Old Testament Gentiles Came to Faith


Bible mapThe phenomenon of Gentiles coming to faith in the coming “seed” was not unknown or without constant reminders in the Old Testament.[1] Consider Melchizedek (Gen 14), a priest-king over Salem; this Gentile openly confessed his faith in Jehovah[2] (Yahweh). Jethro, a Midianite and Moses’ father-in-law demonstrated his commitment to the same Lord espoused by Moses and Aaron by sitting down with them around a fellowship sacrificial meal in Exodus 18.[3] Balaam for being pro-Jewish in his attitude though he badly wanted to oblige the king of Moab and curse the nation of Israel.[4] Nevertheless, Balaam gave us the great star prophecy of the Messiah in Numbers 23–24.[5]  Then we are reminded of cities that repented at the preaching of Jewish prophets, for example, Jonah and the Ninevites. Even though God’s servant was more than reluctant and became very down-in-the-mouth and had a whale-of-an-experience, literally, before he finally preached to Gentiles. The city came to know the Lord in grand propositions because Jonah did preach. Even then, he hoped this was one preaching in which no one would come forward.[6]

But some may still doubt that the Old Testament explicitly enjoined believers and messengers in the Old Testament to go to the Gentiles. Did God ever send an Israelite or the whole community with the Great commission?

[1] Cf. W. C. Kaiser, “Israel’s Missionary Call,” in R. D. Winter and S. C. Hawthrone (eds.), Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, William Carvey Library, California, (1983), 25-34, 25.

[2] Cf. T. E. Fretheim, The Book of Genesis: Introduction, Commentary and Reflections, NIB, Vol. I, Abingdon Press, Nashville, (1994), 439-440.

[3] Cf. W. Brueggemann, The Book of Exodus: Introduction, Commentary and Reflections, NIB, Vol. I, Abingdon Press, Nashville, (1994), 825.

[4] Cf. M. S. Moore, “Ruth the Moabite and the Blessing of Foreigners,” CBQ, Vol. 60, no. 2, The Heffernan Press Inc., Massachusetts, (2008), 203-217, 208-209.

[5] Cf. T. B. Dozeman, The Book of Numbers: Introduction, Commentary and Reflections, NIB, Vol. II, Abingdon Press, Nashville, (1998), 187-190.

[6] Cf. P. Trible, The Book of Jonah: Introduction, Commentary and Reflections, NIB, Vol. VII, Abingdon Press, Nashville, (1996), 524-525.


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