All Israel, Part 6 – The People and Israel

V-The people and Israel

There is another particularly glaring issue in this whole matter of Israel, which has to do with the question of whom the people are we know today as Jews. This might seem on the surface to be a superfluous question, for almost everyone supposes they do know. Jewish people according to common wisdom, are supposed to be the direct blood descendants of Abraham. In actuality however, they are not, at least not in the manner most people think. In fact, it would be quite hard to prove any of them are actually directly blood related, just as it would be hard to determine exactly who, if any might be the direct descendants of any other ancient person like Abraham. Who would claim to be a direct descendant of any ancient person, simply because they bore a particular name associated with that historic person? Yet, we have in modern day Israel the amazing circumstance, of seeing an entire nation of people, indeed, a group of people throughout the whole world making this claim. And what is this claim based on, but mere name association? If this claim were to be true, it would indeed be fantastic. We submit however, that in order to accept this as true, there had better be something more substantial to the claim than the mere claim itself, something like the word of God.

First of all, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever raised here that every word contained in Scripture is inspired of God, and therefore, is accurate in what it says. This is therefore, the only acceptable standard to apply to the subject at had, and any issue that may arise from it. So it is admitted there existed, according to Scripture, the ancient people who descended from Abraham called the Hebrews (Gen. 14:13). We will go even further with this and state for the record, the conviction that Abraham’s seed is that of Eve’s, to whom the promise of the Savior, was given (Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38). Jesus was blood related to Eve through Abraham, we know this according to the inspired record given by God. This lineage goes back to her through Shem’s son Eber, from which the word Hebrew is derived (Gen. 10:21). It was Eber’s son Peleg, who is mentioned in reference to the circumstance by which God divided the languages, and hence the people of the earth into various nations (Gen. 10:25). This leads one to the conclusion that the language of the Hebrews, was the original language spoken throughout the world, going back to Eden.

But then, second of all, judging by the history of Scripture, in reference to redemption which has already been thoroughly expounded on, it would be hard to conclude the possibility and necessity of these ancient people continuing as they once did. By continuing what is meant is as an intact and distinct blood-related family, all the way up to the present time. The Jewish Savior Jesus is the Savior of the world, not just believers that are Jewish. His family is established on a spiritual foundation, not a material one (John 1:13). The dispersal of the Jews throughout the world in the first century, virtually guaranteed an end to any possibility of maintaining family records. And even more to the point, by the transferal of Scripture and history to the Christian church, then its closure at the end of the first century, leaves the Jew with little to go on in proving the claim of being the direct descendant of Abraham. Nevertheless, the claim of heritage is made by Jews, simply because they identify themselves by name with those ancient people.

Third of all, there is an abundant supply of historical data surrounding the life and struggles of Jewish people in the world. Nobody legitimately denies the rationale behind the emergence of the political state of Israel on that basis. But, that in itself does not prove the assertion that these are the same people who left Judah, which was no longer Israel even then, in 586 BC. DNA cannot link the two together, through this span of time. This illustrates one of the most basic flaws of empirical science. Since no one today was living in the day in question, there is absolutely no scientific way whatsoever, to arrive at the truth of this matter in a definitive way. Because of this problem, the reliance on uninspired historical data, has to become more than anything else, the primary way of trying to determine who, if any of these people, are the direct descendants of Abraham. Someone might say, why does this matter at all? The answer should be obvious, because we are talking about people who are supposed to have the peculiar distinction of being Abraham’s seed by birth.

This is especially relevant concerning the claims of Zionists concerning the validity of the modern Jewish occupation of Palestine in the state of Israel. In fact, the entire question concerning this is established or denied based on one simple piece of criteria. It is the ability, or, the lack thereof, to prove ones blood relationship to Abraham. All Zionists make the claim that title to this piece of land is based exclusively on the promise given to Abraham and his descendants. And we have not created this criteria, but God did it in His word. Simply saying one has been born into a Jewish home does not satisfy the criteria, for the Bible is very explicit about the matter. The land of Canaan was given to the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance (Gen. 12:7, 13:15, 15:18). Now we understand that an inheritance need not be based solely on a blood relation to the grantor of it. But in the case of Abraham and the land of promise, this is not, and cannot be the case.

Since this is the matter at hand, and the standard is set before us, we had better determine exactly who that someone is, who is born into Israel. We must determine who they actually are who boast of having a blood lineage to Abraham, as his descendant. After all, Zionists of every type have themselves set this standard down for us concerning a rightful claim to the land of Israel. And they have gone so far as we have observed, to quote Romans 11:26 in defense of their theory, that “all Israel” means all natural Jews. So we had better know who all these people of Israel are, who claim title to the land of Israel. This is especially critical for someone who happens to be a Dispensationalist. The reason for this is, Scripture clearly shows the claim to an earthly inheritance of Canaan, rests solely on a provable family relationship to Abraham. So Zionists view Scripture as asserting the matter as one that is entirely racial in character. The earthly portion of the Abrahamic covenant depends on it.

A-Abraham’s children inherit the land

So we begin first of all, by taking note from Scripture of the importance of Abraham having a son from his flesh to inherit the promised land (Gen. 15:1-5). The immediate, literal, physical land portion of Abraham’s promise was made to him according to nature. From him a son would need to be born, to give this inheritance to. God had determined to provide Abraham with such a son of promise. And not only would Abraham have a family through this son, but it would be a large one indeed. So immediately in Scripture, we see the establishment of blood relation being made concerning the land promise. And the concept of inheriting land is nothing strange or unusual for us to comprehend is it? When someone receives an inheritance based on a family relationship, it is vitally important for the heir to be able to prove that relation through the proper documentation. So there is nothing different at all in this concerning the land promise made to Abraham.

Next, we see the covenant itself being closely tied to the family of Abraham (Gen. 17:7-10). And it wasn’t to any descendant either that God would make an heir of the land, but in Isaac (Gen. 17:18,19). Also, the land was already inhabited when it was promised to Isaac. So in order for the inheritance to be obtained, the inhabitants must be dispossessed of the land. So we see God declare the people in Canaan whom the descendants of Abraham were to dispossess of the land were considered His enemies. They became Abraham’s enemies by God’s definition, not their own (Gen. 22:17). Abraham instructed his servant to find Isaac a wife from his own family, rather than from the Canaanites (Gen. 24:1-4). Isaac’s son Jacob was charged with the same requirement as Isaac, not to marry outside of his own family (Gen. 28:1-4). It was from Jacob’s twelve children that Israel became a nation. The rest of the Pentateuch, written by Moses is based primarily on a number of events leading up to their entrance into the land.

Once Israel entered the land, it was divided up by territory among the twelve tribes. The book of Joshua records the history of their conquest of the land of Canaan, along with each tribal inheritance (Josh. 14:5). Now there is something interesting revealed in the book of Joshua about this. Once the land was divided, Joshua announced the promise of God concerning possession of the land to have been fulfilled (Josh. 21:43-45). There was certainly more to come by way of the totality of the promise, but for all intents and purposes, it was fulfilled at that time. This is a far cry from what those say, that the promise was of yet unfulfilled until modern Israel was a nation. In fact, two other times in Israel’s history we see similar words spoken like those of Joshua, which assert this to be untrue. It would appear that King Solomon’s reign marked the complete fulfillment of the promise to temporal Israel. Not only did they receive possession of the land as was promised, but they now had an established kingdom in it as well. (I Kings 4:20,21; II Chron. 9:26).

1-Lost Inheritance

Scripture also shows that not only was the inheritance of the land fulfilled in King Solomon’s day, but that it was lost as well by a generation that followed his. On the surface, this would seem to be contrary to the Scriptural idea of “an everlasting possession” based on “an everlasting covenant” from God (Gen. 17:7,8). But since land is a temporal possession, it cannot be held forever. The world itself will end some day, so whatever is meant by the term “everlasting possession,” it certainly has a fixed end to it. There is an aside to be made here in reference to the Hebrew word Olam from which the English translation everlasting comes. Olam in Hebrew means an undetermined amount of time. It can mean never ending, but it need not mean that in every instance in which it is used. Take for instance, the matter of Israel’s possession of the land. God had also indicated to Israel that continuance in the land was not guaranteed them, if they defiled it (Lev. 18:25,28, 20:22). This warning was not heeded by Israel after they had possession of the land, so God made good on His word by casting them out of it.

The finality of this temporal judgement from God came with the eventual destruction of Israel as a kingdom, something foretold by many prophets who were sent to warn them of this. This historical reality functionally ended Israel’s possession of the land of Canaan. And we would go so far as to say that its end was permanent in scope, and therefore, providentially confirmed. This however, obviously did not end God’s dealing with the descendants of Israel. The unfulfilled portion of God’s promise to Abraham was that of the coming of the Messiah. This portion of the promise began, after the final destruction of Israel to take on more and more prominence in what followed, as recorded by the Scripture account. Two things began to occur at this time. First, the Mosaic ideal of Israel that culminated in the establishment of the Davidic kingdom fades away into obscurity. Second, the Davidic ideal of Israel begins to unfold in the subsequent history leading up to the Messiah’s coming.

It would seem that Nehemiah was in agreement with this assessment of the promise too, at least as it concerned the land (Neh. 9:7,8,22,23). What is especially noteworthy about this is the acknowledgment of it he offered to God “You have performed Your words.” This was said in light of the fact the land had been lost and the temple destroyed prior to this. In other words, Nehemiah did not charge God with failure to fulfill what He promised. Instead, he declared it had been done, just as God said. The one and only thing that had not been done, thus far to Nehemiah’s day, were to send the Messiah to accomplish redemption. There is no doubt but that Nehemiah was looking to this next. Certainly, the return to Judah for him was confirmation of this. But as far as the inheritance of the land went, this was accomplished. So it would seem that the rest of Israel’s history recorded in the Old Testament, following Joshua’s declaration, was wrapped up in their trying to retain the inheritance they received. Which by the way, they failed to do because of their persistent sin and rebellion from God.

2-Preserved Inheritance

The matter that concerns us here about all this really centers on the person of Ezra the priest and scribe, and his role in maintaining the true inheritance of Israel. In order to do this, Ezra was required to determine who the children of Abraham were, according to the promise, at this stage of Israel’s history. We say this about Ezra, for he was the one charged, with determining whom the rightful heirs to the temple service were, according to Scripture. This duty fell upon him as Israel’s scribe. In order to underscore the importance of this duty and calling, it is universally acknowledged that he had been instrumental in maintaining the sacred writings of Israel, throughout the period of their captivity. He is also the one who developed the vowel point system used now in the Hebrew language, for the proper pronunciation of it.[1] Since Hebrew is the seminal language, first spoken to Adam by God, it is simple in its construction, containing only consonants. Originally, pronunciation of it was passed on through oral tradition.

By adding vowel points to the language for proper pronunciation, it was the only way the meaning of certain words could be pronounced and understood that were spelled the same. The danger of losing this tradition during the captivity was obvious to Ezra. Hebrew ceased to be spoken by the Jews on a daily basis during this time. Aramaic was the Chaldean language of their captors, so consequently, it was the language that replaced Hebrew. This alone would have been the end of Abraham’s promise if not addressed, for it was in Hebrew the promise was given. Language and ethnicity are always inseparably connected with each other. And so it was that God made provision for this, through Divine preservation of His inspired word (Ps. 12:6,7). Ezra wrote fresh copies of the original Scripture documents, and compiled them into an official canon or book as Israel’s first Bible, along with the vowel point system.[2]

On top of creating an official canon of sacred writings for Israel, Ezra was also a contributor to it. He wrote the book of Chronicles which was later separated into two parts by the Christian church. He also wrote the book which bears his own name, which also, originally were the combined books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The two, which now appear separate, interact together as a single account of the same events involving two people. The Chronicles record for God’s people the genealogical history of Israel from the time of Adam to the day it was written. This was done to provide an inspired, documented historical record, linking each of the tribes of Israel to Abraham. The purpose of this Chronicle becomes evident in reading Ezra’s book. The book of Ezra details the events surrounding the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. The Chronicles provided the people in his day, with an inspired testimony from God concerning who constitutes the physical descendants of Abraham. Many people today who read the Bible find its many genealogical records to be tedious and boring to read. But up until the Messiah came in the flesh, the importance of this record for Israel could not be understated.

Why do we emphasize this? We do so because it has to do with the issue of inheritance, and the difficulties attendant upon it through the many providential events of history. Remember, the promises of land and kingdom all had reference to the blood descendants of Abraham. And it is important to emphasize also, that the promise of the land inheritance was not to all of his descendants, but only to those through his grandson Jacob. If that is not made clear, than the current conflict in the Middle East over the former land of Canaan makes absolutely no sense at all. This is because Arabs are the direct descendants of Abraham too. No, Scripture is absolutely clear that the inheritance of land was given to Jacob’s children, and therefore, that family must be maintained absolutely. Provision was made for this in the law, which foresaw the event that a particular son’s inheritance could be lost by intermarriage with a non family member (Deut. 25:5).

Many things however, conspired over the course of time to subvert this. We see for instance, the story recorded in Numbers at Acacia Grove (Num. 25:1). Israel was seduced into harlotry by the Midianites. This was a serious matter for Israel, not just because of the sin of idolatry and fornication that took place, which was certainly bad enough in and of itself (I Cor. 10:6-8). But it was so because of the adulteration of the tribal inheritance through intermarriage with the Midianite women. Although it doesn’t explicitly say so, this event led by implication, too at least one marriage, maybe more with these women. Once that door was open there would be no end to it, therefore, all those who engaged in this behavior at Acacia Grove, were put to death, for both judgement and preservation purposes (Num. 25:6-14).

God’s concern for the preservation of the inheritance rights of the tribes of Israel is clearly expressed in the Pentateuch (Num. 26:53,54, 27:8-11, 33:54, 36:2-9; Deut. 21:15-17, 33:4). After the kingdom was divided in two, however, in the days of Rehoboam and Jeroboam, determining inheritance rights to the land became an increasingly difficult task for Israel to do. The northern kingdom was comprised of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel, and remained called by that name in Scripture. The southern kingdom and its two tribes were named Judah. The northern kingdom was invaded by Assyria in 722 BC. Most of the ten tribes of Israel were deported to Assyria, and/or, dispersed throughout its empire by King Shalmaneser, and then disappear completely from history.[3] Shalmaneser imported people from the other territories under his control to live in Israel. This became known as the land of Samaria, after the city of the same name. So the people of Samaria tended to intermarry with each other, and from that, became a completely different and distinct ethnicity than that of Hebrew.

