Separated & Divided: A Torn Veil & A Broken Down Wall

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were in Ephesus. More specifically today’s passage begins with the first verse of the second chapter and continues through to the thirteenth verse of the third chapter. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).

 

            “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel ,and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making pace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:11-22).

 

            “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge ein the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposes in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory” (Ephesians 3:1-13).

 

            As I sit here thinking about the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture I cannot help but be captivated with this truth surrounding God the Father destroying the enmity that existed between Jews and Gentiles. When at one point there was a distinction made between Jews and Gentiles that distinction and that separation was done away with in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. You will recall that when the Lord Jesus was present in this earth as the Word made flesh and sent forth His disciples as ambassadors for and unto the kingdom of heaven He instructed them to avoid and not go unto the Gentiles or the Samaritans. Instead the disciples who were appointed as apostles were instructed to go unto the lost sheep of Israel and proclaim unto them the kingdom of heaven. What we find in the New Testament book of Acts, however, is that when the Holy Spirit of promise was manifested in that upper room in the city of Jerusalem He did not come as the Spirit of the Hebrews but as the Spirit of the nations. What’s more is that when we think about the events which took place on the day of Pentecost we must needs recognize and understand that the Holy Spirit did not come speaking the tongue of the Hebrews but came speaking the tongues of the nations of the earth. Luke makes it perfectly clear that many nations under heaven were present in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost and when the events of that day unfolded those present in the upper room were not only filled with the Holy Spirit but were also given utterance to speak with other tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which was found in the New Testament book of Acts for within it we begin to see this middle wall of partition which existed between Jews and Gentiles being torn down and abolished. What’s more is that it would be in the New Testament book of Acts we even see the middle wall of partition which existed between Jews and Samaritans being torn down and abolished. It is something truly worth thinking about and considering when reading the words present in the New Testament book of Acts how although Jesus would come as the Word made flesh and would dwell among us as having come from Jewish origin and descent the Holy Spirit would not come in like manner. When Jesus came in bodily form of flesh and blood He would come of the seed of Abraham as He would take upon Himself the nature and flesh of the Hebrews. When, however, the Lord Jesus came in the person of the Holy Spirit He would not come of the seed of the Hebrews but of the seed of the nations. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in the New Testament book of Acts that although the Holy Spirit would indeed be manifested in the upper room among the one-hundred and twenty who were present in the midst thereof He did not come speaking the tongue and language of the Hebrews. When the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost He came speaking the tongues and languages of the nations thus signifying the wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles being destroyed and brought down.

 

            The more we think about and consider the events which transpired on the day of Pentecost—and not only the events which transpired on the day of Pentecost but also that which is found in the eighth and tenth chapters of the same book—the more we will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that when the Holy Spirit came and was manifested in the earth He came to destroy the wall of separation that existed between Jews and Gentiles as well as between Jews and Samaritans. Even Jesus Himself would speak of this particular truth and reality when delivering His final words to His disciples and followers on the mount of Olives. You will recall in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts how the Lord Jesus not only spoke of them receiving power after that the Holy Ghost had come upon them but you also read Jesus declaring unto them how they would be His witnesses—first in Jerusalem and then in Judaea followed by Samaria and ultimately the uttermost parts of the world. In the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the physician Luke as well as in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find the Lord Jesus speaking of the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit—and not only of the arrival of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit but how the Holy Spirit would come with power. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that when the Holy Spirit did indeed come and was manifested in the midst of the earth He would anoint the early church to be witnesses concerning Christ in Jerusalem first and foremost before eventually being spread out throughout Judaea and Samaria before reaching the uttermost parts of the earth. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the final chapter of the gospel narrative written by Luke as well as the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts:

 

            “…Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:45-49).

 

            “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).

