Breaking Down the Dividing Wall
Part 3

By Lloyd Ellefson

Jesus Christ is the only way to God, and the only way to spiritual realization! Man's doctrines and ideas about God cannot provide the way! To know God, we have to come the way God has provided for us - through Jesus Christ! Only in Christ can we know the meaning of being sons of God, and know who we are in God. There is no other way to God and no other name under heaven by which we can be saved! This applies to both Jew and Gentile - and that includes everyone!

"For He Himself is our peace..." (Eph. 2:14) The law brought a distinction between Israel and the Gentiles. Through the commandments and the circumcision Israel differed from the rest of humanity. Although this separated them from other nations, their nature wasn't any different from the rest of humanity. They needed to be reconciled to God just like everyone else!

Since the Gentiles were excluded from the promises, they were without hope and without God. So the Jews looked down upon them; in their superiority they considered them as dogs. It isn't hard to understand that this produced hard feelings and enmity between the two groups.

Peace could only come by taking away that distinction! In His flesh, Jesus Christ abolished the law of commandments and made one humanity out of the two, by taking both groups out of the old humanity and placing them in Himself. This takes away the dividing wall! In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, bond person or free, but all are one in Christ. A spiritual realization of this will phase out all divisions, for divisions are the result of carnal thinking. Spiritual illumination delivers us from that thinking.

"And might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity." (v.16) Christ has put us into the NEW MAN. There are only two corporate men in the scriptures! Everyone is either in Adam, the old humanity, or in Christ, the new humanity. Circumcision separated Israel from the other nations, but it could not take them out of Adam. So they were alike in that they all had the same sinful nature. The fact that the Jews could not obey God's law, proved this.

God has His law written in the hearts of men. (Rom. 1:19-20; 2:14-15)) This includes everyone - Jew and Gentile. It is impossible for the carnal mind to subject itself to the law of God! That is why the Jews could not subject themselves to the law.

Jesus told the Jews that God's word did not abide in them, and that they did not believe Moses, for if they had believed Moses they would believe Him! Though they professed to believe Moses, they didn't believe the purpose for which the law had been given; they thought they could attain the righteousness that met God's standard through their own efforts of obeying the law. Jesus was not condemning them, but He wanted them to realize that they were not better than the rest of the world.

The promises of God are for all who are in Christ. He does not have one set of promises for the Jews, and one for the Gentiles. Christ reconciles both groups to God in Himself.

Christ receives the complete inheritance of God! He is the firstborn of God, and we become joint heirs with Him by becoming partakers of His life and of His nature! We have been baptized into His body, joined to His Spirit, and have become one with Christ - in answer to His prayer in John 17. There is no separate gospel nor promise for anyone. All the promises have their fulfillment in Christ.

The enmity was between two factions of the same humanity. Christ reconciled them to God through the cross by putting to death the enmity. (v.16) The enmity was destroyed by bringing both into a new humanity. Jesus did that by His manifestation on earth and His crucifixion. In Himself, He made the two into one new man.

Generally speaking, the nation of Israel was anti-Christ, and therefore anti-God. Since Jesus Christ, manifested in the flesh, was the express image of the invisible God, the rejection of Jesus Christ by Israel proved that they did not know God, and that God's word did not dwell in them! Israel was in sin, death and bondage, anti-Christ and anti-God, just as all men in their natural state are. Romans 3 tells us that no man seeks after God and that every man has gone his own way! All are guilty of the same iniquity. Their rejection of Christ proved that!

So we need not look any farther than our old humanity for the Antichrist. In order to get rid of our old humanity, we have to be placed into the new humanity! This does away with the anti-Christ of the old humanity, and we have peace with God. We can only give peace to others after we have received that spiritual peace that Christ gives us!

"And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near." (v.17) When Jesus came to His disciples after His resurrection, He said, "Peace be with you." (Jn.20:21) This message of peace was one of peace with God. They did not have the peace of God before that; they needed to be reconciled to God!

Christ's mission was to reconcile the world to God the Father! He accomplished this, for God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. God is not imputing our sin to us! This reconciliation is to God - not to Christ. Christ does not express Himself, because He is expressing God. We need to keep this in mind, and also express God in everything we do.

