Galatians and Israel Exclusive
by Arnold Kennedy
Although Identity believers are convinced of the basic concepts of identity, that is:
That Jesus came to save “His people” from their sins.
That Jesus says He was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The Law and the Word was given as a covenant to Israel only.
That Israel in the New Testament is still the same people they were in the Old Testament.
That the so-called Gentiles in Romans and Galatians could only be Israelites.
That “The Jews” of the New Testament are not Israelites, that is, they are not Judahites.
… they still have areas, particularly in the book of Galatians, where they tend to get tossed about by every wind of doctrine, especially in regard to the words Greeks, together with the difference between Christ, Jesus, Jesus Christ, The Lord Jesus Christ and Christ Jesus. To say that the words are always interchangeable is a presumption. Churches allow the presumption, even if it is an error, as we shall see.
In two critical verses, Galatians 3:16 and Gal 3:29, the word, christos, is used. The word simply means “anointed.” The concordances erroneously present things like, Christ, The Messiah, an epithet of Jesus. This is saying that “christ” is a surname of Jesus. This stays in people’s minds as if it were the truth, because we have been taught to think that way from usage. This is far from right. When we see the expression “Jesus Christ” it is hard to imagine why the Apostle Paul chose to leave Iesou [Jesus] out in some passages whereas he chose to put in others, without having some reason for doing so. In both Gal 3:16 and Gal 3:29 the word Iesou (Jesus) is not there:
3:16 but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.
3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
In these two critical verses we have something else which is anointed! What can it be? What is the subject? Is it not the seed of Abraham, in their generations, according to the original promise? Hence Gal. 3:16 reads and to thy seed which is anointed and Gal. 3:29 reads and if ye be an anointed (people) then ye are Abraham’s seed. The churches try to spiritualize the matter of Abraham’s seed. We will look at this first.
Can the Promises Made to Abraham’s Seed Be Spiritualised?
This is a major issue! That is, are people of every race who are “converted” now the seed of Abraham? Is Jesus the epitome of the whole group? Churches say this as if Jesus had a seed in fact! Answers in the affirmative are the foundation of the traditional teachings. They have become the standard teachings since the Reformation. In essence they teach a generalisation that God does not [and did not] exhibit His Sovereign nature and make choices on a national or racial basis. That this is clear in the Old Testament is partially accepted by them, but any suggestion that God has not changed in the New Testament is rejected absolutely.
Historically, Rome brought in the teaching that she was the one true church and that anyone of any race could be converted into the church by acceptance of that church’s dogmas, sacraments and traditions. The Roman church taught that she was Israel. Anyone who was not of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church was stated to be a Gentile. This concept has carried into Protestantism from Bible translations based on the Latin Vulgate. Instead of meaning a non-Roman, “gentile” has come to mean a non-Israelite. This was the concept that Martin Luther had, as did some of the reformers. The word “gentile” has been a problem ever since. The present view held by the churches has its origin with the Roman Mother of Harlots and is not in Scripture.
Translators render ethnos (nations) in different ways. They do likewise with the word hellen (Greek). Both hellen and ethnos are translated as “gentile” when it suits the translators, in order to perpetuate the Roman doctrine. Presumably it was considered that because the Greeks were not of the Jewish nation, they were not considered to be Israelites. In the Old Testament, we find promises that are made to Abraham which carry through to Abraham’s seed, through Isaac. That is, they are made to the people of Israel. The question that arises is, If the promises were made to Jesus, as being that promised ‘seed’ of Gal. 3:16, does this mean that Jesus is Israel? The teaching that Jesus was the promised seed of Gal. 3:16 is seen to be false, when the verse is carefully translated, directly from the Greek
Now to Abraham and to the seed of him, the promises were spoken. He says not, And to the seeds as of many, but as of one, and to the seed of thee which is anointed. Gal. 3:29 supports this translation and a careful translation gives:
But if you are belonging to an anointed [people], then you are of the seed belonging to Abraham, and heirs according to promise.
Note well that it is “you”, not Jesus who is Abraham’s seed. “You” here is emphatic and plural.
