The Dispersions of Israel: the Hebrew Phoenicians

Phoenician sarcophagus, Beirut, Lebanon.

Often when Christians think of Phoenicia we think of Canaanites and a small spot in Northern Canaan on a Bible map which corresponds roughly to the later Roman district. But is this all that ancient Phoenicia was? And was Phoenicia really the domain solely of Canaanites? Or is there more to the history of Phoenicia as it relates to our Bibles that Christians ought to know? In this presentation we will look at the classical scope of the territory of Phoenicia and the evidence for Israelite dominance in the region.

To the ancient Greeks Phoenicia stretched across almost the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline from Orthosia in Cilicia to Pelusium in the Eastern Nile Delta (Strabo, Geography 16.2.21, 33). This includes all of the coastal territory possessed by the Israelites. Strabo even wrote of Moses and the Israelite conquest of Canaan saying that the successors of Moses “seized the property of others and subdued much of Syria and Phoenicia” (ibid. 16.2.37).

It is evident in the book of Joshua that there was Israelite activity in the regions of Tyre, Sidon and points further to the North (11.8, 13.4, 6 and 19.28-29). In Joshua 19 Asher’s borders are said to extend “even unto great Sidon” (v. 28), and “to the strong city Tyre” (v. 29). In the Septuagint the inheritance of Naphtali includes “the walled cities of the Tyrians” (v. 35). In Genesis 49.13 Jacob blesses his son saying “Zebulon shall dwell on the coast, and he shall be by a haven of ships, and shall extend to Sidon”. The tribe of Dan was also bound to the sea (Judges 5.17, Ezekiel 27.19).

Flavius Josephus tells us that the Tyrian king Hiram was an Israelite by race whose mother was of the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was an Israelite named Ur (Antiquities 8.3.4). Josephus also informs us that the kings of Tyre later exerted their rule over Sidon and even Cyprus (ibid. 8.13.1, 9.14.2). Strabo tells us that all the Western colonies of the Phoenicians in Iberia, Libya and beyond the Pillars of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar) hailed from Tyre (Geography 16.2.22).

In 2 Sam 24.6-7 we see that the census of Israel included Sidon and Tyre which are mentioned separately from the Canaanite cities. In Amos 3.11 in the Septuagint we read concerning that Assyrian conquest of Israel: “O Tyre, thy land shall be made desolate round about thee”. In another reference to the destruction of Israel Micah 7.12 says “thy cities shall be levelled, and parted among the Assyrians; and thy strong cities shall be parted from Tyre to the river”. Clearly Tyre was one of the Israelite cities ravaged by the Assyrians.

The bust of Punic captain Hannibal Barca, Capua, Italy.

Josephus, citing Theophrastus, relates that the Tyrians were forbidden to swear foreign oaths, and Josephus mentions one of their oaths in particular (“the Corban”) which he says is known otherwise only to the Judeans (Against Apion 1.22). Herodotus tells us that “the Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine” (the latter being what Herodotus called the Judeans, e.g. Histories 2.159, 3.5 and 7.89) were both circumcised (ibid. 2.104). It ought to be noted here that the ancient Israelite practice of circumcision differed greatly from the later Jewish custom widely practiced in the Jewish, Islamic and American worlds today. I will not get into any grisly details here, but suffice it to say that Jewish circumcision is a horrific mockery of the Biblical rite of circumcision

The Greek hero Cadmus is called “the Phoenician” throughout Classical Greek literature and was regarded as the founder of Grecian Thebes (Lord Charles Neaves, ‘The Greek Anthology’, John B. Alden, pp. 160-162). Herodotus calls Cadmus “the Tyrian” (Histories 2.49) and elsewhere he refers to the “Phoenicians who came with Cadmus” to Greece and taught the Japhetic Ionian Greeks their alphabet (ibid. 5.58). Diodorus Siculus likewise attributes the origin of the Greek alphabet to the Phoenicians who came to Greece with Cadmus (Library of History 3.67.1). That the Greek alphabet derives from the Phoenician is now known to be a matter of fact, hardly a surprise considering that the names of the letters have, for the most part, scarcely changed from their original Northwest Semitic names, e.g. alpha=aleph, beta=beth, gamma=gimel etc.

The name Cadmus probably comes from the Semitic triliteral root *qadm- meaning “East”, with the addition of the Greek masculine name ending -os giving the meaning “man of the East”. Cadmus is said to have been the grandfather of Dionysus (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4.2.1-3), and to have come from the city of Thebes in Egypt (ibid. 1.23.4). That Cadmus was an Israelite is evident elsewhere in Greek literature, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion, and I have already written at some length of Cadmus and his compatriots.

The recent research of some linguists has proposed controversial but fascinating theories about a Phoenician presence in Western and Northern Europe (Theo Vennemann, Robert Mailhammer, ‘The Carthaginian North: Semitic Influence on Early Germanic’, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Theo Vennemann, ‘Germania Semitica’ and ‘Europa Vasconica, Europa Semitica’, Mouton De Gruyter) and posit that Germanic languages contain a Semitic superstratum associated with the Phoenicians and the Celtic languages a substratum, while the Germanic runes come directly from the Phoenician writing system.

Phoenician sarcophagus, Beirut, Lebanon.

The Phoenicians had an incredibly far reaching influence by sea. The Periplus of Hanno the Navigator documents his voyage down the Western coast of Africa. Pliny the Elder says he actually circumnavigated Africa and landed in Arabia (Natural History 2.169), and that at this time another Punic explorer named Himilco explored the remote coasts of Europe (ibid.). A later Roman author preserves portions of the account which shows that Himilco sailed the North Atlantic coasts of Western Europe (Rufius Festus Avienus, J. P. Murphy, ‘Ora Maritima: or, Description of the Seacoast from Brittany Round to Massilia’, Ares Publishers).

Punic graffiti has been discovered in Wales, confirming their activity in that region (Alfred Guillaume, ‘Iraq’, British Institute for the Study of Iraq, vol. 7, pp. 67-68, ‘The Phoenician Graffito in the Holt Collection of the National Museum of Wales’). The Phoenicians are known to have mined tin in Cornwall which ended up in ancient Israel, and the Phoenicians may also be responsible for exporting Cypriot copper and Egyptian glass as far North as Scandinavia. Perhaps these Phoenicians had a more profound influence on Western Civilization than they are often credited with.

The Jewish Perversion of the Biblical Circumcision Rite

Image: A woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle depicting the ritual murder of St. Simon of Trent.

The ancient Israelite practice of circumcision differed greatly from the later Jewish custom widely practiced in the Jewish, Islamic and American worlds today. Originally the practice only involved removal of any extra foreskin protruding beyond the glans.

This allowed for the restoration of the remaining foreskin, a practice common among Hellenistic Judeans (Josephus, Antiquities 12.241, 1 Maccabees 1.15), but which is not allowed by modern curcumcision procedures.

