Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The "ENMITY" of the Carnal Gentile Mind
What is the "enmity contained in ordinances" mentioned by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:14-16? Is it the Jewish ceremonial Law? Or pagan decrees and dogmas based on hatred against the laws and people of YEHOVAH God? Here is vital new insight on this question which has stumped so-called "Christian" scholars and theologians for centuries!
by David C. Whitaker
Among many modern Christians -- from Protestant ministries to those of the WCG, CGI, and others -- interpreting the New Testament writings in an Anti-Semitic (Anti-Jewish) manner is commonplace. These Christian groups do not know that Anti-Semitism was vehemently active in the non-Jewish Mediterranean cultures of the First Century A.D., and this dogma of Anti-Semitism (Anti-Judaism) was a major platform in the theological and political platforms in the developing Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Catholic Church which inherited the cultures of Greece, Rome, and Asia Minor!
Ministers in the Worldwide Church of God, in their sermons, would occasionally refer to the Jewish "Talmud" in a very negative way, claiming the "Talmud" to be a Jewish system of "do's and don'ts," but without exhibiting any first-hand knowledge or experience with the "Talmud." They spoke about the Jewish "Talmud" as something evil, whereas the Hebrew word "Talmud" simply means "study." Whereas we use the term "Bible study," the Jewish people use the term "Talmud Torah" meaning "Torah Study." The big mistake the Jewish people generally make is that they place the Talmud ABOVE the Torah or Scriptures of YEHOVAH God. However, the Jewish people do not believe that YEHOVAH God made a mistake or lacked proper foresight when giving all 613 Commandments contained in Exodus through Deuteronomy to the Jewish people, and that some kind of application can be found for our time today in all the Divine Laws, perhaps with the only exceptions being the laws pertaining to the Temple and Priesthood since these are not currently in function. What is known as the "Babylonian Talmud" is, in part, an attempt of Jews who anciently lived in Babylon during the 400-500 A.D.'s to extrapolate the Torah into every aspect of life. The Babylonian Talmud was written by Jewish rabbis, for Jewish people, based upon the oral culture of ancient Israel. It is the traditional "enmity" of orthodox Catholic Christianity which positions the hateful attitudes of clergymen and ministers against this Jewish source of knowledge!
What is this "enmity" which modern Christians exhibit toward the Jewish people, and why does it exist? The Apostle Paul explains in Romans 8:7: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law (Torah) of God, neither indeed can be." (The Greek word used for "enmity" is "echthra" which is derived from "echtoros" meaning "enemy"; hence, "enmity" means "an opponent during warfare against which a person fights for survival." The Greek scholar W. E. Vine mentions: "It is the opposite of agape," i.e., spiritual love. Thus, the term "enmity" (Greek: "echtra") expresses the most intense form of hatred and hostility imaginable by man! It is this type of absolutely intense hatred toward the True God and His Divine Laws which makes spiritual conversion an absolute necessity in order to become acquainted with Him!
But, this "enmity" extends much farther than to being against YEHOVAH God and His Laws. This "enmity" also manifests itself as hatred toward the Jewish people through whom YEHOVAH's Laws entered into this world! Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D., mentions two critical factors which cause Gentiles to hate Jewish people:
1) The Jew -- simply the mere presence of a Jew -- reminds Gentiles about their obligation to "obey " YEHOVAH God instead of maintaining an empty and blind faith; and,
2) The Jew reminds the Gentile about the entrance of Yeshua into this world as the Messiah who gave a collective and individual "conscience " to mankind.
The presence of the Jew on this Earth makes it impossible for the Gentile mind to have peace and pleasure without being reminded of the existence of an overall Divine Plan and Responsibility for mankind to accomplish beyond the sphere of normal human activity. Thus, the Gentile displaces his own guilt from misconduct onto the Jew, seeking to pacify and relieve his guilt-stricken conscience by expressing the greatest form of hatred known to man -- "enmity" -- against the Jewish people (see: Anti-Semitism: A Disease of the Mind: A Psychiatrist Explores the Psychodynamics of a Symbol Sickness ). On pages 70-72, Dr. Rubin additionally points out that it is the Gentile Fear of the True Jewish Messiah which motivates much of the hostility against the Jewish religion and the Jewish people, and even causes non-religious Jews to sometimes hate themselves for not living by their own Torah which YEHOVAH God gave to them, thus causing such Jews to occasionally betray their own people!
This phenomenon of hating Judaism and hating Jewish people has been the major cause for Catholic and Protestant theologians and scholars to interpret whole passages of the New Testament in such a way as to defame and deprecate Judaism and the Jewish people! An excellent case in point is found in Ephesians 2:14-16 where Protestant scholars interpret the word "enmity" as referring to the Jewish ceremonial law: "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 peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby."
Protestants teach it was the "Jewish ritual law" which was "slain" in the Messiah's flesh on the tree! Rather, was it not sin which was "slain" by Yeshua? It is sin which is the source of "enmity" -- not Jewish ceremonial law! While Protestants are quick to deprecate the 4 1/2 foot high marble screen in the second Jerusalem Temple which prohibited Gentiles from approaching near the Holy of Holies on pain of death (which prohibition was appropriately based on the Law of Moses), Protestants do not seem to realize that the Temple of Diana in Ephesus also had a "middle wall of partition" which prohibited all Jews from seeing the statue of Diana on pain of death (Eph. 2:14). Paul was explaining to the Ephesians that Yeshua had cancelled the hold of the pagan temples on those especially called by YEHOVAH God, and "having abolished in His flesh the enmity" -- the hatred which Gentiles in Asia Minor were taught to exhibit against the Jews -- "even the law of commandments (or "enacted legislation") contained in ordinances ("decrees" or "dogmas"), referring to the hatefully anti-Jewish inscriptions inside the pagan temple of Diana. (The Greek expression is transliterated as: "ton nomon ton entolon en dogmasi" indicating the Anti-Semitic decrees of the Diana and Dione oracles.)
