Tuesday, January 22, 2008

GOD'S LOVE FOR ALL IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

"AND IN YOU ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH WILL BE BLESSED" (Gen. 12:3)
Because we are often focusing on the Jews in the Old Testament, we might get the view that God was unjust with the Gentiles. But the words of God to Abraham show us that God was thinking of people from all nations. The distinction between Jew and Gentile had its part in Old Testament theology, for sure, since the plan of redemption would work its way through Abraham & his descendants. But it would be an error to think that God did not love Gentiles and desire their salvation. Deuteronomy 10:18 says,
"He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.
The "alien" was the foreigner, a non-Jew. If anyone was corrupt or unclean, regardless of whether they were Jew or Gentile, they were cut off. Exodus 12:19 says,
"Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land."
It is easy to conclude that the Gentiles were lost because God did not choose them as His people. But the truth is that "free will" had more to do with one's eternal destiny than did blood lineage. This was true in the Old Testament.

Jehovah is a supremely just and giving God and is no respecter of persons (Rom 2:11). He blessed Rahab who was a gentile and a harlot because she came to have faith (Heb 11). Rahab was even an ancestor of Jesus Christ! God saved the gentiles of Nineveh when they repented even if Jonah despised them. Jonah 4:11
"Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"
Let us not lose heart by thinking we have found a fault in God who "chose" Israel instead of some other people. Israel, when sinful, was no more Saved than a gentile worshiper of Baal. But a gentile who instinctively did the things of the Law, was saved (Romans 2:11-15).
14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. - Romans 2: 14-16
I believe that Paul is saying that some gentiles in the Old Testament times were saved. God loved gentiles too.
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The way God hardens a heart

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the article. I've always struggled with this topic and wondered about OT Gentiles. It was a big help!

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  2. Anonymous2:51 PM

    I see little indication of YHWH's 'love' or concern for mankind other then Israel in the Old Testament. On the contrary, gentiles were the enemy and only used for the purposes of glorifying himself through Israel.
    They were brutally destroyed and ejected from thier lands without the chance of 'salvation' or 'conversion' on MULTIPLE instances . That YHWH couldn't have revealed himself to a just 'Abraham' like figure in multiple cultures around the WORLD doesn't make much sense. Abraham was called out of a society who didn't worship YHWH, in fact no one on the planet did at that time. That Abraham(of his own accord) was the only just man on the planet sounds very much like a 'story'.

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  3. Dear Anonymous,
    Thanks for posting.
    But because you don't "see" evidence of God's love for other nations only means that the Scriptures primarily focus on his relationship with the covenant people. And God was sometimes brutal with Israel when they stirred His wrath by practicing idolatry.

    The evidence of God's love for other nations might be slim, as far as being recorded in the Old Testament, but the Bible does indicate concern for other nations. To characterize that as nothing but a chance to glorify Himself really doesn't make sense. He cared for the people of Nineveh to glorify Himself through Israel? Huh? Your world view might be prejudiced, but mine is seen through the Scriptures and I definitely seen evidence of God's love for all nations.

    Paul said to the Romans "14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. (Rom. 2:14-16).

    Your remarks remind of someone I know who looks at the Scriptures with a jaundiced eye. He challenges everything that the church teaches all the while that he listens to expert critics. While supposing that he has accepted the more rational path, he places his faith squarely on those who don't believe in God.

    The Bible is more than a "story", it is a historical document that accurately relates the lives of people through human history.

    Thank you.

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  4. Anonymous7:24 AM

    Thanks for your response. I never said all. Ninevah is BY FAR the exception, not the standard. That YHWH also ordered the killings of thousands of women and children (many of whom most likely had no knowledge of him) doesn't speak of love. Every culture in the world worshiped their own god(s) at that time so why would anyone automatically convert to the God of the Israelites just because they showed up on their borders with swords and demanded it?? Serve me or die?? That's love? YHWH specifically revealed himself to Israel and made convanent's with them. They knew him intimately. HE WAS THEIR GOD and they still strayed(repeatedly) how much more for others who had no benefit of a relationship with him????

