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Jews, Gentiles, and Christians

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Jews, Gentiles, and Christians

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Jews, Gentiles, and Christians
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The Bible divides the family of man into several fundamental groups both spiritual and genealogical. While these fundamentally influence end-time prophecy interpretation, many are troubling to Christians who, based on interpretations of Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:11, question which if any of these divisions exist and if they do, do they extend to Christians as a whole since these passages seem to eliminate differences between Jews and non-Jews? Undoubtedly, many distinctions between these groups of Christians, such as their need for salvation, their access to God and salvation, and their calls to holiness, have been eliminated but as shown below, other distinctions remain. Today, most Christians classify people into two spiritual groups, saved and unsaved, and most Jews into Jews and gentiles (or Greeks, others, etc.). However, the Bible defines many different groups, each with varying roles and impacts in the end-time drama. Genesis defines genealogical divisions while both Old and New Testament passages define various spiritual groups. Everybody is simultaneously a member of both genealogical and spiritual groups.

Figure 1 shows the various genealogical groups from Genesis' list of nations. Starting with Genesis 7 where God divides Noah's descendants into four broad groups:

1. Nations possessing quantity blessings: Japheth's descendents

2. Nations possessing quality and Messianic blessings: Shem's descendents

3. Cursed nations: Ham's youngest son, Canaan and his descendents

4. Unblessed but not cursed nations: Ham's other sons, Cush, Mizraim, and Phut and their descendents

Shortly following this, Genesis turns its focus almost exclusively to one of Shem's descendents, Abraham (Abram), who unconditionally receives both special blessings and Shem's Messianic promise (Genesis 17:4-8). Based their maternal pedigree, each descendent a portion of these blessings:

1. Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah the son's of Abraham's second wife, Keturah

2. Ishmael the son of the bondwoman Hagar

3. Isaac the son of Abraham's first wife Sarah

Isaac received key promises such as Genesis 26:2-5:

And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

This relationship divides humanity into two groups: God's wife, Israel (Jews), and all others, the gentiles. The Old Testament records one last division that of Israel's twelve sons, who each receive special perpetual blessings (Genesis 49) producing the nation's tribes: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin. Of particular interest are the blessings of Judah and Joseph. Judah received the Messianic promise and produced both the royal lineage of kings and the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Joseph received the double portion inheritance of the first-born and produced not one but two tribes. Israel created Joseph's two tribes when he bestowed special blessings on both of his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, in Genesis 48.

Figure 1. Genesis' List of Nations