Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tolerated Guests or Adopted Sons? Responding to James Pyle's Recent Post Entitled "The Non-Covenant Relationship with God"

"...Rav Yeshua's gentile disciples don't actually participate in any covenant whatsoever," Comment from "Proclaim Liberty" quoted by Messianic Gentile blogger James Pyles in the opening of his post entitled "The Non-Covenant Relationship with God", from:  http://mymorningmeditations.com/2016/03/10/the-non-covenant-relationship-with-god/#comments
"We [gentiles have] no formal relationship with [the God of Israel]....[W]e Gentiles are merely 'resident aliens' among Israel... We have no rights.  We are granted guest status just because God's a 'nice guy,' so to speak... That should make you feel a little insecure.  I feel a little insecure," James Pyles, from: http://mymorningmeditations.com/2016/03/10/the-non-covenant-relationship-with-god/#comments

Given that Mr. Pyles' blog is promoted by the UMJC (MessianicGentiles.com), from time to time I feel the need to respond to certain posts.  So I'd like to briefly address 2 issues raised by Pyles:  (1) are Gentiles merely guests or are they actual members of the family? (2) do Gentile Believers have no rights or do they become citizens in Israel (i.e. the family of G-d)?

ISSUE 1:  MERE GUESTS OR ADOPTED MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY?

In ancient Hebraic culture, an adoption was a big deal.  It involved a covenant--a solemn agreement made before G-d whereby one person agrees to treat another person like family.  And you simply couldn't violate a covenant.  To break a covenant would be invoking the curse of death upon oneself.

Throughout Paul's writings, he talks about Believers being "adopted as sons".  Here's a few examples:
"4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.' 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods," Galatians 4:4-8

"4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Yeshua the Messiah, in accordance with his pleasure and will," Ephesians 1:4-5
"14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father'," Romans 8:14-15
Does that sound like mere guest status to anyone?  

ISSUE 2:  DO GENTILE BELIEVERS HAVE NO RIGHTS OR ARE THEY TO BE CONSIDERED AS CITIZENS IN ISRAEL?

In Ephesians 2, Paul uses the rhetorical technique of antithesis in order to contrast former pagan status with current covenantal status.  The negatives of the former status were as follows:
  • Separation from Messiah
  • Exclusion from citizenship in Israel (politeias tou Israel)
  • Unaffiliation with the covenants (xenoi ton diathekon)
  • The state of being hopeless
  • The state of being without G-d
  • The state of being far off
  • The status of being "foreigners and strangers" (xenoi kai paroikoi)
Now, a quick word about the above Greek terms.

Regarding "politeia", some have argued that this term should be translated as "commonwealth".  However, (1) there is no classical reference in which the term politeia refers to a commonwealth; (2) in classical references, politeia refers to citizenship and its cognate concepts; (3) Paul himself uses the term to refer to citizenship:  "The commander answered, 'I acquired this citizenship [politeia] with a large sum of money.'  And Paul said, 'But I was actually born a citizen,'" Acts 22:28.

Regarding xenoi (foreigner/guest), this is a word used in the Septuagint to translate nokri, a term for foreigner--literally someone who was unrecognizable.  Hence, we see a clever play on words in the Book of Ruth:
"Then she fell on her face, and bowed down to the ground, and said unto him: 'Why have I found favour in thy sight, that thou shouldest take cognizance of me, seeing I am a foreigner (literally not recognizable)?[veanokhi nakhriya]'" Ruth 2:10
Regarding paroikoi, this is a term that probably originates with the perioikoi of ancient Sparta, the conquered Peloponnessians who had no political rights, a term derived from oikiein "to dwell" and "para" which means "beside"--i.e. the paroikoi do not dwell in the "house" of the national family.

In the Torah, paroikoi would be those gerim (sojourners) who were not members of the covenant.  The lack of covenant status for these paroikoi is indicated as follows.  The Torah says that it's a sin for a ger to eat nevelah (Lev. 17:15-16);  Yet the Torah says a ger may indeed eat nevelah (Deut. 14:21).  This apparent contradiction was resolved by Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Torah written by the Sanhedrin).  The Septuagint translators, understanding that the Torah cannot contradict itself, reasoned that it must follow that there are 2 different types of gerim.  And to that end, in passages where the context indicated that the ger was not a member of the covenant, the translators used the term "paroikos" (literally "one who is outside of the house") to translate the term "ger".