In the AV verses we find interesting words like, Abraham and his seed, promises, as of one, Christ and heirs according to the promise. Each of these phrases in the Greek presents a different picture from what is presented by the churches. In Scripture, Jesus is, amongst other things:
1. The Redeemer of Israel
2. The Saviour of Israel
3. The King of Israel
If the seed of Jesus is now spiritual Israel, then Jesus would have to be His own redeemer. But in fact, Jesus has no “seed.”
Who Are These “Heirs according to the Promise?
The latter part of verse 29 tells us a lot more, and it helps us to understand more about the but as of one in verse 16, the word kleronomos (heir) means a sharer by lot or getting by apportionment [Strong G2818] and Thayer confirms, one who receives by lot. The promise is epaggelia [Strong G1860] and means a divine assurance or pledge. What was the pledge God made? To whom was it made? To whom was it later confirmed? To find out and to be certain, we must consider the original covenant.
Who Is the Seed to Whom the Original Covenants Were Made?
Addressing Abraham, God says, And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee (Gen. 17:1).
Here we have to note some important things. If Jesus is the one seed, then all generations between Abraham and Jesus have been dis-inherited from the covenant! If we say that this promise was made only to Abraham and to “Christ,” then it could not have been also confirmed to Isaac and Jacob and their descendants. But it was in fact confirmed to Isaac and Jacob; thus it includes those living between Abraham and Jesus and to Jacob’s descendants after the time of Jesus.
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers (Rom. 15:8).
Scripture says the promises were made to The Fathers and not “Jesus Christ.” We are not told that Jesus came to confirm the promises made to Himself, are we? So, the fulfilment must be taken the way it is stated in Scripture. It is fulfilled in the seed of the Fathers. Looking again at the AV version of Galatians 3:16, now unto Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many, but as of one, and to thy seed which is Christ, we can see by this statement that there is a limitation of the promise to just one party, namely “the fathers.” Being of Israel, Jesus would be of that party. Here we have to ask a very simple question, and that is, if “christ” (an anointed) means “Jesus Christ” would this not mean, that as Jesus was called ‘God with us’, He would be making a covenant with Himself?
What purpose would there be for God to make a covenant with Himself? Sincere seekers are misled by this translation which puts a capital ‘C’ in christ, because it tries to say that the seed of Abraham is now the seed of Jesus. There is no in their generations when taken this way. The divine pledge of Genesis 17:7 was made to Abraham and would not be valid if it was not for all generations, or in their generations. In their generations is plural! Yes? Jesus is singular! Yes? Therefore the interpretation of and thy seed which is Christ, must be wrong. That the usual interpretation is quite unacceptable can be concluded without great depth of Greek study. R. K. Phillips in his What Saith the Scriptures reads the Greek text of Gal. 3 this way:
Verse 26 For ye are all Sons of God through faith, in an anointed [people] of [belonging to] Jesus [christo is representing a noun in this phrase].
Verse 29 And, if ye belong to an anointed [people] then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.
Now before anybody rises up in wrath and indignation, let me agree at once that ‘Iesou’ is the same for the dative form as for the genitive form, so ‘en christo Iesou’ has two possible translations: 1) In an anointed [one] Jesus, which simply means Jesus Christ. 2) In an anointed [people] of [belonging to] Jesus.
Then Mr. Phillips asks what excuse there might be for not translating the word Christo/s/ou, pointing out that a transliterated word means nothing in another language. He also points out that checking this with a concordance will only repeat the error of the translators.
Note: When we consider Gal. 3:26 and 29, christos is used as the dative and genitive cases respectively. The dative must be used after the preposition en in verse 26 (in an anointed). In verse 29 it occurs as the genitive, of, or belonging to an anointed.
If we want to keep on choosing a translation which is not in context to prove a point then we must be making a mistake. This is trying to make the verse fit the theory! One of the reasons why the latter translation is not acceptable was given by a Greek “expert” as being, because the Gentiles are not Israelites. But, as the so-called Gentiles that the Apostle Paul addressed in Scripture were outcast Israelites, then the latter translation must be right in this context. It is understandable why the first translation is accepted almost universally. Firstly, it is because of the misuse of “gentile,” and secondly because the word christos has been transliterated to always mean ‘Jesus Christ,’ by translators from early times and this is the problem.
“As of One” and “The Anointed Seed”
Gal. 3:16, Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
This expression, as of one in this verse is commonly taken as as of ONE, inferring Jesus is the ONE. This is the historical interpretation and most commentaries and lexicons comment from this basis. Many will make comments like, a unique use of the singular [Vine] or will admit that this tends to be at variance with the genius of the original languages.