Later on around 140 AD the Jews added another stage where the foreskin was cut further back, to the ridge behind the glans. The inner mucosal tissue was removed by use of a sharp finger nail or tool, including the excision and removal of the frenulum.

Later during the Talmudic period (500-625 AD) a third step began to be practiced in which the Jew circumcising the child would suck the blood from the circumcision wound with his mouth (James E. Peron, Circumcision: Then and Now, Many Blessings vol. 3 pp. 41-42), something expressly forbidden by God’s laws (Leviticus 17.10, 14, Acts 15.20, 29).

The perverse adaptation of the circumcision procedure has been incorporated into the practice of Jewish ritual murder, a well documented historical phenomenon. For example, St. Simon of Trent was circumcised and the blood thereof collected for the purpose of use in perverse occult rites.

While we as Christians are not supposed to be circumcised, it is important to understand the difference between the rite commanded by God and known to the patriarchs and the perverse concision inflicted on boys today.

“2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
-Philippians 3

The Genesis Flood: Global or Local?

‘The Animals Entering Noah’s Ark’
-Jacopo Bassano

Contrary to popular belief, the flood of Noah did not cover the entire globe. The “earth” or “land” of the flood was only that land known to antedeluvian Adamic man; the Fertile Crescent and Mediterranean Basin.

There are many obvious problems with the interpretation of the Genesis flood as a global event: how did Noah gather animals from all across the globe and house them aboard the ark? Where could such a vast a volume of water come from and go?

Why do many civilizations continue uninterrupted through the time of the flood (late 4th millennium BC following the LXX chronology) if the entire planet was submerged in water?

Many other troubling questions could be posed, but that is not my purpose here. Rather I will provide a much simpler explanation for the Genesis flood narrative which avoids such absurd dilemmas and which is demonstrable from Scripture itself.

The word usually translated “earth” throughout the flood narrative is erets/ארץ in the Hebrew (Strong’s H776), which is defined as “country, earth, field, ground, land” (Strong’s s.v.), “country, territory” or “district, region” (Brown-Driver-Briggs s.v.).

In the Greek of the Septuagint the word rendered usually as “earth” is ge/γῆ (Strong’s G1093), which is defined as “soil; by extension a region” (Strong’s s.v.) or “soil, land, region, country” (Dodson s.v.).

Other races which existed throughout the planet would have been largely unaffected. Thus we see both the Kenites and Nephilim survived after the flood (Genesis 15.19) despite their absence on the ark (Genesis 7.13, 1 Peter 3.20).

Kenite (H7017) is a patronym derived from Cain (H7014). This is obvious in Numbers 24.21-22 where the Kenites are mentioned in v. 21 and are refered to collectively as Cain in v. 22. All life in the outside the ark in the affected land perished in the flood (Genesis 7.21-23), therefore the Kenites must have been absent from the affected land.

The Nephilim also appear both before and after the flood. Genesis 6.4 says “The Nephilim were upon the earth in those days, and also afterward”, and later in Numbers 13.33 the Nephilim are again mentioned as inhabitants of Canaan.

The belief that the flood of Noah was not a global event was also known to ancient Judaeans such as Flavius Josephus and Nicolaus of Damascus (Josephus’ Antiquities of the Judaeans 1.3.6). It is also evident that the early Christian writer Justin Martyr realized that the fallen Angels had survived the flood (Second Apology, chapter 5).

I’m sure many are thinking of Genesis 7.19 which says the floodwaters covered “all the high mountains which were under heaven”. In Colossians 1.23 St. Paul refers to “the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven”.

Paul lived and wrote in the first century AD and in his lifetime Christianity existed only in Europe, West Asia and North Africa. The phrase “under heaven” cannot be assumed to refer to everything under the sky across the globe in a Biblical context.

Identifying the Sin of the Antediluvian Adamites

Image: Noah offering a sacrifice, Butterfield’s Keble College chapel, Oxford, England

In Romans 4 St. Paul states “where no law is, there is no transgression.” (vs. 15 ) In Romans 5 he states that “until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (vv. 13-14) Ostensibly there was only one law imputed to Adam and Eve for breach of which sin was imputed to them; they were forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the days of Noah God punished antediluvian Adamic man for their sin (Genesis 6.5-13), but what was their sin? And what can this tell us about the sin committed in the garden?

Genesis chapter 6 gives an account of miscegenation between certain Angels and Adamic women (vv. 1-4). These Angels are elsewhere refered to as “the Angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 1.6) and “the Angels that sinned” (2 Peter 2.4).

Many skeptics claim that the sons of God in Genesis 6.2 are merely Adamic men since Scripture tells us elsewhere that Adam was the son of God (Luke 3.38). This is also true of Adam’s descendants, and especially of Israel (Deuteronomy 14.1, Isaiah 43.6, 45.11, Hosea 1.10, 1 John 3.1-2) but it might also be said of other branches of the Adamic race, such as the Japhetic Ionian Greeks (Acts 17.28).

This objection to the traditional interpretation of Genesis 6.1-4 is found to be lacking as it can be shown that the Angels are also called sons of God in Scripture (Job 1.6, 38.7). The Codex Alexandrinus reads “Angels of God” at Genesis 6.2. Hybridization is the only sensible explanation for the freakish stature of the offspring in Genesis 6.4, for God’s natural creation always produces in the strict order of kind after kind (Genesis 1.11-12, 21, 24-25) and does not produce such abominable abnormalities.

From Genesis 2.16 to Genesis 6 there was only one law imputed to Adamic man: “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it” (Genesis 2.17). God was not punishing antediluvian Adamic man in the days of Noah without imputing law to him; rather He was punishing them for the very same sin committed by their ancestors in the garden: miscegenation with the brood of the fallen Angels; the genealogical tree which knew both good and evil.

God saw fit to cleanse the corrupted antediluvian world with a flood, but Noah was chosen to preserve the Adamic race because he was “perfect in his race [G1074]” (Genesis 6.9). Genea (Strong’s G1074) means “race, stock, family” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “men of the same stock, a family” (Thayer s.v.). His wife and sons were certainly of the same stock (Tobit 4.12) or the purity of Noah’s race would’ve been for nought. This interpretation is nothing new, and was well known to the 2nd century Christian writer Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul:

“Since the Son of God is always one and the same, He gives to those who believe on Him a well of water [springing up] to eternal life, but He causes the unfruitful fig-tree immediately to dry up; and in the days of Noah He justly brought on the deluge for the purpose of extinguishing that most infamous race of men then existent, who could not bring forth fruit to God, since the angels that sinned had commingled with them, and [acted as He did] in order that He might put a check upon the sins of these men, but [that at the same time] He might preserve the archetype, the formation of Adam.”
-Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 4, chapter 36

The pure lineage of Noah spawned all the great nations of the ancient world including Armenia, Egypt, Lydia, Assyria, Crete, Persia, Ionia, Babylon, Media and Thrace and was carried down through the ages to the modern nations of Christendom, the body of Christ. It was passed down through the elect line from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to the the man Jesus Christ; the last Adam through whom we shall bear the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15.45-50).

