by Oscar M. Baker
A/ According to the flesh – brethren -THE GENTILE-
B/ Israelites Ephesians 2:11,12
C/ Sonship A/ Gentiles in the flesh
D/ Glory B/ Without Christ
E/ Covenants C/ Aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel
E/ Law C/ Strangers from the Covenants of promise
D/ Service B/ Having no hope
C/ Promises A/ Godless in the world
A/ According to the flesh – The Messiah
“No one being a foreigner may enter within the enclosure around the holy place. Whoever is apprehended will himself be to blame for his death which will certainly follow.” – This statement is from a slab discovered in Jerusalem.
From the time of Abraham till the end of Acts, we find “The Jew First” is the principle by which God deals with men. Israel was to be a priestly nation and as such was to be separate and distinct from all others. The reason God dealt with the Jew first was that up to the time of Abraham the nations had so dismally failed that God had to give them up, see Romans 1:24, 26, 28.
During the earthy ministry of our Lord He called the Gentiles dogs (Matthew 15:26). He came only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6 and 15:24). His disciples were to go out only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” and were not to go into the way of the Samaritans or the Gentiles. He said “As I have been sent, so send I you.”
In the great sermon of Peter at Pentecost the only people addresses were “Ye men of Judaea” “Ye men of Israel” “All the house of Israel.”
Among the three thousand that were added that day there was not a single Gentile. Notice that it says ADDED, not that a new church was formed. THE CHURCH OF GOD had its beginning with the calling of the twelve. Then we have mention of the twenty, andfinallyfive hundred who were believers before Pentecost. At Acts 10, Peter didn’t know anything about a church where Jew and Gentile wereonein Christ (see Acts 10:28). He would have called Cornelius a dog if it had not been for his vision at Joppa (Acts 10:14). The tradition that the church began at Pentecost must have been started after the time of Peter. “They of the circumcision were astonished…that on the Gentiles…the gift of the Holy Ghost,” vs. 45. According to that record it was impossible any Gentile could have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.
The church at Jerusalem was just as ignorant of any church beginning at Pentecost, for they said to Peter, “Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and did eat with them.” Then finally the church recognizes that “to the Gentiles…granted repentance unto life,” (Acts 11:18, 19)
The preaching of Peter at the house of Cornelius was to open the door of the kingdom to the Gentiles and prepare the way for the apostle Paul and his message. There is no record that Peter ever again preached to a Gentile, or that any of the twelve ever did.
The absolute refusal of the churches to recognize these plain facts is the reason for so much confusion today. They will take tradition rather than God’s Word
Study, if you will, all the epistles written during the Acts period and you will find the same principle all thru, “The Jew First.” Even in Romans, the last epistle to be written before the close of Acts, we find the principle very pronounced. There we find the gospel to the Jews first in 1:16; judgment to the Jew first, 2:9; blessings to the Jew first, 2:10; advantage and profit pertain to the Jew, 3:1&2.
The Jews held yet to their old position so much that the apostle chided them for it, Romans3:29.
In the diagram at the beginning of this article is an outline of Romans 9:3-5 which enumerates the items which are exclusive to the Jew. Paul would call them brethren. They were Israelites, a chosen people. They had the sole right of son-ship. The glory of God shone thru them as He blessed them among the nations. To them only were given the covenants and the law. They were the only ones (N.B.) who had a right to do service for God. Nowhere before acts 28:28 is there any record of a Gentile preaching, teaching, or doing any other service in the church. That was for the Jew only. The great difference between Jew and Gentile was not so much race as it was PROMISES. It was the Jew who could speak of the fathers. And finally according to the flesh, the Messiah was of and to the Jews. What a long list of advantages!
On the other hand, look at the record against the Gentiles. First they were in the flesh. Of course that was the natural state of both Jew and Gentile, but the latter had little hope of escaping it. They were without Christ, for did not the Word say, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for He shall save His people (the Jews) from their sins.” In relation to Israel they were just aliens. As to covenants of promises, they were complete strangers. They had nothing in them. Therefore, they had no hope and since God had given them up, they were without God and worst of all, they were in the world.
That is a black picture for the Gentiles. Just remember that is the picture of the Gentiles from Abraham to Acts 28:28.
-THE MIDDLE WALL BROKEN DOWN-
Although from Acts 10 to 28 there was a chance for the Gentiles to be graffed in receive blessings thru the Jew, the middle wall was still there and so there were two gospels, two faiths, and two sets of apostles. But soon after Acts 28:28 we find a great change.
Ephesians was the first epistle written after the Acts 28:28 crisis and immediately we find a very different message. Let us just skim over Ephesians 2:14 – 18;
ChristisourPEACE; he madebothJew and Gentile ONE. (Middle wall is broken down) (Distinctive ordinances of the Jews, such as water baptism, holydays, Lord’s supper or Passover, etc., are now abolished) He now creates of the TWAIN ONE new man, that is what makes the peace, so that he might reconcile the BOTH unto God in ONE body. (Emnity is slain) (Peace is preached) Thru Him we the BOTH have access by ONE Spirit unto the Father.
Anybody who will try to introduce ordinances into the church today is only trying to rebuild the wall of partition. There will certainly be terrible judgment for anyone who works against the unity and the peace of God’s people by so doing.
This new position is summed up in Ephesians 3:6,7; “That the Gentiles should be—
1. Joint heirs, and a
2. Joint Body, and
3. Joint partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel, whereof Paul was made a minister.”
This is the charter of the Church which is His Body, the dispensation of the MYSTERY which was hid in God from ages and generations. Read the prison epistles, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 2 Timothy. They will furnish the details. (A radio class given by Oscar M. Baker in March 1949)