The foregoing article dealt with Schwertley’s denunciation of the Kinist interpretation of the tower of Babel, demonstrating the connection of Babel to the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 and to the ethnonationalism of the dominion mandate (Gen. 1:28; 9:1). I also explained the Kinist view of permissible and impermissible cultural blending, particularly in contrast with Schwertley’s absurd straw man that Kinists desire the strict and total isolation of all races. In this article, we will examine what Schwertley terms “specific scriptural refutations” of Kinism.
Assimilation into the Nation of Israel
Schwertley makes a number of confused statements when he deals with Old Testament Israel, which Kinists use as the foundation for our belief in Christian ethnonationalism. He correctly states that non-Israelites could convert and join themselves to God’s covenant. This is not a point of contention with Kinists, who grant that Israel was the extent of the visible church under the Mosaic covenant. What Kinists contest is that the nation of Israel was organized simply on the basis of faith, without regard to heredity. Kinists also disagree that being in covenant with God was the same thing as being an Israelite, or that non-Israelites who joined the covenant had all of the same civil privileges in Israel as ethnic Israelites. Secondly, Schwertley falsely associates Kinism with the error of the Pharisees. He states, “It is crucial that we do not fall into the heresy of the Pharisees which saw a great importance in race or descent from Abraham.” The Pharisees were condemned for believing not that heredity or ethnic identity had “a great importance,” but that their own righteousness before God was secured by their Abrahamic descent. It is important to remember that Kinists do not believe that racial or ethnic distinctions save us, nor that the Gospel is restricted to a particular race. This is conflating Kinism with Christian Identity. We will address this folly more in response to what Schwertley later states about the Galatian heresy. First, let’s look at the points that Schwertley uses to establish that Israel was not based upon heredity.
Schwertley: “When God called out Abraham, his extended household, which included 318 fighting men, their wives and children and probably a large number of servants, were all circumcised and placed under the covenant. Their race is not specified, but the covenant people were not simply direct descendants of Abraham.” As Israel was Abraham’s grandson, Schwertley is not here arguing that assimilation into the nation of Israel was achieved by some non-hereditary factor. Instead, he is arguing that entrance into the “covenant people” (which, later, would be coterminous with the nation of Israel) did not require descent from Abraham, thus disproving that the covenant people of God is constituted by such descent.
This example is perfect in demonstrating an enormous error for the Alienist, and especially the Alienists’ unwillingness to carefully consider our views. We Kinists have incessantly disagreed with Christian Identity in declaring our belief that the elect are not confined to any one line of heredity: that all races can be saved by the Gospel, and hence that entrance into the visible church does not require a particular racial lineage. But it follows that any attempt to establish the irrelevance of descent for entrance into the “covenant people of God” – that is, the visible church – is itself irrelevant to the truth of Kinism. Abraham’s household was at that point in history, by divine appointment, the extent of the visible church on earth. If anyone on earth (of any race) wished to join the true church at that time, he would have had to enter into Abraham’s household, submitting to the initiatory rite of circumcision. This passage, therefore, does not in the least disprove Kinism, but it does provide a flavor of the errors we can expect Schwertley to commit.
Schwertley’s argument here seems to be based fundamentally on the non-hereditary bounds of the visible church in Abraham’s time, but, though it is unclear, he could be further arguing that Abraham’s household was possibly multiracial, or that his mixed household could have eventually contributed to Israel’s gene pool, with the implication being that nations are not naturally constituted by some “pure” heredity. But while we can easily assert that a racially mixed household, in these peculiar covenantal circumstances, would not undo any Kinist principles, we can nevertheless presume with confidence that it was monoracial. The members of Abraham’s household came with him from Ur, so we lack any reason to think they were anything other than closely-related Semites. Furthermore, the extent to which they contributed hereditarily to the future nation of Israel is questionable. Abraham sent his servant to his kindred in Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son Isaac (Gen. 24), evidently not satisfied with the backgrounds of the women within his household. It is possible that the other members of Abraham’s family married into Isaac’s descendants after this, but there is certainly no indication that such occurred, and definitely no indication that this group was comprised of members of different races. The time in which Abraham lived and the difficulty of maintaining a multiracial household renders this speculative guess as essentially impossible.
The Mixed Multitude
Schwertley next appeals to the “mixed multitude” who left Egypt with the Israelites (Ex. 12:38). Schwertley mocks the idea that the mixed multitude remained distinct from the hereditary children of Israel: “Some kinists attempt to get around these kinds of passages by arguing that non-Jewish peoples who converted to Jehovah did not intermarry with Jews and were not absorbed into the Jewish nation. They had their own separate communities and remained separate racially. If this scenario really happened, then what happened to these communities? Did they all apostatize and fall away? Were they simply lost to history? Did millions of people vanish or move away?” These questions are rather perplexing, because in the previous paragraph he admits that “this group would all die in the wilderness with the possible exception of Caleb the Kenizzite.” His theory, apparently, is that the mixed multitude which exited Egypt all died in the wilderness, even though “their children entered the promised land and were absorbed into the non-Levitical tribes of Israel,” effectively leading to a second-generation mixed multitude which, given the lack of scriptural evidence for its segregated existence, most likely included converts who intermarried with the Israelites. Yet when we see the narrative of the mixed multitude, we have good reason to believe that they remained separate from Israel and no grounds to suppose that they likely intermarried, much less that Scripture approves such assimilation.
