Frequently Asked Questions
Ephesians 2 - The Middle Wall of Partition - Part 3
"But now in Messiah Yahshua ye who once were far off are made near by the blood of Messiah."
We have established, at this point, that those who are NOT followers of the God of Israel and of the commonwealth of Israel, are without God in the world. One is either of the commonwealth of Israel or they are not. Strangers and aliens in the Tenakh became part of Israel through faith in the God of Israel. They came to the God of Israel as strangers and sojourners and by further definition, those who are 'far off'. The contrast is to those who are 'near'. Before reading the next verse, you must ask yourself, "Did Sha’ul make these two terms up?" Sha’ul is using these two terms to describe what the Messiah has done by and through His blood. Those who are 'far off' is a description of the previous 'aliens' and 'strangers'. Would it be logical that Sha’ul is assuming some knowledge of these terms from his audience? Is it probable that YHVH foreknew these strangers?
"Hear ye the word of YHVH, O house of Ya‘aqov, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus saith YHVH, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone FAR FROM ME, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain."
Yirmeyahu 30:3, 10-11
"For, lo, the days come, saith YHVH, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Yehudah, saith YHVH; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it ... Therefore, fear thou not, O my servant Ya‘aqov, saith YHVH; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from AFAR, and thy SEED from the land of their captivity; and Ya‘aqov shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith YHVH, to save thee; though I make a full end of all nations to which I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee, but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished."
"Hear the word of YHVH, O ye nations (gentiles), and declare it in the isles AFAR OFF, and say, He who scattered ISRAEL will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock."
(Keep that word 'shepherd' in mind, as we will see him more clearly in the defining of the 'middle wall'.)
The whole idea of those who are 'far off' is always associated with the gathering of HIS PEOPLE from among the Gentiles, who are synonymous with the regathered house of Israel. Those who are 'far off' are also equivalent to the nations, the scattered, the disobedient, and the wicked.
"... that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be FAR from thee."
"YHVH shall bring a nation against thee from AFAR ..."
"So that the generation to come of your children who shall rise up after you, and the foreigner who shall come from A FAR land ..."
Something declared to be 'far from me' is that which is wicked, or something that someone would not do.
Sh'mu'el Bet 23:17
"And he said, Be it FAR FROM ME, O YHVH, that I should do this ..."
M'lakhim Alef 8:41
"Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of thy people, Israel, but cometh out of a FAR country for thy name's sake."
"Salvation (Yahshua) is FAR from the wicked; for they seek not thy statutes."
"I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, keep not back; bring my sons from FAR ..."
YHVH gives prophetic descriptions of those people in Hoshea who would turn from Him and be scattered throughout the nations. They would do abominable things and mix with the ways of the nations around them. These same things will be said of the believers in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, and the uttermost parts of the earth. Listen to further insight into those who WERE far off but are now made near.
"Again the word of YHVH came to me, saying, Son of man, thy brethern, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the HOUSE OF ISRAEL wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, get you FAR from YHVH; unto us is the land given in possession. Therefore say, Thus saith YHVH ’Elohiym: although I have cast them FAR OFF among the Gentiles, and although I have SCATTERED them among the countries, yet will I be to them a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. Therefore say, thus saith YHVH ’Elohiym: I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come there, and they shall take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my ordinances, and do them; and they shall be MY PEOPLE, and I will be their God."
YHVH, by the prophetic utterings of His servant Yechezk'el, will bring the whole house of Israel back from whence they were scattered and He will cause them to walk in His ways. He will be their God and they shall be His people, and because His Spirit dwells in them, they will turn from the unclean and detestable things. Now listen to what YHVH, by the utterings of His servant Sha’ul, says to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 6:16 to 7:1
"And what agreement hath the temple of ’Elohiym with idols? For ye are the temple of the Living ’Elohiym; as ’Elohiym hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith YHVH, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith YHVH Almighty. Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of ’Elohiym."
