Ephesians – Chapter 2, Part 5
God’s Way of Salvation
Ephesians 2 ~ Vs. 14 – 17
Chapter 2 – Outline: Positional Relocation.
- The New Position in the Heavenlies, the new life in Christ. God has spiritually regenerated sinners, transforming them from death to life, vs. 1-10.
- The New Position in the Household, unity in Christ. He reconciled Jews and Gentiles, moving them from alienation to oneness, vs. 11-18.
- The New Position in the Habitat, the Church is a Temple for the habitation of God through the Spirit. Gentiles are no longer aliens but fellow citizens of heaven being formed into a Holy temple for God’s dwelling, vs. 19-22.
Chapter 2 – Theme: God’s Grace:
The great theme of this chapter is God’s grace towards man as Paul discusses how sinners who deserve nothing but God’s wrath can become trophies of His grace.
- Vs. 1-10, speak of the grace panorama regarding our regeneration, from death to life, and our new position individually.
- Vs. 11-17, speak of grace and the barrier regarding our reconciliation, Jews and Gentiles as one.
- Vs. 18-22, speak of grace and the Church regarding being fashioned into the Temple of God.
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Continuing on from Part 4, where we exegeted, Eph 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who formally were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”, we will now study its related doctrine:
Doctrine of the Blood
While our Lord did bleed quite a bit prior to and while on the Cross, He absolutely did not bleed to death, nor does His literal human blood have anything to do with the phrase found throughout the New Testament, “the blood of Christ.” Many Greek lexicons including BDAG, TDNT, Thayer, Strong’s, Louw Nida, etc. recognize this principle when defining the Greek word for “blood,” HAIMA. Also note that the Hebrew word for blood is DAM.
For example, the Complete Word Study Dictionary notes, “My blood” (1 Cor. 11:25; 1 Pet. 1:2) which designates the life of Christ offered for an atonement contrasted with the blood of beasts slain in sacrifice (Heb. 9:12 [Heb. 9:14, 25]).The blood of Christ, therefore, represents the life that He gave for our atonement (Matt. 26:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:25; 5:9; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:27; Eph. 1:7; 2:13; Col. 1:14, 20; Heb. 9:12, 25; 10:19; 13:12; 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 John 1:7; 5:6, 8; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11). This shedding of Christ’s blood was necessary for the satisfaction of God’s justice. Man’s sin could not go without expiation (HILASMOS), a means whereby sin is covered and remitted objectively, the act of propitiation.”
The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament notes, “The ideas which the New Testament links with the blood of Christ, is simply a pregnant verbal symbol of the saving work of Christ.”
Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary states in the definition of HAIMA, “Figurative (the juice of grapes) or special (the atoning blood of Christ).”
The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary states, “As the New Testament writers sought to explain the impact of the death of Christ, the sacrificial metaphor took its place in the forefront.”
Blood is the basis for animal life. Animals do not have souls like humans. (Whatever soul the animal has, it is enough soul to be conscious of animals and of human beings. But no animal has God-consciousness in his soul.) A human being is not dead until the soul leaves the body, but an animal dies because his blood leaves his body. Only in analogy is the blood of humans used in the O.T. to represent physical death, as in the first mention of the word in the Bible, Gen 4:10-11.
In the book of Leviticus, animal blood is used extensively regarding the sacrificial system God had established with His people Israel. This system pointed to what Christ would eventually accomplish upon the Cross. God selected animals to teach the O.T. people about salvation. The Cross had not occurred historically. The Cross was going to occur historically. The Cross was a part of the Divine decrees, it is the key to the Father’s Plan of grace, and the Cross is the mechanics of salvation. So God selected these animals to portray the ministry of Christ in salvation; the work of Christ on the Cross.
This is why the altar came into being, whether it was Abel’s altar in Gen 3, Abraham’s altar in Gen 22, or the ones in the Tabernacle and Temple. It was a raised platform so that everyone could see, and animal blood was used in those O.T. sacrifices to represent the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross, Lev 1-3. Therefore, the blood of the animal becomes a representative analogy. This is not a direct or true analogy. A direct or true analogy would mean that Christ had to bleed to death on the Cross. But Christ did not bleed to death on the Cross. A representative analogy takes something that happens literally to portray something that is spiritual.
D.A. Carson noted, “The blessings that the Scripture shows to be accomplished or achieved by the blood of Jesus are equally said to be accomplished or achieved by the death on the Cross.” Therefore, when speaking of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, blood does not represent the literal blood of Jesus but the spiritual sacrifice and death He accomplished in His body while on the Cross.
The Doctrine of Redemption was communicated in the O.T. by means of theses animal sacrifices. Redemption is the classifying phrase for the “blood of Christ,” starting in O.T. times, Eph 1:7; Rom 5:9; Heb 9:12ff
Eph 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”
As noted in Hebrews chapter 9, if the blood of bulls and goats sanctified those unclean on the outside, i.e., ritually sanctified, how much more will Christ, the flawless sacrifice, Heb 9:14, do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself, vs. 26. This one sacrifice takes away all sins of the many, not only external but internal too, vs. 28, which bulls and goats were hopelessly unable to accomplish, Heb 10:4. Therefore, believers have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all, Heb 10:10, 14, 17. As such, when Paul used the word, “blood,” it emphasizes Christ’s spiritual death upon the Cross, while as the same time recalling the whole Christ-event; the life, ministry, death, and triumphant resurrection of our Lord. To communicate the whole of what Christ accomplished, Paul frequently shifted metaphors regarding the effects of the Cross and the blood of the Cross as illustration, Col 1:20.
Col 1:20, “And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His Cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
Christ did not die on the Cross by bleeding to death, John 19:30, 33-34. The physical death of Christ on the Cross occurred not by bleeding, but by an act of His own volition:
Mat 27:50; Luke 23:46, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” He dismissed His spirit and departed from this life as an act of His own volition. John 10:17-18, indicates that He did not die by bleeding to death.
John 10:18, “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
When Christ died physically, much of His blood was still inside His body, John 19:34, “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water, (serum – white blood cells).”
Therefore, the blood of Christ is part of the representative analogy between the physical death of animals in the O.T. and the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross bearing our sins, 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; Col 2:13-14, and the phrases that use “blood” to represent that also give us the image of Christ sacrificing His own life on our behalf.
2 Cor 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
For Paul and the other writers of the N.T., phrases like, “the blood of Christ,” 1 Cor 10:16; Eph 2:13, “the blood of the Lord,” 1 Cor 11:27, “the precious blood,” 1 Peter 1:19, “His blood,” e.g., Rom 3:25; 5:9; Eph 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2, or “the blood of the Lamb,” Rev 7:14, are all linked with the spiritual death of Christ, i.e., the giving of His spiritual life as a substitute for our sins, that was followed by His physical death.