 

            It is quite clear from the words which are found in these passages of Scripture that the Lord Jesus ordained and appointed His disciples and followers to abide and tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on high. The Lord Jesus made it perfectly clear unto the disciples and followers that they would be endowed with power from on high not many days thence and would receive the Holy Ghost which was the promise of the Father. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is that the Holy Ghost was given unto the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus that they might be witnesses unto and for Him. As witnesses they would first be found in the city of Jerusalem before they would ultimately be spread out and scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria. Ultimately and eventually they would be witnesses for and unto Him unto the uttermost parts of the earth. There is something truly wonderful about the events which took place on the day of Pentecost for what we find surrounding the day of Pentecost is the Holy Spirit coming—not speaking nor with the tongue of the Hebrews but with the tongues of the nations. When we think about and consider the events surrounding the day of Pentecost we are brought face to face with the tremendous truth that when the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost He did so speaking the languages and tongues of the nations which were represented in the city of Jerusalem. How truly astonishing it is to consider that the first witness would in fact be in Jerusalem and would be unto the nations under heaven which were represented at the feast of Pentecost.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible this truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth that on the day of Pentecost we behold and witness the wonderful witness of the Holy Spirit unto the nations of the earth. Pause for a moment and think about how on the day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem devout Jews from every nation under heaven would hear the wonderful works of God being proclaimed in their own tongue and language. What’s more is that not only would they hear the wonderful works of God being spoken and proclaimed in their own tongue and language but imagine them returning unto their own nation and land speaking in their own language—not only of the events which transpired but also of the wonderful works of the living God. On the day of Pentecost there would essentially be two witnesses which would be manifested and demonstrated for first would come the initial witness within the city as every man heard the wonderful works of the living God spoken in their own language while this would be immediately followed by their return unto their own land speaking of the wonderful things which had taken place within the city of Jerusalem. If there is one thing we must needs consider when reading the narrative of the day of Pentecost it’s that there would be the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit speaking the tongues of the nations, however, those who heard the wonderful works of God being spoken in their own language would return to their land speaking that language—not by and according to the utterance granted by the Holy Spirit but because of what had taken place at Babel. It would be at Babel the LORD God would come down and confuse the tongues and languages of the people and would scatter them abroad upon the face of the earth thus dispersing them from Babel and the tower which was present there in the plain of Shinar.

 

            I cannot escape the wonderful truth of what took place on the day of Pentecost for on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit arrived bringing the tongues of the nations with Him. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is that when Jesus spoke unto His disciples and declared unto Him how they would be witnesses unto Him in Jerusalem first and then unto Judaea and Samaria and ultimately the uttermost parts of the earth He didn’t reveal how they would be granted utterance by the Spirit to speak with other tongues. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if part of the reason the Lord Jesus instructed his disciples and followers to tarry in the city of Jerusalem was because of how many nations would be represented there in the midst of the city. If you think about these men and women were undoubtedly Galileans and could have received the Holy Spirit in Galilee. Perhaps these men and women could have experienced the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost by the sea of Galilee or they could have experienced the Holy Spirit in one of the houses of the disciples or followers of the Lord Jesus. If the Holy Spirit had indeed arrived on the day of Pentecost in the midst of Galilee rather than within the city of Jerusalem there is not a doubt in my mind it would not have had the same impact and effect as it did in the city of Jerusalem. It would be around the time of Pentecost that devout Jews from every nation under heaven were present in the midst of the city in celebration and observance of the feast. It was because of the presence of these nations under heaven being represented in the city of Jerusalem this first and initial witness would be manifested in the midst of the earth.

 

            Before I delve any further into this and bring you face to face with the actual events which took place on the day of Pentecost I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the final verses of the twenty-eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. If you begin reading with and from the sixteenth verse of this chapter you will find the Lord Jesus speaking unto His disciples on the very mountain where He had originally appointed them. It would be there at that mountain they would worship Him for He had not only suffered and died but had also been raised from death to life and had appeared unto them. Here at this mountain where the Lord Jesus had first appointed them we find Him ordaining and appointing them a second time—this time for something much greater than that which He had originally done. It would be in the final verses of the twenty-eighth chapter of this New Testament gospel we find the Lord Jesus speaking unto His disciples and giving them what has commonly been called and referred to as “The Great Commission.” With this in mind please consider the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the sixteenth verse of the twenty-eighth chapter:

 

 

            “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:16-20).

