Friday, June 5, 2015

Are the Gentiles Fools for Thinking the Bible is a Love Letter Written to Them?

I understand now why Derek Leman decided to offer himself for adoption into the Jewish people:
"If you are not Jewish, God was not speaking directly to you when he gave Torah. You can see this for yourself by reading Exodus 19, the chapter just before the Ten Commandments," Derek Leman, retrieved from:  http://www.derekleman.com/2015/03/24/how-to-read-the-bible-if-youre-not-jewish/
He wanted G-d's love letter, the Torah, to be written to him.  While I don't agree with his methods, I can completely sympathize with the underlying need to be loved by G-d.

But is it possible that the Torah was a love letter written to all of humanity?

The issue is how to reconcile the apparent discontinuity between the universalistic beginning of the Bible in which the Bible appears to be addressed to all of the descendants of Adam and Eve and the fact that after Abraham the Bible appears to be addressed primarily to the genealogical descendants of Abraham.

So is the Bible written to Sons of Adam (i.e. humanity) or Sons of Abraham?  But is that question correct?  Or is there another option?

If we look at Abraham as a representative for humanity (Adam), then the possibility emerges that G-d never gave up on Adam, that there is no discontinuity in the Bible--it's all the story of how G-d redeems mankind!  

This idea of representatives for humanity shouldn't seem alien because, after all, Yeshua, a Son of Abraham, was called the second Adam:

"So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit," 1 Cor. 15:45

Interesting that it says "last" Adam referring to Yeshua.  Were there other Adams?  Indeed, we could look at Noah as another Adam.  In a way, each man is an Adam as we are all Sons of Adam.  But only a few such sons were singled out by G-d to represent humanity.

Abraham became Israel.  And Yeshua is known as the man Israel because He represented Israel.  And Yeshua, as stated before, represented humanity.  And Abraham represented Israel.  Therefore, Abraham also represented humanity.  

So if we look at Abraham as a representative for humanity then the Torah given to Abraham's "descendants" is really a love letter written to ALL of humanity!

Anyway, this is just a musing and I'd like to hear some opinions.  Am I wrong?




11 comments:

  1. "Your name will no longer be Avram [exalted father], but your name will be Avraham [father of many], because I have made you THE FATHER of many nations."

    That sounds representative yes, but also relational.

    "For God so loved the world"

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    1. Excellent point as the father would certainly seem to be a representative of the family--in this case a global family.

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  2. The fact that the Torah will go to the nations, seen in the prophets, is clear in itself, it was ultimately intended for the world, but an agent is/was/still is needed to carry it there. Just like the promises of God are carried through select people and groups, for example these are the chosen along the way, the Noah's, the Abraham's, the Moses, etc. Then a group of people, Israel was/is/still is chosen to carry the Promises and the Torah to the nations, being a light to the nations. If the Torah was only for Israel, the mixed multitude of gentiles should have been kicked out, and never allowed to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai, but that is not the message and thus it is clear it was not "only" intended for Israel, at least ultimately. Many mistake the purpose of Israel's responsibility to the Torah, as if its sole purpose was simply to look different, end of the story, but that is not what the scriptures teach. Israel's distinctiveness was to culminate in the world seeing their own darkness, in contrast, to Israel's light (Deut 4). In order that the gentiles would change and also serve Israel's God in what is right and true, thus also keeping God's instructions and this through covenant relationship, joining, being grafted in, etc, not a shallow relationship in the least. The covenant made with Noah was not intended to be the gentile solution, as many are trying to make it, it was simply another step in the right direction, gentiles having a relationship with God goes well beyond the covenant made with Noah, which is made deeper in the promises to Abraham, having a promise of being a father of many nations, which is made deeper in gentiles seeking a greater relationship with the God of Israel in the Sinai covenant, learning and keeping His ways (Isaiah 56), and even taken further, in a greater relationship, seeking a relationship with the God of Israel, in the Messiah and thus culminating in the New Covenant and also the peace covenant. The focal point is Israel, as God chose it to be this way, Romans 9, clearly states it all belongs to Israel, the Messiah, the Covenants, the Promises, the Temple, the Land, etc. and gentiles are not only welcome, but are sought after to join. Yeshua wants gentiles to join Him, and to learn His ways, so just because He belongs to Israel and it all belongs to Israel, it is not "only" for Israel, it is for all who will take hold and join.

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    1. Zion,

      So do you see Abraham as a representative for humanity in the same way that Noah was a representative for humanity?

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    2. There's actually a nice midrash that is relevant:

      "I will make Adam first and if he goes astray I will send Abraham to sort it out," Genesis Rabbah 14:6

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    3. Paul considered Abraham to be the father of all who had faith. (Romans 4:11) How else could he be the father of a multitude of nations, it is not limited to physical descendant.

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    4. But we don't just imitate Abraham's faith but also his actions (i.e. walking according to the Way):

      "For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him," Genesis 18:19

      So he is the father of all who have faith (Gal. 3:7) and also all of those who walk in the Way he did:

      "They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Yeshua said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did," John 8:39

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    5. And he said "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and THE FATHER of it."

      So, interestingly the fathers are representin'

      Good post!

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  3. Did Derek make the connection with I Peter 2, or would that demolish his bilateral tendencies?

    1Pe 2:9-12 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

    This not only directly connects with Exodus 19:5-6, it also ties to Hosea and the lost house....

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    1. They've definitely got blinders on when it comes to that passage... : )

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  4. According to Derek, Oeter was wrong....God IS a respecter of persons...LOL!

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