Drawing upon the language of the courtroom, Rom 5:9; Eph 1:7, sacrifice, Rom 3:24; cf. 1 Peter 1:2, 19; 1 John 1:7, and the Christian concept of reconciliation, Paul viewed this relationship to God as established through the “blood of Christ.” As such, believers have been freed from sin through the blood of Christ, Rev 1:5, and have been purchased for God, Rev 5:9.
Christ died twice on the Cross, so that we might be born twice. The first birth is the imputation of human life to the soul at physical birth. The second birth is the imputation of eternal life to the human spirit at regeneration. In regeneration, the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit for the imputation of eternal life. The spiritual death of Christ relates to salvation, while the physical or somatic death of Christ relates to resurrection. The spiritual death of Christ looks backward to sin and forward to the calling of many sons into glory, Heb 2:10.
Heb 2:10, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.”
The physical or somatic death of Christ looks backward to His finished work on the Cross and forward to His resurrection, ascension, and session.
The figurative blood of Jesus Christ is associated with several categories of His saving work on the Cross. The figurative blood of Christ refers to His spiritual death on the Cross, which is equivalent to the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ during the First Advent. The literal blood of Christ refers to His physical or somatic death on the Cross, because the work of the First Advent was finished.
The Impact of the Blood of Christ.
The blood of Christ depicts six Doctrines of Soteriology (Salvation):
- Expiation, the paying of the penalty, Rev 1:5.
- Redemption, Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
- Justification, Rom 5:9.
- Propitiation, Rom 3:25.
- Sanctification, Heb 13:12.
- Reconciliation,Col 1:20.
In Paul’s farewell address to the church at Ephesus, he admonishes the Pastor-Teacher to communicate these doctrines to their church as protection over their souls, post-salvation, Acts 20:28-30.
Acts 20:28-30, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
The blood of Jesus Christ represents the New Covenant, (the life insurance contract), that God has made with the believer, Mat 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20, which Jesus instituted as an ongoing memorial to His finished work on the Cross and our new life in Him through the communion cup. As such, “His Blood” is represented in the Communion Cup, 1 Cor 11:25.
As you may know, there is a New Covenant for Israel, Jer 31:31-33, and one for the Church. Christ is the fulfilment of both.
L.S. Chafer notes, “Israel’s covenant, however, is new only because it replaces the Mosaic, but the Church’s covenant is new because it introduces that which is God’s mysterious and unrelated purpose. Israel’s new covenant rests specifically on the sovereign “I will” of Jehovah, while the new covenant for the Church is made in Christ’s blood. Everything that Israel will yet have, to supply another contrast, is the present possession of the Church-and infinitely more.” (Systematic Theology)
“This doctrine emphasizes that the relationship of Christ to the New Covenant and the church to Christ does not in any way negate the future fulfillment of the New Covenant with Israel. The Lord made the New Covenant with Israel and presented it to Israel as a foundation of the messianic kingdom program. But the nation rejected the Messiah and His kingdom. Thus the New Covenant will not be fulfilled with Israel until the Day of the Lord events when the nation in repentance accepts the One whom it previously considered to be “stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa 53:4; cf. Zech 12:10-14). Before that happens, Gentiles outside God’s covenant program and Jews under the shadow of a curse are blessed to be able to participate in the New Covenant. This they can do through Spirit baptism into Christ at the time of conversion. Though the Servant / Messiah came to His own people, “His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name . . .” (John 1:11-12).” (THE NEW COVENANT, Larry D. Pettegrew, Professor of Theology, The Masters Seminary)
The New Covenant for the Church, Luke 22:20, incorporates every promise of saving and keeping grace for those of the present age who believe. Its many blessings are either possessions or positions in Christ.
The death of Christ is the key to the validity of the contract, will, or Covenant, Heb 9:16-17. Thus, the “shedding of blood” in vs. 22, using the Greek word HAIMATEKCHUSIA, (that is used only here in all antiquity), speaks of the death of the sacrifice, which is a necessary component of both the Old Covenant, (Mosaic Law), and the New Covenant. In vs. 22 it states that, “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
“Shedding of blood,” HAIMATEKCHUSIA – αἱματεκχυσία is made up of HAIMA, “blood,” and EKCHUNO that means, “to pour out, shed, or spill.” It denotes “putting to death” by blood shedding. It is used to refer to slaying, especially in the Old Testament practices of offering sacrifices. Strictly speaking, it is the bringing of the blood to the altar, the application of the blood for objective expiation, whereas the sprinkling, RHANTISMOS, of the blood represented atonement. Therefore, HAIMATEKCHUSIA means only blood shedding, slaying, killing, and not the application of it. Therefore, it represents Christ’s completed work upon the Cross.
The New Covenant required the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross, His efficacious offering of the blood, so that God the Father could ratify a New Covenant both for Israel and the Church. A will or testament becomes operational by death. The New Covenant ratified by God is valid because of the blood of Christ, i.e., the efficacious spiritual death of Christ on the Cross, being judged for our sins. The blood of Christ links animal blood in the representative analogy with the saving work of Christ on the Cross. The New Covenant is the reality in contrast to the shadows of the Old Covenant, the Levitical Offerings.
The reason this is a New Covenant to the Church is the fact that Jesus Christ’s efficacious work on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins provides for mankind a new spiritual heritage during the Church Age. It provides for a new spiritual species through regeneration, eternal life, and a Portfolio of Invisible Assets during the Church Age.
The New Covenant to the Church is the basis for establishing the Royal Family of God forever. Part of the plunder of the strategic victory of Christ on the Cross is the establishment of the Royal Family composed of Church Age believers only. Therefore, the New Covenant to the Church includes its priesthood, its royalty, its escrow blessings, sharing God’s happiness, and the operational Divine Power System.
All the shadows of the Old Covenant point to the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the reality. He is the guarantee of a better Covenant between God and man, Heb 7:22. The blood of the Covenant has set us aside as Royal Family, Heb 10:29; 1 Peter 2:9. As such, the New Covenant is the legacy of the royal priesthood with God the Father as the ratifier and God the Son as the mediator of the New Covenant for the Church.
Heb 8:6, “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much that He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on the basis of better promises.”
The better Covenant is the New Covenant to the Church with its spiritual heritage versus the Covenants to Israel, which spoke to their physical heritage.
The New Covenant to the Church is a spiritual legacy to the Royal Family of God and authorizes the royal priesthood. The New Covenant applies only to those who are born again. Hence, the New Covenant is God’s grace disposition to the Royal Family in time and eternity. This is God’s greatest experiment of grace. It supersedes the shadow Covenant of the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law. It authorizes a new universal priesthood for the Royal Family of God, which operates positionally in the Holy of Holies.