To sum up, the terms paroikoi and xenoi convey a negative former status in which one was outside of the covenant, outside of the house/family--literally they were unfamiliar to G-d.

And so we've looked at the negatives of the former status.  Now let's look at the positives of the new status:
  • Nearness to G-d via the blood of Yeshua as opposed to being far off from G
  • Fellow citizens (sympolitai) as opposed to being excluded from citizenship in Israel
  • Members of the household (oikeioi tou Theou) as opposed to being outside of the house (paroikos) 
  •  Affiliated with the covenants of promise as opposed to unaffiliation with the covenants (xenoi ton diathekon)
  • Hopeful as opposed to hopeless
  •  Being recognizable as family as opposed to being unrecognizable foreigners
 CONCLUSION

When we consider the covenantal language that Paul uses, the "adoption as sons", the nearness via the blood of Yeshua, a reference to "the new covenant in my blood" (1 Cor. 11:25), the fellow citizenship in Israel, the explicit statement that Gentile Believers are now included in the covenants of promise, it's astounding that James Pyles, the UMJC's apostle to the Gentiles, can say something as blatantly anti-Scriptural as "We [gentiles have] no formal relationship with [the God of Israel]....[W]e Gentiles are merely 'resident aliens' among Israel... We have no rights.  We are granted guest status just because God's a 'nice guy,' so to speak... That should make you feel a little insecure."

May the UMJC one day come to its senses and stop sending people like James Pyles to discourage us, literally telling us to feel insecure, that we are excluded from the People of G-d. 

Blessings and Shalom to the True Brothers and Sisters in Yeshua,

Peter









46 comments:

  1. Next weeks topic: "Why Gentiles are Unclean... hence the term, dirty gentiles" :P

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    1. Maybe they'll change their tune in the coming years...Maybe once our numbers grow too large to ignore...

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  2. FWIW, I invited ProclaimLiberty to comment here. Hopefully he will before the anti-missionary straw man arguments side track a very needed discussion. In the end we all want community, something that most ethnic Jews and churches enjoy.

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    1. FWIW, I invited ProclaimLiberty to comment here. Hopefully he will before the anti-missionary straw man arguments side track a very needed discussion. In the end we all want community, something that most ethnic Jews and churches enjoy.

      I hate to sound so pessimistic, but this won't happen. People in the UMJC camp, approach any verse, relating gentiles to Israel or the covenants, as being purely metaphor, not in any way to be taken literally. It is similar to how Christianity will take anything relating to Israel as metaphor. Resulting in exactly what we read in James' post and in Christianity's case, replacement theology.

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    2. Jason,

      It was good of you to invite him. Maybe he'll surprise us all with a visit.

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    3. "In the end we all want community, something that most ethnic Jews and churches enjoy."

      Who is stopping you from having your very own "community"???

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    4. Ethnically Jewish and Neo-apostolic congregations are easy to find. Where do I find the place where the Apostolic Writings are accepted, where acceptance into Rabbinic Judaism is irrelevant, and where ethnic Jews and non-Jews share Torah observant life which is blind to ethnicity?

      Challenges:
      -Common doctrinal framework
      -Plurality of co-equal, gray haired, representative, bivocational, male leaders
      -Means of finding one another

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  3. "Where do I find the place where the Apostolic Writings are accepted, where acceptance into Rabbinic Judaism is irrelevant, and where ethnic Jews and non-Jews share Torah observant life which is blind to ethnicity?"

    Your best and only bet are the One-Law/Two House congregations. The problem, of course, is that they don't have any meaningful numbers of Jews among them. It seems that most Jews, even those heavily Christianized, are repelled by Gentiles playing the Jewish shtick. So, you'd end up, at best, with a lone Jews (or, more likely, someone who claims to be Jewish because of some claimed ancestry going back to Inquisition), and a bunch of non-Jews.