Yeshua slaughtered in his flesh the Gentile hatred against the Jewish religion and the Jewish people so that the Gentiles who "were afar off" from YEHOVAH God could draw near unto Him without prejudice and could be "grafted in" to the "good olive tree" of Judaism along with the Jewish believers in Yeshua (Eph. 2:17 and Romans 11:24).
Asia Minor, where Ephesus was located, was traditionally much more actively anti-Jewish than either Greece or Rome. In fact, some of the pagan population in Asia Minor were so hatefully anti-Jewish that they deliberately masqueraded as Jews in order to gain advantage with the intent and purpose to subvert and overthrow the Jewish believers in Ephesus and the other major cities in Asia Minor. Such anti-Semitic Gentiles masquerading as Jews were called "the synagogue of Satan" because they dressed as Jews and posed as Jews, but sought the destruction of the legitimate Jewish synagogues throughout Asia Minor.
The Gentile "enmity" against YEHOVAH God throughout Asia Minor in the first century A.D. as expressed in "the law of commandments contained in ordinances" (more properly: "The enacted legislation of decrees or dogmas"), reached a second zenith in the decrees ("dogmasi") of the early Catholic Church Councils:
"Also from Asia Minor come the canons of the Council of Laodicea (held in 360), several of which address the issue of Judaizing among Christians: Canon 29 forbids resting on the Sabbath rather than on the Lord's Day; Canon 16 requires that if Christians worship on the Sabbath they must read the gospels along with the other Scriptures (the original Jews who believed in Jesus used only the Hebrew Scriptures for worship purposes), that is, the Hebrew Scriptures; Canon 27 and 38 forbid Christians to participate in Jewish feasts and ceremonies. Similar prohibitions appear in canons from the Council of Antioch (341), forbidding Christians to eat Passover with Jews (Canon 1) and as far away as Spain, where the Council of Elvira (c.300) expressly prohibits the blessing of fields by Jews (Canon 49) and the sharing of feast with Jews (Canon 50). Origen mentions Jews who 'want to accept Jesus as the one prophesied and to observe the law of Moses just as much as before' and elsewhere criticizes others who observed both the Jewish Sabbath and Passover" (The Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes Toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, by Dr. John G. Gager, pp.132-133; c1983, Oxford University Press, Inc.).
The noted Catholic Greek church father and archbishop of Contantinople, Saint John Chrysostom (347-407 A.D.) who had been reared in the city of Antioch in Asia Minor, was a hardcore Jew hater because of the training he had received during his youth in Antioch. Chrysostom's written remarks against the Jewish people are well known within Jewish circles of today. Notice these flaming words of hatred directed against the Jews by this supposed "Christian saint":
"How can Christians dare have the slightest converse with Jews, most miserable of all men" (Homily 4:1).
"Flee, then, their assemblies, flee their houses, and far from venerating the synagogue because of the books it contains, hold it in hatred and aversion for the same reason" (1:5).
"I hate the synagogue precisely because it has the law and the prophets" (6:6). (See: Homilies Against the Jews, pp. 843-942, quoted in What Did They Think of the Jews, Allan Gould, Ed., pp. 24-25; c1991, Jason Aronson, Inc.)
Christian clergymen and ministers -- whether Catholic, Protestant, WCG, CGI, etc. -- need to realize -- and realize very deeply -- that the source of "enmity" between Jew and Gentile does not originate from the Jewish Ceremonial Law or from any other law which YEHOVAH God anciently gave to the Jewish people! Rather, the source of "enmity" originates from the domain of 1) the spiritually unconverted carnal mind which hates Judaism as a part of its unconversion, and, 2) the genetic Gentile mentality which refuses to come under Jewish authority and rule! Revelation 16:14-16 describes how the entire Gentile world will fight to the extreme before they will finally submit to the rule of Jewish authority (Isaiah 2:1-5).
"For they are the spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.... And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon" (Rev. 16:14-16).
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the house of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD" (Isaiah 2:2-5).
To rephrase the apostle Paul's words in Romans 8:7: Because the carnal mind is enmity against Judaism and the Jews who represent YEHOVAH God: for it is not subject to the Torah of Judaism, neither indeed can be!
There you have it! In the ancient Apostolic Age, to become "converted" from among the Gentiles meant to accept the authority of Judaism as administered by the original Apostles: "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus," wrote the apostle Paul to the Gentile converts in Thessalonica (I Thess. 2:14). The Gentile churches originally submitted to the Judaic authority represented by the original Apostles! Whether or not Gentiles were willing to submit to Jewish authority was anciently considered as a main indicator of spiritual conversion -- within both Judaism and the original Church under the Apostles of Yeshua the Messiah!
There is absolutely no place for "enmity" on the part of Gentiles who seek to establish a working relationship with the one and only "Holy One" -- the Everliving God of Israel!
Other references used:
The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, by Alfred Edersheim,
Unger's Bible Dictionary, Entries: "Gods, False," "Ephesus," "Enmity."
A History of the Jewish Experience, by Leo Trepp.
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Entry: "Enmity."
The Emphatic Diaglott.
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