Dear friends, we have produced this post as a reply to a comment received to an earlier post in regards to the term “Israelite indeed.”
The Bible explains that ALL in the future 1000 year Mediatorial Reign of Christ with His Church (the “Bride of Christ” of 144,000 members, see Revelation 7 & 14) will be required to willingly choose to follow righteous ways of GOD and adhere to GODLY principles or else they will not be permitted to have life, let alone, eternal life which shall be granted to all who choose to walk up the Highway of Holiness. (Isaiah 35:8, Psalm 37:9).
Where does the term “ISRAELITE INDEED” come from?
The answer may be found in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, which is the account of Jesus calling out Philip and Nathanael, as the next of the 12 Apostles:
John 1:43-51 reads (Amplified Bible),
“43 The next day Jesus desired and decided to go into Galilee; and He found Philip and said to him, Join Me as My attendant and follow Me.
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the same city as Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip sought and found Nathanael and told him, We have found (discovered) the One Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote about—Jesus from Nazareth, the [legal] son of Joseph!
46 Nathanael answered him, [Nazareth!] Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip replied, Come and see!
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said concerning him, See! Here is an Israelite indeed [a true descendant of Jacob], in whom there is no guile nor deceit nor falsehood nor duplicity!
48 Nathanael said to Jesus, How do You know me? [How is it that You know these things about me?] Jesus answered him, Before [ever] Philip called you, when you were still under the fig tree, I saw you.
49 Nathanael answered, Teacher, You are the Son of GOD! You are the King of Israel!
50 Jesus replied, Because I said to you, I saw you beneath the fig tree, do you believe in and rely on and trust in Me? You shall see greater things than this!
51 Then He said to him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you all, you shall see heaven opened, and the angels of GOD ascending and descending upon the Son of Man!”
VERSE 46 : Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Why did Nathanael seem to think so lowly of Nazareth by asking Philip as if a rhetorical question “can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
The following comment from Reprint 4117 of “The Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence” provides a good explanation:-
“Philip himself had come within the charmed circle of our Lord’s influence, and had realized that it was a blessed privilege to become his disciple and that he must be indeed the long-looked-for Messiah. Full of this confidence he looked for his friend Nathanael, whom he recognized as being of one mind and heart with himself in the desire to serve the Lord and to be ready for Messiah’s Kingdom. Finding him his salutation was, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets did write – Jesus of Nazareth, [adopted] son of Joseph.’ Nathanael was apparently a man of keen intellectual power. He felt that his friend Philip had accepted something too hastily, and that he was being deceived by a pretender, and his prompt objection was, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” As though he had said, ‘That is a mean city of itself; no great people of any reputation would ever come from thence; no prophecies, so far as we know, make any reference to that city. What you tell me of your Messiah rather tends to prejudice my mind against him.’ “
Additionally, the prophecy concerning the coming Messiah found in Micah 5:2 identifies the Messiah coming from Bethlehem of Judea which is where Jesus was born but since Mary had moved to Nazareth, Nathaniel might not have know that.
In Micah 5:2 we read, “2But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”
Some say that “Nazareth” is derived from one of the Hebrew words for “branch,” namely ne·ṣer, נֵ֫צֶר, and alludes to the prophetic words in the Book of Isaiah 11:1, “from (Jesse’s) roots a Branch (netzer) will bear fruit.” Another opinion is that the name may derive from the verb na·ṣar, נָצַר, “watch, guard, keep” (Strong’s #G3478) and understood either in the sense of “watchtower” or “guard place,” implying the early town was perched on or near the brow of the hill, or, in the passive sense as “preserved”, “protected” in reference to its secluded position.
Nazareth was considered a lowly town away from the main urban centers, so Nathanael may have been surprised that some famous person (let alone the Messiah himself) would have their background there.
Nazareth was an obscure village tucked away in the hills of Galilee. Every country and state and province has a place like Nazareth. It’s a place so remote that nothing ever happens there, no one of distinction lives there, and no one of importance comes from there.
Nathanael thought that it seemed highly unlike that the Messiah would come from a place like that. One might think that if you were looking for the one the prophets talked about, you should rather go to big city like Jerusalem, a capital city, a place of sophistication, where there is a large population.