"For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father." (v.18) The Law was our first teacher; it was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Christ's coming brought us the Spirit of sonship, which is an anointing - and it teaches us all things. So the Holy Spirit becomes our new teacher! Through Christ we have access in one Spirit to the Father. Christ provided this access for us and for Israel! Before that Israel only had access to the names of God, but they did not have a Father-son relationship!

Sonship has to do with our adoption - being placed above the law (or taken out of the law). This happened to Jesus Christ when He came out of the Jordan. (Luke 3) At that time He repented of having lived under the law for thirty years, and He received the Holy Spirit as His teacher. Then He heard God say, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." We too have to repent of having lived under the law, and receive the Holy Spirit as our teacher, if we want to enter into a Father-son relationship with God.

If we do not allow the Spirit to teach us, we are in rebellion against God. The interpretation of the letter has to come through the Holy Spirit, because He is our new teacher! One of the adversary's most successful tactics is to get Christians to suppress the Spirit.

Jesus said that if we blaspheme the Spirit, we won't be forgiven in this age nor in the age to come. "...yet whoever should be blaspheming against the holy spirit is having no pardon for the eon, but is liable to the eonian penalty for the sin..." (Mk.3:29 Concordant) Why? Because the Holy Spirit brings us the knowledge of the forgiveness of our sins. He releases us from our sin-consciousness, and takes us out of our delusion. The Spirit conveys the release of sins which is ours in Christ. If we blaspheme the Spirit, we are rejecting the vehicle through whom our release comes. This applies to any age. So we need to submit ourselves to the Spirit. Blaspheming the Spirit is not an unforgivable sin. But we need the Holy Spirit to bring us the forgiveness. So when we accept the Spirit we receive forgiveness. There is no unforgivable sin as far as God is concerned. Once we accept the vehicle in which the knowledge of forgiveness comes to us, we receive forgiveness!

"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household." (Eph. 2:19) We do not need to be circumcised in order to be members of God's household. Receiving the Holy Spirit brings both the circumcised and the uncircumcised into a new relationship. This destroys the idea that the natural Israelites are still the children of God.

Clinging to that idea would destroy the whole purpose of the Holy Spirit's coming to bring us into oneness with Christ. Letting circumcision bring a division, separating Jew and Gentile, is not of Christ. We need to grow in our understanding. If we do not have a heart to hear what the Spirit is saying, we will remain in our delusion.

"Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone." (v.20) Christ Jesus is the corner stone of the new temple. We need a new temple that cannot be destroyed, because temples made with human hands will also be destroyed by human hands! Peter said that we are living stones built up into a spiritual house to be the temple of God. This temple is being built by God.

This new temple requires a new priesthood - and we are that royal priesthood through Christ. In Him we are a holy nation - a nation separated or set apart from all other nations because Christ is our King! We who were not a people, are now a people! This applies to both Jew and Gentile. In the Old Testament we read that "you who were not My people, will be My people". Israel was chosen, but at that time they were not chosen in Jesus Christ. They had not been illuminated by the Spirit; they did not know what it meant to be sons of God. God Himself has to tell us that.

"In whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord." (v.21) People cannot be separated from their realizations and consciousness. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, is the truth, and our realization and consciousness have to be built upon that foundation stone! Christ is the sum total of all true spiritual knowledge!

"In whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." (v.22) By living in this dwelling of God we are blessed in our fellowship with God in the Spirit! This is all accomplished in Jesus Christ. The ones who are being built together are both Gentiles and Jews - this includes Israel, Ephraim, Joseph and Judah. Joseph's son Ephraim is mentioned separately because his mother was an Egyptian, a Gentile. So through Ephraim, Gentiles were connected with the promise. In Christ all become one.

Jesus Christ will not take a Gentile bride, because His bride has nothing to do with being Jew or Gentile; it has nothing to do with the flesh. Jesus Christ is only married to those who are given Him by God. As Abraham chose the bride for Isaac, so the Father chooses the bride for His Son. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..." (Jn. 6:44) We do not decide to marry Christ; we are chosen! The chosen ones are the elect.

In Matthew 24 it says that the Son of Man will send His angels to gather His elect (or His chosen ones) from the four corners of the heavens. He gathers them from the heavens because they dwell in the heavens; they dwell in heavenly concepts - not in earthy concepts. "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them." But a woe is pronounced on those "who dwell in the earth and in the sea," because they dwell in earthy concepts.

