Gentile believers were separate from Jewish believers in the Gospels, and in the Acts Age. After the Acts Age there were no more Jews as there is now a pause in the plan for Israel (but that plan shall come to pass). The earthly plan and the earthly kingdom was temporarily put aside and God revealed a heavenly plan through Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles.
The underlying belief of a group called The Twelve Tribes Community (IMHO) is a denial of the finished work of Christ on Calvary and in resurrection. This is abundantly clear on their "beliefs" page (which is so confused and contrary to the witness of scripture, there is no space here).
From The Twelve Tribes Community (TTC) website:
When we say "Twelve Tribes", it is not just some denominational title or brand name that we invented. Rather, we are speaking of people actually dwelling together in unity, living a tribal life in twelve different geographical areas on the earth, so as to be a light to the nations. The twelve-in-one nature of this spiritual nation is described in the Scriptures as the nature of the New Testament Church.
(The Twelve Tribes Community)
This is in no way a scriptural description of the twelve tribes as seen in the pages of the Bible (the listing of which varies throughout scripture).
When Paul, in his defense before Agrippa, referred to “our twelve tribes” in Acts 26:7, surely he was not referring to the Jews who were accusing him. There was no point in flattering them about “earnestly serving God night and day.” The Master had already prophesied to the Jews that, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.” A new nation had to take the place of the old, and bear the fruit that the old nation didn't bear.
(The Twelve Tribes Community)
We'll ignore the anti-Semitism for now.
The TTC assumes that there is no way Paul could mean "Jews" as it was unbelieving Jews accusing him, yet the witness of Paul all through the Acts and in the Acts Age epistles is that unbelieving Jews remained Jews and unbelieving Israel remained Israel. If we do not see that, Paul makes no sense in his actions and pleadings to both Jews and to Israel (as we shall see).
Just in reading the TTC materials, we can see they are very selective in what they want to call Jews, Israelites, or twelve tribes. They ignore some uses inconvenient to their desire to say they are Jews when they are not. They pull out half a sentence and build a universe around it.
Paul was surely witnessing to the continued hope of the twelve tribes of biblical Israel. We covered related topics in our look at Romans 9 (Israel According to the Flesh) and in our series, "Who is a Jew?" Paul maintained all through the Acts Age that he was in chains "for the hope of Israel."
Paul's Witness to Unbelieving Jews and Unbelieving Israel
In Acts 28, Paul is clearly speaking to unbelieving Jews in Rome. Scripture testifies that Paul went to Jews first in every city that had Jews ("as was his practice"). These unbelieving Jews in Rome are the "Israelites" Paul refers to in Romans 9. Paul wished himself "accursed" for the sake of "Israelites." And in case we miss the point, he specifies "my brethren according to the flesh." We cannot cram in Gentiles or some new twelve tribes or some lost tribe of gentile Ephraim. Why would Paul wish he was accursed for the sake of believers?
For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came
These are clearly the unbelieving descendants of Jacob. We cannot cram gentiles in there. And we also note while we're here, that the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises, an the fathers all still pertain to Israel, the descendants of Jacob. God's promises are yea and amen, he will fulfill his promises to the apple of his eye. We will reiterate this again later in this post as it must be understood if we are to "rightly divide the Word of Truth."
Paul's Post-Acts Ministry
Let's look at how Paul's ministry changes during and after the Acts Age:
For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already...
All through Paul's epistles, he makes a clear distinction between Jews and Gentiles. In the Acts Age, even among believers, Paul continues to draw distinctions. It is only after the Book of Acts that Paul reveals the plan hidden in God from "before the foundation of ages," on a Body made up of "one new man" consisting of Jew and Gentile with a hope in the far above the heavens.
At no point, either in the Acts Age or after, can Gentiles be called Jews. Let's take another look at Paul's trial in its context.
