Ephesians 2:15 Explained – ‘…abolishing the law of commandments…’

Biblical Translation Copyright disclaimers

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

“Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ “

The Orthodox Jewish Bible Copyright Artists for Israel Intl Used by permission © The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction

Some may currently and mistakenly feel that ‘Ephesians 2:15 says that some parts of the law of Moses have been cancelled…’;

by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
Ephesians 2:15 ESV

Politely, Ephesians 2:15 does not speak of this at all, and this explanation of the verse will show how it refers to how both Jews and Gentiles who believe in Christ (Messiah), are now one, and thus they are no longer forbidden to assosiate with each other, but allowed.

Explanation

Ephesians 2:15 speaks of creating ‘one man’, and we will see that when it says ‘…abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances…’ (ESV) – that this relates to how Jews and Gentiles who believe in Messiah (Christ), may assosiate, live, and eat together as they are now one in Christ.

Previously, it was illegal for Jews to live or associate with unbelieving Gentiles – we see this demonstrated when Simon Peter spoke;

And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.
Acts 10:28 ESV

However, when a Gentile believes – that person is no longer deemed ‘common’ and unclean, but is now ‘clean’ (Acts 10:15). This also applies to those who have been designated by G-d to believe (John 6:44), as we see in the example of Cornelius and his household in Acts 10-11.

The verse above Ephesians 2:15 (v.14) speaks of ‘…the dividing wall of hostility.’;

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Ephesians 2:14 ESV

And verse verse v.16 speaks of ‘hostility’ [again, between Jews and Gentiles on either side of this wall who do not believe] being not existing any more;

and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Ephesians 2:16 ESV

Verses 20-21 show us further that this enmity between Jews and Gentiles, which is referred to as the ‘wall of hostility’, is no longer there – as when these people believe in Christ (Messiah), they are one, joined together;

‘…Christ Jesus… being joined together…’
(Ephesians 2:20‭-‬21 ESV)

Verses 19 and 12 show us that these Jews and Gentiles who believe, are now one and are both ‘fellow citizens’, of the ‘…commonwealth of Israel…’;

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Ephesians 2:19 ESV

‘…the commonwealth of Israel…’
(Ephesians 2:12 ESV).

For Contextual Support

Galatians refers to the above emnity between Jews and Gentiles who do not believe in Christ, when it speaks of the wall of hostility and the act of building and tearing down;

For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.
Galatians 2:18 ESV

The explanation of Galatians 2:18 is as follows;

Cephas (a devout Jew) was not welcoming to Gentiles who had believed (Galatians 2:11-14).

Cephas may have still been grasping the good news of the Gospel, in that in Christ ‘…all the nations of the earth…’ [are] ‘…blessed…’ (Genesis 22:18 ESV, Galatians 3:16). Believers become citizens of Israel (Ephesiams 2:19, 2:12, Isaiah 53:11)] and are Israelites (Galatians 6:15-16).

Cephas may also not have known at the time, that the Gentiles eating at the table in Galatians 2 were genuine born again believers in Messiah (Christ).

What does this mean?

By Cephas not welcoming the Gentiles who believed, as native Israelites, Cephas was in a metaphorical way trying to ‘build up’ the wall of hostility that exists between unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. This wall had already been ‘torn down’ – because these Gentiles believed in Christ.

This is why dear Cephas was corrected by the faithfully observant apostle Paul, so that he would be walking in line with this truth with regard to the gospel (Galatians 2:11, 2:14) which is in agreement with the Torah (‘…people of all nations…’ – Genesis 22:18).

Hoping it is fruitful.

May the Holy G-d bless you beyond maximum, believing in His created, risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua/Yeshua HaMoshiach). Amen.

http://www.Christianity-in-Context.com
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Copyright disclaimers:

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

“Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. http://www.Lockman.org

“Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ “

The Orthodox Jewish Bible Copyright Artists for Israel Intl Used by permission © The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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