At the Last Supper, Jesus Christ acknowledged the implications of His upcoming death by referring to His blood, symbolized in the wine, as “shed blood.” In the Gospels, we see the account of this memorial as each writer, though consistent in the theological meaning of this act, gives us a unique perspective of its application.
Like the writer of Hebrews, Matthew, reflecting the Trespass Offering, clearly interprets the act of the Cross as represented in the Communion Cup with the forgiveness of sins, Mat 26:26-28, a phrase which neither Luke nor Mark have. Such an understanding highly suggests that an O.T. sacrificial backdrop based upon Lev 17 was in mind, as seen in the Trespass Offering.
Mark, reflecting the Sin Offering, showed the death of Jesus was a Covenant sacrifice, Mark 14:22-24, with the image of being “poured out,” cf. Ex 24:6-8; Jer 31:31-33. The blood was shed on behalf of many. This recalls Isa 53:12; Jesus was “numbered among the transgressors,” Mark 15:28, and died in their place, as depicted in the Sin Offering.
Luke, reflecting the Peace Offering, in Luke 22:17-20, also tied the blood to the New Covenant of Jer 31:31ff. He too uses “poured out” as reminiscent of the Sin Offering ritual in Lev 4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34; cf. 8:15; 9:9; Ex 29:20.
John, reflecting the Burnt Offering, used “blood” in chapter 6 in a clearly sacramental context. It is where Jesus told potential followers in John 6:53-56, that they had to “eat His flesh and drink His blood,” which also reflects the
Meal Offering. The concept of eating the flesh and drinking of blood suggests partaking of the whole of Christ and is reminiscent of the Last Supper in its implications for the believer. It meant believing and receiving Him as the revelation of the Father. He had explained to them that coming to Him, (i.e., believing in Him), is to have eternal life, vs. 47-48. As such the Communion supper is our reminder, as well as a memorial to Christ, of our eternal life that He gained for us upon the Cross.
Finally, in Jer 31:31-33, the New Covenant to Israel included three things: 1) Transformation, 2) Forgiveness of sins through Christ vs. the Law, 3) A new Relationship.
For the Church it means a new spiritual species, forgiveness by Christ’s efficacious work on the Cross for salvation and rebound post-salvation, and our union with Jesus Christ being, “in Christ”, as we have been made members of the Royal Family of God. It is only through being “in Christ” that Church Age believers participate in the New Covenant. We are elect “in Christ,” and because of Christ’s unique relationship with the Father, we are heirs together with Christ, 1 Cor 3:22-23; Rom 8:17; Eph 3:6.
How do we get into Christ? Clearly it is through the baptism of the Spirit at the time of conversion, Gal 3:27.
Through Spirit baptism and putting on Christ, we are identified with Christ with a sense of bound-up-with-ness that qualifies us to participate in the New Covenant blessings. Through such intimacy, church saints, whether Gentiles or Jews, inherit what Christ inherits and are sons of Abraham because Christ is, Gal 3:29.
The Blood of Christ cleanses us from dead works.
The book of Hebrews uses HAIMA twenty-one times, which confirms the highly cultic atmosphere of that book. Just about every reference is pointed to the sacrificial imagery of the Old Testament, e.g., Heb 9:7, 12-14, 18-22, 25. Nevertheless, “the real point is the religious and ethical significance of the blood of Christ cleansing the conscience from dead works, Heb 9:14, cf. 10:22,” (Kittel).
Heb 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Because we have received spiritual life through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, we are now able to live in the unique spiritual life of the Church and perform Divine Good works. When we confess our sins post-salvation,1 John 1:9, we are cleansed from all unrighteousness and have fellowship with God once again. As such we are filled with the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18; Gal 5:25, and are able to perform Divine Good, Gal 5:22-23, Eph 5:9; John 15:1-7.
And finally, the blood of Christ as expiation is also the basis for the Rebound Technique, Lev 4-5; 1 John 1:7; cf. 1 John 1:9; 1 Cor 11:25-32.
We have in Eph 2 the true condition of every unbeliever on the wrong side of the Cross were the blood of Jesus Christ identifies the payment of their every sin. And vs. 8-13, gives us the last contrast in this chapter, the works of the flesh compared to the blood of Jesus Christ. The former cannot save anyone, whereas the latter can save all. As such, the “Blood of Christ” removes all false standards set up by religion, legalism, and the reversionistic revolution to pay for or overcome their own self in the flesh, i.e., their own sins.
Through the symbolism of the blood in Scripture as death, two categories of death experienced by Christ on the Cross are in view. His somatic (bodily) death, which refers to what happened to His literal blood of which much remained within His body, and His spiritual death, which refers to what happened to His figurative blood. The somatic or physical death of Christ looks forward to the resurrection, whereas the spiritual death of Christ looks back to our sins and spiritual death. Yet, it is the figurative use of the phrase “His blood” that has to do with salvation as Jesus did not bleed to death.
“The “Blood of Christ” is the sum total of the doctrines of Redemption, Expiation, Regeneration, Justification, Imputation, Propitiation, Positional Truth, Sanctification which all add up to Reconciliation. The work is done, peace is made, and reconciliation has been provided, the Cross of Christ has removed the barrier and satisfied every just claim that God had against us so that every member of the human race can be saved. In place of the barrier, Jesus Christ now stands between God and man as the way to eternal life.
The One who removed the barrier “through the blood of His Cross” becomes the door through which all may enter into eternal relationship with God. Jesus said, “I am the door: by Me, if any man enter in he shall be saved,” John 10:9. The way has been opened for all to enter, and we enter by personal faith in the Son of God. Justification, Redemption, Expiation, Regeneration, Propitiation, and Eternal Life become our personal possessions when we believe on TLJC,” 1 Cor 1:30; Rom 4:5; John 6:47; Rev 1:5-6. (Col. R.B.T. Jr.)
Vs. 14-17, The Peace Jesus Won for Us at the Cross.
Eph 2:14-17, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR.”
Here we are going to address the next four verses together, as they all speak of the “peace” Jesus Christ won for us at the Cross through “His Blood,” as we noted in vs. 13.
The word “peace” is used four times in three of these verses. The first time, in vs. 14, it is in the Nominative (Subject) case, establishing the subject or topic of discussion in these verses, and the other three times it is in the Accusative (Direct Object) case, that tells us what is directly affected by the action in these passages, which is the work of Jesus Christ. In vs. 16, Jesus established peace through the Cross, and in vs. 17 He preached peace to both the Gentiles, (those far away), and the Jews, (those who were near), of which the speaking included not only His verbal witness during His ministry here on earth, but also His witness through the Old Testament Levitical Offerings, especially the “Peace Offering,” as well as the witness of His Cross. We will address each of these witnesses.
