FOR HE HIMSELF IS OUR PEACE:
Autos gar estin (3SPAI) e eirene hemon:
(Isaiah 9:6,7; Ezekiel 34:24,25; Micah 5:5; Zechariah 6:13; Luke 1:79;
2:14; John 16:33; Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 7:2;
God's way of Conciliation
as set forth in Ephesians 2:14-16
Christ is the Mediator between
Christ is the Eradicator of
barriers between Jew and Gentile
Christ is the Conciliator of
and Gentile with each other
Christ is the Reconciler of
and Gentile unto God
Christ is the Centre of the new
man composed of Jew and
Adapted from Ruth Paxson's
book "The Wealth, Walk and Warfare of the Christian"
introduces the reason of the previous statement. Remember to pause,
ponder and query this
term of explanation.
Hoehner explains "Having defined the union, Paul introduces this
section with an explanatory gar, “for,” in order to
explain how this union was accomplished." (Ephesians-
An Exegetical Commentary)
Paul does not
simply say “He,” but “He Himself” which is equivalent to “He
truly” or “He and none other.”
(autos) - The pronoun is intensive, signifying "He and no other"!
Christ Himself, not just what He did (which of course was necessary).
Christ is our peace with God and so with each other, be they Jew or
Gentile. Christ is thus not merely our Peace-maker, but our very Peace
itself. Note Paul does not say Christ made peace (which is true from
other Scriptures) but that He is Peace!
It is not only that the peace was
made by Christ and ranks as His achievement, but that it is so
identified with Him that were He away it would also fail,—so dependent
on Him that apart from Him we cannot have it.” (Ephesians
2:13 Commentary - Online)
Our peace -
Note the change of pronouns from "you" in the previous verses to "our"
in this verse, clearly signaling that this peace refers to Paul and all
believing Jews and Gentiles.
In this verse we
see a fulfillment of Isaiah's famous prophecy...
For a child will be born to us, a son
will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And
His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His
government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To
establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then
on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Messiah's title "Prince of peace" indicates He is the very first
leader Who will bring true peace to the world. The word for "Prince"
however means not only the giver of peace but also the one who maintains
it. Christ gives the peace, and He maintains the peace. He brings peace
in the fullest sense of wholeness, prosperity, and tranquillity. Saved
Jews and Gentiles can now know His peace, and one day the world will
experience it as well.
explains Jesus Himself being our Peace writing that...
The peace here referred to is that by
which a union in worship and in feeling has been produced between the
Jews and the Gentiles. Formerly they were alienated and separate. They
had different objects of worship; different religious rites; different
views and feelings. The Jews regarded the Gentiles with hatred, and the
Gentiles the Jews with scorn. Now, says the apostle, they are at peace.
They worship the same God. They have the same Saviour. They depend on
the same atonement. They have the same hope. They look forward to the
same heaven. They belong to the same redeemed family. Reconciliation has
not only taken place with God, but with each other. The best way to
produce peace between alienated minds is to bring them to the same
Saviour. That will do more to silence contentions, and to heal
alienations, than any or all other means. Bring men around the same
cross; fill them with love to the same Redeemer, and give them the same
hope of heaven, and you put a period to alienation and strife. The love
of Christ is so absorbing, and the dependence in his blood so entire,
that they will lay aside these alienations, and cease their contentions.
The work of the atonement is thus designed not only to produce peace
with God, but peace between alienated and contending minds. The feeling
that we are redeemed by the same blood, and that we have the same
Saviour, will unite the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, the
high and the low, in the ties of brotherhood, and make them feel that
they are one. This great work of the atonement is thus designed to
produce peace in alienated minds everywhere, and to diffuse abroad the
feeling of universal brotherhood. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
after asking how Jesus, a Person, can be Peace, answers...
This is how: When a Jew believes on
the Lord Jesus, he loses his national identity; from then on he is “in
Christ.” Likewise, when a Gentile receives the Savior, he is no longer a
Gentile; henceforth he is “in Christ.” In other words, believing Jew and
believing Gentile, once divided by enmity, are now both one in Christ.
Their union with Christ necessarily unites them with one another.
Therefore a Man is the peace, just as Micah predicted (Mic. 5:5). (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
[word study] from the verb eiro
= to bind or join together what is broken or divided) means in essence to set
at one again or join together that which is separated. In secular Greek
eirene described the cessation or absence of war.
Jesus as the
essence of Peace is the NT parallel of Isaiah's description of Him as
the "Prince of peace" (Isaiah 9:6)
reminds us that...
