Most judeochristians that do not study for themselves are almost always saying the Eunuch in
27: And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, AN EUNUCH OF GREAT AUTHORITY UNDER CANDACE QUEEN OF THE ETHIOPIANS, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship.
that he was a black man. This just shows that they know nothing of the history of the world in that day and time. Therefore, we will demonstrate that the Eunuch was NOT a black man but an Israelite.
3: Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: NEITHER LET THE EUNUCH SAY, BEHOLD, I AM A DRY TREE.
4: For THUS SAITH THE LORD UNTO THE EUNUCHS THAT KEEP MY SABBATHS, AND CHOOSE THE THINGS THAT PLEASE ME, AND TAKE HOLD OF MY COVENANT;
5: Even unto them will I give in MINE HOUSE and WITHIN MY WALLS A PLACE and a NAME BETTER THAN OF SONS AND OF DAUGHTERS: I will give them AN EVERLASTING NAME, THAT SHALL NOT BE CUT OFF.
First of all, it needs to be understood that these eunuchs referred to are ISRAELITE EUNUCHS. Keil & Dlelitzsch in their Commentary state explicitly, “But the eunuchs we are to understand those of Israelitish descent...” (Vol. 7, p. 537)
The fact that these STRANGERS and EUNUCHS are mentioned in the same breath; knowing that the EUNUCHS are ISRAELITES, is more collusive proof that the STRANGERS themselves are also Israelites. One of the most important concepts a person needs to realize, is the reason WHY EUNUCHS and STRANGERS are referred to specifically in this passage, with SPECIAL promise and blessing. Yahweh is NOT an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. Life often does not seem fair. This is the way things are.
In some cases, in the future, Yahweh will change things. Other cases will remain the same; however, our hearts and minds WILL BE TURNED TO HIS, and such INEQUITIES will not bother us. One of the things that is hard to deal with, is the fact that many people are not afforded the same rights and privileges that others have, due to the factors OUT OF THEIR CONTROL. Ce le vie.
God’s GRACE BANK is always ful, and ALL ISRAELITES are welcomed to WITHDRAW AS MUCH AS THEY NEED. However, rather than take advantage of this bountiful remedy, MANY CHOOSE TO GRUMBLE OR POUT ABOUT THEIR PROBLEM, RATHER THAN IMPLEMENTING REMEDY.
Even as a turn victim, who chooses to complain about his pain, rather than accept the morphine which would CAUSE him TO FORGET HIS SUFFERING. Such a person’s subconscious motivation can only be that HE’D RATHER BE IN PAIN WITH HIS NATURAL SENSES, ABLE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE “INJUSTICE DONE TO HIM” WHICH CAUSED HIS PAIN, RATHER THAN ADMIT HIS WEAKNESS AND DRAW UPON WHAT HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO MEET THE NEEDS HE CANNOT MEET FOR HIMSELF. That sounds hard but it is truth.
This was the burden under which Israelite STRANGERS and EUNUCHS struggled. Eunuchs were not extended the same rights that most other Israelites enjoyed.
For that matter, neither were lepepers; they were quarantined: banished in exile. Sad, but that’s reality. If WE (collective Adam) (And really, do we think we are any better than Adam himself? Are we so self-deceived to think that we ourselves would not have also sinned, if any one of us had been that first Adam? The truth is, each of us, would have fallen.
On an EVEN MORE SOMBER NOTE, the eunuch’s disability was even more far reaching: it extended also to the arena of WORSHIP. God’s priesthood is holy. Any Levite who had any bodily deformity (whether from birth or from an accident), was rendered ineligible to enter the holy places of the tabernacle, and he could not come near to the altar. He could eat of the shewbread of which the priests ate, but NOT IN THE TABERNACLE or IN ITS COURT.
16: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
17: Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
18: For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
19: Or a man that is broken footed, or broken handed,
20: Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
21: No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
22: He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy.
23: Only he shall not go in unto the Vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them.
Circumcision seems to have been the only exception to deformity or one’s private members; actually, it was not as much an exception as A REQUIREMENT: uncircumcised men were CUT OFF from the congregation, shunned as unclean, not permitted to enter the tabernacle, not numbered in the congregation, and possibly even banished from the presence of their brethren.
