Jews and Gentiles – Where do they come from?

This is one of those questions a new Christian might be afraid to ask when surrounded by those of us who have been well churched. Like me some believers did not attend sunday school at an early age much less receive a Christian education. In most cultures older individuals are generally considered to have more knowledge, but when it comes to spiritual matters age has little to do with it, and so I think that it is easy for believers and congregations to forget that newcomers may not have as great a handle on the basics that we do even though they are middle aged. Now to the question at hand. Where did Jews and Gentiles come from?

From Adam to Abraham there were no Jews. They are the direct descendants of Abraham and Sarah, his wife. God brought Abraham out of a city called Ur and promised to make a great nation out of him with children numbering more than the stars in the sky (I’ll get to that in a minute).  As the story goes, Abraham and Sarah were both well beyond child bearing years, but God miraculously helped them conceive a son, Isaac. Now Isaac had a son named Jacob, who was also known as Israel, and he had twelve sons that became the twelve tribes of Israel. So, Jews came from Abraham. Gentiles are everyone else who is not a direct descendant of Abraham. The question is why did God purposefully create a new nation from Abraham?

The simple answer is that he set aside a specific group of people for himself through which and for the purpose of bringing forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ. I mentioned earlier that Abraham was promised more children than there are stars in the sky. All those who believe in Jesus Christ are in fact the spiritual children of Abraham because of the faith we share in God. As the bible says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”. Followers of Jesus, a descendant of Abraham through the flesh, believe he is the savior and so righteousness is counted to us as well, though most of us are still gentiles.

One more interesting note. Abraham had a son previous to Isaac through a servant given to him by his wife. Ancient cultures were weird that way. That son, Ishmael, eventually gave rise to Mohammed and the faith of Islam. We don’t sin in a vacuum. Sinning does affect those around us. Abraham’s indiscretion still causes problems today between Jews and Arabs.

In conclusion, Jews are from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Gentiles are from everyone else, but all those who have believed upon the name of Jesus are members of the family of God.


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