Were The Romans Israelites? Romans in the New Testament (Part 2)

In Part 1, we discussed how the Old Testament and even secular history offer no real proof to support the idea that the Romans were originally Israelites. Now we’d like to move on to addressing Paul’s actual epistle to the Romans.

Some Christians maintain that the epistle to the Romans proves that the Romans themselves were Israelites. Their logic goes that Paul said things to the Romans that one could say only to Israelites. In other words, if Paul addressed them as Israelites, then they must be Israelites. Before moving on to examining that argument specifically in Part 3, we’d like to first take a moment to consider the audience of the epistle.

First and foremost, the argument makes a fundamental assumption: If one could prove that the audience of the epistle to the Romans were Israelites, then one could prove that the Romans were Israelites. However, the argument misses one crucial step — and that is to first prove that the audience of the epistle were all ethnic Romans.

THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Herein lies a big problem with any argument which seeks to prove that Romans were Israelites — we must first prove that those whom we’ve designated as “Romans” were indeed descended from the original populace which founded Rome. To this end, what is a “Roman” to start with? In Part 1 we discussed that “Romans” are designated as the “people of the prince who is to come” in Daniel 9:26 because the fifth head of Satan controlled the entire Roman Empire.

In other words, the fifth head of Satan was granted custody of a Genesis 10 nation — and that nation ultimately became the foundation of the Roman Empire. Therefore, for broad-stroke purposes, we can conclude that whoever the original, ethnic Romans were, the fifth head was their “prince” — and they formed the soil from which the empire would grow.

However, the argument that Romans were Israelites is far more specific — it requires that all Romans were ethnically the same — because Israelites are fundamentally ethnically the same. We are not referring to “race” here, but rather ethnic groups — or nations — which are subdivisions of white people — the “generations of Adam” — according to common ancestors. For the argument to work, at least most Romans must be ethnically the same, because all Israelites must be able to trace their patrilineal descent — their own ethnicity — back to Jacob.

Worded from a different angle, the argument that Romans are Israelites makes a reductive and simplistic assumption that if Rome was founded by a few Israelites, then the churches in Rome that the epistle is addressed to must all be Israelites. The entirety of Roman history and ethnicity has been reduced to one Roman myth on how the city came to be.

With that in mind — when it comes to how the empire formed, things get complicated quickly. Daniel 2:43 prophesies of the Roman Empire,

In that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in their descendants [the seed of men]; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not combine with pottery.

Whoever the ethnic Romans were, they would combine themselves with the nations under their control to such an extent that it would become a defining characteristic of the Roman Empire in prophecy. Now many Christian circles take this verse to be a reference to the grand empire that Rome became. In other words, they take the mixed iron and clay to mean the melding together of Roman territories.

However, all empires meld together with their territories — including the gold, silver and bronze kingdoms of Daniel 2 — which are Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece respectively. All of those empires conquered and ruled multiple nations. The same goes for the Assyrian Empire or even the British Empire. Ruling multiple nations and territories is a defining feature of all empires.

Therefore, if all of the Daniel 2 kingdoms were empires — and if Daniel 2:43 singles Rome out as being mixed over and above the other empires — then that mixing must refer to something over and above the basic defining characteristics of an empire. As we will explain, the Roman Empire was indeed fundamentally mixed over and above the rest. That mixing was a defining characteristic and core part of who they were — in a way that distinguishes them from merely gaining more territory and more nations as the empire grew.

We know from history that the early Italic peoples on the Italian peninsula were already mingling with the Celts to the north and the Greeks to the south. The Etruscans were also moving into the region — and by 600BC Rome had been conquered by the Etruscans — greatly assimilating with them and even adopting much of their culture. Much of Rome’s early growth and progress can be attributed to the Etruscan kings who ruled it for around one hundred years.

Therefore, we can see in the early history of the Italic peoples that they had mixed to a large extent with the peoples who surrounded them. Furthermore, these populations were established in that region — and interacting with one another — long before the Assyrian deportations of the northern kingdom of Israel which began only around 740BC on the far side of the Mediterranean — and they still needed time to move by land through Assyria and Media itself (2 Kings 17:6).