 

            The words which we find here in the twenty-eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew present us with what has been referred to as “The Great Commission.” It is here where the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples who were ordained and appointed as apostles to go and teach all nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Not only this but the Lord Jesus instructed them to teach all nations to observe all those things whatsoever He had commanded them and He would be with them always even unto the end of the world. It is quite clear when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture that prior to His ascension the Lord Jesus prepared his disciples and apostles to be witnesses unto the nations of the earth. Although the Lord Jesus would instruct them to tarry and abide in the city of Jerusalem they would ultimately be sent forth unto and among the nations of the earth. What we find on the day of Pentecost is this initial witness unto the nations for the Holy Spirit would come granting utterance to those present in the upper room to speak with other tongues. What we learn about the tongues which those present in the upper room spoke with is that they were the tongues of every nation under heaven—those nations which were represented in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that part of—if not the main reason the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples and followers to tarry and abide in the city of Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on high was because He knew that speaking with other tongues would accompany the arrival of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit.

 

            There is not a doubt in my mind that when the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples to tarry and abide in the midst of the city of Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on high He knew and understood that the tongues of the nations would come with and accompany the Holy Spirit. It would be very easy for us to think about speaking with tongues as perhaps a heavenly prayer language with which we converse and communicate with the living God—and while this is indeed true it is only part of the actual truth of tongues accompanying the arrival of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. I would dare say the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples to tarry and abide in the midst of the city of Jerusalem for He knew and understood that at the time of feast of Pentecost every nation under heaven would be represented in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Jesus knew that when the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost He would arrive bringing and speaking the tongues of other nations. It would be at Babel the LORD God would come down and not only confuse the tongues and languages of those in the plain of Shinar but would also disperse and scatter them from that place into the far reaches and corners of the earth. What we find on the day of Pentecost, however, is something entirely and altogether different for on the day of Pentecost we find all the nations of the earth gathering together in the city of Jerusalem to celebrate and observe the feast of Pentecost. It would be in the city of Jerusalem with every nation under heaven represented we find and discover the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit would arrive on the day of Pentecost He would come bringing and speaking the tongues of the nations—and not only bringing and speaking with the tongues of nations but also proclaiming the wonderful works of God.

 

            Having written and said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. It is what we read and find in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts that helps us understand the witness which was manifested in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. It would be in the city of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit would grant utterance unto all those in the upper room to speak with the tongues of the nations—and not only speak with the tongues of the nations but also proclaim the mighty and wonderful works of the living God in those tongues. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that there was an initial witness unto the nations of the earth on the day of Pentecost for on the day of Pentecost there would be a witness of the wonderful works of God being spoken in the tongues and languages of the nations of the earth under heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something to be said about the arrival of the person of the Holy Spirit in the city of Jerusalem and how in the city of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost there would be those from other nations under heaven who would need to hear the wonderful works of God in their own language. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that Jesus didn’t first send His disciples and followers into the nations represented under heaven in the city of Jerusalem but would send those men and women of those nations back into them giving account of what had taken place. After the day of Pentecost had come and gone those who were gathered together from every nation under heaven would return unto their own nation and land having not only heard the wonderful works of the living God in their own language but also having heard the preaching of the apostle Peter. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts beginning with the first verse:

 

            “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthains, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers of Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phyrgia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we so hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this: Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts for what we find here is a powerful picture of the Holy Spirit arriving in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost when the city was filled with Jews and devout men from every nation under heaven. It is not by accident or coincidence that Luke writes and speaks of there being Jews and devout men out of every nation under heaven being present in the city of Jerusalem—and not only this but also when what had taken place was noised abroad the multitude came together and were confounded because that every man heard them speak in their own language. Not only this but Luke goes on to write and record how those who were present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem during this time inquired and asked among themselves concerning those who were present among them how they were Galileans. Those who were present in the city of Jerusalem could not understand how these who were Galileans were speaking and proclaiming the wonderful works of God in their own tongue in which they had been born. Oh there is something truly remarkable about the day of Pentecost for what we find concerning this particular day is the initial witness and sign that although Jesus had come in the flesh born of a woman and of the seed of Abraham the Holy Spirit would come without a physical body thus signifying that He would not be confined or relegated unto one specific race, tribe and tongue of men. When the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost He did so in a manner that would not be confined to a physical body of flesh and blood and thus relegated to one specific tongue, nation, race, language and group of people.

