I want to show that from the creation the man Adam and forming of Eve that the trinity always wanted and expected all the inhabitants of the world to worship and fellowship with Them. As we know, Adam and Eve were not of any nation or race. I will show that Abraham was the vehicle by which he would redeem all of His creation by Abraham sacrificing in faith his son Isaac, not according to works. The evidence will be from the Bible (mainly NKJV) which is God’s Word who cannot lie.
The jury who are you the readers can make your own verdict based upon the evidence presented. I believe the Jewish (Hebrew) people would have known that the Gentiles would be a part of God’s plan if they had had eyes to see and hearts to receive. God allows us to see in His word what we are able to understand and comprehend when the time is right and never a minute earlier.
The Hebrews (Jews) had the Old Testament but many never understood the scriptures that described the coming of Jesus (Messiah) and what He was coming to do the first time. Showing God’s love. God’s revelation of His word and purposes come over time based upon precept upon precept. This I believe is linked to our calling upon this earth now and in the future millennium and forever.
Paul was seemingly sent to the Gentiles by our Lord Jesus to share the good news as he saw these truths’s and acted upon from the OT which he knew well. Although the NT scriptures would not have available to the early church the 11, disciples and their subsequent disciples would have been told what Jesus taught them. This is exampled in the Gospel of Luke who was not an original disciple. The issue of the first Gentile convert in the NT should not detract us from the great commission which Jesus gave to the 11 disciples which is very clear and shows that Gentiles were always part of the redemptive plan :-
Matthew 28:16-18 NKJV Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. (17) When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The below scripture is very interesting as it states “And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures”. Which scriptures? The Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms. Part of the Law of Moses in Genesis which is quoted above concerning Abraham and his descendants being all the nations as stated in Luke 24:47.
Luke 24:43-48 NKJV And He took it and ate in their presence. (44) Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
(45) And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (46) Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And you are witnesses of these things.
The final piece of evidence is from Acts and shows Jesus telling his disciples that they would be witnesses of Him “to the end of the earth”.
Acts 1:7 NKJV And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
Acts 1:8 NKJV
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
To Peter had been given the privilege of unlocking the Gospel door to the Gentiles on this occasion. But it was Paul who would become known as the ‘apostle of the Gentiles’ (Romans 11: 13).
The admission of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, into the Christian church in AD 36, also signified the end of God’s special favour to the Jewish nation.
Genesis 12:2-4 NKJV I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. (3) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (4) So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
Genesis 13:16 NKJV And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
Genesis 15:5-6 NKJV Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (6) And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Genesis 17:2-6 NKJV And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” (3) Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: (4) “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. (5) No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. (6) I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
The word nations is Strongs H1471 Meaning apparently from the same root as H1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts: – Gentile, heathen, nation, people.
Genesis 17:5 YLT and thy name is no more called Abram, but thy name hath been Abraham, for father of a multitude of nations have I made thee;
As you can see above the Young Living Translation states “a multitude of nations”.
In the articles “First Gentile Convert – By Louis Rushmore” and “The First Gentile Convert – by Vincent“ it covers the question of who was the first Gentile or Proselyte convert to Christianity as opposed to a Jewish/Hebrew by birth becoming a Christian.
My point is why is the issue of the first Gentile convert in the Bible such an issue in some quarters. The Old Testament states very clearly that Gentiles were always included in God’s plan of Salvation.
By Raymond Clements