Note these three statements which Christ made when He was here on earth.
1. “YE WORSHIP YE KNOW NOT WHAT: WE KNOW WHAT WE WORSHIP: FOR SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS.” JOHN 4:22.
2. “THEN SPAKE JESUS TO THE MULTITUDE, AND TO HIS DISCIPLES, SAYING THE SCRIBES AND THE PHARISEES SIT IN MOSES’ SEAT: ALL THEREFORE WHATSOEVER THEY BID YOU OBSERVE, THAT OBSERVE AND DO; BUT DO NOT YE AFTER THEIR WORKS: FOR THEY SAY, AND DO NOT.” Matthew 23:1 to 3.
3. “SHEW ME A PENNY. WHOSE IMAGE AND SUPERSCRIPTION HATH IT? THEY ANSWERED AND SAID, CAESAR’S. AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, RENDER THEREFORE UNTO CAESAR THE THINGS WHICH BE CAESAR’S, AND UNTO GOD THE THINGS WHICH BE GOD’S.” Luke 20:24 AND 25.
The Jews sat in Moses’ seat. Caesar, the Gentile, sat in Rome. The Jews were under political domination of Rome. Note Luke 2:1, Matthew 17:26 and 27. Jesus of Nazareth grew up to manhood under Caesar’s political government. But note His religious practice: “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:16.
Caesar was an ungodly heathen. But was he any worse than the corrupt religious rulers who sat in Moses’ seat? They were fools, hypocrites, blind leaders, and inwardly corrupt. Read these charges against them by Jesus Christ. Matthew 23:13 to 32, and the climax, in verse 33, “ye serpents, ye generation of vipers.”
Now the two commands of Jesus Christ:
1. Do what the religious rulers tell you to do.
2. Render unto the political rulers the things that are theirs.
Jesus Christ taught His disciples, “government is of the Gentiles”; “salvation is of the Jews.”
Both government and salvation had once been in the hands of the Jews. God had warned them that they would not be the head if and when they failed to keep His commandments. In their spiritual declension they were to be the tail and the Gentiles the head. Read Deuteronomy 28:36 to 44.
In the last two chapters of Jeremiah and the last two chapters of II Kings we read how government passed from the Jews to the Gentiles. Then and there “the times of the Gentiles” (politically) began. Luke 21:24. After the facts revealed in Romans 11, “the times of the Gentiles” (spiritually) began. But note Daniel’s Divine message to the first Gentile world ruler over the Jews (Nebuchadnezzar).
“Thou, O king, art a king of kings; for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron; forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.” Daniel 2:37 to 40.
Then in Daniel 2:44, we are told how “the times of the Gentiles” will end, by the coming of the King from heaven. A stone is to descend from heaven, become a mountain and fill the whole earth.
Jesus Christ was born under the fourth (iron) kingdom. He was tried and sentenced to death by that government after the authorized representative said, “ I find no fault in Him.” After he had washed his hands of his unjust decision, he said, “I am free from the blood of this innocent man.”
From Nebuchadnezzar to the days of Christ, salvation was not only of the Jews, but any Gentile who desired spiritual blessings had to become a Jew. When the Jews were slaves to the Persians the record is, that many of the Persians became Jews. Esther 8:17.
In Romans 1:17 to 32 we learn how God had cast away the Gentiles. In Romans 11:1 to 33 we learn how God, centuries later, cast away the Jews. When God cast away the Gentiles (about 1900 B.C.) He began a new movement; Israel and the Jews. When God cast away Israel (about 60 A.D.) God had begun a new movement with the Gentiles. Note Ephesians 3:1—“For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.”
Note the condition of the Gentiles at the time God began the new movement mentioned in Romans 11:30, Romans 11:11 and Romans 11:15.
“For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.”
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles for to provoke them to jealousy.”
“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”
The predicament of the Gentiles at the time Paul was sent to them is told in Ephesians 2:11 and 12, Ephesians 2:2 and 3 and Ephesians 4:18. They were aliens. Aliens from Israel. Alienated from God.
Note the words of Christ to an earnest seeking Gentile—“He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me. But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” Matthew 15:24 to 27.
The Jews were lost sheep. The Gentiles were dogs. The Jews who sat in Moses’ seat were serpents. The ruler at Rome was a heathen. We know then that the world religiously and politically was corrupt when the Lord of glory came down from heaven to visit humanity.
Note the testimony of the Apostle Paul.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” Romans 11:13.
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw Him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they will not receive thy testimony concerning Me.” “And He said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts 22:17, 18 and 21.
“That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:16.
Paul had orders from heaven to go to the Gentiles. He received his message for Gentiles by revelation.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11 and 12.
He wrote to the Gentiles that salvation was of the Jews. “It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” Romans 15:27.
Note the words of Paul in Acts 13:46, Acts 18:6 and Acts 28:28.
“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, LO, WE TURN TO THE GENTILES.”
“And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.”
“Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”
“Lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Do not fail to mark this in your Bible. This marks a radical change.
Note the good news for Gentiles that followed.
“AND WHEN THEY WERE COME, AND HAD GATHERED THE CHURCH TOGETHER, THEY REHEARSED ALL THAT GOD HAD DONE WITH THEM, AND HOW HE HAD OPENED THE DOOR OF FAITH UNTO THE GENTILES.” Acts 14:27.
Who opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles ? When?
Then followed the good news of Ephesians 2:19, Ephesians 2:17 and Ephesians 3:6.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”
“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same Body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.”
Paul’s last message was to a man who was half Jew and half Gentile, Timothy. (Acts 16:1 to 5.) Since the death of Paul and Timothy, God’s spiritual affairs have been in the hands of Gentiles; and God’s order has no longer been “to the Jew first.” The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11. “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians 3:11.
During the ministry of Paul to the Gentiles, Jerusalem and the Jews were under the iron rule of Caesar, and finally the words of the Lord Jesus were fulfilled; Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were scattered. Luke 21:20 to 24. Note the Lord’s words: “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side. And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of my visitation.” Luke 19:43 and 44.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” “For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:20, 22, 23 and 24.
“The times of the Gentiles” await fulfillment in 1941 A.D.
Acts 21:30 to 32
“And all the city was moved, and the people ran together; and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them; and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.”
Acts 22:25 and 26
“And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.”
Acts 25:10 and 11
“Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal to Caesar.”
Romans 13:1 to 7
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained by God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
Note these four statements of Paul: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1.
“For this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” Romans 13:6.
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” I Timothy 3:15.
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable, in the sight of God our Saviour.” I Timothy 2:1 to 3.
Here we see the clear demarcation between Church and State, and the Scriptural responsibility of the Christian to both of these powers which are ordained of God. God had put the carnal sword of government in the hands of Caesar. But to those with spiritual authority He said:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” II Corinthians 10:4.
“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.
The Word of the Lord Jesus is still binding: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s and unto God the things which be God’s.” Luke 20:25.
We are living in “the times of the Gentiles” politically. This began with Nebuchadnezzar about 600 B. C. We are living in “the times of the Gentiles”, spiritually. This began after Saul became Paul.