sermon: Is America a Christian Nation? Summary (Part One)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 27-May-17; Sermon #1380; 70 minutes
John Ritenbaugh asserts that. despite recent claims from the Evangelical conservatives, America was never established as a Christian nation. God called out Abraham, specifically blessing him, and through him, blessed the nations of the entire earth. The early European settlers of the North American Continent consisted of Israelitish immigrants from Europe—descendants of the immigrants who came from Ur of the Chaldees to the Promised Land millennia earlier. God guided these descendants of Jacob to a virtually empty land. God brought the Israelitish people to certain lands in order to prepare them for the return of Christ. God follows patterns so that His converted children can see His invisible work, including immigration patterns. No one leader among America's Founding Fathers approached the stature of Moses, nor did any feel inclined to implement God's Holy Laws or Covenant. The founders established no single religion to ensure the sanctity of the Sabbath and the Holy Days. If they had established such a religion, it was, and remains, highly fractured. The founders made no covenant between the People of the United States and God. American citizenry never practiced true Christianity, America is still laboring under the curse of I Samuel 8, where Israel asked for a king to be like the nations around them. A human leader seemed more 'real' to them than an invisible God requiring faith to follow. Human governments are nothing but raw force, grasping for control in order to benefit the leaders. Human governments have no faith in God and they do not fear God. Even with the mandates Moses gave to a future king, Israel would always suffer from the rule of a human leader, The faith of physical Israel has been eroded through evil philosophers.
Within the first year after the Church of the Great God began, in January 1992, I gave a series of sermons on government, because it had been an issue that created a current of disturbance within the Worldwide Church of God, that helped move to the eventual breakup. It was not a major issue with most members, but some took issues strongly against the Worldwide Church of God’s brand of their internal government.
My sermons on government, though they focused on the overall form of governance, did help me grasp that there was more to this issue than I originally thought. I became convinced that though God’s governmental structure is indeed from the top down, it is also the responsibility of each person under that government to control himself, to submit to the top down arrangement, so that everything functions smoothly.
Those sermons helped refine my understanding of a subject that was not in the news very much anywhere with the intensity that it is today. Since then the entire nation has become focused, some within that nation, to a fanatical degree on American governmental practices. So focused that now in 2017, virtually every news broadcast does not simply touch on news of government and politics, the broadcasts are saturated with them.
The primary motivator, as far as I can see, is the activities of the Democratic Party, including the media, that have been their responsibility to completely overturn governments in the United States of America, to systems and to practices that parallel how much of the world is governed.
Please turn to I Samuel 8. I am turning here because there is an Israelitish biblical history for doing this sort of thing.
I Samuel 8:4-7 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord.
In a way, since we have this reflection from the past, there is precedence set forward for Israelitish people to desire changes in government, as though somehow that is going to magically take away all the problems the people have. And the people who are causing the problems, I might add.
I do not mean to imply that this nation had a godly government in the past that it wants to change, I only mean forming a government like the world has appeals to the Israelites’ carnality, so God records it. In once sense, we just like to be like others who seem to have all the good going for them.
What I saw was happening here in the United States, it took quite a while, years, for this to dawn on me, but what we see operating here, this was back in the beginnings of this 21st Century, and even before that. But what we see here is a bloodless coup that was underway through the means of making laws, regulations—without having a revolt—and court decisions that were far to the liberal left of those standards that guided community life in America in prior generations.
The effect of what was occurring since the Democratic Party, along with the media, got a firm grip on the political power in the United States, was a transfer of liberties and power by removing individual liberties to make choices concerning how one lives from the individual, taken from them, and given to the government.
This is where this thought that I expressed earlier in this sermon came from. That was, it is the responsibility even under God, for all of the citizens to submit themselves to that government. These people were not submitting themselves to the standards of the past, they were instead making every effort they could to change those standards to what they wanted to be the guides for community life in America. Thus, they had power transferred to them.
This United States began with a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. This what they were getting rid of. By the time we got into the beginnings of the 21st Century they were well on their way to succeeding.
This subject for today came into my mind during my last sermon several weeks ago, and eventually convinced me that it might do us well to give again this series, “Is America a Christian Nation?” but refining it from what I gave before roughly ten years ago.