In Part 1 we discussed the argument that Zerah’s sons founded Troy — and that Roman myths claim that they were founded by Trojans. Even though we have disproven this theory, let us hypothetically concede that it were true. Furthermore, we hypothetically concede that the Roman myth itself is true.

We assume that sometime after 1200BC some Israelites from the recently sacked Troy made the journey to the Italian peninsula. Given that there was an established Italic population at that time — and given the subsequent intermingling of the populations up until 509BC — we cannot seriously conclude that most of the people who lived in Rome — let alone the Italian peninsula — were Israelites.

The new Israelites would immediately have had to enforce rigorous social protocols to maintain their paternal lineage. Then when the Etruscans conquered them in 600BC, they would have had to enforce that protocol despite living under subjection. The extent to which the Romans adopted Etruscan culture witnesses that the opposite was true — they freely mixed with them.

When Israel grew in Egypt they were segregated to the city of Gershom where they grew by themselves. When they entered Canaan they had strict regulations not to mix with any of the Canaanites — and had further laws concerning intermingling with their neighboring nations in Deuteronomy 23:3-7. When they returned from Babylon, we don’t even have record of men from other nations being among them in Ezra or Nehemiah.

Only paternal lines could be acknowledged as true Israelites, so without deliberate and conscious control — like what the Israelites did — the preservation of their hegemony would be entirely left up to chance.

However, we have no record of any such protocol much prior to 509BC among the original Italic peoples — and we’d expect them to have done so from 1200BC until then if they were to retain the hegemony of their patrilineal descent as Israelites. To argue that they did enforce any such social protocol prior to 509BC would be an argument from silence — and we cannot conclude the Romans did do something merely because they didn’t say they didn’t do it.

The distinction between patricians — the ruling class — and plebeians — the commoners — in Roman society doesn’t offer much insight into the matter either. We’d expect something far more rigorous than mere social and political strata to ensure the dominance of Israelite hegemony according to Israelite standards — notwithstanding whatever theory one may subscribe to regarding the ideals under which the patrician class was formed.

We’d like to reiterate just how fundamentally specific the argument that “Romans were Israelites” needs to be. With the above in mind, either it needs to admit how simplistic and reductive it is, or it needs to be backed up with far better evidence.

If we remove our hypothetical concession that Israelites went to Rome around 1200BC — and also that the Roman myths were true — the theory becomes even more far-fetched. As we already point out, the defining feature of the Roman Empire was that it mixed with the seed of men (Daniel 2:43). This feature alone rules out the possibility of any kind of Israelite hegemony.

Over and above the previous points, empires consist of many territories — containing many different peoples or nations — which the empire rules directly or by some form of proxy-government. For this reason, we cannot even conclude that Roman citizens were ethnic Romans, because Paul — an Israelite — was also a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37, Acts 22:28).

We must consider that over and above the prophetic fulfillment of Rome’s complex history (Daniel 2:43), the fact that one could be a “client state” citizen — granted the “Latin Right” of citizenship — of the Roman empire without being an actual ethnic Roman adds a whole new dimension to an already complicated problem. Neither did merely living in Rome make one an ethnic Roman — as we even have record in the Scripture that the population of Judeans was large enough that they would be expelled en masse by emperor Claudius.

Merely living in Rome — or being a Roman citizen — clearly did not make one an ethnic Roman — any more than being a British citizen — or living in London — does not make you an ethnic Brit.

Ultimately then, we cannot take for granted that the audience of the epistle to the Romans were even ethnically the same merely by virtue of living in the city of Rome and being a part of one of its churches. For those of us who might accept this theory — or have accepted it in the past — we should take special cognizance of how we tend to suspend criticism and disbelief toward ideas which we want to believe in the first place. When we look again critically, however, we can see that the theory has grossly oversimplified a rather complex history. Furthermore, the simplicity of the argument — combined with the all-encompassing and specific requirements imposed upon itself — make it highly vulnerable to even the most surface-level criticism.

The burden of proof required of the argument is a vast ocean — while the theories supposed to traverse that ocean have set off with naught but a life-jacket.