There were cities in Samaria that remained distinctly Jewish. Nazareth, where our Lord was brought up was one of those places.[4] Nazareth was a city located in one of the northern regions of Samaria, in an area referred to in Scripture as “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Is. 9:6; Matt. 4:13,15). The region of Galilee was where Jesus began His ministry, rather than in Judah. The Jews of Judah hated the Samaritans, for they were not considered Jewish, which provided further reason for their offense against Jesus. The Jews who lived in towns such as Nazareth, were looked down on as well, hence, the derogatory insinuation used by Nathaniel concerning Jesus to this effect (John 1:45,46). The Samaritans built their own temple claiming they were the true people of God, in direct competition with Judah (John 4:20). It is interesting to note however, that Jesus used the example of a good Samaritan, to expose the self righteous disregard for others that was characteristic of most Jews in His day (Luke 10:25-37).

After the captivity, all the drama recorded in Scripture began to focus primarily on the tribe of Judah, which were actually the combined tribes of Judah and Benjamin. This is why there is particular mention of them together in the post exhilic books of Ezra and Nehemiah, in association with their return to Jerusalem from the captivity (Ezra. 1:5, 4;1, 10:9; Neh. 11:4). The second stage of Israel’s history begins at this point in the rebuilding of the temple and the wall, which happens in three parts. The first part was with Zerubabbel to rebuild the temple (Ezra. 2:1,2). The second was with Ezra (Ezra. 7:6-9). He came “to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (verse 10). And the third one was with Nehemiah (Neh. 2:1-8). He came to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Since Jerusalem was in Judah, and they alone were left of Israel when it was conquered and taken into captivity, they as a tribe returned to their possession. The people of the remaining tribes faded away in history and in importance, giving place to the primary purpose of God, which was preparation for the coming of the Messiah.

Besides Judah, there were those who returned too, from the tribe of Levi who had been taken captive with them. These were among them due to the fact that there was no land allotment ever given them in Canaan, but they, as the priest class of Israel was given common land around the cities to dwell in throughout the land (Num. 18:20, 35:1-3). So, the question is, what happened to the rest of Israel, and why do they disappear from sight, without any mention of their inheritance? The answer to this question has to do with a transferral of the inheritance right. It wasn’t the physical land any more, but the establishment of the Davidic kingdom, which was in view. The land promise is primarily spiritual in nature and extended to the world. To defend this assertion we simply point to what the prophets envisioned as the re gathering of Israel, that it was something beyond the land of Canaan, looking forward to a new heaven and earth (Is. 66:22-24). While the rest of Israel ended, Judah remained, for it was the one from whom the Messiah would hail, therefore, it was instrumental to this cause.

As we have said before, the return of the Jews to the Persian district of Judah in Ezra’s day, required of him the specific duty of determining whom the legitimate sons of Israel were. This is why he provides a list of the families of Israel who returned with Zerubabbel in his book (Ezra 2:1-58). In the same chapter, Ezra mentioned there were a number of Priests who could not identify themselves according to the genealogical record (Ezra 2:59-62). So we are told “These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled.” (Verse 62). This was the standard used to determine who could be accepted as having a standing within the family. A number of other families came to Jerusalem with Ezra, these are recorded in chapter eight, verses 1-14. Once again, a genealogy of those who were legitimate family members is provided by Ezra (verse 1). At a certain point, it came to Ezra’s attention there are those among “the people of Israel and the priests” who returned with him that had become defiled. This they did through intermarriage with people outside of their families, among the pagans (Ezra 9:1,2).

The rest of the chapter provides us a commentary of Ezra’s indignation and repentance toward God of this abomination. Intermarriage with pagans, and the practice of their religion had been the very reason for Israel’s destruction and captivity. And yet, here these people were, standing in Jerusalem before God having once again been found guilty of the same sin, while living in Babylon. So important was it to maintain the purity of tribal succession, we read these words of Ezra “let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them” (Ezra 10:3). So they issued a proclamation requiring the literal ejection of those aliens from their midst (Ezra 10:7,8). Failure to do this would result in the removal of the entire family from Israel and the confiscation of their property. No one could claim an inheritance in Israel without complete conformity to the inspired genealogical standard. The last section of Ezra chapter ten records the successful ejection of those wives and children of the foreigners from their midst (verses 18-44).

Another fact worth noting from Ezra is the absence of any mention of tribal inheritance concerning the land portion of the covenant promise. This is important when attempting to consider the claim of ownership made by the people of present day Israel. It was the kingdom of Judah that had been taken captive by the Babylonians, and they returned to Jerusalem and the district of Judea under Persian control. Consequently, all the emphasis following the return was on them, rather than any of the other tribes. There must have been some people from the ten tribes of Israel who were taken captive to Babylon. We read in Luke’s gospel of a woman named Anna, who was “of the tribe of Asher” (Luke 2:36). Obviously, from this reference we can see there was some personal knowledge that remained of tribal identity among the non Judean Hebrews. Association with the covenant promise however, was now realized through those who returned from Babylon of the tribe of Judah. It was always to them that kingdom rule belonged, and furthermore, would be transferred to the Messiah (Gen. 49:10).

For this reason, the name Israel in Ezra’s day came to imply all of the Hebrew people living in the district of Judea. Likewise, the name Judah, or, simply the word Jew became a term that described all the people who returned to it. There are a couple of instances where the name Jew in Scripture, used as short for Judean can be seen. From the time of Ezra on, it took on new significance in Bible terminology. This was owing to the new focus of interest revealed in post Babylonian writing. Both names, Israel and Judah ceased to imply any specific racial identity. The name Jew became identified with territory instead of ethnicity. It is clear in Ezra that his concern was with the restoration of temple service, which was to be preserved until Messiah appeared. Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, therefore, this one tribe was preserved for the express purpose of identifying Him as “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1).

3-Secured Inheritance

Once the Messiah arrived, there was no more relevance whatsoever, to the tribal identity and purity of Israel. This is evident in the apostle Paul downplaying the importance of his own tribal affiliation (Phil. 3:5,8). The issue of inheritance at that time, became one of who were the legitimate heirs to the kingdom? King David was promised a Son who would sit perpetually upon his throne (II Sam 7:12,13). This Son could not be Solomon, nor any other of his descendants, other than the Messiah. The covenant promise made a distinction between those sons, and the main One, who was the Messiah (verses 14,15). Solomon, and his offspring were the sons of chastening through their iniquities. But the Messiah, the Son of David to whom the eternal kingdom was promised, was no sinner like those were, who could lose the kingdom, and needed such chastisement as they did. No, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Is. 53:5).