The strict regulation of cleanliness, health and perfection of body of the priests should be understandable. The priests who offered the sacrifices (as the sacrifices themselves) were TYPES OF CHRIST: therefore, THEY HAD TO BE WITHOUT BLEMISH. However, those unfortunately BLEMISHED priests were NOT UTTERLY CAST off. They could still receive blessing, although they could not OFFER any.
However, one of these disabilities extended to the COMMON MAN, which also disqualified HIM from entering the tabernacle. Any man who had his private members damaged (This, no doubt, was part of the reason for the Old Testament Law which commanded: “When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12) The reason such a woman was worthy of judgment, no doubt, was that she was usurping authority over a man in Israel; the reason for the SEVERITY of the judgment was that by her act, she not only threatened the man’s ability to have future children, but more importantly, she gambled with the possibility of the man being thrust out of the very congregation [as well as any civil office or position of authority he held], by her damaging his privates [which, for whatever reason, God ordained to be very important) or removed (or any man who maybe had been born without them), could not even enter the congregation:
1: He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
Now, the children of Israel were numbered by the MEN of the congregation. Whenever God told the leaders to number the people, only the males above the age of 20 were numbered, and obviously those who were not allowed to enter the congregation, were not numbered therein.
It would then seem, that such men, if they were not allowed to be numbered in the congregation, would then also have not been permitted to hold any place of authority in Israel: be it an elder by the gate, a judge, a ruler, etc. It may very well be, that the lack of naturally-occurring testosterone (which modern society’s “science” has determined to be the cause of “antisocial” aggression) in a man, would alter his ability to think and act as God required of those who held such office; and thus this may be one of the secondary factors why God forbade such men from being entrusted with such positions
This also may be one of the secondary factors, why God forbade women (and man who was effeminate) from holding offices of authority. Who knows? Of course there are also other primary factors involved in all of these cases; but a man’s physical makeup was also designed by God to be important.
In a footnote to the Geneva Bible we find:
“According to the Law (Deuteronomy 23:1) EUNUCHS could not be received into the Hebrew nation: so that their situation, in that respect, was the same as that of the foreigners who were formerly mentioned. Of what use (might such a person say) are those splendid promises to me, who cannot be admitted into the Israelite commonwealth?” (Rosenmüer, Calvin’s Commentary, Vol. VIII, p. 180)
The fact that any Israelite (including any Israelite priest) who was missing his male organs, or had deformities, disease, or wounds in them; and any Israelite male who was not circumcised, was not allowed to enter into the sanctuary, should be proof positive that under no circumstances could a nonIsraelite enter into the sanctuary (circumcised or not). These STRANGERS are clearly ISRAELITES.
5: Even unto them will I give in mine house within my walls A PLACE AND A NAME BETTER THAN SONS AND OF DAUGHTERS: I will give them AN EVERLASTING NAME, that shall NOT be cut off.
Sadly, those who hold to a universalist doctrine, ignore the whole of Scripture, and construe this passage to mean that God will give nonIsraelites A NAME BETTER THAN THE NAME HIS CHILDREN ISRAEL HAVE in His sight. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH; and nothing of the like has even thee faintest smattering of logic or common sense, consistent with any scripture.
Matthew Henry, in his Commentary on the Whole Bible (1710), offers some rather illuminating thought:
“2. What a great deal of comfort they may have if they answer to this character, though they are not built up into families (v.5): UNTO THEM WILL I GIVE A BETTER PLACE AND NAME. It is supposed that there is a place and a name which we have from sons and daughters, that is valuable and desirable. IT IS A PLEASING NOTION WE HAVE THAT WE LIVE IN OUR CHILDREN WHEN WE ARE DEAD...a place and a name denote rest and reputation; a place to live comfortably in themselves, and a name to live creditably among their neighbors...Though they have no children to be the music of their house, or arrows in their quiver, to keep them in countenance when they speak with their enemies in the gate, yet shall they have a place and a name more than equivalent.” (Notes on Isaiah 56)
As we have already discussed, as a race we are all a LIVING CONTINUOUS FLOW OF GENETIC MATERIAL (and of course, much more than that, when you consider the soul and spirit); however, those men who have been rendered eunuchs (and those women who are barren) are cut out of this racial flow. It is as if they are small, insignificant branches off of a lively stream, which dead end in some dark, stagnant pond. How sad indeed.
