ.

Consequently, having shown this mercy to Israel and, thus, having created and generated the New Born-From-Above Israel, Yahweh, in His own appointed time, had acted in accord with His concealed secret, thereby extending this mercy to the gentiles, by sending the Gospel to the uncircumcised nations, doing for those receiving this Gospel what He had already done for the Messianic Jews. Yahweh’s mercy shown to Israel as His holy, elect nation now opened the door of salvation to the unholy, non-elect nations. Those uncircumcised gentiles receiving the Gospel of the Uncircumcision, becoming identified with Messiah Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, also became dead to their own national deviations, now becoming vivified together with the Messianic Jews to the new resurrection life of the new man, the counter-altered man, the celestial man.

As such, these Messianic Gentiles, now becoming joint-citizens of the New Born-From-Above Israel, together with the Messianic Jews, had been vivified, roused, and seated in the sphere of the interest associated with the celestial promises. The hope of Israel now became the hope of these Messianic Gentiles. No longer were these Gentiles alien guests of the commonwealth of Israel or sojourners among the Israelites. No longer were they excluded from the blessings associated with the Messiah. No longer were they estranged from Yahweh as they had been during the Mosaic Eon.

They were now citizens of the new commonwealth of Israel, the New Born-From-Above Israel operating under the grace of the new conditions of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, the benefits of which were now sure to all the faithful seed of Abraham, the circumcised seed as well as the uncircumcised seed. Having been together vivified, roused, and seated with the Messianic Jews, Paul writes of these Messianic Gentiles:

For to the interest of this grace, through faith, you [Messianic Gentiles] have been saved, and this gracious event [i.e., together with the Messianic Jews vivified, roused, and seated] is not out of yourselves; it is Yahweh’s gift, not out of works, lest anyone of you should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 my translation)

It is Yahweh’s grace, His favor, that makes possible this salvation. His grace has offered to that present generation this salvation, this identification with Messiah Jesus based upon that faith/faithfulness accounted for righteousness. It has not been offered to any following generation. It had not even been offered to all nations existing during that present generation. The proclamation of the Gospel had been sent to the designated nations dwelling within the territories of the Roman Empire. This Gospel had not been sent to the Americas; it had not been sent to countries such as China, Japan, India, and Australia.

This grace of Yahweh is out of the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah, not out of the works of those graced (as a result of Messiah Jesus’ faithfulness and Yahweh’s mercy) by the sending out of the Gospel to those people chosen to hear it. Therefore, those receiving this salvation have no grounds upon which they can boast in themselves. Boasting can only be in Yahweh and His Anointed, Obedient Son.

Therefore, those receiving this favored salvation by faith in Jesus the Messiah (both Jews and Gentiles) are new men, having died in Christ to the old Adamic man and having been counter-altered into the new resurrected life of Messiah Jesus. Each is a new creation becoming a member of the New-Creation Man, the Ecclesia, the Spiritual Body of Christ. Each is a citizen of the New Born-From-Above Israel, the new, elect, holy nation of Yahweh and Messiah Jesus the New Davidic Warrior-King. Of these Gentile new-creation men belonging to this New-Creation Man, Paul writes,

be rejuvenated in the spirit of your mind [as those Jewish Messianics, the Saints, among you are] and . . . put on the new man [the counter-altered celestial man] the counter-alteration which, in accord with the interest of Yahweh, is being created in righteousness [the righteousness of Yahweh in Messiah Jesus] and benignity of the truth [of the Gospel]. Wherefore, putting off the false [accounting yourselves dead to the old Adamic man], let each [of you Messianic Gentiles, as the Messianic Jews] be speaking the truth with his associate, for we [Messianic Jews, and therefore, you Messianic Gentiles] are members of one another [in the Spiritual Body of Christ, the Born-From-Above Israel, seated in the sphere of the interest associated with the celestial promises]. (Ephesians 4:23-25 my amplified translation)

These Messianic Gentiles are encouraged to become imitators of Yahweh as Paul and his fellow-kinsmen Messianic Jews are imitators of Yahweh (see 1 Cor. 11:1), for “Messiah also loves you [as well as Messianic Jews], and gave Himself up for us [Messianic Jews, on your (Messianic Gentiles) behalf], an approach present and a sacrifice to the interest of Yahweh [concerning the creation of the New-Creation Man, the Born-From-Above Israel consisting of all the members of the faithful seed of Abraham, circumcised or uncircumcised], for a fragrant odor” (Eph. 5:2b CV modified). Paul, therefore, exhorts, “Now, all prostitution and uncleanness or greed—let it not even be named among you [Gentile Messianics], according as is becoming the interest of saints [Jewish Messianics separated unto Yahweh, with whom you Gentile Messianics are together vivified, roused, and seated in the sphere of identification with Messiah’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, and in the sphere of the interest associated with the celestial promises] . . . (Eph. 5:3 CV modified).

