A. The Scriptures were given by God to reveal himself to fallen humanity. The core of this self-disclosure resides in the “names” that God gives himself. These names reveal his nature and character, which in turn informs how he governs over creation and thus how redemptive history unfolds. Generally these names are not in a vacuum, but rather they are “Israelocentric”.
Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD. (NIV Genesis 4:26)
There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. (NIV Genesis 12:8)
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (NIV 1 Samuel 17:45)
My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. (NIV 1 Kings 8:17)
The nations will fear the name of the LORD, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. 16 For the LORD will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory… 21 So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem 22 when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD. (NIV Psalm 102:15-22)
The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; 23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you (cf. Mt. 21:9; Mk. 11:9; Lk. 19:38; Jn. 12:13). (NIV Psalm 118:22-26)
So will it be on the earth and among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest. 14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the LORD’s majesty. 15 Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. 16 From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.” (NIV Isaiah 24:13-16)
At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. (NIV Jeremiah 3:17)
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. (NIV Joel 2:31-32)
1. The names of God are traditionally divided into three etymological categories:
a) YHVH – derivative of verb “to exist, be” (occurs 6,519 times in the OT).
(1) YHVH Tsabaot – “Lord-Hosts/Armies” (cf. 1 Sa. 1:11; Ps. 24:10; 80:4; Is. 1:24; 6:5; Jer. 9:15; 48:1; Hos. 12:5; Am. 3:13; Mic. 4:4; Hag. 2:6; Zec. 1:3).
(2) YHVH Roah – “Lord-Shepherd” (cf. Gen. 49:24; Ps. 23:1; 80:1; Ez. 34:2).
(3) YHVH Rapha – “Lord-Heals” (cf. Ex. 15:26; Jer. 3:22; Is. 30:26; Ps. 103:3).
(4) YHVH Qanna – “Lord-Jealous” (cf. Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Deut. 4:24; Jos. 24:19).
b) Elohim – plural form of El, meaning “strong one” (occurs 2,570 times in OT), also used in conjunction with YHVH.
(1) El Shaddai – “God-Almighty” (cf. Ge. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 49:25; Ex. 6:3; Num. 24:6; Ruth 1:20; Job; Ps. 22:10; 68:15; 91:1; Is. 13:6; Ez. 1:24; 10:5; Joel 1:15).
(2) El Elyon – “God-Supreme” (cf. Gen. 14:18ff; Ps. 7:17; 47:2; 57:2; Dan. 7:18ff).
(3) El Olam – “God-Everlasting” (cf. Gen. 21:33; Ps. 90:1ff; Jer. 10:10; Is. 26:4).
(4) El Chay – “God-Living” (cf. Deut. 5:26; Jos. 3:10; Ps. 42:2; 84:2; Jer. 10:10)
(5) El Yesha – “God-Salvation”, (cf. 1 Chr. 16:35; Ps. 65:5; 79:9; 85:4).
c) Adonai – plural form of Adon, meaning “master, owner” (occurs 434 times in OT—e.g. Gen. 18:2; 40:1; Deut. 10:17; Ex. 21:1-6; Josh. 5:14; 1 Sam. 1:15; Ps. 110:1; 136:3), also used in conjunction with and substitution for YHVH and Elohim.
2. Unfortunately, in discussions on the names of God, associations with individuals and nation(s) are almost never discussed. This is the result of the Hellenization of redemptive history and even of God Himself. Thus, the nature of God has become etherealized (e.g. immutable, impassible, transcendent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc.) and detached from the redemptive history of the earth.
3. Thus, the names of God are used to communicate two things: 1) God’s quality of character, and 2) God’s redemptive purpose. The former is generally expressed through the latter, which is expressed through covenant with the agents of the restoration of creation. In other words, God proves the quality of his character by remaining faithful to his creation in redemptive history, which plays out in the context of covenant with people(s).