Now, some Israelite men and women never have children, more or less by choice, since they had, at least at some time, the opportunity, or rather, the ABILITY, to do so. (But many of them chose to murder their unborn baby in their womb because of their hard hearts, and lusts) However, those individuals who NEVER HAD THIS ABILITY DUE TO PHYSICAL HANDICAP, have NO CHOICE in the matter of the barren lot which has fallen to them.
No doubt, the eunuch felt like A TREE THAT HAD DRIED UP: NO FRUIT TO OFFER TO NOURISH ANOTHER; NO SEED TO LIVE ON WHEN HE IS GONE: TO SPRING UP INTO ANOTHER TREE TO CARRY ON HIS NAME AND PLACE IN THE EARTH. Truly this is tragic: no place and no name in Israel. This was a sign of a curse. Sometimes, God cursed certain individuals with such barrenness, due to their evil nature. (2 Samuel 6:23; Jeremiah 22:30) However, other individuals with such barrenness, due to no fault of their own: it resulted from the Sovereignty of God, for whatever purpose.
This promise of blessing to eunuchs ought to be considered similar to the promise of Christ Yehshua to those faithful children who sacrifice their own pleasures for the work of the Kingdom:
29: And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30: But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Yahweh is full of goodness. If, for whatever reason, one of His children has suffered or wanted in this life, if he has born it patiently in obedience, and in honor to Yahweh, (1 Peter 2:19-20) shall Yahweh NOT BOUNTIFULLY RECOMPENSE HIM BEYOND MEASURE IN THE KINGDOM?
On the other hand, some sour, dark-hearted individuals who have SEPARATED THEMSELVES FROM THE GRACE OF GOD, might be inclined to “EAT, DRINK, AND BE MERRY,” carnally considering their affliction not merely a handicap, but a “LICENSE TO LIVE HOWEVER THEY WANT, TO MAKE UP FOR ALL THEY HAVE BEEN DENIED.” Such people may CARNALLY reason that since they have no children to live on after them, since they have no good NAME to be tarnished (since it will end with them), since they have no spark to light any FUTURE place in the annals of time; and since the dim, feeble, flickering light they have will shortly be extinguished FOR ALL TIME. (“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” (Isaiah 42:3) WHY SHOULD THEY NOT enjoy their life to the fullest (regardless of the moral constraints by which most people have been stifled) while they can? Why store up anything? Why not use up whatever wealth they have (which would have been their children’s inheritance, if they had any children) now?...Why think of the future...or others? (This could be described as CARNAL-SELF, amplified an on repeat mode)
This is very profound. Children are not merely hobbies with which parents busy themselves; they are a heritage from Yahweh. They are part of an aging Israelite’s INSURANCE POLICY AND PENSION PLAN: parents care for their children while the children are young, and when the parents become old and feeble (reverting back to being dependent as children once again), the CHILDREN care for their PARENTS.
Truly, it must be a joy to look over ones full life, and see multiple, living generations of success and glory to one’s name (and to Yahweh) having proceeded forth out of ones loins. What a joy it must be to see ones descendants being honorable and true in carrying on NOT only the family name, but also the family business and its life’s purpose; being true to the Covenant: keeping the Law through Christ, and being obedient in all areas of life, including: “BEING FRUITFUL, AND MULTIPLYING, AND REPLENISHING THE EARTH, AND SUBDUING IT: AND HAVING DOMINION OVER” it and “OCCUPYING TILL CHRIST COMES.” (Genesis 1:28; Luke 19:13)
Truly, this must instill not only a PROFOUND sense of PURPOSE, but also A PROFOUND SENSE OF SUCCESS, a sense of BELONGING, a sense of PERPETUITY; living proof that one’s life has NOT been IN VAIN, knowing that numerous LIVING MONUMENTS continue on as beacons of his worthy existence. This is the meaning of the Hebrew byan: A FAMILY-BUILDING SON.
It has been said by some who experience tragedy, and THERE IS NOTHING WORSE IN LIFE, THAN OUR LIVING (having to bury) YOUR CHILDREN. I imagine it would be a TOSS UP, WHICH was worse: outliving (having to bury) your children, or having no children at all: having, in some respects, an empty life, which then ends in perpetual nothingness. And FOR SOME THE REMEMBRANCE THAT THEY MURDERED THEIR OWN CHILDREN IN THEIR WOMB!
