Reports on what God is doing through Bible believing evangelical Christians in Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, India and Ecuador. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
SELAH! Pause - reflect- just think of that!
No More Walls
The Jewish temple had a “no
trespassing” sign that prevented all non-Jewish
persons from going beyond a certain area. It was
enforced on the punishment of death. The non-Jews
could go only so far as the Court of the Gentiles,
and the Jewish women could go only so far as the
Court of the Women.
The temple was surrounded by
courts that formed layers of separation from the
inner shrine of the Holy of Holies. The innermost
court was the Court of the Priests who constantly
attended the daily sacrifices and led in the worship
of Yahweh or the LORD God. Next was the Court of
Israel into which only Jewish men could enter and
worship. After this was the Court of the Women,
which indicated, that Jewish women could go no
further into the temple. The outer perimeter was the
Court of the Gentiles with a five-foot barricade
that went around the entire temple enclosure. At
intervals on the wall separating the Jewish from the
non-Jewish people were inscriptions warning that no
non-Jewish persons were ever permitted to enter the
Jewish enclosure upon the punishment of death.
Archaeologists found such a
stone inscription in 1871 dating back to the Jewish
temple. It read, “No foreigner is to enter within
the banister and embankment around the sanctuary.
Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his
own death which follows.”
The bottom line was,
“Trespassers will be killed.” In fact, the apostle
Paul almost got himself killed in the temple because
of false rumors that he took a Gentile into the
sacred area (Acts 21:27-31).
Jesus tore down the wall. No,
He did not do it with His hands. He did it with His
cross. “But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be
far away have been brought near by the blood of
Christ” (Ephesians 2:13 NET). Powerful is the
message of the cross. Paul goes on to describe the
effects of the blood of Jesus on the wall of
separation. “For he is our peace, the one who made
both groups into one and who destroyed the middle
wall of partition, the hostility . . . He did this
to create in himself one new man out of two, thus
making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body
to God through the cross, by which the hostility has
been killed . . .” (vv. 14-16 NET).
The sin barrier between man and
God was removed by the death of Christ and as a
result man is reconnected to God. Jesus provided the
only way that man can approach God. He effectively
removed the dividing walls.
It is through Christ Jesus we
both [Jewish and non-Jewish] have our access in one
Spirit to the Father (v. 18). The result is “you are
no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are
fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s
household” (v. 19).
The cause of the perpetual
hostility has been removed. Sin was dealt with at
the cross. The enmity has been so completely laid
aside that complete friendship follows. Where there
was hostility Christ has accomplished
reconciliation. We are at peace with God.
God was the offended party and
he took the action to remove the enmity. It is a
divine action that removes the barrier. It is not
that the two sides come together as if it were
voluntarily or as equals; it is the superior one
bringing the other into this position of complete
harmony and accord.
God made reconciliation. God
the Father sent God the Son to pay our sin debt in
full by dying on the cross. He bore the punishment
due to us for our sins and as a result restored our
fellowship with God. The cross of Jesus made a way
for us to come to God by faith.
Moreover, because the way to
God was restored by the death of Christ our
fellowship with Jews and non-Jews has been restored
if they are also in Christ. Note carefully, peace
will come only as individuals are reconciled to God
through Jesus Christ. Sin brought about hostility.
Jesus removed that hostility.
Since the greater wall has been
completely removed there is no need for the lesser
walls of separation. They came down with the wall
that separated us from God. But the veil came down
only in Christ. If God has torn away the wall of
separation between him and us there can never be a
wall that separates others in Christ from us. In
fact, the great truth of the passage is we are all
members of the one body of Christ (vv. 13-18).
If we are one in Christ, then
in his eyes we are one with every other believer.
There are no Jews and non-Jews, slaves or free, in
Christ. We are all “in him.” The wall was torn down
with the thick veil in the temple that kept everyone
out of his holy presence including the Jewish men.
The only exception was the high priest on the Day of
Atonement, and then only on that one day of the
year. The veil was torn from top
to bottom and we can all enter into God’s holy
presence through the blood of his Son.
We have all been reconciled in
“one body to God through the cross.” “So then you
are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you
are fellow citizens with the saints and members of
God’s household” (NET).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.""Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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