    Again, your foremost problem has to do with numbers of available Jewish converts to Christianity who are into the messianic stuff. Most of Jewish converts are in Evangelical churches and care little about "Jewish" things. They are Jewishly ignorant, intermarried and their kids do not identify as Jews. And because of this, even "Jewish" messianic congregations have hardly any Jews in them, percentage wise, from personal experience in the MJ world. And hardly any young halachic Jews.

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  4. Gene wrote:
    "They are Jewishly ignorant, intermarried and their kids do not identify as Jews."

    Like I said - we're looking for an ethnically blind community, not the tribally allotted nation of Israel. I personally want Jews to make Aliyah because of the land covenant. The land needs Jews like the world needs the U.S. But if they stay and choose to intermarry in Torah observant assemblies, I don't see that as harmful. Otherwise you end up with divided (bilateral) community, which could be.

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    1. Jason,

      Intermarriage may not seem harmful on a small scale. However, in the aggregate it could indeed be harmful. There should be a fund in each community and perhaps collectively to assist Messianic Jews make aliyah.

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    2. That's what I meant by being pro Aliyah. Jews should make Aliyah, but those who refuse and choose to stay are free to intermarry. No?

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    3. Jews may view aliyah as a voluntary mitzvah or a mandatory mitzvah. However, from the Gentile perspective, since we don't know whether it will be a mandatory mitzvah for a particular Jew, we should prohibit ourselves from becoming a potential stumbling block--prohibit ourselves from doing something that might inhibit or prevent the performance of a mandatory mitzvah.

      Am I wrong?

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    4. When you say "whether it will be a mandatory mitzvah", who would make this determination? Someone in Israel? Wouldn't intermarriage just preclude the mandate? If someone has been intentional about not going, for them, is that positive? What I'm getting at is that the only ones complying with the mandate would be those who accept the authority of the mandate giver. Authority that has already been rejected in the believing communities?

      Now preserving a voluntary escape mechanism to Israel may also be worth discussing should the Nations become hostile to ethnic Jews. This is just another reason why Jews should not wait to return.

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  5. What qualification you 2 Gentiles have to detemine the faith of Jews?
    Utter lunacy...

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    1. Dan,

      G-d alone has determined that Jews must inherit the Land.

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    2. Not "faith of the Jews", Dan. The discussion regards whether there should be limits on Gentile marriage in the believing community.

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  6. So, Peter, why don't you go back to Ireland?

    Jason, fate of the Jews. And Gentiles can marry whoever they want, even muslims...

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    1. Dan,

      Does Scripture preclude believing Gentiles from marrying Jews?

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    2. Dan,

      We're talking about a mitzvah. I'm not aware of any mitzvah for the Irish to return to Ireland. But I am aware of the mitzvah for Jews to return to the Land of Israel and to build a house for the L-rd.

      Shalom,

      Peter

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    3. Jason,

      Scripture does indeed preclude Jews (believers or not) from marrying outside of Judaism. In D'varim (Deuteronomy) 7.3-4 G-d says:

      "Nor shall you make marriages with them (the non-Jews). You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods;..."

      This has long been interpreted at face value, and no Jew may marry a non-Jew. If a Jewish girl marries a non-Jewish man the fear is that he will lead their children in his religion and not a Jewish one. If a Jewish boy marries a non-Jewish woman then the children are not even Jewish thereby losing their Jewish identity. This is true if one is a believer in Yeshua or not, the commandments still apply.

      The term, "other gods" can also be interpreted to mean those ideals and ‘isms’ that do not conform to the dictates of the Torah, and before which one bows his head and dedicates his heart and soul, according to Chabad.org of which I also agree.

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    4. Steve,
      Dan admitted this below when he said:
      "
      Dan BenzviApril 3, 2016 at 1:52 AM
      I will answer my own question:Deut. 7:3-4. You are right Gene
      "

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  7. Jason, no.

    Peter,on God's time, not yours.

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    1. Well,... Dan, it depends. If the Jew does not believe in Yeshua, that would be considered unequally yoked and go against the NT. If both believe in Yeshua, the Hebrew Bible still say no, but the NT say yes. Again, down the line, that would be one Jew less if he marries with a gentile woman...

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    2. Well, Dan, I'm glad we agree but I'm not convinced this invalidates Peter's concern about disqualifying the ultimate return of ethnic Jews by intermarriage. Peter and I both married nice Gentile ladies, so at least in hindsight we practiced what we might preach.

