Skip to comments.The Descendants of Abraham:Do Church-Age Believers Become "Spiritual Jews"? (Dispensational Caucus)
Posted on 12/29/2012 5:52:07 PM PST by GiovannaNicoletta
Based on Romans 2:28-29, some have concluded that being Jewish is a spiritual rather than ethnic matter, and that people become "spiritual Jews" when they become Christians. Romans 2:28-29 reads,
"For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God."
For understanding this passage the near context of the passage is very important. Chapter 2:1-16 explains that God is impartial and judges all, and 2:17-29 addresses Jews specifically, to show that God holds them accountable as well. The section begins with the phrase, "But if you bear the name Jew..." Paul is speaking here to ethnic Jews, reminding them that the focal point is not their ethnicity, but rather it is something internal or spiritual.
Do Christians become spiritual Jews, or is Paul talking about something else entirely? Pauls clarity on the issue is unmistakable in Romans 4. Seven times in that chapter Paul refers to Abraham as a father:
The first reference (4:1) addresses Abrahams relationship to ethnic Jews; the second (4:11) to those who are not ethnic Jews yet have believed in the Lord as Abraham did; the third (4:12); to those who are ethnic Jews (of the circumcision) and have believed in the Lord as Abraham did; the fourth (4:12) also to ethnic Jews who are believers; the fifth (4:16) to all who have faith like Abraham; and the sixth (4:17) and seventh (4:18) both refer to the Genesis 17:5 prophecy that Abraham would father many nationsand that Abraham would be father to a number of different kinds of descendants. Considering these seven attributions of fatherhood to Abraham in Romans 4, we can identify three specific kinds of Abrahamic descendants:
1.Those who are physical descendants only (4:1)unbelieving Jews (and even unbelievers from Ishmael, Esau, etc.),
2.Those who are spiritual descendants only (4:11)believing Gentiles (including believers from any and every people besides the line of Jacob),
3.And those who are both physical and spiritual descendants (4:12)believing Jews.
Gods covenant promises to Abraham regarding a specific mighty nation (Gen 12:2-3) would be fulfilled through Isaac, and Jacobthrough the nation of Israel (Gen 17:19; 28:13-15; 35:9-12). But those who did not have faith like Abrahams would not receive those covenant blessings. As Romans 9:6 tells us, "...they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel." This is why Paul reminds ethnic Jews in 2:28-29 that faith (or circumcision of the heart) is required: because those who are only physical descendants of Abraham, and who are not also spiritual descendants will not participate in the covenant blessings that are reserved for believing Jews.
Do the "physical only" descendants of Abraham receive the covenant blessings? No.
Do the "physical and spiritual" descendants of Abraham receive the covenant blessings? Yes! Every last one of them! As Romans 11:26 says, "...thus all Israel will be saved."
In Romans 2:28-29 Paul is warning ethnic Jews of the importance of faithof being not just physical descendants of Abraham, but also spiritual ones. So what about those who are spiritual descendants only and are not physical descendants (4:11)? Those are Gentile believersthose who are not ethnic Jews, but have believed in the same way as Abraham. That includes Gentile believers in the church age. In this group God fulfills, at least in part, His promise to Abraham that "...in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen 12:3).
Gentile believers in the church do not become spiritual Jews, and they cannot lay claim to Israels covenant promises. Instead, they rejoice together with church age Jewish believers knowing that from the two groups God made one new man in the body of Christ (Eph 2:11-3:6). Jew and Gentile together in the church age enjoy the promise of eternal life (1 Jn 2:25) and every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph 1:3).
God keeps all His promises, and He keeps them just as He has promised. Israel will one day see the fulfillment of all of Gods covenants to Abraham, David, and to the nation itself. He will also bring blessing to all the families (or peoples) of the world. Just as God is, we must be precise in distinguishing between the three types of descendants of Abraham. If we are not careful to note the differences, we will expect from God things He has not promised, and we will misunderstand those things He has promised.
Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Rom 11:33-36).
Romans provides fabulous Word guiding us on the relationship of the human spirit with the soul and the body.
It is a difficult relationship to understand without His sanctification, through our intake of Bible doctrine by studying His Word, allowing God the Holy Spirit to make it understood to our human spirit and then sanctifying our thinking processes in our mind and then our heart.
It also provides volumes of insight of distinctions between the Church Age and the Millennial age, when the Church is no longer indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, but the Jew is then indwelt by God the Holy Spirit.
There are so many more things that have to be worked out before the eternal state, during His Millennial Reign with a rule of iron, after this age of grace has departed.
Thanks! I have a brother who got taken by the Christians are the new Jews doctrine and he has become hostile to Zionists. Making note to remember this.
Instead, post your remarks on an "open" or "ecumenical" Religion Forum thread.
FR here in SC has EST.
A real Jew would have nothing to do with the New Testament, but as a theological challenge.
An example of a misapplied stipulation is the abstracted verse, announced by Jehovah to Solomon under the Davidic covenant, 2 Chr. 7:14, which begins "If My people, which are called by My name ..." is so widely and erroneously cited as applying to the U. S., that I just get sick at hearing it.
As I have said of that passage (Post #30) , "The correct interpretation is that, under the Law -- under the Old Testament -- the Promise is to God's people the Jews, in their land Israel, and for that land, eretz Israel only, under a king appointed by The God. It does not apply to any other land, including The U. S. of A."
Those who cut their dispensational teeth on Darby, and on Schofield's "Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth" ought to remind the rest of Christendom that the future of regenerated spiritual sons of The God is in the dominion af The Kingdom of The God at His Parousia (His Coming).
All things considered, while God repeatedly saves individuals who humble themselves, persistently commit trust in The Anointed One and repent, there is no promise that restoration of a moral government for America is a part of His progressive Will (though I do not say we should not beg His intervention, should it please Him).
But we should not be disappointed and lose faith, when this verse is inappropriate to our land and times, and the love of The Many continues to wax cold because of the overspreading of iniquity and abominations.
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then lift up your heads, for your Redemption draweth nigh!" (Lk. 21:28)
Can’t get more Jewish than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but then again His Word has more authority and power than academic theology.
Real Jews accept what He provides, even those wrapped up today in the mystery of the blindness of Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles come in.
I’m Noachide myself. But I do regard Jesus as moshiach (in the Jewish sense) as I know in my heart that The United States could not have been founded nor have flourished without his having lived or without his example.