Reading Luke chapter 3 today, it struck me that much in that chapter is an answer to Zionism. John the Baptist begins by teaching the people who are and who are not the true children of Abraham. He warns them not to consider themselves as such, but to understand that God is of power to create his own children of Abraham apart from them – out of the very rocks and stones even.
All scripture quotations below are from the October Testament, the New Testament of the New Matthew Bible. In Luke 3, John the Baptist is preaching to the people of Israel who had come to the Jordan River to see him, a strange man wearing only a girdle of skin, but speaking words of power:
Luke 3:7-9 Then he said to the people who came to be baptized by him, O offspring of vipers, who has taught you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth the due fruits of repentance, and do not begin to say in yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I say to you, God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also is the axe laid to the root of the trees, so that every tree that does not bring forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.
John calls the Israelites the offspring of vipers, and warns them that they must not consider themselves the offspring of Abraham unless they bring forth the due fruit of repentance. Repentance is the true and the good fruit, which identifies those who may call Abraham their father. Those who do not show it will be hewn down – including hardhearted Israel.
And the common people heard John’s message. The publicans and the soldiers wanted to know more. He answered and showed them that the true Israelite is merciful, honest, gentle, and abhors covetousness:
Luke 3:10-14 And the people asked him, saying, What should we do then? He answered and said to them, He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.
Then there came publicans to be baptized, who asked him, Master, what should we do? And he said to them, Require no more than that which is appointed to you.
The soldiers likewise enquired of him, saying, And what should we do? And he said to them, Do violence to no man, neither trouble any man wrongfully, but be content with your wages.
These qualities, not ethnicity, make one a child of Abraham, and prove one to be a true child of the promise, the Jew that is hid within, and a citizen of the Israel that belongs to God. For it was not said idly that God loves mercy, and not sacrifices or burnt offerings. Many scriptures attest to this, and that repentance is the fruit that characterizes the children of the kingdom:
Matthew 9:13 Go and learn what this means: I have pleasure in mercy, and not in offering. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.
© Ruth Magnusson Davis 2018
The October Testament is William Tyndale’s New Testament as it was published in the 1537/1549 Matthew Bible. It contains also the commentaries of that Reformation Bible, which were written by Tyndale’s friend John Rogers. The whole work has been gently updated by Ruth Magnusson Davis, maintaining the truth, historic language, and beauty of the original. Ruth’s favourite edition of the October Testament, the hardcover case laminate, can be purchased through your bookstore, or with one click here from Amazon