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    3. Jason, what qualifies you to preach about the fate of Jews?

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    4. Jason can Say his opinion, since when someone's opinion is preaching? It does affect the return of the Jewish people in Israel. My wife is half Jewish, is she considered a Jew? No. Is my son Jewish? No. Simple... Can they immigrate to Israel? No.

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    5. remi4321,

      I assume your wife's father is Jewish since if it were her mother she would be Jewish, as well as your children. And on a side note, no one is half-Jewish. You are either Jewish or you're not. You can say she is of Jewish decent and that would be accurate.

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  8. Remi, what qualifies you to decide who is a Jew and who is not? Are you Jewish?

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    1. I am nobody to decide, but are you telling me that any Jew can decide? You are Jewish Dan, so, if you decide that a child from a jewish man that marries a christian woman is Jewish, then you are the only one that thinks it's like that. Anybody can decide anything, that does not make it so. If a jewish man decides to marry a non-jewish woman, the child will not be Jewish, who are YOU to decide otherwise?

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    2. That's what happens in the Messianic movement (in general)... anybody makes their own rules. What is keeping Shabbat for example? Can I do my jogging? Can I light a candle? Can I go gardening? You pick an choose and everybody does what is right in their own eye. The same apples for non-orthodox Jews and Karaites in some extend, can I drive my car? Can I bake a cake?

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  9. Remi, your ignorance in Hewish matters is astonishing...Biblically if the father is Jewish so are his Children.

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    1. Read this Dan:

      "And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.

      3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law."

      Would it be right to put away the wives with their JEWISH sons and daughters?

      I am not ignorant of the matter, that you don't agree that the Jewish people interpret that passage and thought that it would have been an impossible thing to put away any Jewish Soul is different. Nevertheless, they decide it was not possible to put away a Jewish Soul and it would have been sinful to do so.

      For he will turn away your son from following Me, and they will worship the gods of others... Also it say "SON". Does that makes it a clear cut? No, but who are you to decide Dan? That does not make it so. If you marry a gentiles, your children are not consider Jew according to halakha

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  10. One more time, Remi, biblically if the man is Jewish so are his children, and you can jump until you are blue in the face... Halacha is man made invention it is not from God... Until the shulchan aruch there were all kinds of halachot...ignorance is bliss...

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    1. Let say that Peter "Cephas" had children... I think he did... Anyway, how long did it take before his children would have forget that they are Jewish? two, three generations at most... If what you say is right and what Judaism teaches is wrong, then thousands and thousands of "JEWS" don't know they are Jewish. So, don't call me GOY, we are all JEWS! Lost tribe, paternal descendant, who cares! What do you think this Bible verses Deut 25:6 "so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel"

      Isaiah 48:19
      Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.”

      If a jewish man marries a gentile, after a few generations, they will not remember that they were Jewish, and even if you would disagree with me that they are Jewish, nobody will remember. That's what the History teaches. If I am wrong and you are right, it does not matter,... it does not matter, because the result is the same.

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    2. "One more time, Remi, biblically if the man is Jewish so are his children, and you can jump until you are blue in the face... Halacha is man made invention it is not from God... Until the shulchan aruch there were all kinds of halachot...ignorance is bliss..."

      Dan, if that were ever true, if all it required was having a Jewish father for children to be also Jewish, Ezra, who was both a priest and scribe (a person knowledgeable in Torah and Jewish law) wouldn't have sent away Gentile wives and "their children" (Ezra 10:3). All Jews who returned to Israel with Ezra made an oath (Ezra 10:5) to send their Gentile wives and their children away. It would have been unfathomable to send away Jewish children back to idolatrous environment. Thankfully, those children were not considered "Jews" even at that time.

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  11. Good to know Gene, that Ephraim and Menasha were not Jews...

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    1. The Torah commandment against intermarriage was not yet given and Israel was not yet a nation as such. Without Torah, one could say, there was no fixed Jewish identity. And after the laws were given, one could marry only former non-Jews, righteous converts who joined the Jewish people. But if, after Torah was given, a Jew took as a wife a pagan, Gentile woman who has not embraced Judaism, that Jew violated a Torah commandment and the children of such a forbidden union are excluded from Israel and are not counted as Jews.

