Our text forms the greeting that begins the first chapter of Ephesians. Here we find that Shaul is the one that has been appointed by GOD to be the shaliach
, the apostle of the Messiah, by the will of GOD, and he is writing to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Messiah, YESHUA. He begins with a typical Hebrew greeting:
'Grace to you and peace from GOD our Father, and the LORD YESHUA HaMashiach.
Grace is hesed; hesed,
the Hebrew term hesed
, which is so well known. We find in Genesis, Chapter 6, verse 8:
'Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD';
and then, we find in the priestly blessing also;
'The LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD be gracious unto thee, and lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.'
There is that blessing there of the priests that GOD commanded Moses to tell the priests; He said on this wise you shall bless My people.
'The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.'
And Shaul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews; so his salutation is, of course, the typical Hebrew salutation.
What does 'grace' mean? It means the undeserved favour of GOD. It means giving us what we do not deserve. That's what grace means. And what he is asking for now, he is praying that they might have grace from GOD, the Father, and the LORD YESHUA. He also says,
'and peace'; that is the fruit flowing from the Divine gift of grace. GOD said to His people through the Prophet, Jeremiah:
'I know the thoughts that I think towards you. Thoughts of peace, and not of evil; to give you an expected end.' Peace is the fruit flowing from hesed, from the grace of GOD. And so we find that when Melchizedek met Abram returning from the slaughter of the kings in Genesis, Chapter 14, he blessed Abram, of whom he says in verses 19 and 20:
'Blessed be Abram of GOD Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth. And blessed be GOD Most High, who has delivered you enemies into your hand.' That's the blessing that he is praying for here.
And in the New Covenant Scriptures, we have the same,
'Being justified by faith, we have peace with GOD through our LORD YESHUA Ha'Mashiach.' Where does this grace and peace come from? It comes from GOD our Father, and from the LORD YESHUA, our Messiah. Our GOD, our Heavenly Father is the source of all blessing, as we will see as we go further down this Letter. And He is the One Who bestows grace upon us. In the New Covenant, YESHUA speaks about:
'My Father and your Father; My GOD and your GOD.'
'Grace to you and peace from GOD our Father, and the LORD YESHUA Ha'Mashaich.' He is our LORD in the sense that He is our Prince, first of all; He is the King! He is also our LORD in the sense that He is the Heavenly Bridegroom of His people. So the term 'LORD' can refer both to the One that is the King and Who is the Bridegroom. And that is why He is called our LORD YESHUA, the Messiah. Messiah was meant to be our Prince; our LORD; our Heavenly Bridegroom. The King of every Believer is his Messiah.
For example, Daniel was told by the angel Gabriel in Chapter 9 about the coming of Messiah, the Prince. Messiah the Prince refers to Messiah as 'the royal figure'; 'the Prince of His people'. And, of course, Daniel mentions the fact that Messiah, the Prince, is going to die, but not for Himself.
The dual portrait of Prince and of Bridegroom is found in Psalm 45. Let's look at Psalm 45 and we see there, Messiah is depicted in His dual capacity as our King and as our Bridegroom. Psalm 45 is really a miniature of the Song of Solomon, and you will find there are very close parallels between the Song of Solomon and this Psalm. Messiah and His Bride; and in the New King James Bible from the pews, you will find the title of the Psalm is The Glories of Messiah and of His Bride. David begins like this:
'My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the king; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.' He is talking about the Messiah. When we go down to verses 10 and 11, David is now speaking to the bride, which is, of course, Israel; and then also, the nations:
'Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also and your father's house; so the king will greatly desire your beauty; because He is your LORD. Worship him.' She is His bride; He is her Bridegroom; but He is also her King as we see from these verses.