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In the Celestials

Paul uses the prepositional phrase in the celestials five times in his letter to the Ephesians. This phrase can be misleading. In order to properly understand its meaning in each usage, the immediate context must be taken into account. The Greek phrase en tois epouraniois is usually translated in the heavenly places, in the heavenlies, or in the heavens. The Greek word epouraniois is neuter, plural, dative case. The Greek word ouranias means heavens. With the prefix epi, it should not be translated heavens, since it refers to that which is upon the heavens. Thus, epouraniois would more accurately be translated celestials. Since it is neuter, plural, it could be translated celestial places, celestial things, or celestial ones. To determine which of these is to be used, one must consult the context. Since the word is in the Greek dative case, it can be translated in the locative, referring to location; in the instrumental, referring to means; or in the pure dative, referring to interest.

Paul’s first use of this phrase is found in Ephesians 1:3, where he writes of “every spiritual blessing [en tois epouraniois]” (CV). Paul is here referring to those spiritual blessings belonging covenantally to Israel and, thus, in Christ the promised Messiah, to the Messianic Jews. The instrumental dative of means does not seem to fit the context at all. Therefore, the choice is to translate either the locative dative of location or the pure dative of interest. Most translators have chosen the locative dative of location. But it can just as accurately be translated in the pure dative of interest.

Being in the neuter gender, it can be translated in the interest of celestial promises, some of which the Messianic Jews had already been experiencing, such as the promise of the counter-alteration and the promise of the restored Davidic Kingdom, this kingdom already a reality for these Messianic Jews (and Messianic Gentiles), since, according to Paul’s testimony in Colossians, they had already been “transported . . . into the kingdom of the Son of His [Yahweh’s] love” (Col. 1:13 CV modified). It could also, thus, refer to the present celestial hope of the New Israel, the sure hope of the Celestial Allotment promised to Abraham and his faithful seed. This blessed, imminent expectation is a profound motivational factor in the present endurance of persecution and affliction on behalf of Messiah Jesus and the Gospel. Paul’s interest, then, would be the present practical reality of these spiritual blessings belonging to the Messianic Jews (and consequently to the Messianic Gentiles), rather than the future location of these spiritual blessings. Consequently, I chose to translate en tois epouraniois in the pure dative of interest: “every spiritual blessing in the sphere associated with the celestial promises of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant operating in the realm of the Kingdom of Christ” (Eph. 1:3 my amplified translation).

Paul’s second use of the prepositional phrase is found in Ephesians 1:20. Here, Paul refers to Christ as seated in (in the sphere of the interest of, pure dative) the right hand of Yahweh, en tois epouraniois. The locative translation is insufficient in conveying the more essential meaning of Paul. The pure dative of interest (in the sphere of the interest of the celestial terms and promises of the New Covenant) conveys the greater essence of Paul’s meaning. Paul is not primarily concerned with location, but with purpose. Paul follows this phrase with “up over [the interest of, pure dative] every sovereignty and authority and power and lordship” (Eph. 1:21a CV). It makes more sense and is consistent with the first usage (Eph. 1:3) to translate the pure dative of interest. Yahweh has seated Messiah Jesus “in the interest of the celestial terms and promises of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant and Kingdom” (Eph. 1:20 my amplified translation) which Messiah Jesus was in the process of implementing while metaphorically on His Davidic Throne at (in the interest of) the right hand of Yahweh far above (in both location and purpose) all terrestrial and celestial sovereignty, authority, power, and lordship.

Paul's third use of this phrase occurs in Ephesians 2:6. The Messianic Jews, together with the Messianic Gentiles, testifies Paul, have been together covenantally and counter-alteratedly vivified, roused, and seated in Christ, not literally in celestial places; but covenantally and metaphorically, they have been identified with Christ Who alone is metaphorically seated literally in the Celestial Realm metaphorically at the right hand of Yahweh. In Christ, they have been together vivified, roused, and seated metaphorically at the right hand of Yahweh as those presently reigning in the terrestrial realm with Messiah Jesus “in the sphere of the interest associated with the celestial promises, Messianic Kingdom, counter-alteration, and Celestial Allotment in the realm of the Davidic rule of Messiah Jesus” (Eph. 2:6b my amplified translation). This translation is consistent with Paul’s usage, theme, and immediate and larger contexts.

Paul’s fourth usage of this prepositional phrase occurs in Ephesians 3:10. Paul is writing about his apostolic commission. Yahweh has chosen him to be the dispenser of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision. Paul, who declares that he is less than the least of all the Messianic Jews, had been granted by Yahweh and Messiah Jesus to be the one favored to bring the Gospel of the untraceable (concealed, thus a secret) riches of the Messiah to the nations. In the process of the proclamation of the Gospel committed to him, he would be enlightening all the men favored by Yahweh to hear this Gospel as to the reality of the present administration of the secret concerning the joint-citizenship of the Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles in the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh, the nation now incorporating the circumcised and uncircumcised faithful children of Abraham into the New Davidic Kingdom of Messiah Jesus, within which they are all being blessed with the blessings promised to Abraham.