      That's how Ezra saw it thousands of years ago and that's how Jews still see it to this day. Do you say, Dan, that Ezra was wrong with to send away the children of non-Jewish women?

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    2. " The Torah commandment against intermarriage was not yet given"

      Squizing the turnip do you? You mean the fact that the commandment was given was instantly clean the Gentole blood of Ephraim and Menasha... I get it now...Not to mention that Abraham himself was a gentile..but who is keeping score?

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  12. BTW Gene, where does the Written Torah prohibit interfaith marriages? I guess King Solomon never read it...

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    1. "BTW Gene, where does the Written Torah prohibit interfaith marriages? I guess King Solomon never read it..."

      He did read it, but he ignored it and broke it. It is plain to see from the stories recorded about him that he violated Torah many times in the course of his life. Speaking of "interfaith marriages", the Bible is clear that Solomon sinned greatly by marrying pagan wives, describing how he built many shrines to their "gods", which, as punishment, directly resulted in the Jewish kingdom being eventually destroyed. So, it's clear that G-d wasn't too pleased with Solomon marrying foreign wives. Even by simply marrying so many wives to begin, regardless of them being unconverted pagans, he broke Torah (Deuteronomy 17:17).

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  13. One more time, Gene, where in the written Bible is there a commandment that prohibit intermarriages?

    You wrote that " the Torah commandment against intermarriage was not yet given..." can you show me where in Scriptures it was given?

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  14. I will answer my own question:Deut. 7:3-4. You are right Gene.

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  15. Hi Peter,

    Good use of Pauline Scriptures to show Gentile EQUALITY with the Jew today in God's eyes. Would like to add what is the cause for the failure to see this by most of the Lord's people today.

    Believe what is responsible is the failure to see the Right Division between Israel's prophesied earthly hope (Acts 3:19-26) and the heavenly hope (Ephesians 1:3; 2:6) of the "Church, which is His Body" (Ephesians 1:22-23) that was "hidden from ages" UNTIL revealed to and by Paul for the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1-6),

    God bless,Jordan (Berean Classroom)


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  16. Good day (New to this site)

    I would like to add what I have learned. When Eve was made, she was not made independently of Adam, but was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. Adam before he sinned was obviously without sin. The scriptures from Genesis shows the whole purpose of God was to raise up his anointed one, and reverse the state of Man. Thus the anointed one was to be Ben-Adam (Son of Man) as Adam was before he sinned. The Israelites also came to David (the anointed one of his day) and said "behold, we are your bone and your flesh" which is a foreshadow of the unblemished anointed one yet to be revealed. Since the anointed one is also proclaimed as the son of God, and the only one qualified to give his life, he alone are the only begotten (brought forth) son of God, and Israel is preserved in him alone regardless of natural born Israelites.

    Thus, all natural Israelites have to become the flesh and bone of the Anointed-One who alone holds the incorruptible heritage of Israel. And he is the first fruits of the harvest, the assurance and salvation the Mighty One gives unto the world. Hence, Abraham and all who were assured in the Mighty One are ready for the Anointed One. Since Abraham was assured in the Mighty One, it was counted for righteousness. And the Anointed One is the only one to completely reflect the righteousness of the Mighty One according to his Father's will. So Abraham being assured in the Mighty One, had the spirit of the Anointed One with him, because he is the Assurance given unto the world. Though Abraham and all who was assured in the Mighty-One was ready for the harvest, they had to wait for the Anointed One as first fruits of the harvest, because, "if the first fruits is set apart so is the whole lump". So everyone who had assurance in the Mighty-One long before there was an Israel is grafted into the Anointed-One. And natural Israel who received the expectation of the promise likewise has to be grafted into his body, and as it is said "a light to the nations" so all humans assured in him are grafted into his body. Just like Eve was not made independent of Adam, so no one whether Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Israel, or the nations, no one is complete without becoming the flesh and bones of the anointed one. For he alone is set apart by the breath of the Mighty-One as his only heir and heir of the heritage promised to Israel.

    Yeshua is my Master.
    José

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