I think I have a better grasp now of its importance so that it can confirm what I gave before, so we are even more certain as to where the church, and therefore you, stand. I believe that this particular subject must have an unusually solid foundation. My overall purpose, especially at the beginning of this sermon, is to affirm that this nation, and indeed the entire world, is being moved along by God’s purposes. And this eventually gets around to the United States of America, in particular. There is nothing more solid than God and His purposes, including the plan that He uses.
Mark this: the history which records the events mankind is involved in is not happening anywhere near as randomly as it appears on the surface and in the history books written by men. The events recorded in them is not happening anywhere near as randomly as it appears on the surface and in history books.
Events appear random, because God is invisible, so we cannot see Him moving things when He may very well be moving them, but we do not see Him in the picture. He is invisible, and because mankind is not always paying attention to Him at all., how much is He mentioned in their histories? That God did this, or God did that, they almost never say anything like that.
Therefore, my focus is to shift our attention to what God is doing, and has been doing since the creation, and projects somewhat as to where He has been heading to this time and place, that we are familiar with. I mean the United States of America. Did God found it? Keep this is the back of your minds. The overview of God’s purpose, and some details given for understanding, are recorded in the Bible. I want us to note the way that Moses involves the Israelite’s to think about their history.
Deuteronomy 32:7-9 “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you; when the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is His people [That is so important to the history of the United States of America. If it is an Israelitish nation, and I believe it is, we are a portion of what belongs to God]; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”
Is it possible that God founded the United States of America as part of His purpose at the end time? Who was Jacob? He was Israel—Israel is the place of God’s inheritance. The United States is part of His inheritance to His people. Did God found it?
I am concentrating on the United States of America, but I am including within this all of Israel. Here we are in Deuteronomy 32. I want you to note that verse 7, begins with the word, remember. Moses charged them with something they are to do while they are listening to him giving this.
If they are really listening to him they have to think about what he is asking them to do. This charge to remember is an appeal to the Israelite's to search out quickly, in their own minds, what God has done in the past that has to do with what Moses is talking about. If you are charged to remember, it is something that happened before, and you are going to recall it. What happened before that is so important to what Moses is talking about here? He is leading them to think of a specific event, he is saying to them do not take what has happened in the past as though it has no effect of what is happening right now.
Moses is saying that things as they are now had a beginning, and the beginning did not simply randomly happen with no cause. What happened in the past is the beginning of what is happening now, including where we are, and what we are doing. Moses is saying that things as they are now had a beginning, and the beginning did not simply randomly happen with no cause.
Where were they? They were on the east shore of the River Jordan, which those Israelites were going to cross within a few days, under Joshua’s leadership. What were they going to accomplish? They were poised to take over, as their very own homeland, what was promised by God to Abram. What they were about to do is connected to what God promised to Abram. What happened to Abram was part of God’s purpose, and it was done many hundreds of years before that.
That remembering exercise takes one back all the way to Genesis 12:3, and the “I will” promises, at the very least, in terms of time. Moses then gets more specific as to what he is thinking of. Why? He wants to make connections in these peoples’ minds about the event that they are just about to participate in. It is helpful to one’s understanding to link the past with the present, most especially in relation to God and His purpose.
What was happening? The Israelites were on the verge of fulfilling prophecy. This was a momentous occasion in Israelitish history. Verse 8 takes us back somewhat further, actually many generations further, to Genesis 11, when God confused the languages of Babylon, thus precipitating the separation of the descendants of Noah, through Shem, away from those who then became Gentile nations. Are you beginning to get the picture of what was taking place invisibly to these people who were listening to Moses? It was affecting them at least five or six hundred years later.
I went through all that brief review about those prophets of Satan’s coming up through the university, who gradually, through hundreds of years, changed the way the Israelitish people thought during the Middle Ages and on into the Reformation, because Satan was looking forward to the time of the end. He knew Jesus Christ was coming, but he wanted to destroy as many people who were in the Israelitish nations as possible before that ever occurred.
He started almost a thousand years before. What those men taught actually became a way of life of the Western world. Step by step one of the most devastating things that has happened, especially in the universities systems of the United States of America, but it came down to the high schools, and that is the failure to teach the history of the United States the way it should have been taught. So we lost the connection with the past. That is why government and all of its concepts are so much in the news There is so much confusion about this nation.
Do you understand that what was happening when the Genesis 11 separation took place, as being shown as clearly linked to Moses speaking to them on the shores of the River Jordan, centuries later. We can take this all the way back, beyond Genesis 11, to Genesis 5, and God’s dealing with Adam and Eve by giving them a son to replace Abel.
