For a fuller discussion of this dreadful term, the doctrinal import should be
included, which speaks of the condition of the carnal mind (Rom. 8:7), the
friendship of the world (Jas. 4:4), the great enemy of God and man, Satan ‘the
enemy that sowed them is the devil’ (Matt. 13:39), and finally death itself (1
Cor. 15:25). These, however, we must leave, and concentrate our attention on
that use of the words enmity and enemy that has a bearing on Dispensational
enemy, occurs thirty-two times of which occurrences, two are translated ‘foe’
(Matt. 10:36, Acts 2:35). Echthra occurs six times,
five times being translated ‘enmity’ and once ‘hatred’. We give a concordance of
They were at enmity between themselves.
The carnal mind is enmity against God.
Witchcraft, hatred, variance.
He ... abolished in His flesh the enmity.
Having slain the enmity thereby.
The friendship of the world is enmity with God?
The idea of an invading army which the word ‘enemy’ is so likely to conjure
up in the mind just now, is not uppermost in the use of the word in the New
Testament. This meaning is found in such a passage as Luke 19:43, but it is
rare. The enemies of the New Testament are the members of one’s household (Matt.
10:36), or like Israel, by reason of their rejection of Christ and the gospel
(Rom. 11:28), or again, by reason of antagonism that exists in the mind against
all that is spiritual and true (Phil. 3:18; Rom. 5:10; Gal. 4:16). The passage
with which we are chiefly concerned is Ephesians 2:15,16 but we shall obtain
light on the essential character of enmity by giving a thought to the other
‘And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends
together: for before they were at enmity between themselves’ (Luke 23:12).
Luke who records this fact, records also the Divine commentary in Acts
4:26-28. Both the enmity and the friendship of these rulers was one of policy,
not of deep-seated principle.
‘The carnal mind is enmity against God’ (Rom. 8:7).
The enmity between Herod and Pilate was economical, and could be exchanged
for friendship by the pressure of self interest, but the carnal mind is not
merely AT enmity against God, it is enmity, and is unchangeable. This enmity
belongs to no one dispensation but is universal ‘for there is no difference for
all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’.
‘Now the works of the flesh are these ... hatred’ (Gal.
5:19,20). These works of the flesh are placed over against the fruit of the
Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and are the indices of the two natures in the child of God.
‘For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the
spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that
ye cannot do the things that ye would’ (Gal. 5:17).
In this epistle to the Galatians, ‘the flesh
versus the spirit’ is one of a number of antonyms, like ‘faith
versus works’ or ‘law
versus grace’, and the enmity or hatred
that is one of the works of the flesh that is here mentioned is one of the many
characteristics of the old nature. This enmity is too deep-seated for any sort
of ‘religion’ to change, and the Galatians were being seduced from the only safe
ground, the finished work of Christ, to attempt some measure of amelioration or
deliverance by their own efforts. It is this that drew from the apostle this
challenging epistle. See GALATIANS for
analysis and structural outline.
‘The friendship of the world is enmity with God’ (Jas. 4:4). Friendship with
the world, must not be confused with the Christian grace of love to enemies, for
even God Himself so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son. The world
as at present constituted is under the domination of the great enemy of truth,
and friendship in these circumstances is but treason and betrayal. The kingdoms
of this world will one day become the kingdom of the Lord, but until that
radical change takes place, friendship with the world, can only mean enmity with
Thus briefly we have considered the references to enmity apart from the one
great dispensational passage Ephesians 2:15,16. The setting of this passage has
been partly considered in the article entitled
BOTHwhich it would be advisable to read once more, and a fairly exhaustive
analysis of the whole passage will be found under the title
MIDDLE WALL. Light too will be received
by re-reading the article entitled
DECREES which deals with Acts 15. We must allow
these different articles to speak, and cannot afford the space for repetition
here, but will supplement their findings by giving fuller heed to the
implications of the word ‘enmity’ as it is used in this great passage. This
enmity is said to be ‘even the law of commandments contained in ordinances’, and
as a result of the cross, the enmity is said to have been slain, making
reconciliation possible ‘so making peace’. It existed between ‘the both’ who had
now been made one and a survey of the conditions under which the Church grew,
with its strong association with the Jewish synagogue, the ceremonial scruples
of Jewish Christians, the ‘four necessary things’ enjoined upon the believing
Gentiles, which form ‘the decrees’ (Acts 16:4), the consequent friction that
would arise out of two codes of sanctification, all this and more was like the
middle wall of partition which stood in Herod’s temple, and which forbade the
foreigner on pain of death from access. The inscription containing this
prohibition together with its translation, will be found in the article entitled
MIDDLE WALL and cannot be repeated here.
The ‘breaking down’ of the middle wall of partition is interpreted as being
typical of the ‘abolishing’ of this enmity that the decrees fostered, and that
this enmity and the ensuing peace were not the enmity of a sinner’s heart
against God, and the consequent place that flows from being justified, the whole
context proves. Sin had already been dealt with (Eph. 2:1-10), but the
disability of being a Gentile quite apart from individual sins, was a barrier
between man and God. Israel, whatever their condition, were a people in covenant
with the God of their father Abraham, but the Gentile, however upright he may
have been personally, was a stranger from the covenants of promise, having no
hope and without God in the world.
All this, as well as the distance suggested by the decrees of Acts 15, was
fully and finally removed at the opening of the dispensation of the Mystery,
‘the both’ as two separate entities disappearing and in their place, a newly
created new man, in which no precedence could be claimed by the Jew, no
disability felt by the Gentile, but in place of the enmity induced by these
distinctions, is the Church of the one Body, a calling unknown until revealed at
Acts 28, which gives an access and provides an acceptance that all the resources
of inspired language used in Ephesians and Colossians together, scarcely conveys
to the believer the grace and the glory of this parenthetical dispensation that
intervenes between the blindness of Israel, and the day of their restoration.