The great Court of the Gentiles, which formed the outermost enclosure of the Temple, was a square (according to Jewish tradition) of 750 feet paved with the finest marbles.  Within the Court ran a marble screen, 41 feet high, beautifully ornamented, which bore Greek and Latin inscriptions warning Gentiles to advance no further on pain of death.  “One of these very tablets,” says Dr. Edersheim, “bearing almost the same words as those given by Josephus, has been discovered in late excavations Had an angel hovered above the Temple he would have seen, on one side of that low marble parapet, Jehovah's Israel, vested in a priesthood that could penetrate into the actual presence of the Sheckinah Glory: and on the other side, barred off nations in the outer dark, “lesser breeds without the Law”; nation beyond nation, no less morally than physically remote to measureless distances from the Holy City and from God.


The critical distinction dividing off all mankind by God’s own order, so sundering the race in a cleavage that has become deadly, is a surgical operation in the flesh.  “Wherefore remember, that aforetime ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands” (Eph. 2: 11). By this surgical mark it was known which people were God’s: so vital was it that if an infant was not circumcised, it was destroyed (Gen. 17: 14): it carried the whole Law with it, and the only recognized worship of Jehovah: as the sole ‘seal’ of the Covenant (Rom. 4: 11), it erected an impassable barrier between the Jew and the un-covenanted Gentile.


Now the consequence of an absence of Circumcision was a fivefold deprivation, for all Gentiles, which, summed up in Paul’s first clause, deepens in horror to the last. “That ye were at that time (1) separate from Christ” ‑ that is, the Messiah; for Israel, and Israel alone, had the Messiah, embedded in the promises, to be given on the strength of the Covenants, a Jew, all the rites, blessings, commonwealth, covenants had a sole root in Messiah: (2) “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel” ‑ the only God-governed country in the world: (3) “and strangers from the covenants of promise” - centring in an incarnate and triumphant Redeemer and therefore (4) “having no hope” ‑ a night without a star: (5) “and without God in the world” ‑ Christless, homeless, loveless, hopeless, Godless.  We are, in origin, merely heathen.


The Apostle now suddenly introduces, like a lightning-flash, one of his dynamic 'buts,' reversing the entire situation, and introducing a glowing contrast. “But now IN CHRIST JESUS” - a complete reversal of ‘without Christ’: of old without the Messiah, but now in Jesus, that Messiah recognized and found – “ye that were once far off” ‑ in the outer Court of the Gentiles – “are made nigh in the blood of Christ”: for an awakened conscience and a terrified soul overleaps all barriers of ritual pride or racial antipathy, to get at the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness: the blood shed on Jewish altars was shed for Jews only ‑ the blood of Calvary is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world: “for He is our peace, who made both [Jew and Gentile] one That is to say, the crowning sin of both ‑ the blood-shedding of Messiah ‑ one act of uttermost rebellion, the only joint act of Gentile and Jew ever wrought, is made, by the mystery of redeeming love, the welding for ever of the bitterly sundered sections of the human race, meeting now, not in the Court of the Priests, nor in the Court of the Gentiles, but in the Court of Heaven.


But now the Apostle reveals the exact reason why the Wall crashed, and Gentiles; in untold millions, are surging past into the Holiest of all.  “And BRAKE DOWN the middle wall of partition”* ‑ the wall that hedged the enclosure, the spiritual ghetto, the ecclesiastical preserve – “having abolished in his flesh THE ENMITY” ‑ the mutual hatred that had sundered the human race for two thousand years, which makes the Jew, in the eyes of a Gentile, a pariah race, and a Gentile, in the eyes of a Jew, an uncircumcised dog – “EVEN THE LAW Of COMMANDMENTS contained in ordinances."  The Law relegated the Gentile to the outer court; the Law ostracized him by placing Circumcision on the Jew alone; the Law built up social, political, ‑ religious prejudices which, cemented by racial hate, hopelessly antagonized: therefore with the Law, the enmity vanishes.**  The exhaustion of the Law’s penalty was the exhaustion of the Law itself;*** and when our Lord died, not only was the Vail rent between God and man, but also the Wall between man and man collapsed.


