The Berean Expositor
Volume 46 - Page 233 of 249
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A Survey of the Books of the New Testament
Israel, in the Gospels and the Acts.
pp. 41 - 45
During the period covered by the Gospels, the Acts, Paul's early epistles and the book
of the Revelation, Israel is present and is dominant, Israel is the channel of blessing
Divinely appointed, and through which blessing to the Gentile must flow. It will not be
necessary to deal with this feature exhaustively but the following passages will suffice for
all who bow to the teaching of the Scriptures. The ministry of the Saviour, was, at the
first, exclusively to Israel. Commissioning the twelve on their first mission, the Lord
"Go not . . . . . but go rather."
"Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10: 5, 6).
This restriction is observed later in the Lord's dealing with the Syrophoenecian woman:
"But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of
Israel" (Matt. 15: 24).
Only when the woman accepted the position of "little dogs" that eat the `crumbs' that
fall from their "masters" (Gk. kurion lord's) table could she receive a blessing. The
Apostle acknowledges this pre-eminence of Israel in the epistle to the Romans. Not only
does he say "to the Jew first" (Rom. 1: 16); not only does he remind the Gentile believer
that he was like "a wild olive grafted contrary to nature" into the olive tree of Israel
(Rom. 11: 17-25), but lays it down categorically,
"That Jesus Christ was a minister of the CIRCUMCISION for the truth of God, to
confirm the promises made unto the FATHERS",
and subsequently, and only as an outcome of this, that "The Gentiles might glory God for
His mercy" (Rom. 15: 8-12). It is acknowledged by all scholars, that the epistle to the
Romans was the last epistle written by Paul before his Roman imprisonment. It therefore
gives the last word on the place of Israel up to about Acts 20:, and this is what the
Apostle said of Israel in the ninth chapter of this epistle:
"My brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom
pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and
the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning
the flesh Christ came. Who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen" (Rom. 9: 3-5).
In pointed and intended contrast with this unique position is the description given of
the Gentiles "at that time", and written in one of the Epistles covering the period of
Israel's absence: