Marking the Twain

Justin Johnson

By now everyone knows that American humorist Mark Twain’s name came from the steamboat man’s cry for measuring a two fathom depth in the Mississippi river – “mark twain!”

Hardly anyone seems to know the significance of the twain marked in Ephesians 2:15.

“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;” – Ephesians 2:15

Paul describes in Ephesians 2:11-12 that in the Biblical past there were two people: Jews and Gentiles; Israel and the nations; circumcision and uncircumcision.

God was with Israel, but not with the Gentiles who were spiritually and physically separated from God and Israel.

Ephesians 2:13-14 explains that the separation has now been removed as part of the mystery of Christ (Eph 3:6).

Through the fall of Israel, salvation has now come to Gentiles (Rom 11:11). Like the Gentiles, Israel is now counted in unbelief so that God could have mercy upon all men (Rom 11:32).

It is in Ephesians 2:15 that Paul explains that the twain have become one in the creation of a new creature in this dispensation of grace.

In time past there was twain, Jews and Gentiles, but now there is one new creature.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” – Gal 6:15

All of the old things pertaining to Israel and the Gentiles are not carried over into this new creature:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Cor 5:17

That this one thing is new means none of the old things are applied to it: old covenants, old laws, old lands, old national boundaries, prophecies of old are all passed away.

The covenants to Israel, the kingdom to Israel, the land to Israel were not and could not be transferred into this new creature, because Israel ceases to be Israel in this one new man.

Likewise, neither do the Gentiles remain Gentiles far away from God and without hope. Instead, in this new creature they become members of the very body of Christ (Eph 5:30).

The description of God in Christ making “of two one new” is most important in distinguishing Israel from the church of this dispensation.

In time past there was Gentile and there was Jew, but now what is new can be neither of the original two (Eph 2:15). It must be something entirely different.

This new creature is called the church, the body of Christ (Eph 1:22-23). Mark this twain made new in your Bible and your ability to rightly divide will greatly improve.

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free…” – 1 Cor 12:13

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” – 1 Cor 12:27

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Published: February 18, 2012
Last Modified: May 24, 2017
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