- Are You an Israelite?
- by Jerry Gentry
- Are You an Israelite?
- Jacob was the twin brother to Esau, born to Isaac and Rebecca, the son and daughter-in-law of Abraham and Sarah. The story goes that Jacob "dreamed, and behold a ladder [was] set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven" (Gen. 28:12). Later, this Jacob "wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day" (Gen 32:24), who turned out to be God Himself. Jacob boldly told God, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me" (v. 26). God answered, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (v. 28). Christian, where will you find the descendants of this man called Israel, who wrestled with God? Are you a descendant of this man? Are you an Israelite? How can you know for sure?
- by Jerry Gentry
- "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mat 15:24).
- "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises" (Rom. 9:4).
- It is ironic that many people of the Moslem world yet today trace their physical lineage back through Ishmael born to Abraham through Hagar. It is interesting that the Brahmans of India trace their lineage back to Abraham through his wife Keturah. It is ironic that many who call themselves Jews trace their origins back to "Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother" (1John 3:12). Yet you can ask a Caucasian person where he came from, and he will nearly always call himself a "gentile," of unknown origin. What then is the origin of such Caucasian "gentiles?" It is a gripping and enlightening story, for all who have eyes to see, for all who have ears to hear.
- We've all read the story of how Israel had twelve sons and how one son, Joseph, was sold by his brothers into slavery. Joseph later pleased the Pharaoh of Egypt, and was appointed Prime Minister. The story intensifies due to a famine in the land of Canaan, where Israel and his eleven remaining sons lived. From there, Israel sent them all, except his youngest Benjamin, down to Egypt to buy food. It was there that they were confronted by the powerful Prime Minister Joseph, whom they did not recognize at first.
- It was there in Egypt that these sons were humbled, before God, and ultimately were reunited with Joseph, who arranged with the Pharaoh for Israel and all his sons to live in the richest part of the land.
- It was in Egypt's land of Goshen, that the Israelites lived and multiplied until "the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day [when] it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt" (Exod. 12:41).
- They began a forty year trek through the wilderness, where Moses led them and finally died. They conquered the land of Canaan under leadership of Joshua. The land was divided into their twelve tribal settlements. Judges and later the kings ruled over the land of Israel, which flowered into greatness under David and Solomon. This same land was later divided into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God sent His prophets to call the people to repentance, when they had backslidden into sin and idolatry.
- Then around 720BC, the King of Assyria invaded the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and carried captive millions of Israelites, and planted them up and around the Black and Caspian Seas. God had given them a bill of divorcement as a nation, because they had miserably broken their marriage vows which were the Ten Commandments given at Mt. Sinai. It is within this very Assyrian wilderness that the modern church world has lost these millions and millions of Israelites, where you might think they simply vanished into thin air. However, God never lost these people, to whom he had promised His everlasting love.
- Much later, through the prophet Jeremiah, God foretold of a day when He would bring these same people into a New Covenant:
- "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah" (Jer 31:31).
- "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD" (v. 32).
- "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people" (v. 33).
- To these very Israelites, the LORD promised: "Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jer 31:2-3)
- The veracity of the Bible itself hangs on the continued existence of Israel as a people. The New Covenant would be made with none other than "the house of Israel and with the house of Judah" (Heb 8:8).
- "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord" (v. 9).
- "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (v. 10). Where did we first read these words? We read them from the prophet Jeremiah, whom the apostle Paul quotes.
- The marks of their travels are recorded in the Bible and in ancient history. Meanwhile, the Southern Kingdom of Judah continued another nearly 200 years after Israel's captivity, when she too was invaded and carried captive into Babylon. From there a remnant returned 70 years later, under Ezra and Nehemiah. This remnant rebuilt the temple and the wall, and continued for some 400 years until the time of Christ.
- It is at the time when Jesus Christ walked the earth that we again pick up the story of Israel, and again ask the question, are you an Israelite? Peter was an Israelite. Paul was an Israelite. James and John and Jude and every single apostle were Israelites. Every single one of the original disciples of Jesus were Israelites, mainly from among the descendants of those who resettled the land of Palestine under Ezra and Nehemiah. These were descended from inhabitants of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, made up primarily of three tribes, Judah, Benjamin and Levi.
- Most preachers will agree that Jesus and all his original apostles and disciples were Israelites, of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi. They will agree that the apostle Paul was an Israelite, from the tribe of Benjamin.
- They will even acknowledge that Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15:24). They know that Jesus told His twelve apostles: "and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mat 10:6).
- But once these folks acknowledge that the gospel Jesus preached was to Israel and none other, they immediately superimpose their "private interpretations" on that verse. Some will be honest enough to admit openly, "I wish Jesus had never said that!" Whatever their opinions, these people are simply unwilling to let the words of Christ stand. They are unwilling to let Jesus Christ be the "kinsman redeemer," who went to the cross and paid the price of sin for the very people to whom God had given the Ten Commandments.
- What is the Bible definition of sin?
- "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1John 3:4). All would agree that the law is summed up in the Ten Commandments. Sin is the transgression of God's holy and righteous law, given to the nation of Israel and none other. "For by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20), Paul tells us. Further, he states, "sin is not imputed when there is no law" (Rom. 5:13). Nations to whom God never gave His law are not guilty of sin. God gave his law to one people and one people alone. He wrote His Ten Commandments upon two tablets of stone, for Moses to give to the children of Israel. No other people on earth received the Ten Commandments. Later these Ten Commandments were expanded into all "the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt" (Deut. 4:45).
