The Calling of the Gentiles
Terry Cropper is an excellent Bible students and I have shared some of his articles here before. Just recently, he wrote an article that relates to the calling of the Gentiles. I felt that it was important to share that with my visitors. This is the first in a two part series. Enjoy!
An interesting fact that many Christians are not aware of is Gentile were always welcome and assimilated by faith into the Israel of God during the Old Covenant. The calling of the Gentiles was always God’s plan!
Jesus is the “true Israel” of God. (Matthew 2:13-15)
Throughout the Bible shows that God’s sovereign grace has always been extended to Gentiles from the very beginning to also be a part of His Israel. This means that people from all ethnic nationalities were always welcome to be a part of God’s spiritual Israel. Our objective in this article is to show God always had a remnant of believers who wanted to fellowship with Him and be a part of His Israel.
Not every person who left Egypt was an Israelite. Among the foreigners living in Israel were those who had accompanied them on their flight from Egypt. Exodus 12:38 A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock. Exodus tells us a “mixed multitude of people went up with” the children of Israel.
These people had a desire to worship God and marched out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses. For how long? Their presence during the quail incident, indicates that these people were still with the Israelites at least one year after the first Passover. That means that the mixed multitude was present at Mount Sinai, some fifty days after the Red Sea crossing. This means they were present at the giving of the Law!
People from other nationalities who had a sincere desire to become a part of God’s covenant people God’s Israel were welcome and assimilated (absorbed equals) into “Israel,” through faith and obedience to the conditions of the covenant. In other words through God grace the back door was always open. Those who hold the literal approach to scripture and believe the promises of God only apply to the biological fleshly seed of Abraham will never tell you foreigners were welcome and assimilated (absorbed equals) into “Israel,” through faith,
An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the mails in his household circumcised; them he may take part, like one born in the land… The SAME law applies to the native-born. And to the alien living among you” (Exodus 12:48-49) Other verses are (Numbers 9:14; Isaiah 56:4a, 6-7) Israel as a people were neither better nor worse than other people. This is why the Mosaic law contains detailed teaching concerning aliens and strangers. This teaching continually remind the Israelites of how they should behave towards aliens living among them. The prophets also speak of the time as coming when the strangers shall share in all the privileges of Israel (Ezekiel 47:22 ; Isaiah 2:2 ; 11:10 ; 56:3-6 ; Micah 4:1).
The law of Moses made specific regulations regarding the admission into the Jewish church of such as were not born Israelites ( Exodus 20:10 ; 23:12 ; Exodus 12:19 Exodus 12:48 ; Deuteronomy 5:14 ; Deuteronomy 16:11 Deuteronomy 16:14 , etc.). The Kenites, the Gibeonites, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites were thus admitted to the privileges of Israelites.
So under the Old Covenant system there were people from other nationalities who had a desire to serve God by faith. They were assimilated and absorbed as equals into Israel as long as they had faith and were obedient to the covenant. These aliens were called proselytes. The Greek term προσήλυτος (proselytos), as used in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) for “stranger”, i.e. a “newcomer to Israel”; a “sojourner in the land”, and in the Greek New Testament for a first century convert to Judaism, generally from Ancient Greek.
The book of Joshua introduces us to one of the most amazing and thought provoking women of the Old Testament. Rahab, the prostitute earned unique praise for her faith, and a place in the lineage of Christ. God blessed this women by putting her in the lineage of Christ.
Certainly this one women demonstrates faith in God as a gentiles during the Old Covenant. Matthew’s Gospel included 4 such women. He lists Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. Of these four, only Bathsheba was Jewish. Neither of the other three women was a biological descendant of Abraham, but the three were allowed to become biological ancestors of the Lord Jesus.
God’s true “Israel” has (always) been a spiritual entity, comprised of His covenant people, regardless of nationality or time in history. Foreigners were well integrated into the religious life of Israel, able to participate in all the major festivals. Even at the consecration of the great temple in Jerusalem, the foreigner was not forgotten. Solomon prayed that the temple would serve to make God known well outside national boundaries (2 Chronicles 6:23-33). Faithful to this global vision, all the great prophets of Israel speak of the day when people will come from the ends of the earth to worship the God of the universe (Isaiah 56:6-7).
We will continue with Terry’s excellent article on the calling of the Gentiles in the next installment. Stay tuned!