Ephesians 2:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

New Living Translation
In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.

English Standard Version
remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Berean Study Bible
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

Berean Literal Bible
that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, not having hope and without God in the world.

New American Standard Bible
remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

King James Bible
That at that time ye 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:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

International Standard Version
At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. You had no hope and were in the world without God.

NET Bible
that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

New Heart English Bible
that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And you were at that time without The Messiah, and you were aliens from the government of Israel and strangers to The Covenant of The Promise and you were without hope and without God in the world.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Also, at that time you were without Christ. You were excluded from citizenship in Israel, and the pledges [God made in his] promise were foreign to you. You had no hope and were in the world without God.

New American Standard 1977
remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Jubilee Bible 2000
that at that time ye 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,

King James 2000 Bible
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:

American King James Version
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:

American Standard Version
that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Douay-Rheims Bible
That you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the conversation of Israel, and strangers to the testament, having no hope of the promise, and without God in this world.

Darby Bible Translation
that ye were at that time without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

English Revised Version
that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Webster's Bible Translation
That at that time ye 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:

Weymouth New Testament
At that time you were living apart from Christ, estranged from the Commonwealth of Israel, with no share by birth in the Covenants which are based on the Promises, and you had no hope and no God, in all the world.

World English Bible
that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Young's Literal Translation
that ye were at that time apart from Christ, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God, in the world;
Study Bible
One in Christ
11Therefore remember that formerly you who are Gentiles in the flesh and called uncircumcised by the so-called circumcision (that done in the body by human hands)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.…
Cross References
Isaiah 14:1
When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.

Ezekiel 47:22
"You shall divide it by lot for an inheritance among yourselves and among the aliens who stay in your midst, who bring forth sons in your midst. And they shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.

Acts 2:39
This promise belongs to you and to your children and to all who are far off, to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself."

Romans 9:4
the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory and the covenants; theirs the giving of the Law, the temple worship, and the promises.

Galatians 3:17
What I mean is this: The Law that came four hundred thirty years later does not revoke the covenant previously established by God, so as to cancel the promise.

Galatians 4:8
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.

Ephesians 2:19
Therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints and members of God's household,

Ephesians 4:18
They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts.

Colossians 1:21
Once you were alienated from God and were hostile in your minds because of your evil deeds.

1 Thessalonians 4:5
not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God;
Treasury of Scripture

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:

without.

John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must …

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in …

Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by …

aliens.

Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life …

Ezra 4:3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers …

Isaiah 61:5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the …

Ezekiel 13:9 And my hand shall be on the prophets that see vanity, and that divine …

Hebrews 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out …

the covenants.

Genesis 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, To your …

Genesis 17:7-9 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed …

Exodus 24:3-11 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and …

Numbers 18:19 All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of …

Psalm 89:3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn to David my servant,

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant …

Jeremiah 33:20-26 Thus said the LORD; If you can break my covenant of the day, and …

Ezekiel 37:26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an …

Luke 1:72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

Acts 3:25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God …

Romans 9:4,5,8 Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, …

Galatians 3:16,17 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, …

having.

Jeremiah 14:8 O the hope of Israel, the savior thereof in time of trouble, why …

Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake you shall be ashamed, …

John 4:22 You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation …

Acts 28:20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to …

Colossians 1:5,27 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof you heard …

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them …

2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which …

1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, …

Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God …

1 Peter 1:3,21 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…

1 John 3:3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.

without.

2 Chronicles 15:3 Now for a long season Israel has been without the true God, and without …

Isaiah 44:6 Thus said the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD …

Isaiah 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you that are escaped …

Hosea 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, …

Acts 14:15,16 And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like …

Romans 1:28-32 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God …

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered …

1 Corinthians 10:19,20 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered …

Galatians 4:8 However, then, when you knew not God, you did service to them which …

