Ephesians 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: ton nomon ton entolon en dogmasin katargesas, (AAPMSN) hina tous duo ktise (3SAAS) en auto eis ena kainon anthropon poion (PAPMSN) eirenen, (note "in His flesh" en sarki auto" is found in the Nestle-Aland Greek text at the end of verse 14)
Amplified: By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NET: when He nullified in His flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of two (“in order to create the two into one new man”), thus making peace,
NLT: By his death he ended the whole system of Jewish law that excluded the Gentiles. His purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new person from the two groups. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: By his sacrifice he removed the hostility of the Law, with all its commandments and rules, and made in himself out of the two, Jew and Gentile, one new man, thus producing peace. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: the enmity, in His flesh having rendered inoperative the law of the commandments in ordinances, in order that the two He might create in himself, resulting in one new man, making peace, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: the enmity in his flesh, the law of the commands in ordinances having done away, that the two he might create in himself into one new man, making peace,
BY ABOLISHING IN HIS FLESH THE ENMITY: katargesas, (AAPMSN): (note that the phrase "in His flesh" "en sarki auto" is found in the Nestle-Aland Greek text at the end of verse 14) (Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 10:19, 20, 21, 22)
Abolishing modifies "broke down" in Ep 2:14 (note).
Abolishing (2673) (katargeo from kata = intensifies meaning + argeo = be idle from argos = ineffective, idle, inactive from a = without + érgon = work) (Click word study on katargeo) literally means to reduce to inactivity. The idea is to make the power or force of something ineffective and so to render powerless, null and void. To cause something to come to an end or to cease to happen. The aorist tense in this context depicts a once for all completed action in the past.
The word abolish simply means “to nullify.” The Law no longer holds sway over either Jew or Gentile, since in Christ believers are not under Law but under grace.
Hughes writes asks how did Christ abolish the law
The Net Bible note adds that "abolishing" can be translated…
In His flesh - In context Paul refers to the physical death of Christ, which the Father made possible because…
Enmity (2189) (echthra [word study] from echthros = enemy, hostile) means hostility, a reason for opposition, enmity, hatred. Enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed whereas hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression.
Echthra - 6x in 6v - Luke 23:12; Rom 8:7; Gal 5:20; Eph 2:14, 16; Jas 4:4
Echthra is that spirit that looks with evil suspicion on anyone of a different race, tongue, nation, or creed. It is the “attitude of heart and mind that puts up barriers and draws the sword,” but Christ has broken down the barrier and has taught us to love those who are “hostile”.
Here enmity refers to the personal and national prejudice and exclusiveness between Jews and Gentiles a result primarily of the separating influence of the Mosaic legal system. Christ abolished this at Calvary effecting a great reconciliation and uniting hostile members of the human family. Christ, the prophesied Prince of peace, is the world’s only hope of lasting peace! Let us therefore "pray for the peace of Jerusalem", realizing this is a prayer in essence for our Lord to return. Maranatha!
Regarding enmity Barnes explains that…
John Eadie writes that the enmity between Jew and Gentile was…
WHICH IS THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS CONTAINED IN ORDINANCES: ton nomon ton entolon en dogmasin katargesas, (AAPMSN): (Galatians 3:10; Colossians 2:14,20; Hebrews 7:16; 8:13; 9:9,10,23; 10:1-10)
Note that order of words in the Greek is "the enmity in his flesh, the law of the commands in ordinances having done away" which signifies that our Lord abolished the Law by His death on the Cross.
Law (3551) (nomos) in its primary meaning relates to that which is conceived as standard or generally recognized rules of civilized conduct.
Vincent has this note…
Commandments (1785) (entole from entellomai = order, give commandments) is most common of the words meaning commandment, stressing the authority of the one commanding, while éntalma (G1778), a religious commandment, stresses the thing commanded. It refers to law in general.
Contained is added by the translators for continuity.
Ordinances (1378) (dogma from dokéo = to think) refers to a fixed and authoritative decision or requirement (see the "decree" [dogma] of the emperors in Lu 2:1, Acts 17:7).
NIDNTT writes that in classic Greek dogma…
TDNT sums up dogma…
Dogma refers to a formal statement concerning rules or regulations that are to be observed -- the idea is a formalized sets of rules which might refer to an ordinance, a decision or a command. This is the primary meaning of dogma in Ephesians 2:15. Dogma thus refers to the rules and requirements of the law of Moses, in this verse specifically referring to the "ceremonial laws" or ordinances covering the various aspects of the Jewish feasts, sacrifices, offerings, laws of cleanliness and purification, and all other such distinctive outward commandments for the unique separation of Israel from the nations. Paul is saying that "in His flesh" on the Cross, Jesus abolished or made to no effect these dogma.
