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What is the role of the Gentiles?

q.gif (1639 bytes)     Hello! I really like your site. Can you comment on something? I want to make sure I understand how salvation was offered to the Gentiles. The Good News had to be preached to the Jews first. After they rejected it, it was offered to the Gentiles, so they could have a chance to accept it. Even though the Gentiles were offered salvation second, the rejection by the Jews was planned by God and his intention had always been to offer salvation to everyone. This is how I understand the role of the Gentiles. Am I right? I would appreciate your comments. Thank you!


a.gif (1659 bytes)   Jesus told His disciples to give the gospel to the Jews first, when they began preaching. Matthew 9:35-10:7 says, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Jesus told His disciples to begin preaching to the Jews. Jesus was coming as the King of the Jews; their long-awaited Messiah and Savior. The King would naturally be presented to His own nation, before any other. But Gentiles have been able to be saved all along through time. Notice Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name WHOSOEVER believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” The prophets preached that not just the Jews, but WHOSOEVER believed in Him would be saved. And that was indeed the case in the Old Testament.

Rahab is a good example. Hebrews 11:31 says, “BY FAITH the harlot Rahab perished not with THEM THAT BELIEVED NOT, when she had received the spies with peace.” In fact, Rahab, a Gentile harlot, not only got saved, but the Lord in His grace also allowed her to be in the very line of Christ. Matthew 1:5,6 says, “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king.” “Rachab” is another spelling of “Rahab,” just like the reference there to “Booz” is referring to “Boaz.” The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek. Some names are spelled a little differently in the New Testament, than in the Old. Another example is Noah is referenced as “Noe” in the New Testament, like in Matthew 24:37, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

The above passage also shows another Gentile woman that got saved in the Old Testament — Ruth; and she, too, was blessed to be in the line of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ruth 2:4-12 says, “And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger? And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”

The Jews in Jesus’ day did not want any Gentiles in the Temple. Acts 21:28,29 says, “Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)”

But when Solomon built the first Temple to the Lord, and was dedicating it, he looked forward to people of all nations coming there and being saved. I Kings 8:41-43 says, “Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake; (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.” And, in fact, his desire was fulfilled as the Gentile queen of Sheba came, and got saved. I Kings 10:4-9 says, “And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.” Luke 11:30,31 says, “For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”

So, once again, the message of the prophets (Acts 10:43) was, ““To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name WHOSOEVER believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Notice all of the Old Testament quotations about the Gentiles being saved in Romans 15:9-12, “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Because of the Jew’s rejection of Jesus, the focus now rests upon the church, and Gentiles who make up most of the church. John 1:11,12 says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” But God has not cast away the Jews. One day, when the Bride of Christ, the church, is completed, the focus will once again be upon His people, the Jews. Romans 11:11-15 looks ahead to when the Jews will accept the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah: “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”

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