Starting the Friday letter almost a week ahead of time is very unusual for me. But at the beginning of this last week I received a letter that blessed me to tears, and has elicited a response from me that led to the thoughts expressed here. A close friend and brother (Messianic Jew) for almost 30 years now, who has a great deal of problem with the Two House movement and some of the ideas and doctrines which have come forth thereby, wrote the following: Ephraim- thanks, that does make it clearer. We do not agree on this, but I do believe that we have more in common than not- thus we are brothers, and I hope friends, and that forever, if I understand Heaven correctly...
We, this brother and I, have dialoged, argued and spared over scriptures and our respective interpretations for a great number of years. It is good to do these things with one another, as long as it gets one to dig deeper into the scriptures and ask the Spirit to teach and guide into all truth, always being open to learn "present truth" and not just chewing on yesterday's stale manna. Paul wrote at one point about boxing: "Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air" (1 Corinthians 9:26).
The last discussion this brother and I were having centered around Romans 4:16, "For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the seed, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.." Eventually the issue that Paul presents here boils down to one word - "seed" (or "descendants") - "sperma" in Greek. The question then is: Is the seed referred to here a natural or a spiritual one? We, my friend and I, agreed that all those who are of the Law, that is the Jews, are of the natural seed. But we differed when it came to those "who are of the faith of Abraham". In contrast to this brother, in my way of thinking what came out of the same forefather and is described by one and the same word has to be perceived in the same way - that is a seed is a seed, is a seed.
According to my friend, who espouses the common church doctrine, only the Jews are the natural seed and the faith people are the spiritual seed, or foreign seed, that is grafted in. Thus, the non physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob fulfill the promise of a multitude of nations that was supposed to come forth out of those forefathers (but in accordance with this understanding, didn't). If this is true, then I must conclude that Abraham had two seeds, one spiritual and one natural. Having a farming background and being a Botany Major I know that if one takes wheat seed and sows it into a field, at harvest time one would expect to reap wheat.
The reason I am bringing up this subject is because of a war that is already in progress. Islam knows that if it can overpower Judea and Samaria along with the heart of Jerusalem, the rest of the world will fall under its dominion. The Muslims have openly stated that the Jews are not their problem; they can eliminate them through the "peace process", but the ones that they are afraid of are the Evangelical bible believers, that is, "the faith people". The spiritual enemies know that if they can keep the believers from the truth of the Torah and the Prophets, they will not only defeat the Jews but also the people of the faith.
I believe that YHVH is faithful to His word and to the covenants and promises. If YHVH succeeded in multiplying the seed of the forefathers into what is a multitude of nations today, then this is proof that He is the Elohim of those forefathers. If not, then YHVH had not kept covenant or His word, but actually chose another way of accomplishing His promises, and that is through a spiritual seed (the Church). This deceptive interpretation had its beginning with Constantine and his universal gospel, and resulted in replacement theology. Because of this mainstream idea, much of the Church is disconnected from the land of Israel and does not care if the Jews maintain control of it or not. The Church's support, therefore, of the "peace process" is only natural. As far as they are concerned, Islam can have the land. But if these "faith people" only knew that they are truly the natural brothers of the Jews, they would be standing alongside them ready to give their lives for Zion's sake! Alas, according to this "spiritual" theology it is only heaven that counts...
I believe and strongly support the natural, but also the super-natural intervention in the dead loins of Abraham and the dead womb of Sarah. "And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb" (ve. 19). Isaac, who was conceived by divine intervention in a dead womb, is the one whom Paul was referring when he wrote: "Elohim, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist…" (ve. 17). The birth of Isaac was a testimony of "the faith" of Abraham who: "In hope against hope he believed, in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, "So shall your descendants/seed be" (ve. 18). Abraham and Sarah laughed when YHVH told them what His intentions were.
YHVH was not looking to the womb of a virgin when He made these promises to Abraham and Sarah. Paul states very clearly: "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall your seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Elohim: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, at this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son" (Romans 9:6-9). Yes, Sarah shall have a son! Isaac is the undisputed "son of promise" through whom was to come a multitude of nations - "ethnos" - also translated "gentiles, heathens" etc. depending on how one wants to interpret that Greek word.
YHVH was very particular when demonstrating His faithfulness in keeping covenants and promises. Thus it was from Sarah's womb that the promised son came and inherited the blessings, birthrights and promises. Isaac, then, would have had to be the father of the "many nations". Since Isaac had two children, Elohim had to separate them and choose only one who would continue the line of the "fathers", the one who would inherit the promise to become a multitude of nations. "And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; For the children [Esau and Jacob] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of Elohim according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls" (Romans 9: 10-11). Because of election, Jacob and his sons are now the "only" ones who qualify to inherit the promises. This is not by the will of man, but of Elohim. The question still stands: Are these people of "the faith" from the "natural seed" or from a "spiritual" one?