Ch. 25 - Reaching Out to All Nations

1 hr. 19 min.

We look back at the whole of Salvation History to better understand God's purpose for Israel, which is to be a light to the nations. Ultimately, this purpose is fulfilled in Jesus, who recapitulates Israel in his own person and mission. Due to his redemptive work upon Calvary (wherein he takes upon himself the curses of the Mosaic Covenant), the separation between Israel and the other nations is obliterated (See Ephesians 2:11-22). Jesus has made it possible for all of humanity to stand on equal footing in the covenant family of God, and so the Catholic Church - which is that family - incorporates both Israelites and Gentiles equally. "The nations" in Hebrew is goyim. In Greek, it is ethnos. In Latin, it is gentilis. We use the English term "Gentiles" to refer to all of those nations other than the nation of Israel, and in most all English translations of the New Testament, the Greek word ethnos is translated as "Gentile."

There is no need now for those ceremonial precepts as dictated by the Mosaic Law. Those precepts or commands served a temporary (albeit over a long period of time) purpose: to root out idolatry from the heart of Israel and to separate Israel from the Gentiles so as to rehabilitate Israel. God knew that Israel could not be ultimately be rehabilitated unless God gave this firstborn son of his a new heart (See Deuteronomy 30:1-8), and so the Law revealed Israel's sinfulness, showing Israel that it could not be holy without the gift of grace. Jesus Christ fulfills the message of the Prophets - especially Isaiah - by bringing about the possibility of worldwide blessing to all the families/nations of the earth as promised to Abraham in Genesis 22:18. His work of redemption results in the gift of the Holy Spirit, that grace Israel needed from the beginning to live in right relationship with its covenant bridegroom: the Lord God.

Plus, in order to restore all 12 tribes under the Messiah, the Gentiles must be incorporated, for the lost tribes of Israel are now indistinguishable from the Gentiles. When the Gospel goes out to the Gentiles, it is not going out just to non-Israelites, but to Israelites as well who have lost their national identity.