We're Abraham's Seed and Heirs, Not Gentiles
Where did the notion come from that Christians are gentiles? For those of you wishing to point me to John 3:16, please see the Feature articles, And It's Still A Mystery and Moving Forward. The apostles in the first century, Paul in particular, understood the change in the theological landscape with Christ's first coming. This knowledge is missing from modern day Christianity thanks to the false prophets that have corrupted the Gospel over the millennia. There is a misconception that Christ came to save all the gentiles of the world. But this was not the first century understanding of the gospel, the fundamental change that took place according to the Biblical record.
The focus of the Old Testament was the law covenant made with Moses and the children of Israel. The focus of the New Testament is the covenant made with Abraham and his Seed, Christ, the root and offspring of David as King and Redeemer of Israel [Isa. 44:6], and the children of the House of Israel. [Mat. 15:24]. And as Paul wrote in the New Testament Book of Hebrews, "He [Christ] is not taking upon himself, to help the angels, but he is taking upon himself to help the seed of Abraham." [Heb. 2:16]. It's all part of our history, the history of Israel. It's not the history of the gentiles of the world. Christ brought us the gift of life, eternal life through the promise of God made to Abraham and his Seed, Christ. Christ's death annulled the power of Satan, the devil which has the power of death. [See Hebrews, chapter 2].
For surely, He is not taking upon Himself to help the angels; but He is taking upon Himself to help the seed of Abraham. (A Faithful Version)
The theological shift made by Christ was his covering the debt of the law covenant by his death and resurrection, thereby redeeming his kinsman, initiating his fulfilling of the Law and the Prophets [the first two divisions of the Old Testament] on behalf of the children of Israel. [Mat. 5:17]. Christ instituted the covenant made with Abraham built on faith and grace beginning with the House of Israel in this age. Consequently, it was not a shift from the Jews to the gentiles of the world. Rather, it was a shift from the House of Judah to the House of Israel who, for the 700 years or so preceding Christ's first coming, were outside the covenant relationship with God, which is why a redeemer was needed. "As for our Redeemer [Heb. Ga'al], the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel." [Isa. 47:4; see the Feature article, The Good News Colour Revolution]. Redeem, after all, is to regain possession of something, the lost sheep of the House of Israel, in exchange for payment, the body and blood of Christ. Hence, the redeeming of the House of Israel to their inheritance. [Mat. 15:24].
The very first verse of the New Testament tells us to whom the New Testament is directed, and it's all in the family. "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." No gentiles here. Then, just six verses from the end of the New Testament, we read in the book of Revelation, "I, Jesus, have sent my messenger to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star." The New Testament is as much for Israel as is the Old Testament. Conversely, the Old Testament is as much for Christians as is the New Testament. It's all one story written to and for the same people. Twenty-first century Christianity misses this pivotal point of understanding.
Gentiles of the world are not considered the children of Abraham, Isaac and Israel [Jacob]. In fact, Biblically, gentiles would be considered everyone NOT the children of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, all those outside the law covenant relationship with God. As the apostle Paul pointed out, Abram had a son of a bondwoman, Hagar, and as Abraham he had a son of a freewoman, Sarah, with whom he begat Isaac who begat Israel. Which one is the covenant heir with Christ, those of the bondwoman, the gentiles or those of the freewoman, the nations of Israel? [See Gen. 17:1-8, 19-21].
In the New Testament, Paul makes our answer abundantly clear. "Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.' So then, brethren [fellow Christians], we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free." [Gal. 4:30, 31]. Or as it reads in the Old Testament, "... for the son of the bondwoman [Ishmael] shall not be heir with my son, Isaac." [Gen. 21:10]. These prophetic words were spoken by Sarah, wife of Abraham. And Isaac's son, of course, is Israel. And Israel's sons, with the exception of Judah, the Jews, are the House of Israel, to whom Christ said he was only sent. [See the Feature article, What Exactly Is The Gospel?].
Keep in mind the bondwoman and the freewoman are not references to those under the law covenant and the gentiles of the world. It is a reference to the covenant made with Abraham, which pre-dated the law covenant by more than 400 years. Paul is telling us that Christians are not gentiles, but literally are the seed line, the children of both Abraham and Isaac, father to Israel. [See Rom. 9:7]. This does not mean we are Jews or those of the House of Judah, either. Remember, Judah was only one of Israel's twelve sons. [Gen. 49].