Yahweh had created this New Nation and New Kingdom, which Paul designates as “the all things” (literal Greek, Eph. 3:9). The all things referred to in this passage consists of all the promises and terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant operating in the realm of the Davidic Kingdom of Messiah Jesus on behalf of all the faithful seed of Abraham, circumcised and uncircumcised. The purpose for revealing this secret in the then present latter days of the Mosaic Eon is “in order that now may be made known to the sovereignties and authorities among the celestials [en tois epouraniois], through the Ecclesia [the called-out Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles], the multifarious wisdom of God [Yahweh], in accord with the purpose of the eons, which He [Yahweh] made in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Eph. 3:10-11 CV modified).

This revealed purpose is in relation to Israel and the nations, not celestial beings located in the far above celestial places. The sovereignties and the authorities referred to here represent those primarily of Apostate Israel, but also those of the nations. These sovereignties and authorities are now to come to know “the multifarious wisdom of Yahweh” associated with the celestial things of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant and Kingdom of Messiah Jesus through the proclamation and lives of the Ecclesia, the New Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh and His Anointed Davidic Warrior-King. Thus, a more accurate translation of Ephesians 3:10-11 would be

in order that now may be made known to the terrestrial sovereignties and the terrestrial authorities of Israel and the nations (in the interest of the celestial promises of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant and New Davidic Kingdom now revealed through the proclamation and activities of the Ecclesia) the multifarious wisdom of Yahweh associated with the purpose of the eons, which He produced in the sphere of the interest of the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Messiah Jesus our Lord [of Messianic Jews and consequently Messianic Gentiles]. (my amplified translation)

Paul’s final usage of this illuminating phrase (en tois epouraniois) occurs in Ephesians 6:12. In this section of the letter, Paul exhorts the Messianic brethren in Ephesus to “be invigorated in the interest of the Lord and in the might of His strength. Put on the panoply [armor] of Yahweh, to enable you to stand up to the stratagems of the Adversary” (Eph. 6:10b-11 CV modified). Those in Christ, members of His Body, members of His Kingdom, and members of His spiritual warrior-militia, are to stand up firmly in the interest of the celestial things of His Covenant and Kingdom as they faithfully resist the wrestling tactics, stratagems, schemes of the malignant spiritual forces under the command and power of The Adversary.

Those in Christ are not to stand firm by wrestling against ordinary men and women (blood and flesh) who are merely duped into enslavement to the present darkness of Apostate Israel and the nations under the seductive authority of The Adversary. Adamic men are not the enemy. The members of the seed of the Woman Eve are not the enemy. The enemy refers to those of the seed of the Serpent, the seed of Cain.

This spiritual seed opposes Yahweh and His Anointed Son/King arrogantly in the interest of its beloved hubris. This seed Paul describes as the sovereignties, the authorities, the world-mights of the present darkness who are under the influence and control of The Adversary. This authority of The Adversary had been given to him by Yahweh as a result of the disqualified idolatrous minds of the nations and the covenantal prostitution of Apostate Israel.

This authority of The Adversary was in the process of being terminated by the present rule of the liberating kingdom and militia of Yahweh’s Anointed Son, the New Davidic Warrior-Kingdom, the New Born-From-Above Israel. The successful campaign of the Gospel would initiate the process by which the darkness of the ancient world of the gods would be terminated. The authoritative operation of The Adversary would be annulled.

The achievement of Yahweh through the faithfulness of His Only-Begotten Son, Messiah Jesus (accomplished in 70 A.D.), did away with the office of Adversary. Messiah Jesus is now the triumphant Advocate of Adamic men. The accusations of The Adversary are no longer legitimate in the presence of Yahweh the Supreme Judge. Consequently, a more illuminating translation of Ephesians 6:10b-12 is as follows:

be invigorated in the interest of the Lord [Messiah Jesus the New Davidic Warrior-King] and in the might of His strength [the counter-alterating spirit and the proclamation of the Gospel]. Put on the armor of Yahweh [the truth, righteousness, Gospel, faith, and word of Yahweh’s New Covenant and New Kingdom], to enable you [Messianic Jews and Gentiles] to stand up against the strategic schemes of The Adversary. For it is not ours to wrestle with blood and flesh [the seed of the Woman Eve], but, in the interest of the celestial things associated with the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant and the New Davidic Kingdom of Messiah Jesus the Davidic Warrior-King, we are to stand firm, wrestling with the sovereignties, with the authorities, with the world-powers of the darkness of the Sinatic/Mosaic world-order, with these malignant spiritual forces [about to be defeated and annulled]. (my amplified translation)

