The word Gentiles is used to refer to those who are not Jews or of the literal “seed of Abraham.” In the Old Testament, God designed to separate His children from the wicked to maintain their purity so that they would be a good example to the world (Gentiles). God chose the descendants of the godly Seth and showed Himself to all nations by the great wonders He did through Israel. In this way, the greatest empires of the world (the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Medo-Persian) had the opportunity to know God.
And God did not stop there. He also sent His prophets to the Gentiles to encourage them to repent. Obadiah was sent to Edom (Obadiah 1:1), Nahum preached in Assyria (Nahum 1:1), Zephaniah prophesied to Canaan and Ethiopia (Zephaniah 2:5, 12), and Amos and Ezekiel delivered judgments to the Ammonites, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, and the Edomites (Amos 1:3-2:3; Ezekiel 25:2; 27:2; 29:2; 35:2). And Jonah was sent to preach repentance to the inhabitants of Nineveh in Assyria (Jonah 1:2). This way, God had adequately warned the nations of His truths.
At the time of Jesus, the religious leaders taught the Jews to despise the Gentiles. But that was against God’s plan. John the Baptist tried to correct their teachings when he warned them not to trust their literal ancestry for salvation “Bring forth therefore fruits meet [worthy] for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:8, 9).
Later, Jesus addressed the religious leaders with the same principle “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham … Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:39, 44). Jesus looked upon Gentiles, with favor and taught that they were eligible to the privileges of the kingdom of heaven (Luke 4:26, 27). Jesus never shared the narrow exclusiveness the Jews felt toward Gentiles (Matt. 15:22, 26).
Finally, when the Jewish nation rejected Christ and crucified Him, they were temporarily cut off (as a nation not individuals) from the blessings of a relationship with God (Matthew 21:43). As a result, the gospel was given to the Gentiles, who gladly received it (Romans 11:17,18).
Paul was known as the apostle to the Gentiles (1 Timothy 2:7), and he broke down the barrier that the Jews had created, and taught that anyone who accepts Jesus as their personal Savior is considered God’s child, whether they are Jew or Gentile, they are now part of God’s spiritual Israel (1 Corinthians 12:13). He wrote, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). Thus, according to the Scriptures, real Jews in the sight of God are those who have personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Eventually, this truth was also understood by Peter the apostle of the Jews, and he affirmed, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34, 35).
In His service,
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