DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT ABOLISH ALL DISTINCTION OF RACE?
discusses the position of races - not of colour, but rather of nationality and, in the
wider context, Israel as the nation, in relationship to the Church: what is the position
of the Church today?
SOME people have thought, and even said,
that in the New Testament all distinction of Race is done away. That with the closing of
the Old Testament all people were made and regarded by God as absolutely on one common
level. That no privilege, no advantage from that moment was accorded to any nation above
That is a very sweeping assertion and if true would seriously affect us today.
But what did our Lord say? Does He give any guidance? He said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel - (Matthew 15:24).
How will such people explain that? And Weymouths translation is even more pronounced. I have no commission except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
No commission?How very strange! And how will such people explain His words to the Syrophoenician woman?
It is not meet to take the childrens bread, and to cast it to dogs - (Matthew15:26).
Children! - Dogs! Here is a terrible distinction!
Both these vital statements were uttered voluntarily by our Lord. There was no necessity to utter them except to declare a truth.
Moreover, what about those other words, equally distinctive and equally forcible, with which our Lord commanded His disciples at the very outset of their mission work? Words which are neglected and overlooked today: Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel - (Matthew 10:5-6).
And again Weymouth is more pronounced Go not, he said, among the heathen, and enter no Samaritan town: but, instead of that go to the lost sheep of Israels race.
These words are absolutely amazing, coming as they do, from the lips of our Lord: but it ought not to be so if we have carefully read Ezekiel 34. For the figure of Israel as The lost sheep is taken from that wonderful chapter. Here are a few extracts from it.
Verse 2. Thus saith the Lord God unto the
shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the
shepherds feed the flocks?
Verse 6. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, ... and none did search or seek after them.
Verse 10. Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; ...
Verses 11 and 12. Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. ... so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them....
Who are these sheep? Anybody,
everybody? That cannot be: for then would they need no seeking out. For verse 13 says: And I will bring them out from
the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and
feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of
Verse 16. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away. And verse 30 gives
their name. Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord God.
There we have proved conclusively that Gods sheep are The House of Israel. We may not like this, we may even rebel against it, but it is there, proved beyond dispute: and we should be wise to believe what God says.
Now we may know what Christ our Lord meant when He said, Go rather to the lost sheep of the House
In Ezekiel 34 God owns His sheep and says that He will go after them and seek them out. And in Jesus Christ He is shown doing it. For in Matthew 15:24 our Lord Himself declares implicitly that that was why He was sent. I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It further explains why, in Matthew 10:5-6, Christ gave a similar command to His disciples.
Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
There we have God fulfilling to
Israel the promise and prediction of Ezekiel 34. These sayings of our Lord could not refer
Jews, for in this same connection Christ our Lord distinctly said that the Jews were not His sheep,
But ye believe not,
because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you - (John 10:26).
Who then were His sheep in Palestine in His days, if the Jews were not?
Please remember that the Tribe of Benjamin, who belonged to Israel, was there, and domiciled in Galilee. This is how it came to pass that Galileans received Him, but He could not walk in Jewry, for they sought to kill Him.
Here also is the reason why all the twelve disciples except Judas were of Galilee. Are not all these which speak Galileans? (Acts 2:7). There also is the reason why, when our Lord ascended to heaven after His resurrection, the group of assembled disciples were addressed by the angels as Ye men of Galilee.
Why were they not called Jews?
Because that would not have been true! They were Galileans, Benjamites, of the house of
Israel. Though lent for a time to Judah they formed no part of The House of
Judah, see 2 Samuel 2:9-10; 1 Kings 12:21, 23.
Let us look now at something else. Matthew 28:28, says: And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, [His disciples] That ye which have followed me; in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel
This is from the heart of the New Testament, and shows the Twelve Tribes of Israel existing, and working, at the very time and same moment as our Lord sits in the throne of His glory!
Then, if that is so, those same
Twelve Tribes must be somewhere existing and working now: for He has not yet come to rule
and reign, though that indeed may be very near.
Further, why is the epistle To the Hebrews so called if all distinction of race is done away?
And why does James address his epistle to the Twelve Tribes which are scattered abroad? And why is Peters first epistle addressed to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia?
Sufficient attention has not been paid to those words of our Lord in Matthew 5:17, which declare absolutely and without cavil that the law and the prophets remain unaltered; and if so, Israels position and predictions are also unaltered.
Think not that I am
come to destroy the law, or the prophets: [that is exactly what our teachers .suggest He has done] I am not come to destroy, but to
Ought we not then to pause before putting ourselves into opposition to our Lord?
After our Lords resurrection, and before He ascended, His words to the disciples as they went to Emmaus particularly confirm this. 0 fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken - (Luke 24:25).
Those last six words include every prophetic word concerning Israel in the Old Testament.
All that the prophets have spoken. AND Christ Himself calls all those who fail to believe all those things by that terrible name, fools!
It would ill-become us to apply this to people now; but if true then, how is it possible to be anything else now? That is our Lords estimate!
Just before our Lord was received up into Heaven the disciples on their very last interview with Him asked Him a strange question: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? - (Acts 1:6)
Now why did not our Lord come down upon them in severe reprimand (seeing that they expected the Kingdom being restored to Israel) if all distinction of race was done away?
