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Over the years, I have resisted arguments about predestination, and I have challenged the claim that the Twelve Tribes spoken of in The Revelation are "flesh Jews", despite the fact that there are some pretty good proof texts for both doctrines.

But lately, I have been thinking about how it would be if the Twelve Tribes in The Revelation, which come together just before Jesus returns, really are literal, physical descendants of Abraham, and not just a bunch of Gentile Christians (as I have generally taught and believed... and I won't go into the arguments for that position here).

Of course, the first hurdle we face in taking a literal understanding of the Twelve Tribes is that only one of them, i.e. 12,000 of the total 144,000 are from the tribe of Judah (from which we get the name "Jews"). What about the other eleven tribes? Both sides have to accept that these other 132,000 people are not "flesh JEWS" even if they ARE flesh children of Israel; they are, in fact, from the other tribes (which no longer exist as tribes). Even though there obviously are people in the world who are descendants of those tribes, there is no human way to be able to trace their genealogies back that far to find out who they are.)

Nevertheless, I accept that GOD knows who these people are, and if there is such a thing as predestination, then he will most definitely select exactly 12,000 from the descendants of each of the other tribes and more or less force them to adhere to what is required of the 144,000. This makes all those doctrines about such things as the natural vine (Israel) being grafted back in again in the last days, make perfect, literal sense. So, okay, let's accept that this is exactly what God is going to do. He's going to bring together 144,000 literal descendants of Abraham, 12,000 from each of twelve tribes, and use them in the last days before Jesus returns. Wonderful! Praise God!

So where does that leave us in terms of identifying these people? We still will have no human way to know if these people are or are not from one of the lost tribes. In our own ranks, for example, we have Alf, who is a descendant of the tribe of Judah. If he's one of the 144,000, then that means we have only 143,999 more to locate! Obviously, most of the people who are going to be in the 144,000 will need to be recognisable by some other trait than the fact that they are Jews. So what is that trait? It's right there in The Revelation. It says that these people "follow the Lamb wherever he goes". The Lamb is Jesus. They follow Jesus! And they do so to the nth degree, i.e. wherever he leads, even to the cross.

Now that's something I can relate to. I may be from the tribe of Ephraim, or the tribe of Levi, or any of the others, but if I'm following Jesus in whatever he says, I must be one of the 144,000, and (if the literal descendants theory is correct) I must be a literal descendant of Abraham, i.e. a member of one of the lost tribes. No need for me to talk about Gentiles any more. Let's get into this Hebrew Children thing for all we are worth. But in the process, be careful that you do not get confused by the word "Jew", which appears in the New Testament at times, when referring to one of the tribes (the tribe of Judah) because that was about all that was left in Israel at that time.

As fellow descendants of Abraham, let us do all we can to stir up our blood brothers in Judaism to step out and follow Jesus too. In the flesh, we are no better than them and they are no better than us. We do not need to pander to one tribe in an effort to get the blessings that have been bestowed upon us all as members of the other tribes. And we can challenge the lies of other children of Israel without being called anti-semites, since we too (those of us who are following Jesus wherever he leads) ARE the literal descendants of Israel (or Jacob), the son of Abraham.

However, as a final comment, I will say that I am not firmly committed to either this theory or the previous one (i.e. that the Twelve Tribes are just spiritually representative of what could have happened if the original twelve tribes had been faithful to Yahweh). It's just that either way, the bottom line is the same: Are you following the Lamb wherever he goes? If not, then you are not part of the Twelve Tribes. If you are, then predestination or not, literal descendants or not, you must be part of the Twelve Tribes.
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