Again, let us consider some of the thought that some of the old ones had to offer:
“And let not eh Eunuch say. By the same figure of speech, in which a part is taken for the whole, he includes under this designation all who bore any mark of disgrace which kept them apart from the people of God; for EUNUCHS, and those who had no children, appeared to be rejected by God and shut out from the promise which the Lord had made to Abraham, that HIS SEED WOULD BE AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN, (Genesis 15:5) and as the sand of the sea. (Genesis 22:17) In a word, he warns all men against looking at themselves, that they may fix their minds exclusively on God’s calling, and may thus imitate the faith of Abraham, (Genesis 15:6) who did not look at either his own decayed body or the barren womb of Sarah, so as though unbelief to dispute with himself about the power of God, but hoped above all hope. (Romans 4:18-20) The Prophet addresses person who were despised and reproached...” (Calvin’s Commentary, Vol. Viii, p. 178)
Sadly, the eunuch HAD no share in all of this. He had no place; he had no children; he had no lasting purpose; barred from the Sanctuary; not even counted in Israel: an outcast. Truly this could turn ones heart sour, and cause one to turn inward and think only of self and immediate pleasure; if one chose to think with a DARKENED, CARNAL MIND, rather than the mind of Christ; IF one chose to walk AFTER THE FLESH, and not after the Spirit. However, Yahweh promised A BETTER NAME than SONS OR DAUGHTERS, and a LASTING PLACE in His House (Sanctuary) and with His Walls (Jerusalem); an everlasting name that could NEVER CEASE or be cut off; Yahweh promised this to those ISRAELITE EUNUCHS (not to some alien race) who proposed in their hearts to cling to eh Covenant, reverence the Sabbath, and choose those things which pleased Yahweh (rather than those things which gratified self).
Young men were often made eunuchs early in life, to have a TEMPORARY place in the king’s houses; for such a eunuch-servant would be severely physically limited in the ability to make improper advances toward the queen. Thus, the eunuch would live his life, and die: End of story. However, Yahweh here offers the Israelite eunuch a RETIREMENT PACKAGE BENEFIT PLAN: incentive to be faithful and so what’s right, knowing that he will be well compensated for his faithful service under their peculiar hardship. Further, the Israelite eunuch was to be given a LASTING place in the House of the King of kings; and a name BETTER THAN SONS AND DAUGHTERS. God was comforting the Israelite eunuch with hope. Though God said to Cain:
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?...
However, God knew that Cain was incapable of doing good, even as Christ knew the Canaanite pharisees could not escape Hell’s damnation.
Yahweh offered the Israelite eunuchs specific, desirable, attainable hope.
Interestingly enough, the word PLACE use din Isaiah 56:5 is the Hebrew word #3027 yad, which means,
“A hand (the open one [indicating power, means, direction, etc.], in distinction frm #3709, the closed one); used (as noun, adv., etc.) In a great variety of applications, both lit. and fig., both proximate and remote...”
Is it just a coincidence that the name Judah (to whom Isaiah prophesied) is #3063 Yeh-hoo-DAW meaning, CELEBRATED; which comes from #3034 yaw-DAW which means literally, TO USE [i.e., hold out] the hand; ; phys. To throw [a stone, an arrow] at or away; espec. To revere or worship [with extended hands]; which is a primitive root, used only as denom, from #3027, which we just saw means OPEN HAND, which is the very word translated PLACE; the place of honor, which place was given to these honorable Israelite EUNUCHS and STRANGERS.
The RIGHT HAND was usually the place of honor. (This is evident throughout Scripture) Is it just coincidence that Benjamin, whose name means THE BUILDING SON [bayn] OF THE RIGHT HAND, was THE OTHER TRIBE OF THE HOUSE OF JUDAH, which was given to be a LIGHT FOR JUDAH?
Is it INSIGNIFICANT, that the very MEANING of this PLACE promised to these EUNUCHS and STRANGERS, a place of honor, is INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH THE VERY NAME OF JUDAH: the people to whom Isaiah prophesied calling to repentance?