Christianity: a “Desert Religion?”

‘The Return of Jacob to Canaan’
-Willem van Newland

Many detractors of Christianity like to slander the Faith with the pejorative “desert religion.” This is quite a display of ignorance on part of our opponents who seem to be oblivious to the nature and history of the Fertile Crescent. Certainly the land of milk and honey (Exodus 3.8, Numbers 13.27, Deuteronomy 6.3) was no desert.

The climate of the Holy Land has changed significantly since Biblical times and large swaths of the region that were once lush and temperate have been subjected to desertification. In addition, invading armies all but entirely depleted the forests of Palestine.

The change in the climate of Palestine and the deforestation of the region has been detailed by Ellsworth Huntington in the Bulletin of the American Geographical Society (vol. 40, no. 9 pp. 513-522). Much of Palestine today has been successfully reforested with indigenous flora, a testament to the fertility of the land.

The Roman author Pliny the Elder remarked upon “Jericho, covered with groves of palm-trees, and watered by numerous springs” as well as “En-Gedi, second only to Jerusalem in the fertility of its soil and its groves of palm-trees” (Natural History 5.15).

The Judean historian Flavius Josephus said of the Galileans that “their soil is universally rich and fruitful, and full of the plantations of trees of all sorts, insomuch that it invites the most slothful to take pains in its cultivation, by its fruitfulness” (Wars 3.42).

Of Samaria and Judea he tells us that “They have abundance of trees, and are full of autumnal fruit, both that which grows wild, and that which is the effect of cultivation” and “those rivers which they have, all their waters are exceedingly sweet: by reason also of the excellent grass they have, their cattle yield more milk than do those in other places”(ibid. 3.49-50).

Concerning the country about Gennesareth he says that “its nature is wonderful as well as its beauty; its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it, and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of trees there; for the temper of the air is so well mixed, that it agrees very well with those several sorts” (ibid. 3.516).

In an ancient Judean prayer called the Song of the Sage (4Q510-511 in the Dead Sea Scrolls) “desert dwellers” are found among a list of demonic entities. Apparently the people of Judea considered the desert an inhospitable or strange environment home to demons and did not regard their own people as desert dwellers.

Forests of the land of Canaan are mentioned throughout Scripture (Joshua 17.15, 1 Samuel 22.5, 2 Samuel 18.6, Ezekiel 34.25, Zechariah 11.2). The Israelites marvelled at the abundance of the land of Canaan when they first sent their scouts into the land (Numbers 13.23-27). Certainly the land of ancient Israel was no desert.

The Ethiopian Eunuch and Simeon Niger: Negroe Saints?

‘Baptism Of The Eunuch’ -Van Heemskerk 

It can be demonstrated that the Ethiopian eunuch baptized by Philip in Acts chapter 8 was a Judaean serving in the Ethiopian court and not ethnically Ethiopian. This man was making a pilgrimage to the temple (vs. 27) where only Judaeans were permitted (Acts 21.28-29, 24.5-6, the Temple Warning inscription) and was in possession of a scroll containing the book of Isaiah (vs. 28). He was also converted before Cornelius and the agreement to convert the nations (Acts 10, 15.7). Judaeans are elsewhere referred to as Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Cretes and Arabians according to their residence and not their ethnicity (Acts 2.5-11) and this is certainly the case with the Ethiopian eunuch. The fact that the Ethiopian eunuch was a Judaean was also known to the early Christian writers Irenaeus and Pontius. Here in his work ‘Against Heresies’ (4.23.2) Irenaeus indicates that the Ethiopian eunuch was learned in the Scriptures:

“2. For this reason, also, Philip, when he had discovered the eunuch of the Ethiopians’ queen … immediately when [Philip] had baptized him, he departed from him. For nothing else [but baptism] was wanting to him who had been already instructed by the prophets: he was not ignorant of God the Father, nor of the rules as to the [proper] manner of life, but was merely ignorant of the advent of the Son of God, which, when he had become acquainted with, in a short space of time, he went on his way rejoicing, to be the herald in Ethiopia of Christ’s advent. Therefore Philip had no great labour to go through with regard to this man, because he was already prepared in the fear of God by the prophets. For this reason, too, did the apostles, collecting the sheep which had perished of the house of Israel, and discoursing to them from the Scriptures, prove that this crucified Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God; and they persuaded a great multitude, who, however, [already] possessed the fear of God. And there were, in one day, baptized three, and four, and five thousand men.”

Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, Decani Monastery, Kosovo.

One might, at a stretch, claim that the Ethiopian eunuch wasn’t necessarily a Judaean just because he was familiar with Scripture, but the context provided by the very next passage in Irenaeus’ book (4.24.1) precludes that interpretation:

“1. Wherefore also Paul, since he was the apostle of the Gentiles, says, I laboured more than they all. For the instruction of the former, [the Judaeans] was an easy task, because they could allege proofs from the Scriptures, and because they, who were in the habit of hearing Moses and the prophets, did also readily receive the First-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the life of God, — Him who, by the spreading forth of hands, did destroy Amalek, and vivify man from the wound of the serpent, by means of faith which was [exercised] towards Him.”

Another early Christian source (‘The Life of St. Cyprian’ chapter 3) is very explicit that the Ethiopian eunuch was a Judaean:

“3. The apostle’s epistle says that novices should be passed over, lest by the stupor of heathenism that yet clings to their unconfirmed minds, their untaught inexperience should in any respect sin against God. He first, and I think he alone, furnished an illustration that greater progress is made by faith than by time. For although in the Acts of the Apostles the eunuch is described as at once baptized by Philip, because he believed with his whole heart, this is not a fair parallel. For he was a Judean, and as he came from the temple of the Lord he was reading the prophet Isaiah, and he hoped in Christ, although as yet he did not believe that He had come; while the other, coming from the ignorant heathens, began with a faith as mature as that with which few perhaps have finished their course.”

The bust of Pescennius Niger, the Hall of Busts, Vatican.

Many claim that Simeon “that was called Niger” (Acts 13.1) was so called on account of being a Negroe or otherwise non-Adamic. It is hardly unique for White people to be called black as we see in the use of the term Black Irish or the name Hugh the Black, a Frankish Duke of Burgundy in the 10th century. My own wife’s English maiden name is Black, and I assure you, she is no Negroe. Note that Niger (Strong’s G3526) in this context is a name of Latin origin (Strong’s and Thayer’s s.v.) and it was common for Romans to take the names of colours in reference to their hair colour (e.g. Rufus/red or Flavus/yellow, Oxford Latin Dictionary s.v.). The Roman Emperor Pescennius Niger was so called in reference to his swarthy neck which stood in contrast to the rest of his body (Historian Augusta, Life of Pescennius Niger 6.6). Simeon was undoubtedly racially akin to his fellow Judeans who were certainly far from black.