“Peace,” is the Greek noun EIRENE, εἰρήνη that means, “Peace, harmony, tranquility, health, and prosperity.” It means, “to join, literally or figuratively, and by implication, welfare or a state of well-being, including security and prosperity.” It is equivalent to the Hebrew noun SHALOM. Here it refers to the results of the efficacious work of Jesus Christ’s spiritual sacrifice on the Cross. When He paid for our sins, (by breaking down, [defeating], the dividing barrier of Sin and Satan), He established the way of salvation for all of mankind. As such, He created a way for man to enter into a personal relationship with God; to enter into a peaceful harmony with God.
In fact, there are three applications of “Peace” in these passages:
- The peace established between God and man, by Jesus paying for our sins.
- The peace established between Jews and Gentiles, as both groups are now one body in Christ.
- The peace we can have in the mentality of our souls, being a new creation, “one new man,” in Christ.
All peace is made available through the Cross; “blood” of Jesus Christ. Without the Cross, there is no true peace, Col 1:20; 2 Cor 5:16-21.
Col 1:20, “And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His Cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
In its deepest application, it means spiritual peace through restored relations of harmony with God, e.g., Isa 9:6-7, (Jesus as the Prince of Peace); 26:3; Luke 2:14; John 14:27; Acts 10:36; Rom 1:7; 5:1; Gal 5:22.
Isa 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
By analogy, the Levitical Peace Offering spoke to the peace that Jesus Christ would bring to God and Man through His Cross. There are several important analogies through typology that are seen in the Levitical Peace Offering related to what Christ would accomplish upon the Cross.
- It was a voluntary sacrifice, except on a few very special occasions. This represents both Christ’s voluntary sacrifice of Himself, plus our volitional responsibility to accept what Christ has accomplished for us. This voluntary sacrifice was done in Thanksgiving to God for all that He has provided.
- It was the third offering mandated by the Law. It followed the Burnt and Meal Offerings. The Burnt Offering spoke of God’s propitiation of the sacrifice and the Meal Offering spoke of the perfect sacrifice, i.e., the body of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Father was satisfied with the sacrifice of the body of His Son, Jesus Christ, and now we have “Peace” with God.
- An important part of the “Peace Offering” celebration was a “fellowship meal” where the worshiper, after offering certain parts to God and the allotment for the Levitical Priests, was to eat the remaining portions of the sacrificial animal with other family members, in the presence of God. Thus, some called this a “fellowship offering.” This was the only offering from which the worshiper could eat a portion of the sacrifice. It clearly speaks of our partaking of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, John 6:53-56 in the New Covenant of the Church, Luke 22:17-20.
- The Peace Offering was used to show the worshiper’s devotion and commitment to the Lord. Likewise, if we do not accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, we have no peace with God, or the Jews, or within the mentality of our souls.
- The Peace Offering also spoke of praise freely offered to God, that is, thanks and deep appreciation to the Lord for who He is, as well as the great things He had done for Israel. It expressed gratefulness for the well-being His blessings had provided. Thus, it was a means of rejoicing in the peace that comes from God and celebrating the wonderful fellowship with God He had graciously provided His people through His covenant.
- For this offering, any animal without defect from the herd or flock was used, as well as a variety of breads both unleavened and leavened. The spotless animal and unleavened bread spoke of Jesus as our Lord who was without spot or blemish, 1 Peter 1:19, a perfect sacrifice.
1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV), “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
The leavened cakes spoke of sinful man, as Jesus took on our sins so that we could have peace with God in sinless perfection.
- When offering the animal, the offeror was to place his hand on the head of the animal and then slay it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, Lev 3:2, 7, 12, which signified transfer of sin from the offeror to the animal, which is a picture of Christ taking on our sins and being sacrificed for us upon the Cross.
- Slaying the offering at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, speaks to the foot of the Cross and Christ’s sacrifice there upon that gives us entrance into our relationship with God, i.e., peace with God.
- The blood from this offering was “sprinkled” around the Brazen Altar, Lev 3:2, 8, 13, which spoke of its application of atonement to all the people.
- It was to be a “burnt offering,” Lev 3:5a, 11, 16, offered up in smoke as a “soothing aroma” to the Lord, Lev 3:5b, 16, which spoke of God’s propitiation with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- All of this directly correlates to the Communion Supper and the “love feasts” the early church would eat together, cf. 1 Cor 11; Jude 1:12, along with the communion to give thanks to God while fellowshipping with each other, Jew and Gentile together, and with the Father, signifying Peace!
In Lev 7:11-21, 29-34, there is further definition of what the Peace Offering entailed.
Lev 7:11-14, “Now this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings which shall be presented to the LORD. 12If he offers it by way of thanksgiving, then along with the sacrifice of thanksgiving he shall offer unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of well stirred fine flour mixed with oil. 13With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with cakes of leavened bread. 14And of this he shall present one of every offering as a contribution to the LORD; it shall belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the peace offerings.”
“Peace Offering,” ZEVACH SHELAMIN, זֶבַח שֶׁלֶם, consisted of the sacrifice of a bull, cow, lamb, or goat that had no defect, that spoke to the perfection of the body of Jesus Christ. And as noted above, with the burnt offering, the individual laid a hand on the animal and killed it. The priests, in turn, sprinkled the blood around the altar. Only certain parts of the internal organs were burned. The priest received the breast and the right thigh, Lev 7:28-36, but the offeror was given much of the meat to have a meal of celebration, Lev 7:11-21. As part of the sacrifice, various kinds of bread were offered, and ultimately kept by the priest. The idea of thanksgiving was associated with the peace offering. It often accompanied other sacrifices in celebration of events such as the dedication of the Temple, 1 Kings 8:63, or spiritual renewal,2 Chron. 29:31-36.
There were three kinds of Peace Offerings that could be offered:
- Those confessing thanksgiving, 12, (Celebrating Peace with God.)
- Vows, 16, given after a prayer has been answered in which the person had promised this response. (Peace in One Body as promised by God.)
- Freewill offerings, 16, purely a spontaneous expression of appreciation, love and joy toward the Lord. (Peace in the mentality of your soul.)
In regard to the number of things offered in the Peace Offering, the principle was and is that true worship always involves a cost. Believers should never receive from God without giving back to Him. God does not give so that believers can hoard their resources.
In addition, the fat of the offering given to God, represented the best a worshiper could offer, and the blood was accepted as a substitute for the worshiper’s life.
So as you can see, every aspect of the Peace Offerings, as well as the other Levitical Offerings, spoke volumes as to who and what God is, what Christ would do for us upon the Cross, how the Father was satisfied with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the application to our royal priesthood, and the application of Christ’s efficacious work towards all of mankind.