A PLACE AND A NAME. The old Christians rightly acknowledges the fact that some scholars differ as to whether God is comparing the name and place of the current state of the people of Judah in God’s rejection of them, with that of the GENTILES who were brought in, in their stead; or whether God is comparing the people of Judah in their state of rejection, with their future state of reinstatement. Obviously, the former is false, and is acknowledged only by those still in blindness. The latter, likewise, is obviously a proper level of interpretation; however the old ones offers a higher level of interpretation in spiritual principle:
“I choose to explain it in a different manner, namely, that the dignity of believers shall be higher under Christ than it was under the Law. The patriarchs had a very excellent NAME, when they called upon God as their Father, and were joined in covenant with him; but the grace of God has been far more abundantly poured out upon us since the coming of Christ; and therefore we have obtained in him a more excellent name.” (Calvin’s Commentary, Vol. Viii, p. 178)
No doubt, this higher level of spiritual interpretation is true; however, the spiritual does NOT CANCEL OUT the physical; it complements it.
It should be perfectly clear that Yahweh is promising all this to ISRAELITE STRANGERS and EUNUCHS, and NOT to NONISRAELITES. Why would Yahweh give “a BETTER name and place” than His own sons and daughters enjoy, to NONISRAELITES? This is against all that Yahweh has already told us in Scripture. Rather than honor NONISRAELITES (who are already a “leg down” in acceptance) by bringing them up to a position EQUAL with God’s Israel people, this faulty, universalist interpretation would place these NONISRAELITES in a position HIGHER tan God’s true Israelite sons and daughters.
This too would go against all of Scripture. If it WERE nonIsraelites (which it is not), who showed such integrity, God would not doubt, have said something to the effect that “they too shall share in My House and My Name, even with my sons and daughters.” But it is NOT the case. God says these STRANGERS and EUNUCHS who endured inordinate hardship, yet were just as honorable as those Israelites who were not handicapped with added difficulty. For this reason, the Israelites who behaved with sterling honor in the face of such hardship, were promised a place of HIGHER distinction and honor. This agrees with Scripture:
“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it ...There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last...Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom/ fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor...Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted...God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him: for he careth for you.” (Proverbs 3:27; Luke 13:28-30; Romans 7:13; James 1:9; 1 Peter 5:5-8)
Though these verses in Isaiah 5:6 speak to the eunuchs and strangers, they also hold powerful application and speak TO ALL OF US, IF WE will LISTEN for the still, small voice. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear...”
However, there is one other level of interpretation, and MOST LIKELY, it is the MAIN interpretation of this phrase. Let us consider one other very illuminating thought left as a valuable legacy from the reformer:
“We might also interpret...(mibbanim) to mean, “than the name which is derived from children;” (“A place and name more excellent than that which come from children.” (Doedeein) “More excellent and longer lived than that name which the fathers of families procure for themselves by the succession of posterity.” (Calvin’s Commentary, Rosemüller, Vol. VIII, p. 182)
No doubt this is the KEY MEANING of the phrase. God will reward such OUTCASTS, with a name and place of prestige and honor they never knew; a far better name and place (than which would have remained, had they sired children) which shall never end. No wonder Scripture teaches:
19: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
And this is the KEY purpose of pairing the STRANGERS with the EUNUCHS: The EUNUCHS were just as much OUTCASTS (or NONPERSONS) in the community of Israel, as were the Israelite STRANGERS of the dispersion: the scattered OUTCASTS of Israel; the OUTCASTS of Israel WHOM YAHWEH GATHERS.
9: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10: For he that is entered into his (Christ’s) rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
A House of Prayer for Whom?
7: Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
Though some people may think that his passage is promising all races of people entrance to God’s house, it is not. This is easily remedied by an understanding of the Hebrew words, and an understanding of Israelite history in light of sibling rivalry and carnal self-righteousness.
The Hebrew word translated ALL is;
#3605 kol [or (Jeremiah 33:8] from #3634 prop. The whole; hence all, any or every (in the sing. Only, but often in a plur. sense)–(in) all (manner, [ye]), altogether, any (manner), enough, every (one, place, thing), howsoever, as many as, [no-] thing, ought, whatsoever, (the) whole, whoso (-ever).
The Hebrew word translated in most English versions as PEOPLE is;
#5971 am [from #6004; a people (as a congregated unit); spec. a tribe (as those of Israel); hence (collect.) troops or attendants; fig. A flock]–folk, men, nation, people.
Therefore, the meaning of ALL PEOPLE, has reference to THE WHOLE CONGREGATION OF ISRAEL.