There are several considerations to keep in mind with what is said in Exodus 12. First, Numbers 11:4 specifically mentions the mixed multitude as a corporately identifiable body over one year after the Exodus (see Num. 10:11); commentaries are in agreement that this is referring back to the mixed multitude of Exodus 12. According to Numbers 11, this rabble lusts after meat and moves the children of Israel to complain to God about the manna He provided them. So the multitude, at this point, is sufficiently segregated to remain distinctly identifiable as a group, and the text specifies this group as particularly enslaved to their lusts. Hence, even apart from their impending punishment and consequent infamy, Matthew Henry speaks of them as socially distinct from and inferior to the houses of Israel:
The mixed multitude here spoken of were not numbered with the children of Israel, but were set aside as a people God made no account of; and yet the children of Israel, forgetting their own character and distinction, herded themselves with them and learned their way, as if the scum and outcasts of the camp were to be the privy-counsellors of it.1
After providing the rebels with more quail-meat than they can consume, God smites them with a plague (vv. 33-34). This appears to be the end of the mixed multitude, as Schwertley himself admits, notwithstanding his speculations about the multitude’s children. But even if the mixed multitude had not been entirely destroyed – for a portion might have repudiated the group’s overall lust, and God might have spared them from the general corporate punishment – it is a stretch to believe that the Israelites would have had no qualms with marrying converts from the rabble. They were still recognized as an ethnically distinct entity even prior to their rebellion, and their infamy from inciting this quail episode would certainly not have improved their relations with Israel thenceforth.
Schwertley’s argument makes a lot of assumptions. The “mixed multitude” from Egypt is mentioned only twice in Scripture (other uses of the phrase refer to a different group, e.g. Neh. 13:3). They were still marked out as a mixed group over one year after the Exodus, and at that point they were corporately specified as inciting Israel to lust, so the vast majority of them were probably not true believers. Yet Schwertley then makes a triple argument from silence: (1) because the mixed multitude was not explicitly stated as entirely perishing, some remnant remained with Israel; (2) because no separate ghetto was identified in Israel’s history as the mixed multitude’s residence, this remnant must have intermarried; (3) because no moral disapproval is stated about any of these alleged intermarriages, therefore Scripture morally countenances them. This is absurd. Arguments which seek to establish moral approval for actions from historical narratives are difficult enough, but Schwertley multiplies this difficulty by positing enormous speculations regarding what actually occurred. A very plausible alternative explanation is that, even if the mixed multitude were not entirely obliterated in Numbers 11, their numbers were still reduced to nearly nothing, and they were frankly not worthy of mention later even though they remained segregated. But whatever occurred historically, we clearly lack appropriate grounds to utilize it as a premise against Kinist theology.
While we cannot establish clearly what occurred with the mixed multitude, we can still, ironically, point to the ethnic meaning of the term. The Hebrew word for “mixed multitude,” as used in Exodus 12:38, is ereb (עֵרֶב), which, when it does not refer to the intersecting of a fabric’s warp and woof, refers to a people intermixed with foreigners.2 Thus, in seeking to prove that Israel was not defined ethnically but rather mixed, Schwertley appeals to an ethnically-mixed group who, precisely because of their ethnic amalgamation, is noted as being both different from and separate from Israel! The identification of the mixed multitude hence lends more weight to the relative ethnic purity of Israel, if anything.
Even worse, his argument depends on the premise that the mixed multitude is composed of different ethnic groups – any religious definition of nations would undermine his argument – but this starkly contradicts his conclusion: that Israel, as the model for all nations, was constituted by religious profession and not by heredity. This is a recurring fallacy for all of Schwertley’s arguments concerning the assimilation of foreigners into Israel: in attempting to demonstrate that Israel had no concern for ethnicity in its immigration policy, and thus that nations are constituted by religious profession, he contends that members of separate biblically-defined nations are incorporated into Israel by faith. All his argumentation to demonstrate the irrelevance of ethnicity to nationhood presupposes their definitional connection.3
Besides opposing Schwertley’s evidence that Israel was constituted by a common profession of faith rather than heredity, it would also be fitting to offer various positive evidences of Israel’s hereditary basis. First, native Israelites are often distinguished from law-abiding sojourners (Lev. 18:26; 19:34), even irrespective of conversion (Isa. 56:3, 6-7). This demonstrates that one could join the covenant and still be distinct from the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel also expresses her relationship to Edom as one of brotherhood (Num. 20:14; Deut. 23:7), based on Israel and Edom’s, or Jacob and Esau’s, common descent from the patriarch Isaac. This would make no sense if the nation of Israel was not rooted in heredity, but was simply a group of people linked solely by common faith. Further, in Ezra 2:59-62, we read that identification with Israel was made on the basis of genealogy, and this is in accord with 1 Chronicles 9:1, in which all Israel is reckoned by genealogies (1 Chron. 1-8), as well as the census of Numbers, by which all Israel was reckoned according to their descent from the twelve patriarchs (Num. 1).
