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Studies in the Epistles of the Mystery.
#42. "The law of commandments
contained in ordinances" (Eph. 2: 15).
pp. 24 - 27
In verse 14 the Lord Himself is set forth as our peace in contrast to the condition of
enmity which is brought before us in verse 15. The A.V. leads us to believe that the
enmity was abolished in the flesh of Christ, which indeed in a broad sense is a scriptural
doctrine as Col. 1: 22 and 2: 14 indicate. A close adherence to the wording of
Eph. 2: 15 however leads to another conclusion and to a slightly different truth.
Rotherham observed the different teaching here, and renders the passage:--
"He in fact is our peace . . . . . Who made both one, and the enclosing middle wall
took down, the enmity, in His flesh . . . . . the law of commandments in decrees . . . . .
bringing to nought, that the two," etc.
The two sentences are:--
1. The middle wall taken down, and
2. The enmity in His flesh abolished.
The middle wall and the enmity in His flesh are the same, both are obstacles to peace,
and both were taken down or abolished. The explanation, "the law of commandments in
decrees", is given to throw light upon the nature of the middle wall, and how that could
be spoken of as the enmity in His flesh. How could enmity be connected with Him?
When the apostle wished to enumerate the covenant privileges of Israel, he included,
as one of their exclusive dispensational possessions, Christ. But can Christ, the One who
is the very Head of the One Body, really be included as a peculiar possession of Israel?
Yes, within the limitations set in Rom. 9: 5, for there we read:--
"Of whom, AS CONCERNING THE FLESH, Christ came, the One Who is (really)
over all, God blessed for the ages."
According to the flesh Israel have the prior claim to the Messiah. This He recognized
during His earthly ministry, for He said to the Gentile woman who came to ask a favour,
"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel". In the second epistle to the
Corinthians the apostle makes a very sweeping statement:--
"So that we, from now, know no one according to flesh (or fleshly distinctions, seeing
that Christ died on behalf of all, verse 15), and even though we knew Christ according to
the flesh, yet now we no longer know Him (thus), so that if any one be in Christ, he is a
new creature; the old things have passed away, behold they have become new"
(II Cor. 5: 15-17. Vatican MSS).
What is the compelling context of this new vision of Christ? "Having judged this",
namely, the death for all (not only for Israel), the new creation, and the reconciliation.