From Paul’s perspective, the triumphant victory of Messiah Jesus the Davidic Warrior-King is now very close. The final eschatological encounter with the malignant forces of the darkness of the Sinatic/Mosaic world-order of Apostate Israel and the disqualified idolatrous nations is not far off. The great persecution and affliction of the time of Jacob’s trouble is soon to be endured. Faithfulness to the consummation of this spiritual conflict is soon to result in the triumphant entrance of the conquering ones into the promised Celestial Allotment. Therefore, Paul encouragingly concludes this letter,

Grace be with all who are loving our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption! Amen! (Ephesians 6:24 CV)

By the phrase in incorruption, Paul means faithfully walking in newness of resurrection life according to the operation of the counter-alterating, indwelling spirit of Christ:

Be not deceived, Yahweh is not to be mocked. For whatsoever a man may be sowing, this also shall he be reaping. For he who is sowing for his own flesh [the old Adamic man under the deceptive influence of The Law of Sin and Death, the soulish/soilish man], out of this flesh shall be reaping corruption. Yet he who is sowing to the interest of the indwelling, counter-alterating spirit, out of this spirit shall be reaping eonian life [in the interest of the soon-to-come consummation of the resurrection occurring at the imminent consummation of the Parousia of Messiah Jesus]. (Galatians 6:7-8 my amplified translation)

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Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy

Paul’s Eschatological Instruction

From his imprisonment in Caesarea, Paul writes his second letter to Timothy. As he had ended his letter to the Ephesian brethren with the theme of “loving our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption” (Eph. 6:24), so he continues this theme in the opening of his letter to Timothy:

You may not be ashamed, then, of the testimony of our Lord, nor yet of me, His prisoner, but suffer evil with the evangel in accord with the power of Yahweh [the counter-alteration], Who is the One having saved us [Israel] and having called us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts [works], but in accord with His own purpose and grace having been given to us [Messianic members of the Body of Christ] in Messiah Jesus before eonian times, yet now [since Jesus’ resurrection] is being manifested through the advent [epiphaneias, upon-manifestation, crowning manifestation] of our Saviour, Messiah Jesus, Who, indeed, is the One having abolished the death [associated with the Sinatic Covenant and Adamic Man], yet having illuminated life and incorruption through the evangel of which I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher of the nations. (2 Timothy 1:8-11 CV modified)

Timothy is not to be ashamed of the testimony of Messiah Jesus and Paul a prisoner on His behalf. Appropriating the new life of the counter-alteration, he is to love and serve Messiah Jesus in incorruption. Only in such a life of incorruption is it possible to attain to the out-resurrection and the prize of the High Calling.

Timothy is reminded of the necessity in Christ to share in His sufferings by enduring the evil directed against the truth of the Gospel. Yahweh has faithfully accomplished the salvation promised to Israel. Through the Gospel of the Circumcision, Yahweh has called Israel to her holy calling which He had intended for her from her Sinatic beginning. Those Jews receiving this call (the Messianic Saints) have been sanctified, set apart to live the counter-altered, incorrupt life of Yahweh’s kingdom of priests, Yahweh’s holy nation. As a priestly nation, since Yahweh’s acceptance of the nations signified by His proclamation of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision, the Messianic Jews are to exemplify the faith by teaching, instructing, and guiding the Messianic Gentiles in the truth of the Gospel until the consummation of the Parousia of their Messiah. The time, to this consummation, is short and perilous,

I am solemnly charging you in the sight of Yahweh and Messiah Jesus, the One Who is about to be judging the living [the incorrupt in Christ] and the dead [the corrupt expelled from Christ], in accord with His advent [His crowning-manifestation associated with His resurrection Gospel] and His kingdom [His liberating Davidic Kingdom  of spiritual-warriors]: Herald the word. Stand by it, whether the season is favorable or unfavorable, expose, rebuke, entreat, with all patience and teaching. For the season will be when they [the corrupt, unfaithful, apostate Messianic brethren] will not tolerate sound teaching . . . (2 Timothy 4:1-3a my amplified translation)

Timothy is charged to faithfully proclaim the word of this Jewish salvation. He is to firmly stand by this word whether the season remains favorable or whether the season becomes unfavorable. Paul solemnly charges Timothy, knowing full well the unfavorable season is not far off. Timothy must be prepared for this unfavorable season, since it is soon to come upon him. He must be prepared to stand firm against the coming strategic assault of the malignant spiritual forces of the terrestrial sovereignties, authorities, and world-powers of the present darkness of the Sinatic/Mosaic world-order of the enemies of Messiah Jesus. Timothy must not remove the spiritual armor he has previously put on. Protected by this armor, he is to withstand, during the imminent malignant day of Jacob’s trouble, the soon-to-come last desperate assault of these malignant spiritual forces.

