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In Luke 3:8, we can read:

8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. (NIV)

I was reading, but when I saw the the out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham, I couldn't understand, is it a metaphor, an analogy, a comparison... So, in resume, what is the meaning of Luke 3:8?

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    This is a reference to the stones taken out of Jordan by Joshua and the tribes of Israel when they entered the land. Twelve stones were taken out and piled on Jordan's bank. Twelve were placed in the river from the surrounding area. And the twelve on the bank were still there when John preached. And he refers to them, here. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 22 '21 at 9:14
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    Please write an answer on this @Nigel J Dec 23 '21 at 12:34
  • @FaithMendel Done, as suggested. Regards.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 23 '21 at 12:52
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Luke 3:8 is essentially a caution to the Israelites against complacency and against relying on their ancestory or bloodline to justify them before God. John as the preparer of the way - is calling for the Israelites to heed his message of repentance. To produce good works, rightous acts and repentance and atonement to show true and sincere turning back to God.

When he states "out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham" he is making clear to the Israelites that their blood line will not protect them from Gods judgement. That if they continue in their evil ways God will judge and remove them "from the olive tree" that is Israel and he is able to replace them. If absolutely necessary God would literally just manifest new children to continue Abrahams lineage out of "thin air" or "stones" so to speak.

We do actually see this came to happen in some sense - as at the conclusion of Jesus ministry many Israelites did not repent. This is why Jesus weaps when he enters into Jerusalem at the conclusion of his ministry. (luke 19:41-44)

Subsequently the apostle Paul speaks about how many "native" branches have been cut off from the "olive tree" that represents Israel and "wild branches" representing the Gentiles who were willing to follow Gods ways have been grafted in to replace them. See Romans 11:17

Now if some branches have been broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others to share in the nourishment of the olive root

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    Good answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Dec 22 '21 at 5:57
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    Good answer from me too, although lets remember that if God is able to graft in wild branches then He is easily able to graft back in the natural branches (as Romans says) - and He is doing so and will continue to do so :D Great to see many Jews coming to know their Saviour
    – danday74
    Dec 23 '21 at 0:42
  • Yes absolutely - great to see many modern day Jewish people recognizing christ and the Gospel message. Also we should never forget Paul was only talking about some native brances - not all. All of the 12 disciples, the 70, those in the upper room Paul himself and many other early followers were observant Jews. So clearly not all native branches were cut off - only some who didn't heed the message. That specific text from Paul just shows a good example of the "result" John was warning people about. Still relevant today for modern Christians as well.
    – Marshall
    Dec 23 '21 at 15:07
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This is a reference to the stones taken out of Jordan by Joshua and the tribes of Israel when they entered the land. Twelve stones were taken out and piled on Jordan's bank. Twelve were placed in the river from the surrounding area. And the twelve on the bank were still there when John preached. And he refers to them, here.

There is spiritual allusion in the river Jordan being held back to the city of Adam, no doubt a matter of natural origin being superseded in regard to the baptism of repentance, in the context of entering the land of Canaan by spiritual birth : which is exactly the 'beginning of the gospel', Mark 1:1, which Mark applies to John the Baptist's calling and ministry.

the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. [Joshua 3:16 KJV]

And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. [Joshua 4:19 KJV]

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    Very interesting answer. +1 Dec 23 '21 at 13:14
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    Nice answer +1 I had actually wondered about including something about the symbology of stones. Glad to see you have covered this
    – Marshall
    Dec 23 '21 at 15:13
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God created Adam from the earth, and stones are part of the earth.

So John is not saying anything strange here. Rather it is argumentum a fortiori, i.e. God can make anyone to be Israel, a son of Abraham, as surely the Jews themselves knew, for conversions, adoptions, and inter marriages, had been for a long time "unnatural" ways to inherit the promises to Abraham too. And thus "natural" descend from Abraham is not sufficient, nor even necessary, to count as Abraham's own, but fruits of repentance.

And as a pertinent example, in the context of that time, were the Idumeans, from which Herod descended, who were forcibly converted to Judaism during the reign of the Maccabees.

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  • Very good answer.
    – Austin
    Dec 22 '21 at 16:37
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What is the meaning of Luke 3:8?

"We have Abraham as our father", the Jews obviously considered their ancestry of Abraham to give them merit with God. John found it necessary to say to them otherwise.:

In Luke 3:8, we can read:

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. (NIV)

Also, Jesus found it necessary to tell the Jews that their ancestry was no advantage to them in gaining merit with God, unless they repented and harmonized their lives with God's laws and commandments. Jesus said to them:

Luke 13:24-30 NASB

24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin standing outside and knocking on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ and He then will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26 Then you will begin saying, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!’ 27 And yet He will [a]say, ‘I do not know where you are from; leave Me, all you [b]evildoers.’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. 29 And they will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

CONCLUSION:

The Jewish people were the first to be invested with such blessings, for entry into the kingdom of God. Their fleshly ancestry of Abraham was not, however, sufficient for them to inherit the kingdom of God unless they made efforts to meet God's requirements. Only a remnant accepted the invitation and so God turned his attention to filling the places required before the door shuts to the Gentiles-Nations east and west so to speak. Cornelius was the first such person, not being a Jew or a Jewish proselyte., the door is still open for those still willing to accept the invitation and exert themselves entry into the kingdom. [Read "The wedding feast " [Matthew 22:1-14, Rev. 2:26-27, 7:9-10]

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