A photo capturing a diverse group of individuals from different cultures and ethnicities, standing in awe as a radiant beam of light descends upon them, symbolizing the universal revelation of God's presence.

Why Did God Reveal Himself To People Outside Of Israel?

God’s revelation to those outside of Israel shows His love and plan of salvation for all people. This article explores the biblical accounts of God revealing Himself to Gentiles and what we can learn from them.

God’s Promise to Abraham to Bless All Nations

The Abrahamic Covenant

In Genesis 12, God makes a profound promise to Abraham that “all peoples on earth will be blessed” through him. This pledge, later solidified as the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15 and 17, contains the incredible declaration that Abraham and his descendants would be a channel of divine blessing to the entire world.

At the time, Abraham did not have any children, yet God affirms that he will be the father of a great nation and it is through this nation that God’s blessing would flow outward to all peoples on the global landscape.

This covenant forecasted that redemption and relationship with the one true God would emanate from Abraham’s familial line to extend way beyond the borders of Israel. Though the Jewish nation became the initial recipients and stewards of God’s revelation, the intention was always for God’s love and salvation to reach the four corners of the earth.

The promise to Abraham made it clear that God’s heart was for all of humanity, not just the children of promise. The calling of Israel as God’s chosen people was never meant to be an exclusive privilege but rather a sacred stewardship through which the darkness covering the nations would be penetrated by the light of God’s salvation.

God’s Blessing Was Never Meant to Be Exclusive to Israelites

Throughout Israel’s history, there were clues that God’s covenant with Abraham had implications for the outsider and foreigner. In the Old Testament law, there were commands to love immigrants and provide for the needs of strangers living amongst God’s people (Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:18-19).

Such injunctions hinted that Israelites were to be conduits of care and compassion rather than channels of exclusion and prejudice.

The Psalms and Prophets also contain visions of ethnic diversity worshiping shoulder to shoulder on Mount Zion, suggesting God’s desire for people from all tribes and tongues to stream toward Him (Isaiah 66:18; Psalm 87:4-6).

Biblical scholar Christopher Ash states: “Israel was always meant to be the springboard, not the swimming pool. God’s promises to and through Israel were never just for Israel, but for all nations.” Israel’s stubborn tendency toward national superiority and partiality was a sad misappropriation of their original assignment to walk in the sacrificial footsteps of Abraham, through whom every family on earth would experience God’s salvation and favor.

Instances Where God Revealed Himself to Non-Israelites

Melchizedek – Priest of the Most High God

Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness,” was a mysterious priest and king of Salem (Jerusalem) who lived during the time of Abram. He is mentioned in Genesis 14 after Abram returns from rescuing his nephew Lot.

The biblical account says Melchizedek brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram, and Abram gave him a tenth of all he had recovered. Melchizedek worshipped God Most High, which shows that there were people outside Israel who served the true God.

Rahab of Jericho

Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute who lived in Jericho at the time Joshua led the Israelites to conquer the promised land. She hid the two spies Joshua sent to scout the city and helped them escape. She confessed her faith in the God of Israel as the one true God.

Because of her faith, she and her family were spared when Jericho was destroyed (Joshua 2). Rahab later married an Israelite and became an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Naaman the Syrian

Naaman was a commander in the army of the king of Aram (an enemy of Israel) who had leprosy. He heard through a young Israelite girl taken captive that the prophet Elisha could heal him. He traveled to Israel and met Elisha, who told him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River.

Naaman was angry at first but then humbled himself and obeyed. He was completely healed and declared, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:1-19).

Nebuchadnezzar – King of Babylon

Nebuchadnezzar was the powerful king of Babylon who conquered Judah and took many Israelites into exile. Through a series of dreams and divine judgments on him, including a period of insanity, God revealed Himself to this pagan king.

Finally, Nebuchadnezzar declared, “I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:34-35).

Wise Men from the East

These Magi who visited the young Jesus were likely from Persia or Arabia. Some scholars believe they were part of an elite class of advisor-priests who counseled Eastern kings. Their presence shows that God prepared people outside of Israel to recognize Jesus as the promised Messiah.

By studying the stars and prophecies, they knew the significance of Jesus’ birth, came to worship Him, and gave gifts.

Implications for the Church Today

Salvation Was Always Meant for All Peoples

The scriptures tell us that God’s intention has always been for salvation to extend to all nations on earth, not just the nation of Israel. Passages like Genesis 12:3 show God promising that through Abraham “all peoples on earth will be blessed.

The prophets also foretold that the nations would come to know the Lord (Isaiah 25:6-9). Jesus confirms this by commanding his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

This has radical implications for the mission of the church. We are called to actively spread the gospel in every land, among every tribe and tongue. No nation or people group is excluded from God’s redemptive plan.

We should rejoice at what God is doing to draw people from all cultures to salvation in Christ! As Paul proclaimed, faith in Christ is now available to “there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all” (Romans 10:12).

We Should Actively Share the Gospel

If God desires for all peoples everywhere to know his salvation, then we as the church need to be actively engaged in mission work among the nations. This does not mean just financially supporting foreign missions, but actually being willing to “go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15) whether locally or globally.

According to the Status of Global Mission report in 2021:

  • 3.5 billion people globally still have little access to the gospel.
  • 41% of people groups are still unreached.
  • In the past decade evangelism movements have increased from 24% globally to 32%. More work is needed!

We should be urgent in our task of spreading the good news both across cultures and to our neighbors right where we live. Time is short! We want everyone everywhere to have the opportunity to accept God’s amazing offer of salvation through trusting in Christ.

God Values All People Equally

The message of the gospel is clear – God does not show favoritism among peoples, but he accepts all those from every nation who fear him and do righteousness (Acts 10:34-35). Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female – all are equal in his sight. The ground is even at the foot of cross.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Therefore we in the church should reflect God’s equal valuing of all persons in our theology and practice. Racism and favoring one ethnic or cultural group over another should have no place among God’s people.

We celebrate human diversity while affirming our oneness in Christ. This equal dignity and value of all humanity is a truth we must teach and embody if we want to be faithful to God’s vision for his redeemed people from every nation.


God revealed Himself to Gentiles throughout Israel’s history to demonstrate His desire to save all nations. Though Israel occupied a privileged position as God’s chosen people, His love and redemption are freely offered to all who call on Him.

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