Decree (Webster) = an order usually having the force of law; a religious ordinance enacted by council or titular head; An edict or law made by a council for regulating any business within their jurisdiction. In general, an order, edict or law made by a superior as a rule to govern inferiors (Luke 2:1)
Dogma is used of certain decrees of the apostles relative to right living (see Acts 16:4)
Dogma can refer to something that is taught as an established tenet or statement of belief (dogma).
Dogma was especially used in ancient Rome to describe the public decrees of the Roman Senate.
Dogma is used 5 times in the NT and is translated: decree, 1; decrees, 3; ordinances, 1. Dogma is found in the Septuagint (LXX) only in Daniel (Da 2:13; 3:10, 12, 29; 4:6; 6:8ff, 12f, 15, 26)
The law consisted of decrees or commands. Dogma is used for God’s laws and the external precepts of the Mosaic Law. It referred to a legal obligation which was a binding law or edict which was placed on a public place for all to see.
In English, dogma means something held as an established opinion; a definite authoritative tenet; code of authoritative tenets; doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church -- if one is "dogmatic" he is unduly and offensively positive in laying down principles and expressing opinions
In the late Judaism of the first century AD, Philo and Josephus understood the Mosaic law as a system of holy tenets, referred to as the dogmata of a divine philosophy. As the most exalted of all systems, it was superior to the doctrines of the rest of ancient philosophy.
The Law of Moses was a single legislative code which was in turn composed of separate, formal commandments, which in turn consisted of dogmas or decrees covering many, if not most, areas of life.
The Law did set up Israel as God’s chosen earthly people, but unfortunately many Jews became arrogant and treated Gentiles with contempt. The Gentiles responded with deep hostility, known all too well as anti-Semitism. And yes, it still exists even in the Church of Jesus Christ!.
Wayne Barber explains what was abolished writing that…
John MacArthur has some instructive comments on this section writing that…
SO THAT IN HIMSELF HE MIGHT MAKE THE TWO INTO ONE NEW MAN: hina tous duo ktise (3SAAS) en auto eis ena kainon anthropon: (Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 10:19, 20, 21, 22) (Galatians 3:10; Colossians 2:14, 20; Hebrews 7:16; 8:13; 9:9,10,23; 10:1-10) (Ep 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10)
So that (2443) (hina) introduces a purpose clause.
In Himself - He is the medium or means of reconciliation.
Make - more literally "create". This work was a new creation on a new foundation with the cornerstone being Christ Himself.
He might make (2936) (ktizo) was a word meaning to create something out of nothing such as God in the act of creation of the universe, but in the present context referring to a spiritual creation, the church, an entity that had never existed prior to this time. In fact, there is no mention of the church in the Old Testament, although many commentators who espouse a non-literal interpretation of Scripture, have wrongly interpreted many of the promises God specifically gave to Israel as being applicable to the church.
Paul had just used the same verb, ktizo, pointing to the saints, each one representing God's new creation in Christ.
Paul uses ktizo two more times in Ephesians, the first referring to God's creation of the universe…
Two (1417) (duo) is the cardinal number 2 here referring to the "duo" of Jew and Gentile now joined together.
One (1520) (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, Jew and Gentile united in position and privilege. Now race and national distinctions disappear as Paul explained to the Galatians writing that…
Net Bible Notes - In this context the author is not referring to a new individual, but instead to a new corporate entity united in Christ… This is clear from the comparison made between the Gentiles and Israel in the immediately preceding verses and the assertion in Ephesians 2:14 that Christ “made both groups into one.” This is a different metaphor than the “new man” of Eph 4:24; in that passage the “new man” refers to the new life a believer has through a relationship to Christ. (The NET Bible Notes. Biblical Studies Press)
Kainos signifies qualitatively new in contrast to néos which indicates temporally new or new with respect to age. Neos is new simply in point of time; a thing which is neos has come into existence recently, but there may well have been thousands of the same thing in existence before. A pencil produced in the factory this week is neos, but there already exist millions exactly like it. Kainos on the other hand is new in point of quality, new in sense that it brings into the world a new quality of thing which did not exist before.
In the present context the thing which had never existed was believing Jew and believing Gentile together as one entity.