a) YHVH Elohei Avraham Yitschaq Yaaqob – “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”
“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Hb. Elohei Avraham Elohei Yitschaq Elohei Yaaqob).” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (ESV Exodus 3:6)
O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel (Hb. YHVH Elohei Avraham Yitschaq Yisrael), let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant… (NIV 1 Kings 18:36)
O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Hb. YHVH Elohei Avraham Yitschaq Yisrael), our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. (ESV 1 Chronicles 29:18)
Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers (Hb. YHVH Elohei abotenu), and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. (ESV Deuteronomy 26:7)
The LORD, the God of their fathers (Hb. YHVH Elohei abotenu), sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. (NIV 2 Chronicles 36:15)
b) YHVH Elohei Yisrael – “LORD God of Israel”
Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel (Hb. YHVH Elohei Yisrael), “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.” (ESV Exodus 5:1)
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel (Hb. Elohei Yisrael). (ESV Exodus 24:9-10)
And now, LORD God… do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, “The LORD Almighty is God over Israel! (Hb. YHVH Sabbaoth Elohim al-Yisrael)” And the house of your servant David will be established before you. 27 O LORD Almighty, God of Israel (Hb. YHVH Sabbaoth Elohei Yisrael), you have revealed this to your servant, saying, “I will build a house for you.” So your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer. (NIV 2 Samuel 7:25-27)
Yet the LORD, the God of Israel (Hb. YHVH Elohei Yisrael), chose me from my whole family to be king over Israel forever… 5 he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. (NIV 1 Chronicles 28:4-5)
Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness… 8 He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth… 17 May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. 18 Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel (Hb. YHVH Elohim Elohei Yisrael), who alone does marvelous deeds. 19 Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. (NIV Psalm 72:1-19)
c) YHVH Adon kol-haerets – “LORD Lord of All the Earth”
This is how you will know that the living God (Hb. El Chay) is among you… 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth (Hb. Adon kol-haerets) will go into the Jordan ahead of you… 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD– the Lord of all the earth (Hb. YHVH Adon kol-haerets)— set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” (NIV Joshua 3:10-13)
The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth (Hb. Adon kol-haerets). 6 The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory… 8 Zion heard this and was glad, and the daughters of Judah have rejoiced because of Your judgments, O LORD. 9 For You are the LORD Most High (Hb. YHVH Elyon) over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods. (NASB Psalm 97:5-9)
Rise and thresh, O Daughter of Zion, for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hoofs of bronze and you will break to pieces many nations. You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth (Hb. Adon kol-haerets). 5:1 Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod. 2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. (NIV Micah 4:13-5:2)
Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the LORD (cf. Gal. 4)… 5 For your Maker is your husband– the LORD Almighty (Hb. YHVH Tsabaot) is his name– the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth (Hb. Elohei kol-haerets)… 11 O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. (cf. Rev. 21:2-21) (NIV Isaiah 54:1-12)
Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?” … 14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth (Hb. Adon kol-haerets).” (cf. Rev. 11:4) (NIV Zechariah 4:12-14)
4. God is proven as Almighty, Supreme, Lord, Mighty, Faithful, Shepherd, Savior, Healer, etc. in the context of fulfilling his covenants as the God of Abraham, Israel, David, Jesus, and the nations. In this way, God’s nature could be spoken of as “Israelocentric”, as the nature of redemptive history and the Day of the Lord are “Israelocentric”.
 “Unfortunately, to many the names God or Lord convey little more than designations of a supreme being. It says little to them about God’s character, His ways, and what God means to each of us as human beings. But in Scripture, the names of God are like miniature portraits and promises. In Scripture, a person’s name identified them and stood for something specific. This is especially true of God. Naming carried special significance. It was a sign of authority and power. This is evident in the fact that God revealed His names to His people rather than allowing them to choose their names for Him… Consequently, from this we can conclude that such phrases as “the name of the LORD” or “the name of God” refer to God’s whole character. It was a summary statement embodying the entire person of God.” (J. Hampton Keathley, III, “The Names of God,” Bible.org; available from http://bible.org/article/names-god.).
 Though there may be a general reference to “the name of the Lord”, it is assumed in context of the rest of Scripture (cf. Gen. 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 16:13; 21:33; 26:25; Exod. 20:7; 34:5; Lev. 24:16; Deut. 5:11; 18:5, 7, 22; 21:5; 28:10; 32:3; Jos. 9:9; 1 Sam. 17:45; 20:42; 2 Sam. 6:2, 18; 1 Ki. 3:2; 5:3, 5; 8:17, 20; 10:1; 18:24, 32; 22:16; 2 Ki. 2:24; 5:11; 1 Chr. 13:6; 16:2; 21:19; 22:7, 19; 2 Chr. 2:1, 4; 6:7, 10; 18:15; 33:18; Job 1:21; Ps. 7:17; 20:7; 102:15, 21; 113:1ff; 116:4, 13, 17; 118:10ff, 26; 122:4; 124:8; 129:8; 135:1; 148:5, 13; Prov. 18:10; Isa. 18:7; 24:15; 30:27; 48:1; 50:10; 56:6; 59:19; 60:9; Jer. 11:21; 26:9, 16, 20; 44:16; Joel 2:26, 32; Amos 6:10; Mic. 4:5; 5:4; Zeph. 3:9, 12; Zech. 13:3; Matt. 21:9; 23:39; Mk. 11:9; Lk. 13:35; 19:38; Jn. 12:13; Acts 2:21; 8:16; 9:28; 19:5, 13, 17; 21:13; Rom. 10:13; 1 Co. 5:4; 6:11; Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 2:19; Jas. 5:10, 14).