Jesus was acknowledged to be the Son of David by prophetic inspiration, through Zacharias the priest (Luke 1:67-73). Two important things can be noted from these verses. First, Zacharias connected the promise that Jesus fulfilled as the Son of David back, far beyond Abraham to the beginning of time (verse 70). Second, Zacharias limited the promise concerning the Messiah to that of salvation (verses 68,72). True, Zacharias spoke of this in kingdom terms in reference to enemies (verse 71). But elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus is said to have come, in order to “save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21). The same sentiment as this, recorded in Matthews gospel, is seen further down in Zacharias’ prophecy when he states the purpose and work of Messiah’s redemption is “To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” (Verses 74,75) And, “To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins” (verse 77).

Conspicuously absent from Zachariah’s words, is any mention of the inheritance of the land, as part of the covenant oath given to Abraham, in reference to Jesus (verses 72,73). We could multiply this one example in Luke’s gospel, throughout the entire New Testament. No where in the New Testament, including Romans chapter eleven, verses 25-27, is there any indication of tribal inheritance of the land of Canaan being in view, concerning the redemption of the Messiah. In fact, the quote made by Paul in Romans 11:27, is taken from Isaiah 59:21, and states the object of the covenant as the removal of sin. Messiah’s kingdom is then, one of inheriting eternal life, rather than land (Acts 20:32, 26:18; Eph. 1:11,14,18; Col. 1:12, 3:24; Heb. 9:15; I Pet. 1:4). Since this is the case, it is no surprise then that the integrity of tribal identity among the remaining Jewish people, began to fade into historical obscurity beginning in Jesus’ day.

4-Obscured Inheritance

The official point of departure from this, can be pinned down to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. At this point in history, those Jews who could trace their family heritage to the genealogy of Scripture, found it impossible to maintain on any official level. There was no priest like Ezra, appointed by God for the maintenance of tribal identity, who could do this. Ezra was an inspired officer of Israel, but after the temple was gone, Divine inspiration among the Jews was gone too. Jewish identity up to this time was centered around the temple and the priest. After 70 AD, there was a complete dispersion of the Jews throughout the Roman empire and beyond. Families for a time may have passed on to their children information about their heritage, but everyone knows that without an official record, this is impossible to keep for any length of time.

There were several locations where a large concentration of Jewish migration away from Jerusalem took place. Some Jews went westward as far as Spain, which was on the outer fringes of the Roman empire in that direction. Some Jews went northward to Syria, establishing a large community in Antioch. Many went much further to the north, settling in the Caucus mountain region which is now Eastern Europe. Some Jews went eastward toward Babylon, and Persia. Still, others went southward toward Egypt and Ethiopia. After this dispersion, there was a complete end to any sort of centralized form of Judaism. Previous to this, the Sanhedrin spoken of in the gospels, was a semi governing political body made up of the two main factions of Jews, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They acted as a sort of official council for the Jews in the Roman empire. But with the destruction of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin ceased to exist.

Throughout history, Jews have appeared to be a very close knit, inbred sort of people, in whatever land they have lived. They tend not to mix with other people, any more than others normally do in the same circumstance. But, as we have already noted, an accurate knowledge of Jewish family identity had greatly eroded by the end of the first century. Adding to this was the fact that the identity of the Hebrew people had been greatly eroded even before that. One very important thing to consider about this has to do with the disintegrating effect that foreign domination for several centuries had upon the Jewish people. Whereas, they were formerly a homogenous group of people during the kingdom years, after the captivity this changed dramatically. While under foreign domination, many proselytes were brought into the Jewish fold from the nations around them. We looked at the problem Ezra faced concerning Jewish intermarriage with foreign women in Babylon. The same thing happened while they were under the political control of other empires.

When the Persian empire collapsed, it fell to Alexander and the Greeks. Though Alexander did not live long, his empire remained and was split up between two different dynasties, the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seluecids of Syria. These are mentioned as the northern and southern kings in the book of Daniel. These two centers of power contended for control of Judea, which led in turn, to many divided loyalties among the Jews. While under Greek influence, many Jews adopted Hellenism as their religio-philosophical world view. It is not surprising then that this led to intermarriage between Jews and Greeks, as well as other people of the same mind set. The term Hellenist as applied to Jews is seen in the New Testament (Acts 6:1, 9:29, 11:20). Also, Timothy is mentioned as having a Greek father and a Jewish mother (Acts 16:1,3). It is clear from Scripture there were plenty of Greek proselytes found among the Jews (Mark 7:26; John 7:35, 12:20; Acts 14:1, 17:4, 18:4,17).

In the brief period of Jewish rule in Judea under the Maccabees, their ruler Hyrcanus forced Jewish conversion on the Edomites living in Galilee. These are called Idumeans in Mark’s gospel, and are mentioned, along with other peoples in that area as those who flocked to hear Jesus preach (Mark 3:8). Consequently, there were many Edomites before and after Him that were considered as Jews in Judea. Ethiopia was a nation that had adopted Judaism long before the first century. It is often said it was due to Ethiopian Queen being so impressed with Solomon and his successful kingdom (I Kings 10:1,4,10,13). At any rate, we see from Scripture, that there were Ethiopian proselytes who traveled to Judea to worship in the first century (Acts 8:26,27). And finally, there were even Romans that were proselytes to the Jewish faith at the time (Matt. 8:5,8,13; Luke 7:2,6; Acts 10:1,22).

So, the Jews who were dispersed throughout the world after the destruction of the temple, were made up of a diverse number of ethnic groups. But be that as it may, people claiming Jewish heritage have always clung together as a single cultural, and semi-religious community. The often used stereotype about them as a close(d) community of people is entirely true. Jews always stick together and help each other, even though they have many issues that divide them otherwise. In the centuries that followed, Jews themselves often seemed to vacillate between the view they were primarily of one race, distinctly Abrahamic, and the view that they are multi ethnic, made up of many nations.[5] Part of this certainly would have to do with bias against them in the world. Hatred by non Jews is often framed as a matter of racial identity. This would certainly lend itself to the idea, no matter how untrue, that Jews are a single ethnic group.

This is really where much of this matter lies, in reference to the notion that Israel and the Jews who live there are the ancient people of God. The subject of race is, and has always been touchy for anyone to discuss, unless of course, it is among those who claim some sort of superiority in theirs. This is because all people are proud and sinful, just as Scripture clearly reveals about them, therefore, prejudice and hatred runs rampant in the world (Rom. 3:13-17). Two classic examples of racial pride are found in the institution of slavery in America, and the rise of Nazism in Germany under Hitler. It is hard to believe today that the founding fathers of America thought African slaves were somehow less human than they were, but it is actually true. Part of this false notion comes from identifying African people with Noah’s son Ham, who was cursed of God (Gen. 9:18-27). The purpose of the text in Genesis is really focused on Ham’s son Canaan, whose land the Hebrews were to inherit, rather than the descendants of his other sons (Gen. 10:6).