    My world view, contrary to your baseless assumption, is fine. I could easily make assumptions about yours as well. Lets stick to scripture.

    Old Testament scripture does indeed speak to the fact that YHWH's purpose for many of his brutal actions against gentiles was to glorify himself (I never implied Nineveh fell into this category, you did).

    Lastly, my eye is far from jaundiced. The scriptures speak for themselves. Try to refrain from personal jabs and stick with them.

    Lastly, the bible may be many things, historical however isn't one of them.

    Thanks

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  5. RickJuarez@aol.com4:49 PM

    Thank you for posting your comments regarding God's love for Gentiles. I have currently been doing alot of research on this topic and thus my interest in your webpage.

    For over two decades I have always felt that God loved Jewish people more than Gentiles. I have felt very disappointed, sad, and it has really broken my spirit at times and made it difficult to see God as just and loving.

    It is written in Romans 2:10 "But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:" 11: For there is no respect of persons with God. Could it have been said "To the Jew first..." to show that God was still honoring his covenant with Israel and to show the world that He is trustworthy to honor his covenants with His people?

    I have found at least 3 instances in the NT which say "There is no respect of persons with God."

    So we have to wonder why God chose Israel? I think it is very unfortunate that so many Gentiles struggle with this issue which I am beginning to believe is deception from the enemy.

    Also, "For God so loved the world..." That had to of meant that He loved all of those Gentiles in the OT if He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I have always heard God did not choose them because they did not cry out to Him. I recall in the OT that "Man began to cry out to The Lord." Could it be that the Gentiles did not cry out to Him and that is why there were no Gentile covenants?

    Also, there was a Samaritan woman that Jesus spoke personally to. He did not have to do that as He could have left it all to the disciples and people.

    Another fact I have considered is that if we have an interest/concern/desire for God it is only because He has drawn us to Him. If we were drawn to Him, He loves us and knew us before the foundation of the world. If The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then He had to of loved the Gentiles of the OT. It is written "For God so loved the world"...not Jews. It is hard for me to believe He just decided to start loving the Gentiles once He walked upon the earth. There are a few places in scripture where we see loving and concerning thoughts regarding this. If Jesus was "slain before the foundation of the world" then I feel those who wanted to please God had His blood applied to their souls as they were "a law unto themselves."

    Also as my Grandmother pointed out recently "God made you just like He made the Jew. You are both human and the same."

    It is also written that for the Jew and the Gentile The Lord is rich unto all that call upon Him.
    If he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He must have been available to be rich unto the Gentiles. I have always heard that they didn't want to give up their Gods and sin.

    Thanks brother for posting.

    Also, I enjoyed looking at ALL of the photos on your webpage...what a large family!

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  6. RickJuarez@aol.com6:30 PM

    Examine Isaiah (speaking of the Saviour)12:10. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
    11: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

    To me, God states he will send the Saviour who was slain before the foundation of the world to reconcile the world to Him.

    2 Corinthians 5:19
    To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

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  7. From RickJuarez:
    I found OT evidence of God's love for the Gentiles and posted it on your webpage:


    Examine Isaiah (speaking of the Saviour)12:10. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
    11: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

    To me, God states he will send the Saviour who was slain before the foundation of the world to reconcile the world to Him.

    2 Corinthians 5:19
    To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

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  8. Yes but Gentiles are not favored like Jews. It is like saying I love my child and oh I like my puppy too. Gentiles seem to be step children. I don't understand why Gentiles were despised and considered dirty in the first place. And God called them "aliens" yet He made them didn't He. This makes no sense to me and makes me deeply sad.

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  9. Dear Tori,
    Don't be sad. God loves all. My lesson illustrated how God was concerned for the souls of Gentiles in the Old Testament. It's not like saying God loves his children and puppies too. It's more like saying God loves his children and his wayward children. God so loves the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Now why be sad?

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  10. Naaman was cleansed of his filth and he was a gentile.

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