Questions From Readers
● Is it not true that Jehovah was partial toward the nation of Israel in the way that he dealt with them? Yet at Acts 10:34 the Bible says that “God is not partial.” How is this consistent?—U.S.A.
To be impartial is to be free from bias or favoritism. It is a matter of not letting the person or his position, wealth, power or other influence sway one’s judgment or actions in favor of the individual. It would mean not taking a bribe, and, on the other hand, not being influenced by mere sentimentality for a poor person. Impartiality sees that all are treated in harmony with what is fair and just, according to what each deserves and needs.—Prov. 3:27.
Jehovah says that he “treats none with partiality nor accepts a bribe.” (Deut. 10:17; 2 Chron. 19:7) When the apostle Peter realized that God had heard the prayers of the uncircumcised Gentile Cornelius and maneuvered matters to bring him into direct contact with the Christian congregation, Peter said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:10, 11.
Yet, some persons have held that Jehovah dealt partially by using and favoring Israel as his people of ancient times. However, an honest examination of his dealings with Israel will reveal that such charge is erroneous. Jehovah chose and dealt with Israel, not because of their greatness and numbers, but because of his love and appreciation for the faith and loyalty of his friend Abraham, their forefather. Also, he was long-suffering toward them because he had placed his name upon them.—Deut. 7:7-11; 29:13; Ezek. 36:22; Ps. 105:8-10.
While obedient, Israel was blessed above the nations not having the Law that Jehovah gave through Moses. When Israel was disobedient, God was patient and merciful, punishing them nevertheless. And though their position was a favored one, they were under weightier responsibility before God because of bearing God’s name and because they were under the Law.
The Law carried curses against the one breaking it. It is written: “Cursed is the one who will not put the words of this law in force by doing them.” (Deut. 27:26) The Jews, by violating the Law, came under this curse, which was additional to their condemnation as offspring of sinful Adam. (Rom. 5:12) Therefore, to redeem the Jews from this special disability, Christ had, not only to die, but to die on the torture stake, as the apostle Paul argues at Galatians 3:10-13.
The foregoing demonstrates the fact that God exercised no partiality toward Israel. God was using Israel with the blessing of all nations in view. (Gal. 3:14) In this nation he caused to be born his Son, by means of whom salvation is possible for all who exercise faith. God was actually working toward the benefit of people of all nations in his due time. In harmony with this, the apostle remarks: “Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of people of the nations? Yes, of people of the nations also, if truly God is one, who will declare circumcised people righteous as a result of faith and uncircumcised people righteous by means of their faith.”—Rom. 3:29, 30.
Furthermore, in the ancient Jewish commonwealth, men from other nations could come under God’s favor and blessing by worshiping Jehovah the God of Israel and keeping his law, as did the Gibeonites, the Nethinim (“given ones”) and many alien residents.—Josh. 9:3, 27; Ezra 8:20; 1 Ki. 8:41-43; Num. 9:14.
Although patient and merciful, receiving Israel back when they repented, Jehovah’s patience finally ran out and he cast them off from being his name people. (Luke 13:35; Rom. 11:20-22) The apostle’s statement applies here: “He will render to each one according to his works: . . . tribulation and distress, upon the soul of every man who works what is injurious, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace for everyone who works what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.”—Rom. 2:6-11.
So while a superficial, short-range view of God’s dealings might appear to reveal partiality, the deeper, long-range view brings to light marvelous impartiality and justice beyond anything man could have conceived. How finely he worked out matters so that all mankind would have opportunity to receive his favor and life!—Isa. 55:8-11; Rom. 11:33.