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Will Today's Jews Go to Heaven?

Summary: This subject has been a source of controversy in the Christian world. Mainly because the generic New-Testament teaching is that those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, are hell bound. But according to some verses, there is one exception, "The Elect". 

Based on the Bible references below, the answer is:

Before Jesus Christ: Some of them, "the Elect", the true Jewish believers will be saved, including the patrilineage of Jesus Christ all the way back to Adam. All those who were faithful Jewish believers will be saved.

During Jesus' ministry and shortly after: Those who genuinely stayed the course with God's old-covenant law, but innocently missed that the Messiah had come (like the Apostle Paul), God will also grant them salvation by "the Elect" option to fulfil His promises to the Jewish patriarchs.

Today's Jews: After the New Testament was written, up to today, I don't believe those Jews are part of God's "Elect" anymore. I see what Paul said in the verses below. But Paul did not encourage them to remain rejecting of Jesus! Paul talked about the Israel of his days and those who crucified Jesus, but not the future generations of today. No Bible verses referencing future generations of descendants of Jews or today's so called "Israel". 

Who are the "Elect"?

The Bible uses the term "Elect" to refer to select "Jewish people" who wholeheartedly followed God's law. Then later when Jesus came, they truly and innocently did not know He was the Messiah, and that God had already moved to a new-covenant. God knew this would happen, and made a provision for it, called "the Elect" in order to keep His promises to "the patriarchs" as in Romans 11:28 below (i.e., His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Only God knows which of the Jews are "the Elect".

 - Not all the Jews are "Elect"!

 - The term "Elect" does not apply to the Gentiles!! (Gentiles means non-Jewish)

Romans 11:7 Paul said:

... What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened

The Jewish people, for thousands of years, followed God's rules to gain salvation. This is a general statement; in reality some of them truly did. God knows who truly did - Some Jews were "the elect among them" and "others were hardened", meaning rejected. 

Today's "Jewish People"

Today's Jews are unlikely from "the Elect". It is different than the days of Paul!! Today, the New Testament scripture is in front of them, as clear as the sun, with all the detailed explanations of Paul who was one of them, referencing all the undisputable Torah scriptures that confirmed that Jesus was the awaited Messiah! But they continued to strongly and mockingly reject it! The New Testament was not available to the Jewish people who rejected Jesus in His days. But today? There is no excuse. Paul told them in Hebrews Chapter 3, you missed in the desert with Moses and wandered for 40 years. And now you missed it again, not recognizing God's Messiah! 

There are two categories of Jewish people today, neither of which qualify to be "the Elect":

1. "Not religious" - Labeled Jewish by descent from the father's or mother's side. 

2. "Religious" - But no longer following the law of Moses and moved to something different; sort of like churchgoers who call themselves "Christians" but pray to Mary and saints.

Only God knows who among them is saved, but I doubt any of today's Jews are Elect! The Elect will be mostly from among the Jews in the days of Jesus and before. Including from among the ones who crucified Him - because Jesus Himself asked that they be "forgiven for they knew not what they do."

Churches Misunderstood

Many churches, mostly U.S. Protestant denominations, mistakenly (or maybe political-agenda-driven?) use Paul's writeup in Romans 9, 10, & 11 at a broad-brush shallow-reading level, to declare "today's Israel" is saved. And set out to save it themselves! Even if these churches were right about their misinterpretation, they still forgot, that we are Christians first and follow Jesus' message of "love one another"! Saving the Jews is God's business! Not the churches business.

Paul Said "All Israel Will Be saved"  Not  "All Future Israel Will Be Saved"!!

This reference below, is Paul talking about "all Israel" of his days & before. Not "future Israel" who became obnoxiously rejecting of Jesus! He did not encourage them to remain rejecting of Jesus indefinitely!

Romans 11:25-32  Paul said: 

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved.

Paul's term "all Israel" here meant real believers (up to his days) who genuinely followed the old law of Moses like himself, and those in his days who naively missed seeing Jesus as the awaited Messiah. Paul used himself as the example of what will happen to "all Israel". Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, reasoned that if God did it to him, then He would also do it to other Jews like him.

Romans 11:1 Paul said:

I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Acts 23:6 Paul said:

"...I’m a Pharisee and a descendant of Pharisees..."

