In Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount, it was referred to as “the Partition,” a wall dividing the outermost chamber of the Temple grounds from the rest of the worship center. It was upon penalty of death that any non-converted gentile or uncircumcised Jew pass beyond this point. Feelings were so strong on this issue that Paul was nearly killed at the suggestion that he (as a Jew) might have allowed a gentile to enter (Acts 21:28-31).
This Temple was constructed by Herod the Great (Herod, the better than most). The Wall of Partition was put in place at the request of First Century Pharisees, after rabbinical Judaism had set clear distinction between their standards of worship and the Greek philosophy so prevalent in the rest of Jerusalem. There was no mention of such a barrier in any of the previous Temple/Tabernacle descriptions in the Bible. While Ezekiel 44:9 makes it clear that no uncircumcised person nor stranger will have access to the Holy Temple in the New Jerusalem, Isaiah declares that anyone who comes to worship before God shall have access to Him, “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56:7).
There isn't any conflict between Ezekiel 44 and Isaiah 57, by the way. Rather, these two verses demonstrate the consistent pattern of God's appeal to all of mankind: God's ways are ways of holiness and divine order. If you want to do things your own way, do them elsewhere. But, if you're seeking to draw close in intimacy with Him, the door is always open... always has been... always will be.
But, we're more comfortable with our dividing wall, distinguishing between Jew and gentile. They have their side and we have ours.
That's what the Samaritans did. During the Babylonian exile, a community banded together around the Bible (in those days, just the five books of Moses). They decided that the Word of God was open to their own interpretation: that God could speak to them just as well as He could speak to anyone. So, taking a literal interpretation of the Text, ignoring any of the writings of the prophets and Jewish historians, they developed a religious system of their own, centered on Mount Gerazim, where God first commanded to build an altar. In the one theological conversation that Jesus ever had with a gentile, He said to the Samaritan woman, “You don't even know what it is that you worship. We know what we worship. Salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22)
In Ephesians 2, Paul explains that our Messiah, by dying on the cross for the sins of all mankind, invalidated the wall of partition that prevented access of gentiles into the worship center of God.
Temple worship, sacrifices in particular, were a representation of a spiritual truth (an caricature of a heavenly reality). This is explained to us in Hebrews 10:1, that the sacrifices and offerings only serve as a “shadow of good things to come, and not the very image.” This principle is the only reason that Judaism survived three holocausts that alienated them from Temple worship for generations: that the Temple, itself, was not the place of worship; but represented a heavenly reality. Christ's sacrifice didn't occur on the Temple mount. It happened outside of Jerusalem, on the hill of Golgotha. And, differing from the ritual observance inside the Temple courts, this sacrifice actually means something.
Paul doesn't suggest that Temple worship has lost any value, by the way. He's simply stating that value isn't contained in the private circle of traditional worship. The Jewish traditions that alienated anyone who was not Jewish (by birth or conversion) had no bearing on the truth of God's love toward all mankind. In fact, read Ephesians 2 and you'll see that Paul is saying just the opposite: that gentiles are invited as “fellowcitizens and co-heirs”. They are invited in to participate fully. It is the dividing wall that is broken down, not the Temple itself.
But, over and over, generation after generation, we seem to find some way of rebuilding it. Christians say that you have to come out of the Temple, to this side of the partition, in order to find a relationship with God. The Jews, and Messianic believers, say, you have to come into the Temple courts in order to find truth in God. Meanwhile, God is standing in heavenly places, saying, “Guys! Look'it... I'm up here!”
If you read through the writings of Paul, he's going to clearly say that the Jewish heritage and rabbinical teachings hold value. In Romans 3:1, he says without contest, the Jewish faith holds every advantage over anything any gentile has to offer. But, he also makes every effort to iterate that it's not about being Jewish: it's about seeking God. And when we confuse that point, either for or against, we place brick upon brick, the middle wall of partition.
It's not about you. It's not about me. It's not about us or them. It's about Him. And the day that we discover this amazing truth, the doors will swing open.