The Jewish Ties of the Infamous Opponents of the Early Church

The bust of Nero, Capitoline, Rome, Italy.

Nero’s wife Poppaea Sabina was “a religious woman” who procured favour for the Jews (Josephus, Antiquities 20.159). She was buried according to Jewish custom as she wished (Tacitus, Annals 16.6, Histories 1.22) indicating that she was either a Jew, a Jewish proselyte or a “God-fearer” (Gentile supporter of Hellenistic Judaism).

Nero himself showed favour to the Jews expanding the borders of the kingdom of Herod Agrippa II (Josephus, Antiquities 20.159, Wars 2.252) and bestowing Armenia Minor upon Aristobulus, son of the Jewish king of Chalcis (Antiquities 20.158).

Nero is esteemed in the Talmud as an honoured convert to Judaism and the ancestor of the famous Rabbi Meir Baal Haness (Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 59 no. 4, The Emperor Nero in Talmudic Legend, University of Pennsylvania Press p. 321 ff.). It is no coincidence that Nero persecuted Christianity so harshly.

The bust of Julian the Apostate, Louvre, Paris, France.

Julian the Apostate was the first pagan Emperor after Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire. He promised the Jews that he would rebuild the temple destroyed by Christ’s people (Daniel 9.26, Romans 16.20). Apparently he also had no qualms about worshiping alongside Jews.

“Desiring to extend yet further favors to you, I have exhorted my brother, the venerable Patriarch Julos, to put a stop to the collection of the so-called Apostolé [a tax] among you; and henceforward no one will be able to oppress your people by the collection of such imposts, so that everywhere throughout my kingdom you may be free from care … when I return safely from the Persian war, I may restore the Holy City of Jerusalem, and rebuild it at my own expense, even as you have for so many years desired it to be restored; and therein will I unite with you in giving praise to the Almighty.”
-The Works of the Emperor Julian, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, volume 3, letter 51

“22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
-Romans 11

Against the Lying Pen of the Scribes

‘Parable of the Wheat and the Tares’
-Abraham Bloemaert

It is an established historical fact that the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus I conquered the Edomites in the late 2nd century BC, forcibly converted them to the religion of Judah and integrated the Edomites into the nation of Judah (Josephus, Antiquities 13.257-258, 13.395-397, Strabo, Geography 16.2.34 et al.). The conquest and mass conversion of any people, let alone a cursed and mongrelized people like Edom, was an unprecedented event in Israel’s history which had catastrophic results.

The Jews of today are themselves descended from the Edomites and are thoroughly mixed with them, and therefore they find it necessary to justify and even praise the absorption of the Edomites into the nation of Judah. In the Masoretic Text of Amos 9 we read “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name” (vv. 11-12, King James Version).

The Edomite Jews of course interpret that this refers to the conversion of their ancestors during the reign of Hyrcanus I. There are many points of apparent conflict with other Scriptures in this interpretation (Ezekiel 35, Isaiah 34, Obadiah, Malachi 1.2-4, Romans 9 et al.), but there is a simple resolution. Most modern Old Testament translations are based upon the Masoretic Text of the Jews, but the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament provides a different reading which is certainly more consistent with Scripture.

“11In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and will rebuild the ruins of it, and will set up the parts thereof that have been broken down, and will build it up as in the ancient days:
12that the remnant of men, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek me, saith the Lord who does all these things.”
-Amos 9 (Brenton’s Septuagint)

Where the Masoretic Text has אדום/Edom (Strong’s H123) the Septuagint has ανθρώπων/men (Strong’s G444). This reading gives a very different picture of the prophecy which is much more consistent with the rest of Scripture. It is apparent here that the Septuagint translators read אדם/Adam (H120) where the Masoretes read אדום/Edom. Aside from the vowel markings of the Masoretes, the ו/vav is the only thing to distinguish the Hebrew words אדם and אדום and the addition of a single simple line (ו) to the text transforms the message. Ostensibly this corruption of the text must predate Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation (late 4th century AD) which has Idumeae/Edom in this verse.

It is evident from the reading of Amos 9.12 in the elder Septuagint, which preceded the Vulgate by over 5 centuries and which was favoured by the early Church, that this prophecy refers to the remnant of Adamic man called back to God through Israel under the New Covenant. It is certainly not a prophecy of the integration of Edom into the nation of Judah. The unchanging God never changed his mind about Edom who has been condemned of God since ancient times, but God has always had a plan for the redemption of the authentic seed of Adam. That the Septuagint contains the correct reading is proven fully by James’ speech at the Council of Jerusalem where he paraphrases the Septuagint reading (Acts 15.16-17).

Obadiah 1.18 states that “the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble: and they shall be kindled in them, and shall devour them: and there shall be no remains of the house of Esau”. Would the God of Jacob be a God unto “the remnant of Edom” only to later have Israel ensure that “there shall be no remains of the house of Esau”? Why would God annihilate his own authentic followers?

The Kenite, Canaanite and Edomite Jews dread the righteous judgement of our God upon Edom and all the aliens, and this has influenced their textual traditions of the Old Testament in another place; Malachi 4.1. The Masoretic Text reads here “behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble” (King James Version). The Septuagint however, gives a different reading.

“1For, behold, a day comes burning as an oven, and it shall consume them; and all the aliens [αλλογενείς, Strong’s G241], and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that is coming shall set them on fire, saith the Lord Almighty, and there shall not be left of them root or branch. 2But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise, and healing shall be in his wings: and ye shall go forth, and bound as young calves let loose from bonds. 3And ye shall trample the wicked; for they shall be ashes underneath your feet in the day which I appoint, saith the Lord Almighty.”
-Malachi 4 (Brenton’s Septuagint)

Here in Malachi 4.1 the LXX translators apparently read a resh where the Masoretes read (or corrupted to) a dalet instead. Thus the Masoretes have zedim (plural of H2086) where the LXX translators read zarim (plural of H2114) and translated αλλογενείς (G241) meaning “of another race” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “sprung from another race” (Thayer s.v.). Compare zedim/זדים and zarim/זרים.

The same scribal error (or corruption) has been noted elsewhere by other scholars. In a note for Psalm 54.3 the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states that “This verse is repeated almost verbatim in Psalm 86:14 (a mosaic constructed of fragments of other Psalms), with the change, accidental or intentional, of strangers into proud. The consonants of the Heb. words zârîm, strangers, and zêḏîm, proud, are almost identical, and some Heb. MSS. and the Targ. read zêḏîm here; but the rest of the versions support the Massoretic Text”. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers corroborates this under the entry for Psalm 54.3 stating “This verse, with some variations, occurs again (Psalm 86:14); some MSS. even reading here “proud,” instead of “strangers.””

There are several other examples of dalet/resh confusion evident in a comparison of the LXX and MT. For example at 1 Samuel 22.9 Doeg is called a Syrian in the LXX where the translators apparently read ארמ/Arammiy (H761) instead of אדמ/Edomiy (H130). Another example is Genesis 10.4 where in the MT we have דדנים/Dodanim (H1721) while the LXX translators read רדנים/Rodanim (H7290c) and translated as Rhodians. Other examples can be found.

That the Septuagint reading of Malachi 4.1 is most accurate is evident in the New Testament in Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares when Christ uttered “things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13.35). In this parable recorded in Matthew 13 Jesus tells us that the weeds sown in the field of wheat were planted by an enemy (vv. 25, 28) who is the devil and whose children are the weeds (vv. 38, 39). Does the devil go about planting evil spirits in vessels created by God? Nay, Satan has no such power over the spirits and bodies that God has created. The children sown by the devil are the same aliens refered to in Malachi 4.1 whose fate is the lake of fire.

At 1 Thessalonians 2.15 the Majority Text, (and therefore the King James Version) describes the wicked Judeans as those “Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own [ιδιους, Strong’s G2398] prophets”. This reading might be taken to mean that the murderers of Christ could call the prophets of God “their own”, which is certainly not the case. Jesus said that “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15.24) and that “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10.27), yet He had also said to his Judean opponents that “ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep” (John 10.26). Why then would the text say that those who plotted against Jesus’ life were lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom were sent the prophets?

All the oldest manuscripts (e.g. the codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Claromontanus, Freerianus and 0208) have “the” (τοὺς, G3588) rather than “their own”. That “the prophets” is the correct reading has been noted by other scholars. Metzger’s Textual Commentary states that “The Textus Receptus reads ιδιους προφήτας, following a variety of secondary witnesses … Whether these somehow derived the reading from Marcion, who inserted the word in order to limit the reference to Jewish prophets, or whether they were influenced by ἰδίων in the preceding verse, is immaterial to the present purpose. The shorter reading is decisively supported by the best representatives of several text types …”.

A footnote for this verse in the New English Translation says of the longer reading that “This is obviously a secondary reading. Marcion’s influence my stand behind part of the tradition, but the Byzantine text probably added the adjective in light of its mention in v. 14 and as a clarification or interpretation of which prophets were in view”. It is not only the anti-Christ Jews who have failed to faithfully transmit the text but Christian scribes have also erred in this regard. We must take great care to faithfully examine the Scriptures to obtain the most accurate readings that we might rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2.15).

“8 How do you say: We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Indeed the lying pen of the scribes hath wrought falsehood.”
-Jeremiah 8

Against the Judaizers

‘The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek’
-Peter Paul Rubens

Many Christians today have been fooled into believing that we are bound to uphold the Law of Moses. This may stem from a desire to conform to God’s will (though more often it is rooted in self-righteousness), but it is certainly misguided. Such people are actually continuing in an old heresy which the Apostles themselves contended against: Judaizing.

It is now pertinent to discuss what exactly Judaizing is. The word Judaize (Ioudaizo, Strong’s G2450) only appears once in our New Testament in reference to this heresy (Galatians 2.14). There St. Paul is addressing an error within the early Church and how he corrected it. In Galatians 2 St. Paul recounts how St. Peter would not publicly associate with the uncircumcised Greeks, Romans and Syrians in the Church. St. Paul then chastises him for this:

“14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Judean, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Judeans, why compellest thou the Gentiles to Judaize [ioudaizein]?”

There is one other use of the term Judaize in the canonical books of the Bible; Esther 8.17. While there are disputes both ancient and modern as to the canonicity and historicity of the book of Esther, I do not feel qualified to speak on the matter, but here the Greek text of Esther 8.17 is useful to shed some light on how Judaizing was understood among Judean Grecephones in antiquity. Here in Esther 8 the Persian king declares that the Judeans in his satrapies were to be permitted to exercise their own laws and defend themselves from their oppressors. In fear of the power of the Judeans many are said to have converted to Judaism:

“17In every city and province wherever the ordinance was published: wherever the proclamation took place, the Judeans had joy and gladness, feasting and mirth: and many of the Gentiles were circumcised, and were Judaized [ioudaizon], for fear of the Judeans.”

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines Ioudaizo as “to become a Judaean, i.e. “Judaize””. Judaizers are mentioned once in the work of Flavius Josephus (Wars of the Judeans 2.18.2) where he tells us “when the Syrians thought they had ruined the Judeans, they had the Judaizers in suspicion also … as if they were certainly foreigners”.

The 2nd century Christian writer Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Magnesians, wrote that “It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity” (10.3). Christianity was not to be a new sect of ancient Judaism subject to the Judean traditions and clinging to the Old Covenant; rather it was a New Covenant made with both the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31.31-32, Hebrews 8.8-9).

From these four ancient sources it can be clearly seen that Judaizing is the adoption of Judean customs. When I call someone a Judaizer or their doctrine Judaizing, I am not slandering them as a lover or follower of the synagogue of Satan which presents itself as Judaism today; rather I am stating simply that they are following in this same ancient error which was recognized by St. Paul. The charge is no more or no less than that.

Now many will undoubtedly be thinking that the Law of Moses was not unique to the Kingdom of Judah or the province of Judea; it was given to the 12 tribes of Israel. It is a part of our Christian heritage. This is true, but just because the Mosaic Law is part of the history of the 12 tribes does not necessarily mean that it is something which binds Christians today. The Law of Moses which was given to Israel at Sinai is the body of conditions to the covenant made at Sinai. The Sinaitic Covenant was dependent upon Israel’s obedience to the Law of Moses (Exodus 19.5-6, Leviticus 26.14 ff., Deuteronomy 28.15 ff.) and when Israel broke the Old Covenant, so did God. Here are a few passages that show that Israel was divorced from God and the Old Covenant:

10And I took my rod that was called Beauty, and I cut it asunder to make void my covenant, which I had made with all people. 11And it was made void in that day: and so the poor of the flock that keep for me, understood that it is the word of the Lord. 12And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the statuary, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast them into the house of the Lord to the statuary. 14And I cut off my second rod that was called a Cord, that I might break the brotherhood between Juda and Israel.
-Zechariah 11

“1Say to your brother, My people, and to your sister, Pitied. 2Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband: and I will remove her fornication out of my presence, and her adultery from between her breasts: 3that I may strip her naked, and make her again as she was at the day of her birth: and I will make her desolate, and make her as a dry land, and will kill her with thirst.”
-Hosea 2

“1Thus saith the Lord, Of what kind is your mother’s bill of divorcement, by which I put her away? or to which debtor have I sold you? Behold, ye are sold for your sins, and for your iniquities have I put your mother away.”
-Isaiah 50

“6And the Lord said to me in the days of Josias the king, Hast thou seen what things the house of Israel has done to me? they have gone on every high mountain, and under every shady tree, and have committed fornication there. 7And I said after she had committed all these acts of fornication, Turn again to me. Yet she returned not. And faithless Juda saw her faithlessness. 8And I saw that (for all the sins of which she was convicted, wherein the house of Israel committed adultery, and I put her away, and gave into her hands a bill of divorcement,) yet faithless Juda feared not, but went and herself also committed fornication.”
-Jeremiah 3

“31Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda: 32not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; for they abode not in my covenant, and I disregarded them, saith the Lord.”
-Jeremiah 31

Some of the Judaizers will claim that the Mosaic Law is a primordial code always known to Adamic man and that it was only later codified and written down concisely at Sinai, but this is in direct conflict with Scripture. St. Paul states in Galatians 3 that “the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul” (vs. 17). How could the Law of Moses go back to Adam if the Law of Moses came 430 years after the establishment of the covenant with his descendant Abraham?

