The heathen who raged were bigoted and rebellious. They rage with jealousy and they rage against the king, not the people. They seem to like being exposed to divine anger. Israel is a nation (goy, yog) above all others.1 There is only one kingdom of priests: Israel. Neither the Hebrew nation nor the nations are ignorant of God’s priorities. Germany, the UK or the US are never going to be the greatest or highest nation on the planet. That designation was reserved for the descendants of Abraham and is now exclusively for those who kiss the Son, the king on the hill. The nations conspire because they do not know what God is going to do, and even God’s prophets are often in the dark, even though he promises to give his prophets a heads up (Amos 3:7). Let the heathen rage, because they can, and they must, so that the happiness of those who take refuge the Lord’s Son may stand in contrast with the perishing as long as they remain exposed, separate from the king.
The day Yeshua could not hide
This business about the king on the hill is not as private as we have thought. Magi came to worship while the people had their heads in the sand, or more precisely, their noses glued to the scent of Roman power, instead of the power of God’s written word.
And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. Mark. 7:24
The interactions God had with the neighbours of Israel are eyeopening. They make the case that when both repeated exile and restoration, the ups and the downs always have been in the care and company of heathen nations and peoples that takes the sail out of the us them of the Mosaic tradition. One can refuse to eat with Gentiles or even to enter a Gentile home, but we are standing against that conspiracy to ignore the facts, namely that God in ancient times sent top level ambassadors to people other than Israelites.2 There is even a God-directed partnership with Syria and Israel on one side and Judah on the other (2 Kings 15:37).
God’s checklist – from Abraham to David
It is as if there is a checklist of events Yeshua to use to drive home the emptiness of the wall of partition between Israelites and the heathen. Syria, Lebanon, alien lepers, widows, all receiving law defying attention from heaven’s ambassadors is a testimony that cannot be hidden. The same players are on the agenda. He goes to them, he touches them, he stays with them.
We cannot forget that Abraham’s descendants are not themselves the king, and David’s house, in which were combined both mediation and kingdom, was the repository of all things that make happiness and lasting security possible. David’s house was going to buck the trend in order to make a clear distinction between the king on one side and the heathen and the rulers on the other. Some things we have to just say amen to. When it comes to being not Israel the Ninevites probably take the cake. But any nation will do to help us illustrate that the heathen/Gentile Jew split has had its day.
How to love the nations
The ancient pattern of showing how much he cared for the heathen was going to have a witness doubles in modern times. This is what plays out in Yeshua’s visit to Tyre and Sidon. It is a deliberate fellowship with the heathen that also came to life in the Book of Acts. Him wanting to keep it secret is not to hide the momentous event(s) but to avoid unnecessary publicity, which we have seen him do. The interests of David’s house was going to excel by connected with both global inclusion and atonement through the king on the hill. Even with John the baptist preaching in a desert the upset could not remain unwitnessed.
The God in touch with everyone
God does not stand afar off. He sends prophetic delegation to a military officer in Syria who suffers with leprosy, to a widow in Lebanon, to the Syro-phoenician woman whose daughter was demonized, to the centurion whose faith was not found in Israel, to a uncircumcised centurion Cornelius.
And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Matt. 8:2 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Matt. 8:3 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” Matt. 8:4
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Do not even try. The king of that city has a shiny new title: king of the nations.
1 The ESV soft pedals segullah mikol haummim, a manifest comparison and distinction, not “among”. Compare Gen. 3:1, Exo.. 33:16, Deu. 7:6, 1 Kings 4:31, Jer. 17:9
2 Israelite king to Syrian King (1 Kings 15:18), Syrian king to Israelite king (2 King 5;5).