Did Jesus die only for Israel?

There are certain scriptures in the Bible that seem to indicate that Jesus Christ only died for the sins of Israel. Let us see if that is indeed true or false.

Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

This verse indicates that Jesus only died for Israel and only for those who committed sins under the old covenant.

Hebrews 8 “15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

The Psalmist says that God only revealed His laws to Israel.

Psalm 147 “19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. 20 He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws.”

We know that the Laws of Israel told them not to murder or commit adultery. But let’s ask this question: virtually every country in the world knows that such things are wrong. How did they know that? Didn’t God only command those laws to Israel? But it seems that these laws are in the hearts of people from all nations.

If God did not give any laws to other nations, then why on earth did God judge other nations on many occasions?

He judged Sodom because of their sins as described here:

Genesis 13 “11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.”

How could they sin against the Lord when He never gave them any laws? Their sins were great before Lot the righteous man lived there!

Ezekiel 16 “49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”

God also judged the world of Noah before Abraham even existed! It was because of their sins and great violence. If people were killing each other, why did God judge their sins if there was no commandment to not murder? Note that this was before any Law was given to Israel!

Genesis 6 “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”….11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.”

2nd Peter 2 “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)”

Note how Peter calls the people who were flooded as “ungodly” and the people of Sodom as “lawless”. If God never gave laws to the nations, then He would be unjust in judging them! But He did judge them and called them depraved, ungodly and lawless! This is clear evidence that they knew what they were doing was wrong.

Look at more evidence of God’s judgment on Gentiles before the Law came.

Genesis 20 “Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.””

Exodus 10 “16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.””

So clearly God did judge the pagans for their sins even before any Law was given to Israel.

What about after the Law was given to Israel? Ezekiel the prophet said that Israel sinned more than other nations. This means that other nations did sin against God but less compared to Israel. Therefore God did judge the other nations outside the Law of Israel.

Ezekiel 5 ““This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.”

What standard did God use to judge other nations if He did not explicitly give them laws. Paul clearly said that the Gentiles who are NOT UNDER the LAW of MOSES will also be judged according to the law in their hearts.

Romans 2 ” 12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.”

Every nation has moral laws that they follow. Where did they get it from? God did not send them written laws but it was found in their conscience after Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good & evil. Adam’s sin resulted in him knowing his own nakedness. In every society and nation, we have moral laws that convict us of guilt if we do wrong.

Some teachings say that Law was only given to Israel but not the Gentiles. But the same people say that the Gentiles in Romans 2 who are not under the law are also guilty but not the nations of the world! That is hugely contradictory and inconsistent.

The logic of such a teaching is this: they say that all nations outside Israel are innocent because they didn’t have the law. Now let’s assume a scenario: A person got circumcised and was under the Law. Let’s say that this person became uncircumcised. Now according to the teaching, this person is not under the Law anymore! Therefore shouldn’t that person now be innocent and equivalent to a person who was never circumcised? It’s because both people are not under the Law and its judgment. But the same teaching says that the person who became uncircumcised is now guilty but the person who was always uncircumcised is innocent! But Paul never makes any such distinction between uncircumcised people: There is not a single scripture anywhere that says that people outside the law are innocent! In Ephesians 2, Paul said that those who are uncircumcised/Gentiles at birth are also guilty – this is talking about people who were never under the Law at all. (Ephesians 2 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,…..Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised”)

Paul said in Romans 2 that “ALL who sin apart from the law” are guilty because the law is written in their heart and their conscience accuses them. They don’t need the Law of Israel written on stones to condemn them but their own consciences condemn them. This is true for all nations in the world.

If we say that the Law was only given to Israel and not the Gentiles, then we cannot turn around and say that the Gentiles who know about murder and adultery in their hearts are only the lost tribes of Israel, when every pagan culture in the world knows that such things are wrong! The fact that every culture in the world condemns murder is clear evidence that the law of God is written in our hearts and therefore Jesus had to die for the entire world to offer forgiveness to ALL nations!

Here is the clinching proof, when Paul said that the pagans in the world were going to be judged for their sins:

1st Thessalonians 4 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.”