Did God cast Adam from the garden for not wearing garments conforming to the Law of Moses? No; Adam had been naked and he was punished for breaking the only law he knew: “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—of it ye shall not eat”. Were the antediluvian Adamites punished for eating swine? No; they were punished for the same sin as their father Adam. There was no Mosaic Law known to Adamic man before the Sinaitic Covenant.

We know from the records in the Pentateuch that the Mosaic Law and the Sinaitic Covenant indeed came long after the Abrahamic Covenant, and it is clear in the New Testament that the New Covenant is founded on the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant; not the later Sinaitic Covenant which was broken long ago. Here in Romans 4 St. Paul makes this amply clear:

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.”

Clearly the New Covenant and the hope we have in Christ is founded on the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant and not the broken Sinaitic Covenant. Paul affirms the Abrahamic foundation of the New Covenant again in Hebrews 6 where he relates the Abrahamic promise to Christ’s sacrifice and priestly status in the order of Melchizedek:

13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

Here in Luke 1 St. Zacharias, the father of St. John the Baptist, prophecies of his son’s purpose to prepare the way for the Christ who would fulfill God’s oath to Abraham. Like Paul, Zacharias saw the Christ as fulfilling the promises made to Abraham long before the Law of Moses was given:

“67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

If the Apostles and saints believed that the Abrahamic Covenant was the foundation of our Christian faith, who is any man today to doubt this? The house of Israel broke the Old Covenant and was divorced by God with the promise of a future covenant to be made “not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt”. What purpose then could it serve to adopt the Mosaic Law, the conditions of the Sinaitic Covenant? More to the point; is this what Christ and the Apostles taught us to do?

In Acts 15 we see that there was a “sect of the Pharisees” (vs. 5) who had established themselves within the Church and were teaching that the nations had to be circumcised and adopt the Law of Moses. The Apostles took council about this matter and eventually St. James proposed what they ought to decree:

“19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

The whole council of Jerusalem agreed and this decree was sent out to the Christians of Antioch (vv. 22-29). If the Apostles thought the Roman world should exclude pork from its diet or that the Greeks should sew fringes to their togas or thought that any other parts of the Law of Moses needed to be upheld by Christians, this would be the time to decree it, but they did not. Rather they provided us with a short and simple set of laws which are similar to laws known in the patriarchal age in our Old Testament (e.g. Genesis 9.3-5, 26.34-35, Hebrews 12.16 et al.). How then can one rightfully reprimand a Christian brother who does not keep the Law of Moses when the council of the Apostles wrote against those Pharisees who compelled Christians to take up the Law of Moses?

There are some (e.g. William Finck of Christogenea) who would claim to agree that Christians are not bound to the Law of Moses, but who hold a special contempt for those who eat pork, rabbit or shellfish etc. and such people often claim that these foods are not in fact considered food in a Biblical context. This position is simply an excuse to cling to a form of Judaizing while claiming to reject it, and these Judaizers think the dietary laws are laws they can feasibly keep, so they cling to them in their self-righteousness.

While the Mosaic Law prohibits eating these things, and the Judeans might have considered eating them to be strange, the Greco-Roman world consumed vast amounts of pork, shellfish and even snails and dormice (John E. Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, JHU Press p. 148, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, A History of Food, John Wiley & Sons p. 93). Surely that would have been considered by both the Judaizers and by the Apostles when they wrote their letter to the Christians in Antioch.

Before the Law of Moses was given no dietary laws against eating pork or shellfish etc. appear in our Scriptures. Adam and the family of Noah were permitted to eat “every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind” (Genesis 1.29) and the seed of Noah was also permitted to eat “every thing that moveth and liveth” except of course its blood (Genesis 9.3-4). I do not dispute that the dietary rules in the Mosaic Law provide guidance that can benefit our health, but I must strongly oppose insulting or alienating people who do not adhere to them.

Those who would exclude meats prohibited under the Law of Moses from the category of food argue that since certain animals are defined as unclean before the Law of Moses was recieved (Genesis 7.2, 8.20) that those animals were and are always forbidden. The distinction between clean and unclean in the context of the story of Noah can only be connected with sacrifice (Genesis 8.20) and not with diet. In Genesis 9.3 God tells Noah’s family that they may eat any meat without stipulation. Even if it was true that Noah considered the unclean animals unfit to eat, to read a legal prohibition into this depends on reading a law into the text where no law is recorded or exemplified. Condemning a Christian brother based on a personal interpretation of two verses is sheer folly.

Many racial universalists will claim that the prohibition against miscegenation and the exclusion of mongrels from the Church is a relic of the Law of Moses which finds no precedent outside the Sinaitic Covenant. This argument is found to be lacking as there are instances where these laws are attested in both the patriarchal and apostolic ages.

In the time of Noah mongrels were excluded from the election. Noah was chosen to preserve the Adamic race because he was “perfect in his race [G1074]”. Genea (Strong’s G1074) means “race, stock, family” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “men of the same stock, a family” (Thayer s.v.). His wife and sons were certainly of the same stock (Tobit 4.12) or the purity of Noah’s race would’ve been for nought. There were no bastards aboard the ark.

In Genesis 38 we see that Zerah and Pharez contended for the status of firstborn (vv. 27-30) despite the fact that Judah already had a son, Shelah (vv. 1-5). The only possible reason that Shelah was not acceptable as the firstborn of Judah is that he was a mongrel because his mother was “a daughter of a certain Canaanite” (vs. 2). The disinheritance of bastards is a part of God’s law which is transcendent of the Law of Moses.

Zechariah 14 contains a prophecy of the Kingdom of God declaring that the whole Adamic world will know God (vv. 9, 17) and all the enemies of Israel/Christendom will be destroyed (vv. 12-15). In the final verse we read “in that day there shall be no more the Chananite in the house of the Lord Almighty” (vs. 21). There is no place for Canaanite mongrels in the Kingdom of God.

Malachi 4.1 states that “a day comes burning as an oven, and it shall consume them; and all the aliens [Strong’s G241] and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that is coming shall set them on fire, saith the Lord Almighty, and there shall not be left of them root or branch”. Allogenes (Strong’s G241) means “of another race” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “sprung from another race” (Thayer s.v.). 

Jesus said that “every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15.13). In Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares He tells us that the weeds sown in the field of wheat were planted by an enemy (vv. 25, 28) who is the devil and whose children are the weeds (vv. 38, 39).

