Imminence. The term assigned, in eschatological discussion, to the First Stage of the Second Coming of Christ (parousia, 3952). It means that there are no signs that must be fulfilled before Christ returns to take His Bride, the Church back to the Father's House (John 14:1-6; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). This is the event that is popularly called the "Rapture." Certain passages about the return of Christ appear in the New Testament which do not present any signs (semeion, 4592) which must occur before that return. Other passages (e.g. Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19) cite a great many signs (semeion, 4592) which must occur before Christ returns. A logical deduction from the doctrine of imminence is that Christ's return for the Church must occur before the many signs (semeion, 4592) of the Tribulation appear. We call this "signless" return the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Imminence demands that Christ's return be seen as a two-stage parousia, rather than a one-stage parousia. Holding to a one-stage parousia renders the imminent return of Christ impossible. If the Rapture is during the Tribulation or after the Tribulation, the word imminent cannot possibly apply. The following passages support an imminent (Pre-Tribulational) return of Christ for His Bride, the Church: John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 1:7; 4:5; 15:51-53; 16:22; Philippians 3:20; 4:5; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 2:19-20; 3:13; 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 2:1-7; Titus 2:13; James 5:7-9; 1 John 2:28; Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 17, 20. See also the discussion of Imminence in the article, "Nine Reasons Why Belief in a Post-Tribulation Rapture is not Credible."
Imperative. In the Koine Greek text of the New Testament, the Imperative Mood generally signifies a command. (1) Commonly, it signifies a positive command: "Let love of the brethren continue" (Heb. 13:1). (2) It can signify a prohibition (negative command): "...do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph. 4:26). In such cases the particle mÍ (3361), "not," precedes the command. (3) It can constitute a request, thus a muted command. Prayers fit into this category, and usually use the Aorist tense. An example is Matt. 6:10: "May it come - Your kingdom; may it come to be - Your will - as in heaven, also upon earth" (author's literal translation, emphases mine). (4) Rarely, the Imperative is used as a permission (an Imperative of Toleration). This does not imply that the contemplated deed is approved, but rather that the speaker is resigned that it will happen. "Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave;" (1 Cor. 7:15). (5) Sometimes the Imperative is used as a stereotypical greeting. It amounts to more of an exclamation than a command: "Hail, King of the Jews!" (John 19:3). See a fuller, off-site discussion of Greek Moods, from which this glossary entry is largely derived.
In general, Mood in the Greek language deals with a given statement's relationship to reality. In simple terms, is the statement to be classified as an actuality in the eye of the speaker (Indicative Mood), or merely potential? The three Moods that are in the realm of potential or possibility include the Imperative, the Subjunctive, and the Optative Moods.
Imperfect. In NT Greek, the tense that indicates continual or repeated action in past time. For example, in Mark 2:13 we read that Jesus "went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them." Both verbs "were coming" (Írchomai, 2064) and "was teaching" (didŠskō, 1321) appear in the Imperfect Tense, indicating that the people were continually coming (in past time) to Jesus, and he was continually teaching them (in past time).
Incarnation. The point in time at which the Eternal Logos (3056) (Word) of God, Creator of the Universe (John 1:1-3), became man (John 1:14). The term "incarnation" has Latin origins. It means, technically, "enfleshment." In a non-technical sense the Eternal Logos (3056)(Word) became human flesh when he was born of the Virgin Mary and placed in a manger (Luke 2:1-7). But we Biblicists believe that life begins at conception, not at birth (Psalm 139:13-16). So in a technical sense the Incarnation of Christ began when God's Holy Spirit came upon the virgin Mary, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her (Luke 1:35), and implanted the Eternal Logos (3056) in her womb as a microscopic, Divinely-fertilized egg from one of Mary's ovaries. This Divinely-fertilized embryo that was conceived in Mary's uterus would be her son, whom she would bear, and whom she was to name "Jesus" (Luke 1:31). He would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32). He would be so great that the Lord God would give to Him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:32). He will eventually reign over the house of Jacob (the nation of Israel) forever, and His kingdom will be eternal (Luke 1:33).
What did the Divine Logos (3056) (Word) of God give up to become a human? That is a great mystery, and beyond my complete comprehension, but Paul hints at it in Philippians 2:5-8. To me, personally, the humbling confinement of the Eternal Logos (3056) of God, Creator of the universe, as a microscopic embryo in the womb of Mary is as great an act as his subsequent crucifixion, though both were necessary for the redemption of humanity. To think that the Omnipotent, Omnipresent Creator, who existed as a free Spirit, would forever afterwards confine himself in the enormously limiting constraints of a human body is utterly beyond my comprehension. He must have loved us enormously to imprison Himself forever in a human body!