Abraham's descendants are divided into two categories: children of faith and children of the flesh. Ishmael, the one born of the bondwoman, is a type of those who are born according to the flesh. "...For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants..." (Rom. 9:6-7) This simply means that not all of Abraham's descendants are children of faith. Being an offspring of Abraham in the natural, does not count for anything spiritually.

"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...And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise." (Rom. 9:7b-8; Gal. 4:28) Only those who are born of the promise are regarded as Abraham's descendants. They are born of the promise, and they inherit the promise! In the natural, Abraham did not accomplish anything dramatic. God's progeny are called in Isaac. This is a spiritual calling; to be born of God, or to be generated out of God, we have to become spiritual beings!

Just as Ishmael opposed Isaac, so those who are of the flesh oppose those who are born according to the Spirit or the promise. (Gal.4:29) This persecution is still taking place today.

What about circumcision? Does it have any relevance for us today? Rom. 2:27-28 says, "And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh." So circumcision in the flesh is meaningless. It was given as a type, symbolizing the circumcision of the heart.

To better understand this circumcision, let's look at the circumcision Israel received after their wilderness wanderings. When Israel came out of Egypt and spent 40 years in the desert, a whole generation died. That generation always wanted to go back to Egypt. But their progeny, a new generation, could enter the promised land under the leadership of Joshua and Caleb. Before this could take place they had to be circumcised - this had not happened for many years.

This circumcision took place after Israel had crossed the Jordan, and had taken twelve stones out of the river and set them on the new land, and had taken twelve stones from the land and placed them in the riverbed. Since twelve is the number of government, this symbolized that Israel was now under a new government. The government of the law was replaced with the government of God. This circumcision was symbolic of this new generation receiving a new government in their life.

Years later, this was fulfilled in Jesus when He came to the Jordan to be baptized by John. There He got the circumcision of the heart, not of the flesh. He repented (changed) from being under the government of the law, to being under the government of the Spirit. The government in His life was changed! From that day forward He operated out of His Father-Son relationship! God had called Him His Son! This changed His life! The spiritual truth He taught was beyond the law. This is a prototype for all of us, for He was the firstborn of many brothers. We are to follow His example.

"But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God." (Rom. 2:29) Being a Hebrew, Israelite or Jew because of natural descent has nothing to do with receiving an inheritance in the kingdom of God. Everyone has to repent and receive the Christ who has given us the Spirit! Only the Holy Spirit can make these things real to us.

Jesus came to take us out of our natural thinking and bring us into spiritual thinking. Spiritual realities are hidden from those who do not really want to hear God, for their hearts are hardened. That is why the Israelites continually disobeyed God. They had so many advantages in the natural - the law, the promises, the temple worship, etc., yet they continually disobeyed God because their natural mind could not conceive the spiritual meaning of what God was doing.

In Acts 11:18 Peter said that God has now granted to the Gentiles repentance that leads to life. Repentance does not have to do with sin, but with the problem that causes sin. Our carnal thinking, our carnal mind, is the problem. If we repent of that, Christ will come to us in the Spirit. He is the One who ushers out the sin in our lives.

Sinlessness only comes from Christ. It has nothing to do with our trying to get rid of sin. It involves our repentance from who and what we are as natural, carnal, Adamic human beings. Through the law, God proved that all men are under sin, and that all have come short of the glory of God. When the purpose of the law is understood, it stops every mouth from proclaiming its own righteousness. The law was necessary; without it we would not believe that God has to perform something supernatural in us; we would think we could achieve righteousness in our natural ability.

The mind of Christ sees things differently than the natural mind. This was very evident when Jesus Christ was on earth. It brought forth many ideas which were contrary to the beliefs of the Jews. This riled them, so they crucified Him! But they could not do away with the truth, because it comes to us in the Spirit! Being born of the promise means that Christ has come to us and has given us His mind. We need His mind to understand spiritual things.

Paul said, "Beware of the dogs," (the false teachers) "beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision." (Phil. 3:2) We are to beware of those who still circumcise themselves, i.e., those who trust in their own righteousness and promote themselves. They want to put us back under the law - that natural, fleshly way of thinking.

