sundayword:BY PROSPER TINGINI
According to religious interpretation, a Gentile is defined as a person of a race other than Jewish. A Jew is described as a person of Hebrew religion or ancestry. If we were to trace the ancestry, it would link us with Abraham. A Hebrew is classified as a member of an ancient Semitic people. Semite is a race that includes both Jews and Arabs. Both Jews and Moslems worship the same God whom they call Yaweeh or Jehovah in Jewish, and Allah in the Moslem world. They share the same Abrahamic link and ancestry, hence worshipping the same God.
However, whether born of a Jew or an Arab, not worshipping the same one God, the Almighty God, then all such people can be classified as Gentiles based on religion. History and religious archives tell us that many other races worshipped different gods and practiced different religions from that of the God of Abraham. These people of other religions are termed Gentiles. Christians of non-Jewish origin could qualify to be excluded from being called Gentiles by virtue of Jesus Christ whom they follow, a Jew. Christ subscribed to the Jewish religion and worshipped the same one God, the Jehovah or Yaweeh. Being a Christian or a non-Christian should not be used as the yardstick to classify one as a Gentile. What should be used as the distinguishing factor is the worship of the one God of Creation, the God of Abraham, the God of the Hebrews/Jews.
No society on this planet, whether of humans, animals, sea creatures, birds or insects, can exist everlastingly without being guided by some rules and regulations within it. Lawless societies have gone extinct or will cease to exist at one point in time. That is a law of nature itself. God realised this principle from the beginning across all His living creations. Guidelines and laws are a must for direction and survival. That is beyond any question. Those who do not want to live by the law are normally cast out of society, just as the Lord our God cast out the angel Lucifer for being rebellious, for not wanting to conform to set-down statutes. Hence, we now have the so-called Satan. Satan and his children will always want to go against the law, or against what God has prescribed. These are the real Gentiles of our time.
From outset, rules and regulations (the law) were part and parcel of human society. God gave Adam and Eve a rule to follow, ie, “not to eat of the forbidden fruit”. Influence led them to go against God’s directive, with grave consequences for mankind. They thus became Gentiles of their time. However, the Almighty always picked individuals from subsequent generations whom He would bless and use to transmit His messages and instructions for mankind. These are people like Noah, the prophet of the floods, to the likes of Abraham, Jacob (Israel), Moses and many other luminaries of the past and present. For us Christians, His most notable messenger was His Son, Jesus Christ. Through these people, God would always give directions and instructions for us.
To Noah, God instructed: “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood (Genesis 9:3-4).” Blood carries the life and life belongs to God (Leviticus 16:10-13). Cutting the throat of most creatures slaughtered for food, to drain out the blood from the flesh first before consumption is still a common practice. To Abraham, He ordered, “Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between me and you” (Genesis 17:11). This is still practiced by many races of today. To Moses, He gave humanity the 10 Commandments and many others that followed (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). Through His Son, Jesus, He exercised His prerogative for the forgiveness of our sins by the shedding of his blood, the life. Christ also proclaimed, “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them, but to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17).”
In worship there always features the dos and don’ts even in Christianity, to ensure eternal life and save mankind from doom. No earthly kingdom can survive without the application of law. Such kingdoms have perished. Likewise, the Kingdom of God has its own law. Those who want to operate outside of the law are of another kingdom. They are the Gentiles of our time, as they do not follow the law of the God of Abraham.
Jesus Christ operated under the law of his Father and observed it. He was circumcised as per the God-given instruction to Abraham. He observed the Seventh Day rule as per custom and as per the fourth commandment. Even some other races have observed the seventh day guideline from time immemorial just like in many African cultures, including our own. The same applies for the cutting of throats to drain out blood for creatures slaughtered for food, and the acts of circumcision. Many African cultures perform these rituals although classified as pagan. Coincidentally, most of these African races also subscribe to the worship of the same one God, the Almighty, although sometimes through different mediums before the advent of Christianity or Islam.
Gentiles are people who operate outside the sphere of our God, or have other gods and little knowledge of the Lord. This would be a broader definition of the term. In Jesus Christ’s time were people who also worshipped other gods, like the Romans and other empires. It is to these people that Jesus Christ assigned Saul, later baptised as Paul, to spread the Word of God through Christ and prove to the Jews also that Jesus was indeed the Christ. After Saul had been “captured” and blinded by Jesus’ spirit for his acts of persecuting Christians, the Lord instructed a disciple at Damascus named Anani’as to rise and go and lay his hands upon Saul so that he could regain his sight. The Lord spoke to Ananias, “Go, for he (Paul) is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and Kings and the sons of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
Paul’s mission was thus to preach mainly to the Gentiles, people not under the law.
l Prosper Tingini is the president of the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Registration in progress for those who wish to undertake Bible Studies or train as Ministers of Religion. Contact 0771 260 195 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org