Demonstration Sixteen On the Peoples which are in the place of the People

I. Vocation of the Gentiles

[760](320)XVI-1. The peoples which were of all languages were called first, before Israel, to the inheritance of the Most High, as God said to Abraham, "I have made you the father of a multitude of peoples" (Gen. 17:5). Moses proclaimed, saying, "The peoples will call to the mountain, and there will they offer sacrifices of righteousness" (Deut. 33:19). And in the hymn of testimony he said to the people, "I shall provoke you with a people which is no people, and with a foolish nation I shall anger you" (Deut. 32:21). Jacob our father testified concerning the peoples when he blessed Judah, saying to him, "The staff shall not depart from Judah, the lawgiver from between his feet, until there shall come he who possesses dominion, and for him the peoples will hope" (Gen. 49:10).

Isaiah said, "The mountain of the house of the Lord will be established at the head of the mountains and high above the heights. All the peoples will look to it, [761] and (321) many peoples from a distance will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, and we shall walk in his paths. For from Zion law will go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge among peoples and will correct all the distant peoples" (Is. 2:2-4). When he judges and corrects them, then will they accept instruction, be changed, and be humbled from their hardheartedness. "And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. No longer will a nation take the sword against a nation; no longer will they learn how to make war" (Is. 2:2-4). From of old, those peoples who did not know God would do battle against robbers and against wrongdoers with swords, spears, and lances. When the redeemer, the Messiah, came, "he broke the bow of war and spoke peace with the peoples" (Zech. 9:10). He had them turn "their swords into ploughshares, and their spears they made into pruning hooks," so that they would eat from the works of their hands, and not from spoil.

Furthermore, it is written, "I shall turn chosen lips for the peoples, so that they will all of them call upon the name of the Lord" (Zeph. 3-9). From of old the nations did not have chosen lips, nor did they call on the name of the Lord, for with their lips they would praise the idols which they had made with their hands, and on the name of their gods [764] they would call, but not on the name of the Lord. Furthermore, also the prophet Zechariah said, "Many and strong peoples will adhere to the Lord" (Zech. 2:11). Jeremiah the prophet publicly and clearly proclaimed concerning the peoples, when he said, "The peoples will abandon their idols, and they will cry and proclaim, saying, The lying idols, which our fathers left us as an inheritance, are nothing" (Jer. 16:19).

II. Rejection of Israel

(322)XVI-2. To his people Jeremiah preached, saying to them, "Stand by the ways and ask the wayfarers, and see which is the good way. Walk in it." But they in their stubbornness answered, saying to him, "We shall not go." Again he said to them, "I established over you watchmen, that you might listen for the sound of the trumpet." But they said to him again, "We shall not hearken." And this openly, publicly did they do in the days of Jeremiah when he preached to them the word of the Lord, and they answered him, saying, "To the word which you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord we shall not hearken. But we shall do our own will and every word which goes out of our mouths, to offer up incense-offerings to other gods" (Jer. 44:16-17). When he saw that they would not listen to him, he turned to the peoples, saying to them, "Hear O peoples, and know, O church which is among them, and hearken, O land, in its fullness" (Jer. 6:18-19). And when he saw that they rashly rose against him and impudently responded to him, then he abandoned them as he had prophesied, saying [765], "I have abandoned my house. I have abandoned my inheritance. I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of his enemies. And in his place a painted bird has become my inheritance" (Jer. 12:7-9). And this is the church which is of the peoples, which has been gathered together from among all languages.

XVI-3. So that you will know he has truly abandoned them (323)[listen to this]: Isaiah further said concerning them, "You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob" (Is. 2:6). He called their name Sodomites and the people of Gomorrah, and in their place he brought in the peoples and he called them "House of Jacob." For Isaiah called the peoples by the name of the House of Jacob, saying to them, "O House of Jacob, come and let us go in the light of the Lord" (Is. 2:5-6), for the people of the house of Jacob has been abandoned and they have become "the rulers of Sodom and the people of Gomorrah" (Is. 1:10). "Their father is an Amorite and their mother is a Hittite" (Ez. 16:3, 45); "they have been changed into a strange vine" (Jer. 2:21).

"Their grapes are bitter and their clusters are bitter for them" (Deut. 32:32). [They are] rebellious sons (Is. 30:1), and rejected silver (Jer. 6:30). [They are] "the vine of Sodom and the planting of Gomorrah" (Deut. 32:32); "a vineyard which brings forth thorns instead of grapes" (Is. 5:2). [They are] "a vine whose branches the fire has consumed, they are good for nothing, they are not serviceable, and they are not wanted for any use" (Ez. 15:4).

Two did he call Jacob, one to go in the light of the Lord, one [768] to be abandoned. In place of Jacob they are called "rulers of Sodom." By the name of Jacob [now] are called the people which is of the peoples. Again the prophet said concerning the peoples that they shall bring offerings in place of the people, for he said, "Great is my name among the peoples, and in every place they are offering pure sacrifices in my name" (Mai. 1:11). Concerning Israel the prophet said, "I am not pleased by your sacrifices" (Jer. 6:20). Again he said (324), "Your sacrifices do not smell good to me" (Jer. 6:20).

Furthermore Hosea also said concerning Israel, "In lying they seek the Lord" (Hos. 5:7). Isaiah said that his heart is distant from his God, for he said, "This people honors me with its lips, but its heart is distant from me" (Is. 29:13). Hosea said, "Ephraim has encircled me in lying, and the house of Israel and Judah in deceit until the people of God go down" (Hos. 11:12). And which people [of God go down], if not the righteous and faithful people? If then he said concerning Israel, "He has surrounded me with lying and deceit," and concerning Ephraim, "Lo, the sinning kingdom of Ephraim has arisen in Israel,"—since the name of Judah is not mentioned in this saying, [then] they respond, Judah is the holy and faithful one that has gone down and [still] adheres to the Lord. But the prophet openly and articulately declared, "Ephraim and Israel have surrounded me with lying, [769] for Jeroboam the son of Nobat has publicly turned them aside after the calf." "And Judah in deceit" (Hosea 11:12)—for in deceit and in concealment they are worshipping idols, as he furthermore showed Ezekiel their uncleanness (Ez. 8: lOff). Concerning them Hosea preached when he called them a licentious and adulterous woman. He said concerning the congregation of Israel, "Remove her licentiousness from her face," and concerning the congregation of the house of Judah he said, "Remove her adultery from between her breasts" (Hos. 2: 2). Now, so that you should know that the prophet spoke concerning both of their congregations and called them [both] licentiousness from before her face and her adultery from between her breasts, (325) then I shall throw her out naked, and I shall abandon her as on the day on which she was born, and as on the day on which she went forth from the land of Egypt" (Hos. 2:2, 3, 15). [These are] both their congregations, one of Israel and one of Judah. The one of Israel has played the whore, and the one of Judah has committed adultery. And the people which is of the peoples is the holy and faithful people which has gone down and adhered to the Lord. Now why does he say that it has gone down? Because they have gone down from their pride. Ezekiel moreover called them by the name of Ohola and Oholibah, and both of their congrega tions he called two shoots of the vine which the fire has eaten (Ez. 23:4). David further proclaimed and said concerning the peoples, "The Lord will count the peoples in a book" (Ps. 87:6), [772] and concerning the children of Israel he prophesied, saying, "They shall be blotted out of your book of the living. With your righteous they will not be inscribed" (Ps. 69:28).

XVI-4. You should know, my beloved, that the children of Israel were written in the book of the Holy One, as Moses said before his God, "Either forgive the sin of this people, or blot me out from the book which you have written." He [God] said, "Him who sins against me shall I blot out of my book" (Ex. 32:31-33). When they sinned, David said concerning them, "They are wiped out of your book of the living. With your righteous will they not be inscribed" (Ps. 69:28). But concerning the peoples he said, "The Lord will number the peoples in the book" (Ps. 87:6). For the peoples were not recorded in the book and in the Scripture.

See, my beloved, that the vocation of the peoples was recorded before the vocation of the people. When (326) they sinned in the wilderness, he said to Moses, "Let me blot out this people, and I shall make you into a people which is greater and more worthy than they" (Ex. 32:10). But because the time of the peoples had not come, and another was [to be] their redeemer, Moses was not persuaded that a redeemer and a teacher would come for the people which was of the peoples, which was greater and more worthy than the people of Israel. On this account it is appropriate that we should name the son of God [with] great and abundant praise, as [773] Isaiah said, "This thing is too small, that you should be for me a servant and restore the scion of Jacob and raise up the staff of Israel. But I have made you a light for the peoples, that you may show my redemption until the ends of the earth" (Is. 49:6). Isaiah further preached concerning the peoples, "Hear me, O peoples, and pay attention to me, O nations, for the law has gone forth from before me, and my justice is the light of the peoples" (Is. 51:4). David said, "Alien children will hear me with their ears," and these alien children "will be kept back and will be lamed from their ways" (Ps. 18:45), 46), and for the peoples have heard and have been lamed from the ways of the fear of images and of idols.

XVI-5. If they should say, "Us has he called alien children," they have not been called alien children, but sons and heirs, as Isaiah said, "I have raised up and nurtured children, and they have rebelled against me" (Is. 1:2). The prophet (327) said, "From Egypt I have called him my son" (Hos. 11:1). And the Holy One said to Moses, "Say to Pharaoh, let my son go that he may serve me" (Ex. 4:23). Further he said, "My son, my first born [is] Israel" (Ex. 4: 22). But the peoples are those who hearken to God and were lamed and kept back from the ways of their sins. Again Isaiah said, "You will call the peoples who have not known you, and peoples who do not know you will come to you [776] and turn" (Is. 55:5). Again Isaiah said, "Hear, O peoples, the thing which I have done, and know, O distant ones, my power" (Is. 33:13). Concerning the church and the congregation of the peoples, David said, "Remem ber your church which you acquired from of old" (Ps. 74:2). Again David said, "Praise the Lord all peoples, and praise his name, O nations" (Ps. 117:1). Again he said, "Dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the peoples" (Ps. 22:28). Again the prophet said, "At the end of days I shall pour my spirit over all flesh, and they will prophesy. No longer will a man teach his fellow-citizen nor his brother, and say, 'Know our Lord,' for all will know me from the least of them even to the oldest" (Jer. 31:34).

Concerning the children of Israel he said, "I shall send a famine in the land, not that they shall hunger for bread, nor that they shall thirst for water, but (328) for hearing the word of the Lord. They shall go from the west to the east and from the south to the north to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it, for he has withdrawn it from them" (Amos 8:11, 12). Moses earlier wrote about them, "When in the end of days many evil things will happen to you, you will say, Because the Lord is not in my midst, these evil things have happened to me" (Deut. 31:17). So it was that they said in the days of Ezekiel, "The Lord has abandoned the land, and the Lord no longer sees [777] us" (Ez. 8:12). Isaiah said about them, "Your sins have separated between you and your God, and your iniquities have held back good things from you" (Is. 59:2). Again he said, "You will call in my ears with a loud voice, but I shall not hear you" (Ex. 8:18). Concerning the people which is from the peoples, David said, "All you peoples clap hands, and praise God with the sound of praise" (Ps. 47:1). Again he said, "Hear this, all of you peoples, and pay attention, all who dwell on earth" (Ps. 49:1).

III. Israel and the Nations

XVI-6. Even from of old, whoever from among the peoples was pleasing to God was more greatly justified than Israel. Jethro the priest who was of the peoples and his seed were blessed: "Enduring is his dwelling place, and his nest is set on a rock" (Num. 24:21).

And [to] the Gibeonites from among the unclean peoples Joshua gave his right hand, and they entered, took refuge in the inheritance of the Lord, and were hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and the altar of the Lord. When Saul wanted to kill them, (329) the heavens were closed up from [giving] rain until the sons of Saul were slaughtered. Then the Lord turned toward the land and blessed his inheritors.

Rehab, the prostitute who received the spies, and the house of her fathers received an inheritance in Israel.

Obededom of Gath of the Philistines, into whose house the ark of the Lord entered and by whom it was honored more [780] than by all Israel, and his house were blessed by the Lord. Ethai, the Gathite, fed David when he was persecuted, and his name and seed were honored.

Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, the man of faith, raised up Jeremiah from the pit when the children of Israel his people imprisoned him. This is the matter concerning which Moses said concerning them, "The stranger that is among you will be higher, and you will be lower" (Deut. 28:33). They imprisoned and lowered Jeremiah the prophet into the lowest pit, but Ebedmelech the sojourner from Ethiopia raised up Jeremiah from the pit.

Ruth the Moabite, from the people smitten with wrath, came and was assimilated with the people of Israel, and from her seed arose the leader of kings, from whom was born the redeemer of the peoples.

Uriah the Hittite, from an unclean people, was chief among the men of David. Because David killed him with deceit in the war with the children of Ammon, desired his wife, and married her, David received the judgment that the sword would never depart from his house (II Sam. 12:10).

XVI-7. Furthermore Isaiah said concerning our redeemer, "I have set you as a covenant for the people and as a light for the peoples" (Is. 42:6). Now how was this covenant for the people? From the time that the light and the redeemer (330) [781] of the peoples came, from that time Israel was restrained from the worship of idols, and they had a true covenant. Concerning this matter Moses said, "I shall provoke you with a people which is no people, and with a foolish people I shall anger you" (Deut. 32:21). By us they are provoked. On our account they do not worship idols, so that they will not be shamed by us, for we have abandoned idols and call lies the thing which our fathers left us. They are angry, their hearts are broken, for we have entered and have become heirs in their place. For theirs was this covenant which they had, not to worship other gods, but they did not accept it. By means of us he provoked them, and ours was the light and the life, as he preached, saying when he taught, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). Again he said, "Believe while the light is with you, before the darkness overtakes you" (John 12:35). And again he said, "Walk in the light, so that you may be called the children of light" (John 12:36). And further he said, "The light gave light in the darkness" (John 1:5). This is the covenant which the people had, and the light which gave light for all the peoples, and lamed and hindered them from crooked ways, as it is written, "In his coming the rough place will be smoothed, and the high place (331) will be plain, and the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see the life of God" (Is. 40:4, 5; Luke 3:5, 6).

XVI-8. This brief memorial I have written to you concerning the [784] peoples, because the Jews take pride and say, "We are the people of God and the children of Abraham." But we shall listen to John [the Baptist] who, when they took pride [saying], "We are the children of Abraham," then said to them, "You should not boast and say, Abraham is father unto us, for from these very rocks can God raise up children for Abraham" (Matthew 3:9). Our redeemer said to them, "You are the children of Cain, and not the children of Abraham" (John 8:39, 44). The apostle said, "The branches which sinned were broken off. We were grafted on in their place and are partners in the fat of the olive tree. Now let us not take pride and sin so that we too may not be broken off. Lo, we have been grafted onto the olive tree" (Rom. 11:17, 18).

This is the apology against the Jews, because they take pride saying, "We are the children of Abraham, and we are the people of God."

The demonstration of the people and the peoples is completed.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment