A name given by the Hebrews to all those that had not received the Law of Moses. Foreigners who embraced Judaism, they called proselytes. Since the promulgation of the gospel, the true religion has been extended to all nations; God, who had promised by his prophets to call the Gentiles to the faith, with a superabundance of grace, having fulfilled his promise; so that the Christian church is composed principally of Gentile converts, the Jews being too proud of their privileges to acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Redeemer. In the writings of Paul, the Gentiles are generally called Greeks, Ro 1:14,16; 1Co 1:22,24; Ga 3:28. So also in those of Luke, in the Ac 6:1; 11:20; 18:4. Paul is commonly called the apostle of the Gentiles, Ga 2:8; 1Ti 2:7, because he preached Christ principally to them; whereas Peter, etc., preached generally to the Jews, and are called apostles of the circumcision, Ga 2:8.
(Heb, usually in plural, goyim), meaning in general all nations except the Jews. In course of time, as the Jews began more and more to pride themselves on their peculiar privileges, it acquired unpleasant associations, and was used as a term of contempt.
Hebrew Gowy, "the nations" (or "pagan," derived from the Greek ethnee), as opposed to Israel (Ne 5:8). In Ge 10:5, "isles of the Gentiles," the term is used geographically in no invidious sense. In Ge 14:1, Tidal "king of nations" was probably chief of several nomadic wandering tribes of western Asia. In Jos 12:23 we read, "the king of the nations (the gentile foreigners) of Gilgal," the modern Moslem village Jiljule, six Roman miles N. of Antipatris. Goim is especially used of Galilee, bordering on and, even in Israelite times, much peopled with the Gilgal (Jg 4:2; Isa 9:1.) (See GALILEE.) "Greeks" in New Testament is used for Gentiles (Ac 14:1; 17:4; Ro 1:16; 10:12; 2:9-10; 1Co 10:32 margin).
With all the superiority of the gentile great world kingdoms, in military prowess, commerce, luxury, and the fine arts, Israel stood on an immense moral elevation above them, in the one point, nearness to God, and possession of His revealed will and word (Ex 19:5-6; Ps 147:19-20; 148:14; Ro 3:1-2). But this superiority was in order that Israel, as priests unto God, might be mediator of blessings unto all nations (Isa 61:6). The covenant from the first with Abraham contemplated that "in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed" (Ge 22:18). The Jews in national pride failed to see this, and despised the Gentiles Rejecting Messiah, they were "broken oft" from the olive, that the Gentiles might be" grafted in" (Ro 11:11-35).
The times of the Gentiles began with Judah's depression and captivity under Nebuchadnezzar, to whom God delegated the world empire (Jer 27:6-7), from whence Jeremiah's counsel to the Jews to submit to hint was true patriotism, not cowardice. Jerusalem has more or less been ever since "trodden down of the Gentiles," and shall be so "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Lu 21:24). Then shall the times of Israel begin with a glory eclipsing her past glory. "All Israel shall be saved." "The receiving of them shall be life from the dead" to the whole world (Mic 5:7; Isa 2:2-4; Re 11:2-15). The theocracy shall be restored with unparalleled splendor at the coming of Him "whose right it is" (Eze 21:27). The times of the gentile monarchies answer to Israel's seven times punishment (Le 26:18,21-24).
A name commonly used in scripture to denote any and every nation except Israel. At times, when Israel as a people is referred to, the same words are used for them. Thus
1. goi, qno" -->???, ?????, is translated 'nation,' and refers to the Jewish nation. De 26:5; Lu 7:5; Joh 11:48. In the plural the same words refer to the nations generally in distinction from Israel, and are translated 'nations,' 'Gentiles,' and 'heathen.' De 18:9; 32:43; Isa 60:3; 62:2; Joe 2:19; Ac 11:1,18; Acts:13:19; Ac 28:28; etc.
God had raised a wall between the Jews and the Gentiles, which in Christ's death was broken down for believers, "to make in himself of twain one new man." Eph 2:14. "There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . . for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Ga 3:28. This does not touch unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, who are kept separate in God's present and future dealings.
(nations). All the people who were not Jews were so called by them, being aliens from the worship, rites and privileges of Israel. The word was used contemptuously by them. In the New Testament it is used as equivalent to Greek. This use of the word seems to have arisen from the almost universal adaption of the Greek language.
GENTILES, COURT OF THE. Josephus says there was, in the court of the temple, a wall, or balustrade, breast-high, with pillars at particular distances, and inscriptions on them in Greek and Latin, importing that strangers were forbidden from entering farther; here their offerings were received, and sacrifices were offered for them, they standing at the barrier; but they were not allowed to approach to the altar. Pompey, nevertheless, went even into the sanctuary, but behaved with strict decorum; and the next day he commanded the temple to be purified, and the customary sacrifices to be offered. A little before the last rebellion of the Jews, some mutineers would have persuaded the priests to accept no victim not presented by a Jew; and obliged them to reject those which were offered by command of the emperor, for the Roman people. The wisest in vain remonstrated with them on the danger this would bring on their country; urged that their ancestors had never rejected the presents of Gentiles; and that the temple was mostly adorned with the offerings of such people; at the same time, the most learned priests, who had spent their whole lives in the study of the law, testified that their forefathers had always received the sacrifices of strangers.
From the above particulars, we learn the meaning of what the Apostle Paul calls "the middle wall of partition," between Jews and Gentiles, broken down by the Gospel.