“I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently. “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
This is the "hope of Israel." It consists of the promises made to the Fathers. Israel's fathers. The Land and the Kingdom. These are earthly promises. The Lord came to witness to that promised kingdom. He taught the twelve apostles of the Lamb for 40 days after his resurrection about that kingdom (Acts 1:3-6) as these will "sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" ON EARTH in the regeneration of the Earth (Matthew 19:28).
When the TTC quotes from the Acts 26 passage, they remove it from its context. If Paul is somehow referring to Gentile twelve tribes, the passage becomes incoherent. Paul refers to "OUR twelve tribes" and "OUR fathers" and a hope which had not yet been attained. That cannot be the sending of the Savior.
The Earthly Promises are Still Future and Still for Israel
As we have seen in Romans 9, the promises made to the fathers, and the covenants, etc. still pertain to Paul's brethren according to the flesh. This not some "spiritual Israel" made up of Gentiles. The Lord testified that he was "sent to none but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel" (Matt 15:24). When he sent the twelve out with the message that the Kingdom was at hand, they were forbidden to preach that message to Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-7).
Paul affirms the Lord's mission in Romans 15:8-9. The came to Lord confirm the promises made to THE FATHERS (one group), that the nation would serve as a witness for the Gentiles (as scripture prophesies repeatedly and which is the goal of the Covenants with Israel).
Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”
Paul quotes David (Psalm 18:49), the King of Israel, from the Tribe of Judah, through whom the Messiah and future King of Israel shall come.
There is a clear comparative here. We cannot read "the circumcision" as being Gentiles and we cannot read "the fathers" as referring to Gentiles. The fathers are clearly of the circumcision (Israel) and the Lord was a servant to them with the prophetic end that all the nations (Gentiles) would be blessed THROUGH ABRAHAM.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Who is the "us" in this passage? It is Jews. Israel was redeemed from the curse of the Law as the Law was only given to Israel (Exodus 19:3-6; Romans 9:4; etc.). With the curse removed, the earthly blessings of Abraham would become available to Gentiles. This is the ministry found in the synoptic gospel accounts and the goal of the "grafting in" of Gentiles of the Acts Age. That grafting in was for the specified purpose of making Israel jealous (Romans 10:19; 11:11). The Lord did not "save Israel" to "make ex-Israel jealous" as we would have to teach if Israel has been replaced as TTC proposes.
Israel is Still Israel in the Acts Age
We continue to see the clear differentiation between Jews and Gentiles in Romans 11.
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”
If we try to read this passage with the teaching that God replaced Israel with some "spiritual Israel" made up partly or wholly of Gentiles, or that Israel now means all believers, it makes no sense.
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to BELIEVERS until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all BELIEVERS will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from BELIEVERS;
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”
-[WRONG DIVISION of the WORD of TRUTH}
You have to ignore many passages to somehow make Gentiles fit into "Israel" and also fit in the "Twelve Tribes" and "Jacob" and "the House of Judah," etc.
The Hope of Israel is Earthly, Not Heavenly
The hope of Israel was the promise to Abraham of a land (on earth) and a kingdom to David (on earth) the throne of which will be occupied by one of his house (Judah). Peter addresses unbelieving Jews in Acts 3 as "ye men of Israel." They were still Israel. "The fathers" were still and will always be the fathers of Israel (not of Gentiles). Abraham is the father of all who believe, but the promises of the land belong to his physical descendants.
Ye men of Israel... The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers.
-Peter, as an Apostle to the Circumcision, to unbelieving Israel in Acts 3
Peter promises those Jews of Israel that if they repent, the Father would send back the Lord Jesus to restore the Kingdom to Israel [Acts 1:6]. Can we preach this today?
Ye men of Israel... Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
- To unbelieving Israel, after the resurrection and ascension, after Pentecost:
- Promise of the times of refreshing if they repent
- The fathers are still unbelieving Israel's fathers
- Things spoken "since the world began"
- Prophets foretold these days
- They were still the children of the Prophets
- Covenant made with their fathers that through them Gentiles would be blessed
Israel will be turned away from her iniquities when the New Covenant comes in (Ezek 36; Jer 31; Heb 8; etc.).
