The presence of Israelites among the Samaritans is proof that not all Israelites were Jews. The ministry of Jesus Christ was first to the Israelites of the world and then the Israel church was commissioned to take the gospel to all people of the planet. He came to be king of Israel and the people of Israel are the key to his turning the whole world into a fitting offering acceptable to God the Father.
Jesus Christ came first to the Israelites. “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” Matthew 15:22-26. He then healed her daughter because of the woman’s great faith. Later, some Greeks came to talk to Jesus (John 12:20-22). Jesus just ignored them. He went to heal a centurion’s servant when asked to go (Matthew 8:5-13), and the centurion was content that Jesus only said the word and the servant was healed. In another story, Jesus cast out a legion of demons from a man in the country of the Gadarenes because the man came and worshipped him (Mark 5:1-20). By worshipping him, the man was showing his faith in the Lord and desiring freedom from oppression. These stories show that Jesus only responded to Gentiles when they asked for help and when there was great faith of the person making the request. Of course, we do not know if the centurion’s servant or the man with the legion were Israelites. They might have been. So, of his own volition, where did Jesus go if he said he was only sent to the children of Israel? He went to three areas: Galilee, Judaea, and Samaria.
When he went to Samaria he encountered a woman who was not a Jew, but said to him, “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?” John 4:12. She was admitting that she was an Israelite. Jesus then ministered to several people in the area. If he only went to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, why did he go to the Samaritans? The truth is that there were Israelites of that day who were not Jews, and the same applies today. There are millions of Israelites in our generation who are not Jews. I do not understand why Christians today find it so hard to believe this truth.
There were Israelites in Samaria from the time of Joshua. This was the location of the northern kingdom of Israel. When the Assyrians conquered the area, they did not take every single person captive back to Assyria. There were still Israelites left in the territory. After the Assyrian army left and took most of the people of the northern kingdom of Israel captive back to Assyria, King Hezekiah of the southern kingdom of Judah celebrated the Passover and invited all people to come from the remnant of Israel and Judah. “So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.” II Chronicles 30:6. Hezekiah was not very successful in getting the remnant from the northern kingdom to come to the Passover. “So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless, divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.” II Chronicles 30:10-11. The number of Israelites left in Samaria after the war with Assyria was very small. It is compared to the gleaning of grapes after a grape harvest, just a few people here and a few there. Isaiah prophesied about it. “And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the Lord God of Israel.” Isaiah 17:4-6. After the war with Assyria, non-Israelites were brought into Samaria, so the country became a mixed group with Israelites and non-Israelites. “And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.” II Kings 17:24.
In the time of Christ, with the exception of a few scattered throughout, the people in Samaria were not Israelites, but there was still a remnant there. That is why the Lord went to minister to people in Samaria and before he ascended into heaven He said to the apostles, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8. The preaching in Galilee was completed by him. It was up to the apostles to finish the preaching in Judaea, Samaria, and reaching to the ends of the earth. He did not say Judaea and Idumaea, or Judaea and Syria, but specifically mentioned Samaria. That was where Israelites were, and to reach all Israelites the apostles would have to take the gospel there first, and then all over the world.
The evangelist Philip went to Samaria first, followed by the apostles Peter and John. “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city” Acts 8:5-8. Eventually the gospel went through the whole world to reach every Israelite. That is why we are Christians today.
Thanks be to God.