THE CENTURIONS

Given that the topic of the centurions often comes up in the context of Romans and Israelites, we decided it was necessary to address it in this series regardless of the specific nationality of the centurions. In other words, we will address these scenarios based on the hypothetical concession that the centurions were ethnic Romans — or at the very least that they were northern kingdom Israelites.

Those who believe that the Romans were Israelites — and that only Israelites are saved — must necessarily spin each encounter with the centurions to be about the Lord Jesus interacting with divorced northern kingdom Israelites — an idea we have specifically addressed in the past. In addressing these encounters, we once again have the opportunity to prove that the New Covenant was not exclusive to Israel — thus it doesn’t really matter whether the centurions were Romans or not — as long as they were legitimate “generations of Adam.”

With Rome’s history in mind — if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, we cannot even state with certainty which nation the centurions in Matthew 8, Luke 7 and Acts 10 hailed from. In ancient Rome, one did not need to be an ethnic Roman — according to Roman standards — to rise up the ranks of the military and become a centurion.

Especially with regard to Matthew 8 and Luke 7, there’s really nothing to work with in trying to identify which nation the centurion came from. Even those who believe Romans were Israelites must acknowledge this point. Nevertheless they insist on concluding that he was an Israelite — despite no evidence to speak of — because they merely assume the truth of their own interpretation.

In Matthew 8:10-12, the Lord Jesus says of the centurion in Capernaum,

10… Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

When the Lord says He has “not found such great faith with anyone in Israel,” it logically follows that the centurion was not an Israelite. As previously discussed, “Israel” means all twelve tribes of the sons of Jacob. “Israel” can also never be taken to mean geography, unless specifically qualified to mean the land that the people of Israel dwelt in — such as 1 Samuel 13:19, 2 Kings 5:2, and Ezekiel 7:2. Yet here in Matthew 8, the Lord clearly does not qualify Israel — and so His usage would preclude anyone who is not an Israelite — and thus the centurion was not an Israelite.

Furthermore, when the Lord says “from the east and west,” He is very likely quoting prophecy like Isaiah 59:19-20,

19 So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west And His glory from the rising of the sun, For He will come like a rushing stream Which the wind of the Lord drives. 20 A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those in Jacob who turn from wrongdoing,” declares the Lord.

Or Psalm 113:3-4,

From the rising of the sun to its setting, The name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.

Malachi 1:11 says,

 “For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name shall be great among the nations, and in every place frankincense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name shall be great among the nations,” says the Lord of armies.

“From the east and west” — or “from the rising of the sun to its setting” — metaphorically means everywhere. If the prophecy means everywhere from the rising of the sun to its setting, then no Genesis 10 nation may be excluded from the statement. To confirm this, Psalm 2:7-9 says to the Lord Jesus,

“I will announce the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have fathered You. Ask it of Me, and I will certainly give the nations as Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

Furthermore, Isaiah 2:2 and Micah 4:1 say,

Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.

Therefore, if the Lord came to fulfill prophecy — and if He didn’t say things by coincidence or accident — then when He says, “many will come from the east and west,” He can be referring only to the fulfillment of these prophecies. His name will be feared in all the earth — and the Genesis 10 nations will stream from the east and west to join themselves with Israel. Thus the centurion is one of those from the nations to whom the prophecy would refer.

Those who claim only Israel will be saved might object and say, “But the streaming of the nations refers to the regathering of the northern kingdom Israelites.” There are prophecies for the regathering and unification of the northern and southern kingdoms — and there are prophecies over and above those prophecies which prove that the nations themselves will be gathered as well. Isaiah 49:6 says of the Lord Jesus’ work,

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the protected ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

This prophecy speaks of a light to the nations over and above the restoration of Jacob and Israel — because Jacob and Israel refers to all twelve tribes — and the northern and southern kingdoms. It goes even “to the end of the earth,” as we already indicated by the Lord’s words, “from the east and west.” Isaiah 56:8 also says,

The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “I will yet gather others to them, to those already gathered.”

Again, prophecy explicitly states that there will be a gathering of the nations over and above the regathering of the Israelites.

