Friday, April 20, 2012
Who Are the Descendants of Abraham?
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.