Here is the irony of it all, both then and now. For every Jerusalem, there are a hundred places like Nazareth. The world is filled with unlikely places where nothing much ever seems to happen, where there is no great university, little towns without much commerce, places off the beaten path, tiny villages where few people live.
Dear brethren and friends, does this “big city” attitude prevail in our heart?
Does GOD call the ones with great worldly education, or only the learned about earthly sciences, or only the rich in earthly possessions, or only the ones with great outward beauty, or the ones with kingly speech or those who did in the eyes of all, what is considered the vilest crimes prior to GOD enlightening then how wrong they were in thinking they are doing right…or who come from a rich ‘Bible Student’ heritage or those who do not daily and perhaps hourly some days fight with inherited sins whether that be mental or physical ones? No.
ANYONE FROM ANY background at all
who’s hearts are humble
and with whom He can work with and use for
His grand and gloriously perfect Divine works.
What a humbling thought and what humbling lessons to each of us who have been CALLED OUT of the world into HIS marvelous light of eternal Truths! It is only because of the GRACE of GOD that HE first called us, and ONLY because of GOD’s Mercy in recognizing our contrite and always repenting hearts and truly changing attitudes and actions, the more you are enlightened into GOD’s Truths as we draw closer to GOD with thanks, praise, repentance and a dependency on Him and his Son Jesus more than on any other human here on earth, that has allowed us any relationship with GOD as His Sons and Daughters.
Let’s look at our KING Jesus’ most humble character – how he was not ashamed to come from such a humble, hidden, quiet little place in Nazareth, in order to fulfil the requirements of his humbling mission on Earth as the Ransom of ALL men (Philippians 2:8).
GOD has mercy on whom He wants to as He sees in the heart who has the right character for His works to reach his desired fulfillment perfectly, which in this Age, is to select a Bride for His beloved firstborn Son Jesus Christ. (Romans 9:14-25)
Dear friends, until the High Calling ends, GOD can call out anyone in whom He recognizes a humble heart, and use them for great and glorious purposes in elevated future glory!
If Stephen from the Book of Acts lived no more than approximately 12 months from the time of his baptism until the day he was martyred as the first Christian martyr, then dear friends, we just don’t know who amongst us may even require a short span of time to fulfill GOD’s requirements to be granted a place in the Spiritual Elect class. You see, according to historians, the stoning that took place to Stephen as written about in the Book of Acts, chapter 7, took place around 34-35 A.D., thus, only approx. 12 months since Stephen received the holy Spirit – which was only first given 50 days after Jesus’s crucifixion in 33A.D. when the door was first opened to the High Calling.
Many may indeed be surprised who shall attain to the position of the 144,000 as man’s interpretation of the heart is not GOD’s interpretation. GOD looks at the heart as that is where the cleanest and purest of all Truth’s lies, as often the outward conduct may not clearly reflect the purity of intention of the heart to show just how hard one may be fighting against inherited weaknesses of the flesh to fight the good fight of faith and be a MORE than overcomer and most pleasing to GOD, above all.
Thus let us speak evil of NO MAN, especially not of our brethren. This does not mean we should not HATE the sin. We should AGAPE the sinner – the one who has professed the name of JESUS CHRIST as GOD’s firstborn Son who is the RANSOM for all mankind. Jesus taught us in John 17 to pray for such as these.
1 Samuel 16:7 – “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’ ”
What incredibly comforting words dear friends that the most important thing we are to strive for is to BE RIGHT in the eyes of GOD as humans cannot read what is hidden to their eyes, which often reflects the real TRUTH of any matter.
VERSE 47: “Behold, an Israelite indeed”
When Jesus referred to Nathanael as an “Israelite indeed“ we may understand that he meant one who had the spirit of the principles that the Law was intended to inculcate – DEVOTION and LOVE FOR GOD FIRST, and KINDNESS TO OTHERS also. Jesus was commending the faith of Nathanael, and his good spirit.
Jesus’ description of Nathanael indicated that an “Israelite indeed” is one not merely a natural descendant of Jacob, who was later named Israel as indicated by the words of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40 – which teach us, that it is not the Old Law that we are to be under, but a New Commandment that is a summary of all the ten Commandments given initially to only the Israelites under the Old Law, and now include ALL, whether Jew or Gentile , to adhere to.
So can the term “Israelite indeed” be used in reference to the world of mankind during the 1000 year Mediatorial reign of Christ with His Bride or does this term only apply to the spiritually begotten classes comprising the Church of the Firstborn (i.e. The Elect, and the Great Company, Heb. 12:23) ?
