“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, AND UNTO THE UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH (capitals mine).”
Immediately after Jesus said the above to His disciples (former Jews but now believing Christians), the very last thing He ever said while still on the earth, He was lifted up to Heaven. He empowered them, after being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, to “witness” to everyone on earth as to His Word and Promises.
So, when did Christians come into actual “existence”? Afterall, when God created the heavens and the earth and all things therein, including Adam and Eve, there was no such thing as a “Christian”. Remember God created man and woman in His Image (Genesis 1:27). In fact, a careful read of the Bible basically lists three different types of people throughout the history of the world. Gentiles, Jews and Christians who came into being to fulfill His Plan. But God was not a Gentile. God was not a Jew. God was not a Christian.
I believe it could easily be argued when God created man and his descendants in the beginning, ALL were Gentiles. Now don’t get me wrong. At that time there were righteous and non-righteous men and women. One only has to go back to Noah and the Flood. Noah and his family were not Gentiles, Jews or Christians. Rather, they were righteous and because of that they were spared the destruction of all mankind due to the sinful nature of man. As Noah’s family repopulated the world, eventually Nimrod arose and decided to build a tower in Babel in order to become equal to God in the heavens and God spared mankind another destruction. Instead, He confused their languages so they could no longer understand each other. Mankind then simply departed Babel and went back to their various homelands.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram (later called Abraham by God), Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land (Israel) that I will shew thee: And I will make thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; AND THOU SHALT BE A BLESSING (capitals mine): And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Later God brought Abraham and his family from the land of Ur (today southern Iraq) to the land of Canaan He promised. Previously, I wrote an article about the travails Abraham and his wife Sarah went through (Two Brothers from different Mothers are shaping today’s world!) but God NEVER lies, and He promised to make Abraham a great nation and that all the families of the earth would be blessed. Being the father of the Jews who wrote the Holy Bible, the world has definitely been Blessed by Abraham!!
In the land of Canaan (today’s area west of the Jordan River today known as Israel) the people there were a monotheistic people believing in only One God, Yahweh. Because of this they found favor in the eyes of God. When a terrible drought hit the land of Canaan, Jacob (later renamed Israel) led his 12 sons to Egypt where they fled to get food but instead ended up in Egyptian slavery. With God’s perfect Plan, Moses arose and was inspired by God to lead the twelve tribes back to their homeland of Israel. At this time, they basically became known as Jews when they again occupied the Land of Judah.
At this time, it was recognized Biblically there were Gentiles (non-Jews) and Jews. Where then did Christians come from?
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ FOR YOU GENTILES (capitals mine).” “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery: (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages WAS NOT MADE KNOWN (capitals mine) unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the GENTILES (capitals mine) should be fellow heirs, and of the same body (as the Jews), and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”
Ephesians 3:1, 3-6
Obviously, God’s Plan, which was not made known in past generations, was that the Gentiles and Jews who believed in Jesus Christ would become known as Christians and it was up to the Christians to continue to spread His Word to the entire world. While Jews basically wrote the entire Holy Bible (Jews wrote the Old Testament and Jews who became Christian wrote the New Testament), it was the Christians who spread His Word of Salvation to the entire world after the Jews rejected Jesus Christ as their Promised Messiah.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Through the rejection by the Jews of Jesus Christ’s birth, crucifixion and rising alive from the grave as THE ultimate sacrifice for their sins, did God then open the door to the rest of the world of Gentiles (again, non-Jewish people).
“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.”
Interestingly (at least to me), until I read the Scripture below, I had never known where/when the official name “Christian” first appeared in the Bible.
“…And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians FIRST (capitals mine) in Antioch.”
I find it amazing that in the Bible Simeon was promised by God he would not die until he personally beheld the Savior of the world. God’s promise was fulfilled when Simeon held the Child Jesus Christ shortly after His birth. What intrigues me is his comment, even though he was a Jew, was that Jesus would be for the Gentiles and the Jews (remember Christians did not yet exist at this time).
“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of ALL PEOPLE (capitals mine); A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel (Jews).”
Did you know the first 4 Books of the New Testament, the four Gospels were each written with very specific people in mind?
Matthew – Written for the Jews, has an Olivet Discourse (Jesus’s description of the Last Days) included.
Mark – Written to the Romans (Gentiles), also has the Olivet Discourse included.
Luke – Written to the Greeks (also Gentiles), also has the Olivet Discourse included.
John – Written exclusively to the Christian Church, DOES NOT have the Olivet Discourse, but instead has the Upper Room Discourse. In this upper room conversation at the Last Supper, Jesus gave His disciples (and by extension, you and I) a new commandment.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
To me the Book of John is yet one more proof the Christian Church, at the time of the coming Rapture, WILL NOT be here for the 7-year, 70th week of Daniel. Yes, there will definitely be many, many Gentiles and Jews who will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior AFTER the Rapture and during this terrible time of God’s Wrath. Many will be martyred for their belief in Jesus. Too often people do not recognize these differences the Book of Revelation clearly describes in the coming events of the Last Days. The first three chapters of the Book of Revelation speaks to the Church. and then the Church is NOT mentioned again until the 19th chapter. Revelation 4:1-2 clearly references the Rapture of the Church! Christians at the Rapture will meet Jesus in the air. Jews will eventually recognize Jesus as their Messiah and Gentiles will either convert to Christianity during the Tribulation or be destroyed by Jesus at His Second Coming. When all is said and done:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile), there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Jesus Christ (Christian).”
THE FINAL PHASE
“Behold he (Jesus) cometh with clouds; and EVERY EYE (capitals mine) shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and ALL KINDREDS (capitals mine) of the earth shall wail because of him, Even so, Amen.”
So, there you have it. A very brief history of the Gentiles (both righteous and non-righteous), Jews and Christians (former Gentiles and now, yes, even Jews). In other words, as is so eloquently placed in the Bible in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him SHOULD NOT PERISH (capitals mine) but have ever lasting life.” God does not want a single person to be condemned to hell. But God gave us freedom of choice! All we must do is recognize only Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, admit we are sinners, and ask for forgiveness of our sins. Do this today and you will spend eternity in His presence in Heaven! And, with the Holy Spirit now indwelling us, we are also led to do what He has told us to do and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.”
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, (be) with you all. Amen.”
2 Corinthians 13:14