This was evident even in Paul's time. Before the disciples from James came to Galatia, Peter, Barnabas, and others, had been eating with the Gentiles. However, in order to preserve their reputation with the disciples from James, they withdrew from eating with the uncircumcised Gentile Christians. Paul chided Peter for his hypocrisy - for he was the leader of this hypocrisy. This warning is also for us because by the works of the law no man is justified.

"For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh." (Phil. 3:3) We do not worship God in our natural mind, but in the Spirit of God! We rejoice in Christ Jesus because we have been released from thinking that God is condemning and judging us. There is no condemnation in Christ! He does not come to us with the condemnation of the law, but in the grace of God! Grace and truth came by Christ.

Paul thought he was serving God by persecuting Christians. But Christ came to him in a blinding light, and revealed to him that persecuting Christians was persecuting Him. From that day on he received his teaching through the Holy Spirit who taught him the spiritual truth that we now receive in his epistles. Paul became the chosen apostle to the Gentiles, yet he always preached the gospel to the Jews first. Some of them became true believers, but the majority of them did not receive the gospel; instead, they persecuted him. However, many Gentiles believed, and Paul nurtured these Christians in their faith. Later, the Jews would be brought in by the Gentiles.

Paul learned that, in spite of all of his credentials, he had no reason to have confidence in the flesh - and neither do we! "Although I myself might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. (Phil. 3:4-6) The things of the flesh do not inherit the kingdom of God! We have to leave all those natural things - they don't work anyway! We have to be put into Christ - in Him both Jews and Gentiles are made one!

"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ." (v.7) Counting all that is honorable to the flesh as loss for the sake of Christ, means that Jesus Christ is far above all those things. The revelation knowledge of who Christ is, comes to us through the illumination of the Spirit. He brings us life and understanding. The things of the flesh which once fed us, are garbage compared to the life we now have in Christ!

Paul did not mind losing the garbage! Once he had Christ, a whole new understanding of life was opened to him. He was no longer dead in his trespasses and sins, but alive in Christ Jesus! He was a new man in Christ, and his life was hidden with Christ in God! He understood that Christ was his righteousness; this righteousness could never be obtained by works! He wanted to be found in Him, and know the power of His resurrection! He had been raised out of the mind of the Adamic (natural) man, and into the mind of Christ. This is resurrection!

Receiving the Holy Spirit's teaching about God brings us new understanding. He teaches us the difference between flesh and Spirit, and between the new covenant in Christ and the old covenant that Israel adhered to.

The carnal mind is disposed to the flesh, and this is death. This disposition to fleshly things is our disposition to accepting the natural. We tend to believe that which satisfies our mind, and think that it is reality. But Christ came to lift us above that natural understanding! This produces a conflict with those who are natural-minded.

In Galatians 5:24 it says, "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." That is, we put to death, not our physical body, but the materialistic, natural thinking of our natural mind. Our mind limits us! This limitation is taken away when the Holy Spirit reveals to us spiritual realities from the Lord.

In Hebrews 13:10 it says, "We have an altar, from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat." Only the priests had the right to eat that which was on the altar. By eating of the sacrifice, they became partakers of what it symbolized. Today, as the new priesthood, we do not participate in animal sacrifices, for Christ is our sacrifice, and we eat of Him. The old priesthood has no right to partake of Him, for they are priests of the old covenant. The new priesthood partakes of Christ by eating and drinking of what He is as truth and life. Participating in who He is makes us ONE with Him; we become partakers of that same offering and that same sacrifice that He was.

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, `Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree' - in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal. 3:13-14)

Abraham had received the promise, that wherever he set his foot and whatever he could see, would be his for a possession. This land was promised to him and to his seed. The natural land is a figure of that which is Spirit, and his seed refers to Christ. Christ came to unveil the land of spiritual reality. Israel's going back to Palestine is only a natural fulfillment of this promise - not a spiritual one.

Abraham, a man of faith, was looking for a city - not an earthly city, but a heavenly city made by God. (Heb. 11:10) Abraham's faith outdistanced all the natural processes embraced by the Jews until Christ came. His faith is fulfilled in the promise of a heavenly city, the covenant that Sarah represents. This city, the new Jerusalem, is the bride of Christ. It is a spiritual city - not a natural city filled with buildings.