Continuing with Eph 2:14, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.”
We have noted that all of the Levitical Offerings in Lev 1-7, are typology for the work that God the Father and The Lord Jesus Christ would perform on the Cross, especially in the Peace Offering context, which we have here in Eph 2, to remove the barrier of sin between God and man, thus making it possible for the justice of God to give man eternal life.
Rom 5:1, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Having noted the “peace” aspect of this verse, we now have “who made,” which is the Aorist, Active, Participle of POIEO, that means, “to make, create, produce, etc.” The Aorist is for past action and the Active voice is for the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross as the One who has made this happen; AUTOS EIMI, “He Himself is.”
The thing that Jesus Christ has made is “both groups into one,” which is the Adjective AMPHOTERIO, ἀμφότεροι that means, “both,” and sometimes “all,” with the Cardinal number HEN for “one.” Simply it reads, “the both one.” The “both” who have been “made one” is referencing Jewish and Gentile believers in the Jesus Christ. Therefore, the two groups in view are Jews and Gentiles given the context of vs. 11-13.
Here we have a new Divine purpose for the present Church Age, a Divine purpose specifically revealed to Paul, cf. Eph 3:1-6. The purpose is realized on the grounds of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. That Divine purpose is no less than the forming of a new body of heavenly people drawn from both Jews and Gentiles, called the Royal Family of God and the Body of Christ, where each individual in that body is perfected in Christ, and the whole company is to be “to the praise of the glory of His grace,” Eph 1:6, apart from “works so that no one should boast,” Eph 2:9.
So the Divine decree declares that there is “no difference” between Jew and Gentile, first because they are all “under sin,” Rom 3:9, and that Salvation through Christ, as tutored by the Law, is for all mankind, John 3:16, “for God so loved the whole world,” cf. Rom 10:12.
Rom 10:12, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him.”
The position of being “under sin” consists of the fact that God refuses to accept any human merit, national or personal, as a credit or contribution toward salvation, which is offered the individual in and through Christ alone. God thus strips each human being of all hope in himself and shuts him up to that perfect salvation alone, which is in Christ and provides the eternal and infinite perfection of Christ and His body.
The grace of God is not a thing which adjusts itself to the greater or less degree of human merit, but it is a consistent Divine standard, that is, since all merit is excluded, it requires the same degree of grace to save one individual as it does to save another.
For the Gentile, who had previously been told by the Jew that they were inferior in regard to worship, this revelation was new ground for hope, and the gospel of salvation by grace became to him as life from the dead. But the Jew stumbled over the way of salvation made available through the Cross, so only a few, now that their national preference is set aside for this age, were able to abandon their assumed national standing with God and to accept the exceeding grace of God in Christ, Rom 11:1-6
Not only did our Lord make the two into one body, he also, KAI, “broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,” which refers to the imagery of the Temple where Jews and Gentiles were separated in the worship of God by a dividing wall. Since the wall has been torn down, Jews and Gentiles are to worship together as one, just as they always should have.
“Broke down,” is the Verb LUO that means, “to loose, untie, set free, destroy, break up, or abolish.” It is in the Aorist, Active, Participle for the past action our Lord took to bring down the barrier between Jews and Gentiles. It is used of demolition of buildings, as in the famous saying of our Lord regarding the Temple, John 2:19, or of the destruction of the ship on which Paul was traveling, Acts 27:41, or of the destruction of the current heavens and earth, 2 Peter 3:10-12. BDAG list our text under the heading “to reduce something by violence into its components, to destroy.” Eph 15a and 16b tell us how the breaking down occurred, “by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, … through the Cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” Contextually, the abolishing action is viewed as final, as a death. Therefore, the violence Jesus suffered when paying for our sins, violently broke down all barriers, and thus, all barriers are done away with forever.
“The barrier,” is the Genitive Article HO with the Noun PHRAGAMOS, φραγμός that means, “fence, wall, hedge or partition.” Every usage of the term PHARAGAMOS in the N.T., is in the sense of a fence or enclosure. Jesus used the term to describe a wall around a vineyard, Mat 21:33; Mark 12:1. Within the enclosure of God’s people, Jews and Gentiles, Paul spoke of a middle wall that divided God’s people. In Christ this middle wall was broken down; i.e., there was now no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile in Christ’s kingdom.
“The dividing wall” is the article HO with the Noun MESOTOICHON, μεσότοιχον that means, “middle wall or dividing wall.” MESOTOICHON comes from two words: MESOS meaning, “middle,” and TOICHOS that means, “a wall,” hence the meaning, “partition wall.” This is the only N.T. use of this word, hapaxlegomena.
Remember, Paul is addressing Christians of both the Jewish and Gentile background. Between these Christians there had been a dividing wall, not just literally but socially, thus segregating them. The division was seen in the church in many places, cf., Gal 2:11ff; Acts 15:5ff.
This division was seen in Herod’s Temple. In the Temple area, there was literally a wall called in Greek DRYPHAKTO, LITHINOS, or SOREQ that segregated Gentiles from Jews. No Gentile was allowed to cross that dividing line.
When King Herod had rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem between 19 and 9 B.C. he enclosed the outer court with colonnades. The large separated area was referred to as the Court of the Gentiles because the “gentiles” (non-Jews from any race or religion) were permitted to enter this great open courtyard of the Temple area. They could walk within it but they were forbidden to go any further than the outer court. They were excluded from entering into any of the inner courts, and warning signs in Greek and Latin were placed giving strict warning that the penalty for such trespass was death. The Romans permitted the Jewish authorities to carry out the death penalty for this offence, even if the offender were a Roman citizen. The engraved block of limestone was discovered in Jerusalem in 1871. Its dimensions are about 22 inches high by 33 inches long. Each letter was nearly 1 1/2 inches high and originally painted with red ink against the white limestone. Part of another sign was unearthed in 1936. Its current location is in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul, Turkey. Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey when the stone was found. In addition, Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century A.D., wrote about the warning signs in Greek and Latin that were placed on the barrier wall that separated the court of the gentiles from the other courts in the Temple. Not until 1871 did archaeologists actually discover one written in Greek. Its seven-line inscription reads as follows:
“No foreigner is to go beyond the balustrade and the plaza of the temple zone, whoever is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his death which will follow.”
Paul himself nearly got into serious trouble because some people falsely accused him of taking an Asian Gentile, Trophimus, beyond this point, Acts 21:27-29.
Just imagine that when Jesus saw this inscription He knew that His own life would be the cost for the Gentiles to go past this barrier.
Mark 11:17, “And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS‘?”, which is a quote from Isa 56:17.