Eventually I will tie all of these things together. That son was Seth, and it was through him that what researchers term as the “holy line” began. From Moses speaking to the Israelitish people on the shores of the Jordan River in the fourteen hundreds, we are now back almost a thousand years-plus before, to where God actually began to move what became history, under Moses.
Are you beginning to get the picture of where I am heading here? God did not stop His purpose with Moses, it kept right on going, and what happened all the way back in Genesis 5, with the appointment of Seth as being the beginning of the holy line, is effecting your life right now.
How many thousands of years passed for God to bring this to pass in the way and to the manner, to the emphasis, that He wanted it to be just before Jesus Christ returns? We are not dealing with something insignificant here.
What God did then effectively placed Moses, and the other Israelites there with him, at that spot, at the same time to participate in that occasion. Moses point, and my point, is that the invisible Creator God was the One who actually caused all of this. God is working regardless of what men think, and His purpose is going to be accomplished, and He left us clues all over His Book so that we would understand.
We will depart from Moses for little while, but not the concept that is going on here.
Luke 1:67-75 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying; “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham; to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.”
I will pick up on the word remembering once again, because remembering is exactly what God inspired Zacharias to do as he was moved to trace his son’s birth—John the baptizer. He was moved to trace his son’s birth, and the Savior’s birth about six months later, back to the source. The source was not really Elizabeth as John’s mother, and Mary as Jesus’ mother, the source was God and His prophetic Word. Zacharias vividly recalled the promises to Abram.
All of these events and many, many more involved the operations of God to continue His purpose. You should be able to see now the direction that I am headed when I asked the question: Did God found the United States of America? Has He been snoozing all this time, waiting for men to just do what men do? Or was He actively collecting things so that His purpose would be going on?
This is a major reason why I can strongly suggest that the entire world is being moved by God’s purposes. They do not realize that because they are not familiar with the Book. We see in the Book that is who is doing the real moving that really counts.
This is what triggered my thoughts on the subject and set off a whole chain of thoughts. The Bible clearly reveals God as Creator and sovereign ruler of His creation. He is actively working out a purpose, but the facts must be dug out, and that is what we are trying to do.
I want to make sure you understand that in a sense I am continuing what I began two sermons ago, and what Richard picked up on and carried it out, through the book of Esther. One particular man there who turns out to be a part of the holy line. Guess who planned that?
God is involved in many important details, as it is being worked out, but we do not become aware often until much later. It is very interesting that the very first portrayal we are given in the Bible of God Himself is that He is a creator. That of course is in the very first words, Genesis 1:1. God is introduced to mankind, creating, that is His job. He creates, and He creates with purpose.
These verses provide one of those details. The earth is His creation, and humans are His creation. The verses in Deuteronomy 32 are clearly determining for us that He decides where the various nations of people reside on the earth that He created. God is the God of creation. We must never let the thought slip that He has made this earth for His own purpose and pleasure. God is running things the way He planned.
Events are going to work out as He plans and accomplished with His invisible hands. He is the sovereign ruler and He placed each nation of people where He determined they should reside. The Chinese, the Japanese did not accidentally happen to go into that part of the world, they were moved in that direction.
He did not separate just the Israelitish people from others (this is also back in Deuteronomy 32:8). It gives a fairly strong indication that He not only had already determined where they would reside, but He also determined the populations of the Israelitish people as measured against the Gentile people. He is tweaking things as He goes along, to keep them within balance with what He purposes to accomplish.
Genesis 3:14-15 So the Lord God said to the serpent; “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman [Eve, and between your seed and her Seed [her descendants, those that came from her body; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
Notice, the translators had rightly capitalized the word Seed. They know that it refers to the Savior Jesus Christ. They know because they understand the rest of the verse—the seed shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. That took place at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
I refer to this verse because it contains a second motivator for me to speak on this subject. It is something that we are coming to understand more thoroughly and in greater detail as to its importance to God’s purposes, and that is the information that God gives us as to what is called the holy line, or the holy Seed.
The literal holy Seed, or the holy descendant, is of course Jesus Christ. The holy line is the listing of the descendants of Adam and Eve through Seth. (Genesis 4:25) From Seth it then passed through Noah, and a couple of other between him and Seth, from Noah to Shem, to Eber, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Josiah, from him on to Mary, as we just read in Luke 1, who gave birth to the Savior.