In Acts chapter one we read that Yahshua had a mission for His 'Jewish' disciples before the kingdom was to be restored to Israel. They were first to begin in Jerusalem, then in Judea, Samaria, and to the UTTERMOST parts of the earth. That is because the 'far off' places is where His people, the house of Israel carefully described in the Tenakh, are at. Luke also reveals to us WHO are the 'far off' in Acts 2:36,39:
"Therefore, let ALL the house of Israel know assuredly, that ’Elohiym hath made that same Yahshua, whom ye have crucified, both Adonai and Messiah ... For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are AFAR OFF, as many as YHVH, our ’Elohiym, shall call."
Luke describes those that are 'far off' in his gospel in the form of the parable of the prodigal son. The father in this parable has two sons, one of them remains at home (i.e. not scattered) and the other goes into a FAR country.
"And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a FAR country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living ... And he went and JOINED himself to a citizen of that country ..."
This story could not be more descriptive of the prophecies of the destiny and history of the two houses of Israel and Yehudah. This helps us to identify who those are that are 'far' off. In the eyes of YHVH, all those who do not follow Him are by the analogy of the prodigal son, rebellious children, who have chosen to forsake the ways of their Creator, follow another way, and are called those that are 'far'.
In contrast, we must scripturally define what it means to be 'near'. These two terms are understood in the Hebrew culture to describe a familial relationship. In the story of Yitz'chak, Ya‘aqov, and Esav, we have an ancient taste of the use of this word. The firstborn son is normally the one that is nagash, or 'brought near' and blessed by the father. The whole ordeal of Ya‘aqov 'tricking' Yitz'chak into the 'nearest' son blessing is replete with this word.
"And Yitz'chak said unto Ya‘aqov, Come NEAR I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esav or not."
"And his father, Yitz'chak, said unto him, Come NEAR now, and kiss me, my son. Therefore he came NEAR, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which YHVH hath blessed."
Yoseph, a type of the Messiah, pleads with his brethren to come NEAR to him in B'reshith 45:4. Ya‘aqov (Israel) blesses his grandsons in B'reshith 48:13-14, and knowingly places his right hand on the second born rather than the firstborn. This is because YHVH guides him, prophetically knowing the destiny and history of the tribe of Ephraim. This tribe will be the banner tribe representing, you quessed it, the house of Israel.
"And Yoseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them NEAR unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly; for Manasseh was the first-born."
The idea of being 'near' is virtually antithetical to being 'far'. The close and obedient son is in contrast to the far and disobedient one. In the Passover feast, the stranger who desires to worship and follow the God of Israel is called to 'come near' and keep it.
"And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to YHVH, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him COME NEAR and keep it; and he shall be as ONE BORN IN THE LAND; for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One Torah shall be to him that is home-born and unto the stranger that sojourns among you."
Notice that when a stranger, or one that is 'far' away, desires to follow the God of Israel, expressed here by his desire to keep the passover, then the stranger is no different than one that is 'etzirach, or home-born, with one Torah for both, and made ONE by the blood of the lamb. Gee whiz, can you begin to see a pattern here? The picture painted by the exercise of family relationships is used to describe our relationship with a much more important father.
"And Mosheh spoke unto Aharon, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, COME NEAR before YHVH; for he hath heard your murmurings."
"Hearken unto me, ye stubborn in heart, that are FAR from righteousness: I bring NEAR my righteousness; it shall not be FAR off, and my salvation shall not tarry; and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel, my glory."
YHVH knows that those who are far off and those that are near will once again be made one. This is what the two sticks (trees) of Yechezk'el are all about. Much of the phraseology of Yechezk'el 37 is employed in the Brit Chadashah in many of the parables of Yahshua and the writings of Sha’ul. It is imperative that we have a good foundation concerning what it means to be near and far before we can comprehend what 'wall' must be broken down in order for YHVH to create a 'new man' in the Messiah. The brotherhood of Ephraim (house of Israel) and Yehudah was broken, but Messiah will bring them back. Two separated brothers, one near and one far, will be united and joined together into one.
"In those days, and in that time, saith YHVH, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Yehudah together, going and weeping; they shall go, and seek YHVH, their ’Elohiym. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces toward it, saying Come, and let us join ourselves to YHVH in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten."