The Bible presents the origin, present estate, and destiny of four classes of rational created beings in this universe: the angels, the Gentiles, the Jews, and the Christians. Of these, the angels and the Christians have previously been considered. Nothing is more germane to a true Biblical interpretation than observance of the truth that these specific classes continue what they are—except that in the present age individual Jews or Gentiles may by faith in Christ become Christians—throughout their history, which history in each instance extends into eternity.
As for their racial stock, the Gentiles had their origin in Adam and consequently their natural headship in him. They have partaken of the fall; and, though they are the subjects of prophecy which predicts that some of them will yet share, as a subordinate people, with Israel in her coming kingdom glory (Isa. 2:4; 60:3, 5, 12; 62:2; Acts 15:17), they, as respects their estate in the period from Adam to Christ, rested under a fivefold indictment: "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" (Eph. 2:12). With the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ together with the descent of the Spirit, however, the door of gospel privilege was opened unto the Gentiles (Acts 10:45; 11:17-18; 13:47-48), and out of them God is now calling an elect company (Acts 15:14). The new proffered blessings for this age do not consist in being permitted to share in Israel's earthly covenants, all of which even Israel is not now enjoying, but rather, through riches of grace in Christ Jesus, in being privileged to be partakers of a heavenly citizenship and glory. It is revealed too that the mass of Gentiles will not in the present age enter by faith into these heavenly riches.
Therefore, Gentile people, designated as "the nations," go on until at the end of their stewardship as earth-rulers, which spells a final termination for "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24; cf. Dan. 2:36-44), they of that particular generation will, at the end of the tribulation period (cf. Matt. 24:8-31 with 25:31-46), be called upon to stand before the Messiah King seated on the throne of His glory (Matt. 25:31-32) here upon earth. At that time, some who are set on the left hand and designated "the goats" will be dismissed into "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," but others who are stationed on His right and designated "sheep" will be ushered into "the kingdom" prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:31-46). The basis of such judgment and its disposition of each of these groups, who together represent the sum total of that generation from among the Gentile nations, will be what is meritorious to the last degree. For the "sheep" enter the kingdom and the "goats" ultimately a lake of fire on the sole issue of their treatment of a third group whom Christ designates "my brethren." The context does not bear out the usual interpretation that this is a description of a last and final judgment when all people of all the ages are ushered into either judgment or heaven, because the saved, each one, when departing this world are translated so as to be immediately present with the Lord in heaven (Acts 7:55-56; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23); and furthermore, who, according to such an exegesis, would answer to "my brethren"? The scene is at the close of the great tribulation (Matt. 24:21), after removal of the Church from the earth, and at a time when nations will be divided over the Semitic question. The issue is concerned with what nations will be chosen to enter Israel's Messianic kingdom on the earth.
The destiny of the Gentiles has been further revealed when it is declared concerning the city which, after creation of the new heavens and the new earth, comes down from God out of heaven (Rev. 3:12; 21:2, 10) that "the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. ... And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it" (Rev. 21:24-26). The terminology the nations of them which are saved could not refer to the Church when her destiny is not earthly; neither is she ever termed the nations, nor does she include the kings of the earth in her number. In this same context, the city itself is said to be "the bride, the Lamb's wife," which means the Church (Rev. 21:2, 9-10). Thus it is disclosed how, in spite of the fact that a dispensation of world rule was committed unto them, that in the present age the gospel is preached unto them with its offers of heavenly glory, that in the coming age they share the blessings of the kingdom with Israel, and that they appear in the eternal glory, they remain Gentiles in contradistinction with the one nation Israel onward to the end of the picture; and so there is no defensible ground for diverting or misapplying this great body of Scripture bearing on the Gentiles.
Gentiles in their relation to God are never placed by Him under the Mosaic Law. Likewise, the direction for life which has been addressed to Christians is never applicable to Gentiles as such. Almost no Scripture is written to Gentiles, though much Scripture has to do with them (cf. Ps. 2:10-12).
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