The Status of Gentiles During Acts
By Oscar Baker
Remember, in Acts even when the Gentiles came in as proselytes, the Jew was still “first.” Acts 13:46; Romans 1:16. The Gentiles had an inferior position in reference to the Jew-- God’s chosen people. During the last 18 years of Acts, Gentiles were in a position to receive blessings by being “graffed” into the true olive tree as a wild olive branch. That would never have happened until Paul began to graft them in, Romans 11. For the why and how this was done you find it in Romans 11:17-24.
“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen [Gentiles] through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations [Gentiles] be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Galatians 3:6-9 (KJV)
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit,”
Not the person here, but by one new nature baptized or identified in one body into the church of God (not the church of “the Mystery”). Acts 10:44-48, the two baptisms mentioned here. See also Acts 19:1-6. These Gentiles, along with Israel, were baptized or identified with the Lord in His death, burial, and resurrection – a spirit experience, Romans 6:4.
The Acts’ Gentiles could go to the synagogue, but they could NOT sit with the congregation and had no part in the service of God. They could not be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers. The service of God pertained only to the Jews only, Romans 9:4.
Gentile believers before Acts 28:28 were separated from the Jews by a wall of partition – mainly ordinances (circumcision being the main part of the law). The uncircumcision (the Gentile) did not have the law, they did not have the promises, they were without God. He was the God of Israel and, the Gentiles were strangers and foreigners, Rom. 3:1 & 2; Eph. 2:11 & 12.
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”
During the last 18 years of Acts, the Gentiles also had a separate gospel – “the gospel of the grace of God,” Acts 20:24. Read the context here starting with verse 17.
Acts 20:24: “but none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.”
These Gentiles had such a great privilege, that is, without keeping the law or being circumcised, but by faith only – by the grace of God – they could partake of the blessings of Israel! This caused discontent among the Jews who had to keep the law, and these Gentiles could have the blessings of Israel without working for them, Acts 15:5 and elsewhere. Among these blessings, the Gentiles expected to meet the Lord in the clouds (at the 2nd Coming of Christ). The so-called Rapture was their hope. I Cor. 15:51 and 52; I Thes. 4:13 – 17; Isaiah 66.
Gentiles partook of the Word of God that was sent to Israel, and at the Council in Jerusalem in Acts 15, they were told to abstain from 4 things so as not to offend the Jews, Acts 15:19 & 20. Then as further instruction, they were told they could hear Moses and the prophets in the synagogue every Saturday [“Sabbath day”] Acts 15:21.
These Gentiles partook of a calling that was from or since the foundation of the world, Matthew 25:34 (Yet, there will be the judgment of the Gentile nations in Matt 25:32).
The Acts Gentiles were in the place where angels dwell, Hebrews 12:22, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.” Gentiles partaking of the blessings of Abraham had access to this angel ministry, Acts 10:3-7.
Those “graffed in” (in last part of Acts) will have a part in the New Jerusalem. Back in Ezekiel 47:21-23, it’s said that these Gentiles will have a portion with the tribes of Israel in the land during the Millennium. And have blessings with them at that time, and be partakers of the Promised Land, according to that (in Eze. 47:21 “strangers” means ‘Gentiles’).
Conclusion: During the last 18 years of the Acts period, the Gentiles were in a position to receive blessings by being “graffed” into the true olive tree as a wild olive branch,” see Romans 10:19 & 20; 11:13 & 14.
These Gentiles before the end of Acts were blessed only for one reason (as a secondary blessing) that Israel might be blessed – to provoke Israel to jealousy that they might bear fruit by the grafting in of the wild olive branch (this could not bear fruit).
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some.”