The "Twelve Tribes" group teaches that the twelve tribes are now all Gentile? Since when? Apparently, Peter and Paul were unaware. Even if they limit it to the "Tribe of Ephraim" theory, they run into the same problem (we will address this briefly later).
Paul Witnesses to The Hope of Israel in the Acts Age
We reiterate, during the Acts, Paul said he was in chains "for the hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20). This was the promise the "twelve tribes" still sought (Acts 26:7). This is the hope Paul spoke of to the unbelieving JEWS in Acts 28. Paul testifies this late in the Book of Acts to unbelieving Jews. He refers to these unbelievers as both "Jews" and "brethren" in the context of "Israel." Again, he notes "OUR fathers." He speaks from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. We cnnot read any of these as to pertaining to believing Gentiles.
And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the JEWS together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the JEWS spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Cæsar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judæa concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
When we note in this passage that Paul is witnessing to clearly unbelieving JEWS in the context of the hope of Israel (just as Peter referred to unbelieving Jews as "Ye men of Israel"), we can see that the other unbelieving JEWS who spoke against his message at his trial were still part of the Biblical Twelve Tribes of Israel (i.e. Jews). The TTC calls ignores all this evidence to conclude that since Jews accused Paul at his trial, they could not also be the Biblical Twelve Tribes.
The single verse pulled out by the TTC does not hold up in the context in which it was spoken, in the context of this meeting Paul had in Rome after his trial, nor in Paul's Acts Age epistles. Let's look again at their position.
When Paul, in his defense before Agrippa, referred to “our twelve tribes” in Acts 26:7, surely he was not referring to the Jews who were accusing him. There was no point in flattering them about “earnestly serving God night and day.” The Master had already prophesied to the Jews that, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.” A new nation had to take the place of the old, and bear the fruit that the old nation didn't bear. [Twelve Tribes website]
When Paul was witnessing "the kingdom of God" to Jews in Acts 28, he is "persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets." Paul references Jews as his "brethren" and his "nation." At his trial, Paul states he taught NOTHING that Moses and the prophets did not say would come. They taught that a Kingdom was coming for national Israel and that Gentiles would be blessed through that Kingdom. When Paul witnesses to the Greeks in Acts 17, he makes no mention of Moses and the Prophets, he refers only to the God of creation.
God had not set aside his people nor the Plan of God for the fulfillment of promises made through Moses and the Prophets of an earthly kingdom in Israel. The Lord lays out this plan in the Gospel of Matthew and in Acts 1:3-6. He came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel alone (Matthew 4, Matthew 9, Matthew 10) and he sent the 12 out to preach it in the Acts, to Jews only. The "Apsotles to the Circumcision" were commissioned to Israel, true Israel, not some new Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Acts 11:19; Galatians 2:7-9).
Gentiles were temporarily grafted in during the Acts Age (under Paul's ministry), not because Israel had been rejected, but because God was reaching out to his people (who were still his people). Paul, again, identifies with them (separate from believers, separate from Gentiles).
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.
I say then, have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them [Isarel] to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
I posted these in reverse order to my references above that we may look at this latter verse in light of the assertions of the Twelve Tribes group.
"They" refers to "His people" which refers to Israel. Paul continues to identify with both Israel and with his tribe, Benjamin. It is only after the Book of Acts that he counts his pedigree as dung (Phil 3:5-7). This is because Paul no longer had an earthly hope of a land and a kingdom (or even of the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven), but he has a hope "in the heavenly places" which was not spoken of my Moses and the Prophets, which was hidden from BEFORE the foundation of the Ages. This the revelation found in the Book of Ephesians and the Book of Colossians (both post Acts).
Paul's Post-Acts Ministry (Again)
As noted, Paul testified at his trial that he taught NOTHING that was not spoken of by Moses and the Prophets (Acts 26:22) SINCE the foundation of world, which he witnesses to the Jews (of Israel) in Rome in Acts 28. Again, this is distinctly different compared with what he taught in Ephesians which was a truth hidden from men and from the prophets since BEFORE the foundation of the world, revealed only to Paul.