There is consensus of opinion among brethren we consulted, that this term can be used for mankind in the future because ultimately an Israelite indeed would refer to one whose heart was circumcised (See Romans 2: 28, 29) which all during Christ’s Mediatorial reign, will need to become, symbolically.
Hence, the world when developed, will be “Israelites indeed” in the sense of devotion to the principles of Godliness that will be installed in the world through Spiritual Israel, the Heavenly Jerusalem. (Hebrews 12:22; Rev. 21:1) All the world will need to attain to that condition of faith and good spirit. And we will propose and explain the words from Holy Scriptures that explain this after a little further explanation of the Nathanael account in reference to our topic under consideration.
Under the terms of the New Covenant all mankind who will receive life, will have to develop heart appreciation for GOD’s laws and adhere to His righteous perfect principles, worshiping Jehovah GOD Yahweh in spirit and truth. Any who will not do this will be cut off as Acts 3: 22-23 states:
“For Moses said, ‘The Lord your GOD will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to Him in everything He tells you. Everyone who does not heed His words will be completely cut off from among the people.’“
This text concerns the “times of restitution of all things” talked about by Apostle Paul in the previous verses (Acts 3:20-21), which refers to the time where “heavens will retain” THE CHRIST (head and body- the 144,000- complete) until the times of refreshing will come. This “building up” stage of our Lord’s Parousia (invisible, 2nd presence) will begin with Jesus and the completed 144,000 Bride of Christ members when the 1000 year Mediatorial Reign stage of the Kingdom shall soon begin, once the nation of Israel recognizes Jesus as the Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10, John 19:37)
VERSE 47: “…In whom there is no guile nor deceit nor falsehood nor duplicity!”
What did our Lord and Master mean through the above words to Nathanael?
We believe these words of Jesus, were in reference to Nathanael’s character, his spirit, his sincerity. We would suggest our Lord’s experiences with the Jewish leaders, especially the Scribes and Pharisees, was that they were largely hypocrites. (See Matthew Chapter 23). Nathaniel was able to declare that Christ was GOD’s Son. (John 1:49) Those who were hypocrites denied this fact, even when Jesus performed miracles to prove that he was the Christ.
It was Nathanael’s honesty and sincerity of heart that made Jesus select him as one of the twelve worthy ones to become one of the twelve pillars of the Church of the Firstborn in Jesus Christ. Of course this was to some extent miraculous—but at least in part by observing Nathanael’s humble prayer under the branches of the fig tree.
Perhaps these words spoken about Nathanael would serve as an encouragement for Nathaniel to follow Christ since Jesus was able to know about the type of individual Nathaniel was even before their encounter.
What lessons can be drawn from Jesus’s comment to Nathanael?
Perhaps it may be entirely right for us today, to also express at proper times, our confidence in the religious character of those with whom we are conversing with, and not doubt the sincerity of any person even if they are not fully with us in every point of faith and doctrine.
Jesus saw in Nathanael a pureness in heart and pureness in motive. And in the same way, our Heavenly Father reads our hearts which man cannot do and so often misinterprets being blinded to the “fruits” of good character which we are to firstly seek out in our brethren, praising our Father and praying over all the LORD’s dear saints to be more than overcomers and for none of them to fall away, as well as pray like Jesus (as documented in John 17) for those who will believe, that they may be ONE as Jesus is now since his ascension with the Father physically and spiritually together in the Divine Realms.
VERSE 49: “Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God!’ “
The reason why Nathanael answers Jesus by saying “Rabbi (Teacher), you are the Son of GOD! You are the King of Israel!” is because he knew Jesus had referred to his very prayer, of which not a soul in the world had knowledge, and that Jesus had thus, supervised in the matter and had full knowledge of all his affairs. Nathanael knew that one who could know about his prayer and could thus answer it and reveal himself must indeed be superhuman—all that he claimed; the Messiah.
VERSE 50: “I saw you under the fig tree”
We are not told what took place under the fig tree, but we imagine that Nathanael there prayed to the heavenly Father for wisdom, guidance, instruction and protection from deception. Doubtless he went to the fig tree as a closet for prayer, for the fig tree has foliage which hangs low and would constitute quite an arbor or shelter and a very suitable place for privacy and prayer.
