Frequently Asked Questions
Ephesians 2 - The Middle Wall of Partition - Part 6
Before we tackle the next few verses, please allow me to take just a short paragraph or two to put in plain English where we are at this point. The typical 'Christian' view of the middle wall is that the 'law' has been removed by the Messiah's death and resurrection, thereby allowing the Gentiles to come into the covenant by virtue of the free gift of grace, and that from this point forward 'Jew' and 'Gentile' enter into the kingdom of God through the Messiah. This statement is partially true. The bottom line is this: The people of YHVH are called the 'seed of Avraham'. The seed was to come through Yitz'chak and eventually through Ya‘aqov. Ya‘aqov had twelve sons that were collectively called the children of Israel. According to Sh'mot 4:22, these children are personified as one man called 'my firstborn son.' The God of Israel, from the beginning, has only had ONE son. The earthly representation of this son, Israel, disobeyed (sinned) and was divided into two 'sons' (Ephraim and Judah) or kingdoms, the Northern kingdom made up of ten tribes and the Southern kingdom, made up of Judah, Benjamin and a good portion of Levites. These two kingdoms, called the house of Israel and the house of Yehudah had two distinct prophecies told of them according to Hoshea chapters 1-3. The kingdom of the house of Israel would dissolve and be scattered throughout the nations (Gentiles). They would no longer be the people of YHVH and YHVH would no longer have mercy on them. Hoshea also says that the kingdom of Yehudah would also disobey, but the nation would remain intact, and YHVH would have mercy on them. But YHVH, by virtue of His omniscience, knew that one day these two houses would be reunited and would once again be His people, with one shepherd, one head, and would be renewed again as ONE man, Israel, His firstborn. There was however, a mystery, that both houses were blinded of, that is now revealed to the holy apostles and prophets. The 'mystery' of the Messiah is WHO the house of Israel is. Sha’ul reveals this mystery in the chapter following the removal of the middle wall. The house of Israel comes from among the Gentiles. The very people that YHVH prophesied the house of Israel would be scattered and mixed among. Part of the bottom line is that YHVH's knowledge of both houses becoming one, is more detailed than is commonly taught.
"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances ... "
Keeping in mind that it was sin or disobedience which divided the two houses and divides us from YHVH for that matter, let us go on to the abolishing of the enmity. Sha’ul tells us that the Messiah has abolished in His flesh the enmity. The context of verse 14 and 15 tells us 'what' has been abolished. The answer is the wall of verse 14. Every teacher and student of scripture should ask themselves, "Is the wall that is being abolished, Torah?" The word 'abolish' is the Greek word katargeo. This word means to 'make useless', to 'waste', or to 'make idle'. Sha’ul uses it in Romans 3:31 in the same way that Yahshua uses it in Mattityahu 5:17.
"Do we then make void (katargeo) the law through faith: ’Elohiym FORBID; yea, we ESTABLISH the law."
The primary use of this word is harmonious with the 'old man' and the 'body of sin' that Sha’ul taught us was slain in Romans chapter six. Here are a few other examples of katargeo in context with that which Yahshua abolished, destroyed, or put to death.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [Him], that the body of sin MIGHT BE DESTROYED, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
2 Timothy 1:10
"But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior, Messiah Yahshua, who hath ABOLISHED death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
1 Corinthians 15:26
"The last enemy that shall be DESTROYED is death."
As you can see, Sha’ul tells us in other places that the death and resurrection of the Messiah in the flesh has abolished sin and death and that THEY are the enemies. Sha’ul also tells us in our study text that this same Messiah has abolished the enmity or the enemy 'in His flesh'. Where in all of scripture is Torah the enemy of mankind? From the very beginning there has been a very well established historical enemy of the Messiah and mankind. The enemy has always been hasatan. It is more than interesting to me to witness the Torah, which is good, righteous and holy, being turned into the enemy. But this too was prophesied to happen (Yesha'yahu 5:20). Hasatan and death, the penalty for sin, have always been partners. The epistles are replete with teaching that it is sin and death that have been destroyed by the Messiah. It is disobedience or sin that separated the two houses, and it is sin that separates us from YHVH.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, that He will not hear."
It is the Messiah's death and resurrection that restored the firstborn son by uniting His people into one body once again. When anyone, Jew or Gentile, repents and believes on the Messiah, their sins are forgiven, the penalty has been paid, and the wall has been removed. It is by virtue of His death that those who were 'not my people' are now His people. Remember that it was the gadar, or wall that separated the sheep. The unredeemed sheep were listening to a stranger or another shepherd. For those who repent and are willing to follow the Good Shepherd, the wall has been removed and they have become part of 'one' fold. A stranger who has made the decision to follow the God of Israel is no longer a stranger. This is why Israel was commanded not to turn away a stranger at the gate, for this is an idiom that speaks of someone who is 'knocking at the door'. Once the stranger has committed to staying with the people of YHVH, he is no longer a stranger, but one with the homeborn. Listen closely to the narration of Sh'mot 12:44-51:
"But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou has circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. In ONE house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth any of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone of it. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. And when a STRANGER shall SOJOURN with thee, and will keep the passover to YHVH, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come NEAR and keep it; and he shall be AS ONE BORN IN THE LAND; for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is home-born and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you."
If a stranger chooses to remain a stranger, then he cannot partake of the passover meal. If, however, a stranger desires to sojourn, a phrase meaning to stay with them, then he is now no different than one who is home-born. What is not obvious in these passages is that in reading the rest of the exodus you realize that these strangers are no longer referred to as strangers. The people that follow YHVH in the wilderness are called the children of Israel. Even the testimony of the Brit Chadashah confirms this.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4
"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, that ALL our fathers were under the cloud, and ALL passed through the sea, and were ALL baptized unto Mosheh in the cloud and in the sea; and did ALL eat the same spiritual food; and did ALL drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Messiah."