It should be remembered that there had always been sibling rivalry between the Northern (Israel) and Southern (Judah) House of Israel. However, Judah was chosen by God to have the perpetual throne, and the national seat of the perpetual priesthood: the Temple. At one point in history, the Northern tribes of Israel broke away from the Southern tribes, and formed their own civil capital and even religious temple. Those of Judah thought they were better; having the original, official Temple in their midst.
This carnal ego only became more pronounced AFTER THE DISPERSION, since the Northern tribes were scattered in blindness, not knowing or keeping the Law, while a remnant of Judah, REMAINED TRUE to the Law and SERVICE OF GOD. This was the attitude of the Judahites which caused the rift, when Peter (who had been associating with those of the dispersion who had been converted through Christ) was intimidated into breaking off fellowship with the converted GENTILES.
This was the whole purpose of the vision God gave Peter. (See, So, You Call Yourself A Christian..., by Balaicius/STM) The Judahites thought that they were better, since they had been FAITHFUL (in their own minds); though God says if we break one point of the Law we are guilty of all. (James 2:10)
We already saw that God promised to reunite Israel and Judah, and that they would no longer be at odds against each other, but walk together in unity. This again is the purpose of contrasting the STRANGERS and EUNUCHS: to show that all of Israel (the whole congregation) will once again have equal access to the Temple of God; and in the Kingdom, even those Israelites who had been outcasts because of physical disability would have entrance through the purification of Christ, who is the door to the Kingdom and the door to the altar (for He is the door to the sheepfold and our eternal sacrifice).
Finally, we need to make mention of The Old Testament passage which sets the precedence for Isaiah’s statement concerning STRANGERS and Yahweh’s Temple being a House of Prayer for ALL PEOPLE. King Solomon made a beautiful and lengthy prayer (filling nearly the entire eighth chapter of 1 Kings) at the dedication of Yahweh’s Temple, (which the reader is encouraged to read in its entirety).
In two verses, King Solomon makes mention of certain STRANGERS. Most people (people who do not understand or believe God, His Word, or the meaning of certain Hebrew words) probably assume these STRANGERS are nonIsraelites. However, this is NOT the case. Let us look at this passage, and then CONTEXTUALLY examine it:
1 Kings 8:41‑43
41: Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake;
42: (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
43: Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.
Now, upon reading this verse, one would probably be led to believe that these STRANGERS referred to are NONISRAELITES–IF one had never read A SINGLE OTHER VERSE OF SCRIPTURE IN HIS LIFE. Scripture CANNOT contradict itself. EACH VERSE must be considered in CONTEXT. God is a God of logic (the Logos: the rational, intelligent Word), not confusion, vain babblings, double-talk, or false promises.
As we have already covered a portion of the plethora of verses which delineate that God only accepts the praise and worship of His people Israel, and that He hears only the prayers of His people, (“But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect [#8159 shaw-AW compassion].” (Genesis 4:5)) we won’t mention these verses again. The reader may review them again if he needs to refresh his memory.
Whether carnal minds want to believe it or not, God CHOSE ONLY ONE line of people who descended from Adam, to be His people.
2: You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
All other peoples who did not descend from Adam, to be His people. All other peoples who did not descend from Adam, and al other peoples from Adam who were not of the chosen line who intermarried with nonAdamic peoples, have no claim to the Promises of God’s Word which Yahweh gave exclusively to His people Israel.
Let us now look at the rest of Solomon’s Prayer 1 Kings 8: In verses 15-22, 24-26 Solomon announces that the fulfillment of the prophecy and Promise God made to his father David, was commencing. Ironically, though Solomon is here announcing the fulfillment of prophecy, we shall see that Solomon himself, as David his father, will speak new prophecy.
In verse 23 Solomon declared that, Yahweh KEEPEST COVENANT and MERCY with THY SERVANTS THAT WALK BEFORE THEE WITH ALL THEIR HEART. God does NOT keep Covenant or Mercy with those whom He has NOT Covenanted or promised Mercy (or with Israelites who reject the Covenant)
In verses 29-32 Solomon prays that Yahweh will hear the prayers of ISRAEL, and forgive THEIR sins.
