Throughout history, were the descendants of the Israelites Jewish?
Abraham was selected by God to populate the Earth with God's "Chosen People". This bloodline trickled down to Israel whose people were the ones God brought out of the land of Egypt. The Jewish faith is much older than Christianity by thousands of years, just like the Old Testament being thousands of years older than the New Testament, which Jews do not accept. I need to know if the Israelites (or even the whole bloodline of Abraham) and their descendants are a Jewish people now and in the past.
All people of Jewish heritage are descendants of Abraham according to the Old Testament; but not all descendants of Abraham are Jewish. Abraham had a son by his wife Sarah's handmaiden, Hagar, who was named Ishmael. Tradition holds that Ishmael, whom Abraham sent away with his mother, was the father of the Arabic people.
The Israelites were so called as they were Abraham's descendants through Jacob, the son of Abraham's son Isaac. After Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God, his name was changed to Israel. His descendants were thereafter known as the Children of Israel, or simply Israelites. Jacob had twelve sons, and each son's descendants became a "tribe;" with the exception of Joseph. There was no tribe of Joseph, rather two tribes developed from his two sons: the tribes of Manessah and Ephraim. When they entered the promised land of Canaan, the Israeilites established the nation of Israel which had only three kings: Saul, David and Solomon. After the death of Solomon, the kingdom split into two: Israel and Judah. The residents of Judah were later called Jews, a corruption of Judahite.
Thank you so much, this was very enlightening! If you don't mind, can you elaborate on Jacob wrestling the Angel of God? I just finished reading Exodus a couple weeks ago but I dont recall that event. I just remember him going from Jacob to being called Israel.