Israel’s government presupposes that the nation was constituted hereditarily. Deuteronomy 17:15 teaches the law of kin-rule, stressing that the Israelites could be ruled only by a fellow Israelite. This law was confirmed when David was anointed king, for the people exclaimed that David was of their bone and flesh (2 Sam. 5:1; cf. 1 Chron. 11:1). The prophet Jeremiah also promised that the Israelites would be blessed with nobles from among themselves upon their restoration (Jer. 30:21), in accord with the command of Moses in Deuteronomy 1:13-15. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel is ruled by hereditary monarchs and noblemen. The tribes and families are governed by the heads of extended families. Furthermore, there is the provision in Leviticus 25 which forbade strangers from permanently owning property in Israel. Even intermarriage between the tribes of Israel was regulated: heiresses had to marry within their father’s tribe to retain the tribal property (Num. 27; 36). All of this information, along with the verses above, confirms that Israel practiced ethnonationalism, in which heredity was essential for functions like government and property ownership. These laws only make sense if Israel is a hereditarily distinguishable group of people. And besides Israel, this is the same for other nations who were identified by their constituent families (Gen. 10), even apart from conversion to the true religion (Isa. 19:25); national identity is not abolished by conversion, but rather sanctified.
This is not to say that faith is unimportant, of course. God’s relationship to Israel as a covenant community was based upon their faithfulness and obedience to God. The Apostle Paul acknowledges that not every physical descendant of Israel was a recipient of the covenant promises, since many Israelites in his time were unbelievers. Faith is clearly of paramount importance, but this does not negate the fact that Israel was, as a nation, hereditarily defined. Israel was still Israel even in the midst of judgment for disobedience and unbelief, and there were non-Israelites who were blessed by God because of their faith and obedience to the covenant. Thus we can see that the nation of Israel was not constituted simply by a common faith.
In the same way that Abraham’s household was, in his time, the extent of the visible church on earth, so also the nation of Israel was peculiarly blessed in having its national boundaries be the boundaries of the visible church; the Westminster Confession speaks of how the visible church was “confined to one nation” (WCF 25.2) when under the law of Moses. A corollary of this is that, in some sense, converts could join Israel – they could “become Jews” (cf. Esther 8:17, which Schwertley cites as an Alienist prooftext) – upon submitting to the covenant. Yet this cultural, ritual, and legal submission to the national covenant of Israel, by which foreigners could become members of Israel in a sense, did not magically transform those foreigners’ ancestries, linking them back to one of the twelve patriarchs, nor did it give these foreigners the same full rights accorded to ethnic Israelites. All converts to the true religion at that time retained their ethnic identities, even if they could become “Israelites” in this derivative sense. With this proper understanding, Kinists can account for the entire scriptural witness, honoring both the hereditary nature of Israel and its special status as the temporary bounds of the visible church. Schwertley, on the other hand, has no category for grounding Israel in heredity, since he maintains that full citizenship in Israel (qua nation, not qua church) was achieved by a credible profession of faith.
Schwertley proposes that Israel’s national identity was constituted simply by a religious profession. To prove this, he appeals to the lack of regard for heredity in Abraham’s large household and to the mixed multitude’s alleged integration with Israel. But neither of these appeals work; indeed, they fail miserably. Schwertley confuses Israel as it was a nation, an institution of nature, with Israel as it was the visible church, an institution of grace. The fact that some people could join Israel by professing the true religion does not entail that ethnicity played no role in distinguishing Israelites from foreigners. Schwertley’s theory of Israel’s nationhood cannot account for a great deal of biblical evidence establishing Israelite national identity as hereditary.
In our next article, we will address the further cases invoked to prove that heredity was no barrier for non-Israelites from becoming full-fledged citizens of Israel. Schwertley cites several cases in order to prove this, and we will cover three in particular: Caleb the Kenizzite, Rahab the harlot, and Uriah the Hittite. It is common for opponents of Kinism to cite these cases as disproofs of Kinism, but as we have seen already, Schwertley tends to traffic in misinformation and false assumptions that cast serious doubt on the validity of his conclusions.
Read Part 4
- Matthew Henry’s commentary on Numbers 11 ↩
- See the entry for ereb in the Lexicon Concordance. See also the entry in Bible Tools. ↩
- It should be noted that this pervasive fallacy occurs for his arguments about nationhood, but not necessarily concerning miscegenation. One can agree that nations are defined hereditarily while still disagreeing that interracial or interethnic marriage is forbidden, and hence one can appeal to alleged examples of international marriage in Scripture without committing immediate self-contradiction. But when his intention is to prove the non-ethnic nature of nationhood – that is, to disprove ethnonationalism – then this fallacy is certain to appear in any alleged case of non-Israelite integration. ↩