Are the 144,000 people in the Twelve Tribes described in The Revelation physical descendants of Abraham?  or spiritual descendants?  Is God looking for people with Abraham’s genes?  or people with Abraham’s faith?

The Revelation (Revelation 7) names twelve tribes that will be gathered together in the last days before Jesus returns.  Because they have similar names to the Old Testament tribes of Israel, it’s easy to assume they are referring to modern day Israel.

But each time people (including the Jews themselves) take a purely physical (i.e. genetic) approach to the chosen people, it has borne bad fruit. It has led to racism amongst Jews taking that approach, and it has led to racism against Jews by Gentiles who take that approach.

Of course the Jews are only one tribe (or two, if you count Benjamin) out of the original twelve tribes that descended from Jacob (also called Israel). We get the name Jew from their main tribe, the tribe of Judah.  The other ten tribes disappeared through intermarriage during various captivities. We cannot resurrect them physically.

To illustrate, imagine just a handful of Blacks left in the world, who all intermarried with Whites. Then their children intermarry for generation after generation, until finally, there are no Black people left in the world.

Black genes would still be there, scattered all over the world. But the only way to get the genes together again would be to locate all those who had them, and marry them to each other for generation after generation, until you make the Black gene dominant again in a handful of people. It would take as long to rebuild the Blacks as it took to disperse them. And that is what it would take to resurrect the lost tribes of Israel.

Theoretically God could do that, but it’s contrary to the message of the New Testament or the new covenant that Jesus came to establish,  which is that God is now trying to build a nation of people who have the faith of Abraham (not necessarily his genes).  So why would God want to resurrect the genes of Abraham in preference to the faith of Abraham? 

Then, if God did resurrect the genes, how would we humans know who had them and who did not?

It’s particularly important to note that the original tribes included converts from the rest of the world, members who were not direct descendants.  So even the first time around, God was not restricted to genetic purity.  He was fulfilling a promise to Abraham that he would bless his descendants, but that blessing included bringing people of other religions together to serve the true God along with at least some of Abraham’s descendants.  In other words, God was most interested in what people believed. Any "tribe” named after any of Abraham’s descendants was primarily an organisation for people with a common belief, and was never restricted to descendants of a particular person.

Let's assume for a moment that God actually wanted to bring together the genes at this end of history.  Such tribes could not include any Blacks or Asians, since they obviously aren't (pure) flesh Israelites. All the members of the 144,000 would have to have the same racial characteristics to be pure descendants. Is that consistent with the Christian message?

On top of that, even though God could bring all the Abrahamic genes together, he would not (assuming we have free will) force us to make the right spiritual choice this time around (any more than they did the last time around).

I think God has brought about such a complete destruction of the tribes of Israel as to make it overwhelmingly clear that he is through with them forever.  It’s the spiritual Jerusalem ("come down from heaven…”) ( Revelation 21:2) that he is building now.

(Please read chapter 12 of Armageddon for Beginners (also available on this site, under ‘books’ ) to get a better picture of this.  I think you will see that what I am saying is totally consistent with the bigger picture that is revealed in the Bible about God's attitude toward a purely genetic, i.e. a racist, concept of Israel.)  If God can create new children of Israel out of stones, as Jesus said to the Jews in Matthew 3:9, then he can put the genes into anyone he chooses, as long as they meet the criteria that he is most interested in.

Another interesting little quirk about the tribes listed in The Revelation is that they are not the original twelve tribes anyway. (Revelation 7:4-8, cf. Genesis 49:1-28) The tribe of Dan has been left out, and the tribe of Joseph has been put in Dan's place. Joseph was, of course, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. However, his single tribe was originally given two names, after his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, sometimes giving the impression that there were thirteen original tribes.

In the list from The Revelation, Manasseh is a tribe on its own, plus there is a tribe called the "tribe of Joseph". Ephraim is not mentioned; but presumably the tribe of Joseph is really the tribe of Ephraim, thus giving Joseph two tribes and Dan none.

I don't have any idea why Dan was left out. Maybe God did it to frustrate anyone trying to build a tidy little theory based on the original twelve tribes.

I personally think we can become a part of the twelve tribes, whether we are Israelis or not. The Bible says that these twelve tribes are people who have kept themselves from the “woman” (Babylon the whore), and who “follow the Lamb wherever he goes”.  There really are very few people on the face of the earth who meet these two criteria today, even though there are millions who profess that he is their “Lord”.  Are we going to "keep ourselves" away from that whore, Babylon? If so, then let's purify ourselves in the blood of the Lamb and start following him wherever he leads! Amen?

*For more information related to this article, please check out the following video: Bro Dave Chap. #10 - The Twelve Tribes: The Real Israel