- The Chinese people had never heard of the Ten Commandments until the last two hundred years. Do you really think God will judge all those Chinese people, who never once had heard of the the Ten Commandments or the Bible or Jesus Christ, who have lived and died over the period of their 5,000+ year history, and send all those dead Chinese as sinners to hell? That would be absurd.
- The Blacks of central Africa never heard of the Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ, "white man" or his Bible, until the slave trade began, around 2-300 years ago. Do you really believe that all those Blacks who lived and died on the African continent, from creation forward for thousands of years, will go to hell when they die, having never, ever heard the gospel? It is absurd to charge God with such nonsense. In His word, He claims: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11).
- Here we see for sure that "salvation hath appeared to all men." To which men has salvation appeared? Of simple necessity, the "all men" to whom "salvation hath appeared" are the very "lost sheep of the house of Israel" to whom Christ was sent, and to whom He sent his disciples, and to no one else!
- That is all good, you say, but later it was the apostle Paul who was "ordained a preacher, and an apostle. . . a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity" (1Tim. 2:7). Elsewhere, he claimed, "I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office" (Rom. 11:13).
- Who are these gentiles, to whom Paul ministered? Were they Chinese? Blacks? Where did the apostle Paul travel when he preached the gospel? We have a detailed record of each of the apostle Paul's "missionary journeys," as well as his other travels. Look in the back of almost any Bible, and you will find maps of the apostle Paul's journeys around Palestine, including the northern Mediterranean coasts and Asia Minor. Who populated these areas? Who were these Greek speaking "gentiles" of Paul's day?
- From the Bible, archeology and history, we know that these parts of the Roman world were populated by people of Caucasian descent, who had settled there over time. Peter identifies these very people gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost, as: "Devout men, out of every nation under heaven. . . Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians" (Acts 2:5, 9-11). These people spoke many different languages, but had one thing in common. Peter addressed this crowd as: "Ye men of Israel" (v. 22), and proclaimed, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Act 2:36). These were all Israelites, if we will believe the Bible.
- There were no Chinese there, no blacks, no other races there, in Peter's and Paul's day. These were all Israelites. There were only Greeks and Romans and many others of Israelite descent, who had fanned out from Palestine, Egypt and from those formerly taken into the Assyrian wilderness captivity, who moved west and north, as they populated the entire Northern Mediterranean region, from the Caspian sea northward through the Caucasus Mountain range (from whence we get the name "Caucasian"), and throughout Europe and the British Isles. Even the very English word "Brit-ish" means "covenant people!"
- It is a well known fact of history that Ireland was already populated from ancient times with Israelites, when Jeremiah brought one of the daughters of Zedekiah there, after the Babylonian captivity. That daughter, known in history as Tea Tephi, was married to an Irish King Herremon. Jeremiah was known in Ireland as "Olam Fallah." It is from the union of Tea Tephi and King Herremon that our modern Queen Elizabeth is descended, as is recorded on the royal ancestral chart of the kings and queens of England.
- Peter reached out, through his general epistles to these gentile Israelites, who were called "strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1Pet. 1:1). The people to whom Paul ministered were genetic Israelites, who were then "without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12). These very people had lived as a divorced woman for over seven hundred years, and were looked upon by those of the old Judean Israelite aristocracy as being outcasts forever. This is why it was so astounding to Peter and others that Paul was sent there to preach to them.
- The book of Hebrews is written to these same people: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets" (Heb 1:1).
- "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (v. 2).
- Who is this "us," to whom God hath spoken by "his Son?" It is none other than the true Israel of God, made up of the house of Israel and the house of Judah, as Paul tells us: "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah" (Hebr. 8:8). How plain, if we will simply let the Bible interpret the Bible, and not superimpose our own private interpretation.
- It is coming clear that the Bible is a book written to, for and about Israel. The Bible begins with Israel (Gen 25), continues the story of Israel throughout, and ends with a heavenly city that has "twelve gates" on which are written "the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel" (Rev. 21:12). Friend, there is no thirteenth gate for non Israelites. John saw "the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev 21:2).
Who is that husband? None other than Jesus Christ is that husband, praise God! Who is that bride? It is none other than Israel, the same woman God had previously divorced and sent away, identified in the great Magnificat: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people. . . to remember his holy covenant" (Luk 1:68, 72).
- What is that holy covenant? It is the greatest of all the covenants of the Bible. It is called the New Covenant, whereby God "hath visited and redeemed his people," alleluia! It is the covenant of grace, given freely to all sinners who repent and believe the gospel. And to whom was that gospel given? In the words of Jesus, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." To these people alone had been given the holy and righteous law, the Ten Commandments, which Israel had broken. Are you of Caucasian gentile descent? Are you an Israelite? If so, then Jesus reaches out to you and says: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15).
- No others are in danger of going to hell, because none outside of Israel are sinners, by Bible definition, for "sin is not imputed when there is no law" (Rom. 5:13).
- God gave his law to Israel alone, and sent His Son to redeem these people, "because the LORD loved Israel for ever" (1Kgs. 10:9). Are you are of Caucasian, gentile descent? Is your heart pricked that you have sinned and transgressed the law of God? Do you believe Jesus died to save sinners such as you and me? Are you irrestibly drawn to the gospel of Jesus Christ? If so, then you can know that you are an Israelite, for whom Christ died. You can know Him today, trust Him at His word, that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).
- Are you an Israelite? If so, reclaim your heritage all the way back to Mt. Sinai and take the Ten Commandments for your very own standard of life, by the grace of God. Greater still, claim your heritage under the blood of Jesus Christ, your very own kinsman redeemer. Confess that you too are a sinner, ask his forgiveness and lay hold on salvation by faith in Him.