Monday, June 3, 2019

How Were Gentiles Saved In The Old Testament?

           The Mosaic Covenant was instituted for the Jewish people to serve as a code to guide behavior and a system of forgiveness. It foreshadowed the greater atonement of Jesus Christ that actually perfects those who believe on Him for salvation. The fact that the New Covenant is superior to the Old is manifested by the latter requiring repeated animal sacrifices. While the Old Testament is mainly centered upon Israel, it does speak of the Gentile cultures which surrounded that nation. We are told that God held non Jewish people accountable for sins such as idolatry and sexual immorality (2 Kings 22:17; Romans 1:18-32), with the reason being that they violated the law written on their hearts by God. This leaves us with an interesting question. How could the Gentiles be reconciled to a holy God before Christ came to die for our sins?

           The Law that was given to Israel by God through the Prophet Moses exemplified its uniqueness as a nation before the pagan cultures (Deuteronomy 4:5-9; Isaiah 42:5-7). The Law even contained clauses regarding the proper treatment of outsiders, thereby demonstrating God's care for those who were not Jewish. He provides equally for both the Jew and Gentile (Deuteronomy 10:16-21). The nations are in view through the seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:18). The Apostle Paul further elaborated on this truth as he was given new revelation from God (Ephesians 3:1-13). Non Jewish believers were considered as members of His kingdom in the same manner as a believing Jew.

           Gentiles were saved in the Old Testament by converting to Judaism. They were saved by placing their trust in the God of Israel and identifying themselves with His people. False gods were forsaken for the worship of Yahweh. One noteworthy example of conversion is that of Rahab (Joshua 2). Another example of conversion is Ruth, which is described in detail in the first chapter of the book named after her. She exhibited faith in God and entered into His covenant, which consisted of trusting in the assurance of a future redeemer as foretold by the Holy Scriptures. The coming of a Messiah was believed by the patriarchs and of all the Jews. Converts partook in the Passover (Exodus 12:46-50). God has never been beyond the reach of individuals who truthfully seek after Him (Acts 17:26-27).

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