Paul’s anticipation of this soon-to-come unfavorable season is not unfounded. He has already suffered affliction as a result of this turning from the sound teaching of the faith. He was now bound in chains due to the assault of Jews from Asia (Acts 21:27-30). Having offered up to Yahweh in Jerusalem the Messianic Gentiles in accord with his priestly apostolic commission, while worshiping in the Temple, Jews from Asia had assaulted him. These Jews, probably stirred up by Phygellus and Hermogenes, had been turned against Paul, even as the rest of the non-messianic Jews in Asia belonging to the larger Jewish Community had been turned away from Paul’s Gospel and teaching by these two, and other, influential apostate, antimessianic Jews:

Of this you [Timothy] are aware, that all the non-messianic Jews in the province of Asia [now becoming antimessianic] were turned from me, of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. (2 Timothy 1:15 CV modified)

Paul’s proclamation and teaching had been for some time tolerated, even sympathetically listened to, among the Jews dwelling in Asia. That favorable season had drastically changed during the previous two years. Phygellus and Hermogenes, as well as other influential, stubborn non-messianic Jews, zealously infuriated by the esteem given to the Messianic Gentiles by the Messianic Jews, openly turned against Paul’s Gospel and teaching concerning the secret now revealed. In turn, they and their power-elite turned the larger Jewish Community away from the Messianic sect of the Nazarenes following the Gospel of Christ and the teaching of Paul. The signs indicating the nearness of the coming open rift between the two Jewish communities, the two Jewish nations, the two Jewish kingdoms, had been accumulating. Paul’s arrest and chains, due to the zealous antagonism of the non-messianic Jewish community in Jerusalem against the new status of the Messianic Gentiles within the Messianic sect of the Nazarenes, had been a most significant sign in this accumulation of signs.

For this reason, Paul describes for Timothy the characteristics of apostate Jews in the coming last days of the time of Jacob’s trouble, that ultimate unfavorable season. This was not information for a distant future generation. These apostate Jews are described as “having a form of devoutness [the Sinatic Covenant as presently represented by Judaism], yet denying its power [the authentic power of the Sinatic Covenant is to be found in Messiah Jesus Who these apostate Jews reject] (2 Tim. 3:5 CV). Of these apostate, stubborn Jews, Paul warns Timothy, “These, also shun” (2 Tim. 3:6a CV). Timothy is going to encounter these apostate Jews operating during the last days of his present generation. In faithfulness to Messiah Jesus, he is to shun them, to turn away from them. For they walk the path leading to covenantal destruction and shame.

These shameful Jews of dishonor will shortly withstand the truth of the Gospel as Jannes and Jambres in the Egyptian court had withstood Moses (2 Tim. 3:8). They would oppose the Gospel and Messiah Jesus under the authoritative, deceptively seductive influence of The Adversary. Their power would prove ineffective. As Egypt had stubbornly brought upon herself the devastating plagues of Yahweh, so also Apostate Israel would bring upon herself the devastating plagues of Yahweh. Timothy and those Messianic brethren under his care are to shun this apostate community, nation, kingdom when this open rift severely cuts the two communities, the two nations, the two kingdoms adrift from one another. For, during this shortly to occur time, Yahweh would pour out His plagues on this disobedient and stiff-necked generation of apostate, Cainite Jews, at the termination of which He would lead His obedient and faithful Abelite new Israelites in Christ into their Celestial Allotment.

This apostate nation, during the time of Jacob’s trouble, “will be turning their hearing away from the truth [of the Gospel], yet will be turned aside to the myths [of Judaism and its pseudo-apocalyptic literature of the inter-testament period] (2 Tim. 4:4 CV modified). Hence, Timothy, in light of these eschatological last days on the horizon, is to,

be sober in all things; suffer evil as an ideal soldier of Christ Jesus; do the work of an evangelist; fully discharge your service. (2 Timothy 4:5 CV)

Timothy, as a valiant warrior-soldier of Messiah Jesus the Davidic Warrior-King, is to solemnly discipline himself in all his daily affairs as a soldier preparing for a decisive battle with the enemy. He is to suffer, endure courageously, the present and imminently coming evil directed against the Gospel and the decisive rift between the militias of the two communities, the two nations, the two kingdoms.

The consummation of the day of salvation is approaching. The approaching of Messiah Jesus’ Parousia is near at hand. The “day of vengeance of our [Israel’s] God [Elohim](Isa. 61:2b NASB) is rapidly approaching. Therefore, Timothy is to follow faithfully Paul’s teaching, motive, purpose, faith, patience, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings as Paul has already endured and out of which Yahweh had rescued him. As Yahweh had rescued Paul out of these sufferings, so Yahweh and Messiah Jesus His Son/King would rescue all His faithful people out of the impending wrath of Yahweh against Apostate Israel (see 2 Tim. 3:10-11; 4:18).

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Paul’s Eschatological Testimony

About to depart for Rome, Paul confesses that he is already being poured out by Messiah Jesus as a libation offering (a drink offering). His being seized by the non-messianic Jews in the Temple and his becoming the chained prisoner of his Lord indicate that he is in the final process of having his life poured out as a sacrifice to Yahweh, sealing the approval and completion of his commission. He has already been told by his Lord that he must testify in Rome. This means testifying to the Gospel before Caesar himself, the highest sovereign of the Roman Empire (see Acts 23:11). Later, during his journey to Rome, a celestial messenger from Yahweh informs him, “Fear not, Paul! Before Caesar you must stand” (Acts 27:24a). This confirms Paul’s conclusion in this letter that his testimony before Caesar would complete his apostolic commission to proclaim the Gospel to his own people (the Jews), the nations, and kings, the ultimate king being Caesar:

he [Paul] is a choice instrument of Mine [Messiah Jesus], to bear My name before both the nations and kings, besides the sons of Israel, . . . (Acts 9:15b CV)

Thus, Paul began to be poured out by his Lord as a libation offering sealing his priestly divine service (see Acts 27:23-24a) at the time he arrived in Jerusalem with the contribution from the Messianic Gentiles. With this contribution, Paul, as Jesus the Messiah’s apostolic priest to the nations, had offered up the Messianic Gentiles as an acceptable sacrifice to Yahweh according to the gracious purpose of Yahweh by which He extended to the uncircumcised nations the mercy shown to Israel. The larger Jewish Community, arrogantly scandalized by Yahweh's generosity to the nations, by seizing and placing in chains Yahweh’s divinely appointed priestly servant, sealed its stubbornness against Yahweh’s mercy, its rejection of Yahweh’s salvation, and its opposition to Yahweh’s Messiah and anointed people. The acceptable season of salvation for Apostate Israel was nearing its conclusion.

With the process of Paul’s being poured out as a libation-offering, the period or season of his analuseos, his up-loosing, his divine honorable discharge from his divinely commissioned charge has become imminent (2 Tim. 4:6-8). His apostolic commission would soon be completed. His course would be consummated with the completion of his testimony concerning Messiah Jesus before Nero Caesar himself. At that time, the Gospel will have reached the people to whom and the territories to which Yahweh had intended it to go.

Paul testifies that he has fought, as a faithful-to-the-consummation-of-his-apostolic-commission, valiant priest-warrior, the good and acceptable and well-pleasing eschatological fight of the Davidic Kingdom ruled by Messiah Jesus the Davidic Warrior-King (2 Tim. 4:7). With his journey to Rome and his testimony before Caesar already guaranteed by his Lord, his course has reached its goal. He has kept the faith delivered to him by the Lord’s Apostles and the faith revealed to him by Messiah Jesus Himself.

He, furthermore, testifies that there is reserved for him the crown of righteousness which Messiah Jesus, the Just Judge, will be paying to him “in that day” (2 Tim. 4:8 CV), the day when all those faithful members of the Ecclesia, His Spiritual Body, all those faithfully valiant warriors and faithfully spiritual-warriors in His holy, liberating militia, appear before His Bema-Seat judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). The crown of life is given to all those counter-altered as a result of believing into Jesus the Messiah. This crown authorizes their present reigning with Messiah Jesus in His present Davidic Kingdom (see Rev. 3:10 with its use of the gnomic future).

The crown of righteousness, however, is given to only those who actually achieve faithfulness to the consummation, actually attain to the out-resurrection and the prize of the High Calling, to all those who love Messiah Jesus’ advent, His upon-manifestation, His crowning manifestation which began after His glorious resurrection manifestation at Pentecost (Acts, chapter 2) and is soon to be perfected at the consummation of His Parousia. Those who love His advent are those who remain faithful to Him to the consummation of His Parousia. To love His advent, His crowning-manifestation, is to keep the righteousness of His law, to faithfully serve Him and endure the sufferings of His cross every day of the present eschatological conflict, anxiously looking forward to the final arrival of His Parousia and willingly suffering death on His behalf if necessary. Thus, Paul concludes that Messiah Jesus will be rewarding this crown of righteousness “not to me only, but also to all [the Messianic brethren] who love His advent [His crowning manifestation, His resurrection manifestation, His High-Calling manifestation] (2 Tim. 4:8b CV).

Paul concludes his eschatological testimony with an encouraging word of promise. He informs Timothy,

The Lord will be rescuing me from every wicked [malignant] work and will be saving me for His celestial kingdom: . . . (2 Timothy 4:18a CV)

His implication is that His Lord not only guarantees this for himself (Paul), but He guarantees this rescue from the malignant works of the present enemy and this deliverance into His soon-to-come Celestial Kingdom to all those who, loving His High-Calling-Manifestation and its prize, remain faithful to Him to the consummation of His Parousia. This promise, however, does not offer protection from eschatological suffering on behalf of Messiah Jesus and His Gospel. It assures only triumphant victory over the enemy and glorious entrance into the promised Celestial Allotment in the imminent Celestial Kingdom of Yahweh and Messiah Jesus.

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Paul’s Final Testimony in Rome

Arriving in Rome after a perilous journey during which Paul is informed by a celestial messenger from Yahweh that he must stand before Caesar, Paul realizes the accompanying necessity of standing before the Jews of Rome and testifying to the Messiahship of Jesus. As his commission is on the verge of being successfully completed, he knows he must, as Yahweh’s Jewish Apostle to the nations, proclaim the fullness of the Gospel to the Jews in Rome. In this way, the Gospel, being proclaimed out of the mouth of a commissioned Apostle, will have officially reached its ultimate geographical destination, “You shall be My witnesses . . . as far as the limits of the earth [as ruled by the Roman Empire] (Acts 1:8b CV).

In Rome, Paul is permitted, under the custody of a Roman soldier, to reside in his own hired house. After three days, “he called together those who are foremost of the Jews [the non-messianic Jews of the larger Jewish Community] (Acts 28:17a CV modified). Thus, Paul continues to treat the non-messianic Jews as “beloved because of the fathers [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] (Rom. 11:28 CV). He continues to be concerned with “the hope of Israel (Acts 28:20 KJV). He remains a Jew concerned with the covenantal welfare of his people.

The foremost Jewish leaders of the local synagogues in Rome, accepting Paul’s invitation, gather to hear what he has to report. Paul, addressing them as brethren, testifies that he has committed nothing contrary to the people or to the customs of the Fathers, here meaning the ancient fathers of the Torah. In spite of this, the Jewish power-elite in Jerusalem, unjustly charging him with crimes against the welfare of the nation, gave him up a prisoner to the Roman authorities. These authorities, finding him innocent of the charges, intended to release him. The Jewish power-elite, however, protesting adamantly against his release, compelled him to appeal to Caesar.

This appeal had been forced upon him. He had no reason to accuse his nation. His entire ministry as a Jewish rabbi committed to Jesus as Messiah concerned the hope of Israel. He only had the welfare of his people at heart. He was not against Israel, but for Israel. He was not Israel’s adversary, but Israel’s advocate (see Acts 28:16-20).

Paul has called together the leaders of the local synagogues of Rome to explain that his present chains, due to the uncalled for persecution of the Jewish power-elite of Jerusalem, are on account of the hope of Israel. The visiting Jewish leaders of the synagogues in Rome inform Paul that they had not received any letters from Judea concerning him. Neither had any of the brethren coming from Jerusalem and Judea reported anything malignant concerning him. These Jewish leaders in Rome, however, are more than willing to hear what he has to report concerning the Jewish sect of the Nazarenes in Jerusalem and Judea. They had only heard that this sect had been spoken against by many Jews throughout the diaspora. In spite of this lack of knowledge concerning the Jewish sect of the Nazarene in Jerusalem and Judea, these Jewish leaders have been aware of the Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles among their synagogues. They are not completely unaware of the teaching of the Gospel. Hence, they perceive the presence of an educated Jewish rabbi committed to the teaching of these Messianic Jews as an opportunity for the gaining of scriptural insight (see Acts 28:21-22).

This Jewish community in Rome is much like the Jewish community Paul and Barnabas had encountered in Berea (Acts 17:10-12). The Jews in the synagogue of Berea had received the word “with all eagerness, examining the scriptures day by day, to see if these have it thus” (Acts 17:11b CV). The Jewish leaders of the synagogues of Rome respond to Paul just as eagerly as had the Jews in Berea, “Now we count it worthwhile to hear from you what your disposition [thinking] is [concerning the hope of Israel and this Nazarene being proclaimed Messiah] (Acts 28:22a CV).

Anxious to hear the scriptural interpretation of this educated rabbi concerning the hope of Israel, these Jewish leaders set a day for Paul to expound the scriptures in their hearing. On that day, not only the previous Jewish leaders, but many more interested Jews came to hear Rabbi Paul. His subject was the Kingdom of Yahweh as related to Jesus the Messiah. He explained from the Law of Moses (the Torah) and the Prophets (the Former and Latter Prophets) how Yahweh had been rejected by Israel when the nation had asked Samuel for a king after the likeness of the nations. Granting the nation’s request, Yahweh had given them Saul as king. Saul had failed to rule the nation righteously. The nation reaped the consequences. Yahweh then chose and anointed David to succeed Saul as king. Thus had begun the Davidic Kingdom. Through this Davidic Kingdom, the Kingdom of Yahweh would be restored. The Messianic Son of David would restore the divided Kingdom of David.

Jesus the Nazarene is that Messianic Son of David. He is presently ruling on the seat of David. The Davidic Kingdom has been in the process of being restored under the Davidic kingship of Jesus Who had been crucified, but resurrected from the dead. His resurrection signaled the resurrection of Israel, the hope of Israel.