Peace is never going to be present
until Jesus is in an individual’s life. Until a man has received God’s
grace, he will never know His peace. Look in Eph 1:2:
"Grace to you and peace
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. "
You see the first thing that must be
received is God’s grace. God’s grace is what God does to a man, in a
man, for a man and through a man that a man can’t do himself. God came
down. Man could not ascend. He tried that in Genesis 11. That’s where
the Gentile nations came from. God came down as He told Nicodemus in
John 3. He came down to die for our sin. The greatest picture of grace
in all of Scripture is Jesus coming to die for our sin and shedding His
blood to redeem us off the slave block of bondage to sin. When man
receives God’s grace, then and only then can he be at peace with the God
that he has been estranged from since Adam’s sin.
So before we can talk about peace with man, we must realize that Jesus
is the essence of our peace with God. So often we do it the reverse. So
often there is a problem between two of us, and we try to major on our
relationship to make our relationship with God better. No, you major on
your relationship with God, and that makes your relationship with others
what it ought to be. Jesus is the essence of God’s peace, the essence of
our peace with God. (God
so Loved the World)
Jesus as our peace
is a fulfillment of Micah's prophecy...
And this One will be our peace.
When the Assyrian invades our land,
When he tramples on our citadels,
Then we will raise against him
Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.
In Paul's writings
we discover that Christ is...
Our Life (Col 3:4-note)
Our Hope (Col 1:27-note)
Bible Commentary writes that...
Christ and no other "has solved the
problem of our relationships with God and man" (Barclay, p. 120). He
draws men to God and to each other in His own person. It is not simply
the message He proclaimed or even the message proclaimed about Him that
effects this reconciliation. It is Himself. (Gaebelein,
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament.
Jew and Gentile, by God’s act of
selecting the Jewish nation to be the channel through which He will
bring salvation to the lost, had been separated. Now, in the blood of
Christ they in the Church have been joined. This is the peace spoken of
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Ray Stedman writes that...
In this very remarkable passage, the
apostle gives us the way of peace. He uses as an illustration the fact
that Jesus Christ bridged the widest chasm which ever has existed
between men -- the gulf between the Jew and the Gentile. If you don't
think that conflict can claim title to being the most difficult gulf to
bridge, I suggest you consider why it is it has been so difficult to
settle the Arab-Israeli problem in the Middle East. The greatest minds
of our day have tried to work that out, and no one has gotten anywhere
near a settlement. It is because this conflict is extremely difficult to
bridge. Paul describes how Christ actually does it. And this is a
wonderful picture for us of how peace can be brought in any area of
conflict or hostility, whether among individuals or groups or nations.
John MacArthur has an
interesting illustration writing that...
During World War II a group of
American soldiers was exchanging fire with some Germans who occupied a
farm house. The family who lived in the house had run to the barn for
protection. Suddenly their little three–year–old daughter became
frightened and ran out into the field between the two groups of
soldiers. When they saw the little girl, both sides immediately ceased
firing until she was safe. A little child brought peace, brief as it
was, as almost nothing else could have done. Jesus Christ came as a babe
to earth, and in His sacrifice on the cross He Himself became peace for
those who trust in Him. His peace is not temporary but permanent.
J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
comments on Christ as our peace writing...
Peace in our time! Peace with honor!”
Some of us still remember those words of British Prime Minister, Sir
Neville Chamberlain, when he returned from conferences in Germany in
September 1938. He was sure that he had stopped Adolf Hitler. Yet one
year later, Hitler invaded Poland, and on September 3, 1939, Great
Britain declared war on Germany. Chamberlain’s great peace mission had
failed. It seems that most peace missions fail. I read somewhere that
from 1500 b.c. to a.d. 850 there were 7,500 “eternal covenants” agreed
on among various nations with the hope of bringing peace, but that no
covenant had lasted longer than two years. The only “eternal covenant”
that has lasted—and that will last—is the one made by the eternal God,
sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ. It is Christ’s peace mission that
Paul explains in this section, and three very important words summarize
this great work: separation, reconciliation, and unification. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Eadie explains that...
In its widest sense, as this
paragraph teaches, “Christ is the peace,” and not merely the peacemaker;
the Author of it, for He “makes both one,” and “reconciles them
to God;” the Basis of it, for He has “abolished the enmity in His
flesh,” and “by His cross;” the Medium of it, for “through Him we
both have access to the Father;” and the Proclaimer of it, for
“He came and preached peace.” (John
Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians - Online) (Bolding added)
Blaikie -Christ is not only
our Peacemaker, but our Peace, and that in the fullest sense, the very
substance and living spring of it, establishing it at the beginning,
keeping it up to the end; and the complex notion of peace is here not
only peace between Jew and Gentile, but between God and both. (The
Pulpit Commentary )
William Barclay explains how
Jesus Himself is our peace writing...
