"There are none so blind as those who will not see." How true this is was brought home to me by a paper which has recently appeared.
Nowhere in the Greek Scriptures is any Hebrew or Jewish assembly or community described as a body. This is not a matter of opinion, but of fact which can easily be checked by using a concordance. There is therefore no excuse for anyone, particularly anyone who makes a special point of the importance of being concordant, to go on speaking of "the Hebrew body" or of any sort of body created by "a merger of two bodies." There are no "two bodies" to merge. Nor do the Greek Scriptures speak of "adding the individual Uncircumcision believers to the Hebrew body." The body began in uncircumcision, because only so can anyone come into it; but once a person is a member of the body the distinction between circumcision and un circumcision vanishes, because" in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything, but new creation" (Gal. 6:15). As a matter of fact, Paul does not speak of the body being made up of "uncircumcision believers"; but where the idea of people coming into the body is in view, always he speaks of Gentiles. The same applies to membership of the "joint-body." The Secret of Eph. 3:6-12 does not speak of circumcision or uncircumcision, or of Israel or Hebrews. It says, absolutely plainly, "in spirit the Gentiles are to be joint-heir-people and joint-body-people. . .." The adjective sussOma is accusative Plural neuter; so whatever else it may mean, it cannot be a joint-body, singular.
That knocks on the head all talk of two bodies being merged into one joint-body. And we should note, too, that the rest of the trio of words in Eph. 3:6, joint-heir-people and joint-partaker-people, are always acknowledged to be plural. It is partly on this account that we would do best to stick close to the meaning of the Greek adjective by adding "people" to each, for from elsewhere we learn that there are not several kinds of heirship or of partakership in the Secret, just as there is no more than one kind of body in it. The essential point is; that the heirship, "bodyship" and partakership of a great company of people have become joint, on terms of absolute equality. Drag in, no matter how indirectly, the distinctions of circumcision and uncircumcision and the jointness vanishes.
These are facts, and we cannot get away from them by pretending not to see them. What I have tried in vain to understand is why any Christian should want to get away from them. Anyone who does is simply putting his own ideas before God's Word; in short, exalting himself above it.
So we are told that:
"What we need is a vital combination of Circumcision and
Uncircumcision in spirit."
Do we, indeed! Then why are we not told this by the Apostle Paul? Moreover, why is not this remarkable assertion explained? How are we to get a combination of these two incompatibles? How can we even imagine one?
Yet we are confidently assured that "the joint-body" of this administration
"is composed of both Circumcision and Uncircumcision, Jew
but, once again, Paul did not say so! He said that the Gentiles are to be joint-body-people; and he had said (Gal. 3:28) that in Christ
"there is not Jew nor yet Greek. . . for you all are one in Christ
Poor old Paul! Wrong again—if this teaching is right!
Once more, I do most earnestly urge all to consider very seriously indeed their position as regards this matter. Such a challenge to Paul's teaching in Ephesians is no trifle. I answered it once, and got abuse in plenty for my pains; nevertheless, I must testify once more; for it is the ripe fruit of the evil that began when Mr. Coles devised his Acts 28:28 boundary. It seemed fairly harmless at the time, and even to exalt Eph. 3:6-12 to its proper place. Now we perceive with dreadful plainness that it wrecks it instead.
To prevent any misunderstanding, I wish to say plainly that Mr. A. E. Knoch, the author of the paper above mentioned ("Unsearchable Riches," January, 1959), is perfectly correct in holding that many who were Jews by race became members of the body. What I am objecting to is any sort of idea that any who were of Israel by religion and covenant did, that is to say, that there was any room at all in the body or among joint-body-people for Israel's covenants and circumcision. Also I am objecting to the further notion that any group distinguished by circumcision and described as a "body," joined itself with the "one body" of 1. Cor. 10:17; 12:12, 13, 20; Eph. 4:4 to become a supposed "joint-body." How many sorts of "one body" are there supposed to be?
It is no wish of mine to criticize others. All I ask is that they should give plain Scriptural proof of their statements. Is that in any way unreasonable?
Is it not high time for those who call themselves "believers" to give up making statements which violently collide with the definite assertions of the Apostle Paul? Whenever such statements are brought to light, the offender, however innocent of deliberate intention to deceive, ought to be overwhelmed with shame and sorrow. Instead, more often than not, he simply repeats them.
R.B.W. Last updated 16.10.2005