Turning back to Matthew 8, the Lord says that the “sons of the kingdom will be thrown out.” We have seen it argued among those who believe the Romans are Israelites that “sons of the kingdom” refers to non-Israelites pretending to be Israelites — they falsely believe that Israel and the priest craft had been infiltrated by non-white Edomites. These supposed non-white Edomites allegedly come from a sexual union between Eve and the Serpent — or the tree of knowledge of good and evil — in Genesis 3. We have addressed this view and proven it to be wrong in detail.

However, those same Christians believe that in the parable of the wheat and the tares, the “sons of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:38) refers to legitimate heirs of the kingdom. They will then claim that the “sons of the evil” (Matthew 13:38) are the pretenders and illegitimate heirs — which come from Eve’s sexual encounter with the serpent.

Therefore, they claim, the “sons of the kingdom” in Matthew 13 are compared with and made distinct from the illegitimate heirs — the “sons of the evil.” Yet according to them, in Matthew 10 the “sons of the kingdom” refers exclusively to the “sons of the evil.” They have applied different standards of interpretation toward the very same concept. So are “sons of the kingdom” exclusively legitimate heirs according to Matthew 13 — or are they exclusively illegitimate heirs according to Matthew 10?

This view clearly cannot reconcile itself with itself — a sure sign of doctrine which relies heavily on begging the question.

We can logically conclude between Matthew’s two uses of the term that “sons of the kingdom” — at a bare minimum — refer only to those who would otherwise have been legitimate heirs — whether they began as such and were cast out later (Matthew 10) — or whether they began as such and retained their position (Matthew 13). In other words — reconciling Matthew 10 and Matthew 13, the concept of “sons of the kingdom” could never refer to non-whites — and it always includes Israelites.

Paul confirms this interpretation of the “sons of the kingdom” in Romans 11:19-20,

19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;

Yes, “branches were broken off.” Israelites — or sons of the kingdom — were removed from the covenant promises so that Genesis 10 nations would be grafted in. Likewise, the nations who come from the east and west would recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in lieu of the “sons of the kingdom” who would be thrown out. Furthermore, Paul told them they must stand in their faith — the very same quality the Lord Jesus commended the centurion for in Matthew 8.

Given that we have proven that Matthew 8:10-12 refers to non-Israelite Genesis 10 nations — and by virtue of the stark similarity between Matthew 8:10-12 and Romans 11:19-20 — we can conclude from this angle alone that Paul’s olive tree metaphor in Romans 11 describes the dynamic between Israel and the nations — not Israelites and other Israelites.

There are so many angles from which to prove this doctrine of Israel and the nations — as we have shown time and time and time again — we wonder how we could ever have believed otherwise. As we have explained before, those who claim that Romans are Israelites literally cannot concede on this point else literally their whole doctrine will come falling down. They have created for themselves an irreconcilable doctrinal quandary. Thus they hold to it against all reason in fear that if they concede on one point, they might be allowing non-whites into the covenant promises.

Moving on to Luke’s account in chapter 7 we can see that he adds a bit more detail — saying in verses 3-5,

When he [the centurion] heard about Jesus, he sent some Judean elders to Him, asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. When they came to Jesus, they strongly urged Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; for he loves our nation, and it was he who built us our synagogue.”

There are two points to note here — firstly, the centurion had to convince the Lord Jesus to even grant an audience in the first place. We have another example in the Scripture where the Lord Jesus was reticent to provide an audience — the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 to whom the Lord said in verse 24, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The Lord had indeed come to minister only to Israelites — at least until such time as the New Covenant was made by the blood of His sacrifice.

If the Lord needed to be convinced to grant an audience to the centurion — and He was loath to grant an audience to the Canaanite woman — and the woman was not an Israelite — then we conclude that this proves the centurion wasn’t an Israelite either. Furthermore, in each case, the Lord Jesus commended their exceptional faith — just as Paul said, “stand by your faith” (Romans 11:20). The Lord says to the Canaanite in Matthew 15:28, “O woman, your faith is great.”