Paul used this image of the Dividing wall in the Temple to illustrate yet another intrusive dividing wall.
But first we note how this dividing wall was broken down?
Eph 2:15, “By abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.”
“Abolishing,” the Aorist, Active, Participle of KATARGEO, καταργέω that means to, “abolish, nullify, make idle or useless, waste, cease, do away with, or destroy.” In classical Greek it means, “to render inactive or void, to put out of use, make ineffective, powerless, cancel, bring to nothing, or do away with.” It is used in the context of rendering laws or edicts of no more effect.
“In His flesh,” EN HO SARX AUTOS, which speaks to the body of Christ that was sacrificed on behalf of all mankind. The Lord Jesus Christ provided for us the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict by becoming a member of the human race. It became obvious at the time of creation that the human race was created and brought on to planet earth to resolve the Angelic Conflict. It also was obvious that the failure of the first Adam necessitated the second Adam coming into the world without a sin nature, without an act of personal sin, without the imputation of Adam’s sin, so that He might actually resolve the Angelic Conflict. Passages like Col 2:14 make it very clear that Satan’s back was broken at the Cross.
“The enmity,” HO ECHTHRA, ἔχθρα, is a noun in the Accusative Singular that means, “enmity or hostility.” In ancient Greek it meant, “enmity, hatred, or hostility,” and Josephus used it in the sense of national / ethnic hatred. But Christ, through His sacrificial death, has “broken down the middle wall of partition (or hatred, ECHTHRA)” between humanity, i.e., Jews and Gentiles, and between God and mankind. He has reconciled believers to God and has brought the hostility, ECHTHRA, to an end as we will note in Eph 2:16. So we understand this to be speaking broadly of Christ’s work upon the Cross in the payment of the penalty of our sins, but more specifically it is speaking of something else.
So we have the “barrier of the dividing wall has been broken down by abolishing in His flesh the enmity.” At first glance we understand the “enmity” to be sin and Satan, which has separated us from relationship with God. But the enmity is defined for us in vs. 15, “which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances.”
“Enmity” is first uses in scripture in Gen 3:15, with the Hebrew word EYVAH, speaking of “hostility, animosity or ill will,” that God would put between the sinful woman and Satan. That enmity would be none other than The Lord Jesus Christ. He would come as “her seed” and save mankind from the broken relationship man had with God because of Satan’s seed coming into the world, sin. In Gen 3:15, “enmity” is used in regard to breaking the relationship sinful man has with Satan.
Likewise, “enmity” is first used in the N.T. in Luke 23:12, speaking of Herod and Pilate who were enemies prior to the arrest and trial of Jesus Christ. Luke tells us that they became friends that day. I guess the old Mongolian proverb is true, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Jesus was the enemy of both Herod and Pilate as the King of the Jews, and it was expedient for them both to get rid of Him. But the important point is that enmity speaks of broken relationships, Rom 8:7; Gal 5:20; James 4:4.
James 4:4, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy(ECHTHRA) of God.”
Now what effected broken relationships between the Jews and Gentiles? “The Law of commandments contained in ordinances.” The Greek reads HO NOMOS HO ENTOLE EN DOGMA.
NOMOS means, “law, rule, or principle,” and speaks of the Mosaic Law.
ENTOLE means, “command, order, decree, or injunction,” and speaks of the principle parts of the Law.
NOMOS and ENTOLE both individually and collectively refer to the Law which God gave to Moses and Israel. The Law showed them what sin was and what God would do about it. But the additional phrase “contained in ordinances,” which is simply the Dative case of EN DOGMA, tells us something special.
DOGMA means, “decree, edict, or ordinance.” In classical Greek two meanings dominate the definition; “a decree or an ordinance” and a “doctrine or a dogma.” Also, the local assemblies made “resolutions,” DOGMATA, for governing the people. More formally, a dogma was a published official “decree or edict.” A study of the word DOGMA in the LXX and Apostolic Writings confirms that the term was used of man-made laws, and not of the God-given Law / Torah that God gave to Israel in Sinai.
So this word speaks of decrees and edicts made, in this case, by the Jews in their interpretation of the Law. It refers to the many legalistic prohibitions they came up with in interpretation of the Mosaic Law, or to fulfill the Mosaic Law. In these edicts, they created barriers between the Jews and Gentiles, mostly in elevation of the Jews, for the worship of God. In fact, the Qumran covenanters referred to Rabbinic interpreters of the Torah by the term, “builders of the wall.” We saw this in the Judaizers who were pushing circumcision and the keeping of the Law, in addition to believing in Christ, in order to be saved.
In addition, the Greek word PHRAGMOS, “fence or dividing wall,” which we noted above was used in the 1st Century to identify the oral Torah, (law, a.k.a Rabbinic law), as a “wall” or “fence” around the written Torah (Mosaic Law), and the Pharisees as “builders of the wall.” Aspects of the oral Torah, not the written Torah, laid the foundation for a strict separation between Jew and non-Jew. So the dividing wall that was abolished by Messiah was none other than those Rabbinic laws which had enforced a separation between Jew and Gentile in opposition to the written Torah. In fact, the Tanakh, (Old Testament), gives very clear instructions against erecting barriers to separate Israel from the nations. The foreigner who desired to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was to be welcomed into the community and treated with the same respect as was given the native born, Ex 22:21; 23:9; Lev 19:33, 34; 25:35; Deut 26:12. They were to be given full participation in matters of Torah and Torah-life, (Sabbath, Ex 23:12, cf. Isa 56:3ff; Gleanings, Lev 19:10; Justice, Ex 12:49; Lev 24:22; Festivals, Deut 16:11, 14; Worship and Prayer in the Temple, 1 Kings 8:41-43, cf. 2 Chron 6:32, 33).
Paul goes on in the book of Colossians, on the basis of the removal of the debt consisting of “decrees,” telling believers to not let others judge them in regard to “food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day,” Col 2:16-25. This too spoke of the Rabbis in their “building fences,” which had created separation between Jew and non-Jew.
Therefore, the oral Torah of the 1st Century functioned to separate Jew and Gentile in a dramatic way. And DOGMA was used by Paul to denote those Rabbinic laws which had, in fact, separated Jew and non-Jew.
Yet, the Mosaic Law never demanded a wall to be built to separate the Jews and Gentiles in Tabernacle or Temple. It was not until Herod’s Temple that a dividing wall was built. So Paul uses the imagery of the DRYPHAKTO, LITHINOS, or SOREQ by creating a more generic term the gentiles would understand, MESOTOICHON, (dividing wall or middle partition), so that they would understand, as well as the Jews that the literal wall was not the issue, the mentality of the soul of the Jews that created legalistic prohibitions on the Gentiles that the Law did not.