Why did He not show to them their utter folly, if they were wrong?
He did not do so! He
simply said, It is
not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own
power. The time
was the only thing hidden from them!
The fact they knew, and acknowledged before our Lord; and He, knowing all things, left it there! Surely in this very last interview with them on earth, if they had been wrong, He would have corrected them! But no! Only the time was the thing that was to be hidden from them! The fact remained!
DISTINCTION OF RACE DONE AWAY?
Hear what Peter said to the crowd
who rushed into Solomons porch when a certain lame man was healed.
Acts 3:25. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant [children of the covenant] which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Peter there spoke of the
Abrahamic Covenant being current then in all its force and vitality, and he applied it to
the men and women who stood before him. Moreover, this was after Pentecost, so that the
descent of the Holy Spirit did not alter the fact.
Nearly thirty years later the Apostle Paul says much the same thing, though in other words. I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which He foreknew. And again, For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance - (Romans 11:1,2,29).
There we have it, without alteration: cannot be cancelled. For that is the meaning.
God does not go back on his promises. For God does not repent of his free gifts nor of his call (Romans 11:29, Weymouth).
God will not let Israel down! If He does, how can we be certain of the fulfilment of any other promise?
What about that expression of our Lord to Zacchaeus, as a reason why salvation had that day come to his house?
Forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham - (Luke 19:9). Why is that brought in?
And what about that woman who had an infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift herself? (Luke 13:11). And to whom Christ said, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity?
When charged with the sin of healing on the Sabbath day, He turned on His accusers with the words,
ought not this woman,
being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed
from this bond on the sabbath day?
(verse 16). Why that strange phrase, being a daughter of Abraham, if all distinction of Race is done away?
And remember that these are the words not of an apostle or prophet merely, but of one greater still, our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ, the Son of God!
Let us consider again that very singular incident of the Syrophoenician woman and her sick daughter
related in Matthew 15. A woman of Canaan, mark that, please: not a Judean, nor yet a Galilean (both these were Hebrews), but a Canaanitish woman came begging our Lord to heal her sick daughter. To the consternation and the bewilderment of the church today, Christ answered never a word. Not long ago a Dissenting Minister said in the pulpit, that this was one of the incidents of Christs work very difficult to understand. Yes, indeed it is, to those who blind themselves with the theory that all distinction of Race is done away. But not at all to those who see a Gentile woman coming to Christ as the Son of David and asking for an Israel blessing. To her Christ said those great words, which are utterly overlooked and disregarded by the church today: I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (verse 24). Now we need not spend much time in discussing who those lost sheep were. Certainly and without dispute they were not the Gentiles! This was the reason why Christ desired to put this woman right before He helped her: and in doing so, puts us right if we will but take notice.
Moreover, He follows it up with a much more forcible declaration, one so pronounced as almost to stagger us by its outspokenness, It is not meet to take the childrens bread, and to cast it to dogs (verse 26).
How hard, how bitter, this seemed; but it was the truth, and only by acknowledging the truth could the woman get her petition answered. And to the womans reply let all our theologians give heed; for here, on this very point, is where they have gone wrong. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table. How enlightening if we are only willing to be enlightened. Children - Dogs. What a contrast! Those are our Lords words and are too plain to be mistaken. We, like the woman, had better say, Truth, Lord!
How does all this fit the theory of today that in the New Testament all distinction of Race is done away? Manifestly it does not fit. Then whose words shall we believe, those of our teachers or those of our Lord? Surely none will be so obstinate as deliberately to choose those of our teachers and discard those of our Lord? If we do, we deliberately cast away the good and
choose the evil! Again, that same strange and intimate word Children was used by John to define and indicate those of the Israel race who were then scattered abroad, as announced in John 11:49-52.
This is a most enlightening declaration Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. Then there follows the comment and testimony of John himself.
And this spake he not of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Now here is the announcement that at that very time some people who were scattered abroad were the children of God! A most astounding declaration, and one utterly overlooked in the teaching of scripture! Moreover, John says that the high priest said this not of himself. Therefore he was under the influence of the spirit of prophecy, the Holy Spirit; and also, He should die for that nation! Why, why, if all distinction of race is done away? This would put the high priest, and the Holy Spirit that moved him, in the wrong! So we are brought to choose for our guide either our teachers or the Holy Spirit! Which shall it be? For if they oppose one another, one of them must be wrong! Further, the high priest did not speak of Gentile Christians. There were none as yet. And if there had been any he would not have acknowledged them!
Another point. Speaking of the end of this age in Revelation 7:4 we read, And there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Then follow the names of the Tribes. Now if all distinction of race is done away, how does it come that Israel appears so unexpectedly at the very end of the age? And why is the punishment of the
whole wicked earth held up till they are safely sealed? Moreover, in Revelation 21, when we read of the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, verse 12 tells us that it had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Then it tells us there were, On the east three gates, on the north three gates; on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. A very, very strange thing indeed, to tell us that these gates are all named after the names of the twelve Tribes of the Children of Israel, if all distinction of race is done away!
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