Vine: “The children of the promise are counted for the ‘seed’ points firstly to Isaac’s birth …. The ‘children of the promise’ indicates that the seed are indeed plural.” From the many meanings of heis (one), it is possible to regard either Jesus or Isaac as being the “one” seed of Gal. 3:16. Abraham had six sons apart from Isaac and these are who this verse refers to as the many. But the seed as of one refers to Abraham (and Sarah)’s seed which was IN Isaac (Gen. 21:12), that is, Jacob and his descendants. Romans 9:7 confirms that Isaac is the ‘one seed’—But in Isaac shall thy seed be called. This shows the fulfilment of Genesis 21:12 as being in Isaac’s seed. Then the Scripture continues on to say that Isaac is the one or the “one seed.”
Rom. 9:10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; So the one here is Isaac, and not Jesus. If we accept the meaning that it is the seed of Abraham through Isaac which is anointed, does Scripture make better sense? Do both Testaments then agree? Do they not then witness together?
“In Christ” or “In Jesus”
The churches today use the expression in Jesus when at times they should use in christ or vice-versa. This is not just splitting hairs. The Bible expression in christ may be a far cry from in Jesus. The expression in Jesus comes from the doctrine that is in question here. In Jesus, covers up the meaning of in christ (in an anointed), the latter sometimes having to do with a certain anointed people. These people can be found through both Testaments. They are that way from conception. But being born that way (in christ (in an anointed people)) does not make them in Jesus under the New Testament.
When we consider that Iesou (Jesus) occurs 683 times and the word christos (christ) only 300 times, why should we treat them as being interchangeable? The text joins them together when they should be joined together. The Apostle Paul sometimes joined them together and sometimes he did not. He must have had a reason. God must have had a reason. But the churches think of both words as always having the same meaning, despite the variety of combinations and grammar in which the words are used.
Let us consider an example to show the point. 2 Cor. 6:15—”… what concord hath Christ with Belial? …” Young’s Concordance points out that ‘Belial’ should not be regarded as a proper name and Belial simply means a worthless person. In the Old Testament, Belial categorises a particular type of person. In this context we can either assert Jesus has some association with Belial-type people or we can translate it properly as what concord hath an anointed (person) with Belial (worthless person). This is in keeping with the context of the chapter, which contrasts several other classes of things with each other. Notice that each class is of the same type:
1. Righteous with unrighteous (two classes of behaviour)
2. Light with darkness (two components of visible spectrum)
3. Believer with an infidel (two types of spiritual attitude)
4. Temple of God with idols (two attitudes)
Therefore we can go contrary to the other instances and compare “christ” (taken as a specific person) with Belial (a category of person) or we can compare an anointed person (a type of person) with Belial (a type of person).
Heb 11:26, (Moses) esteeming the reproach of christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt …. What did Moses know at that time about Jesus if Jesus was Christ in this context? Jesus had not then been born. His name shall be called Jesus, but He was not so named at the time of Moses. What Moses did know about in his day was the anointed people! To deny this is to show an impossible bias to believe a lie. Strong words. They need to be! Moses esteemed the reproach of an anointed people greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. The account of Moses’ life bears this out—the fact that he identified with the Israelites, after having been raised in Pharaoh’s household, and slew the Egyptian, and suffered by having to run for his life, rather than live on in the palace and become Pharaoh in due course.
To become absolutely clear about the use of the word christos, it is necessary to determine if this was the name God gave to His Son, or if it was a title given Him by men. It can be demonstrated that the word is sometimes a common noun in the New Testament and that it is sometimes a proper noun or title.
Gal. 3:19-20, Wherefore serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels, in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
God had made a covenant with Abraham and his seed, in their generations, which was not displaced through the Law. The law was added because of transgressions, until the seed arrived to whom the promise had been made in the will (verses 19, 29). This seed still has to be Abraham’s seed, in their generations for the promise made to Abraham to remain valid. Now, this mediator must be in the middle of two parties. He cannot be one of the parties, can He? 1 Tim. 2:5 tells us that there is one mediator between God and man. Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all, “all” being all of those who were being bought back. This is Israel alone! If God is one as we are told, could the Law be directly opposed to the promise? The mediator of the New Testament God made with Israel, was the man Jesus Anointed. The mediation was with the same people who broke the Old Testament. The heirs are still the same people. The next chapter of Galatians confirms them as being those who were under the Law. This is Israel ALONE! The Law was the schoolmaster to bring us to Jesus who fulfilled the added law (of sacrifice) by making the ultimate sacrifice and thereby doing away with the added law. There is no scope at all to include any other peoples.
