TRANSLATION OF THE LETTER TO EPHESIANS WITH COMMENT
And he came announcing peace to you who were at a distance, and peace to those who were near, so that through him we both have an introduction to the father in the one spirit. No longer then are you foreigners and travellers, but fellow-citizens of the holy ones, and members of God’s household; constructed on the foundation of the emissaries and prophets, with Messiah Jesus himself as the corner stone. In him the whole structure is fitly bonded together and grows into a holy temple in the Master.
The cornerstone is properly the foundation stone of the building, determining its position
This again is an eloquent piece of theology. We may ask, when did Jesus announce peace to the Gentiles? The letter answers us by pointing to his death on the stake, but the gospel of Mark which may have been in circulation by the time of this letter depicts Jesus’ ministry, albeit taking place in Judaea, as nevertheless directed towards the Gentiles most particularly in his designation of the temple as a house of prayer for all nations. This may indeed be the very temple which this author locates “in the Master.”
“Introduction” is my translation of the Greek “prosagoge” which can mean “approach, access” I chose to make Jesus active in the process of bringing people to the father.The spirit is the means by which believers cease to be mere individuals and share life with Jesus, each other, and the father.
The phrase “foreigners and travellers” has a long history going back to Abraham Isaac and Jacob who lived in the holy land as foreigners and travellers. Later their descendants occupied the promised land. The implication here is that the Gentiles, in Messiah Jesus, have entered a new promised land, namely God’s own household.
The metaphor of God’s house/household also has a very long and important history in the Bible, which I have studied and set out at some length at: emmock.com bible blog oikos. The Greek word for house is “oikos” which lies behind our english words, economy, (the household management of a state) ecology, (the study of the earth as a house of life) and ecumenism ( the sharing of faiths throughout the world household). In this letter, God’s household is a place of peace and genuine love, but it is at war with the spiritual powers of darkness.
The author uses the metaphor of house-building to emphasise that God’s house is not thrown up, but carefully designed and bonded together, emphasising the functional unity of believers. And this house, like a tree, grows; it is organic, because composed of people, and because it exists “in the Master.”