 

            The more I think about the events which took place on the day of Pentecost the more I come face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit and the initial witness unto the nations of the earth. What we find on the day of Pentecost is not only an initial witness unto the nations but also an incredibly powerful declaration made by the living God that the nations of the earth would indeed be invited to partake of the promise that was made by the Lord Jesus. On the day of Pentecost there would indeed be men out of every nation under heaven present in the city of Jerusalem and they would indeed hear the wonderful works of God being spoken unto them in their own tongue. Oh it wasn’t simply about the wonderful works of God being spoken in their own tongue wherein they were born but it was almost as the if God through the Holy Spirit was speaking directly unto them. Not only this but we might very well say that Jesus through the person of the Holy Spirit was speaking unto every man out of the nations under heaven in their own language. It is super important for us to recognize and pay close attention to this for it highlights and underscores what actually took place on the day of Pentecost—namely, those present in the upper room being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. What’s more is I can’t help but wonder how many men and women from those nations under heaven chose to abide in Jerusalem after hearing the wonderful works of God in their own language, after hearing the words which were spoken by the apostle Peter and after having been baptized in water unto repentance for the remission of sins. I can’t help but wonder how many men and women tarried and abode a little longer in the city of Jerusalem to continue hearing the wonderful works of the living God and to engage in and experience fellowship together with the other believers.

 

            We know that on the day of Pentecost three thousand souls were added unto the number of those who were present in the upper room and I can’t help but wonder how many of those three thousand were those from the nations under heaven who heard the wonderful works of the living God being spoken in their own language. How many of those who were baptized were those of the nations under heaven which were represented in the city of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost? Oh there is something truly remarkable and astonishing about what we find in this particular passage of Scripture for on the day of Pentecost the arrival of the Holy Spirit came demonstrating and manifesting the tearing down of the wall of separation which existed between Jews and Gentiles. The simple fact that the Holy Spirit came speaking the tongues of the nations of the earth under heaven is a powerful demonstration and confirmation that in the Lord Jesus that wall which had previously separated Jews and Gentiles would be abolished. The day of Pentecost was in and of itself a powerful witness and sign that this wall of enmity and this wall of separation would indeed be abolished and done away with. On the day of Pentecost we find the Holy Spirit arriving bringing and speaking the tongues of the nations of the earth as a witness—not only of the wonderful works of the living God but also as an even greater witness. There is not a doubt in my mind that there was an additional witness found on the day of Pentecost—one that is not readily seen nor even acknowledged. On the day of Pentecost there was indeed the witness of the wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles being torn down and destroyed as through the tongues of the nations there would be a witness unto the nations of the earth—first in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and secondly in those individual nations as the men and women who were present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem would return unto their own nation and land recounting those things which they had seen and heard on that day.

 

            The more I sit here thinking about the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts the more I am brought face to face with the words the apostle Paul wrote in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints. I feel a tremendous need to call your attention to the words and language presented in this chapter for within it we find the apostle Paul speaking of the tearing down of the wall of separation which previously existed between Jews and Gentiles. In all reality we must needs recognize and understand that through the Lord Jesus—and not only through the Lord Jesus but through His death and atonement upon the cross—not only was the wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles destroyed but the veil in the Temple which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two. WHEN VEILS ARE TORN AND WALLS COME DOWN! If we want to truly understand that which took place at the death and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus we must needs understand that at and through His death the veil which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies—the veil which represented separation not merely between holy places but between man and the living God. Oh we have a great need to recognize and understand that through the death of Jesus there was a veil that was torn and a wall which was destroyed. There was a separation which existed between Jews and Gentiles and there was a separation which existed between God and man. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that through the death of Jesus—not only were the graves of many righteous saints opened but also through His death the veil in the Temple was torn in twain from top to bottom.

