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The Glad Tidings

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    Gentiles—Heathen

    Paul tells us that Christ was revealed in him, that he might preach Him among the heathen. In the Revision we have the word “Gentiles” used instead of “heathen.” There is no difference. The two words are used interchangeably in the English Bible, for wherever they occur, they are translated from only one Greek word, or, if it be in the Old Testament, the corresponding Hebrew word. Let us note a few instances.GTI 46.1

    In 1 Corinthians 12:2 we read, “Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.” This is from the ordinary word for “heathen,” and the text itself shows that Gentiles are idol-worshipers—heathen. Take notice that the Corinthians “were Gentiles;” they ceased to be such on becoming Christians.GTI 46.2

    Ephesians 2:11, 12: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Surely, to be a Gentile is to be in a most unenviable condition.GTI 46.3

    We are told that “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name.” Acts 15:14. And James referred to the believers in Antioch and elsewhere as those who “from among the Gentiles are turned to God.” God’s people are taken out from among the Gentiles, but on being taken out, they cease to be Gentiles. Abraham, the father of Israel, was taken from among the heathen (Joshua 24:2), so that all Israel are taken from among the Gentiles. Thus it is that “all Israel shall be saved” by the coming in of the fullness of the Gentiles. Romans 11:25, 26.GTI 47.1

    In Psalm 2:1-3 we might lawfully read, “Why do the Gentiles rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed [that is, against Christ, for Christ means “anointed”], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” How often we see this fulfilled in the cases of individuals, who, with a triumphant air, exclaim: “Show me a place where the Gentiles are commanded to keep the ten commandments!” meaning that they are Gentiles, and thinking thus to cast away from themselves the laws of God. It is no honorable class in which they place themselves. It is true that the Gentiles are not commanded to keep the commandments, as Gentiles, for that would be impossible; as soon as they accept Christ, and the law of the Spirit of life in Him, they cease to be Gentiles. How solicitous God is to save people from their Gentile state, is shown by His sending the apostle Paul (to say nothing of Christ) to bring them to Himself.GTI 47.2

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