Who were the Ephesians? As we begin our study of the text, we examine the historical and cultural climates for Ephesus, as well as the nature of authorship and theme of the letter.Through spiritual maturity and an indwelling of the Ruach, we move from doctrine and reasoned argument, to doxology and prayer.
Kurios יהוה: Torot of first mention: Genesis 15:8 the coming of Kurios/Adonay יהוה at the Malki-Tzedik covenant of the pieces. Kurios emphasizes Yahusha as the fulfiller of the death penalty, bringing salvation and deliverance to the tzadik’s whilst bringing judgement upon their oppressors!
Shalom & Spirit: Paul’s matured; he’s gone from doctrine and reasoned argument into doxology and prayer.
The words ‘en Ephesious’ (at Ephesus) are absent from some of the oldest textual witnesses, as well as manuscripts mentioned by Basil and the text used by Origen.
1:15 Therefore, ever since I heard of your trust in the Lord Yeshua and of your love for all the kedoshim,
3:2 Surely you have heard about the plan of God’s grace given to me for you—
4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Yeshua.
These verses show & establish a detached relationship between Paul and his audience.
A circular: a letter that was intended for various assemblies throughout Asia Minor; Tychichus was the courier (6:21) and Ephesus could have been its point of origin and from where it was distributed to other congregations.
Paul most probably sent the letter with Tychicus when he sent Colossians and the letter was copied and circulated from Ephesus, as a circular it would make sense that they’d be a blank in v.1 where the name destination assembly ‘at ……’ could be inserted, which would account for the earlier textual witness not having ‘at Ephesus.’
You can see that this kind of circular letter writing went on in Colossians: 4:15: Greet the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, as well as Nympha and the community that meets in her house. When this letter has been read among you, make sure that it is also read in Messiah’s community of Laodicea. In turn, you should read my letter coming from Laodicea.
So it could actually be the text ‘Ephesians’ that was written to the Laodiceans; ’and in turn, you should read my letter coming from Laodicea.’
You can see that Colossians and Ephesians are strikingly similar. 34% of Colossians is paralleled in some way with Ephesian’s; and 26.5% of Ephesians is paralleled in some way by Colossians. (Colossians preceded Ephesians).
Hebrew – Aramaic – Greek? No reputable scholar has ever suggested a Hebrew or Aramaic origin for the Epistle of Ephesians.
Did Paul write Ephesians? Not everyone agrees that Paul wrote the letter; in fact Ephesian’s is part of the collection of what’s called the ‘Deutero-Pauline’ letters which includes Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy and Titus. Texts where Paul’s authorship is disputed.
If Paul was imprisoned, as we know he was, and Tychicus was his courier, as we know he was, then it;’s not improbable that Tychicus could of acted like a secretary and helped Paul compose the letter.
This would then account for any stylistic and vocabulary differences that some get too hung up on; in my opinion.
History tells us that the early Church accepted genuine Pauline authorship; it was accepted into the Apostolic Cannon, the letter was known to Clement of Rome and Irenaeus. Even the heretic Marcion acknowledged genuine Pauline authorship.
Location: where was Paul when he wrote Ephesians? It could be part of the ‘Prison Epistles’ like Phil, Col and Philemon.
3:1 For this reason I, Paul, am a prisoner of Messiah Yeshua for the sake of you Gentiles.
4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for the Master.
6:20 I am an ambassador in chains.
Date: 60-62 CE.
City of Ephesus: the leading city of the richest region in the Roman Empire, a major political and religious center of Asia Minor, a major seaport and trading area with a amphitheater that could seat up to 24,000 people.
Originally a Greek city which was taken by the Persians (546 BCE) only to be liberated by Alexander the Great (334 BCE). Later it fell under the wing of the Seleucid Dynasty which in turn fell to the Romans in 133BCE and was totally under their control.
Pagan worship was prevalent, especially the veneration of Dianna/Artemis.
Repeatedly Paul is contrasting the believer in Dianna, who offers up their body of sex in the temple with prostitutes AND the believer in Messiah that offers up their body as a temple for the worship of יהוה.
The riot at Ephesus:
Act 19:21 Now after these things were accomplished, Paul resolved in the Ruach to go to Jerusalem after passing through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”22 So after sending two who were assisting him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while 23 Around that time, there arose no small uproar concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius—a silversmith, a maker of silver shrines of Artemis—was providing no small amount of business to the craftsmen.25 He gathered these together, along with those of related occupations, and he said, “Men, you know that our wealth is from this business.26 You see and hear that not only in Ephesus but also throughout all Asia, Paul has persuaded and perverted a considerable crowd, saying that handmade gods are not gods at all.27 Not only is there a danger that this trade of ours might come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis might be considered as nothing. She whom all Asia and the world worships might even be thrown down from her majesty.”28 When they heard, they were filled with fury and began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”29 The city was filled with confusion. They rushed into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were travel companions of Paul.30 Paul was wishing to enter among the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.31 Some of the chiefs of Asia, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to surrender himself in the theater.
32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most did not know why they had come together.33 Some of the crowd solicited Alexander, whom the Jewish people put forward. Alexander motioned with his hand. He wished to offer a defense to the crowd.34 But recognizing that he was Jewish, for about two hours they all with one voice cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”35 After the town clerk quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis and of her image fallen from heaven?36 Since these things are undeniable, you must be calm and do nothing reckless.37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor revilers of our goddess.38 If Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them accuse them.39 But if you seek anything further, it will be settled in the lawful assembly.40 For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, there being no reason which we are able to give to justify this mob.” Upon saying this, he dismissed the assembly.
After Jerusalem and Antioch, Ephesus was the third most important city to the early believers. Later; the Apostle John escaped there and was later buried there. Ephesus is where he composed his gospel and three letters – 1-3 Jn.
Acts 19:1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul traveled through the upper region and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples 2 and said to them, “Did you receive the Ruach ha-Kodesh when you believed?” They replied to him, “No, we’ve never even heard that there is a Ruach ha-Kodesh. 3 He said, “Into what were you immersed?” They said, “Into John’s immersion.” 4 Paul said, “John immersed with an immersion of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One coming after him—that is, in Yeshua.” 5 When they heard this, they were immersed in the name of the Lord Yeshua. 6 And when Paul laid hands upon them, the Ruach ha-Kodesh came upon them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
Theme: discipleship and holy living, reliance upon inner strength and unity, a knowledge of their salvation and a knowledge of their right-standing and identity in the Covenants of Promise inaugurated by Yahusha! A call to consistent holy living in speech, conduct, sexuality and domestic relationships – bearing the fruit of spiritual growth!
The ekklesia: Having it’s origins in the covenants given to Abraham (Gen. 28.4) the household of God, later identified as the Israel of God. A gospel message of unity is delivered never severing that message from it’s historical covenant roots.
Conclusion: the ‘ekklesia’ in right standing and empowered to live out demonstrate Israel’s full potentials as before the Golden Calf breach!
Ephesians removes the impediments that the Book of the Law erected that kept Israel cut off from the nations and the nations cut off from Israel.
The Book of the Law being the ‘dividing wall’ (2:14) that Yahusha had dismantled in his role as Melchizedik High Priest – One New Man – Restoring the two houses of Israel – no longer divided!