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Wednesday, May 16 2012
What Did The Messiah Say About Gentiles?
The English word "Gentile" originated from a Latin word, gentilis, which meant nation - a person's race of birth, not necessarily their place of birth (the reason that "nation" and "country" actually mean two very different things; "nation" is a union by family, while "country" is a union by politics). The word genesis originated from the same root word as gentile, as did genealogy. That reality is made obvious by the first Biblical reference to "gentiles," in listing the families that descended from the sons and daughters-in-law of Noah, who then grew into nations, who later made countries for themselves - which included the family from which the Israelites, of which the tribe of Judah, known by the abbreviation "Jew," originated many centuries later. Technically, by its actual definition, Jews are "gentiles" as much as are any other nation of people; the differentiation came when the LORD told them (when He told all of Israel, actually; see Where Jacob Became Israel) to separate themselves from the other nations - after which the custom developed in which Jews called all of the other nations "the nations" i.e. the "gentiles."
"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 10:5 KJV)
The understanding of the actual meaning of "gentile" is important to Biblical understanding. Even more important is the realization and understanding that it was "the LORD God" of the so-called "Old Testament" (as though it wasn't Christian, which it most certainly was, and is - see The Church In The Garden and The Church In The Wilderness) Who was born as Jesus of Nazareth.
Consider what the Messiah said about Abraham, who, although a key ancestor of Jews, was himself not a Jew (Jews originated from Abraham's great-grandson Judah; see Who Were The First Jews?). If Abraham lived today, Jews, by their definition of "gentile," would call the Iraqi-born, uncircumcised (until age 99, long after he was declared righteous by the LORD; see Circumcision) man a gentile (see also 'Raghead' Racism).
"17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." (Genesis 17:1 KJV)
Further plain proof that Jesus Christ was "the LORD God" (see also Appearances Of The LORD God):
"1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things were made by him [see The First Act Of Faith]; and without him was not any thing made that was made ... 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-3,14 KJV)
All of the prophecies that were given to the prophets were given to them by the LORD God, either in vision, or spoken directly by Him. As we will read further, all of the prophecies that we read about the Gentiles were not merely the fulfillment of a human prophet's words, but a fulfillment of a promise that the LORD proclaimed that He would do. The prophecies about Christ, spoken by "the LORD God," were Christ's own words. That is true for all prophecies, including those for the Gentiles, as we will cover in this study.
The Birth Of The Messiah
"Jews and Gentiles" were both involved in the birth of the Messiah, just as, as we will get to, both were involved in His Ministry and His Sacrifice. The shepherds of Judah were the first to witness the birth because they were already there, at Bethlehem (see Bethlehem In History And Prophecy).
"2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem [see Jesse The Bethlehemite]; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
As an infant, the Messiah was brought to the Temple in Jerusalem. There they encountered a devout Jew named Simeon, "And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ" - consider what is actually meant by "the Lord's Christ." Notice also that the Holy Spirit empowered Simeon to state the Gospel in a single sentence, "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."
"2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 2:28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Months later, because of their long journey, the "Magi" arrived - as representative witnesses of and for the gentile world (see Why Did The Magi Come?), just as the shepherds had represented the people of Judah.
"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
It was Herod's murderous response to the gentile world coming to worship the Messiah that caused him to kill all male children in the area, "from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men" i.e. the Messiah was by then up to two years old. Further, it was Herod's response to the coming of the gentile Magi that Joseph was instructed to take the Messiah and flee with Him to a gentile land - Egypt (see The Flight Into Egypt and A History Of Jerusalem: The Herodian Dynasty).
"2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
The Ministry Of The Messiah
As explained, the prophecies about the Messiah that were given to the prophets were given to the prophets by the LORD God, Who was born as the Messiah. Consider what the LORD gave Isaiah to say about the Gentiles, and where:
"9:1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." (Isaiah 9:1-2 KJV)
It was upon the fulfillment of that prophecy that the Messiah began His Ministry:
"4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum [see also Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?], which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
The twelve apostles were given to take the Gospel to the people of Judah and Israel, but He "commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not." That responsibility was given to later apostles (i.e. Paul and those associated with him), while the Messiah of all people Himself preached to all people.
"10:1 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.
Another prophecy that was given to Isaiah that described how the Messiah would present His Ministry, to all people.
"12:14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. 12:15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; 12:16 And charged them that they should not make him known: 12:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
The Sacrifice Of The Messiah
Jews have been blamed as "the killers of Christ" for centuries, as an excuse for self-proclaimed "gentiles" to hate and persecute them. But Jews did not crucify Christ; "gentiles" did. The Messiah was sacrificed as the Lamb of God for all people, so it's appropriate that both Jews and "Gentiles," together, sacrificed Him (see also 'His Blood Be On Us And Our Children').
"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 Kingdom Of God
When all is completed (see the Fact Finder question below), there will be no more "Jews and Gentiles," but only native-born children of God (the ultimate nation) in the Kingdom of God (the ultimate country). Until then, the famous "for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" and "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" applies as much to as-yet unconverted Jews as it does to as-yet unconverted "Gentiles" - the people of the other nations.
"2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
Fact Finder: (a) As explained above, "nation" means family of birth. When and where will God's children be born? (b) When will all of the Earth be a single country, the Kingdom of God?
This Day In History, May 16
360 BC: Agesilaus, king of Sparta (399-360 BC), died at age 84. He commanded the Spartan army through most of the period of Spartan supremacy in Greece (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).
218: The Accession of Elagabalus, the 25th Roman emperor (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
1137: (day of month approximate) Adela, the daughter of William I ("William the Conqueror"), sister of Henry I, died at age 75. Adela was the mother of King Stephen, who inherited the English throne through her lineage.
1532: Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro landed with a small band of soldiers on the northern coast of Peru.
1568: Mary, Queen of Scots, fled to England after her defeat at Langsides, Glasgow.
1620: William Adams died at age 56. The English navigator and merchant adventurer is regarded by some historians as "the first Englishman in Japan."
1770: Marie Antoinette married future King Louis XVI of France.
1879: The Treaty of Gandamak between Russia and England established the Afghan state.
1932: Japan's Premier Tsuyoshi Inukai was assassinated in Tokyo.
1941: The Parliament of Iceland ended a treaty with Denmark and proclaimed independence.
1943: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), British Lancaster bombers destroyed the Mohne and the Eder dams in Germany's industrial Ruhr basin using specially-developed "bouncing" bombs that skipped across the water like a thrown stone in order to strike the target from the side (as modern-day missiles can do).
1943: During the Second World War, the "Warsaw Uprising" in Poland ended. Thousands of Jews were killed in a fierce 4-week battle against the Nazi Waffen-SS (one of Adolf Hitler's "special forces" units; see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1961: Maj. Gen. Park Chung-hee staged a military coup in South Korea. He ruled until he was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979.
1980: 60 people were killed from an eruption of Mt. St. Helens in a remote area Washington State. Scientists estimated that the force of the eruption was 2500 times more powerful than the U.S. atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.
1988: The Soviet Army began leaving Afghanistan. The military "superpower" had occupied the country for eight and a half years, but left without being able to defeat the Afghan homeland defenders.
1995: Japanese police arrested doomsday cult leader Shako Asahar in connection with the nerve-gas attack that killed 12 on Tokyo's subways two months earlier.