The same sort of foolishness concerning blessing and cursing based on race took the form of Nazism in the twentieth century. It appears Hitler wanted to establish a pure Teutonic race of people which he called Aryan. Hitler judged Jewish people to be of some other inferior race to his, therefore, he wanted to rid Germany, and greater Europe, of them. The amazing thing from this sordid piece of history is, that it has served the purpose of establishing in the minds of Jews that they are indeed, a distinct racial ethnic group. So racial pride knows no bounds, and this has always been true of Jews as Scripture clearly shows. John the Baptist encountered this in his own people when he commenced his ministry, saying to the Pharisees who confronted him “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” (Matt. 3:8,9). Likewise, Jesus encountered these same people in the course of His ministry (John 8:33,37,39,40).

B-The children of many inhabit Israel

So Jews themselves are no different than anyone else in the matter of identity pride. The truth of the matter concerning Jewish identity is however, exactly the opposite of what it seems to be to many people. And, we might add, this is a historically provable assertion. Few people, even Christians know little or anything about this. One reason for this is, that deliberate ignorance about the true history serves the interest of those who are already favorably disposed toward the nation of Israel. There is a standard history of the Jews that says they are indeed, the same ancient people of the Davidic kingdom. This naturally comes from Jews themselves. At the same time however, even their own writings can be seen to refute this claim. We say this, because there appears today to be three distinct ethnic types of Jews that live throughout the world and Israel, which they themselves acknowledge to be true. These three types of Jews are called according to their own terminology, Sephardi, Mizrahi, and Ashkenazi.[6]

1-Sephardi Jews

The name Sephardi, as it is claimed by Jews, is a Hebrew designation for people from Spain.[7] This name is attached to the first Jewish subgroup, because it is believed by Jews they journeyed to Spain in the sixth century BC, following the first destruction of Jerusalem. If this is true, and nobody is able to verify it as a historical fact one way or the other, these people may have possibly have been actual blood descendants of Abraham. It is interesting to note the word Sepharad in Scripture, from which the word Sephardi seems to come. It appears only once in Scripture, from the prophet Obadiah (Ob. 1:20). In Obadiah, the refugees of Sepharad are said to be from Jerusalem, which would indeed, make them most likely Judeans. It is difficult however, to determine Obadiah’s meaning of the word, for this one chapter is all we have from him. In the first sixteen verses, the prophet pronounces judgement on the descendants of Esau. The next five verses are taken up with Judah’s eventual triumph over Esau, as well as other enemies, when they are re gathered into the land.

The idea of a dispersed group of people from Israel, such as those referred to as Sepharadi, being re gathered into the land of their inheritance seems to coincide with the prophetic teaching of the Old Testament. There is a problem however, with interpreting Sepharad as a reference to Spain. It is apparent from the verse that this is a place that is situated north of Canaan, which would be Assyria. Spain is west of Israel, which presents a problem in trying to interpret verse 20 as a literal reference to common era Jews returning to the Middle East from there. Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary says this about the word Sepharad: Cpharad sef-aw-rawd’ of foreign derivation; Sepharad, a region of Assyria.[8] Another word similar to that of Sepharad in the Old Testament is Sephar, a place referred too as somewhere east of Canaan, not west (Gen. 10:30). Strong says that Sephar is a place in Arabia.[9] Still, another similar word is Sepharvaim, mentioned in several texts of the Old Testament (II Kings 17:24,31, 18:34, 19:13; Is. 36:19, 37:13).

These texts refer to Sepharvaim as a city under Assyrian rule. Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary however, offers nothing on this but the translation of ‘Dual’ for the word, meaning two cities of the same name.[10] The translation makes sense of the word Sepharvaim, because it is plural for the word Sephar in Hebrew. Whether this is the same place as Sepharad is impossible to determine. One thing is clear from the Scripture on this, Sepharad in Obadiah is a place where “the captives of this host of the children of Israel” were taken (verse 20). Sepharvaim on the other hand, is a place where people were taken from, in order to bring them to Samaria by the Assyrians in the pre exhilic period (II Kings 17:24). In any case, there does not seem to be any biblical connection to be made between the Sephardic people of today, and those people who are reported to have migrated to Spain so long ago.

There is no question however, but that many Jewish people did immigrate to Spain centuries ago. It is also true that Jewish people fared quite well in Spain under Islamic rule. They were allowed free passage to and from Spain. That all changed as Spain slowly changed hands from Arab Moslem, to European Catholic rule in the fourteenth century. Under the new situation that followed, Jews increasingly came under persecution.[11] This culminated in their expulsion from the Iberian peninsula by Queen Isabella in 1492. The story is told that Christopher Columbus sailed with a crew of prisoners, who, in exchange for their freedom, braved the unknown for the Queen of Spain. But few people know there were Sephardic Jews[12] that sailed with Columbus as well, hoping to find freedom and prosperity. In fact, all the early Jewish settlers to the New World were Sephardic. Many who left Spain, simply traveled to North Africa and various points in the Middle East. For this reason, Jews that lived in various Middle Eastern countries before Israel was established as a state, are called Sephardic too.

2-Mizrahi Jews

Mizrahi Jews are said to be Oriental or Eastern in origin. The word Mizrah in Hebrew means east. This is a term that seems to actually be in the process of development since Israel became a state in 1948. Since that is the case, it is rather difficult to pin this ethnic group down to a specific definition. There does not seem to be a consensus among Jews themselves on this, but rather, it is wrapped up in the current cultural, social, and political divisions within Israel.[13] Mizrahi people are for the most part, immigrants to Israel from other Middle Eastern countries, most notably from Islamic states. Part of the problem, and confusion in trying to define this group of people comes from the fact that they claim to be Sephardic as well. It would seem that the designation of Mizrahi is and has been emerging from within the traditional Sephardic Jewish community.[14] As we have already mentioned in connection to Sephardics, large numbers of Jews left Spain at the end of the fifteenth century. Jewish migration away from there landed them in various North African and Middle Eastern Islamic nations.

North African and Middle Eastern Mizrahi Jews claim their ancestors settled in those lands direct from ancient Israel, rather than as immigrants from Spain. It is an interesting fact that both Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews are Middle Eastern in appearance, dark complected, with dark hair and eyes. They look just like the Arabs and Persians from the countries they have lived in for generations. Now, if they are truly Abrahams’ descendants, they are related to the Arabs through his son Ishmael (Gen. 25:12-18). Therefore, we would expect to see a physical likeness to them. In fact, Arabs also view both Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews as direct relatives of theirs, and have always tended to treat them rather well because of it. In the case of Iran, Jews have lived there in peace since the days of Ezra.[15] But, as we have already stated, modern DNA testing has presented a major problem for those who claim to have pure Jewish blood in them, simply because no one has a sample of the original DNA to prove it.[16] What is provable is that Jews in the Middle East share the DNA of every ethnic background in which they have lived in close proximity.[17]

3-Askenazi Jews

The name of the third Jewish subgroup is the Askenazic, or, the Askenazim as it is rendered in Hebrew for the plural. The origin of this name is found in the book of Genesis, in reference to one of the sons of Noah (Gen. 10:1-3). The name Askenaz is associated with the area called the Caucus mountain region, or, southern Russia. This area is so named, as it was settled by one of Noah’s descendants named Ashkenaz, through his son Japheth. Japheth is the son who is credited with being the progenitor of the Caucasian people, mostly of Europe. The reason for this name being assigned to this subgroup of Jewish people is obvious, they are people who have come from the region associated with the name Ashkenaz. This is by far, the largest of the three subgroups, for they make up an estimated seventy-five percent[18] of the worlds total Jewish population. Ashkenazic Jews also comprise at least half of the eleven million people in the nation of Israel. And without a doubt, this is the ethnic subgroup of people who are the most responsible for the emergence of Israel as a modern political state.