 Other infrequent YHVH names include: YHVH Shalom (“Lord-Peace”, Jdg. 6:24), YHVH Yireh (“Lord-Provide”, Gen. 22:14), YHVH Nissi (“Lord-Banner/Miracle”, Ex. 17:15), YHVH Shammah (“Lord-There”, Ez. 48:35), YHVH Tsidkenu (“Lord-Righteousness”, Jer. 23:6; 33:16), and YHVH Maccaddeshcem (“Lord-Sanctifier”, Ex. 31:13; Lev. 20:8).
 Other infrequent Elohim derivatives include: El Emeth (“True God”, 2 Chr. 15:3; Jer. 10:10), El Gibbor (“Mighty God”, Is. 9:6, Deut. 10:17), El Kedem (“Eternal God”, Deut. 33:27), El Deot (“Knowing God”, 1 Sam. 2:3), El Rachum (“Compassionate God”, Deut. 4:31), El Roi (“Seeing God”, Gen. 16:13), El Chasdi (“Faithful God”, Ps. 59:17), El Tsaddik (“Righteous God”, Is. 45:21), Immanu-el (“With-us God”, Is. 7:14).
 Note the initial declaration of the nature of God in the Westminster Confession (1647): “There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible…” (Westminster Confession, “Of God, and of the Holy Trinity,” Chapter 2; available at http://www.carm.org/westminster-confession.)
 Cf. Gen. 24:12, 27; 26:24; 28:13; 31:29, 42, 53; 32:9; 43:23; 46:3; 49:25; 50:17; Ex. 3:6, 15f; 4:5; 1 Ki. 18:36; 1 Chr. 28:9; 29:18; 2 Chr. 30:6; Ps. 47:9; Mt. 22:32; Mk. 12:26; Lk. 20:37; Acts 3:13; 7:32.
Likewise, note the repetition of the phrase “God of our/their/your fathers” (Ex. 3:13, 15f; 4:5; Deut. 1:11, 21; 4:1; 6:3; 12:1; 26:7; 27:3; 29:25; Jos. 18:3; Jdg. 2:12; 1 Chr. 5:25; 12:17; 29:20; 2 Chr. 7:22; 11:16; 13:12ff; 14:4; 15:12; 19:4; 20:6, 33; 24:18, 24; 28:6ff; 29:5; 30:7, 22; 34:32f; 36:15; Ezr. 7:27; 8:28; 10:11; Acts 3:13; 5:30; 7:32; 22:14; 24:14.)
 Cf. Exod. 5:1; 24:10; 32:27; 34:23; Num. 16:9; Jos. 7:13, 19f; 8:30; 9:18f; 10:40, 42; 13:14, 33; 14:14; 22:16, 24; 24:2, 23; Jdg. 4:6; 5:3, 5; 6:8; 11:21, 23; 21:3; Ruth 2:12; 1 Sam. 1:17; 2:30; 5:7f, 10f; 6:3, 5; 10:18; 14:41; 20:12; 23:10f; 25:32, 34; 2 Sam. 7:27; 12:7; 23:3; 1 Ki. 1:30, 48; 8:15, 17, 20, 23, 25f; 11:9, 31; 14:7, 13; 15:30; 16:13, 26, 33; 17:1, 14; 22:53; 2 Ki. 9:6; 10:31; 14:25; 18:5; 19:15, 20; 21:12; 22:15, 18; 1 Chr. 4:10; 5:26; 15:12, 14; 16:4, 36; 17:24; 22:6; 23:25; 24:19; 28:4; 29:10; 2 Chr. 2:12; 6:4, 7, 10, 14, 16f; 11:16; 13:5; 15:4, 13; 20:19; 29:7, 10; 30:1, 5; 32:17; 33:16, 18; 34:23, 26; 36:13; Ezr. 1:3; 3:2; 4:1, 3; 5:1; 6:14, 21f; 7:6, 15; 8:35; 9:4, 15; Ps. 41:13; 59:5; 68:8, 35; 69:6; 72:18; 106:48; Isa. 17:6; 21:10, 17; 24:15; 29:23; 37:16, 21; 41:17; 45:3, 15; 48:1f; 52:12; Jer. 7:3, 21; 9:15; 11:3; 13:12; 16:9; 19:3, 15; 21:4; 23:2; 24:5; 25:15, 27; 27:4, 21; 28:2, 14; 29:4, 8, 21, 25; 30:2; 31:23; 32:14f, 36; 33:4; 34:2, 13; 35:13, 17ff; 37:7; 38:17; 39:16; 42:9, 15, 18; 43:10; 44:2, 7, 11, 25; 45:2; 46:25; 48:1; 50:18; 51:33; Ezek. 8:4; 9:3; 10:19f; 11:22; 43:2; 44:2; Zeph. 2:9; Mal. 2:16; Matt. 15:31; Lk. 1:68.
