We are mainly Gentile believers today — we who are followers of Jesus. It has not always been that way. In the early going on the day of Pentecost scripture tells us that there were added about 3000 souls, and it seems correct to believe that the vast majority were Jews in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Listen:
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:41 NASB
We are told by scholars that This first Pentecost was the birth date of Christ’s Church (Ekklesia). Was it? — I will explain the answer to this question later.
Paul tells us that the mystery for the Gentiles was their addition to an existing body and their promises in Christ. Listen:
…that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief….to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
Ephesians 3:3,6 NASB
What does Paul mean fellow heirs? One must ask: with whom, what body and what promises? The answer is certainly not that we are heirs with ourselves, a new body. Paul makes clear in chapter 2, that we are being added to an Israelite system. The commonwealth of Israel. Remember Israel was a tribal system. But that fact of Gentiles being added was not new, because Gentiles were already in Israel. Early on after the Exodus we see that Caleb was a gentile. Later on we see that Elijah too, was a gentile. So is this where the mystery originated that Paul was talking about? Is Caleb in the Old Covenant a type, a shadow of the Gentiles entering into the New Covenant with Israel? John makes clear in what is written and titled his gospel, that all who believe in his name are given power to become sons of God. I do not believe that we have yet discovered or even have fully imagined what all that entails for us as believers.
But this one thing I do know Gentiles were added into this commonwealth of Israel even before we were. Not only was there Caleb, but do you remember that Ruth the daughter-in- Law of Naomi the wife of Boaz, who was in the Lineage of The Christ; she was a gentile. Do you remember the Harlot from Jericho, she was a gentile. She was in the lineage of the Christ.
Are we fully followers of the God of Israel and of His Messiah? Are we fully recognizing what is in store for us in our future on the way to inheriting the promises, or are we as the 10 spies within Israel, who were of those who did not believe the word of the Lord, and thus, who died in the wilderness?
Caleb was no longer a Gentile when he was sent out to spy the promised land — for entrance into the land, but he was a fully grafted in Jew of the tribe of Judah, listen:
“ Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.” from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh;
Numbers 13:2,6 NASB
Caleb was here considered a son of Israel from the tribe of Judah. And God said that He was going to give the land of Canaan to the sons of Israel, and Caleb inherited land in Canaan. Listen:
Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully.
Joshua 14:14 NASB
What then might be the significance of Caleb a Gentile being placed in the ruling tribe of Judah?
Who else is from the tribe of Judah?
In Matthew 1:1–6 and Luke 3:31–34 of the New Testament, Jesus is described as a member of the tribe of Judah by lineage. Revelation 5:5 also mentions a vision of the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Caleb was chosen for the tribe of Judah. Are you and I chosen for the tribe of Judah — Messiah’s own tribe? He, Caleb, was. Is it possible that In Christ you are grafted into Judah? I am not saying that I know the answer to that question. But should it not be asked? Will you reign with Messiah in His kingdom? What does that mean? Judah is the tribe from which comes the ruling class in Israel. We are of the commonwealth of Israel (Eph. 2). Will we not reign with Him from Israel? Is our reign key to the meaning? Caleb was a Gentile placed in Judah’s tribe, because he would later lead as a head of armies from Israel God’s own people to help conquer the promised land.
Paul says that we inherit with Israel’s saints. Is it possible that a failure to understand what God has promised us here could be similar in type and shadow to the failure of the 10 Spy’s of Israel who refused to believe God? — their sin was wanting to return to Egypt and to the Gentiles. Things were better for them in Egypt then to have to fight a real battle, with real giants, in order to enter the promised land.
Jesus said that there would be false prophets in our day, who are they? They are certainly here with us right now, because He said they would be. Paul said that they would be tickling the ears of those who want their ears tickled. Men are twisting scripture today, Peter says to their own destruction. Who are these men?
Jesus said that they would come in His name saying, I am the Christ. We look for men based on His statement. Men who will say that they are the Christ, but is that what Jesus really said? They will come in His name — they will represent Him saying that He Jesus is the Christ, but they will mislead many. Is this possibly what He is saying?
Think about this. Any man who comes saying: “I believe Jesus is the Christ”, and then tells you: “I am Him, I am the Christ”, he cannot mislead any true believer. But there are many today who say: “Jesus is the Christ”, and are teaching another gospel. Paul says there is but one gospel for Jew and Gentile, one body, one bride, one new man, one resurrection of the just, and scripture agrees. There is but one second resurrection but it is of the unjust. Israel’s Messiah — in you — is the hope of Glory. Why should we believe otherwise?
Earlier I had asked you a question: was Pentecost the birth date of Christ’s Ekklesia, as scholars state it? Consider if there were 3000 souls added to the Ekklesia on Pentecost, what exactly does that Ekklesia represent? When did it then begin if 3000 were added? And who were these who were joined by these 3000 who were added on Pentecost? Were not we also added to these? The three thousand were probably all Jews. But Jesus had already ascended, and when He ascended it is said that He led captivity captive (Eph. 4). We know that the Jews and yes Gentiles who were in captivity in paradise were moved to Heaven when He ascended. This explains why 3000 were added to the Ekklesia on that day — doesn’t it?
In the next post on this subject we will look at Elijah also a gentile, who’s purpose is to call back the children of Israel.