There is a teaching that says that the Gentiles are only the lost tribes of Israel who were previously circumcised under the covenant. One of their proof texts is this verse below where Paul says that the Gentiles who were previously “not God’s people” were now in Christ the children of God:
Romans 9:24-26 “he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? As he says also in Hosea, “I will call them ‘my people,’ which were not my people; and her ‘beloved,’ who was not beloved.” “It will be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ There they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
Hosea 2:23 NIV “I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
But if you look at Paul, he was not saying that these Gentiles were solely the lost tribes of the house of Israel. He was merely quoting Hosea to make a point that the Gentile pagans who were once outside the covenant of Israel, and not God’s people, were now His children through faith in Christ.
Hosea wrote that the house of Israel (10 northern tribes) were scattered in the nations by the Assyrians:
Hosea 1 “The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel:”……Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. 5 In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel…… Yet the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which can’t be measured nor numbered; and it will come to pass that, in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ The children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint themselves one head (Shepherd/leader), and will go up from the land”
The prophet Hosea said that God would also restore the house of Judah (2 tribes) who was exiled in Babylon back together with the house of Israel back to the LAND.
But all of this was already fulfilled when the Israelites came back from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple!
Jeremiah 31 is the fulfillment of the lost tribes of Israel being restored after the Babylonian exile.
Jeremiah 31 ““At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”…“The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel.”…..I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful. 5 Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria;……Make your praises heard, and say, ‘Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ 8 See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth…….‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’ 11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. 12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;…..18 “I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined….Restore me, and I will return, because you are the Lord my God…..Return, Virgin Israel, return to your towns…..23 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: ‘The Lord bless you, you prosperous city, you sacred mountain.’ 24 People will live together in Judah and all its towns—farmers and those who move about with their flocks. 25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”…….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……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……..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. 39 The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.”
Exodus 5 “Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”
Exodus 7 “Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.”
So from the time of Israel’s existence, the rest of the nations were not God’s people.
This is why Paul said that ALL who sinned outside the law would be judged. This is why ALL Gentiles are not God’s people under the old covenant.
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”
All nations who are Gentiles by birth were dead in sin and outside Israel’s and Abraham’s covenants – without God and hope! This includes ALL nations outside Israel and not just merely the lost tribes of Israel. Paul clearly says that the Gentiles are those who are outside the covenant of Israel. This includes those Gentiles outside the covenant of Jeremiah 31 too! Therefore the Gentiles are clearly ALL nations! All Gentiles were dead in sin and cut off from the covenants.
But something amazing happened: On the Cross of Jesus Christ, He put an END to the law that separated Israel from the nations so that by His blood ALL nations are now near to God having the opportunity to be saved by GRACE through faith in the blood of Jesus.
Ephesians 2 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”…….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 was just quoting Hosea to in Romans 9 to make a point – just like the lost tribes of the house of Israel were not God’s people but were brought near after the Babylonian exile in the past, in the same way, ALL Gentiles BY BIRTH who were outside the covenant and not God’s people in the past were now brought near by the death of Jesus Christ. The Gentiles of all nations were without God and outside the covenants of Israel. These were all NOT God’s people but now through Jesus Christ, they could become children of God!
The Israelites stumbled over the law but the Gentiles who were not under the law believed in Jesus to be saved because Christ is the END of the law for salvation to ALL who believe. The Gentiles in the past were kept away from God by the law but now in Jesus Christ, He gives salvation to ALL who believe in Him – both Jew and Gentile!
Romans 9-10 30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone……..3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.….“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Paul clearly states that the Gentiles who are NOT under law, found it easier to believe in Jesus but the Israelites who are under the law rejected Christ.
History shows us that most Israelites rejected the Gospel but that the Church today is vastly Gentile in population. The Gospel has gone to the Gentiles in all nations for 2000 years. The Gentiles were not merely the lost tribes of Israel, but they are the people from ALL nations, races and languages who simply believe in Jesus Christ.
Everyone who believes in the Son of God Jesus Christ will be forgiven because He died for our sins and rose from the dead to make us righteousness!
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