Paul did a lot of explaining in the 3 chapters in Romans 9,10,11 trying to clarify this topic. And when you say a lot, people can find words to twist to fit their agenda, as we see much of in many many contradicting internet articles today.

What is the difference between "Elect" and "Predestined"?

These two terms are not the same!

The “Elect”: Are true Jewish believers from the days of Paul and before, including the patrilineage of Jesus Christ all the way back to Adam. 

 

The “Predestined”: Are any people on earth who chose to truly believe - "faith by hearing", which God foreknew and predestined to life. God is outside of time. He can see eternity past/future from where He is. He did not make the choice for us. He just foresaw - saw first, predestined second. 

Romans 11:2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. 

Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son

 

Of course God’s foreknowledge also applies to the “Elect”. This is how He knew to select Seth from the sons of Adam for example, and not Cain who killed his brother. And also foreknew and selected Jacob, not Esau the firstborn.

Jesus' Perspective

Let's first set a reference point on this topic using what Jesus said. Here's an example of Jesus talking to Jewish people:

Matthew 3:9-10

9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

What is "fruit"? Answer: It is maturity in the knowledge of God, which produces true faith!

What is "cut down"? Answer: Sent to hell.

Jesus' message to Israel here is very clear. And consistent with His other parables, and with the whole Bible!!! Jewish or not, "every tree that does not produce fruit will be cut down..." This reference is God telling us very clearly in a few words exactly what He thinks of this whole topic of the Jewish people destination.

Jesus "confirmed" that not all the Jews will be saved

Here are some other verses from Jesus showing that not all Jews will receive God's grace by "election".

Jesus here was praising the great faith of the Centurion who's not Jewish:

Matthew 8:10-12 ISV

. . . “I tell all of you with certainty, not even in Israel have I found this kind of faith! I tell all of you, many will come from east and west and will feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the unfaithful heirs of that kingdom will be thrown into the darkness outside. In that place there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

 

"The unfaithful heirs of that kingdom will be thrown into the darkness" - This refers to the unfaithful ones of the Jews.

Then in Matthew 23, Jesus went on a rant against the Pharisees and teachers of the law using strong condemning words, basically telling them they're going to hell. The whole chapter was dedicated to this series of woes. Example:

Matthew 23:29,33

29 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!... 33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

And in Matthew 12, Jesus told the Pharisees they've committed the unforgivable sin when they called Him demon possessed.

Matthew 12:24,32

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

32 [Jesus:] Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Old-Testament God's Perspective

God made promises to the Jewish people throughout the Old-Testament. He promised them salvation, but only if they obey His law. Example:

Exodus 19:5

Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine. 

So it is not "all" of them. It is those Jews who "obey His voice and keep His covenant". Who also naively missed seeing Jesus as the real Messiah? Do you think all the Jewish people in the world today meet this requirement? I'll let you answer that.

Paul said God will grant them salvation by grace through "the Elect" option, Romans 11:28. God, being the loving and faithful God that He is, will fulfil His promises to the Jews across generations, despite their foolish rejection of Jesus. But not a blanket salvation to all Jews.

God already showed us an example of "the Elect" saving when He granted righteousness to Abraham long before the law of Moses and the coming of Jesus Christ. 

When will those "Elect" Jews Be Saved?

The grafting back-in of the "Elect" faithful Jews, will come in the future, sometime between the rapture and judgment day, according to the description in passages such as Revelation 7:1-19, which speak of end-times Israel at Christ’s return and includes the true faithful, from Christians and Jews, raised from the dead at the rapture (more in my page End-Times). The key verse describing the coming to faith of the future genuinely faithful remnant of Israel is:

Zechariah 12:10

“I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

This occurs at the end of the tribulation prophesied in Daniel 9:24–27. The apostle John references this event in Revelation 1:7. The faithful remnant of Israel is epitomized in Revelation 7:1-8 below.

The passage below talks about which Jews will be saved. It is not all of them; It is 12000 from each tribe: 12x12K = 144000. 

Again here, these numbers are not literal. They represent holy numbers, meaning the ones from each tribe who were genuine believers in God.

Revelation 7:1-8

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,

from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,

from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

from the tribe of Asher 12,000,

from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,

from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,

from the tribe of Levi 12,000,

from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,

from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,

from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

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