Friday, April 20, 2012

Who Are the Descendants of Abraham?

Dispensationalists routinely insist that God made promises to the Jews, and these promises must be fulfilled for the Jews.

However, who are these Jews who will inherit the promises?

Dispensationalists dogmatically maintain that such a Jew is only someone who is ethnically descended from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Blood alone defines Israel.

However, what happens in a mixed marriage between a Jew and Gentile? Are the children Jewish? Who are the descendants of Abraham?

Some Dispensationalists have emailed me and asserted that, in a mixed marriage, as long as one of the parents is Jewish, then the children are Jewish. This is known as lineal descent.

Lineal descent avoids the problems of strict matrilineal descent. Boaz was a Jew because his father was a Jew.

Lineal descent also avoids the problems of strict patrilineal descent. Jesus was a Jew because his mother was Jew.

Lineal descent appears to be the answer to the Dispensational dilemma. As long as one parent is Jewish, then the children are Jewish.

However, lineal descent has an inherent problem: dilution through intermarriage. Lineal descent works in a relatively closed community, but it collapses when the community opens up or is abandoned.

Consider the case of a Jew who marries a Gentile and then joins a Gentile community, so that all of their descendants marry Gentiles. According to lineal descent, all of their descendants would still be considered Jewish, no matter how little Jewish blood ran through their veins.

By the seventh generation of intermarriage, the descendants would have less than one percent Jewish blood, yet they would still be considered Jewish according to lineal descent, and therefore, they would inherit the promises made to the descendants of Abraham.

This exposes the fatal flaw of Dispensationalism: insisting that God made unconditional promises to an ethnic group. God did no such thing.

Ethnic descent was a factor, but it was never the factor. Dispensationalism completely unravels when this fatal flaw is exposed.


The Mad Corn Stalk said...

Its in the DNA not the blood. When a mixed race couple produce a child, the child receives a portion of BOTH parents DNA, that is why the child has a mixture of racial characteristics, he is partly of BOTH races. Blood was not what he was conceived from, he was conceived from sperm and egg. This is where race is determined. There is no blood in sperm nor in the egg, and when they conceive children in test-tubes they do not introduce blood. If a white man has a blood transfusion with a black man does the white man become black? NO! Race has nothing to do with blood but rather the DNA passed on. You can defuse the blood all you want but the Israelite/Jewish DNA markers will always be present/detectable no matter how many different races a person mixes with. If either parent was a descendant of a Israelite then he is one of Gods chosen people.

Eric Adams said...

Umm, "blood" is a metonym for DNA. If having an Israelite parent make someone one of God's chosen people, then what about the Samaritans? They had Israelite ancestors, but Jesus did not consider them God's chosen people. If the Bible matters, then lineal descent is disallowed.

The Mad Corn Stalk said...

I'll quote another person's answer:

"The only detailed reference to the Samaritans is to be found in the Second Book of Kings. In the twenty fourth verse of chapter seventeen, we find that when the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and deported the Ten Tribes into exile in Halah and Habor by the River of Gozan in the cities of the Medes, that the King of Assyria replenished the depopulated territory of Israel with foreigners: 'And the King of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava and from Hamath and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria, instead of the children of Israel and they possessed Samaria and dwelt in the cities thereof'."

This is why Jesus did not consider them God's chosen people. They were imported converts.

Eric Adams said...

We're probably not going to agree on the Samaritan issue. Not disputing the text, but 2 Kgs 17:24 was written centuries before Jesus, leaving plenty of time for the intermarriage of the foreigners and and a Jewish remnant or even later Jewish settlers. The Samaritans themselves claim to be descendents of Abraham, and modern DNA testing offers plenty of evidence for this. You will probably disagree, and that's okay. The Samaritans are not my only bullet.

If you truly believe in lineal descent, then ANYONE who has a Jewish ancestor ANYWHERE in their family tree, no matter how infinitesmal or remote, is one of God's chosen people. Is this truly what you believe?

The Mad Corn Stalk said...

Let's not limit the descendants of Abraham to only those of the Kingdom of Judah (The Jewish), but include the descendants of the people which were deported from the northern Kingdom of Israel (The Israelites) as well.

Genesis 15:5

"And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be."