Whatever one believes about this matter is mostly influenced by what is taken to be the meaning of the word “gentile.” The wording of the translations are in line with the beliefs of the translators and it is this that creates the difficulties in understanding. Some scholars even say that they translate the way they do because they say the word “gentile” must apply to all non-Israelites. Why ever must it so apply? This is the preconception most Christians have. The word essentially refers to Israelites who were at that time scattered throughout the nations of the known world and especially the nations of the former Greek empire. When we accept who the Gentiles are, then it is no longer necessary to bend it is written to fit the popular belief. Then we find harmony between the promise and their New Testament fulfilment. It is interesting to note that while Paul mentioned several times about going to the “gentiles” there is no record of him ever having gone to non-Israelites!
“Neither Jew nor Greek
Gal. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. If we apply what we have learnt about christos to this passage, we find it reads: for ye are all one in an anointed [people]. This is parallel with:
1 Cor. 12:13 For by spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles (Hellen—Greeks), whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one spirit.
In saying that there is no difference between Jews and Greeks, it must be noted that the terms are national rather than racial. Both are of one descent from Israel, as Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:29). All Israelites, whether Judean or Greek speaking, whether male or female, or whether slaves or masters, are accepted. These two verses say the same thing and the interesting thing here is again in the translations. In both verses “Greeks” and “Gentiles” are the same word Hellen in the Greek text. Even the NIV translates Hellen as “Gentiles” in the book of Romans more than once because this suits the doctrine of the translators, but they are willing to translate the same word as “Greeks” in Corinthians. How dare they do this? Hellen is not even remotely like ethnos.
In Galatians 3:28 there is something in common between the “Jews” and the “Greeks” that links them together. In Gal. 3:16 and 3:29 we found it is the anointing (christos) and in 1 Cor. 12:13 it is one spirit. The common linking factor is “anointing” and “spirit.” Please do not dismiss this subject of the anointed race. Tradition has avoided it to accommodate their form of “Jews and Gentiles” doctrine.
Now, when we go back, it can be seen how this all ties up. As we have seen before, the two parties are: 1) Israelites in Judea—The Circumcision, 2) Israelites of the Dispersion—The Uncircumcision—or the dispersed among the Greeks. The New Testament re-unites the Judean Israelites and the Dispersion into One Body by Calvary. The whole of Israel is the one body. The expression “dispersion” is what we find in John 7:35 where the Pharisees said, Will He go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles [more correctly translated, the dispersion among the Greeks].
In Ephesians 2:11-22 it is no different. The Dispersion had become (were) as strangers but through the same Spirit, with which they were anointed they were able to be reconciled unto God in one body by “the cross,” or stake. In one body there is no difference between the Israelite Judeans and the Dispersion.
Eph. 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit, unto the Father. The ‘both’ are the two groups (Judean and Dispersed Israelites), or two parts of the one body, having access by the one Spirit. Then there is also the presentation in Ephesians where we find, The Commonwealth of Israel.
Eph. 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope (because of your cast off state), and without God in the world (order) ….
The commonwealth, [according to reference 4174 in Thayer’s Lexicon], is spoken of as the theocratic or divine commonwealth. The people being addressed by Paul were not currently subject under this divine administration. When they submitted to this administration, they became one with those who were already subject, so then there was no difference. Paul confirms this in Romans 10:12 where he declares, For there is no dfference between the Jew (Judean) and the Greek (Dispersion), for the Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. [In context “all” is all of the ‘Jews’ and ‘Greeks’ meaning all of the Israelite Judeans and the Dispersion]. The word difference is used as of musical instruments being in tune [Thayer 1293]. Before someone jumps up and down to say that Ephesians 2:12 says these “gentiles” were without Christ and therefore could not have been anointed from physical birth, it must be pointed out that there are two different withouts in the verse.