There are several instances in the New Testament where acts of miscegenation are refered to as acts of fornication, and obviously fornication is condemned throughout the New Testament. The mingling of races is a sin under the New Covenant just as it was under the Old Covenant.

St. Paul, as the Apostle to the nations, was faced with the task of trying to protect the congregations which he had established among the nations from the doctrines of the Judaizers. On account of this his letters contain a great deal of information about the heresy of Judaizing. Many Judaizers today reject St. Paul, labeling him a false Apostle. They (correctly) see the Scriptures which Paul authored as an affront to their doctrine and think that, without Paul interfering, they might be able to persuade you to be Judaized.

The Galatians were afflicted harshly by the Judaizers and so Paul’s epistle to them largely consists of polemics against these heretics. Here in Galatians 5 Paul admonishes the Galatians to not submit to circumcision or to take up the Law of Moses:

“1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”

The “yoke of bondage” here is a reference to the Law of Moses (Acts 15.5-10) with which the Judaizers sought to burden the nations. This is amply clear when Paul goes on to explain that he who gets himself circumcised is indebted to do the whole law. In chapter 6 Paul goes on to declare the vanity of the Judaizers:

“12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”

In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul writes “Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised”. This is very simple and direct instruction, yet some will perform extraordinary mental gymnastics to deny the obvious meaning. St. Paul never taught that those converting to Christianity from among the nations ought to become circumcised.

Some will undoubtedly argue that the covenant of circumcision was a requirement of the Abrahamic Covenant, however the Abrahamic Covenant was confirmed in chapter 15 of Genesis (vs. 18) and only later in chapter 17 is the condition of circumcision added. (vv. 10-14). Recall now Paul’s words cited earlier: “for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. … Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised” (Romans 4.9-11). The immutable promise of God to Abraham is not dependent upon circumcision.

Those who would have Christians subjected to circumcision will point to Genesis 17.13 where circumcision is refered to as an “everlasting [H5769, G166] covenant”, but the same words (owlam in Hebrew and aionios in Greek) are elsewhere used of Levitical rites (Exodus 27.21, Leviticus 6.22, Numbers 10.8 et al.), some even pertaining to sacrifice. Would the Judaizers have us believe that Christendom is required to have a Levitical priesthood offering sacrifices? Will Christ’s sacrifice and the New Covenant never satisfy them? Owlam may be read as “long time”, “time out of mind”, “lasting” or “long time” (Strong’s s.v.) and aionios is defined as “age-long” (Dodson s.v.) or “lasting for an age” (Liddell and Scott s.v.). That age has surely passed along with a valid Levitical priesthood and the need for circumcision of the flesh.

It ought to be noted here that the ancient Israelite practice of circumcision differed greatly from the later Jewish custom widely practiced in the Jewish, Islamic and American worlds today. I will not get into any grisly details here, but suffice it to say that Jewish circumcision is a horrific mockery of the Biblical rite of circumcision. Perhaps Paul is referring to these disturbed adaptations of the rite of circumcision in Philippians 3.2 where he warns of the Judaizers saying “beware the mutilation”.

In Exodus 17 we read “the child of eight days old shall be circumcised by you … the uncircumcised male, who shall not be circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin on the eighth day, that soul shall be utterly destroyed from its family, for he has broken my covenant” (vv. 10-14). How then can a grown man, or even a child of 9 days benefit from circumcision? It is impossible. Thank God that He has restored us to Israel under the New Covenant and our circumcision is of the heart (Colossians 2.11, Philippians 3.3). Here in Romans 3 Paul speaks of man’s inability to conform to the Law of Moses and how God overcame that.

“19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

We cannot please God by striving to keep the Law of Moses and we inevitably fail in that endeavour. James 2.10 tells us “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”. Psalm 130.3 rhetorically asks “If thou, O Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” The obvious answer is that no man shall stand. No man has kept or ever can keep the whole Law of Moses, and those who try do so in vain. Not only does our sinful human nature prevent us from perfectly fulfilling the Mosaic Law, but there are many facets of the Law of Moses that we simply cannot understand fully today.

There are some laws in the Pentateuch for which there is no certain interpretation; for instance Leviticus 19.27 which reads “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard” (KJV) or “Ye shall not make a round cutting of the hair of your head, nor disfigure your beard” (Brenton’s LXX). There are varied interpretations as to what this passage means and men today can only offer conjecture. Another point of contention is Numbers 15.38 which concerns the fringes which were to be sewn onto garments. How are they to be constructed precisely? Are they to simply be fringes or are tassels to be added to the fringes? If you affix tassles, what length is appropriate? No man knows with certainty and a man can only guess and make a vain display of himself for his trouble.

The people of the Kingdom of Israel had all departed from the Holy Land at least 2,600 years ago, and even before that most of them were pagans already. They lost their oral traditions regarding the proper understanding of all the minutiae of the Law of Moses during their apostasy and captivity. The Kingdom of Judah fared little better leaving behind little of worth for this purpose. What data about the Mosaic Law can be gleaned from sources such as Josephus, Philo and the Dead Sea Scrolls sheds little light and may well reflect errant traditions. No man today can claim complete understanding of the Law of Moses.

In Jeremiah 31.33 in a prophecy of the New Covenant God tells us “I will surely put my laws into their mind, and write them on their hearts”. This is cited twice in Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews (8.10, 10.16). To those who believe and teach that we must take up the Law of Moses, I ask you this: what is written on your heart? Is it how to sew the right type of fringes onto your garments? Is it how to properly circumcise a child? Is it judicial prescriptions? Is it to avoid wearing garments woven of two materials? Or is it written in your heart that thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honour thy father and thy mother and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself?

“1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
-Philippians 3

“21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
-Galatians 4

“11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.”
-Hebrews 7

Deuteronomy 23.7 and the Reuelite-Edomites

‘Meeting Between Esau and Jacob’ -Raffaellino Bottalla

There is a certain verse from the Pentateuch which I have been asked about on several occasions, and so I have decided to write a commentary of my own which I hope will clear up any confusion about this topic. Emahiser and Finck make the case that Deuteronomy 23.7 contains a scribal error confusing Arammiy (H761) and Edomiy (H130) due to the similarity of the dalet and resh in Hebrew. I however believe that our interpretations of Scripture ought to rely on the assumption of the inerrancy of the extant texts of our Scriptures and I do not believe any interpretation of Scripture ought to rely on a revision of the text where there is a unanimous reading.

