- Religion and Philosophy
Jesus Sent His Disciples Only to 'The Lost House of Israel', Not to the Gentiles!
Jesus (Yeshua is His Hebrew name) instructed His twelve disciples not to go to the Gentiles to preach, heal, raise the dead, or cast out demons, etc. Is this really true? Let's look..
In Matt. 10:1 Jesus summons His twelve disciples and gives them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and sickness.
In Matt. 10:5 He sends them out, instructing them 'not go to the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel...'
It wasn't until after the death of Jesus that PETER, one of Jesus' disciples, was instructed by an angel to 'kill and eat!' after seeing in a vision the sky opening up and an object like a great sheet comes down with all kinds of creatures on it that he was forbidden to eat according to Jewish law (Acts 10:11-14), that Peter and the Jews understood later and began to preach to the Gentiles also.
Why is this such a big deal to the Christian? Most Christians assume that this passage means that it was now okay for Peter and the Jewish people (as well as the rest of us) to now be able to eat any meat we wanted - including pork!
However, this has nothing at all to do with eating. Even Peter was confused about this at first until later he 'gets it' because the men that Cornelius, a Gentile but God-fearing man, sent to Simon-Peter had just showed up at the house where he was staying, right about the same time that he was having the vision (Acts 10:22).
In Acts 10:23- 48, Peter listens to the men and goes with them back to see Cornelius in Caesarea, bringing along some of his Jewish brethren.
When Peter arrives, Cornelius falls to the floor to worship him. Peter helps him to his feet and says 'I'm just a man, too'. He begins talking with Cornelius, and as he walks in he notices that many people are assembled there to hear him (Cornelius' family and close friends).
Peter goes on to give an account of how he happened to be at Cornelius', in a place where it is unlawful for him to be, according to his custom.
This is important for the reader to understand because without full knowledge and understanding of the culture and customs of Peter, the reader would not know how serious this situation really was.
So, when Peter asks again why he was sent for, Cornelius gives an account of all the things that happened to him, and that he was instructed by an angel of God to send for him.
Peter gets a full revelation from God when hearing this (Acts 10:34) and so begins to tell them all about the Messiah, Jesus, who was sent to the HEBREW people (vs 41), namely; him and the bretheren that were with him at Cornelius' house, not to those who weren't Hebrew.
Peter continues to give an account of Jesus' story, including how the Prophets (and the writers of the old scriptures, describing who it would be) were writing of Jesus.
While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit just poured out upon those who were listening and believed. This amazed Peter and his bretheren that came with him.
So, Peter, remembering what Jesus would say about being 'baptized' with the Holy Spirit, ordered the Gentile believers who just received the Holy Spirit, to be baptized 'in the Name of Yeshua, the Messiah', making them a part of the new covenant (Acts 10:48).
The mystery of these teachings are locked away in the Jewish culture, and it is critical for the reader to understand them if they desire to really 'hear' what God is (and was) saying.
In interpreting what the writers are saying in the scriptures, the reader must know about Peter and his people's customs, culture, and times that he lived in. This applies to all the biblical characters and the times they lived.
This does not mean a slight 'overview' of them, but a full understanding of their laws and customs. When God created His Feasts, He created them for a purpose.
Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits were the Spring Feasts, so that those who were paying attention back then would recognize God's plan of redemption. However, the Fall Feasts, those of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles, haven't been fulfilled yet.
Christians of this day and age are mostly unaware of these holidays as well as many of the other things of their Hebrew heritage. This is why it is critical to learn more, and look deeper into the original laws and customs of the Jewish people.
As I write this, tomorrow marks the day of a brand new year on the Hebrew calendar, and when the Shofar is blown. As a Christian, if you are unaware as to the significance of this, then it would be prudent for you to learn.
As you read on in the book of Matthew (and later in Acts), maintain an attitude of Jewish perspective only as you picture what was happening among these people. It was in their culture, and among their people, not among the mass population.
Note: As an example for understanding, in Acts 11:26 it mentions that the disciples were first called 'Christians' in Antioch. However, the writer wasn't referring to 'today's Christian', he was referring to a 'Jew who believed in the Messiah', which, more correctly stated would be they were first called 'Messianics'.
This makes a big difference when you figure out who is really arguing throughout the New Testament and why.