 Cf. Jos. 3:11, 13; Ps. 97:5; Is. 54:5; Mic. 4:13; Zech. 4:14; 6:5.
B. The gospel of the kingdom and resurrection was thus understood as “Israelocentric”. The Messiah will return to Jerusalem (cf. Ps. 2:6; 48:2; 110:2; Is. 59:20; Rom. 11:26), establish his throne in the Temple (Is. 2:2; Ez. 43:7; Zech. 6:12; Mal. 3:1; Mt. 21:23), restore the Davidic kingdom to Israel (Is. 9:7; 11:10; Jer. 23:5; Ez. 37:24; Acts 1:6), and bless all the nations of the earth (cf. Ps. 72:17; Is. 25:7; Zech. 9:10; Rom. 15:9ff) by cleansing and rewarding the righteous while judging and destroying the wicked (cf. Is. 40:10; 59:18; 62:11; Mt. 16:27; Rev. 11:18).
From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun,they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along.20The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins…60:1Arise, shine, for your light has come, andthe glory of the LORD rises upon you…3Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn…11Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations– their kings led in triumphal procession…19The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, forthe LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory…21Then will all your people be righteousand they will possess the land forever…22The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly. (NIVIsaiah 59:16-60:22)
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed methe Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.11It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.12It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates(cf. Is. 54:11-12). On the gates were writtenthe names of the twelve tribes of Israel…22I did not see a temple(Gk. naos)in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple(cf. Jer. 3:16).23The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, forthe glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.24The nations will walk by its light, andthe kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (NIVRevelation 21:10-27)
Meaning:1) used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the sacred edifice (or sanctuary) itself, consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies (in classical Greek it is used of the sanctuary or cell of the temple, where the image of gold was placed which is distinguished from the whole enclosure)
Origin:from a primary naio (to dwell); TDNT – 4:880,625; n m
Usage:AV – temple 45, a shrine 1; 46
1. Jesus assumes this understanding of the gospel by referring to himself as the “King of Israel” (Jn. 1:49; 12:13; Mt. 27:42; Mk. 15:32); moreover, Jesus is consistently referred to in the narratives as “King of the Jews” (Mt. 2:2; 27:11, 29, 37; Mk. 15:2, 9, 12, 18, 26; Lk. 23:3, 37f; Jn. 18:33, 39; 19:3, 19, 21).
Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God;you are the King of Israel.”50Jesus said, “You believebecause I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” (NIVJohn 1:49-50)
They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!Blessed is the King of Israel!”14Jesus found a young donkey andsat upon it, as it is written…(NIVJohn 12:13-14)
2. Jesus also promised his Jewish disciples that they would sit on twelve thrones ruling over the twelve tribes of Israel in the resurrection (cf. Mt. 19:28; Mt. 20:21; Lk. 22:30).
I tell you the truth,at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will alsosit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel…29and will inherit eternal life. (NIVMatthew 19:28-29)
And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom andsit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (NIVLuke 22:29-30)
3. Before and after the Ascension, the apostles reflect an Israelocentric posture of expectation, waiting for the return of Jesus to the Temple to restore the kingdom to Israel (cf Lk. 24:53; Acts 1:8ff; 2:46; 5:42; etc.).
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.52Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.53And they stayedcontinually at the temple, praising God. (NIVLuke 24:51-53)
4. Before the baptism of the Gentiles in the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 10:44; 11:21), the apostles universally assumed the resurrection and the kingdom to be reserved only for the Jews and those Gentiles who were proselytes.