 

            I sit here this morning thinking about and considering this particular truth and I can’t help but be reminded of that which is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel. If you turn your attention to the thirty-sixth chapter of the this prophetic book you will find the prophet proclaiming a powerful word concerning the reunification and joining together of the houses of Israel. Upon reading and studying the Old Testament you will find that during the days of Solomon’s son Rehoboam the kingdom of Israel was divided in two with the northern ten tribes making up the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern two tribes making up the southern kingdom of Judah. From the time of Rehoboam until the time of the Assyrian captivity when they invaded the northern kingdom of Israel and carried away the house of Israel captive the kingdom of Israel would be divided. Moreover from the days of Rehoboam until the time of Zedekiah king of Judah and Nebuchadnezzar and the captivity and exile of the southern kingdom of Judah the kingdom of Israel would be divided. For generations the kingdom of Israel which was really united during the days of the kingdom and reign of David son of Jesse would remain divided and there were even times when the northern kingdom of Israel would be at war and enmity with the southern kingdom of Judah. What we find after the captivity and exile of the southern kingdom of Judah during the days of Nebuchadnezzar when the Babylonian empire entered into and invaded the land carrying away men, women and children captive is the kingdom of Israel being divided within and between itself.

 

            When we come to the thirty-seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, however, we find that just after the historic vision of the valley of dry bones the houses of Israel would be united and joined together. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and consider when it comes to the nation and kingdom of Israel it’s that although both the northern and southern kingdoms were carried away as captives and exiles into strange and foreign lands the living God would preserve them in the lands into which they were carried. The LORD would watch over the northern kingdom of Israel while they were in captivity in Assyria and the LORD would watch over the southern kingdom of Judah while they were in captivity. What we must needs recognize is that while the people of God were living in captivity and exile in a land not their own the living and eternal God would carefully watch over and preserve them that when they were brought back into the land they would be brought back as one people which were united. It is absolutely necessary we understand that when the living God brought back His people from their captivity He brought them back as one people and did not bring them back divided. Restoration to the land not only meant restoration to the land itself but it also represented restoration unto each other as the LORD would restore and reunite the northern kingdom of Israel with the southern kingdom of Judah. Restoration unto the land would mean restoration unto the LORD—and not only restoration to the LORD but also restoration to each other as the LORD would destroy the wall of separation and division that existed between them. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the thirty-seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel as well as the twenty-ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah:

 

            “Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon; (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem) by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. >And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you, and ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jeremiah 29:1-14).

 

            “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; yea I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezekiel 27:15-28).

 

            What so amazes me about the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture is that it’s almost as if the nation and kingdom of Israel was itself a portent and symbol of that which would take place in the coming days by and through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the LORD God tearing down the wall of division and separation which existed between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. What’s more is that the process and work of tearing down this wall would begin through captivity and exile and would continue through restoration unto the land. If you stop and think about it the process of tearing down the wall of separation which existed between the two kingdoms of Israel would begin with each of them being carried away captive into the land of their exile before it would ultimately be manifested and accomplished through restoration. After seventy years had been accomplished for the exile and captivity of the southern kingdom of Judah the living and eternal God would not only restore His people to their land but He would restore them together as one people. When the children of Israel returned unto the land which was sworn on oath unto their ancestors—unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—they would not return as two distinct people and as two nations but as one people who were once more united in the land. This is something we must needs recognize and carefully consider when reading the second chapter of the New Testament epistle for within this epistle—not only do we see the tearing down of the veil which separated us from the living God but we also see the removal and destruction of the wall which separated Jews from Gentiles.