Let us use a human analogy.
Suppose two people have a difference and go to law about it; and the
experts in the law draw up a document, which states the rights of the
case, and ask the two conflicting parties to come together on the basis
of that document. All the chances are that the breach will remain
unhealed, for peace is seldom made on the basis of a legal document. But
suppose that someone whom both of these conflicting parties love comes
and talks to them, there is every chance that peace will be made. When
two parties are at variance, the surest way to bring them together is
through someone whom they both love.
That is what Christ does. He is our peace. It is in a common love of him
that people come to love each other. That peace is won at the price of
his blood, for the great awakener of love is the Cross. The sight of
that Cross awakens in the hearts of men of all nations love for Christ,
and only when they all love Christ will they love each other. It is not
in treaties and leagues to produce peace. There can be peace only in
Jesus Christ. (Barclay,
William: New Testament Words:. Westminster John Know Press, 1964)
WHO MADE BOTH GROUPS INTO ONE: o
poiesas (AAPMSN) ta amphotera en:
(Ep 2:15; 3:15; 4:16; Isaiah
19:24,25; Ezekiel 37:19,20; John 10:16; 11:52; 1Corinthians 12:12;
Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11) (Esther 3:8; Acts 10:28; Colossians
2:10, 11, 12, 13, 14,20)
(poieo) brought about.
(amphoteros) means each of two. Literally the Greek reads "the
both", "both things", "both elements" so that there is now no ground for
separating between a Jewish element and a Gentile element. They are now
alluded to this bringing together of Jew and Gentile in John when He
I have other sheep, which are not of
this fold (not of the fold of Israel and thus a description of the
Gentiles who would one day believe in Him); I must bring them also, and
they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one
shepherd (Believing Jew and believing Gentile forming one spiritual
body, the church, under Christ, the Chief Shepherd). (John 10:16)
(heis) is the cardinal numeral one and in this verse defines that
which is united as one in contrast to being divided or consisting of
separate parts. Heis speaks of oneness, unity and identity,
believing Jew and Gentile united in position and privilege. They are no
longer Jews or Gentiles, but Christians. And to go one step further,
strictly speaking it is not accurate to speak of them as Jewish
Christians or Gentile Christians because all distinctions such as
nationality were nailed to the cross.
Because of Christ
work in bringing about this union between Jew and Gentile, now
race and national distinctions disappear as Paul explained to the
Galatians writing that...
There is neither Jew nor Greek
(Gentile), there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male
nor female; for you are all one (heis) in Christ Jesus.
The Scottish expositor John Eadie
Jew and Gentile are not changed in
race, nor amalgamated in blood, but they are “one” in point of privilege
and position toward God. The figure employed by Chrysostom is very
“He does not mean that He has
elevated us to that high dignity of theirs, but He has raised both us
and them to one still higher...I will give you an illustration. Let us
imagine that there are two statues, one of silver and the other of lead,
and then that both shall be melted down, and the two shall come out
gold. So thus He has made the two one.”
Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians - Online)
Thomas Constable makes an
interesting observation writing that...
This verse is a strong testimony to
the fact that with the death of Jesus Christ God began dealing with
humankind on a different basis than He had in the past. He now stopped
working with and though the Jews and Judaism primarily (though
temporarily, cf. Rom. 11). Instead He began dealing with Jews and
Gentiles on the same basis, namely their faith in His Son. In others
words, He began a new dispensation or administration in His dealings
with humanity. (Ephesians
2 Expository Notes)
AND BROKE DOWN THE
BARRIER OF THE DIVIDING
WALL: kai to mesotoichon tou phragmou lusas (AAPMSN): (Esther
3:8; Acts 10:28; Colossians 2:10, 11, 12, 13, 14,20)
(luo) means to loose, release, dissolve. Christ loosened or
dissolved the barrier. The
points to the past completed action.
Click to enlarge
(phragmos from prasso = to fence or hedge in) describes a
fence, or inclosing barrier. It signified originally a fence or railing
erected for protection rather than separation.
Josephus used phragmos
to refer to the balustrade in the Jerusalem temple separating the court
of the Gentiles from the temple proper. (see the "fence" above - to the
right of the low fence is
The Court of the Gentiles in Herod's
fell in A.D. 70, this partition was demolished along with the temple
itself, but Paul saw it as already destroyed by Christ on the Cross.
