The most fundamental error that Dispensationalists make is in restricting their definitions of Israel and Jew to ethnicity. One who is born a Jew is always a Jew, and nothing can change this. Likewise, no one can become a Jew because blood alone determines whether one is a Jew. Blood alone defines Israel.
Dispensationalists continually pound this pulpit, yet they show little awareness of the difficulties surrounding such a definition. Specifically,
- How much Jewish blood makes someone a Jew?
- In a mixed marriage (Jew + Gentile), does it matter which party is Jewish?
I will deal with both of these questions in the next few posts.
In a mixed marriage, does it matter which party is Jewish?
Some branches of Modern Judaism define Israel/Jew partly according to matrilineal descent. That is, one is a Jew if their mother is a Jew. Thus, a Jewish mother begets Jewish children, regardless of the ethnicity of the Father.
The problem with defining Israel/Jew according to matrilineal descent is that this excludes some famous Jews, such as Boaz.
Boaz’s mother was Rahab, who was a Canaanite. She was not Jewish, and thus, according to matrilineal descent, Boaz was not a Jew.
Also, Boaz married Ruth, who was a Moabite. Thus, their son, Obed, was not a Jew, according to matrilineal descent.
Technically, neither Judah nor any of the other sons of Jacob would be Jews, as Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah were not Jewish. Thus, according to strict matrilineal descent, none of the twelve sons of Israel were Jewish.
Of course, Modern Judaism has an answer for this dilemma, which I will explore in a future post.
Also, I know of no Dispensationalist who defines Israel/Jew according to matrilineal descent. I am not suggesting or implying this in any way.
I am simply ruling out defining Israel/Jew according to strict matrilineal descent.