The history of this subgroup is not well known by most non Jews, who tend to assume that all Jews are of the same ethnic and racial background. All Jews, it is believed, are the children of the biblical figure Abraham. This is the standard line that prevails in America. But when one takes a look at the history of Europe, and that of the Ashkenazic Jews in particular, a most interesting thing is discovered. Far from being people who settled in that area of the world as a result of the diaspora, these folk appear to be mostly of European, rather than of Jewish ancestry. This is verifiable on the same two grounds, Science and history, as previously stated of Sephardi Jews, whose relationship to Abraham is questionable at best. The difference between the two ethnic groups however, is much more profound. While Sephardi Jews have at least, according to DNA testing, some relation to other Middle Eastern peoples, the Ashkenazim on the other hand, appear not to have any. And the history of their background makes perfect sense of this too.

Ashkenazi Jews come from an ancient kingdom by the name of Khazaria that flourished between 600 and 1100 AD in Eastern Europe. The center of ancient Khazaria was located right about where Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are today. The ethnic background and language of the Khazar kingdom are Turkic. As the history goes, the entire ancient Khazar kingdom was converted to Judaism through its king who did too, around 740AD.[19] The story says that this eighth century king, was searching for a new religious identity for himself and his kingdom, to replace the Tengri Shamanism that had, up to that time been practiced. He considered all three major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, before settling on the Jewish faith. Both he and his people became completely enamored with the religion and culture of the Jews. And so much so, that the Khazar king adopted everything about the Jews for his kingdom, including the Torah, the Talmud, the Jewish high holy days and strict Sabbath observance.

At some point in their history, and for reasons unknown, the kingdom of Khazaria began to disintegrate, its people started to migrate in large numbers from there into other parts of Europe. Some went east toward Russia, and some went west toward Germany. This accounts for the large number of Askenazic Jews who come from various parts of Europe, especially the east. Tracing Askenazic origins to the kingdom of Khazaria is something that is widely accepted by Jews. But when discussion arises as to the ethnic background of the Ashkenazim, that becomes a subject that has been widely debated. Jews also believe that Ashkenazim are descended from Jews, not Turks. So the question is, how did Judaism originally come to Khazaria, and how and why did it become such a tremendous influence on these people? It is believed that Jewish refugees fleeing persecution from other places came to Khazaria and were welcomed by the King. The Khazar people were known to be very tolerant of others outside their own cultural background.

In fact, there was a community of people in Khazaria from all three major world religions living there at the time that it adopted Judaism as its official state religion. Perhaps what attracted the king to their culture were the obvious material success and mutual cooperation they exhibited as a community of people. At any rate, the historical connection to Khazaria as an explanation for European Jewry has been well documented for centuries. It is also the only reasonable explanation for why the name Askenazi has been given to them, as they are quite obviously white and European in appearance, not Middle Eastern. Ashkenazi Jews even have their own distinct European language called Yiddish, which is a German dialect. This is the language that has been spoken as a universal language by the Askenazim in Europe for centuries, enabling them to communicate with each other across national boundaries and native tongues.

Since these are the people who represent most Jews in the world, and the people who are mostly responsible for the state of Israel, these are the people who should be given primary consideration on the topic. Zionism was a political program begun by Askenazic Jews. And they have provided the world with a certain historical context to support their claim to Israel as an ancient homeland. This brings us back to where we started from. In order for them to make such a claim as they do, it can only be made according to a biblical standard, or it is absolutely fraudulent. Therefore, even though they themselves have to admit there has been a great deal of evolutionary change in their ethnicity as people, still they cling to the notion they are indeed blood related to Abraham.[20] This claim is made by most Jewish geneticists today. It is commonly stated, though there is evidence of many ethnicities that make up the modern Jew, there is still a single genetic link between them that connects them all to Abraham.

4-Israeli Jews

We believe that Scripture has shown there is no reason to believe as Christians, that Israel will ever exist again as a covenant nation, as it did before the cross, or, even before the captivity. Nor will it ever exist in some greater manifestation, as Dispensationalists believe. But rather, Israel is like many other nations today that bear some ancient name, such as Greece, Egypt, Libya, Syria and so on. Certainly, the circumstances surrounding the emergence of the state of Israel are extraordinary for many reasons. But we must ask this question, was it any more extraordinary than what has taken place in many other places? We ask this because the modern state of Israel really came about largely as the result of colonization. We call the establishment of the nation of Israel a sort of colonization, for it was a place previously inhabited by an indigenous people, long before it was settled in large numbers by the people who live there today. And just like every other instance of colonization seen in history, the indigenous population has been displaced and subjugated by those who have taken control of it.

It is admitted there is something peculiar about this that has not happened anywhere else before. Israel was not settled by the people of a single nation, such as always happens when colonization takes place. But the people who came and settled there was this people we are talking about, the Jews of Europe. The Jews who immigrated to Israel in 1948 and for many years afterward are European, not the Middle Eastern in origin. This makes Israel a colony of European Jewry. Jews claim they have always occupied Israel, but there was only a minority of Jews who lived there prior to the 1948.[21] After the horrendous events of world war two, that all changed. The Jews of Europe previously had little or no interest in that part of the world. But suddenly, after the war there was a major change of heart about this supposed homeland, and with good reason. Jews being targets of persecution in Europe, this drove them to invent much of the lore we hear today about a long lost Diaspora, that has now arisen like a phoenix from the ash heap of history. So Jews left Europe in droves to settle in Israel, a possession of Great Britain, under the auspices of a United Nations charter. Israel is the colony of a group, or, class of people, rather than of a nation.

At this point, an argument arises against this view of history, of Israel and its people. The argument is that providence, that is divine history, attests to the legitimacy of the emergence, or, the re emergence if you will of the state of Israel. This argument says that Israel came about by the miraculous hand of God. It is admitted that providence was at work in this, for God is sovereign and has pre written the book of history. Furthermore, no argument is made against the legitimacy of the present political state of Israel in this study. On the contrary, since God has brought this to pass, may it be so, just as much as it was with America and its founding. Everyone knows and acknowledges that there was a native people in America before the Pilgrims landed here. And far be it from us, to suggest as some people do, that this fact makes the founding of America illegitimate. We only state the facts of the matter here, in order to get to the bottom of this issue people raise from Paul’s remarks about “all Israel” in his letter.

The present day nation state of Israel cannot be linked to Paul for this reason, on top of all the others already expounded from Scripture. The Bible is clear in showing that the inheritance of land to Israel is based on a provable blood relationship to Abraham, through Jacob and Isaac. This was done before, and must be done again if it is ever to happen again. It must be done through a renewed temple service and covenant administration. This could not happen again however, even if a temple were ever to be built in Israel. In order to claim a biblical foundation for the notion of “all Israel,” the Bible must be followed to the letter, or, as our Dispensational friends like to say, literally applied. Without a chain of custody in the form of an inspired genealogical record, linking this generation of Jew to the first century, it cannot happen. There is no way to rebuild a new temple without it, let alone decide who belongs to it afterward. No Jew today in the world can produce such a record, therefore, the claim is null and void.

