Breaking Down the Dividing Wall
Part 1

By Lloyd Ellefson

The Rejection of the Firstborn - the rejection of that which has been produced by fleshly activity!

In this study we want to see the reality of what was foreshadowed or typified by the firstborn in the Old Testament. We will see that Christ is the spiritual fulfillment of all the advantages Israel enjoyed in the natural realm.

Israel had great advantages according to the flesh: theirs were the promises, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple services, etc. These divided them from other nations. In the progressive dealings of God, we will see how this dividing wall is broken down in Christ.

The advantages Israel enjoyed in the flesh, like the temple and the priesthood, were only types and shadows of that which would be fulfilled spiritually in Christ. There is no spiritual inheritance for the flesh, because the natural is only temporal, and it is opposed to spiritual realities! The sum of all things is Christ! All the types and shadows have their fulfillment in Him!

The scriptures clearly teach that those who are in the flesh cannot please God, and that we no longer know Christ according to the flesh. (2 Cor. 5:16) That means we no longer know Him as He was when He was in an earthly body. We now recognize that He is spirit, and we worship Him in spirit and in truth! (Jn. 4:23-24) If we no longer know Christ according to the flesh, why should we still think of Israel according to their fleshly lineage?

If we still think of Israel according to the flesh, as many Christians do, we will look for a natural restoration of Israel, of their land, the temple, the priesthood and the sacrifices. Those who are still waiting for that, have not really given up their hope in the flesh. All these natural things are according to the flesh. Israel according to the flesh is not spiritual Israel. Jesus made this very plain, and so did Paul. The spiritual fulfillment is in Christ!

Yet people tend to cling to these natural things. Instead of hearing the Spirit, they try to spiritualize the natural. But it is impossible for the natural to become spiritual! The natural man cannot even understand spiritual realities. Trying to arrive at a spiritual conception of natural things does not bring us into truth. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us spiritual reality. Since the natural man cannot understand spiritual realities, he brings these spiritual realities into a lower level - into the natural realm where he expects them to be fulfilled according to his level of understanding.

Spiritual realities are beyond our natural comprehension. Receiving Christ makes us a new creation; this is much greater than only repentance and forgiveness! Receiving the Holy Spirit enables us to receive His teaching, but it also requires a listening attitude to hear what the Spirit is saying. This is of utmost importance because He brings us the things of Christ. The things of Christ do not belong to this world nor to Israel. Since they are spiritual realities, they have nothing to do with the flesh or with natural things. All the promises of God have their fulfillment in Christ.

God's first promise of restoration or deliverance was given to Eve. He said that when the seed would come, it would destroy the head of the enemy who is called Satan - that adversary to God and to us! He only brings us lies and delusions. The promise also came to Abraham. God said to him, "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed..." (Gen. 22:18) Then it was manifested in type in his wife and his son Isaac. He had to be born of the Spirit of God because the flesh was unable to bring forth the promise. God rejected the idea that the inheritance could be passed on through Hagar, an Egyptian bondwoman. God said that the child would be born of Sarah, and God does not work through substitutes. It had to be a miraculous birth to show that the flesh (man's effort) cannot bring forth the fulfillment of God's promises!

The promise that "in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed," was given to Abraham, not to natural Israel, so it did not belong to them. This seed is Jesus Christ. (Gal. 3:14) In Him the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles. Therefore the promise is for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews. There is no distinction!

Having hope in natural, temporal things is natural thinking. This corresponds to the letter which kills. It wants the type and shadow to be re-established instead of wanting the spiritual reality.

In Matthew 11:11 Jesus said, "...among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist." Why? Because John prophesied of the One, Jesus Christ who is the redeemer and the deliverer, and that He was already with them. He prophesied of the One who would bring the consciousness and the realization of all the realities which were hidden in the parables. This realization is hidden from those who operate in the carnal mind, for "those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom. 8:8) None of the good deeds produced by the flesh profit us. Sin is condemned in the flesh. Since flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom of God, we need to come out of mortality by being birthed into immortality.

We no longer know Christ according to the flesh because we see Him in a new light - a spiritual light. A heart that is subject to the Spirit will hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. The Jews searched the scriptures because they thought they could find eternal life in the scriptures. They were ignorant of the fact that the scriptures were only a witness of Christ in Whom we have life. So they refused to come to the One who could give them life! (Jn. 5:39-40) Many are still in this ignorance.