In Galatians 4 we read that Sarah and Hagar were both covenants. Hagar was a covenant that produced children of bondage. She represents the present Jerusalem. Of that Jerusalem Jesus said, "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, `Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!" (Matt. 23:38-39)

Jesus desired her children, but they were unwilling to come to Him. The old Jerusalem had done its duty, and it was now time for her children to be given to Christ, but she would not give them up. She would be desolate until they would receive Him who comes in the name of the Lord! They need to receive Christ and those who come in His name - and we are among those who come in the name of the Lord.

The natural temple was desolate when Christ came - it was nothing. Now we are the temple. Jesus spoke of the temple of His body when He said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (Jn.2:19) We read that as long as the first tabernacle is standing - that is, our idea of the natural - we won't receive what the Holy Spirit is telling us. We won't accept the fact that the physical temple is only a type or shadow of the temple that is built with living stones, built up into a spiritual house, to offer spiritual sacrifices to God - which we are! Moses was a servant over his own house, but Christ is a Son over His. This is the difference between the law and sonship.

The New Jerusalem is a covenant. In Rev. 22:22 we read that the Holy City, which is a covenant, has no physical temple. All natural temples deteriorate and are eventually destroyed by man. Israel first had the tabernacle of Moses, then the temple built by Solomon. It was destroyed by the Babylonians. Later it was rebuilt by Ezra, then added to and enhanced by Herod. That one was destroyed in 70 A.D. Not one stone remained on top of another in fulfillment of Christ's prediction. But the spiritual temple, whose cornerstone is Christ, and which is built up with living stones (which we are), will not be destroyed.

In Christ, our understanding of the temple, the land, the people, etc., takes on a new dimension - a spiritual realization. Everything flows into Christ, for He is the sum of all things! He is the inheritor of all the promises of God! They all have their yes and Amen, that is their fulfillment, in Him.

The law and the prophets prophesied until John came; then Christ, the fulfillment, came! Now we receive the realization that Christ is the fulfillment, for He has done all these things. We no longer wait for what He is going to do. Instead, we grow in the realization that He has done everything and that He has made us a new creation!

Continually looking forward to what Christ is going to do, when He has already done it, shows that we are living in a delusion, for we do not see the reality. For example, we will think that the regathering of Israel is physical instead of spiritual, and therefore a future event. But how can a physical regathering of Israel fulfill the promise that Israel will be changed?

In Acts 8:1 a scattering of the church (which is the body of Christ) took place. This scattering was physical, not spiritual. However, a spiritual gathering of those who are really Israel is occurring by the gospel. This gathering is into Christ. "That...He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him." (Eph. 1;10 KJV) Jesus said that he who is not gathering with Me is scattering. The real gathering is our gathering into Christ!

But there is also a gathering of all those who are in delusion and under the adversary. This makes up the battle of Armageddon. This battle has been going on for years. It is the battle against Christ and His followers: the battle of error against truth in the valley of decision - which is our sense of being.

Christ's followers do not take up arms to fight against anyone, for their warfare is not carnal. Jesus Christ would never lift up the sword against anyone. "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is not for us. Jesus said, "Love your not resist him who is evil." He taught us that we do not have to fight to retain our possessions, for we have spiritual possessions which cannot be taken from us!

Jesus Christ never advocates carnal, physical battles. He never takes part in carnal wars. The judgement of God comes down on error and destroys it! Error will never undo or defeat the armies of Christ. He has breathed His peace upon us; therefore we already have this peace.

Unless people have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church, they will go right on thinking in the natural, and use their knowledge to enhance themselves and to build up their ego. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, and He imparts spiritual realities to us. To hear Him, we have to be in subjection to the Father of spirits.

The truth of God only bears fruit in a heart that does not want honor for itself. Our only desire must be to testify to the truth which is Christ. If we desire honor we are back to square one. The fact is that God has made provision for getting us out of our error. If our heart is right we already have a relationship with the Lord.

I pray that those who are hearing two voices, truth and error, in the valley of decision may receive the truth that is in Christ! God bless you! Amen.

Return to "The Dividing Wall" by Lloyd Ellefson

Archived Writings by Lloyd Ellefson