The Hebrew, Greek and Latin text of Deuteronomy 23.7 all contain the specific word concerned (Ιδουμαίον and Idumeum in the Greek and Latin respectively). Furthermore the Edomites are refered to as brethren of the Israelites on several other occasions (Numbers 20.14, Deuteronomy 2.4, Amos 1.11, Obadiah 1.10) and so I will offer my interpretation based on the premise that Deuteronomy 23.7 rightly contains an instance of Edomiy. In Deuteronomy 23.7 we read that an Edomite is not to be abhorred:

“Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, because he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land.”
-Deuteronomy 23.7

This passage confuses many since the prophets are replete with condemnations of Edom. Ostensibly God himself came to abhor these Edomites (Isaiah 34, Malachi 1.2-4, Romans 9.13, Obadiah, Ezekiel 35, 25.13-14, Joel 3.19 et al.). One Scripture even tells us it was a blessed thing for the Israelites to slay the children of the Edomites in the time of David (Psalm 137.9). If God himself despises the Edomites then why was Israel commanded not to abhor an Edomite in the time of Moses?

In the second part of Deuteronomy 23.7 we are also told “thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian” but in later times they are portrayed as an alien people which Israel is chastised for mingling with (Jeremiah 2.16-22, Ezekiel 16.23-26, Ezra 9.1 et al.). In Ezekiel 30.5 the Egyptians are listed among “all the mixed multitude” alongside Ethiopia and Libya. Isaiah 43.3 has Egypt along with Seba and Ethiopia as nations God has forfeit to preserve Israel, these nations having served as a buffer between the non-Adamic sub-Saharan tribes to their South and the Israelites to the North.

It can be demonstrated that Edom suffered a similar fate, as Esau’s offspring all came to be mixed with the cursed nations. Even the first generation of Edomites consisted largely of Canaanite halfbreeds and Esau’s miscegenation was a source of great grief to his parents:

“34And Esau was forty years old; and he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beoch the Chettite, and Basemath, daughter of Helon the Chettite. 35And they were provoking to Isaac and Rebecca.”
-Genesis 26

Rebecca was so distraught by Esau’s choice of wives that she saw no worth in her life if Jacob were to marry racial aliens like his brother:

“46And Rebecca said to Isaac, I am weary of my life, because of the daughters of the sons of Chet; if Jacob shall take a wife of the daughters of this land, wherefore should I live?”
-Genesis 27

At the behest of his father Jacob went to the house of his uncle Laban (meaning “White”, Strong’s and Gesenius’ s.v.) to find his wives Rachel and Leah who would bear children of the promise.

“1And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, saying: Take not a wife of the stock of Chanaan: 2But go, and take a journey to Mesopotamia of Syria, to the house of Bathuel, thy mother’s father, and take thee a wife thence of the daughters of Laban, thy uncle. 3And God almighty bless thee, and make thee to increase and multiply thee: that thou mayst be a multitude of people. 4And give the blessings of Abraham to thee, and to thy seed after thee: that thou mayst possess the land of thy sojournment, which he promised to thy grandfather. 5And when Isaac had sent him away, he took his journey and went to Mesopotamia of Syria, to Laban, the son of Bathuel, the Syrian, brother to Rebecca, his mother.”
-Genesis 28

Many claim that intermarriage between diverse peoples was only forbidden in the Bible on purely religious grounds. The example of Jacob’s imperative to marry a woman of his mother’s tribe refutes this. Laban’s family was actually pagan (Genesis 31.19-35) as their Hebrew forebears were before the time of Abraham (Joshua 24.2, 15). If Jacob’s parent’s only concern was for their son’s religious fidelity they would not have sent Jacob to take a pagan wife. If race was of no concern then Jacob may just as well have married Canaanites like his brother. Ostensibly their concern was for their racial posterity.

Esau had forfeit his birthright and scorned his heritage, but he hoped that he might find redemption in his parent’s eyes by taking a wife of the Ishmaelites (Genesis 28.6-9), a people descended from Abraham and his Egyptian concubine Hagar. In Genesis 28.9 Esau’s Ishmaelite wife is named as Mahalath, but in Genesis 36.3 she is named as Bashemath, the same name as Esau’s Hethite wife mentioned at Genesis 26.34.

Perhaps both women were originally named Bashemath and Esau changed his Ishmaelite wife’s name to Mahalath so as not to have two wives of the same name. Perhaps Esau simply had two Ishmaelite wives, one of whom happened to share a name with his Hethite wife. In any case, it is apparent that Esau had fully Adamic offspring by one of his wives.

I would posit that the Edomite lineage descended from Esau and Mahalath must be the source of the Edomite who is the object of Deuteronomy 23.7. By law a mongrel is excluded from the congregation of the Lord (Deuteronomy 23.2) and so an Edomite line from Esau by a Canaanite woman is precluded from being the object of Deuteronomy 23.7.

Now one might wonder why the Law would not be more specific in regards to which Edomite tribes were acceptable for intermarriage. I would point out however, that Egypt is mentioned in the very same verse, and Egypt was by this time a nation which was largely racially compromised, much like Edom. The Israelites must have been expected to scrutinize the lineage of any Edomite or Egyptian drawn to them to become a proselyte and potentially to exclude them according to Deuteronomy 23.2.

It is apparent elsewhere in the Pentateuch that the Israelites were expected to be able to distinguish alien races from the the other Adamic peoples. In Exodus chapter 12 we read “This is the law of the passover: no stranger [allogenes, Strong’s G241 meaning literally “of another race” i.e. a non-Adamite] shall eat of it.” (vs. 43) A little further on we read “if any proselyte shall come to you to keep the passover to the Lord, thou shalt circumcise every male of him … he shall be even as the original inhabitant of the land” (vs. 48).

These laws offer no further instruction as to how one can distinguish between the licit proselyte and the illicit alien. Ostensibly the Israelites were expected to scrutinize the racial purity of potential converts judging them by their works, countenance and/or genealogical records and this would naturally apply to Edomite and Egyptian proselytes who are mentioned at Deuteronomy 23.7.

Interestingly Yahweh was worshiped in ancient Edom and He is called “Yahweh of Teman” (Teman is an ancient Edomite city) in an inscription at Kuntillet Ajrud (Anthony Bonanno, Archaeology and Fertility Cult in the Ancient Mediterranean, University of Malta p. 238 ff.).

In Genesis 36.3-13 we can trace the sons of Esau by Mahalath/Bashemath through Reuel (“friend of God”, Strong’s and Gesenius’ s.v. Reuwel) down to Zerah, mentioned as an early Edomite duke in vs. 17. Interestingly the line of Esau by his Ishmaelite wife through Zerah is mentioned again in one other place, only found in the ancient Septuagint. There his name is rendered into Greek as Ζαρέ, the same rendering used in Genesis 36:

“17And Job died, an old man and full of days: and it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up. This man is described in the Syriac book as living in the land of Ausis [Uz], on the borders of Idumea and Arabia: and his name before was Jobab; and having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraam. …”
-Job 42 (LXX)

Ostensibly these prestigious Adamic Edomite lineages came to be mingled with the corrupted offspring of their father or other cursed tribes, just as the Egyptians mentioned alongside them in Deuteronomy 23.7 also had. God’s promises to tribes depend upon the legitimacy of their seed, and the corrupted seed of Esau surely forsook any favour they once found with God and Israel.

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