Walking in the oldness of the letter is death because the letter is DEAD. Walking in the newness of the Spirit is life because life is in the Spirit. If we are hearing the Spirit's teaching, we won't have any problem with understanding that the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ. The seed which was promised to Eve, is the same seed that was promised to Abraham. The fulfillment is not in a nation, but in one seed, namely Christ! "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, `And to seeds,' as referring to many, but rather to one, `And to your seed,' that is Christ." (Gal. 3:16)

At the time these promises were given, the nation of Israel did not yet exist. It only came into being much later. The promise to Abraham was repeated to his son Isaac, for he was born of the promise; Ishmael was rejected because he was born of the bondwoman and the law. The promise was then passed on to Jacob. He was called the supplanter; he was deceitful, cunning and conniving; he lied to his father three times in order to get the blessing. This deceitfulness seemed to run in the family, for this was evident in his mother Rebecca and in his uncle Laban as well. Laban promised to give his younger daughter Rachel to Jacob as wife, them managed to substitute Leah. According to their law, the younger could not be married before the older. So this was a marriage according to law. It was a marriage in deception - the same nature Jacob had been expressing.

Jacob had to work another 7 years for the woman of his love, the woman of his heart! After leaving Laban, he wrestled with God, and his name was changed to Israel. There were only two sons (out of 12), namely Joseph and Benjamin, that were born of Israel and the wife of his love. This helps us understand what Paul said in Romans 9:6-8. "For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel...but: `through Isaac your descendants will be named.' That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants." We are talking about a birthright. You have to have the birthright before you can receive the inheritance.

The firstborn represents that which is born of the flesh. All our concepts first come to us in a natural form; our natural mind cannot receive spiritual concepts. These natural concepts are rejected by God. So when God bypassed the firstborn in the passing on of the inheritance, He was symbolizing an eternal truth. Anything that has its source in the flesh is rejected!

Let's look at some examples. Beginning with Adam, we see that the firstborn, Cain, was rejected. God bypassed the firstborn of Abraham which was Ishmael; He bypassed the firstborn of Isaac which was Esau; He bypassed the firstborn of Jacob which was Reuben; He also bypassed the next two in line, Simeon and Levi, even though Levi was going to represent the priesthood. This was a priesthood according to the law, so he could not typify the new covenant priesthood. The inheritance fell on Judah. Even Joseph's firstborn Manasseh was passed over for the inheritance. In type, this shows us that our first concepts are fleshly concepts, and these have to be rejected.

That which is first has to be bypassed. The Jewish nation, the priesthood, the temples, the land and the Law have to be bypassed. All these first things had to be put away, not because they were bad, or because they were evil, or because they were wrong, but because something greater had come! The greater displaces the lesser.

This is the way Christ always works. Light displaces darkness, life displaces death and truth displaces error. That is the only way error and darkness can be done away with. Receiving the life, light and truth that Christ is, takes us out of darkness, error and death. He brings in the things which usher out the wrong. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Our old concepts and ideas can only be dissipated by Christ! It is impossible to get rid of them in any other way.

Jacob was promised that the Shiloh (a name for Jesus) would come out of Judah. Judah would have the scepter, that is, the rule, but only until the Shiloh would come. The scepter, a symbol of authority, followed the progeny of Judah until Jesus came. David was a type of Christ, and Jesus was called the Son of David in Matt. 9:27 and in other passages. According to the flesh, the ancestry of Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. But flesh and blood does not inherit the kingdom of God. In Christ the old order ended because He established a new priesthood! He bypassed the natural reproduction and brought forth a spiritual priesthood and a spiritual inheritance! The new order displaces the old!

There are countless references to the way God dealt with Israel in the Old Testament. If these are only understood in the natural, we will miss their spiritual application. The Old Testament happenings are a type of the spiritual fulfillment we have in Christ. Being caught up in the natural only gives a natural or physical hope. We need to see the spiritual reality that comes to us in Christ! Our natural ideas, lusts and desires can only be put away by receiving the truth that Christ is!

The nation of Israel, the temple, the land, the law, etc. could each be dealt with at length, but the solution does not lie in studying all these things. The answers come to us in Christ; understanding the teaching of the New Testament delivers us from all hope in the natural and from all hope this world tries to give us. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." (Jn. 18:36) His kingdom operates on a spiritual level.

In Galatians 4:27 Paul said that many more are the children of the bondwoman (Hagar) than are the children of the promise. The children of Hagar are children of the flesh. The child of promise (Isaac) was born when the flesh was dead to that type of activity. The children born of the flesh multiplied much more rapidly than those of the promise. Many nations came out of Abraham, but only ONE nation comes out of Christ - and it eliminates all other nations! Christ is King, so He has to have a kingdom of people! This has nothing to do with the natural kingdoms of this world. The greater kingdom HAS come, and it has displaced the former, the lesser! May God bless you!

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