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.
And when they [The Jews in Rome] had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.
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; 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.
We have covered these things numerous times, but it is essential to grasp and accept these differences if we are to make sense of what we are reading in the Gospels and in the 3-sets of Epistles in what we call The New Testament. (7 by the Apostles of the Circumcision to Jews, 7 by Paul in the Acts Age, 7 in the Post Acts - Current Age).
From a Prisoner for Israel to a Prisoner for Gentiles
We note again, after the Acts Paul said he was "the prisoner of Christ Jesus [Christos Iesus] for you Gentiles." During the Acts Age, Gentile believers were responsible to support Jewish believers. This is just one of countless examples of the distinction made in the Acts Age between Jewish and Gentile believers. How do we understand this simple division in Romans 15 if we don't recognize the truth of Romans 1?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them [the Gentiles] indeed, and they are their [the Jews] debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their [the Jews] spiritual things, their [the Gentiles] duty is also to minister to them [the Jews] in material things.
Can I come preach this at your assembly? That Gentile believers are bound to support Jewish believers? That Gentile believers are debtors to Jewish believers? This is no longer the case, but it was the case during the Acts Age. But the TTC teaches that God took his kingdom promises (which are yea and amen, confirmed and assured) from Jews and gave them to Gentiles. This is a wrong division of the Word of God and a denial of God's faithfulness. God will "restore" the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:3-6; etc.).
During the Acts Age, as we see in Acts 15:19-29 and Acts 21:23-25, Jewish believers and Gentile believers lived under different decrees (Acts 16:4). These were done away with in Paul's new revelation of Ephesians and the Post Acts epistles. This is the middle wall which came down and the creation of the "one new man" (Ephesians 2:13-15). Again, another study for another day. But we must recognize these differences (as we have noted in numerous previous studies).
Putting Their "Proof Text" in Context.
The TTC group pulls a verse of its context and builds and entire theology on it.
The Master had already prophesied to the Jews that, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it” [Matt 21:43]. A new nation had to take the place of the old, and bear the fruit that the old nation didn't bear.
(The Twelve Tribes Community)
Let's look at this in context (especially in Matthew). It's taken from a parable. Building a doctrine on parables is delicate and dangerous thing as they are meant to be difficult to understand (Matthew 13:10-11). But we'll have to leave that there.
We have not the space to break down all of Matthew 21, but this Jewish/Kingdom gospel of Matthew continues that theme in this chapter. Remember, the Kingdom was to be preached to Jews only. Red-Letter Christians take note of the words of our Lord:
Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
In Matthew 21, the Lord is contrasting the lowly of Israel (publicans and harlots) with the elite in Israel. He is not teaching a new truth about a Gentile Kingdom. Remember, the preaching of the Kingdom is only for the lost sheep of the House of Israel as contrasted with Gentiles.
The parable from which they base their entire theology concerns "two sons" (Matthew 21:28) and it was spoken as a judgment against "the chief priests and the elders" (Matthew 21:24). All involved were of Israel. All involved were Jews. The Kingdom was still being offered to Jews only.
the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you
Isaiah 66 speaks of a coming day when Zion shall give birth to a new nation. That nation, in that passage, is contrasted with Gentiles. It is the promises fulfilled to Israel. It cannot be Gentiles. I encourage a reasding of the entire chapter, but we will pull out this short passage for your consideration:
Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,” says the Lord.
The secondary place of Gentiles in both the preaching of the Gospel of Grace in the Acts Age and the secondary place of Gentiles in the Acts church contradict the interpretation that God has forsaken his promises to Israel (God forbid!). The TTC call God a liar whose word cannot be trusted.
