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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE MIDDLE WALL OF PARTITION

Ephesians 2:14-17 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; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

The birth of Jesus was foretold in the prophesy of Isaiah. The Son of God was known by many names, one of which was The Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). On the Day of Pentecost the church of Jesus Christ was established, through the preaching of the inspired apostles in Jerusalem, with the first converts into Christianity being three thousand souls, that received God's word and were baptized into His body. Luke also records in The Acts of the Apostles the importance God placed on peace in the preaching of His word. It is not possible to preach salvation through Christ without preaching peace. Peace comes by Jesus Christ (Acts 10:36); He is indeed The Prince of Peace.

Much has been written about the walled cities during the biblical years. We know that both Jericho and Jerusalem were walled cities, as well as the noted cities of refuge. They were walled as defense against aggressive enemies. Had there been peace with neighboring city-states and other surrounding countries, there would have been no need for these fortified walls. The Great Wall of China was built in order to keep enemies out of their country.

More recently the Berlin Wall was built by Russia to separate the communistic from the democratic sectors of the city. The differences between the ideologies of Communist Russia and the western nations resulted in extremely tense relationships between these countries - they were considered enemies. However, a peaceful relationships was established with the downfall of the communistic society in Russia, and when peace was established, the Berlin Wall came down, in such dramatic fashion, that it was televised around the world. Today peace exists within Berlin as well as throughout Germany. The German people are at peace with one another - there is no need for a middle wall of partition.

Although we read of wars and animosity existing between nations of people, and even within families, there was no real distinction, other than heritage, between the inhabitants of the earth until the call of Abraham. It was through his grandson, Jacob, that the Israelites became a "called out nation" having distinctly different religious requirements, as designed by their covenant relationship with God. Those under God's law, given through Moses, became known as Jews. To distinguish between Jews, and all other people, the non-Jews were called Gentiles. There are many hostile relationships described in the bible between Jew and Gentile nations, especially during the conquest of the land of Canaan, after which there appeared to be reasonable co-existence, including substantial commercial relationships. As New Testament times drew near, the relationship between Jews and Gentile nations was extremely volatile. Hatred existed to the point that Jews were forbidden to have any kind of relationships with Gentiles; Gentiles were considered to be "unclean," a fact that was brought out by Peter (Acts 10:28).

Jews and Gentiles were enemies. This was the relationship that existed when the "Prince of Peace", our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, began His ministry on earth. Although God's plan of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, was first extended by the apostles at Jerusalem, to them that were nigh (the Jews), it was soon after delivered to you which were afar off (the Gentiles),beginning with the conversion of Cornelius and his family. By direct inspiration Peter came to the house of Cornelius preaching peace by Jesus Christ, and said to them, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him (Acts 10:34-36).

Outside the body of Christ, hatred, animosity, and wars exist to this day. However, in Christ, in His body, the church, there is peace. The middle wall of partition has been broken down; all are one in Christ. In Christ, there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3:11). All have been reconciled unto God in one body by the cross. In His body, the church, all are Christians; all are one; all are at peace; there is no middle wall of partition.