Updated: Jul 4
There is a mystery hidden in God from the ages past that has now been revealed by the Holy Spirit to people who are His emissaries and prophets. In Ephesians 3:1-7, Paul speaks of this mystery. He provides clear and specific instructions on the mystery of Jesus the Messiah. That mystery being that Gentiles are fellow heirs and members of the body Jesus, and mutual partakers of the Abrahamic promise through the gospel.
The Mystery Unfolded
The mystery unfolded in the events described in the book of Acts. But, it is difficult for many believers in Jesus to appreciate the impact of this mystery, even though it is foundational to the Gentiles' inclusion in Jesus Christ. However, revelation is directed to the Jew first and true of the entire biblical record. Gentiles are indeed included, but they do not replace Isra'el or the Jews as the people of God. In other words, Gentiles do not replace the Jew as the people of God, the Church or anything else. Even the writings of Paul can be misunderstood if you incorrectly read the text as written to the Gentiles, only. Instead, the Bible is written to the followers of the God of Isra'el and Jesus (both Jews and Gentiles bound together in Jesus Christ) in anticipation of the restoration of the kingdom that includes the blessing of all nations.
Not only Directed to the Gentile
Many Gentile Christians read the Bible as if it is directed primarily to them and not to the Jews. This is a fundamental mistake of what is called the “replacement” theology. Matters grow worse when there is an overreaction to this theology in the messianic movement and Gentile believers elevate themselves to virtually the same level as Jewish believers. However, the gospel is indeed good news to those to whom the promises were made, ie, Isra'el. Through the fathers, the mystery of the good news will soon come into its fullness and will include the blessings that are extended to the Gentiles, while not requiring them to become Jews.
In Ephesians Paul describes the mystery that Gentiles are fellow heirs with Isra'el. To be fellow heirs is not to say that the inheritance is identical. You see, a firstborn son, in days past, often inherited more than his younger brothers. It does mean, however, that Gentiles are included in the inheritance. Paul identifies Jews and Gentiles as fellow members of the Body of Christ and that non-Jews are included in the People of God. All serious practicing believers have gifts, functions and roles that differ yet complement. Equal membership does not imply that we are the same. All believers are fellow partakers of the promise in Jesus through the good news, the promise of the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins and resurrection at the last day. In the end, the Gentile believer will sit down in the Kingdom with Jesus, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not as a replacement of Isra'el, but as an extension of God's people called by His name. -The People of God-