Throughout history mankind has built walls for various purposes—boundaries, protection, ideology, sovereignty and status. Ironically, few have accomplished their designated purpose. Not only do they keep people out but also keep them in, as in embassy walls that offer asylum and prison walls that house criminals. Some walls are huge and cover vast territories like the Great Wall of China which was built to protect their northern area from raids by nomadic groups and the Maginot Line which the French built in the 1930s to protect itself from invasion by Germany. Both of these failed as the Mongols and the Germans simply circumvented the walls.

During the Cold War the Soviet Union built a wall through Berlin, Germany to keep the people from defecting from the Communist East to the Democratic West. In 1987 U. S. President Reagan told the Soviet leader, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Shortly afterwards the inhabitants of east and west joyfully did just that.

Most Biblical cities of any size had walls for protection. Jericho and Jerusalem are two examples. The Israelites under Joshua (Jos 6:20) (Heb 11:30) and God’s direction, brought down the walls of Jericho. The walls of Jerusalem were totally demolished by the Babylonians. (Ne 2:17) (2 Chr 36:19) The Romans conquered many cities with sieges and patience.

Not all walls are made of brick, concrete and steel. The huge curtain of the temple in Jerusalem divided the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies which represented the presence of God. However, even this was torn in two from top to bottom at the death of Jesus Christ. (Mt 27:51) (Mk 15:38) Jesus then ascended back into the heavenly throne room and through his blood sacrifice, we now have bold access. (Heb 4:16)(Heb 9:8-12)

Some walls are figurative and self-made. We can wall ourselves in with pride, hate, greed, and prejudice. Sometimes this is justified by saying that it is necessary to protect ourselves from being hurt again by our enemies or even our brethren. We become prisoners of our own actions. If so, the escape is to dismantle the wall from the inside out
with the tools of forgiveness and prayer. (Mt 6:14-15) (Lk 6:37) (Col 3:13) Then we ask Jesus to, “tear down this wall.” (1 Pe 4:8)

Jim Bailey