In rabbinic Judaism, a pagan Gentile coming to know God is thought of as if he had been created by whoever helped him to attain knowledge of God
Kainos denotes the new and miraculous condition that is emphasized especially in the church age. Thus we see kainos as a key term in eschatological statements -- the new heaven and earth in Rev 21:1; 2Pe 3:13-note, new Jerusalem in Rev 3:12; 21:2, new wine in Mk 14:25, the new name in Rev 2:17; 3:12, the new song in Rev 5:9, the new creation in Rev 21:5. This new creation, which is the goal of hope, finds expression in Christian life (2Cor 5:17). The new aeon has come with Christ. In him Jews and Gentiles are one new man (Eph 2:15). Believers are to put on the new nature that they are given (Ep 4:24-note). God’s saving will is worked out in the promised new covenant that Jesus has established (Lk 22:20; 1Cor 11:25; He 8:8-notes.; He 9:15-note). This is a better covenant (He 7:22-note), infallible (Hebrews 8:7), everlasting (Heb 13:20-note), grounded on higher promises (He 8:6-note). The fact that the old and the new cannot be mixed (Mk. 2:21, 22) stresses the element of distinctiveness. The new commandment of love has its basis in Christ’s own love (Jn 13:34).
One new man - Corporately not individually. In other words, this truth in this context refers to Christ's body, the church, which is in turn composed of individual new creations in Christ (cf 2Cor 5:17). Note that God is not making a new world, but a new man. God makes no attempt to improve world conditions by repairing the old systems, but He replaces the old, earthly nationalisms by a new order whose citizenship is of heaven.
Paul summed up this new entity (one new man) when he said,
MacDonald explains that…
Clement of Alexandria wrote
The Epistle of Diogenes calls believers “this new race.”
In Christ there is no East or West,
Chrysostom gives a striking illustration…
Eadie explains one new man this way…
THUS ESTABLISHING PEACE: poion (PAPMSN) eirenen: (Ep 4:16; 2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10)
Establishing (4160) (poieo) means to make or produce. The present tense speaks of the continual effect to make peace between Jew and Gentile at all times and seasons because the barriers that separated them have been torn down at the Cross. All are on equal footing at the foot of His Cross.
Peace (1515) (eirene 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. Christ has established peace between Jew and Gentile by removing the cause of hostility, by imparting a new Spirit indwelt nature, and by creating a new union, the body of Christ. The Cross of Christ is God’s answer to racial discrimination, segregation, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and every form of strife between men. Paul relates this same truth in Colossians affirming that the saints have…
Lightfoot paraphrases (Col 3:11) as follows…
Hendriksen sums "Christ is all and in all" (Col 3:11) commenting that
Wayne Barber has an interesting discussion of what Jesus did when He abolished "in His flesh the enmity"…
Amplified: And [He designed] to reconcile to God both [Jew and Gentile, united] in a single body by means of His cross, thereby killing the mutual enmity and bringing the feud to an end. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NET: and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. (NET Bible)
NLT: Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: For he reconciled both to God by the sacrifice of one body on the cross, and by this act made utterly irrelevant the antagonism between them. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: and in order that He might reconcile the both in one body to God through the Cross, having put to death the enmity by it, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in it,
AND MIGHT RECONCILE THEM BOTH IN ONE BODY TO GOD: kai apokatallaxe (3SAAS) tous amphoterous en eni somati to theo: (Romans 5:10; 2Corinthians 5:18, 19, 20, 21; Colossians 1:21, 22)
Might reconcile (604) (apokatallasso from apó = from or state to be left behind + katallasso = reconcile <> from katá = an intensifier + allásso = change <>) is an intensified reconciliation (stronger than katallasso) and pictures the total, complete, and full restoration of the relationship of disturbed peace. One might paraphrase it that Christ "might reconcile thoroughly them both."
The idea inherent in reconcile is to take enemies and change them to friends. From…
Vincent remarks that "The verb contains a hint of restoration to a primal unity."
S Lewis Johnson illustrates reconciliation writing that…
The Greeks spoke of people in opposition to each other being “reconciled” or being made friends again. When people change from being at enmity with each other to being at peace, they are said to be reconciled. The root verb katallasso meant to legally reconcile two disputing parties in court and in the New Testament is used of a believer’s reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ.
Reconciliation takes someone who is hostile towards someone else, and changes that into a friendly relationship. This word means to change thoroughly. The double use of prepositions as prefixes (apo, kata) emphasizes the totality of the reconciliation.
It is important to emphasize that God never needed to be reconciled to man because He never hated us. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son. Sinful man however was separated from and hostile toward God and needed to be reconciled to Him. The work of Christ on the cross provided a righteous basis by which hateful sinners could be brought into His presence as friends! Amazing love!
Vincent also comments that…
Apokatallasso pictures the bringing together of friends who have been estranged. Through Christ, man's enmity toward God is changed to one of friendship, and the enmity of Jew and Gentile for each other also is changed from hostility to friendship.
Wuest has an interesting thought writing that…
Barnes writes that…
Both (297) (amphoteros from ámpho = both, the two) refers to each of two.
One (1520) (heis) means united as one in contrast to divided. So not only does the Cross of Christ effect reconciliation between Jew and Gentile but also of both of these groups of believers to God.
