176) The Hebrews Consist of Many Cultures

The Jews in Paul’s day defined themselves as the sole heirs to God’s covenant with Abraham. This is a misperception, however, which only Bible scholars at that time recognized.

Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham [the Hebrew], concerning the house of [only one of his children] Jacob,

“Zacharias [Priest and father of John the Baptist] was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying…As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began…to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we…might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life…And thou, child…shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

  • to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins
  • to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.” (Luke 1)

Zacharias is quoting the scriptures, specifically the reference to Gentile children of Abraham.

“in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:1-2)

And sure enough, John the Baptizer gets it.

“John the son of Zacharias…came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

  • As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet
  • ALL FLESH shall see the salvation of God

Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, Bring forth therefore fruits / products worthy of repentance, and [don’t even!] begin to say [so much as secretly] within yourselves

  • we have Abraham to our father
  • for…God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Luke 2)

galileeThe stones that John points to were likely the building blocks transforming rural Galilee and the Deca-polis / Ten Cities around the Jordan River into a major urban international crossroads.

Tracking the social and political changes during Jesus’ time poses one of the great challenges to understanding biblical history more fully…

When Herod Antipas took over Galilee in Jesus’ time, it was a rural region on Judea’s margins…

Herod Antipas transformed sleepy Galilee by building bustling urban centers of government, commerce, and recreation. The crown jewels of his building program were Tiberias and Sepphoris…

the socioeconomic impact of Antipas’ two cities of Galilee in Jesus’ time was enormous…archaeological evidence has indicated that within one generation – the very time of Jesus – some 8,000 to 12,000 people moved into Sepphoris and Tiberias…

The socioeconomic changes and uncertainties faced in 100 AD provided golden opportunities for YHVH’s witnesses to proclaim the advantages of transferring citizenship from the earthly Roman empire to God’s Hebrew kingdom led by his Israelite leaders.

Don’t the same circumstances apply in 2100 AD?

It was Paul’s humility in lowering his identity from that of a privileged national in a uniquely favored relationship with YHVH to a universal average Joe that qualified him to be the rare apostle to the Gentiles.

Why do you think there were so many apostles to the Jews and so few to the Gentiles? Because even messianic Jews couldn’t bring themselves to give up their privileges and prerogatives.

It is easy to see how Paul’s egalitarian association with the Gentiles would have appalled even the Messianic Jews as much as interracial couples in the Deep South, regardless of the Emancipation proclamation. I’ve rearranged the order of the phrases to demonstrate the parallels.

From Moses gloriously on Mount Sinai:

  • “Ye are the children of the LORD your God
  • thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God
  • the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” (Deuteronomy 14:1-2)

From Paul ignominiously in prison,

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God [vs election by the majority 11 disciples], to the [Jewish and Gentile] saints which are at Ephesus

the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

  • adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself…
  • holy and without blame before him in love / merged identities:
  • chosen us before the foundation of the world
    • ergo, trumping the establishment of the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai. (Ephesians 1:1-5)


  • quickened  / brought to life us together with Christ…
  • raised us up together [in status as favored royalty], and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…
  • ye being in time past Gentiles [i.e. belonging to the Roman nation] in the flesh...
  • aliens from the commonwealth of Israel
  • strangers from the covenants of promise [starting with redemption from the bondage and death from sin through the Seed of the Woman, and pledge to Noah, and promises to Abraham] 
  • having no hope, and without God in the world;
  • But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ…
  • who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 
  • that he might reconcile both unto God in one body…
  • Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God“ (Ephesians 2)

The letter to the Ephesians addresses current events and stressors facing the new Gentile believers in the first century AD, hence the focus on the Commonwealth of Israel. By that time the nation of Israel was in fact the last bastion of YHVH’s salvation.

The inclusion of any non-Jewish person into the Gentile ethnic group is a well-meaning backlash against the fervent racism of the Bible Belt which dehumanized Africans and other Aboriginal ethnic groups. But it is not biblical. But that doesn’t support racism either.

Biblically Gentiles are defined as

  • the descendants of Japheth
  • who would dwell / permanently reside in the tents / tabernacles of [Melchizedek] Shem
  • coming to pass initially with Abraham, Shem’s heir to the position of Melchizedek.

“God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell / permanently reside in the tents / transitory living spaces of Shem” (Genesis 9:27)

The map of the permanent foothold into Semitic territory by ancient Indo-Europeans proves that Noah’s blessing came true.


caucasus-map1“The sons of Japheth…By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” (Genesis 10:2-5)

During the still ancient time of the Judges, Gentiles were defined as a distinct ethnic group from the Hamitic Canaanites. They can be identified as Caucasians, the Caucasus Mountains segment of the Indo-Europeans.

The next references to the Gentiles are found in multiple places in Isaiah’s prophecies for the future, not reporting current interactions in Isaiah’s time. These prophecies would have been obscure at the time Isaiah gave them, but Daniel would have understood their application to the future Gentile kingdoms of his revelations, beginning with Greece.

Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt?…Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. 

  • Stay yourselves, and wonder;
  • cry ye out, and cry:
  • they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 
  • For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes:
  • the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 
  • And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 
  • And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 

Wherefore the LORD said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 

This absolutely describes Israel’s leadership in Jesus’ day.

On the bright side, despite their function as conquerors, through their interaction with the people of God many of the Gentiles would convert to faith in YHVH, as with the preceding Semitic Babylonian and Persian Empires,

And in every [Persian] province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.” (Esther 8:17)

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