Light to the Gentiles

(Romans 2:17-20 KJV) Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, {18} And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; {19} And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, {20} An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

In these verses we can see a contrast between the Jew and the Gentile:

Jew Gentile
  • Guide
  • Light
  • Instructor
  • Teacher
  • Blind
  • Darkness
  • Foolish
  • Babes

Israel was meant to be a guide, light, instructor and teacher to the Gentiles. But in the following verses we see that Israel failed to be as God meant them to be. The result was that rather than having the Gentiles come to know God, God's name was blasphemed among the Gentiles.

(Romans 2:23-24 KJV) Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? {24} For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

Part of Israel's redemption will be that God will clear His name:

(Ezekiel 36:21-23 KJV) But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. {22} Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. {23} And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

How He will do it:

(Ezekiel 36:25-28 KJV) Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. {26} A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. {27} And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. {28} And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

The first record of what Paul preached is found in Acts 13 and he says that the Jews have judged themselves to be unworthy. The Jews are now in the same condition as the Gentiles, Paul writes that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile (Rom 3:22; 10:12).

(Acts 13:44-46 KJV) And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. {45} But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. {46} Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Now Israel is:

  • Blind
  • In Darkness
  • Foolish
  • Babes
(Romans 11:15 KJV) For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Israel has been cast away for a season. In Romans 11:25, Paul tells us that it is a temporarily setting aside of Israel's purpose, God will resume and bring to fruition what He is going to accomplish through the nation of Israel. (See Romans 11:29)

Israel was to be a light to the world and at this time, we see that Israel failed to be a light to the Gentiles. But now, with Paul, God interrupted the prophetic program (His dealings with Israel as a nation in which they would be a kingdom of priests) and He is sending Paul to be a light to the Gentiles.

(Romans 11:11 KJV) I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
(Acts 13:47-48 KJV) For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. {48} And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Verse 48 tells us that when the Gentiles heard this they were glad. The Gentile nations were sitting in darkness waiting for the light to come and Israel failed to shine. Paul is now established as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

(2 Timothy 1:9-11 KJV) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, {10} But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: {11} Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

We are called with a holy calling that is found in the gospel that Paul preached, that is, that Christ died for our sins. Notice that this was all planned ahead of time (BEFORE the world began). God had this in mind from the very beginning, that the Gentiles would receive life and immortality to light through the gospel, whereunto Paul was appointed as a preacher, apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles.

This is not the same way that the Gentiles would be brought to the light according to the prophetic program. The prophetic program, which was spoken SINCE the world began, declares that Israel will be a be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation and that the Gentiles would come to know God because of the nation of Israel. Israel will be a light to the Gentiles.

(Isaiah 42:6 KJV) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
(Isaiah 49:6 KJV) And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
(Isaiah 60:1-3 KJV) Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. {2} For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. {3} And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
  • Prophetic Program - Israel will be light to the Gentiles (rising of Israel)
  • Mystery Program - Paul is appointed as light to the Gentiles (fall of Israel)