What is the Nation of Israel and How Did It Begin?

The Jewish nation is a descendant of Abraham and his wife, Sarah, and through their son Isaac. Abraham also had an older son, Ishmael, by Hagar. Additionally, he had six sons by Keturah whom he married after Sarah died.

No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. Genesis 17:5-6

Notice what God’s Word says about Abraham’s son Ishmael:

As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. Genesis 17:20

The Arab nations are descended from Abraham and his wife’s handmaid, Hagar, and through their son Ishmael. It is sad the Jews and Arabs are half-brother nations, having the same father, but different mothers, and yet are so constantly in warfare. The only thing that can change this is when Jesus comes back to rule on the earth and the Jews and the Arabs acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son, the Messiah of the Jews, the Savior of the world. It is true right now that Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Arabs who have accepted Jesus as their Savior get along with one another in a very wonderful way. This will be true of them as nations when Jesus comes back to earth.

Many other nations have also descended from Abraham. Notice what God’s Word says about the sons who came from Abraham and his wife Keturah, whom he married after Sarah died.

Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Genesis 25:1-2

God gave Abraham descendants other than through Isaac and other than through Ishmael. The Jewish nation came from Abraham through his son Isaac. The Arabs came from Abraham through his son Ishmael. Other nations came from Abraham through his six sons who were born to him and to Keturah.

The promise God made to Abraham was directly related to Isaac (the “Promised Seed”) and the land of Canaan (the “Promised Land”). The territorial clause of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1) was not conditional on anything done by Abraham.

“And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:8

Abraham passed his possessions on to his “chosen” son Isaac:

Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country. Genesis 25:5-6

God confirmed His covenant with Isaac:

Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 26:3-4

God tells us through the apostle Paul, all of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior are spiritual Israelites. However, Jews who are Jews in the flesh and who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ are both physical Israelites and spiritual Israelites.

Romans 11:1 is also given to us through Paul, and says:

“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.”

The nation of Israel is still God’s chosen people. His covenant with Israel is an everlasting covenant. Even though a majority of the nation rejected Jesus Christ as Savior and as Messiah, many of the members of the nation of Israel accepted Jesus as Savior and Messiah and have preached Him as such, and still do in this day. This is the remnant with whom God’s covenant still stands. One day the nation as a whole will turn to Christ and will know He is indeed the only begotten Son of God, the true Messiah of Israel, the only Savior and hope for a lost and dying world.

The Bible teaches after the rapture of the church many Jews will be saved. In fact, the Jewish people will become the missionaries during the time of the Tribulation. Romans 11:26 tells us all Israelites shall indeed be saved. The nation of Israel will at last recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

God knows where all of the tribes of Israel are, and one day all of them will be back in their promised land, to see and to serve Jesus. Like anyone else from any other nation, any Jew who turns down Jesus as Savior and Lord, will have to go to Hell and spend eternity there. And like those from any other group of people in all the world, every Jew and every other person who accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord will spend eternity with Him.

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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