Remember I told you that God will not randomly allow the line to merely exist. I went into this before showing you He chose the leadership, through each generation, through whom the line would pass until it got to Jesus Christ. He was not always choosing a firstborn son as the one who carried the seed.
There were times when He did not. For example, Abraham was not a firstborn son. The Bible follows the multitude of histories of that line of people all the way to the end of the story. However, the holy seed, Jesus’ birth, was not really the end of the story. It is only the end of the physical Israelitish family relationship that God kept unbroken. He allowed nothing to interfere, nothing physical, in order to keep that line from Seth all the way to the Savior, unbroken.
The importance of the preservation of the physical aspect of the holy line ended because the Seed, Jesus Christ, was born and the physical continuation of the line of descendants no longer needed to be sustained. Its preservation by God had served it purpose.
In a way that is something that Zacharias was announcing: that the Holy Seed was going to be born in about six months, and that would be the physical end of the holy line. Since the prophesied Seed was born, and we know it was Jesus Christ, and He fulfilled His responsibilities perfectly, it then opened the door to a further fulfillment of one of the “I will” prophecies.
Genesis 12:3 [stated to Abraham] “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Are you beginning to see the point here? That prophecy could not be fulfilled until it became a spiritual work and that work would be done through the holy Seed. The spiritual aspect of Genesis 12:3 is about to begin.
The fulfillment opened the door to a transition that includes all the families of the earth, namely the Gentile people. But in addition to that are all of mankind that lived and died without ever having an opportunity for salvation. This part of that prophesy is mind boggling! We are talking now about seventy to maybe one hundred billion people who will be blessed through Abraham. It just about blew David’s mind when God told him the holy Seed was going to come through him.
We will evaluate again. All the while this was going on with the holy Seed, the Israelite's had been receiving God’s grace, partly through this, for centuries during which the Gentiles were denied the level of understanding and opportunity for salvation, that the Israelite's received. Now the door is open, because God must keep His word and so begins the transition which involves the full spiritual impact of the “I will” promise made available to all nations. It is this transition that the book of Ephesians teaches us about.
Turn to Acts. I do not think that the people who participated in this grasped what was going on, they knew that something tremendous had happened, as we will see right in the context.
Acts 10:1-2 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
This introduces the first of the central figures in this very significant spiritual drama. This also shows, without going any further, that Cornelius was a Gentile, yet we can see he was not completely cut off from God, nor were other Gentiles. There was only so far that they could go, what God’s promise allowed, but they had knowledge of God that was helpful to them. Cornelius had taken advantage of those things.
Acts 10:17-20 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision [where the sheet was let down and it had all kinds of clean and unclean animals on it] which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
I want to draw your attention to God, that is that He is bringing these people essential to His purpose together, and He is leading all of them to experience what He is about to do. It is just a type of what God is doing all through history, because He has the power to live forever. He is invisible, and He can carry things out in ways that man cannot. We find Him now disturbing people’s dreams, but He is doing something spiritual to the nth degree.
Peter is contacted then, and with the help of God he becomes convinced that he needs to travel with this small party of sincere Gentiles. They then proceed to Cornelius’s home.
Acts 10:24-28 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Peter is reflecting the common thought of his day, regarding having any kind of relationship with a Gentile, they could work for these people, they could have the Gentiles work for them, they could shake hands, but is as far as it went. When it entered into something regarding religion, this came into effect, for a Jewish man to keep company with one of another nation.
Acts 10:29-33 “Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then for what reason have you sent for me?” [Peter was still mystified despite all these strange occurrences taking place.] And Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said to Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.” So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”
This whole episode was put together by God. It is one way He works and gets things accomplished.
Acts 10:34-40 Then Peter opened his mouth and said; “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. [The understanding of the dreams that he had were beginning to open up to his mind.] But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly.”
Acts 10:43-48 “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision [Jews] who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Peter quickly discerned that God had converted these Gentiles. We see that a prophecy that had been made in Genesis 12:3 that had been fervently followed by faithful Israelites, especially Jews, since God’s promise to David, which we read of in my last sermon, had begun to be fulfilled in their very eyes. This was every bit as significant, and maybe even more so, than what happened with Moses and the Israelites on the shores of the River Jordan.
Conversions of Gentiles was now an accomplished fact. The prophecy of the Seed, being a blessing to all nations had officially begun. I want to draw your attention to the fact that God led the whole thing, the entire way. That is what a creator does, He follows through on the things that He is creating, and works with.