KJV Bible Commentary notes that…
Body (4983) (soma) refers to the organized whole made up of the parts. In this case it refers to the church, Christ's bride and spiritual body, composed of believing Jews and Gentiles.
Ephesians gives more attention to and makes loftier statements about the church than any other letter, despite the fact that the specific Greek word for church (ekklesia) occurs only three times outside the husband-wife analogy in Ephesians 5.
A T Robertson rightly observes that in this section of Ephesians…
THROUGH THE CROSS: dia tou staurou: (Ep 2:15; Romans 6:6; 8:3,7; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:14; 1Peter 4:1,2)
Through (1223) (dia) speaks of the instrument (in this case the Cross) through which a result was effected or brought to pass. It is through the working of the cross in the lives of individuals that God transforms them from being enemies to friends. The response that we have to that is the response of gratitude.
by Isaac Watts
When I survey the wondrous cross
Cross (4716) (stauros) is and upright pointed stake often intersected by a crossbeam. Before the manner of Jesus’ death caused the cross to symbolize the very heart of the Christian faith, the Greek word for cross referred primarily to a pointed stake used in rows to form the walls of a defensive stockade. It also was originally an upright stake to which the corpse of an executed criminal was bound for public display or on which the living body of a condemned person was affixed to await death. Such stakes came to be eventually fitted with crossbeams as instruments of humiliation, torture, and execution for persons convicted as enemies of the state (foreign soldiers, rebels and spies, for example) or of civil criminals (such as robbers). Thus the Cross came to refer to an instrument of capital punishment and as such was one of the most dreadful and agonizing means of torture known.
The Cross was viewed a shameful, dishonorable mode of death among men. This mode of punishment was known to the Persians (Ezra 6:11; Esther 7:10) and the Carthaginians. However, it was most common among the Romans where it was used for punishing slaves and criminals. Crucifixion was introduced among the Jews by the Romans. It was not abolished until the time of Constantine who did so out of regard for Christianity. Persons sentenced to be crucified were first scourged and then made to bear their own crossbar (not the whole cross) to the place of execution where an upright stake was already in place. A label or title was usually placed on the chest of or over the criminal. When the victim was affixed to the cross, he was stripped and mocked. His arms were affixed to the crossbar with ropes or nails, and the crossbar was then raised and attached to the upright stake. A small wooden block attached to the stake beneath the buttocks supported the weight of the suspended body, which was bound to the stake with ropes. Often the feet were also affixed to the stake with ropes or nails. Because deterrence was a primary objective, the cross was always erected in a public place. Death came slowly, often only after several days, and resulted from the cumulative impact of thirst, hunger, exhaustion, exposure, and the traumatic effects of the scourging. After death the body was usually left hanging on the cross to decay and become food for scavengers. Because of the extreme pain, the protracted suffering and the deep ignominy of this manner of execution, it was viewed by the Romans as the supreme penalty, the ‘most wretched of deaths’ wrote Josephus, and was generally reserved for the lowest classes and the most heinous crimes. As you might imagine in the first century AD crucifixion served as one of the strongest of deterrents against rebellion, insurrection or political agitation in the Roman provinces.
Paul explains that that on the Cross…
BY IT HAVING PUT TO DEATH THE ENMITY: apokteinas (AAPMSN) ten echthran en auto:
Having put to death (615) (apokteino from apó = intensifies meaning + kteíno = slay) means to kill outright or to put to death in any manner. To kill someone results in a state of separation. The aorist tense speaks of an effective, completed action in the past. Through Christ's Crucifixion, God killed the enmity, utterly putting an end to this hostility that separated men from each other and from God.
Apokteino - 74x in 70v - Matt 10:28; 14:5; 16:21; 17:23; 21:35, 38f; 22:6; 23:34, 37; 24:9; 26:4; Mark 3:4; 6:19; 8:31; 9:31; 10:34; 12:5, 7f; 14:1; Luke 9:22; 11:47ff; 12:4f; 13:4, 31, 34; 18:33; 20:14f; John 5:18; 7:1, 19f, 25; 8:22, 37, 40; 11:53; 12:10; 16:2; 18:31; Acts 3:15; 7:52; 21:31; 23:12, 14; 27:42; Rom 7:11; 11:3; 2 Cor 3:6; Eph 2:16; 1 Thess 2:15; Rev 2:13, 23; 6:8, 11; 9:5, 15, 18, 20; 11:5, 7, 13; 13:10, 15; 19:21 Usage: kill(33), killed(29), killing(1), kills(5), put… to death(2), put to death(4).
Enmity (2189) (echthra from echthros = enemy, hostile) means hostility, a reason for opposition, enmity, hatred. Enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed whereas hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression.
As Johnson explains…
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Our Daily Bread - Just a Glimpse…
Once from the realms of infinite glory,