Eph. 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.
The first is choris [Strong G5565] which means “separately” or “by itself.” These “Gentile Israelites” were on their own apart and separate from the Israelites in Judea but they still had the anointing that came with their birth.
The second “without” is athoes and means “God-less” [Strong G112], but they were still Israelites, although they were God-less, in this sense. With this understanding, the whole Bible does not conflict any more in this area. The promises made to the Fathers are fulfilled and in us their children and in their generations and not in some mythical non-Israelite Gentiles or Church that has no ‘children’ or ‘generations.’ So we can see that in no way could non-Israelites be genetic children of the Fathers.
Who Are the Greeks?
John 7:35 Whither shall he go that we shall not find him? will he go to the dispersed among the Gentiles [Hellen: Greeks], and teach the Gentiles [Hellen: Greeks]?
The dispersed among the Greeks (John 7:35) is a telling expression. Who would they be talking about as being the dispersed? Historically and Biblically, it cannot be any but the House of Israel and the bulk of the House of Judah. That this is so accords with prophecy. Hence as we shall see, “Greeks” is used as a synonym throughout the New Testament for the Dispersion located amongst the nations of the former Greek empire. To talk about non-Jews being scattered among non-Jews would be silly and meaningless.
In this verse we have another instance of Hellen as “gentile” instead of “Greek.” If we were to take the meaning of “gentiles” as belonging to other nations referring to Israelites scattered among other nations, this would be acceptable. This mistranslation is also found in the following places where it is rendered as “gentiles.” [Note: By ‘Judean’ we mean ‘Israelites of Judea’ exclusive of other races from Judea].
Rom. 2:10 To the Jew [Judean] first, and also to the Gentile [Hellen: Greek].
Rom. 3:9 … for we have proved both Jews and Gentiles [Judeans and Hellen: Greeks], that they are all under sin.
1 Cor. 10:32 Give no offense, neither to the Jews [Judeans], nor to the Gentiles [Hellen: Greeks], nor to the church [assembly of called-out ones] of God.
1 Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles [Judeans or Hellen: Greeks] ….
Now what do these mistranslations do to all that is commonly taught? The mistranslations disguise who is being addressed each time Hellen is used as opposed to ethnos. They disguise that they are Israelites of the Dispersion. We are told a Syrophenician woman was a Greek by nationality (Mark 7:26). But she was an Israelite by race. Genos has to do with kin, family, stock, or a particular people. Mark is telling us of two things, her birth place and her racial origin as being a Greek. That Jesus did not at that time immediately speak to her was because He had not yet been rejected by the Judean side of Israel. This does not say that this woman was not an Israelite. This only shows again that there were two parts of Israel. This woman called Jesus Son of David and she came to ask Jesus for something. The word used for “asked” is aiteo which is used indicating familiarity or of being on an equal footing with the person of whom the request is being made. That the Judeans thought of the Dispersion as “dogs” is well known. She is described as kunarion, or a little dog, but these ate from the table of their masters! Jesus told her that her faith was great. She knew from the Word of God that THE Nations of Israel would be blessed and she came for her blessing. Jesus said that He did this for this saying which she said. There was a reason for Him to say this. Yet, today we are taught that she is an example of a non-Israelite “Gentile” obtaining a healing from Jesus!
In the Book of Romans
… we find that the corrected translation of Hellen as “Greeks” rather than “gentiles” gives a whole new direction. Both “Judeans and the Dispersion” are parts of the one body. There is a common connection with the Law which was given only to Israel (Ps. 147:19-20) as a whole. Paul tells of the work of the Law written on their hearts. This is a fulfilment of prophecy given only to and about Israel (Jer. 31:31), under the new covenant. At that time only one part [the Judean side] of the whole race of Israel was acknowledging the Law. The other side of Israel was called the Uncircumcision because they were not acknoweledging the Law. But both parts are concluded under sin. Throughout this Book of Romans there is much reference to the Law. The Book is written to those who were under the Law (Rom. 3:19), that is, to Israel. The book is not addressed to other races.
In 1 Corinthians
… 12:13, mentioned above, is another place where Hellen is translated as “Gentile” instead of “Greeks.” The section begins with a definition in the first verse as to who these “Greeks” were: … how that our fathers … all passed through the sea … were all baptized unto Moses …. (l Cor. 10:1). This could not be said of any non-Israelite race. This whole passage tells they were Israelites. It tells of their early history!