 

            If you take the time to read the second chapter of this epistle carefully you will not only find a powerful declaration of the reconciliation which was afforded to men by and through the sacrifice and death of the Lord Jesus Christ but you will also find this reconciliation taking place between Jews and Gentiles alike. Perhaps one of the most powerful truths we must needs recognize when considering the words in this epistle is how the apostle Paul not only spoke of our being reconciled and united together unto the living God through Christ but also joined together unto our brethren—those who are Jews and Gentiles. In Christ there is no distinction made between Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, etc. At the cross of Calvary the ground is level and when Jesus died upon the cross He died with His hands and arms outstretched between two thieves. Stop and consider the death of the Lord Jesus and how He was suspended between earth and sky upon a cruel wooden cross in the middle of two thieves. Although the arms of those crucified were indeed outstretched and nailed in place by nails only the Lord Jesus Himself was crucified in the middle. This is important for us to recognize and understand for Jesus could have been crucified on the left with the two thieves to His right or He could have been crucified on the right with the two thieves to His left. What is so incredibly beautiful about the narrative of the death and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is that He was crucified in the middle between two thieves with His arms outstretched. At and through the cross there is no distinction made between Jew or Gentile for all have an equal place in the sight and presence of the living God. When the veil in the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom it wasn’t simply the Jews who would gain access to the living God but it was Gentiles who would gain access to Him.

 

            The more I read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the awesome truth surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus and how through His death access was granted to the Father and access to each other was granted. Perhaps one of the most overlooked and understated realities of the cross and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is how through His death we have been joined and jointed together with our brethren. Regardless of whether you are Jew or Gentile, regardless of whether you are circumcised or uncircumcised, regardless of whether you are free or bond, regardless of whether you are male or female you and I are joined together and united in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the opening verses of the second verse we find the apostle Paul declaring unto the Ephesian saints how they had been quickened who were previously dead in trespasses and sins—those who in times past walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air. What’s more is that those to whom the apostle Paul was writing to previously had their conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh as they fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath. Despite this reality, however, God who was and is rich in mercy for His great love wherein He has loved us has quickened us together in Him who were previously dead in trespasses. What we must needs recognize and understand is that not only were we alienated and separated from God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ but we were also dead in our sins and dead in our trespasses. It was in the epistle written unto the Roman saints the apostle Paul emphatically declared that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life. The apostle Paul recognized that we were previously dead in our trespasses and dead in our sins and desperately needed resurrection and being quickened by the Spirit to newness of life.

 

            If you continue reading the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul declaring how the living and eternal God has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Please do not miss the use of this word “together” for it speaks of and connotes the strong emphasis of unity in the work which God the Father did through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and offering upon the cross. It is absolutely remarkable to consider how we have been quickened TOGETHER, we have been raised up TOGETHER and we have been made to sit TOGETHER in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. QUICKENED, RAISED UP, MADE TO SIT! In all reality that which we must needs recognize and understand concerning the work which God the Father accomplished through the death and offering of the Lord Jesus is that at the very heart of it is the reality and concept of family. Although you and I come to Christ as individuals and although Jesus Christ died and offered His life that we as individuals might inherit eternal life we must needs recognize that we have been brought into salvation and justification that we might be partakers of a family—a family of sons and daughters and a family of heirs and joint-heirs together with the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot afford to misunderstand the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this passage of Scripture for the apostle Paul was very clear that the work which was and is produced within our hearts and lives is such that places a strong emphasis—not only on the reality of the body of Christ but also on the family of God which was made up of both Jews and Gentiles alike.

 

            Upon coming to the eleventh verse of this second chapter you will find the apostle Paul calling the Ephesian saints to remember that in times past they were Gentiles in the flesh and were called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands. If there is one thing we have a great need of recognizing when reading these words is that there a circumcision of the flesh which is performed and wrought by human hands, however, such a circumcision profits nothing in the sight of God or in the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul called the Ephesian saints to remember and recall how they were Gentiles in the flesh and were considered as those who did not and could not have access unto the one true and living God. Paul would go on to speak unto them and describe how they were without Christ being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you consider the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Roman saints. It was when writing unto the saints which were at Rome the apostle Paul described how we who were dead in our sins and transgressions experienced life and hope by and through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that scarcely for an evil or wicked man one would die but peradventure one might die for a good man. What makes the death and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ so incredible is that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints of Rome beginning with the first verse:

 