[* So if Paul really did introduce Gentiles into the Temple (Acts 21: 28), perhaps in the person of Trophimus the Ephesian, he had a spiritual right to do so, and he nowhere denies the charge; but probably the charge was false, for it would have been an act (we judge) as improper and unwise as to introduce everyone into the Holy of Holies after the rending of the Vail at Calvary.  Through Titus God Himself at last obliterated both Vail and Wall.  That the wall itself was not actually demolished until some eight years alter Paul wrote is highly symptomatic of the transitional inter-blending of dispensations: during which Christian synagogues are named (Jas. 2: 2); Paul circumcises Timothy (Acts 16: 3); the Sacrifices still cleanse the flesh (Heb. 9: 13); and Hebrew Christians are still numbered with the Diaspor'a (1 Pet. 1: 10).  All this passed finally with the fall of the Temple.

** Says an old Puritan, “The foundation of the wall of separation was laid in Abraham’s time when circumcision was first given, for that began the quarrel; reared up higher by Moses’ rites; further lengthened and stretched out in all times of the prophets, throughout all ages, till Christ, who came to break it down

*** “The ‘abolishing’ of which the Apostle speaks does not consist in setting the Law aside, or suspending it by a sovereign, executive act.  It is a causing it to cease, or rendering it no longer binding, by satisfying its demands, so that we are judicially free from it; free, not by the act of a sovereign, but by the sentence of a judge, - not by mere pardon, but by justification” (C. Hodge, D.D.).]


So now we reach the supreme purpose of all:‑ “that” ‑ as a magnificent climax – “He might create” ‑ for the Church  is as truly a creation as ever the Universe was, and both are Christ’s personal workmanship – “in Himself” ‑ for the enmity is removed only for those Jews and Gentiles that are in Him* ‑ “of the twain ONE NEW MAN” ‑ not a Jew made into a Gentile, or a Gentile into a Jew, but a new creation; made out of old materials, of diverse races and multitudinous peoples, yet possessing a common spirit, and dead to all old partition walls and the age-long feud of the human race – “so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body” ‑ the Catholic Church, the mystical Body of the Christ – “unto God through the cross, HAVING SLAIN THE ENMITY THEREBY That is, the cross, which slew the Lord, slew the hate: therefore the creation of two Churches, two bodies, two communities, with two sets of rites, and under two laws, re-erects the dividing wall; disrupts the New Man; rekindles the old racial antipathy by bringing it back into view through the Law; and paralyzes the unifying work of the Cross.  For each local assembly is to be a miniature of the universal Church ‑ all races, all nations, all classes, in all degrees of saying faith; and if these are not in the Assembly, it is only because they are not in the City: all are in the Church universal.**  For the Church is not Jew and Gentile made into one man, but into one new man: it is not that the Gentile is elevated to the privileges of the Jew, or the Jew depressed to the bankruptcy of the Gentile, or that the old privileges are shared between the two: but God removes the separation by merging both into a new creation altogether new, and incomparably superior, “Let us imagine,” says Chrysostom, “that there are two statues, one of silver and one of lead, and then, after both have been melted down, lo, a new statue of gold!  Thus made He the two, one For “there can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female: for ye all are ONE MAN in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3: 28).


[* In the world the hatred deepens all the time.  The modern apostate Jew, entrenched in Masonry, reveals by a Karl Marx, a Trotsky, a Zinoviefl what a world-peril the Jew can become; while the Anti-Semite parties, a growing power in every State, will ultimately plot to wipe the Jew off the face of the earth.

** So, as Circumcision sundered the race, Baptism reunites it: for he who goes down into the water a Jew or a Gentile, comes up neither; “ye being in time past Gentiles”: and if this four-thousand-year-old and God-made cleavage is gone, much more all lesser cleavages - racial, national, social: “where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarism, Scythian, bondman, freeman” (Col. 3: 11).  So a racial prejudice which compels separate negro or other assemblies in a community dominantly of another race must be deeply offensive to God. For all the old has been buried in the baptismal grave. “If,” says Luther, “we give Moses leave to rule over us in anything, we are bound to obey him in everything; in this respect, therefore, let him be dead and buried, and let no man know where his grave is.”]