There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile or stranger and home-born, they are all regarded as the same.
Jude (Yehudah) 5
"I will, therefore, put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, that YHVH, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
The distinction here is really the only distinction the scriptures are consistent about, those who believe and those who do not.
"This is that Mosheh who said unto the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, A Prophet shall YHVH, your ’Elohiym, raise up unto you of your brethren, like me; him shall ye hear. This is he that was in the CHURCH in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him in Mount Sinai, and with OUR FATHERS, who received the living oracles to give unto us;"
There is only one 'church' or 'assembly' of YHVH from the beginning. Let me point out another interesting aspect of the passover narration. We are told that once a stranger makes the decision to 'sojourn' with the children of Israel, then that person becomes as one 'born in the land'. A person who is born in the land is called an 'ezirach. This word comes from the root word zera'. Does that word look familiar? It should, for this is the word for SEED! Remember that according to Sha’ul in Galatians 3:16, there is only ONE SEED. If there is division and separation then there is no unity and oneness and the kingdom cannot stand (Mattityahu 12:25). This is why the Messiah came. Sin and disobedience divided the seed, but the Messiah came to restore all things and to conquer sin, death, and hasatan Himself so that the children of Israel can be one again. This is the prayer of Yahshua in Yochanan 17. Listen to His cry to the Father:
I have manifested thy NAME unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have KEPT THY WORD ... Holy Father, keep through thine own NAME those whom thou has given me, that they may be ONE as we are ... I kept them in thy name; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them was LOST ... Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word; That they all MAY BE ONE ... And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they MAY BE ONE ... I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made PERFECT IN ONE ... "
Now listen to the prophecy of Yechezk'el 37 again:
"Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Yehudah, and for the children of Israel, his companions; then take another stick, and write upon it, For Yoseph, the stick of Ephraim, and from all the house of Israel, his companions; And JOIN them one to another into ONE STICK, and they shall become ONE in thine hand ... Behold I will take the stick of Yoseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Yehudah, and make them ONE stick, and they shall be ONE in mind hand ... And I will make them ONE nation ... And they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided ... And they shall all have ONE shepherd."
It is important to keep in mind that the wall that divides is written in Torah. According to the commandments and ordinances, if you sin then you are separated from YHVH. There are penalties in Torah for sin and disobedience. There are NO penalties for keeping Torah, only for disobeying Torah. It is absurd to conclude that Torah itself has been abolished, but rather the ultimate penalty for breaking Torah which is DEATH! Remember that both houses were dispersed because of sin, and so it is that both houses will be restored by trusting and following the Messiah, the restorer of the breach.
"... to make in himself of two one new man, [so] making peace."
It is here that we have more confirmation that it is two things that are made one. It is usually understood that Sha’ul is referring to other places where we are told that there is no longer Jew or Gentile in the body of Messiah. I am going to make a very bold statement here. I believe that once a person, Jew or Gentile, has been reconciled to YHVH by faith, then he or she is no longer a Jew and no longer a Gentile, but rather Israel. If you search the scriptures you might notice a subtle change in terms. The children of YHVH are called the children of Israel before the kingdom is divided. The word 'Jew' does not appear until AFTER the kingdom divides. Hmmmm. There is now a prophetic distinction between the house of Israel and the tribe of Judah. All the tribes were simply referred to as the children of Israel before the divided kingdom. The term 'Jew' or Yehudah is a product of the division of the kingdom and this is why you do not see the term used before the separation. In 'Christian' terminology the 'three' terms Israel, Jew, and Gentile have united under the term 'Christians' when they become 'born again'. To a modern day 'Jew', a 'Christian' is anyone who is not a semite. But this understanding is right out of ecclesiastical kindergarten. I hope I am speaking to an audience mature enough to keep me from having to explain that one. However, many 'Messianics' will be the first to proclaim that once you are grafted into the natural tree, that you are no longer a Gentile. There is some hesitation however in refraining themselves from referring to the believing Jews as 'Jews'. In fact many proclaim to the Christians that just because a 'Jew' believes on the Messiah, does not mean that he or she is no longer a Jew. So what is wrong with this picture? I believe the phrase, 'no longer Jew or Gentile' perfectly fits the prophesies of the Tenakh. I am only speaking of how YHVH sees His own people, and not how people often see each other.
The term 'new man' is, of course, the same term that is used of the 'new covenant'. This word is kainos, and not neos (new with respect to time). This Greek word is carefully chosen because it best represents the Hebrew word chadash, which means to 'renew', 'restore', or 'refresh'. It's etymology goes back to the nature of the moon and it's monthly cycles. This also confirms the prophecies of the great prophets as well. YHVH is renewing or restoring what has been separated. The Messiah makes in Himself of two, one renewed or restored man. In other words, we are back to the 'firstborn son'. This, of course, could only be achieved by the Messiah, the only begotten Son of ’Elohiym. This 'Son' is the physical manifestation of the seed of the woman revealed to us from the beginning. From the beginning, if one is not one with the 'seed', then one is not a child of the God of Israel, for there is really one 'only begotten son', pictured as a seed in the Tenakh, and revealed as Yahshua the Messiah in the Brit Chadashah. Is this not awesome? Have you ever wondered how YHVH can have so many children but yet there is only one begotten Son of God. It is by virtue of that 'Son' that anyone is redeemed.
Very simply put, the middle wall of partition that has been abolished is the very thing that always divides: sin, disobedience, and the penalty of death; that which has always divided the sheep and caused separation between YHVH and His people. Sha’ul finishes this verse by revealing again that this reunion has made shalom or completeness of that which has been broken and scattered.