The following essay was written by Solomon Chikwe (from Owerri, Nigeria) and is used with his permission:
If the membership of a committee is classified as “partners only,” then no one that is not a partner, as determined by the concerned body, can be part of that committee. Likewise any other restricted set, program, or company of people. To this end, we have phrases like: “members only”, “adults only”, “boys only”, “girls only,” and so on – indicating that the respective groups are closed under each one’s labeled identity.
In essence, all such tags indicate exclusivity – one that makes participation in those circles limited to a unique collection of subjects or elements. And, very importantly, the subjects are always a clearly defined collection of individuals, who share the given segregating attribute in common.
Incontestably, when “-only” is attached as a suffix in any situation, it serves as a (strict) restrictor. This occurs to the extent that, if just one outlier is found in the concerned set, it changes the entire event landscape; that event space immediately ceases to satisfy the “-only” condition.
Formally speaking, if a non-empty set, B, is a collection of elements that share a unique attribute, ‘b’, then that set satisfies the condition of being defined as ‘b’ only. Conversely, if, at least one element in the set, B, is not of the attribute, ‘b’, then the set, B, is not ‘b’ only.
Against the above background, it becomes pertinent to ask how the new covenant could be tagged “Israel-Only,” given its lack of exclusivity or uniqueness to Israel. How could that spiritually sealed covenant be bounded by the Abrahamic lineage, given that even the old covenant that was made after the Abrahamic flesh violates the “Israel-only” condition?
Logically, the identity of uniqueness is broken the moment that at least one element is found to contaminate such definition (or identity) of the set. So if it is shown that at least one member of the set does not conform to the unique property shared by other members of the set, then that set ceases to be what it was claimed to (uniquely) be. It becomes something else!
Now was even the old covenant “Israel-Only”? No! It (also) had foreigners, that is non-Israelites, as adherents of it. In fact, Egyptians and Edomites were allowed into the ethno-religious congregation of old covenant Israel to perform and live by old covenant dictates (see Deuteronomy 23:7-8).
To further show this truth, Leviticus 17:8 says,
” And thou shalt say unto them, whatever man there be of the house of Israel, OR OF THE STRANGERS which sojourn among you, THAT OFFERETH BURNT OFFERING OR SACRIFICE…”
It is clear, from the above scripture, that strangers of non-Abrahamic descent partook in the old covenant rituals – eligibly. In fact, the spectrum of old covenant instructions in Leviticus 17 was spread upon both the house of Israel and the strangers that sojourned among them (see reference).
What then shall we say? Even the old covenant was not “Israel-Only”: for it captured strangers that sojourned with the house of Israel as its members. Thus, the whole “IO” argument clearly becomes FUNDAMENTALLY INVALID.
But is the reason for this extensive reach of God’s operation difficult to understand? No, for it is written thus,
“Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation (Israel), and all the nations of the earth (foreign nations) shall be blessed in him?” (Genesis 18:18).
Now, given that the IO proposition lacks validity at the cellular level, how then can it enjoy validity at the systemic level? How can “Israel-Only” survive the acid test at the New Testament level, if it has suffered a fatal corrosion at the Old Testament level? How could it be that God’s acceptance covered strangers in a covenant that depended purely on works, but failed in a covenant that depends entirely on grace? It couldn’t.
In fact, based on the natural inference arising from the above shown invalidation of the “IO” conjecture at the old covenant level, sound reasoning prescribes that a conclusive verdict be passed on this matter: for there is nothing more to prove.
However, I shall present more devastating truths against the “IO” argument soon.
If it is not valid, then it can never be sound!
To be continued…