Jews claim a historical connection can be made to ancient Jewry from Europe. It is admitted that Jews from the Roman district of Judea probably ended up in various parts of Europe after their dissolution in the first century. Listen to what Jews themselves say about the origin of the Ashkenazim. In the 10th and 11th century, the first Ashkenazim, Jewish merchants in France and Germany, were economic pioneers, treated well because of their trading connections with the Mediterranean and the East. Jewish communities appeared in many urban centers. Early Ashkenaz communities were small and homogeneous. Until Christian guilds were formed, Jews were craftsmen and artisans. In France, many Jews owned vineyards and made wine. They carried arms and knew how to use them in self-defense. The Jews of each town constituted an independent, self-governing entity. Each community, or kahal, established its own regulations made up by an elected board and judicial courts. They enforced their rulings with the threat of excommunication. The Ashkenazim generally shied away from outside influences and concentrated on internal Jewish sources, ideas and customs.[22]

Jews have no problem dating the beginnings of the Askhkenazim from somewhere around the 10th to the 11th Century, but they conveniently make no mention of ancient Khazaria. The reason should be obvious to anyone who studies the history. They would have to admit that Ashkenazi Jews are Caucasians, not Middle Eastern in origin. This admission would present a major problem for the notion of a returning Diaspora. We come back to a point made earlier in this study. People from the area of the world where Israel is located are dark complected, Mediterranean in appearance. This is true of people in every country located near the Mediterranean ocean. One major reason for this is the Arab influence on that part of the world in the early days of Moslem conquest. Arabs are dark complected. They settled among the people in those areas, hence the arabic appearance of virtually all Mediterranean people. Arabs are also Semitic people, the same as the ancient Hebrews.

A logical question may be asked from this. How did European Jews lose their Semitic appearance, and gain a Caucasian one, if they came from the Middle East? This especially becomes problematic to answer considering Jews do not ordinarily mingle with non Jews. We can use a certain example in order to illustrate what is meant by this remark. There are people called Roma, or, Gypsies that are found mostly in Eastern Europe, but also throughout the rest of Europe. These people have been genetically linked to India. They have the same appearance as Indians do as well, dark complected. Roma people are just like Jews, in that they keep to themselves in their own communities and do not mingle with others. It is common knowledge that appearance, and hence the races, comes from genetic mutation. What we mean by this is, that appearance within a group comes about through intermarriage among the same people over a long period of time. So how could one group of dark complected people change to white, while the other remained the same? This is an especially pertinent question, considering that dark skinned genes are far more dominant than lighter ones.

Today, we have DNA science, that can map genetic profiles of various groups of people. The result of this concerning the Jewish subgroups has been interesting to say the least. The vast majority of Jewish Geneticists have insisted DNA evidence shows that all Jews originated in the Middle East sharing a common genetic link. The problem with this is, there are also Jewish Geneticists who refute that claim.[23] Dr. Eran Elhaik, who is Jewish himself insists that genetic research shows that all Jews, of whatever subgroup they are, share the same genetic makeup of the people of the nations they live in, no matter where that is. For instance, there is a Jewish community in Iran. Jewish people there look just like other Iranians do, dark complected. Dr. Elhaik’s research shows these Jews have a direct DNA connection to the people of Iran. This could only happen through intermarriage. So it is with Askenazic Jews. They look like Europeans because they have the same DNA as the people in Europe they have lived among for centuries.

Dr. Elhaik pursued his research out of a personal desire to settle the claims of a particular author, Arthur Koestler, who wrote a book entitled The Thirteenth Tribe. The book is essentially a historical account of the origins of the Askenazic Jews from ancient Khazaria. Koestler, a Jew himself, simply compiled his book from the vast collection of historical data that has always been available. Dr. Elhaik found to his surprise, the Jewish Geneticists that insist there is a connection between Askenazic and Sephardic Jews from the Middle East are wrong. Elhaik also found there is no universal DNA link common among all Jews. These Geneticists were mistaken, they arrived at their conclusions through an improper interpretation of the DNA evidence. In fact, the history contained in Koestler’s book supported what Dr. Elhaik discovered about the Ashekenazi people. They originate from the Caucus mountain region, not the Middle East.

So how is it that a Jewish identity has survived over the course of several millennia? Jews have always been known to live in separate communities from non Jews, regardless of wherever they have lived. So we wouldn’t expect to see that much intermarriage between them and the people from those nations. Still, a long time has gone by since the days of ancient Israel. It is well known too, that many Jews have converted to other faiths, oftentimes, in order to advance themselves in that society. When a mixed a marriage happens, the offspring are still considered Jewish, and able to stay connected to people within the broader community. One biblical example of this already mentioned is Timothy, who was born of a Greek father, and a Jewish mother. He was brought up a Jew according to Paul, at least in teaching, if not by practice (Acts 16:1; II Tim. 1:5, 3:14,15). The most likely explanation for this is, Jewish people that share the DNA of those they live near, do so because of Gentile conversion into the faith. Since Jews have been scattered throughout the earth for centuries, intermarriage has completely obliterated any single genetic link between them. Therefore, no assumed direct connection to Abraham is possible through this method.

We don’t want to belabor the point about race any more than we have to. Science and history do not appear to be on the side of those who believe present day Israel is made up of people directly descended from Abraham. We also want to state for the record, none of this is said in order to deny anyone their heritage, real or imagined. Every culture from every nation on earth since the dawn of time, have developed a collective national idea of their history and heritage. And usually, there is much about it that is based on nothing more than pure fabrication. Sinful human pride does not want to record the failings and losses of previous generations. This is why there is absolutely no record in Egyptian history, of the catastrophic defeat of Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea. The Bible records it because it is the inspired word of God, therefore, we would expect to see triumph and failure, side by side together in it. Concerning the matter of the modern day Jewish claim of inheritance rights to the land of Israel however, this is something that is simply untrue.

A solution to the loss of inheritance right to the land through intermarriage has been offered by Talmudic scholars. They point to wording in the Scripture that provides an inheritance in the land to proselytes (Is. 14:1; Ez. 47:21-23). The logic they propose is that loss of a pure blood relationship to Abraham does not negate the promise. In other words, God has granted inheritance rights to Jews, whether they are Abrahams children or not. This is a clever solution, but it has problems. First of all, the inheritance was to be preserved through the male head of each tribe. This is why the death of a brother without an heir required the remaining brother to marry his wife (Deut. 25:5). In other words, the inheritance was never to be lost through his wife’s intermarriage with a proselyte.

Second of all, the texts they cite from Isaiah and Ezekiel, were both given after the loss of the land. The language of the prophets is meant to be inclusive of the world, in anticipation of the New Covenant. There is no negation of the original promise and its requirements in these texts, as though they are somehow pitted against each other. We have presented proof from Scripture there is no intention from God, in bringing people back into the land of Canaan, for some redemptive purpose. The Old Testament promises all looked toward Christ and the cross as their fulfillment. “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (II Cor. 1:20). Besides this, the Scripture says “The strangers will be joined with them” and “they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.” This means there is no inheritance for the proselyte in the land apart from an original heir. Proselytes gain their inheritance in these verses, not in their own right, but in the right of the true heir.