For by one spirit are we baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles [Hellen: Greeks] …. (1 Cor. 12:13). That is, whether from Judea or from the Dispersion. This is what has been shown earlier where the common factor connecting these two peoples was the One Spirit and the Anointing. But, why does the Apostle Paul not use the word ethnos which is often also translated as “gentile”? Why does Paul specify hellen (or Greek) when it comes to important doctrine? Could this be in order that there might be no mistake about his meaning? Is it that there might be no mistake about who he is isolating? Paul was writing to his ‘brethren’—fellow Israelites scattered in Asia and nearby areas, as opposed to the former nations of Israel as they were known in the Old Testament.
In All the New Testament
… we must register that the word Hellen (Greeks) and its variations are used thirty-five times. This is a lot of times! There is never one proposition that the word might mean someone who is not an Israelite. The translators seem to have thought that this should have been so because they at times switch the translation to “gentiles,” which they thought might suggest non-Israelites. There is no explanation ever presented to support the view that “Greeks” means all the “non-Jewish” races.
From history we find just where the body of the Dispersion was at that time following the captivities in Assyria and Babylon. They were about parts of the old Greek empire—in Northern Greece and Asia Minor. It is not unreasonable then that they should be called “Greeks,” because this is where they were found. We can also see this from where the Apostle Paul travelled; this is the area where they were. It does not say that they were Greeks by race or that they were non-Israelites. The concordances suggest that they were “Greek speaking.”
Comment: The Apostle Paul came from the city of Tarsus in Cilicia; this made him one of the “Greeks.” He was a Hebrew by birth, a Benjaminite by tribe, and a Roman by citizenship. And he was a “Jew” (Judean) because he was brought up in Judea and a Pharisee, trained in Judaism. [Never forget these dual meanings of “Jew”!] A national term does not determine racial origin in itself. Can anyone be justified in continuing to say that race and birthplace are always the same to prove a doctrine? Yet, this is what we hear as common teaching!
Children of Promise
Gal. 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. This passage is an allegory (verse 24) and a comparison of the relationships between those who are under the Law and those of them who have become partakers of the promise under the New Testament. The Law is the issue all the way through. The issue is not Israelites and non-Israelites, because the non-Israelites have never had the Law-covenant in the first place. In verse 5 we are told Jesus came to redeem them who were under the Law that WE might receive the adoption (placing) of (as) sons. There is never a suggestion about any who were not “brethren” being redeemed or of receiving the adoption. They all have to be brothers or “brethren” of the same race. They are all adelphos or kinsmen from the same womb. Some will not like this definition so, let us consider some lexicon and dictionary sources.
The Word ‘Brethren’
Thayer: From the same womb … a brother … any blood relation or kinsmen … having the same ancestor … belonging to the same people … a fellow-man … one having descended from the same father.
Vine: Adelphos denotes a brother or near kinsmen. In the plural, a community based on identity of origin of life.
Davidson: Adelphos [A plus delphus the womb] a brother, a near kinsmen relative; one of the same nation or nature.
Bullinger: Adelphos = brother, or gen, near kinsmen, then in the plural, a community based on identity of origin.
This word is translated over 100 times as brother, for example, Peter and James his brother (Matt. 4:18); James and John, his brother (Matt. 17:1). When we read this word, brethren, as used in all the epistles, we can now see exactly what the word means. They are not spiritual brethren! They are kinsmen. They are all Israelites! In no way can they be fellow-believers from all non-kinsman races. We will be looking at this again. These are the ones who are told to look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged, look unto Abraham your father, and Sarah that bare you…. (Isaiah 51:1-2). This limits the scope to those who came from Abraham and Sarah.
Isaac … Hearing Faith … and Freeborn Sons
All that will be said here is that again we have, in Gal. 4;29, what was mentioned earlier about born of the Spirit. This is the allegorical equivalent of the anointed people being conceived containing that spirit. Those people could remain under the Law, or come under Grace. They are the same people who began under the Law (Gal. 3:3). They were able to subject themselves either to the works of the Law or to the hearing faith (Gal. 3:5) and to become righteous through hearing, believing and doing what God asked, as Abraham did. They were never justified just because they were born Israelites. The term “freeborn sons” that some use is used to suggest that somehow this can refer to other than Israelites.
