Hebrew Israelite Myth: God never opened up salvation to the non-Israelites (Hebrews 8:8).
Hebrews 8:8 - "For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:"
Response: There is little dispute from the Hebrew Israelites or Christians that the covenant was extended to the Gentiles, the problem arises when defining who the gentiles were. The Hebrew Israelites will use the Old Testament verses where Israelites left Israel and were referred to as Gentiles and say that is who the New Testament is referencing. Some Hebrew Israelites go a little further and say there are 2 Gentile groups referenced in the New Testament the Israel scattered and the Pagans, but they do not provide any means on how to apply the labels to which groups. Other Hebrew Israelites like the House of David goes further and says even Cornelius in Acts 10 and 15 is a Pagan Gentile. This definition is critical given if Gentiles are true Pagans then the entirety of the Hebrew Israelite theology breaks down, their theology is predicated on retribution against the white man (Edomites), and if there is salvation for all under the New Covenant of Christ there is no retribution.
The logic to prove the Hebrew Israelites are wrong in their assessment is straight forward based on the following argument:
- Who was given the old covenant?
- Israel Only by birth into the house of Jacob by the nature of their bloodline (Exodus 3-6)
- What were the outcomes for the old covenant between God and Israel
- Duet 28 - rewards for following and curses for disobedience
- There was no third option where Israel could opt if they did not follow there would be, so they have been and will always be the chosen of God under the law. This lines up with the Hebrew Israelite theology in that they believe they are still under the curses of Deut 28 because of their people's observance of the laws
- If the first two premises are correct, then the Israelite that falls away from the beliefs of Israel is still by his or her nature still subject to the covenant and is under the law. So who are the Gentiles based on how Paul uses the term, look at Romans 2:14 and see.
- Romans 2:14 - For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another
- The Gentiles Paul is talking about NEVER had the law; these are the Pagan / Heathen not of Israel. So when Paul later talks about bringing in the Gentiles to salvation, it is explicit what how he has defined the term.
This is further illustrated in Romans when Paul talks about grafting in these Gentiles:
- Romans 2:11 - 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. 12Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, since I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my and might save some of them.
This is a very telling verse given the context of Romans 2:14 we know Gentiles are peoples who never had the law, that excludes all of Israel, If Israelites left Judaism for another God that falls under the curses God clearly laid out. Then Paul in Romans 11:14 contrasts these Gentiles against his "flesh" or his association as a Jew by the blood of Jacob.
The letter from presumably Paul to the Hebrews talking about replacing the old covenant with the new one, the reason the author says a new one with the house of Israel and Judah is that the old covenant was not for the Gentiles. However, if you read in Ephesians, the apostle, Paul explains this and even calls it the "Mystery" that has been revealed.
- Ephesians 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
And in no way does the word Gentiles refer to the scattered Israelites of the Diaspora.
In John 7:35 John uses the words for the scattered Israelites of the Diaspora and Gentiles in the same verse: John 7:35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Where will he go, that we shall not find him? Will he go to the dispersed among the Gentiles and teach the Gentiles?
In addition the word for dispersed Israelites or scattered Israelites is used several times in the New Testament
- Acts 8:1 - Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
- John 16:32 - "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
- Acts 8:4- Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
- Acts 11:19 - So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.
- James 1:1 - James, a bond-servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
- 1 Peter 1:1 - Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
- John 11:52 - and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
So you see there is a broad range of terms available for addressing this specific group of persons. If "Gentiles" means scattered Israelites, then why not use it here especially in verses like Acts 1:4 or Acts 11:19 where the subject is the scattered persons? This is an issue in Acts 11:19, in most of the work I have seen from you I think you state that the Jews are just the southern kingdom that has NOT been scattered and the scattered are the rest of the ten tribes that are now scattered/gentiles in other nations. But in Acts 11:19 it says to those of who were scattered... they made their way to Phoenicia, and Cyprus and Antioch, (other nations outside of Israel) SPEAKING THE WORD TO NO ONE EXCEPT TO JEWS ALONE.
External Sources: Strong's Concordance
- Strong's Greek 1289 (Acts 8:1,4)
- Strong's Concordance
- diaspeiró: to sow throughout, i.e. fig. disperse (in foreign lands)
- Original Word: διασπείρω
- Part of Speech: Verb
- Transliteration: diaspeiró
- Phonetic Spelling: (dee-as-pi'-ro)
- Short Definition: I scatter like seed
- Definition: I scatter (like seed), disperse.