Without a true heir to the land, there is nothing for the proselyte to benefit from. The stranger in Israel cannot inherit a thing from them without the original heir of the land being in possession of it first. So we ask, where is the true heir to the land of Israel today? The answer is, there is none to be found among its present inhabitants. We have just gone through a lengthy dissertation to make a simple point. The point has to be made for the sake of those who are mislead by these false arguments. The fact of the matter is, there is no inheritance from God that does not come through Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death. It is absurd for Jews to reject Jesus Christ and His word, but still claim some sort of promise from Scripture to the land of Israel. Now if that is true of them, how much more is it of the Christian? We will end therefore, on this note. Paul has nothing to say in his letter whatsoever, about Jews returning to Israel in 1948. The end.

Notes:

[1] There has been a long and divisive controversy surrounding the origin of the vowel point system in the Hebrew language. For the best analysis and conclusion of it, we refer the reader to several places in the writings of John Owen. (Works, Vol. 16, chap. 5, The original of the points proposed to consideration in particular, etc.; Works, Vol. 17, Excercitation 7, Of the Judaical Distribution of the Old Testament; Works, Vol. 24, Chap. 12, Ezra’s Reformation of the Jewish Church, Digression on the Origin of the Hebrew Vowel-Points)

[2] We reject the notion that is commonly held today by many Christians that inspiration pertains only to original manuscripts. We cite II Timothy 3:15,16 as proof of this assertion. There, Paul refers to the Scripture that Timothy had access to in his youth. If Paul meant the Hebrew Old Testament, he was referring to an extant copy of it. If he was referring to the Greek Septuagint, he was referring to a translation from the Hebrew. Concerning Ezra, if the vowel points were added to new extant copies, then put into a single book, this constituted God’s preservation of His inspired words (Ps.12:6,7).

[3] There are many interesting theories about this. The question of what happened to the ten tribes of Israel after they were dispersed, has been the source of many modern Jewish and Gentile opinions. There is one theory called British Israelism that claims these people are now the inhabitants of the British Isles and America. This has been the view adopted both loosely and officially by a number of modern day religious sects, of the psuedo-christian type, namely Christian Scientism, George Armstrongism, and Christian Identityism. The Messianic orthodox Jewish movement called Brit-Am has a similar, though different view on this. They claim that the ten tribes are now spread throughout the world, to the extent that virtually all people everywhere, have Jewish blood in them. They use this to suggest that the land promise may be fulfilled by either the descendants of Abraham, or those who have adopted Jewish culture and religion. See http://www.britam.org

[4] There was no reconstitution of either the tribes of Israel, or the land inheritance of Israel after the captivity. This is a significant point, due to the fact that it would have been possible for Ezra to establish the family lines of “all Israel,” if that were indeed, the purpose of God and relevant to redemptive history. The family of our Lord had no inheritance right in Nazareth, but instead, it was in Judah (Luke 2:1-4). It is important to point out that when Augustus ordered registration for the census, he had no intention of repatriating “all Israel” to their ancestral homes. God’s purpose concerning Jesus’ birth however, is obvious from Scripture (Gen 49:10; Mic. 5:2).

[5] “The Jews of today are truly a people from many ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds.” (Quote from Jewish author John Fischer, The Olive Tree Connection, Page 96). “Jewishness, however, consists of many elements: sociological, cultural, ethnic, religious, national, racial, historical, psychological and intellectual. The strength and mixture of these elements varies from person to person. This variety, therefore makes Jewishness elusive to define.” (Page 97 of the same book).

[6] See The Jewish Encyclopedia (Published in New York between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls). See online version http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com

[7] Ibid.

[8] See Strong’s Hebrew Bible Dictionary (Hebrew words taken from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D. 1890)

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] The Spanish inquisition was a form of enforced Roman Catholic orthodoxy. Today, many people equate this solely with Jewish persecution, however, Protestant Christians suffered in larger numbers from it. What most people do not know is, Jews were not persecuted for being non Catholic, but rather for being Crypto-Jews. As in other cultures, most notably Russia under Communism, societal status is determined by either religious, political, or racial identity. Many Jews in Medieval Europe would seek Christian baptism in order to obtain better standing in the community. They would however, practice their Jewish faith secretly. This is what the Spanish Inquisition was all about, whether it was directed toward Jews first, or, toward Protestants later on after the dawn of the Reformation.

[12] See The Other 1492, Jewish Settlement in the New World by Norman H. Finkelstein (Beech Tree Books, New York 1992).

[13] See Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Beaucratic Torture, by Smadar Mavie. (Berghahn Books, April 2014).

[14] Post-Zionism and the Sephardi Question, by Meyrav Wurmser (Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2005, pp. 21-30).

[15] See The Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture, IRAN: Life of Jews Living in Iran http://www.sephardicstudies.org

[16] DNA is maternally inherited, only women pass it onto their children. Since this is the case, it is impossible for science to prove any Jew has a direct link to Abraham as their progenitor. This is extremely important concerning claims to the land of Palestine. Inheritance to the land of Israel is established in Scripture through a paternal link to Abraham (Deut. 25:5).

[17] See Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes, an article published in 2000 by Harry Ostrer, a professor of genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and University of Arizona geneticist Michael Hammer. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

[18] See World Jewish Population, by Sergio DellaPergola, an Israeli demographer and statitician. (Berman Institute, 2010. P. 59). He is considered to be the leading authority on Jewish population.

[19] “A few years later, probably AD 740, the King, his court and the military ruling class embraced the Jewish faith, and Judaism became the state religion of the Khazars. No doubt their contemporaries were as astonished by this decision as modern scholars were when they came across the evidence in the Arab, Byzantine, Russian and Hebrew sources. One of the most recent comments is to be found in a work by the Hungarian Marxist historian, Dr Antal Bartha. His book on The Magyar Society in the Eighth and Ninth Centuries4 has several chapters on the Khazars, as during most of that period the Hungarians were ruled by them.” (The 13th Tribe, by Arthur Koestler, page 4).

[20] See Prov. 20:21.” The verse tells us in a loose translation that is faithful to the meaning, “If you steal a legacy that is not yours, you will be hated [more literally its end result will not be blessed/secure].” (Quote by Joachim Martillo, Issues and Questions In the Historiography of Pre-State Zionism, Page 5).

[21] Estimate of the population at June 30th, 1937, classified by “race” (The Holy Land, Arab or Jew, by R. Gordon-Canning).

Arabs ….. 971,000

Jews ……. 386,000

Others …… 26,000

Total ….1,383,000

[22] See Jewish Virtual Library online (Judaism: Ashkenazim by Shira Schoenberg)http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org

[23] See Highlight-Out of Khazaria—Evidence for “Jewish Genome” Lacking. And The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses. By Dr. Eran Elhaik, a Geneticist at Johns Hopkins University.

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