After leaving Egypt, all the children of Israel, including those of Judah, did fall under the legal force of the law covenant. And sin is defined as the transgression of the law. [1 John 3:4]. According to the Biblical record, then, the only ones to whom sin legally can be imputed are those under the law covenant. Also, faith is not of the law. Therefore, whatever is not of faith, meaning the faith covenant with Abraham, is of the law covenant whereby sin is imputed. [See Rom. 14:23]. The law covenant was in force at the time of Christ's first coming. By redeeming those under the law covenant, those to whom sin was imputed, Israel, Christ's death and resurrection made available the covenant promises of eternal redemption and eternal inheritance given to Abraham, father of the faithful, which are contained in the first division of the Old Testament. As Christ said, he came to fulfill not to destroy.
Paul made the point that Christ came "to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." [Gal. 4:1-7]. This is the gospel, or good news, that was preached by Christ. But Christ didn't come to redeem the whole world. Who was under the law, as in the Law and the Prophets, the gentiles of the world or Israel? So who did Christ come to redeem? As our kinsman Redeemer, he came to save all twelve nations of Israel. [See Luke 1:68; Tts. 2:14]. And they were to receive the full rights as heirs according to the promises given to Abraham. [See the Sneakers article, His Treasured Possession].
To reinforce this point unequivocally, to whom does Christ, the Redeemer, say he was sent? Addressing his remark to a gentile woman, Christ said, "I am sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." [Mat. 15:24]. While Christianity tends to ignore this extremely plain statement by Christ today, it is exactly the point Paul made about the son of the bondwoman not being heir with the son of the freewoman. If we knew nothing else but this, we would see for whom Christ's first coming was meant.
For an understanding of what was happening at Christ's first coming, we need a brief history lesson. For a more detailed analysis, see chapter six of The Blind Man's Elephant, p.185. Abraham is the patriarch of Israel through his son Isaac. Israel had twelve sons. Each son had a family that became so numerous that each came to be referred to as a tribe, and later as a nation. The reference to nations in the Biblical record, unless specifically delineated otherwise, refer to the nations of Israel. All Israel, all twelve nations of Israel, came to be united as one under King Saul, a descendant of Israel's son Benjamin, and then forty years later under King David, of the nation of Judah. His son Solomon became king upon David's death. But Solomon sort of got off track with his 1000 wives and concubines, not following the ways of the Lord as diligently as his father. Upon the death of Solomon, God split the twelve nations of Israel into two entities. One nation, Judah, the Jews, became the House of Judah.1 The nation of Levi was the priesthood in service to God. And the other ten nations of Israel became the House of Israel. If Christ can be believed, this is the same House of Israel Christ said he was only sent to in the first century. [See the Covenant Flow Chart at the end of the Feature article, The Tale Of Two Covenants].
With this in mind, let's read what it says in Matthew chapter four about Christ's ministry. "And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet [Isa. 9:1, 2], saying, 'The land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles ... the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" [Mat. 4:12-17; see the Feature article, The War Dispatches, also Israel-Judah map].
Reading this as isolated verses, we could come to the conclusion that Christ came to save the gentiles of the world. This error is due to translating the Greek word ethnos as Gentiles rather than nations as it was meant originally referencing the divorced condition of the nations of the Kingdom or the House of Israel.
Matthew is quoting the Old Testament here. And as this is a quote from the Old Testament, it should give us a big clue as to its intended audience. A bigger clue is that both Zebulun and Naphtali are two nations of the House of Israel! [See Gen. 49]. The Old Testament, obviously, was not written to the gentiles of the world, but rather it is all about Abraham's and Isaac's descendants, the nations of Israel. How is it that this Old Testament quote suddenly refers to the Gentiles in the New Testament whereas in Isaiah's Old Testament account it reads, "Galilee of the nations" in the context of Israel?
What got lost in the translation was the fact that the King James translators bought into the notion, given to us by Jerome with his creative "Orwellian" Latin Vulgate translation, that as Christians are not Jews, they must be gentiles, and not of Israel. [See the Feature article, Moving Forward]. Therefore, Christ had to be the savior of the gentiles, the non-Israelites, of the world. This faulty logic, and lack of knowledge of our birthright heritage, guided their translation.
However, from the time of the House of Israel's divorce until being redeemed by Christ more than 700 years later, the House of Israel was indeed as any other heathens or gentiles outside a covenant relationship with God. While this situation placed them outside the law covenant, our ancestors remained the children of promise, descendants and heirs of Abraham and Isaac. [Gal. 3:17, 18]. They were outside the law covenant relationship of Moses because of their adultery, meaning they turned away from God to seek after false gods. "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding [House of] Israel committed adultery, I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister [House of] Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also." [Jer. 3:8; also see the Feature article, Our Corrupted Compass].