In verses 33-34 Solomon touches on prophecy, though m9st people may not recognize it as such. Solomon alluded to the fact that if the Israelites sinned, they would be judged of God when they went out war against their enemies; however God would give them repentance, forgive them, and BRING THEM BACK AGAIN INTO THE LAND OF ISRAEL PROMISED TO THEM THROUGH THEIR FATHERS BY UNCONDITIONAL COVENANT. HOW INTERESTING, that SOLOMON KNEW that Israel would one day be cast out of her land.
In verses 35-37 Solomon again prays for God to hear THE PRAYERS OF THE ISRAELITES and FOR GIVE THEM, and DELIVER THEM FROM THEIR ENEMIES. Note: NOWHERE does Solomon EVER ask Yahweh to cause Israel’s ENEMIES to come to repentance to hear the prayers THESE ENEMIES might pray in the event that THEY could repent; or to deliver THESE ENEMIES from THEIR sins or save THEM.
In verses 38-39 Solomon prays:
“What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man (aw-DAWM), or by ALL THEY PEOPLE (The whole congregation of) ISRAEL, which shall know that every man (eesh) the plague of his own heart...and give to every man (eesh) according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of MEN (aw-DAWM).”
Is it not perfectly clear about which PEOPLE Solomon is talking? He is NOT talking about PAGAN, NONISRAEL PEOPLES, but ADAMITE/ISRAELITES.
In verse 42 therefore, Solomon is referring to Adamite/Israelites who would in time, be scattered throughout the earth; who would later be drawn of the Father (and Yahweh draws ONLY HIS PEOPLE ISRAEL) to repentance, and to return to the land of Israel: “Moreover concerning a STRANGER (#5237 nok-REE), that is not OF (from among) they people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for Thy Name’s sake...”
As we already saw, the words nok-REE/ne-KER/naw-KAR can mean ESTRANGED; and Calvin in his Commentary quoted a German scholar who maintained that they do not mean STRANGER as much as they mean STRANGENESS or OF A STRANGE LAND. The Hebrew word ne-KER (#5235) can also mean UNEXPECTED.
The four-word phrase, FOR THY NAME’S SAKE is used SEVEN OTHER TIMES in Scripture (for a total of EIGHT). The phrase seems to refer to God keeping His Covenant with His People Israel. The flavor of this phrase in prayer to God is this:
“Although we sinful Israelites are undeserving, or Your forgiveness and blessing, FOR THY NAME’S SAKE, for give us; allow us to repent and bless us: not for our sakes (since we are utterly undeserving), but to preserve Your Name (since YOU PROMISED YOU WOULD NEVER FORSAKE ISRAEL, KEEP YOUR WORD THOUGH WE DESERVE IT NOT, TO MAINTAIN YOUR OWN HOLINESS IN NOT BREAKING YOUR WORD.” (Psalm 25:1; 31:3; 79:9; 109:21; 143:11; Jeremiah 14:7, 21. Eight is the number of a NEW BEGINNING: Israel is always assured a new beginning, because God promised NEVER to forsake them and choose another people)
Yahweh placed His Name on the children of Israel, and called them by His Own Name. For His Name’s sake, He must be true to the promises He made to Israel (that He would never cast her away and choose any other people) and the Commandments He gave to Israel (to keep themselves separated from all other peoples, to be a special people unto Him):
27: And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
God promised to regather His people Israel, who are CALLED BY HIS NAME, out of many strange lands:
5: Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
6: I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
7: Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
9: For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.
10: Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
11: For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
12: Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, MY CALLED; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
THESE are the STRANGERS that COMETH OUT OF A FAR COUNTRY FOR THY NAME’S SAKE: ISRAEL
12: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens (#526 ap-al-lot-ree-Õ-_; ALIENATED) from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers (#3581 XEN-_s) from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
In verses 44-52 Solomon again goes back to his former discourse in prayer, praying that ISRAEL, if ISRAEL sinned and was (as judgment from God) conquered by her enemies and deported, that God would have compassion on THEM and allow HEM to repent and be forgiven of THEIR sins, and be returned to the land of Israel.
Would it not be strange for Solomon to SANDWICH in between his two similar prayers for Israel (in their sin and deportation, and repentance, forgiveness and return to the land), some foreign and unrelated discourse NONISRAELITE STRANGERS? Of course it would. But Solomon (the wisest man in the world) was not confused. He was uttering prophecy and praying for ISRAEL in her future state of blindness.
In verse 53 Solomon then confirms the fact that Yahweh had SEPARATED Israel from all other peoples, to be a SPECIAL PEOPLE unto Himself.