1 Thessalonians 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

(12) This verse gives a dark and terrible picture of the former heathen condition of the Ephesians, intentionally contrasted in every point with the description of Christian privilege in Ephesians 2:19-20. That condition is first summed up in one expression. They were "separate from Christ." Then from this are drawn two gloomy consequences: first (1), that they had no part in God's special covenant, "alienated from the commonwealth of Israel," and so "strangers to the (often repeated) covenants of the promise" of the Messiah; next (2), that, thus left in "the world," they had "no hope" of spiritual life and immortality, and were "godless" in thought and act. For Christ is at once the end and substance of the covenant of Israel, and the Revealer of God, and therefore of spiritual life in man, to all mankind. To be without Him is to lose both covenant and light. On (1) it is to be noted that the word used is not "aliens," but "alienated." implying--what is again and again declared to us--that the covenant with Israel, as it was held in trust for the blessing of "all families of the earth," so also was simply the true birthright of humanity, from which mankind had fallen. The first "covenant" in scripture (Genesis 9:8-17) is with the whole of the post-diluvian race, and is expressly connected with the reality of "the image of God" in man (Genesis 9:6). The succeeding covenants (as with Abraham, Moses, and David) all contain a promise concerning the whole race of man. Hence the Gentiles (as the utterances of prophecy showed more and more clearly while the ages rolled on) were exiles from what should have been their home; and their call into the Church of Christ was a restoration of God's wandering children. In relation to (2) it is impossible not to observe, even in the highest forms of heathen philosophy, how their comparative "godlessness"--the absence of any clear notion of a real spiritual tie of nature between God and man--made their "hope" of life and immortality, though still cherished, shadowy and uncertain, always stronger in itself than in its grounds. But St. Paul's description ought to be applied strictly, not to heathen life in its nobler and purer forms, but to the heathen life of Asia Minor in his days. What that was in moral degradation and in loss of all spiritual religion, ill compensated by the inevitable proneness to various superstitions, all contemporary literature testifies. From it came, as the Romans declared, the corruption which overspread the whole empire, and which St. Paul describes so terribly in Romans 1:18-32.

Verse 12. - That at that time ye were without Christ. Very comprehensive description, having no knowledge of Christ, no interest in him, no life or blessing from him. Being aliens (or, alienated) from the commonwealth of Israel; the πολιτεία, or citizenship condition, including a country, a constitution, a divinely appointed and divinely administered economy, rich in blessing. And strangers to the covenants of the promise. The promise of Christ, of which circumcision was the seal. The "covenants" (plural) substantially the same, but renewed to various persons and at various times in which God promised, "I will bless him that blesseth thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." In respect of these they were strangers, not embraced in their provisions, not, therefore, in a state of encouragement to expect a great blessing. Having no hope; no ground for looking forward to better times, no reasonable expectation of improvement in your religious condition. And without God in the world; ἄθεοι, atheists; but not in the active sense of denying God, rather in the passive sense of unconnected with God; without any friendly and beneficial relation to him, without any vital nexus that would bring into their soul the fullness of God. The words "in the world" intensify "without God." It were bad enough to be without God (without his holy fellowship and blessed influence) anywhere, but it is worse to be without him in the world, in "this present evil world" (Galatians 1:4), in a world dominated by so subtle and evil a god (ver. 2 and 2 Corinthians 4:4). The fivefold negative description of this verse has a cumulative effect; the situation becomes graver and more terrible, and the last clause is the climax. That at that time ye were without Christ,.... Or separate from him: they were chosen in him and were preserved in him, and were redeemed by him before; but they were without any knowledge of him, faith in him, love to him, communion with him, or subjection to him, his Gospel, government, laws, and ordinances; and particularly they were without any promises of him, or prophecies concerning him, which were peculiar to the Jews; hence the Messiah is called , "the Christ of Israel" (w), and who as he was promised, so he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house, of Israel: hence it follows,

being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; both from their civil and church state; the Gentiles might not dwell among them, nor have any dealings with them in things civil, unless they conformed to certain laws; nor might the Jews go into any, nor eat or converse with any, that were uncircumcised; so great an alienation and distance were there between these two people; and much less might they eat the passover and join with them in religious worship; the word for "commonwealth" here used, Harpocratian says (x), is commonly used by Greek writers for a "democracy" though the original constitution of the Israelites was properly a "theocracy":

strangers to the covenants of promise; to the covenant of circumcision given to Abraham; and to the covenant at Mount Sinai, made with Israel; and to the dispensation of the covenant of grace to that people, sometimes called the first covenant and the old covenant, and which peculiarly belonged to them, Romans 9:4 one copy reads, "strangers to the promises of the covenant"; which is natural enough; the Vulgate Latin version joins the word "promise" to the next clause, and reads,

having no hope of the promise of the promised Messiah: "having no hope"; of the Messiah and salvation by him, of the resurrection of the dead, of a future state, and of eternal life; none that is sure and steadfast, that is purifying, and makes not ashamed; or which is a good hope through grace, is the gift of God, the fruit of his love, and the effect of his power; and this is to be in a miserable condition: Philo, the Jew (y), observes, that