The nations of the House of Israel were divorced. The House of Judah, the Jews weren't. Thus, as far as the law covenant relationship, Judah was still in, but the nations of the House of Israel were out. In the book of the prophet Zechariah, in reference to Christ's first coming, it states, "Then I [Christ] cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel." [Zec. 11:14]. As it was stated above, the shift or the breaking of the brotherhood, from the Old Testament to the New Testament was a shift from the House of Judah and the law covenant to the House of Israel and the faith covenant of Abraham through his Seed, Jesus Christ. [See the Feature article, Can A Christian Sin?].
The Hebrew word, gowy and the Greek word, ethnos in reference to the nations of the House of Israel recognizes their divorced state or being outside their covenant relationship with God up to the day of Pentecost in the first century. [See the Feature article, Three Times In God's Plan]. Hence, both the Hebrew gowy and the Greek ethnos are oftentimes translated as heathen or gentile, which has led to much confusion. As a result, context is important in determining what is meant provided one understands that the Biblical record is one story written to and about the same people. [See the Feature article, Three Temple Ages Make A Plan].
Despite their divorce under the terms of the law covenant, the House of Israel was eligible for the promises made to Abraham. "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot annul, that it should make the promise [given to Abraham and his seed] of none effect." [Gal. 3:17]. In other words, even though the House of Israel was divorced over the failure to keep the ordinances of the law covenant, we remain the family of Abraham, the Seed of Christ.
Christ, as the Seed of Abraham, clearly said he was sent only to redeem the lost sheep of the House of Israel with a ransom, his blood and his life to cover the debt to the law covenant. Why does Christianity ignore him? As we read in Luke, Christ said to Zacchaeus, "This day is salvation come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." [Luke 19:9,10]. And it was only the divorced nations of the House of Israel, the sons of Abraham that were lost from their covenant relationship with God.
Thus, upon Christ's resurrection, the House of Israel was not only reinstated into a covenant relationship with God, it was a better covenant, one built on grace and faith and not one of the law and works of the flesh. "But now has he [Christ] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises," promises given to Abraham and us because we, too, are the sons of Abraham. [Heb. 8:6].
But this was not apparent to those who translated the King James Bible. In the King James Version we read, "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all nations be blessed.'" "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." [Gal. 3:8,14].
First, we need to ask ourselves, how can it be that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles, the son of the bondwoman, through Jesus Christ when the scripture plainly says, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son ... [who] shall not be heir with my son Isaac?" The reason for the misunderstanding is that the English words heathen, Gentiles and nations here are all the same Greek word, ethnos. It is the same word that was mistranslated gentiles in 'Galilee of the Gentiles' in Matthew's Old Testament quote of Isaiah. When we realize that Christ was sent only to the divorced, i.e., lost sheep, the lost nations of the House of Israel, then the word ethnos should read nations, referencing Israel in all three examples. [See the Feature article, The Good News Colour Revolution].
Reading it this way, it is in agreement with the fact that Abraham's heirs are descendants of his son Isaac, and his son Israel. "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations [of Israel] through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all nations [of Israel] be blessed.'" "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the nations [of Israel] through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." This is consistent with Biblical context and fits perfectly for it is as Christ said, he was sent only to the lost nations of the House of Israel.
In the Old Testament prophesy in Isaiah, Edom [Israel's brother, nee Esau, Gen. 25:25, 26] is complaining to God about their loss [they sold it] of the birthright inheritance, [i.e., being heirs], "I Edom will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the House of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to his mercies, according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For He said, 'Surely they [House of Israel] are my people, children who will not lie.' So, He became their Savior." [Isa. 63:7, 8; also see the Feature article, Why Do We Believe The Lies?].
And when Christ sent out the twelve apostles, he told them not to go into the way of the gentiles, nor any city of the Samaritans, "But rather go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, and preach, saying 'The kingdom of God is at hand.'" [Mat. 10:6, 7]. The context of gentiles here shows us that Christ meant those not of Israel. [See the Feature article, Damascus A Heap Of Ruins].