            “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely compelling to consider the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle. If you begin reading with and from the eleventh verse you will find the apostle Paul calling to remembrance how the Ephesians were Gentiles in the flesh and were called Uncircumcision by those which were called the Circumcision by the flesh made by hands. The apostle Paul goes on to describe how they were without Christ being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise having no hope and without God in the world. What the apostle Paul writes next is absolutely remarkable and astounding when you consider it for the apostle Paul goes on to describe how in Christ Jesus we who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Moreover the apostle Paul goes on to declare that Christ is our peace who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us. The Lord Jesus Christ did this by  abolishing in His flesh the enmity and the law of commandments contained in ordinances. In Christ one new man was made making peace that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross having slain the enmity which previously existed.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths centered upon the death, sacrifice and offering of the Lord Jesus Christ is that through His death—not only was the wall of separation which existed between Jews and Gentiles abolished and done away with but so also was the veil which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies torn in two from top to bottom. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to this for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the work which the Lord Jesus did through the body of His flesh. What we find in the New Testament book of Acts is on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit would show up bringing and speaking the tongues of the nations thus bearing witness unto those nations. Although it was devout Jews from every nation under heaven who heard the wonderful works of God spoken in their own tongue and language there would undoubtedly be a witness that would return unto those nations and lands as they would not only speak of what they heard in terms of their own language but also the words which the apostle Peter spoke concerning the prophet Joel and concerning the Lord Jesus. The more you read in the New Testament book of Acts you will find it written how the wall of separation which existed between the Jews and Samaritans would be abolished as not only would the church be scattered throughout Samaria, and not only would Philip the evangelist preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus but so also would they receive the Holy Ghost when the apostles Peter and John arrived. Not only this but when you come to the tenth, sixteenth and twentieth chapters you will find three distinct accounts of the Gentiles not only being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus but also receiving the gift and promise of the Holy Ghost.

 

            There is something we must needs recognize and understand concerning the death of the Lord Jesus tearing down and separating the wall which previously existed between Jews and Gentiles. That which we find in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel concerning the houses of Israel and Judah being made one once more is a powerful symbol and sign concerning that which the living God would do with both Jews and Gentiles as He would unite them together and make them one man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is when you consider the fact that this new man would also have unrestricted access to the eternal and living God with the veil separating the Holy of Holies and quite honestly the presence of the living God from those outside from those upon the earth. Through the death of Jesus any distinction between Jew and Gentile was abolished and completely destroyed and that which previously separated man from the presence of the living God would be torn in two and utterly removed from the Temple. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like to enter into the Temple after the veil had been torn in two from top to bottom. Did the veil remain in the Temple torn in two until the time the Temple would itself be destroyed or was the torn veil completely removed from the midst of the Temple. Imagine the Temple which stood in the city of Jerusalem standing in the midst of the city completely absent the veil which existed between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place from the time of Moses. Imagine for almost four decades the Temple would remain in the city of Jerusalem—either with a veil torn in two from top to bottom or with the veil completely and utterly removed.

 

            I feel it necessary to draw and call your attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the torn veil and the broken down wall for through the death of the Lord Jesus access was granted to the living and eternal God. What’s more is that not only was access granted to the living God but both Jew and Gentile alike could worship the living God together. It would be by and through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ the veil of separation would be torn in two from top to bottom and the wall of separation would be done away with in the flesh of the Lord Jesus. THE VEIL OF SEPARATION AND THE WALL OF SEPARATION! Praise be to the living God that both the veil which separated men from the presence of the living God was completely and utterly destroyed while the veil which separated Jew from Gentile was also done away with. The church which would be established beginning with those on the day of Pentecost would indeed made up of Jews and Gentiles alike who could both access the living and eternal God by and through the person, body and death of the Lord Jesus. Oh that we would be those who come boldly before the throne of grace that we might receive mercy and grace to help in a time of need. Oh that we would come with our hearts purified and sprinkled clean with the blood of the Lord Jesus who gave of Himself as a sacrifice and offering for sins. Oh that we would recognize the inheritance, the redemption, the reconciliation and the adoption we have as the sons and daughters of the living God and as those who have been granted access to the presence of the living God without any restrictions or limitations.

           

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s