In verse 56 Solomon then praises Yahweh for having given rest to His people Israel, and for having kept every promise He made to Israel, not one word failing.
One of the ways God had given rest to His people Israel, was that He finally allowed them to settle in the land of Israel, and not wander around anymore. Now, they had a Temple. The priests no longer had to assemble and disassemble the Tabernacle as they constantly wandered around. Now they had a permanent Temple which Solomon was dedicating; and this dedication was in honor of the fact that THE ISRAELITES who had to wonder in the desert, offering sacrifices for their sins in a crude Tabernacle, now had a Temple where they cold offer sacrifices for their sins and be heard of God.
Nowhere are nonIsraelite peoples mentioned as having their sins forgiven, or entering the Temple to have their prayers heard of God.
During the latter years of Moses’ life, during which the children of Israel wandered in the Sinai Wilderness, explicit instructions regarding the Promised Land were given. These instructions are found primarily in the Book of Deuteronomy. The wise student of Scripture should carefully underscore the fact that the Israelites chose (Exodus 19:5-8; 24:3-8) to come under the “conditional covenant” of law at Mt. Sinai in the third month following the exodus from Egypt. Grace had brought them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. Now, they were moving from sovereign grace and trust in Yahweh to a condition of obedience under law. Under this conditional covenant of law, their performance (obedience) mandated to insure blessings and prosperity.
Israel’s entry into the Promised Land under the “conditional covenant of law” also made their sojourn in the land “conditional.” They would remain in the land as long as they remained obedient to the terms of the covenant, that is, in terms of their performance of the commandments, statutes, and judgments of Yahweh.
Recall that the Promised Land was given to Abraham and his seed by covenant in perpetuity forever. When the Israelites entered this land under the “covenant of law,” their sojourn was conditional; based upon their performance of obedience to the law.
“And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.” (Deuteronomy 6:18)
At the very outset of His ministry, Jesus emphasized the importance of keeping the Law of the Lord in constant remembrance and giving unqualified assent to its unending application. He spoke in specific terms in relation to this vital matter:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy (the law), but to fulfill (prophecy). For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all (prophecy) be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 16:17)
Then our Lord declared emphatically:
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness (your keeping of the law) shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19-20)
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
“(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)” (Luke 2:23)
“And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” (Luke 24:44)
Luke 16:17: “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”
“Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the Sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:19-24)
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Romans 7:7)
“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Romans 7:12)
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25)
“Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” (Numbers 15:31)
“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19)
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)
“Haran was forty‑two years old when he begat Sarai, which was in the tenth year of the life of Abram; and in those days Abram and his mother and nurse went out from the cave, as the king and his subjects had forgotten the affair of Abram. And when Abram came out from the cave, he went to Noah and his son Shem, and he remained with them to learn the instruction of the Lord and his ways, and no man knew where Abram was, and Abram served Noah and Shem his son for a long time. And Abram was in Noah's house thirty‑nine years, and Abram knew the Lord from three years old, and he went in the ways of the Lord until the day of his death, as Noah and his son Shem had taught him; and all the sons of the earth in those days greatly transgressed against the Lord, and they rebelled against him and they served other gods, and they forgot the Lord who had created them in the earth; and the inhabitants of the earth made unto themselves, at that time, every man his god; gods of wood and stone which could neither speak, hear, nor deliver, and the sons of men served them and they became their gods.” (Jasher 9:4-6)
This is a PROPHETIC REFERENCE to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, returning to God in repentance and being heard of Him.
15: Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession.
16: Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, YET WILL I BE TO THEM AS A LITTLE SANCTUARY in the countries where they shall come.
17: Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18: And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
19: And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
20: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Nowhere in Scripture is ANYONE but ISRAEL admitted to the Sanctuary, entreated of God, offered salvation and forgiveness, or called God’s people.
In verses 57-61 Solomon again calls the people of Israel to remember the Covenant and keep the Commandments which God gave to their fathers.
It is totally foreign to this dialog, to claim that these STRANGERS referred to are nonIsraelites, and SANDWICH them in between the rest of this discourse.
(Taken, in part, from Apologetic Expositional Previews, pp. 50‑68, by Robert Alan Baluiclus, Sacred Truth Ministries, P.O. Box 18, Mountain City, Tenn. 37683)