Because the Gentiles were told by the Jews that there were things that kept them from a true relationship with God, i.e., vs. 12, “separate from Christ, (the anointed One, Messiah), no citizenship in Israel that made them foreigners to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and being without God in the world,” it created hostility and separation between the Gentile and the Jew. Just as man-made religion does today within Christianity. The Rabbinic law was a “dividing wall” that too was abolished by the Cross.
R.B. Thieme Jr. states, “This is one of the best-attested records from the ancient world of class distinction, of racial distinction. It is manifested in a wall that the Jews built around the temple. Gentiles could be around the outer court but never past the middle wall. Why the middle wall? Because the temple had walls, an outer wall and then a wall in between called the middle wall because the middle wall was that through which the Jews could go but the Gentiles could not. The penalty for any Gentile going past the middle wall was death. But Jesus Christ broke it down. When you accept Christ as savior and you are related by the baptism of the Spirit and are entered positionally into union with Christ, at that moment in principle the middle wall of partition is broken down.” (bold = my emphasis.)
Then in the last half of vs. 15, “That in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,” we see the purpose of God’s reconciliation.
“That He might make” is the Conjunction HINA plus the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, 3rd Person Singular of the Verb KTIZO, κτίζω that means, “create, form, shape, or found.” HINA plus the Subjunctive Mood makes this a purpose clause. It is God’s purpose through Christ to bring both Jew and Gentile into one new body, called the Church. And that is the result for all who believe upon Him as their Savior.
In classical Greek KTIZO was used to talk about something that is conceived or existing in the mind, and refers to things actually “brought into being” or “established.” It is used in regard to God as the Creator of the heavens and earth by His spoken word, Mark 13:19; Rom 4:17; 2 Cor 4:6; Col 1:16; Rev 10:6. As God’s creative act, it is used to describe Jesus Christ’s making of the “new spiritual man,” “in Himself,” EN HEAUTO, Eph 2:10; 2:15; 4:24; cf. 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15. So based on the completed work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, He has created “the two,” HO DUO, “into one new man,” EIS HEIS KAINOS ANTHROPOS.
“New” KAINOS means, “new or fresh” in character or quality, rather than new in the sense of recent in time, as NEOS indicates.
In the Church, Gentiles do not become Jews, nor do Jews become Gentiles. Instead believing Jews and Gentiles become Christians, a whole new single entity. When you accept Christ as Savior you are related by the baptism of the Spirit and are entered positionally into union with Christ, at that moment in principle, the middle wall of partition is broken down and the two become one.
As a result of Christ making the two into one new body is the “establishing or making peace,” the Present, Active, Participle of the Verb POIEO with the Noun EIRENE. Harmonious rapport is now the way of the Church.
- The distinction between Jew and Gentile emphasized by religious Jews and Judaizers is obliterated in the Church Age.
- Circumcision, Jews, have no spiritual advantage over uncircumcision, Gentiles. Just as the keeping of the Mosaic Law, Rabbinic law, or any other man-made religious law does not have advantage over the “new creation,” or the unique spiritual life of the Church Age founded in the mystery doctrines for the Church Age.
- Because of reconciliation and positional truth, all pseudo standards are removed and replaced by position in Christ.
- Both Jew and Gentile have the same position in Christ.
- Jesus Christ makes two kinds of peace or harmony:
- Harmony that removes the wall between Jew and Gentile, harmony that destroys all of those distinctions of the soul that are false and based upon the prejudice and the pattern of life and thinking when we were on the wrong side of the Cross.
- The harmony or peace that joins Jew and Gentile to God, removing the enmity between God and the believer and establishing a relationship between the believer and the strategic victory of Jesus Christ.
- Reconciliation removes bonafide barriers between God and man, as well as false barriers between man and man.
Eph 2:15b, “That in Himself (Jesus Christ) He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.”
Christ’s death, by being the one atoning sacrifice for the New Covenant, rendered the old covenant, (i.e. the Law of Moses and any subsequent Rabbinic laws), inoperative, (i.e., abolished). Jesus “abolished” the Mosaic Law in the sense that He fulfilled all its requirements. He himself said He had not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them, Mat 5:17; Rom 10:4.
Mat 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets (O.T. Scriptures); I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.”
Yet, Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Some translations give the idea that the Law was the enmity, but that is wrong; the Law was the cause of the enmity. Christ “destroyed” the barrier (hostility) by making the Law inoperative. Now that the Law is inoperative, “Christ is the end of the Law,” Jewish-Gentile hostility is gone.
Jesus was the only one qualified to remove all previous distinctions between Jews and Gentiles and “to make in Himself… one new man,” a reference to the N.T. Church in which no distinctions exist. Christ’s goal was not to bring Gentiles into Israel, but to create from the two ethnic groups “one new man,” establishing peace between them.
Therefore, all forms of arrogance that lead to various kinds of prejudices, especially anti-Semitism, have no place in the spiritual life of the C.A. believer. All believers are one body in Christ, Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor 10:17; Eph 2:16; 4:4; Col 3:15.
Eph 2:16, “And might reconcile them both in one body to God through the Cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
In this verse, the coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and,” continues the purpose clause of vs. 15.
Then we have the Aorist, Active Subjunctive of the verb APOKATALLASSO, ἀποκαταλλάσσω for “might reconcile,” which is made up from the Prepositions APO that means, “from or out from,” and KATA that means, “according to,” and the Verb ALLASSO, that means, “change, exchange or transform.”
APOKATALLASSO has come to mean, “reconcile or change from one state of feeling to another.” It occurs nowhere else prior to the N. T., and its three usages appear to be coinages of Paul, Eph 2:16; Col 1:20, 22. It is also virtually identical in definition to its root KATALLASSO, Rom 5:10; 2 Cor 5:18-20, and likewise functions in an almost exclusively religious manner.
Col 1:20-22, “And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
Because of the prefix APO, it is probable that APO-KATALLASSO implies the idea of reconciliation to a former state or condition. Paul may have coined this term APO-KATALLASSO instead of his usual KATALLASSO, to bring about the concept of the “restoration of a previously existing relationship.” Previously, in the Garden, man was in relation with God; at peace with Him. Due to the fall, man’s relation with God was broken and we were at enmity with Him. It is that broken relation that has been restored through the blood of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
And that reconciliation is for both Jew and Gentile, as noted in the phrase, “them both in one body to God,” HO AMPHOTEROI EN HEIS SOMATI HO THEOS. So the reconciliation here is man with God, as in vs. 14-15 it was between man and man, Jew and Gentile.
This reconciliation of both groups to God was accomplished, “through the Cross,” DIA HO STAUROS. This is given to explain the “flesh,” SARX, of vs. 15 that pointed out the humanity of Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union, which paid the penalty for our sin upon the Cross.
