The God Of The Nations
The English word "gentile" originated from a Latin word, gentilis, which meant a nation (a number of different words have the same root e.g. genesis, generation). "Gentile" is frequently used (along with "nation" or "nations") to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced go-ee, which also meant nation. Over the course of Bible History, "gentile" came to be used, by the Israelites, for non-Israelites (even though the Israelites were a "nation" too). Then, even more specifically, and to the present day, it came to be used to mean a non-Jew (keeping in mind that Jews are just one of the twelve tribes of Israel). In the beginning however, "gentile" simply meant the people of the various nations that grew from families (just as Israel did). For example, from Noah and his family came all of the "gentiles," or "nations" on earth.
"10:1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood ... 10:5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations." (Genesis 10:1,5 KJV)
As plainly stated above, "gentiles" existed before Israelites did. Israelites (and other nations as well) began from a "gentile" named Abraham - a very righteous man born in what is today Iraq (see Israel's Iraqi Roots) who became a key ancestor of the Messiah i.e. "the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ" (see also 'Before Abraham Was, I AM').
"3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Galatians 3:14 KJV)
The "gentile" connection to Christ's ministry (see also The Prophet Of Galilee) was not an afterthought; it was a fulfilling of Prophecy. After the death of King Solomon, centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ, the united kingdom of Israel (see The United Kingdom) divided into two separate kingdoms (see The Division Of Israel) - "Israel" in the north (see The Northern Kingdom) and "Judah" to the south (see The Southern Kingdom). "Israel" fell to the Assyrians by 721 BC (see The Galilee Captivity) and were taken into exile, becoming "the lost ten tribes of Israel." In their place, the Assyrians brought in foreign people to tend the land - a "gentile" people who, by the time of Christ's birth, became known as the "Samaritans" (see The Samaritans Of Israel). When The Messiah began to preach, those people of the "Galilee of the Gentiles" were a part of the fulfillment of a prophecy about His first coming (see also Why Two Comings Of The Christ?):
"4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison [see How Long Was John's Ministry?], he departed into Galilee; 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast [i.e. on the north shore of the Sea Of Galilee, through which The Jordan River flows], in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet [i.e. Isaiah 9:1-2; see also Translation Of Translations], saying,
"Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also"
As plainly stated in the verses quoted above, "gentiles" (i.e. the people of other nations) were included as the receptors of Christ's first coming. The same holds true for Christ's return (keep in mind that the vast majority of humanity are "gentiles").
"11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD [see also YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
There were and are unbelieving gentiles, just as there were and are unbelieving Jews. At the time of Christ's Sacrifice, some of the Christ's fellow Jews rejected the Messiah ("betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death"), while some of the gentiles crucified Him ("shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him"). Neither is more, or less, "guilty."
"20:17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 20:18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again." (Matthew 20:17-19 KJV)
The apostle Paul, before his conversion as the Pharisee Saul, was one of the Jews who did not recognize the Messiah (see Was Paul Among Them?). Later, when his eyes were opened (see Paul's Blindness Lesson), Paul the Jew became the major apostle to the gentiles. Paul's missionary journeys (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey; also Paul's Crash Landing) were because "for so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." Wherever he travelled, he encountered believing and unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. There was no difference.
"13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
And why did the former fanatical Christ-hating Pharisee find no difference? "There is no difference, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." It is for that reason that all people must repent and accept the Saviour's Sacrifice.
"3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Romans 3:22-26 KJV)
Fact Finder: During His human lifetime, was Jesus of Nazareth clearly aware of why He was born, what He had to do, and to all of whom He was sent? How did He know? Where did He get the specific information?