Secondly, in Luke 7:5 the Judean elders tell the Lord Jesus that the centurion “loves our nation.” In this case, “our nation” could only mean Israel itself — creating a distinction between whatever nation the centurion came from and the Israelite nation. The Lord Jesus confirms this when He says in verse 9, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” Again, if we interpreted “Israel” to mean the land of Israel, we would be begging the question. Unless qualified, “Israel” means the twelve tribes of the sons of Jacob.

Moving on to Cornelius in Acts 10, according to verse 1, Cornelius was a part of “the Italian cohort” — meaning that the division itself hailed from Italy. The cohort certainly came from Italy, but there’s no way to prove that everyone within that cohort was from Italy. Even if he came from Italy, there’s no way to prove that he was an ethnic Roman — as opposed to a Greek, Celt, Etruscan or any number of immigrant populations who made their way to the Italian peninsula by that time.

As we already mentioned — whether he was or wasn’t an Italian — it doesn’t really matter. Suffice to say that at best, we could postulate that he might have come from the Italian peninsula — but we could certainly never set the matter in stone. There’s no way to prove anything at all regarding his nationality or identity, so the only thing left to do for those who believe Romans were Israelites is to merely assume that Cornelius was indeed in Israelite.

When Peter preaches to the audience at Cornelius’ house, he says in verse 43,

All the prophets testify of Him, that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.

Note how Peter said, “everyone who believes” — that is to say, there was no one who wasn’t included by this statement. In verse 45 the Israelites with Peter concluded that “the Holy Spirit had also been poured out on the nations.” When we understand that the New Covenant included the nations, these statements become very easy to understand. If the New Covenant included Israel and the rest of the nations, then that would easily mean the same thing as “everyone who believes.” Israel and the nations means everyone.

Peter baptizes Cornelius

However, those who claim that only Israelites could be saved will object that Peter said, “All the prophets testify” — and the prophets only every testified about Israel — so “everyone who believes” could only mean Israelites. After all — according to them, Cornelius comes from the divorced tribes of Israel and is now being welcomed back into the covenants. As we have shown, the law and the prophets testify many times to the bringing in of the nations — and we literally have precedent in the Old Testament with Ruth — so they have falsely assumed that prophecy could only ever refer to Israelites.

We must take special notice of the exegetical method being employed here. They are constantly making the plain words say something other than what they plainly mean. When Peter says “everyone who believes,” we must question him and explain how “everyone” doesn’t actually mean “everyone.” When we can’t prove Cornelius’ nationality one way or the other — we must merely assume that Cornelius was an Israelite from the supposedly divorced northern kingdom even though nothing in the passage says so.

Apparently, according to this line of reasoning, the New Testament writers were merely terrible at saying precisely what they meant. They’ve assumed that Cornelius is an Israelite, so “everyone” must mean Israelites only. They’ve assumed that prophecy applies only to Israelites, so they’ve assumed that Cornelius must be an Israelite. At no point do they feel the need to prove their doctrine within the actual words of the passage. Each assumption is co-dependent on the other — the height of begging the question.

What we have is a doctrine which may look credible to someone who might want to believe it — but it is flimsily upheld by nothing but its own assumptions. Nothing in the passage talks about Cornelius being an Israelite at all. All the words of the passage seem to be indicating the exact opposite. This matter of Cornelius serves as a neat model to demonstrate the exegetical method of the entire doctrine — which is to second-guess everything the Bible says until we can assume it says what we want it to say — despite the Bible never actually saying it.

We do not oppose making interpretations based on assumptions — however, at some point the assumption must be proven by the plain text and meaning of the Scripture.

THE AUDIENCE OF THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

Hopefully by this point we’ve already made it obvious that one would struggle to really prove anything at all from the audience of the epistle to the Romans. We cannot merely assume the entire audience were ethnic Romans by virtue of living in Rome — and even if they were ethnic Romans, we cannot honestly pinpoint what nation an ethnic Roman would come from by the time of this epistle. However, reflecting on the audience does help somewhat in interpreting the epistle itself — so we will not consider it wasted time.