Ironically enough, Paul himself had been wrongfully accused of taking an
Asian Gentile, Trophimus, past this checkpoint Acts 21:29.
(mesótoichon from mésos = middle + toíchos = wall)
means middle wall or partition. Metaphorically mesótoichon
referred to the Mosaic Law separating Jews and Gentiles and recalled the
common rabbinic idea of the law as a fence dividing the Jews by their
observance of it from all other races and thus arousing hostility.
What is the "barrier
of the dividing wall"?
Paul in the
present context is not referring to a literal wall, but to the invisible
barrier set up by the Mosaic Law of commandments contained in ordinances
which separated the people of Israel from the nations.
explains the spiritual implications of the barrier writing that
it represented ...
the whole Mosaic economy which
separated Jew from Gentile. (Word
the following thought that the "barrier of the dividing wall"...
"is (1) the fact of separation
between Israel and the nations, (2) has to do with the law and its
statutes and interpretations, (3) is experienced in the enmity between
Jews and Gentiles and (4) also consists of the enmity of Jews and
Gentiles alike against God."
In any event, this
"barrier" was dramatically illustrated by well-known literal wall
in the Temple Complex on Temple Mount. There the Jews had constructed a
barrier that separated the outer Court of the Gentiles from the
inner Court of the Jews. Between these two courts (see diagram below)
there was a low wall some 4.5 feet high, with thirteen openings.
"When you went through these first
cloisters unto the second court of the Temple, there was a partition
made of stone all round, whose height was three cubits. Its construction
was very elegant; upon it stood pillars at equal distances from one
another, declaring the law of purity, some in Greek and some in Roman
letters that no foreigner should go within the sanctuary"
description Josephus writes of the second court of the Temple
"This was encompassed by a stone wall
for a partition, with an inscription which forbade any foreigner to go
in under pain of death".
Observe from the
diagram that Gentiles were restricted to the outer court of the
temple, the court of the Gentiles (they were "far off") and they could not go
beyond the sacred enclosure into the women’s court, or into the court of
Israel, much less into the court of the priests, on penalty of death.
Along the top of
the barrier of the dividing wall (the outer bold line in the
diagram), at regular intervals, were stone pillars bearing an
inscription engraved in both Latin and Greek...
“Let no one of any other nation
come within the fence and barrier around the Holy Place. Whoever is
caught doing so will himself be responsible for the fact that his death
government gave the Jews permission to execute any Gentile, even those
who were Roman citizens, if they proceeded beyond this barrier!
excavations (1871) have uncovered one complete stone marker and a
fragment of another from Herod's temple.
Luke records an
event in Paul's life that underscores the fact that the Jews were deadly
serious about this warning to Gentiles not to transgress this barrier...
And when the seven days (the length
of the purification process) were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon
seeing him (Paul) in the temple, began to stir up all the multitude and
laid hands on him, crying out,
"Men of Israel, come to our aid! This
is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people, and
the Law, and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks
(Gentiles) into the temple and has defiled this holy place."
For they had previously seen
Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul
had brought him into the temple." (Acts 21:27-29)
And so we see that
Paul was all too familiar with the barrier, and quite
likely the thoughts of his former encounter associated with the
barrier of the dividing wall flooded his mind as he wrote the words
in Ephesians 2:14, here referring not to a literal dividing wall
but a spiritual dividing wall as discussed above. Paul would have
recalled that his arrest at Jerusalem, which led to his final
imprisonment and death, was due to the fact that he had been wrongly
accused of bringing Trophimus, an Ephesian Gentile, into the Temple
beyond the barrier of the dividing wall.
In summary, this
physical barrier in the Temple Complex illustrated the barrier of
hostility and hate that separated Jew and Gentile. God had originally
separated Jews from Gentiles (cf. Isaiah 5:1-7; Mt 21:33) for the
purpose of redeeming both groups, not for saving the Jews alone. In fact
God had placed the Court of the Gentiles in the Temple Complex for the
very purpose of winning Gentiles to Himself. It was meant to be a place
for Jewish evangelism of Gentiles, a place for winning proselytes to
Judaism and of thereby bringing them “near.” Instead the intervening
dividing wall with its barrier shut the Gentile out from the presence of
God! It was also that very court (the court of the Gentiles) that
instead of using as a place of witness to the pagan Gentiles of the true
and living God, the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day usurped and converted
to “a robbers’ den” (Mk 11:17)!