2nd Temple Judaism & Jesus: an Attempt to Unite Noahic Peoples (70 Nations)

Let’s talk about how Jesus chose 70 & sent them, because (to the Hellenistic, 2nd Temple Jew) “the world” meant only the peoples, who descend from Noah, as defined by the ‘Table of (70) Nations’ found in the 1st Book of Moshe (ch. 10), which serves as Semitic origin myth.

The 70 names… express symbolically the unity of humanity, corresponding to the 70 descendants of Israel who go down into Egypt with Jacob at Gen 46:27 & the 70 elders of Israel who visit God with Moses at the covenant ceremony in Ex 24:1–9. (Wikipedia, Generations of Noah)

At first, Jesus’ statement recorded in Matthew 15:24, shows that he (at that point in his ministry) understood his mission to be inclusive only of “the lost sheep of Israel,” or those directly descended from Jacob, the son Isaac, the son of Abraham, who is the descendant of Noah. Yet, Jesus’ interaction with the woman of Canaan reveals that his understanding of his mission changed to be more inclusive toward those, who were traditionally the “conquered enemies” of the Jewish people. To a 2nd Temple Jew, Canaanites were descendants of Noah, through Ham.

After that, in a harmony of the Gospels, Jesus extends welcomes to anyone with a trace of Noah’s bloodline, such as the Samaritans, & even talking with the Greeks (thought to be descended from Noah through Javan of Japheth) of his defeat of the Adversary. And, John 10:16 records mention of a mystery flock.

The inclusion of the (enslaved or seeking) Romans and Greeks was difficult for the Disciples / Apostles to understand. They thought these people were “unclean” (not Israelite). However, they learned the mantra of “to the Jew first & also to the Greek” after Peter’s dream.

When Jesus’ recorded “Great Commission” commands to go into the entire world, or to make disciples of every nation, we have to be honest about the fact Jesus’ understanding was limited on this matter before, and to him, “the world” was the 70 nations of Genesis 10.

By the time Paul was writing letters to Churches, the big & recurring squabble was between those who had an Abrahamic/Noahic bloodline & those who did not. Paul—if it was Paul writing—attempted to settle this matter by saying the Israel of G-d are of Faith in Jesus (Gal. & Rom 9). Even today there are small sects, (ex. Hebrew Roots Movement) who assert only those of the lost tribes of Israel can be “saved.” This is much like British Israelism and other (white) supremacist cult movements.

All this is to recount that 1st Century Xianity was known to be a unification effort against Roman (imperial) supremacy. But the Hellenistic Jewish system of identifying ethnicities was not accurate & did not account for all ANE groups & Rome subsumed Xianity as Rome does. More than that, the Hellenistic Jewish system of ethnic genealogy did not account for anyone in 1st C Northern Europe, in the farther reaches of Africa, or in the Far East (northern or southern)… much less what we now call the Western Hemisphere.

While it is notable that 1st C Xianity sought to unify everyone against the Roman (pantheistic) empire using monotheism, they did so in the name of a Messiah only for descendants of Noah, much like today’s leaders have tried to unify Islam, Judaism and Xianity under Abraham to achieve some unity. But, politics & religion are so entangled, there’s no separating such large scale religious unification efforts from the agendas of empires. Just like ancient Rome subsumed Christianity as its imperial State Church, & has used it ever since, “Abrahamic Faiths” would be used as well.

What I come away with is:

A. Not even Jesus understood his commission to include a global, imperial state church. Actually, quite the opposite.

B. Kinism & religion go hand-in-hand, but the combination can only go so far to unify before it starts to destroy or gets subsumed.