Acts 13:39 And by him (i.e., Jesus) all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.
The Apostle Paul was talking again about the fulfilment of the promises that had been made to the fathers OF ISRAEL, as those people who had been given the Law of Moses. Law and grace are an issue to Israel only. The Edomite leaders of the Judean nation thought that physical birth gave them the right status with God when they protested that Abraham was their father, but Jesus made it clear to them they were not Abraham’s children. In John 8:37 we can see that there is a difference between Abraham’s seed and Abraham’s children. Jesus said to them, ye cannot hear my words. Likewise Ishmael who was born after the flesh could not (and cannot) “hear.” He is cast out. The linear descendants through Isaac could still be fools and be slow of heart to believe. They could be deceived or be bewitched. The truth is to be obeyed. Jesus had been evidently set forth crucified among you. Paul was specific as to who he was addressing. It is these Israelites who have to choose, not other races.
James 2:21-22 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered Isaac his sons upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made petfect? NOTE: in this section in the book of James about faith and works, the our in Abraham OUR father is written unto Twelve Tribes (James 1:1). Be fair here. Where is it declared that this is written to anyone else? He begat US with the word of Truth (James 1:18). Where is it written that He begets any other than Israelites by the Word of Truth?
In Thee Shall All Nations Be Blessed
Gal 3:7-9 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture foreseeing that God would justin, the heathen through faith, preached (proclaimed) before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
This verse together with the verses below, are favoured by universalists because they seem to present a universal gospel for all races. “Nations” is sometimes translated emotively as “Heathen” to try to add weight to the universal argument. To understand any passage of Scripture it is necessary to look at it as a whole by going back to the prophecy behind it to see what it is fulfilling.
To Abraham: Gen. 12:2-3 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and will curse him that curseth thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Gen. 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? Gen. 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou host obeyed my voice.
To Isaac: Gen 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath that I sware unto Abraham thy father.
To Jacob: Gen 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
To Israel: Psalm 22:27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
Here are six important verses which are used to support the doctrine of universal racial salvation. Indeed, they do appear to give valid support on the surface. But do they actually say what the religious translators make them say? Is this the problem here?
The “Families of the Earth” Being Blessed in Abraham
The major source of error in these blessing passages is what we mean by certain words. We have different words translated as earth and the ground, countries and the land, as also occurs with the words translated nations, families and kindreds. Although an extensive technical Hebrew language exposition is beyond the scope of this article, there are things that need to be pointed out.
Originally Abraham was told to go from his father’s house unto an eretz that God would show him. If eretz here is the whole earth, then Abraham must have gone to another planet! Abraham was told all the ‘Earth’ which thou seest, I will give thee. He was told to arise and walk through the earth. Did he walk across the whole globe? So we have to ask if this ‘earth’ is the whole earth or the promised land. It is not all the eretz of all the races on earth. Abraham was told to get himself out of his present earth and to go to THE earth. There are many references which give confirmation of the meaning. THE earth does not mean the whole globe, but rather that portion belonging to the particular area or person under consideration. Contrary to popular presentation, we must note that in Genesis 12:3, the ‘them’ in I will bless them is plural, whereas the ‘him’ in I will curse him is singular. The Hebrew allows for two possible translations of be blessed, namely:
may be blessed in, or by, association with thee, and
may bless themselves [as the RV footnote says].
Some awkward questions could be posed here if it was to be taken that all nations had the meaning of ‘every race on earth.’
1. If those who curse Abraham are cursed, how could those so cursed be part of all nations which were to be blessed?
2. Were the Egyptians blessed or cursed through Israel’s presence during their captivity and also in the Exodus?
3. When the Children of Israel went into the Promised Land, they were told to exterminate all the Canaanite nations. Was that an unusual way of blessing the Canaanites? After all, they were supposed to be a part of all nations. Likewise Amalek was to be exterminated.
4. In Deut. 23:6, God commanded Israel that they should not seek the peace or prosperity of the Ammonites and the Moabites right up to the end of the age. Ezra 9:12 indicates similar treatment of the non-Israelites in the land. This is hardly a blessing on those nations, is it?