Then finally, in vs. 15 the “enmity,” ECHTHRA, (which was “the Law of commands in ordinances” that spoke of sin as told through the Law with emphasis on sinful man-made edicts and religion), was abolished “in His flesh” i.e., the Cross. Now we see in vs. 16 that our reconciliation of the broken relationship with God is accomplish through the Cross, “by it having put to death the enmity,” EN AUTOS APOKTEINO HO ECHTHRA.
“Having put to death,” is the verb APOKTEINO in the Aorist, Active, Participle. It means, “kill.” The thing that was killed here is “the enmity,” ECHTHRA, which is all sin, including the sin of prejudice and man-made religion. And just as vs. 15 indicated that Jesus Christ is the point of convergence for all people, so vs. 16 shows us that the Cross is the place of convergence between God and man. Even though it was man who had separated himself from God by his sins, God initiated the act of reconciliation by sending His Son. Now we are reconciled to Him and to one another because He has “broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”
Therefore, all sin, including religion and prejudice, was eradicated at the Cross opening the door for man to be reconciled with God, and for man to be reconciled with man. Though Jesus Christ was put to death, He in turn put to death the Jewish-Gentile hostility and in vs. 14-15, created reconciliation between Jewish and Gentile believers, and in vs. 16, the reconciliation is between people and God. Reconciliation and the removal of enmity between man and God, is also mentioned in Rom 5:10; 2 Cor 5:18-20; Col 1:20.
Not only has God, who is always the subject of the active form, reconciled, “made peace with,” mankind as a whole to Himself through the Cross, He has also, in one act of reconciliation, broken down the barriers, “made peace,” between Jews and Gentiles. Christ, “our peace,” vs. 14, “makes peace,” vs. 15, and reconciles both Jew and Gentile in one Body to God through the Cross, vs. 16. He has created from these two a “new man,” so that in essence a “new race,” a new spiritual species, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15, has appeared, comprised of true believers. Therefore, men who before were strangers and enemies, in mind as well as in acts, are now reconciled with God and with each other, through the Blood at the Cross of Jesus. Therefore, reconciliation removes all false standards and pseudo barriers between the members of the human race and all believers are new creatures in Christ.
Eph 2:17, “AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR.”
“And He came,” is the Conjunction KAI with the Aorist, Active, Participle of the Verb ERCHOMAI, ἔρχομαι that means, “to come, appear” or sometimes “go.” The Aorist past tense is used for the coming of Christ in His first Advent. It includes His life, His Cross and His Resurrection that fulfilled the reconciliation by the removal of the barrier between man and God. This is not a part of the paraphrase from Isa 57:19, but introduces the subject of the paraphrase.
“And preached,” does not have the conjunction in the Greek, and is not the Greek word that also means “preached,” KERUSSO, that simply means, “to proclaim.” It is the Verb EUANGELIZO, εὐαγγελίζω in the Aorist, Middle, Indicative that means, “to bring good news.” As such, Jesus Himself brought or announced good news, that is, He proclaimed or preached the gospel of salvation that brought peace to man. In this verse the subject producing the action is Jesus Christ through His life, death, resurrection, ministry and words. Therefore, by the Cross and after the Cross Christ preached that message, and still does today through you and me.
This verb is related to the noun ANGELO, “messenger,” and originally the term stood for proclaiming a military victory, “to bring good news” of various content from the battlefield. So we understand this preaching to be proclaiming the strategic victory of Jesus Christ in the Angelic Conflict that defeated sin and death and has brought peace to mankind. Some say “He gospelized peace” to both Jew and Gentile.
In Isa 57:19 this part reads, “Creating the praise/fruit of the lips,” from the Hebrew BARA NIWV SAPHAH. So the fruit of the lips is equivalent to preaching or evangelizing, which both are the Fruit of the Spirit / Divine Good Production.
“Peace” in both instances is the Noun EIRENE, which we have noted above.
The first preaching of “peace” was “to you who were far away,” HUMEIS HO MAKROS. HO is the Dative of advantage article joined with MAKROS an Adjective in the direct object Accusative that was also used in vs. 13, figuratively representing the Gentiles, speaking of the perceived position and condition of the Gentiles in relation to God.
Then we have the coordinating Conjunction KAI, to link the first object, the Gentiles with the second object, the Jews, as having both received His message of peace.
“To those who were near,” which is also the Dative of advantage of HO, “to those,” with the Adverb ENGUS that means “near or close to;” figuratively representing the Jews.
As in Rom 5:1-2, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have
obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God,” peace with God entails being welcomed into His presence, access to Him. And neither Jew nor Gentile comes by way of Law with its sacrifices; both come to the Father by way of the Holy Spirit, cf. Rom 8:15-16; Gal 4:6, which is the topic of our next verse.
Gal 4:6, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
To save Gentiles, as well as Jews, was the design of our Savior’s coming, as the preaching of the gospel makes abundantly obvious, which is addressed indiscriminately to both. When Jesus came to the earth in the incarnation He communicated the good news of reconciliation to both Jews and Gentiles, just as Isaiah 57:19 prophesied He would.
Christ not only made peace between sinners and God, Rom 5:1, but He also made peace between Jews and Gentiles. He took sinful Jews and sinful Gentiles and through His Cross made a “new man,” called “the Church.” The mystery of the Church was revealed through Paul, as we will see in chapter 3, and that it took some time for the Jewish Christians to understand God’s new program as they continued to keep the Law for salvation, even though Jesus “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes,” Rom 10:4.
In fact, this “peace” was the first word of the Christ to His gathered followers in John 20:19, “Peace be with you.”
And in Acts 3:26, when Peter and John were speaking to the Israelites Peter said, “God, raised up His Servant/Son (Jesus), sent Him to bless (EULOGEO) you.” Cf. Acts 10:36.
For this peace is nothing less than our entrance, hand in hand, into the innermost presence of a welcoming, loving, and rejoicing God.
When you come to Jesus Christ, you are not only brought into a body, but you are also brought into a place where you stand before God positionally in equality with everyone else. I stand with you and you stand with me on equal footing.
Therefore, there should never be a point of separation for believers on any basis at all. We have been made one in Christ. If you are a believer in Christ, it makes no difference who you are, we are all going to be together throughout eternity. And as such, it would not be a bad idea for us to speak to each other every now and then down here, with no walls erected.
This peace, unity of access to the Father, is noted in vs. 18, and in the next and final section of this chapter, vs. 18-22, Here, Paul picks up the thread of Eph 1:22-23, where the Church, the body of Christ, was last mentioned.
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Next in Ephesians 2 – Part 6, we will study:
Verses 18 – 22
Doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Doctrine of the Cornerstone