After conquering the apostate people of Israel and completing the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, Messiah Jesus would turn this kingdom over to Yahweh, restoring the Kingdom of Yahweh. Yahweh would then, once again, become the One, True, Living Elohim of all nations. The conquering Messianic Son of David, Jesus the Messiah, would fulfill the destiny and purpose of the Davidic Kingdom, thereby fulfilling the purpose of Yahweh’s election of Israel. The present kingdom of priests and holy nation, the New Born-From-Above Israel, faithfully obeying Yahweh in accord with the terms of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, would usher in the Kingdom of Yahweh whereby the nations would once again enjoy the rule of the One, True, Living Elohim of Adamic Man, there no longer being a covenantal distinction between Israel and the nations. The faithfulness of Yahweh’s New Born-From-Above Israel would be rewarded by her entrance into the Celestial Allotment promised to Abraham and all his faithful seed, both circumcised and uncircumcised.

Thus, the hope of Israel has been in the process of being fulfilled. The nation’s corporate resurrection has already begun and is on the verge of being completed. All Jews are presently being called by Yahweh to participate in this national resurrection by believing into Jesus as Messiah, even as Israel had been called by Yahweh to believe into Moses. The present salvation of Israel is confirmed by the fact that the nations are presently being blessed by Yahweh. Such blessing is only possible as a result of Israel’s salvation.

Paul continues his expounding of the Hebrew Scriptures concerning Jesus as Messiah and the Kingdom of Yahweh “from morning till dusk” (Acts 28:23b CV). As Jesus had prophesied, He would bring a sword dividing the nation. The division of this nation had already been tasted in Jerusalem with the persecution and binding of Paul. After Paul’s proclamation of the truth of the Gospel from dusk until dawn, his Jewish audience is divided. Some are persuaded; others are unpersuaded. One thing is certain, a decision must be made. The destiny of the nation is at stake. Disagreeing with one another, though solemnly considering the testimony of Paul, Paul dismisses his fellow Jews, quoting the warning of Isaiah 6:9-10:

Go to this people and say, “In hearing, you will be hearing, and may by no means be understanding, And observing, you will be observing, and may by no means be perceiving,” For stoutened [dulled] is the heart of this people, And with their ears heavily they hear, And with their eyes they squint, Lest at some time they may be perceiving . . . And should be hearing . . . And should be turning about, And I shall be healing [saving] them. (Acts 28:26-27 CV)

Yahweh is once again warning His people. If the warning is neglected, they would suffer His indignation. If the warning is heeded, they would experience His salvation. The decision is theirs. The season for salvation is growing short. The nation is about to suffer a momentous, eschatological, covenantal rift determining national life or death.

Having quoted Isaiah 6:9-10, Paul leaves these fellow Jews with a last comment, “Let it be known to you, then, that to the nations was dispatched this salvation of Yahweh [belonging to Israel], and they will hear” (Acts 28:28 CV modified). Yahweh's blessing of the nations confirms the reality of Israel’s present season of salvation. The Messiah has come. He has been resurrected from the dead. The corporate resurrection of the nation is in progress. The time is short. Yahweh’s announcement of national salvation being proclaimed in the Gospel must be believed in order to avert national and individual destruction. The decision made would soon identify clearly the character of the two nations, two kingdoms, two peoples, about to undergo national scandal and eschatological civil war resulting in the covenantal death of the one and the Covenantal life of the other.

The season of decision, the season of salvation, has not yet ended. There is still time before the covenantal earthquake occurs creating the colossal chasm between the two nations, the two kingdoms, the two peoples. Luke ends his historical account, not with Paul’s testimony before Nero Caesar, but with Paul’s continued proclamation of the Kingdom of Yahweh and his continued teaching concerning “the Lord Jesus Messiah” (Acts 28:31b CV modified) for a period of two whole years, speaking boldly and without either legal or religious hindrance. The Jews continue to consider his proclamation. Many would believe; many would be unpersuaded. The ministry of Paul is now reaching its consummation. The Gospel has been and continues to be proclaimed throughout the favored territories of the Roman Empire within which dwell the Jews.

There was no need for Luke to add to his account. In a few short years, the covenantal rift between the two Israels would erupt. Apostate Israel would soon disown, renounce, the Messianic Jews and Gentiles belonging to the sect of the Nazarenes, which sect would no longer be considered Jewish. The Messianic Community would be expelled from the Jewish synagogues throughout the territories of the Roman Empire, thus losing the protection of Roman law. Now being clearly identified as distant from Judaism and persecuted viciously by the Jews, the nations of the empire would join in the persecution of this anathemized sect of religious deviants.

Nero, also, would take advantage of this unfavored religious sect, adding fuel to the fire already blazing. Nero’s persecution began in A.D. 64. The Jewish rift first erupted about that time, but became a gigantic chasm beginning in 66 A.D. with the overt outbreak of the Jewish revolt against Rome.

Luke’s account is, thus, complete. All that was yet to occur had been recorded in the Book of Revelation, which the Messianic Community had access to for many years. It would have become common knowledge among them. More importantly, it would have become practical knowledge, encouraging all Messianics to remain faithful in enduring the persecutions through which they would enter into the promised Celestial Allotment of their triumphant victory in Christ.