5. When the House of Judah was in captivity in Babylon, is there any evidence of Israel being a blessing to Babylon?
6. When the House of Judah was in captivity in Assyria, did this make the Assyrians blossom?
7. In prophecy why are all the forecasts concerning non-Israel nations always detailing them as being servants to Israel, and for them to perish if they refuse this destiny? This is so right up to the end of the age.
8. The promise to Abraham was to “ALL” nations without exceptions. “All” cannot include those who are cursed and those God says that He hates. Hence “all” means all the nations of Israel.
Throughout Scripture, Israel was to dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations (Numbers 23:9). Prophecy sustains this to the end. Dan. 7:27 And the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve him.
Isaiah 60:12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. Zech 14:16-17 And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
Israel and Judah were scattered among all nations, but are these other nations to be blessed? Jeremiah does not agree.
Jer 30:11 … though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee …. Jeremiah repeats this in Jer. 46:28, addressing this to Jacob. In all these Scriptures we can see the unique place of Israel among the other nations. This continues after Jesus returns and Israel reigns with God over the other nations. Finally there will be no more death. What a blessing!
The Promise and “Thy Seed” in the New Testament
Acts 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Only Israelites are being addressed here! We can find references in Scripture to the families (plural) of Israel. “Kindreds” is patriai which all lexicons give as kindreds from one ancestor. The Hebrew mishpachah supports ‘family’ 288 times and it is used of the subdivisions of Israel. The Tribes became national identities but were of one racial group from one ancestor. Israel is still an exclusive race existing as families or nations. It is unto these Jesus was sent.
Acts 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning every one of you from his iniquities. In context, you still is the Israelites being addressed.
As we said, without continual recourse to the Old Testament origins, it is impossible to rightly interpret passages in the New Testament. Only by going back can we know what all nations means and only then find a doctrine that is 100% consistent. Galatians 3:8 can no longer be allowed as an “out” for those preaching universal racial salvation. When we take Scripture as originally written in the Hebrew and Greek, we find that conflicts disappear. We can understand that an exclusive Israel in the Old Testament remains an exclusive Istael in the New Testament. The promises are ever fulfilled in us their children and never in others. They are fulfilled in brethren of the same kin. The blessings of the Patriarchs [as given by Jacob in Gen. 48 and by Moses in Deut. 33] for the last days still apply separately to each of that same group of peoples, who are being specified. These are the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. In Gen. 49 Jacob gives his prophecy about what will befall each individual Tribe of Israel, in the last days. These are limited, specific to definite. We cannot find prophecy for the application of the blessings given by the patriarchs as being applicable to all other races. This is why all nations is commonly taken wrongly today as meaning every race on earth. The statement of Romans 4:11, a father of them that believe is only in the context of Israel.
For the last days, Jacob gave his blessings to his children one by one (Gen. 49). The blessings were to his seed only. They were not to other seeds. The New Testament is still made only with the House of Israel and the House of Judah (Heb 8:8). The word children in Gal. 3:7 [the children of Abraham] is huios which denotes kinship or physical offspring. [Note: The word is also used of animals, so it cannot refer to spiritual offspring in the way commonly taken!]
How can the Patriarchal blessings apply to all races? If they were all the same, what would be the point of separation? And, if they are for the “last days,” why not accept this as a reality, rather than saying that some singular multi-racial church that has nothing to do with these Twelve Tribes is the recipient of these blessings? As has been pointed out, translators show that they believe in their translations. For instance, in Gal. 3:8 the words translated heathen and nations are identical. The translation as heathen gives an entirely different connotation to the verse. The nations whom God would justify by belief were not heathen, but were of Israel. The proof of this is that this is the fulfilment of the prophecy made by the Patriarchs. This is confirmed—by him are you justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses …. These justified people must have first been under the Law of Moses, so they could only be Israelites. Most of this book of Galatians is written relating Law and Grace to the one people. The whole argument might be summed up by questioning whether or not they were going to remain under the schoolmaster or whether they were going to believe God as Abraham did. What they were to believe was that Jesus had redeemed Israel and that Jesus was the Son of God.
Ultimately, that which is reserved for Israel, namely redemption, salvation, resurrection to eternal life, belongs only to Israel. It is their inheritance from Abraham, according to the promise made by God to the fathers of Israel.