He said that the wrath was coming upon the Gentile pagans who lived in sin without knowing God

Ephesians 5 “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”

People will say that Adam was only the father of Israel but they ignore the fact that all nations came from Adam’s descendant – Noah

Genesis 10 “32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.”

Israel came out from these Gentile nations! Therefore Adam was not only the father of Israel but the entire human race.

Now the book of Hebrews indicates that the new covenant was only made with the house of Israel and Judah:

Hebrews 8 ” For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.”

But if you read the context, we see that the writer was referring to the prophet Jeremiah.

What was Jeremiah talking about? He was talking about the restoration of the 12 tribes of Israel that happened after their exile to Babylon.

Jeremiah 31 27 The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. 28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord. 29 “In those days people will no longer say, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ 30 Instead, everyone will die for their own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge. 31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,    when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord……38 The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this city will be rebuilt for me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.”

This was talking about the “new” covenant made with the Israelites who returned after the Babylonian exile to re-populate Jerusalem and build the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem. This covenant replaced the covenant made on Sinai with Moses.
This “new covenant” spoken by Jeremiah DID NOT include any Gentiles or pagans.
It was only a covenant with the Jews (house of Judah) and lost tribes (house of Israel).
The writer of Hebrews was referring to the return from Babylon where God forgave the Israelites and returned them back to the land – as a reminder that God would forgive the Israelites if they believed in Jesus. The main focus of the letter of the Hebrews was to show them that Christ’s death offered them permanent forgiveness as opposed to the Law of Moses which could never take away their sins. He was not telling them that the covenant was only with the 12 tribes of Israel. That was just a reference to the covenant of Jeremiah that was for the LOST TRIBES of Israel and NOT with the pagans of the world.
But after the cross, we see that Gentiles who were previously cut off from the covenant were included. Ephesians 2.
Ephesians 2 “11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Paul says that the Gentiles who were included now in Christ were NOT part of any of the covenants of Israel. They were NOT part of Abraham’s covenant. They were not part of the Mosaic covenant. This clearly means that the Gentiles of Ephesians were NOT part of the covenant of Jeremiah 31. 
This proves that the Gentiles are NOT part of the House of Israel or Judah!
Therefore the Gentiles here are NOT the lost tribes of Israel but they include ALL nations in the world!
Before the cross, the ministry of Jesus was ONLY for Israel and her 12 tribes. But now after the cross, salvation is for the entire world.
This is why John said that the God gave Christ to die for the entire world!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The “world” here does not mean “Israel” because John clearly makes a distinction here between Israel and the rest of the world in his own writings:
John 1 “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John says that Jesus made the world. Obviously, the world here is not just Israel. God did not only create Israel because He owns the entire earth! He came to make children of God NOT by natural descent (of Abraham or the flesh) but born by the Spirit – choosing people outside the covenant of Israel!
John 3 “Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.””
Israel-only says that only those born of the “flesh” by circumcision or belonging to Abraham’s seed (flesh) can be part of the kingdom. But Jesus clearly refutes such ideas by saying the qualification for the kingdom is not based on man’s flesh or decision-making or the husband (Abraham)’s will BUT BY THE WILL OF GOD who chose all nations and not just Israel!
Exodus 19 “Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
The entire world and all the nations belong to God but He chose only Israel under the old covenant. Jesus was rejected by His own people – the 12 tribes of Israel. But He was received by other people – those outside the covenant. Therefore the world includes both “his own people” and those not His own! Those who were not His own people, received Him!
Colossians 1 “15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him……19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
Jesus Christ created ALL things in heaven and earth – both visible and invisible – this includes all of creation – the entire planet and the universe and galaxies. He died to reconcile all nations that He created!
John clearly says here that Christ did not only die for Israel but for the entire world.
1st John 2:2 “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The “our sins” in context is the people of the old covenant of Israel. Therefore the “whole world” is all of humanity.
In Matthew 10, the Gospel is only limited to the lost sheep of Israel before the cross.
But at the end of Luke 24 AFTER the cross, we see that the gospel goes out to all nations:
Luke 24 “45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
It is pretty clear that the Gospel is being preached to the entire world because Jesus Christ died for the sins of all humanity.
This is the Gospel preached to the Gentiles of ALL nations:
Acts 10 “39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

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