In Jesus’ words to Nathanael “I saw you”—we recognize Jesus’ power of discerning spirits, that is, that Jesus was able to read the thoughts and intents of the hearts, which no human can do (as we have said), as Jesus was the only perfect human in whom was no sin (1 Peter 2:22) hence he could perfectly feel and interpret what he saw perfectly, and the ability to work miracles was granted to him from YAHWEH JEHOVAH. Later the same gifts were granted to the apostles, and for the same purposes.
VERSE 51: ” ‘…You will see heaven opened, and the angels of GOD ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’ “
By telling Nathanael that he “will see heaven opened, and the angels of GOD ascending and descending on the Son of Man…” Jesus was explaining that messengers of GOD, the “Princes“ of the new dispensation, that is, the Ancient Worthies (The “Heros of Faith”—some of whom are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11) will be the channels of easy and direct Divine communication between the two phases of the Kingdom; between the Heavenly Kingdom (governed by Spiritual Jerusalem) and the terrestrial world (governed by Natural Israel, i.e. the Ancient Worthies working together with the Holy Remnants of Israel). Jesus’ words, call attention to Jacob and the vision which he had at Bethel of a ladder (Genesis 28:10-12), illustrating the methods of Divine grace. Our Lord himself was the ladder upon which communication between heaven and earth would be re-established. Jacob’s dream of the ladder between heaven and earth, and the passing to and fro of the messengers was a prophecy as well as a dream, foreshadowing this communication to soon begin, we believe, during the end period of Jacob’s Trouble just as the 1000 year reign of Christ Jesus with His Bride is to begin.
ALL Mankind to Become True “Israelites Indeed”
By the end of the Mediatorial Reign of Christ, all the world of mankind will need to become “Israelites indeed”. Let us consider some Holy Scriptures to explain this :-
(1) Jeremiah 31:31-34 (AMPC)—“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 And they will no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they will all know Me [recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Me], from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will [seriously] remember their sin no more.“
These glorious verse of Holy Scripture explain the time when the New Covenant will first begin with the Nation of Israel (and anyone else who recognizes Jesus then, as the Ransom and Savior of mankind, and Son of GOD Yahweh JEHOVAH.
(2) Isaiah 11:9 (ESV)—“They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
(3) 2 Peter 3:7—“But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
The word “judgment” in the above verse implies, not merely a sentence, but also a trial.
GOD’s justice, indignation, will burn against everyone who is wicked, and this fire will go on all through the Millennial age, which is the age where soon Jesus CHRIST with His Bride (the saints who have passed their tests of loyalty to our Father’s righteous principles living and suffered in CHRIST faithfully with patient, cheerful in the spirit endurance. (Revelation 2:10)
(4) Isaiah 26:9—“The judgments of the Lord will be abroad in the earth and the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”
The Millennial-Reign-of-Christ Age, will provide an opportunity to rise out of sinful and fallen conditions, to full harmony with GOD. GOD has elected kings, priests, and judges to rule, bless, instruct and judge mankind in general. (Revelation 20:6)
If the thought be kept in mind that the world’s day of judgment is a thousand years long, the character of the judging then to be done will the more readily be discerned. A sentence upon each individual of the human family would be impossible within a 24-hour day under any imaginable conditions, reasonable or unreasonable.
(5) Proverbs 2:21-22 – “21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. 22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”
(6) Psalm 37:38 – “But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.”
In conclusion, we hope we have clearly explained about how our Heavenly Father’s intention is for all to learn GOD’s principles of righteousness in the Messianic Age, whereas now, during the “High Calling” Age (known as the Gospel Age), “many are called and few are chosen”(Matt. 22:14).
Holy Scripture does so beautifully teach, that all mankind will eventually have a relationship with GOD through the Mediators (Christ Jesus and His Bride) under the New Covenant which Apostle Paul talks about in the Book of Hebrews.
GOD wishes that all humanity on the terrestrial plane eventually will inherit eternal life only because they will have learned to OBEY GOD WHOLEHEARTEDLY and WILLINGLY by learning to surrender their wills to the will of GOD during their judgment period of a thousand years. Then, they will learn to LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS and ever human heart that beats, will be fully devoted to GOD.
Death will be no more!
May GOD’s Name be praised for eternal eternities through Jesus Christ,