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Kingdom of God Q&A: Question One

Read the Introductory Post to this Q&A Series

In Ephesians 2:11-19, Paul says the following concerning the Gentiles who had professed Christ and were part of the church: 

Therefore, remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (2:11-12). 

According to Paul, the Gentile's situation was grim. According to Paul, being excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and being strangers also, put them into a position of having no hope and having no relationship with God. 

But now in Christ Jesus, you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (2:13). 

In Christ, their situation was completely different. They were far off and had no part in the promises given to Israel, but now they have been brought near through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). They had no hope in this world, but now they have been given every hope in Jesus. 

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity (2:14-16). 

When Christ saved the Gentile and the Jew, He made the two groups into one. He broke down the dividing wall, which pictures the physical barrier used to separate the court of the Gentiles, which was a place where the Gentiles could dwell at the temple grounds. They could not mix with the Jews. The ordinances governing purity enforced this separation. When Christ died, He abolished the enmity produced by those ordinances. Thus, in the church, the wall has been symbolically torn down. Jesus has reconciled both groups into one body. 

And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him, we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So, then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God's household (2:17-19) 

So, with that, I will try to answer the question. We can't miss that God has made promises to the nation of Israel to which, according to Paul, the Gentiles had no connection. This included God's promise to Abraham. Yet, in this age, God has chosen to bless Gentiles (and Jews) in Christ Jesus in the church. As such, God has placed both into one body of Christ. 

As for the nations, we would have to say that God has blessed them in this age through the church's ministry. I would argue that our Western Culture has been built on a Judeo-Christian ethic. As such, the nations of the West have received blessings as Christ has poured out blessings on His church. But this outpouring is nothing compared to what He will do in the future. 

According to Peter, Israel's repentance will bring a time of refreshing (Acts 2:19). And Paul says their acceptance will be "life from the dead" (Romans 11:15). In the future, Israel will repent and return, ushering in a time of blessing for all the nations, including Israel. What we are experiencing on a small scale in the church age will be experienced worldwide. Jesus will break down the dividing wall of the barrier between the nations. Israel will receive the promises given to Abraham and David. And all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3).