Now there were staying in JerusalemGod-fearing Jewsfrom every nation under heaven…14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jewsand all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you…22Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles…36Therefore letall Israelbe assured of this…” (NIVActs 2:5-36)
Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this…13The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus…19Repent therefore, and turn again, thatyour sinsmay be blotted out,20that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may sendthe Christ appointed for you, Jesus. (ESVActs 3:12-20)
Rulers and elders of the people…10know this,you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed…12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by whichwe must be saved. (NIVActs 4:8-12)
We must obey God rather than men!30The Godof our fathersraised Jesus from the dead– whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviorthat he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.32We are witnesses of these things…(NIVActs 5:29-32)
5. The inclusion of Gentiles in the resurrection without Jewish conversion was startling and initially confusing. However, it was gradually understood that this was the means by which the Gentiles would be blessed by Abraham and his Seed in the resurrection. The Gentiles would be justified through faith in the Cross and be resurrected along with the descendants of Abraham.
“You know the message God sentto the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all…“44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonishedthat the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. (NIVActs 10:36-45)
The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard thatthe Gentiles also had received the word of God.2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him…17“So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ,who was I to think that I could oppose God?”18When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has grantedeven the Gentilesrepentance unto life.”19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch,telling the message only to Jews.20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch andbegan to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. (NIVActs 11:1-20)
On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down…16“Men of Israel and you Gentileswho worship God, listen to me!17The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers…26Brothers,children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent…32We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers33he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”…43When the congregation was dismissed, many ofthe Jews and devout converts to Judaismfollowed Paul and Barnabas…46Then Paul and Barnabas answered them(abusive Jews)boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, wenow turn to the Gentiles. (NIVActs 13:14-46)
6. This led to an immediate confusion concerning how to disciple these newly converted Gentiles. The Council of Jerusalem reveals the perceived relationship between Gentile believers and Jewish believers. Everyone would be discipled in the righteousness of the age to come, while Gentiles would be spared discipleship inthe signsof the righteousness of the age to come (e.g. circumcision, dietary law, calendar, etc.).
On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he hadopened the door of faith to the Gentiles.28And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.15:1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses,you cannot be saved.”2This brought Paul and Barnabas intosharp dispute and debatewith them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question…5Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentilesmust be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”6The apostles and elders met to consider this question…13When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me.14Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concernby taking from the Gentiles a people for himself.15The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:16‘After this I will return andrebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it,17that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’18that have been known for ages.19It is my judgment, therefore, thatwe should not make it difficult for the Gentileswho are turning to God.20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.21For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest timesand is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas…23With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers,To the Gentile believersin Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings…28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell…35Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught andpreached the word of the Lord. (NIVActs 14:27-15:35)
The Gk.hieronis used to refer to the Temple complex as a whole (cf. Matt. 4:5; 12:5f; 21:12, 14f, 23; 24:1; 26:55; Mk. 11:11, 15f, 27; 12:35; 13:1, 3; 14:49; Lk. 2:27, 37, 46; 4:9; 18:10; 19:45, 47; 20:1; 21:5, 37f; 22:52f; 24:53; Jn. 2:14f; 5:14; 7:14, 28; 8:2, 20, 59; 10:23; 11:56; 18:20; Acts 2:46; 3:1ff, 8, 10; 4:1; 5:20f, 24f, 42; 19:27; 21:26ff; 22:17; 24:6, 12, 18; 25:8; 26:21; 1 Co. 9:13).
Matt. 23:16f, 21, 35; 26:61; 27:5, 40, 51; Mk. 14:58; 15:29, 38; Lk. 1:9, 21f; 23:45; Jn. 2:19ff; Acts 17:24; 19:24; 1 Co. 3:16f; 6:19; 2 Co. 6:16; Eph. 2:21; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 3:12; 7:15; 11:1f, 19; 14:15, 17; 15:5f, 8; 16:1, 17; 21:22.
The urgency of Pauline literature concerning the salvation of the Gentiles must be understood in context to the dominant understanding that the Gentiles had been shut out from inclusion in the kingdom and resurrection. The prominence of the Jewish people in the Scriptures was never questioned, only added to and expounded upon.
They devoted themselves tothe apostles’ teachingand tothe fellowship, tothe breaking of breadand toprayer. (NIVActs 2:42)
Every day they continuedto meet together in the temple courts. Theybroke bread in their homesand ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. (NIVActs 2:46-47)
1. In light of the Day of the Lord, the apostles lived out their hope in the return of Jesus by continually meeting together in the temple courts. This is because they held to the Scriptures and believed nothing beyond what was written in the Law and Prophets, faithfully holding to the Israelocentric hope of the age to come.
I believe everything thatagrees with the Lawand that iswritten in the Prophets,15and I havethe same hopein God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. (NIVActs 24:14-15)
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.10Concerning this salvation,the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,11trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predictedthe sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. (NIV1 Peter 1:8-11)
Because of that, we haveeven greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. Pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place– until the day Christ appears and his brilliant light shines in your hearts.20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves…(NLT2 Peter 1:19-21)
2. Moreover, they continually broke bread in their homes in expectation of the return of the Jesus and the Day of the Lord. This symbolic act was at the heart of their worship and messianic hope.
I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.16For I tell you, I will not eat it againuntil it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God…18I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes…19This is my body given for you;do this in remembrance of me…29And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones,judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (NIVLuke 22:15-30)
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good…20When you come together, it is notthe Lord’s Supper you eat…26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup,you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup…31But if we judged ourselves,we would not come under judgment.32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. (NIV1 Corinthians 11:17-32)
1. New believers were discipled in the apostles’ teachings, which were simply expositions of the Law and Prophets, which in turn were inherently Israelocentric.
From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesusfrom the Law of Moses and from the Prophets…30For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.31Boldly and without hindrance hepreached the kingdom of Godand taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. (NIVActs 28:23-31)
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,15and how from infancyyou have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.16All Scripture is God-breathed and is usefulfor teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV2 Timothy 3:14-17)
2. Jew and Gentile alike were called to conformity to the light of the age to come.
For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.12The night is far gone; the day is at hand.So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.13Let us walk properlyas in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.14Butput on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESVRomans 13:11-14)
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person– such a man is an idolater– has any inheritancein the kingdom of Christ and of God…7Therefore do not be partners with them.8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.Live as children of light9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)10and find out what pleases the Lord.11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (NIVEphesians 5:5-11)
But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, butlet us be alert and self-controlled…8But since we belong to the day,let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV1 Thessalonians 5:4-9)
1. As the gospel was seen to be Israelocentric, so also was its proclamation in the ministry of the church understood as Israelocentric. It was not just good “missiological strategy” to preach first to the Jews; it wasright procedurein light of the gospel.
I am not ashamed ofthe gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (NIVRomans 1:16-17)
God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life…9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil:first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (NIVRomans 2:6-10)
a) Jesus and the apostles preached the good news only to Jews.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.'” (NIVMatthew 10:5-7)
ACanaanite womanfrom that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!…23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”24He answered, “I was sentonly to the lost sheep of Israel.”25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.26He replied, “It is not rightto take the children’s bread and toss itto their dogs.”27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall fromtheir masters’ table.”28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you havegreat faith! Your request is granted.” (NIVMatthew 15:22-28)
b) Likewise, the apostles always went to the Jewish synagogues first, even after God showed that he was making a people for himself from among the Gentiles.
When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in theJewish synagogues…14From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered thesynagogue…14:1At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into theJewish synagogue…17:1they came to Thessalonica, where there was aJewish synagogue.2As his custom was, Paul went into thesynagogue…10On arriving there(Berea), they went to theJewish synagogue…16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens…he reasoned in thesynagoguewith the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks…18:1After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth…4Every Sabbath he reasoned in thesynagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks…19They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul…went into thesynagogueand reasoned with the Jews…28:17Three days later he called together the leaders ofthe Jews(in Rome)…24Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. (NIVActs 13:5, 14; 14:1; 17:1f, 10, 16f; 18:1, 4, 19; 28:17, 24)
2. The apostles refer to this Jewish priority in evangelism as “necessary” (Acts 13:46) and a “responsibility” (Acts 18:6), revealing the covenantal obligation to the Jews in light of their destiny and responsibility in the age to come.
And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessarythat the word of God bespoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we areturning to the Gentiles. (ESVActs 13:46)
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue…testifying to the Jewsthat Jesus was the Christ.6But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I amclear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” (NIVActs 18:4-6)
3. The apostolic ministry maintained the burden of Jewish evangelism, which was progressively lost as the church became Hellenized. As in Ancient Near Eastern culture, the father of a house longs for all of his children to be reconciled, but concerning the inheritance of his estate, it is imperative/burdensome that the eldest son be restored, since he will ultimately be responsible for managing the household.
I speak the truth in Christ– I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit–2I havegreat sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,those of my own race,4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (NIVRomans 9:1-5)
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (NIVRomans 11:1-15)