If we wanted to know those whom Paul addressed in his epistle, we should logically begin with whom he directly addresses. Firstly, he addresses the epistle to “all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints” (Romans 1:7). If Paul addressed all the saints in Rome, then we can logically conclude that every person whom he addressed in his salutations in Romans 16 — all of whom were in Rome — formed part of the audience of the epistle. Therefore, if we look at Romans 16, we can see a very specific subset of his audience.

In Paul’s salutations, he has a habit of calling certain people his “kinsmen.” He says, “Andronicus and Junia, my kinsfolk” (v7), “Herodion, my kinsman” (v11) and “Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen.” (v21) Those who claim the Romans were Israelites must necessarily take “kinsman” to mean a Judean — or an Israelite who was culturally the same as Paul.

However, we don’t need to theorize what Paul meant when he used the word because he qualified it very specifically when he said, “my countrymen, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites” (Romans 9:3-4). See how on one hand they will confidently assert that Romans 9:3 “kinsmen” means all twelve tribes of Israel, yet “kinsmen” in Romans 16 somehow means something else.

Now if Paul called specific people in Romans 16 his “kinsmen,” then it stands to reason that there were those he addressed who were not his kinsmen — hence the reason why those who believe all Romans were Israelites would claim that kinsmen means something different to Paul’s own qualification in Romans 9. If we simply let Paul’s own words contextualize his own words — instead of adding our own unprovable context — then we can logically assume that everyone whom Paul addressed in Romans 16 was indeed not an Israelite.

At the same time, Paul also definitely addressed some Israelites. In other words, the epistle to the Romans addresses both Israelites and non-Israelites. Hence why on the one hand he would say, “But if you call yourself a Judean and rely upon the Law and boast in God” (Romans 2:17) — and then, “But I am speaking to you who are nations” (Romans 11:13). With this in mind, if we follow Paul’s teaching in the epistle carefully, we can see that he is addressing some kind of animosity which took place between the Israelites and the non-Israelites.

In Romans 1-3 takes great pains to explain how everyone — Israelites and non-Israelites — have been condemned under sin — and that not having the Law of Moses is no excuse. In Romans 4-5 he explains the doctrine which results in the nations coming to the New Covenant by faith in the Lord Jesus. In Romans 6 he explains what faith in the Lord Jesus should look like in our lives. In Romans 7-8 he explains the dynamics between the letter of the law, the old sin nature and the new Spirit nature. In Romans 9-11 he explains how God could have made promises regarding Israel — yet Israelites according to the flesh — or children of the flesh — would not be counted as the seed of Israel.

Up until that point, he had sufficiently convinced both the Israelites and the non-Israelites that they should not be haughty with one another because “there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11) — driving home his point with the olive tree metaphor in Romans 11. Then from Romans 12-16 he gives them more specific instruction in exactly how they should get along — knowing full well by this point in the epistle that they should be getting along.

As a final thought, we often see the argument made that “Judean” and “Greek” were merely cultural terms and had no bearing on who those peoples were ethnically. For example, Paul says, “to the Judean first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 2:10) By everything which have shown by analyzing the audience, the context demands a rather plain interpretation of “Judean” and “Greek” — they were simply a way of differentiating between Israelites and non-Israelites.

In other words, Paul didn’t mean to merely differentiate between cultures — considering that the Judeans were indeed Hellenized culturally. Rather, he was using cultural terms to differentiate between ethnicity. Even a very plain reading of the passages would agree with us. If Paul was talking about the difference between divorced northern kingdom Israelites and southern kingdom Judeans, we’d expect him to be far more precise in his language — instead of vaguely alluding to the matter — never explicitly saying what he means — as some Christians presume.

If anyone were to hold that Paul meant these as merely cultural terms, we would expect just one example of someone being called a Judean who was not an Israelite — and likewise, just one example of someone being called a Greek who was an Israelite. We would like to see just one example of either in the entirety of the New Testament — and it should be explicit — without begging the question.

Is that too much to ask?

I part 3, we will continue to address how the substance of Paul’s argument proves that the audience was not comprised entirely of Israelites — and that the Genesis 10 nations have been welcomed into the New Covenant under the Lord Jesus.

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