The New Covenant With Israel
When we examine the New Covenant, we see its point (and the New Heart for ISRAEL - Ezekiel 36:16-38) is that Israel may one day serve as "a kingdom of priests" and a "holy nation." This was the goal of the Old Covenant (Ex 19:3-6). They want to play fast and loose with words like "Israel" and "Jews" and "Gentiles." There is so much here I can't go into for the sake of space, but I'll leave with a future prophecy (in addition to our reference to Ezekiel 36), the Lord's separation in Matthew, and another word from Paul.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days [FUTURE] it shall come to pass [FUTURE], that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations [GENTILES], even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a JEW, saying, We will go with YOU: for we have heard that God is with YOU.
These are not suddenly Gentile Jews in Zechariah. I won't post the entire chapter, but you can go read it and see it is clearly a physical promise to a physical people in a physical land. And it will come to pass. This is far more to be noted along this line in scripture, but just staying in Zechariah:
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
This is picture of the future repentance of true Israel (not some fake Gentile Israel).
When the non-Proselyte, non-law-keeping, non-Sabbath-keeping Gentile approaches the Lord in faith in Matthew 8, the Lord CONTRASTS Gentiles with Israel in the future kingdom. Yes, some Jews will be cast out (unfaithful servants) and some Gentiles will be invited guests (compare Matthew 21:1-14). But it will be Israel's blessing. The New Jerusalem will have the names of the 12 tribes on them.
When Jesus heard it [the faith of a Gentile], he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
Similarly, when a non-proselyte, non-law-keeping, non-Sabbath-keeping Gentile woman approaches the Lord as "thou Son of David" he ignores her. But when she comes in faith to her "Lord" (alone), he grants her request. Our Lord refers to Gentiles as "little dogs." The "Red Letter Christians" and those who claim to hate Paul and "only follow Jesus" neglect this passage.
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan [GENTILE] came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But 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 [JEWS], and to cast it to dogs [GENTILES]. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ [JEWS] table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith [FAITH, not LAW-KEEPING]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
This remained true all through the gospels and Acts Age. The difference in the Acts Age was that the Lord grafted in gentile believers into the "fatness" (Rom 11) of Israel's blessings for the cause of making Israel jealous. Again, we note, there was still an Israel and an Israel to be made jealous. And in all this, the gospel was still "to the Jew first" (Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9-10). In the Acts Age, Paul always went to Jews first in any town where there were Jews "as his manner was" (Acts 17:1-3).
Jews Have Never Been "Replaced" by Gentiles
In Acts 15 and Acts 21 Gentile believers are still treated differently from Jewish believers. In Romans 11, it is only Gentile believers who are warned they can be "cut off" from the "fatness of the root" (Israel's blessings in the Kingdom). If Gentiles are now Israel, what do we make of all these distinctions?
Can I preach that at your assembly today? Do we separate Gentile believers and Jewish believers as Paul did? Do we threaten only Gentile believers today that if they become haughty against Israel they will be "cut off" (cut off from what today?)? Do we ask Gentile believers to support Jewish believers in physical things? Do we go to the Jew first in our evangelism? Are we waiting for the Kingdom in the land or the blessings in the far above the heavens (Ephesians)?
- Mark the things that differ (Phil 1:10)
- Rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15)
As for the listing of the twelve tribes themselves, the lists vary throughout scripture for different reasons. But that is another study for another time.
I finish with the testimony of Paul, even during the Acts Age as to whom are Israelites and to whom pertain the promises of the Kingdom on Earth (which the Twelve Tribes Community claims).
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
Context. Paul is referring to unbelieving Israelites this late in the Acts Age. To THEM still pertain the adoption, the covenants, the law, and the priesthood. Our blessings today are in the "heavenly places" where Christ sits as taught by Paul as a new revelation in the Book of Ephesians. We do not have a hope on the earth. We do not seek an EARTHLY Kingdom. Our blessings are spiritual, not carnal.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
And you [GENTILES] hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we, being dead to sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus...
-Eph 2: 1-6
We should step into these blessings, rejoice in them, praise the Lord for them and honor God's earthly promises to Israel (which will come to pass).