And on the very first day of Christianity, Pentecost and the receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit through faith, the apostle Peter addressed his remarks saying, "Therefore let all the House of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified [due to the divorce, Jer. 3:8], both Lord and Christ." [Acts 2:36]. Again, no gentiles of the world. Are we to believe that Christ, Peter, the apostle upon whom he said he would build his church and all the other apostles in the first century, got this wrong? If not, then why do we believe we are gentiles to this day?
The House of Israel, Christians, today need to be aware of our true Biblical identity. We are not some group of gentiles who happen to believe in Christ, the very same Christ who said, "I am sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel ... children who will not lie." Who is the liar? Christ or the Anti-Christ? Yet do Christians believe we are the lost sheep of the House of Israel as Christ said? Then, who is it that we believe?
Which nations are blessed in Abraham? Is it all the nations of the world, the gentiles or specific nations, as in all the nations of Israel, the children of Abraham and Isaac? [See the Feature article, Is The US (And UK) In End-times Bible Prophecy?]. When Israel was in slavery in Egypt, we read, "And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob [Israel]." [Exd. 2:24].
This is important for Christians today because as Paul reminded the Christians in the Corinth church in the first century, "Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." [1 Cor. 10:1-4; see the Feature article, The Tie That Binds].
The covenant was not made with all the nations of the world, but only with Abraham, his son Isaac and Abraham's grandson, Israel. And Christ is the Seed of Abraham. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, which is Christ." [Gal. 3:16; also see the Sneakers article, What About Everyone Else?]
So who then could these nations be that would be justified through faith, to whom the good news, the same gospel Christ brought to Christians possibly be, "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the nations [ethnos] through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." [Gal. 3:14].
Our answer is found in both the Old and New Testaments. "And I [God] will establish my covenant between me and you [Abraham] and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto you, and to your seed after you. And God said unto Abraham, You shall keep my covenant therefore, you, and your seed after you in their generations." [Gen. 17:7-9]. The covenant promises made with Abraham and his generations, are between God and Abraham's descendants through Christ [See Mat. 1:1]. No one else is included. So then who would that apply to today, the children of the bondwoman, gentiles of the world or the nations of Israel, Abraham's generations?
Who are Christians according to the word of God? We find our answer in the New Testament, "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." [Gal. 3:29]. The word seed here is the Greek, sperma, which means physical seed, hence Abraham's generations or descendants. It is not a metaphorical reference to gentiles of the world. Remember, the children of the bondwoman, gentiles, are not considered heirs of the covenant. The children of Abraham, Isaac and Israel are. It's just as it was stated in Genesis. God established his covenant between Abraham and his generations, including Christ, who as our kinsman Redeemer literally was blood kin to those of us of Israel, for an everlasting covenant.
An everlasting covenant would include 21st century Christians. Those descendants of the House of Israel who have repented, changed, and have received the promise of the Spirit of God are considered heirs, for they are Christ's. This is what separates the House of Israel from everyone else in this age. It is one reason why we are attacked for our "white supremacy," led by our brother Esau/Edom who seeks to regain the lost birthright he sold, though we are unaware of this casus belli. And it is this knowledge of our heritage that should be guiding our daily actions rather than the heathen practices we so eagerly embrace.
The ethnos, the nations in the New Testament that Christ, as the seed of Abraham came to redeem are the lost sheep, the lost nations of the House of Israel just as Christ said. And when Christ said to the gentile woman that he was only sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, the gentile woman replied, "Lord, help me." And what was Jesus Christ's response to this gentile woman? "But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." [Mat. 15:26].
This is hardly the reply we would expect Christ to make if was was sent to redeem the gentiles of the world. It's all about the covenants. Christians are the children of the House of Israel, the sons of Abraham. The shift from the Old Covenant to the New was a shift from the House of Judah to the House of Israel until Christ's second coming, when both the House of Judah and the House of Israel will have their brotherhood mended, fulfilling the day of Atonement. [Eze. 37:16-28; Heb. 8:8]. There is a reason why the Christian Bible contains both the Old and New Testaments, after all.
Perhaps the question we need to be asking is, why do we think we are gentiles rather than who we really are? Where did this idea come from? And in whose interest is it to keep us from knowing the truth? The startling answer to this question is detailed in chapter six of The Blind Man's Elephant. It's something every Christian needs to know. [See the Feature article, Is That You, Big Brother?].
1 While the tribe of Benjamin, of whom the apostle Paul belonged, initially aligned themselves with Judah [1 Kings 12:21], they are counted with the House of Israel in the Christian age.
Italics and [ ] are the author's.
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"And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."