|Volume 18 Number 4 April 2016||
Someone inquired about the statement of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 15:24, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (NKJV). Similarly, Jesus Christ sent His newly appointed apostles only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’” (Matthew 10:5-6).
Historically, the person of the Godhead that we know as Jesus Christ has had several different roles or missions over the centuries. He participated in a very significant way in the creation of the universe and everything in it (Genesis 1:26; John 1:1-3, 14; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), and our Lord also is responsible for the continued existed of all creation (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3). He interacted with patriarchs (Genesis 32:24-30; Matthew 12:26) and the children of Israel in their wilderness wandering (Acts 7:30; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4).
The statement of our Lord in Matthew 15:24 pertains to yet another role in preparation for the beginning of Christianity; “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Therefore, Jesus instructed His apostles in Matthew 10:7, “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Jesus Christ preached the same message (Matthew 4:17). The establishment of the eternal, spiritual kingdom about which the Old Testament prophets prophesied (Isaiah 2:2-3; Daniel 2:31-45; Joel 2:28-3:2) concerned redemption from sin – salvation (Acts 2:16-21).
It was not the case that non-Jews were to be excluded from Christianity and salvation (Isaiah 2:2; Joel 3:2). However, preparation for the establishment of the eternal kingdom (Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14) had been made by God with the Israelites; they were the ones prepared by Deity for the establishment of the kingdom or church (Matthew 16:18-19; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9). Hence, the mission of Jesus and of His apostles prior to the establishment of the eternal kingdom or the church was directed toward the Jews only.
Acts 2 records the establishment of the eternal kingdom or the church, and it was initially composed of Jews and Gentiles who had proselyted to Judaism (Acts 2:10). Later, Samaritans, who ancestrally were part Jewish and part Gentile, were added to the church (Acts 8:4-12). Still later, Gentiles, too, were added to the church (Acts 10). Prior to His Ascension, Jesus Christ commissioned His apostles to take the Gospel message to all people (Mark 16:15-16) and all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus Christ has additional roles to fulfill in the future. He will return to retrieve the righteous living and dead (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; John 14:1-3), as well as to punish the unrighteous (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). It is before the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ that every soul must someday appear (2 Corinthians 5:10).
At the time of His earthly ministry, the role or mission of our Lord specifically related to the nation of Israel in preparation for the establishment of the eternal kingdom or the church. It was through them that He brought about the establishment of the kingdom or the church. The establishment of the kingdom or the church brought redemption to Jews and non-Jews, but the earthly ministry of Christ pertained to the Jews regarding the establishment of the kingdom or the church, and His ministry did not at that time pertain specifically to non-Jews because they were neither prepared for nor involved in the establishment of the kingdom or the church. Now, though, everyone is a beneficiary of the blessings afforded in the eternal kingdom or the church.
Can a Woman
Pray During Worship?
Every Christian woman is obligated to pray during Christian worship in the assembly. Likewise, every Christian man is obligated to pray during Christian worship in the assembly. However, women may not speak in the worship assembly (1 Corinthians 14:34), and only one man at a time is permitted to speak in a worship assembly (1 Corinthians 14:27-31). Yet, one does not have to speak audibly to pray, and the public prayers that are led by Christian men in the assembly are the prayers in which all Christians present participate; the public prayers are led on behalf of the assembled Christians.
Prayer itself is an act of worship, which also occurs outside of worship assemblies. As such, outside of a worship assembly, both Christian men and Christian women pray several times daily. Again, prayers may be audible or silent. By themselves or in the presence of other women or children, Christian women can also pray aloud without violating the respective roles that God assigned to men and to women.
In the first century and preceding centuries, culture distinguished men from women and signified the submission of women to men by women wearing a veil, which covered the head. Consequently, women who prayed were to wear a veil covering their heads when they prayed (1 Corinthians 11:5). Many societies today no longer have the custom of veiling women in public to signify their submission to men, and hence, women in those cultures do not wear veils when praying either inside or outside of the worship assembly. Still, though, the respective, God-given roles of men and women restrict Christian women from praying audibly in the Christian worship or in the presence of men outside of the assembly (1 Timothy 2:8, 12).