And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. (Genesis 17:3-4)
God promised Abraham that he would be the father of “many nations.” “Nations” is the Hebrew word “Goy.” Strong’s Concordance defines “Goy” as a “foreign nation; hence a Gentile, heathen, nation, people” (H1471). This same promise came to pass in the New Testament (See Romans 4:11-18; Galatians 3:28-29). There it is said to include Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. This is what Jesus’ sealing of the vision and the prophecy did (See Daniel 9:24); it allowed access to the Kingdom of God for the Jews (See Acts 2), the Samaritans (See Acts 8), and the Gentiles (See Acts 10). Jesus referred to these ‘Goy’ in Matthew 28:19. There He said to teach and baptize “all ‘NATIONS.'” In this verse the word “nations” is “ethnos,” which, like ‘goy,’ is similarly defined as: “A race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): – Gentile, heathen, nation, people” (Strong’s G1484). Jesus was literally removing racism by using this term because, after the cross, all peoples were the same race in God’s eyes (See Colossians 3:11), and all suffered the same problem of sin (See Romans 11:32). To remedy this sin, Jesus gave every man and woman the same opportunity to receive salvation through His New Covenant (See Romans 1:16).
The promise of a coming savior predated sin (See Revelation 13:8; Ephesians 1:4; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:19-20), and was the first promise God made after sin was introduced into the world (See Genesis 3:15). This same promise was sustained through Abraham when God promised him that he would be known as the father of “many nations” (See Genesis 17:4). Then in the New Testament this Old Testament promise touched this promise through the hands of a priest named Simeon (See Luke 2:32). At eight days old, Jesus was brought to the Temple for circumcision. The priest that held Him was Simeon. He took Jesus into his hands and prophesied that Jesus would be “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:32). Years later Jesus amen’d this calling when He said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for ‘all the nations’” (Mark 11:17). The New Covenant message of Jesus Christ is open to all people regardless of their race, color, financial class, or gender. Any and all willing to be Born Again into Jesus receives the same salvation and eternal life (See Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; Acts 2:38-39).
Such non-exclusivity is a fulfillment of God’s promise to make Abraham a “father of ‘many nations.’” Not that Abraham was to be a ‘father’ of descendants from assorted countries, but rather a ‘father’ of many people spiritually connected, by faith, to his same God (See Galatians 3:7-29; Romans 4:16-21, Romans 9:7-8).
© 2013 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.