"the Chaldeans call a man Enos, as if he only was truly a man that expects good things, and supports himself with good hopes; and adds, hence it is manifest that one without hope is not reckoned a man, but a beast in an human form; since he is destitute of hope, which is the property of the human soul;''

and without God in the world; without the knowledge of God in Christ; without the image of God, which was defaced by sin; without the grace and fear of God; and without communion with him, and the worship of him; and while they were so they were in the world, among the men of it, and were a part of it, not being yet called out of it: the word signifies "atheists": so some of the Gentiles were in "theory", as they all were in practice; and they were by the Jews reckoned no other than "atheists"; it is a common saying with them (z) that

"he that dwells without the land (of Israel) is like one , "who has no God":''

(w) Targum in Isaiah 16.1. 5. (x) Lex. Decem Orator. p. 246. (y) De Abrahamo, p. 350, 351. (z) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 110. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 33. 1. Cosri, par. 2. sect. 22. fol. 85. 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 129. 4. & 135. 2. & 153. 3. & 168. 3.12. without Christ—Greek, "separate from Christ"; having no part in Him; far from Him. A different Greek word (aneu) would be required to express, "Christ was not present with you" [Tittmann].

aliens—Greek, "alienated from," not merely "separated from." The Israelites were cut off from the commonwealth of God, but it was as being self-righteous, indolent, and unworthy, not as aliens and strangers [Chrysostom]. The expression, "alienated from," takes it for granted that the Gentiles, before they had apostatized from the primitive truth, had been sharers in light and life (compare Eph 4:18, 23). The hope of redemption through the Messiah, on their subsequent apostasy, was embodied into a definite "commonwealth" or polity, namely, that "of Israel," from which the Gentiles were alienated. Contrast Eph 2:13; Eph 3:6; 4:4, 5, with Ps 147:20.

covenants of promise—rather, "… of the promise," namely, "to thee and thy seed will I give this land" (Ro 9:4; Ga 3:16). The plural implies the several renewals of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with the whole people at Sinai [Alford]. "The promise" is singular, to signify that the covenant, in reality, and substantially, is one and the same at all times, but only different in its accidents and external circumstances (compare Heb 1:1, "at sundry times and in divers manners").

having no … hope—beyond this life (1Co 15:19). The CONJECTURES of heathen philosophers as to a future life were at best vague and utterly unsatisfactory. They had no divine "promise," and therefore no sure ground of "hope." Epicurus and Aristotle did not believe in it at all. The Platonists believed the soul passed through perpetual changes, now happy, and then again miserable; the Stoics, that it existed no longer than till the time of the general burning up of all things.

without God—Greek, "atheists," that is, they had not "God" in the sense we use the word, the Eternal Being who made and governs all things (compare Ac 14:15, "Turn from these vanities unto the living God who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things therein"), whereas the Jews had distinct ideas of God and immortality. Compare also Ga 4:8, "Ye knew not God … ye did service unto them which are no gods" (1Th 4:5). So also pantheists are atheists, for an impersonal God is NO God, and an ideal immortality no immortality [Tholuck].

in the world—in contrast to belonging to "the commonwealth of Israel." Having their portion and their all in this godless vain world (Ps 17:14), from which Christ delivers His people (Joh 15:19; 17:14; Ga 1:4).2:11-13 Christ and his covenant are the foundation of all the Christian's hopes. A sad and terrible description is here; but who is able to remove himself out of it? Would that this were not a true description of many baptized in the name of Christ. Who can, without trembling, reflect upon the misery of a person, separated for ever from the people of God, cut off from the body of Christ, fallen from the covenant of promise, having no hope, no Saviour, and without any God but a God of vengeance, to all eternity? To have no part in Christ! What true Christian can hear this without horror? Salvation is far from the wicked; but God is a help at hand to his people; and this is by the sufferings and death of Christ.
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