So I again ask you, did God found the United States of America? Think about this: the people, who are now our ancestors, began immigrating to this land, and it began in the 1600s. The first permanent settlement in the United States was in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. How long had it been since the United States of America had ever been filled with millions, tens of millions, of people? Was God just saving it for the time of the end? I think that is something worth considering. For the time of the end and thus for you and me, because we are living now. Do we appreciate that? You come on the scene as a converted person, in the beginning of the most significant events that have happened since the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I said a bit earlier, it is this transition that the book of Ephesians teaches us of. Ephesians is an epistle, originally written to a Gentile-dominated congregation, but it also contained Israelites as well. However, for greater impact on our understanding I think it helps for us to look at what Paul writes through the eyes and ears of a Gentile.
I ask this because they did not have the religious background that the Israelite’s had. A lot of the things that Paul was teaching here, they had heard only since they became converted, and became part of the church. God thought it significant enough that He put it in a book that we would faithfully read, so that we would see details of things that occurred there over two thousand years, There was very much that those Gentiles needed to learn, because some of the concepts Paul was speaking of may have been truly, entirely, new to them.
It is this epistle, we are taught an overview of the spiritual effects of what Peter, and the others in his group witnessed that was the beginning of the much fuller fulfillment of Genesis 12:3, prophecy. Here are some of the details those Gentiles may not have known.
Ephesians 1:15-22 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith [remember this is a Gentile congregation, they do not have thousands of years of history of Israelitish people that are a foundation for them, this is something that is fairly new to them.] in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him [He is especially emphasizing something that may have been pretty much new to them so he prays for them.], the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power [that is, governmental structures whether human or angelic] and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.
He is prefacing all of this so that they will grasp that they have come into a very special, unique, and powerful spiritual understanding that they need to take advantage of. They would have never had it had not God fulfilled the prophecy that He made in Genesis 12:3.
I will go back to the beginning of verse 21, describing Jesus Christ, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church. [Verse 23, is especially important here.] which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
These details asserted here involve all of those who become in Christ, who is the literal holy Seed. Our relationship with the holy Seed becomes so close it is figuratively described that we are functionaries within His very body, filling Him out, as it were. It is also the term “in Christ,” the first century church members, especially the ministry, used to remind the church member of a very significant spiritual concept which is that every spiritual blessing descends to us from above, from the Father, because of Christ. It is not because we do certain things, it is because of Christ and we are now in—a part of—the way God sees it, the holy Seed.
Everything that descends to us is all owed to Him, and now it includes the Gentiles too. Remember this is primarily written to a Gentile church and Paul is trying to help them understand what has come to them as a result of what happened in the book of Acts, and what happened in Genesis 12:3. We cannot get the big head, because it all comes to us as a result of God putting us in Christ.
Ephesians 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, [speaking to the Gentiles] but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.
God is now calling Gentiles into the church, and they too figuratively become part of the temple, symbolically the dwelling place of God.
Revelation 21:22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. [We are part of that temple.]
Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loves us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
In this epistle, we are taught an overview of the spiritual effects of what Peter and the others in his group witnessed as it began. I believe that the next section in Ephesians proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what Paul’s reference point is to all who read this book and grasp what he is saying.
Though unstated, the reference point to what Paul is writing on here is the beginning of the fulfillment of the “I will” promise given to Abram in Genesis 12:3. That in turn came about with the birth of the holy Seed, thus opening the way for Him to begin to carry His ministry to the Gentiles, as well as to Israel, and He became the Savior of both.
Ephesians 2:11-22 [speaking to the Gentiles] Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands [this book is written to the Gentiles primarily, in the congregation]—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two [Gentile and Israelite], thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross [that is the body of of Jesus Christ], thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off [Gentiles] and to those who were near [Israelites]. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God [Through Genesis 12:3 and God fulfilling what He has promised there. He is uniting the Israelites with the Gentiles, into one family], having been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
I hope I have peaked your interest as to where we are headed with this, but I want you to understand that my main reason for doing this and for beginning in this manner, is that I want you to see that God has been working toward what you are living in right now, from the very beginning. God is not careless. From the beginning He had already planned—and this might be a bold statement but I believe it is true—for the United States of America, the British Isles, and the rest of the Israelitish nations to be where they are today, for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ.