Frequently Asked Questions
Ephesians 2 - The Middle Wall of Partition - Part 1
One of the most frequent comments I hear concerning the Messianic movement 'thing', is the assertion that we are rebuilding a wall (the wall being the 'law') that the Messiah tore down in Ephesians 2:14-15:
"For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us], having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances, to make in himself of two one new man [so] making peace."
Perhaps one of the not so obvious details about verse 14 and 15, is the fact that they are preceded by 13 other verses, not to mention 7 more verses after that. I suppose including some insight from these passages is too much to ask. This chapter in Ephesians is salted with all kinds of words and phrases that must be defined from previous revelation of the One who wrote the scriptures. The immediate context should, under normal conditions, be enough to define what Sha’ul is saying, but for the sake of our dear 'Christian' friends who have been educated by recent graduates from the Wheaton and Dallas areas we will take the time to adequately identify Sha’ul's use of the term 'the middle wall of partition'.
The 'good news' is, by now, spreading to the uttermost parts of the earth. Ephesus is in modern day Turkey, and is dominated by Gentiles or non-Jews. Sha’ul's letter is to remind, if not encourage, those faithful in Ephesus of who they are and their position in Messiah. These Ephesian believers are not to forget what Yahshua has done for them, and of their relationship with him as a bride. Remember that it was the believers in Ephesus that were commended for exposing the unfruitful works of darkness, but were prone to leaving their first love (Hitgalut 2:1-4). In Ephesians 2:1, Sha’ul reminds them of who they were BEFORE they were redeemed by the blood of Messiah. It is at this time that we should remember the words of Sha’ul in Romans chapter six and Colossians chapter two, for example. Every time Sha’ul is about to teach something concerning Torah, he precedes his teaching with a reminder that the Messiah died and rose again for our trespasses and sins. Before the infamous 'no longer under the law' comment Sha’ul exclaims:
"'Elohiym forbid. How shall we, that are DEAD TO SIN, live any longer in it? . . . For he that is dead is free from SIN."
Sometimes it is as if Sha’ul foreknew that ignorant Gentile expositors would confuse the masses with the whole legalism issue. So Sha’ul, using his intuitive intellect, begins his discussion of the broken wall of partition with the following reminder:
"And you [hath he made alive] who were DEAD in TREPASSES AND SINS; In which in times PAST ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the sons of DISOBEDIENCE; Among whom also we all had our MANNER OF LIFE in times PAST in the lusts of our flesh and of the mind, and were by NATURE the children of WRATH, even as others."
The context established from the beginning concerns the condition of these Ephesian believers BEFORE they were redeemed by Messiah. They were no different than the sons of disobedience are now. They walked according to this world. Their former manner of life was in the lust of the flesh and of the mind. This 'former manner of life' appears later in this epistle as well, referring to the same 'old man' that we identified in Romans chapter six.
"This I say, therefore, and testify in YHVH, that ye henceforth WALK NOT as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being ALIENATED from the life of ’Elohiym through the ignorance that is in them, because of the BLINDNESS of their heart; Who, being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all UNCLEANNESS with greediness. But ye have not so learned Messiah, if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Yahshua: That ye put off concerning the FORMER MANNER OF LIFE the OLD MAN, which is CORRUPT according to the deceitful lusts, And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the NEW MAN, which after 'ELohiym is CREATED in RIGHTEOUSNESS and true HOLINESS."
As we study Ephesians chapter two, we are going to discover alot of not so coincidental similarities between 'our former life' and the prophecies concerning the house of Israel. For it is the foreknowledge of the scriptures of 'earlier times' that identify who the 'two' are, that have now become 'one' (Ephesians 2:15). Meanwhile, let's read on to reap some more information about these former aliens of the commonwealth of Israel.
"But ’Elohiym, who is rich in MERCY, for his great love with which he LOVED us, even when were were dead in SINS, hath made us alive together with Messiah, (by grace ye are saved;)"
It is by the mercy of ’Elohiym and His love for his true people that they have been made alive. And we are again reminded that they WERE dead in sins. I am highlighting alot of words that will become significant in the identification of these people, for they are words that have been used many times before.
"And hath raised [us] up TOGETHER, and made [us] sit TOGETHER in heavenly [places] in Messiah Yahshua; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] KINDNESS toward us through Messiah Yahshua."
These last two verses have some overtones of a parent who knows that it is time for his two feuding sons to sit down and eat at the same table. This scenario is perhaps better illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son. This parable pictures what is predicted in the Tenakh concerning the division of the two houses of Israel. The prophetic description of the different directions these two houses take is, in my opinion, graphically revealed in the Brit Chadashah. I want to take the time to search out these prophecies in light of the description Sha’ul gives us of those who were far off but now made near by the blood of Messiah. I hope to show that the two 'peoples' that YHVH is bringing together into one new man is a fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the reuniting of the house of Israel and the house of Yehudah (Yirmeyahu 31:31, Hoshea chapter 1-3). I pray that after this study you will see that this chapter is a reuniting of two brothers, pictured as a building, a household and a temple, and that the fulfillment of the 'New Covenant' will not take place until we all come in the unity of the faith, unto a perfect man, and a completed temple for the habitation of the Ruach HaQodesh.