The Fullness of the Gentiles (Parashat Vayechi)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Every Friday night we bless our sons according to this blessing, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” What is this whole blessing business that Jacob is doing? What is this pattern of blessing he establishes, and why do we desire our sons to be like Ephraim and Manasseh, rather than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or like any of Jacob’s other sons? Speaking of Ephraim, Jacob told Joseph, “His offspring shall become a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19). This can also be translated “His seed shall become a fullness of nations.” What does it mean that Ephraim will become a fullness of nations? In Romans 11, Paul uses this same language:

I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:25–26)

What is Paul trying to communicate and how does that affect our roles in the Kingdom as Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles? Join us for this teaching that delves into not only the weekly Torah portion, but also into how Paul may have relied upon this parashah to build his theological understanding of "the fullness of the Gentiles."