In Philippians 2:7, we read that Jesus Christ emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, and was made in the likeness of men. Moreover, being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8). The word "emptied" in Phil. 2:7 is the 3rd Person Singular, Aorist Indicative Active of the verb kenůō (2728), meaning "(1) literally remove the content of something; (2) figuratively ... (c) as taking away the prerogatives of status or position empty, divest; ... literally he emptied himself, i.e. he took an unimportant position (Phil. 2:7) (excerpted from Friberg). Theologians call this the "kenosis," the "self-emptying" of Christ.
What does it mean? I am not certain I can grasp it completely. We know that Jesus did not, for a moment, give up His Deity. Rather, He added humanity. He became the universe's ultimate Hybrid – 100% God and at the same time 100% Man. His humanity meant that he could grow weary (John 4:6); that he could become deeply grieved emotionally at the death of a beloved friend and weep unrestrainedly (John 11:34-36, 38); that he could grow extremely thirsty (John 19:28); that he required sleep (Matt. 8:24; Mark 4:38); that he could be filled with personal grief and anxiety (Matt. 26:37-38); that he could become filled with grief mixed with anger (Mark 3:5); and ultimately, that he could die (Matt. 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30). There is at least one very puzzling aspect of Christ's kenosis (self-emptying). On the one hand, as fully God, Jesus was omniscient (Psalm 139:1-6). This omniscience is hinted at in certain passages (Matt. 9:4; 12:25; 22:18; Mark 2:6-8; 8:31; 9:31; 10:32-34; 11:1-6; 13:1-2; 14:12-16, 72; Luke 6:6-8; Luke 9:46-47; John 1:47-51; 2:23-25; 4:15-19, 28-29; 6:60-66; 13:3, 11; 16:30-31; 18:4; 21:17).
Yet one passage is perplexing, even baffling. Speaking of His return in power and glory to earth at His Second Coming, Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matt. 24:36). How could Jesus possibly not know the day or hour of His return to earth if He is God? I cannot fully answer that question. The best explanation I can come up with is that as God, Jesus had all the Infinite attributes of God. He knew everything. But as Man, he always operated in strict obedience to His Father's will. He did and said only what His Father authorized Him to do. So as a human He voluntarily limited His ability to know things. So we might say that part of Christ's kenosis, or self-emptying, was that he denied Himself the independent exercise of His Divine attributes. On His God side, He could do anything. On his human side, He did only that which was authorized by the Father. What a tremendous mystery, and what a tremendous example for us to follow!
Indicative. The mood of a verb in NT Greek in which the writer or speaker asserts a fact or an event to be true from his perspective.The indicative mood can be used in the past, the present, or the future. This "statement of fact" mood can also be used with a negative particle to verbalize a negative statement which the speaker believes to be true. An example of the Indicative mood is to be found in John 3:16, wherein the text states, "For God loved the world in such a way that He gave is one and only Son in order that every one believing should not perish, but should have life eternal" (JTB translation, emphases mine). In this text, "loved" is the Aorist Tense, Indicative Mood of agapŠō (25). Likewise, "He gave" is the Aorist Tense, Indicative Mood of dŪdōmi (1325). In addition to the Indicative Mood, Greek also recognizes the Imperative Mood, the Subjunctive Mood, and the Optative Mood (infrequently used). See a fuller, off-site discussion of Greek Moods, from which this glossary entry is, in part, derived.
Indwelling. The act of God whereby, at the moment of salvation (or regeneration), He causes His Spirit to reside within each believer in Jesus in the Church Age (Rom. 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Gal. 4:6; 2 Tim. 1:14; 1 John 4:13). In the Old Testament era, the Holy Spirit came upon individuals for empowerment for works of service or ministry (Ex. 31:1-5; Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Sam. 10:1-13; 11:6; 16:12-14; 2 Chron. 20:14; Ezek. 11:5; 37:1). According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit was with the OT believer, but He would be in the NT believer (John 14:16-17). After Jesus' departure to heaven, His disciples were to wait in Jerusalem for the Spirit Jesus had promised (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5). On the day of Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, and the New Testament Church was born (Acts 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit resides within each believer in Christ. With His indwelling presence He serves as an inviolable seal guaranteeing the future redemption of that believer (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13-14). There is a difference between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Spirit. All Church-Age Christians are indwelt by the Spirit, but not all are filled with the Spirit. Christians are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit rather than to be controlled by wine or other alcoholic beverages (Eph. 5:18). Christians are commanded not to quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19) or to grieve the Spirit (Eph. 4:30). A Christian who is filled with the Spirit will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and will live a lifestyle appropriate to the dictates of Scripture (Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:18-6:18). All Christians today are indwelt by the Spirit (Rom. 8:9), but not all Christians are filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
Inerrancy. A qualifying term added to the doctrine of inspiration. Inerrancy means that there were no errors in the original documents the writers of Scripture wrote. God breathed out Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and He did not breathe out error. As Francis Schaeffer once thundered in a Dallas Theological Seminary chapel held at Gaston Avenue Baptist Church, “God has spoken; and He has not stammered in His speech!” Those who hold to inerrancy are aware that copyists copied the original documents, which eventually introduced minimal and inconsequential human error into the copies. So the term inerrancy applies to the original documents (or original autographs, as they are sometimes called). Through the science of textual criticism, scholars can ascertain what was, in all probability, the original text. No doctrines are affected by the minor discrepancies found in the copies. There are always interpretational problems when one tries to explain the Scriptures. Conservatives assume the inerrancy of Scripture that is claimed in the Biblical text. They take the position that apparent discrepancies in the Bible can be solved by more study or by archaeological discoveries. This has proven to be a viable approach. Liberal scholars, generally speaking, reject the doctrine of inspiration as herein defined, believing the Bible comes from man, not God. They tend to assume that any apparent discrepancies are irresolvable, and are thus proofs of the human origin of the Bible. They do not have the same high view of Scripture that Christ and the Apostles evidenced. See Inspiration. See also Infallibility.
Infallibility. The belief that the Scriptures, inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16), cannot and do not contain error. For the purposes of WordExplain, infallibility is synonymous with inerrancy. Some evangelicals, however, have attempted to limit infallibility to matters of faith and practice only, which they call "redemptive history," and others call "salvation history" (heilsgeschicte). In so doing they deny the infallibility of the Scriptures in matters of science and history. (An example of this position is found in Fuller Theological Seminary's Statement of Faith, Articles II. and III.) WordExplain strongly disagrees with this limitation, instead extending infallibility to all areas of written revelation. There is a great deal of history in the Bible, and since God is the Divine Author of Scripture, the historical statements by its human authors are infallible. The Bible is not a textbook in science, but where it speaks on matters of science, since it is authored by God the Creator, it is infallible. We acknowledge that the Bible uses phenomenological language (the language of appearances). If, for example, a Biblical author writes that the sun sets, he is not thereby asserting that the sun revolves around the earth any more than we are today when we use the identical terminology. The Bible is the sole and final authority not only for man’s faith and practice, but for his knowledge in any area. See Inspiration. See also Inerrancy.
Infinitive. A non-finite Greek verbal form that often complements another verb, can function as a noun and therefore can be classified as a verbal noun, and is often translated with the English preposition "to." Example: “to be strengthened” is the Aorist Passive Infinitive of krataiůō (2901) in Eph. 3:16. (Adapted from [off-site] Infinitives, Greek Verbs [Shorter Definitions]; see also [off-site] Uses of the Greek Infinitive.)
Inheritance. The ultimate estate that we believers in Christ will possess as children of God and followers of the Messiah. The primary word for "inheritance" is the noun klÍronomia (2817). (1) On a purely human level, it refers to that which one receives as a gift or bequest from someone who has died (Luke 12:13); or that which one ought to receive but can be seized by others (Matt. 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 20:14). (2) On a national level, God promised specific land in the Middle East to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac (Acts 7:2-4; Heb. 11:8). But Abraham himself never received a single foot of this inheritance (Acts 7:5). That would have to wait until after Abraham's descendants suffered 400 years of enslavement (Acts 7:6-7). The term "inheritance" (klÍronomia, 2817) in Galatians 3:18 probably refers, in part, to the land which God promised to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac. Israel's full possession of that inheritance awaits the return of the Messiah, the ultimate seed who will inherit that land (Gal. 3:16, 19). (3) On an international level, the Church, comprised of both Jewish people and Gentiles, inherits all the spiritual blessings (Gen. 12:3; Eph. 1:1-3) (but not the land blessings) promised in the Abrahamic Covenant. In this regard, God temporarily removed the kingdom of God from Israel, who assassinated their Messiah, and gave it to (believing) Gentiles (Matt. 21:38 cf. Matt. 21:43; Mark 12:7-9; Luke 20:14-16). This inheritance (klÍronomia, 2817) is referenced in Acts 20:32; Eph. 1:14, 18; 5:5; Col. 3:24; 1 Pet. 1:4. This inheritance will be held by all those who are sanctified (hagiazō, 37) (Acts 20:32); is guaranteed by the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit in believers (Eph. 1:14); will be consummated by God's redemption of His own possession, achieved to praise His glory (Eph. 1:14); is an inheritance that benefits not only the saints, but God Himself (Eph. 1:18); centers around the coming kingdom of Christ and God (Eph. 5:5); will not be marred by the presence of even a single "immoral or impure person or covetous man who is an idolater" (Eph. 5:5); will be received from the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we serve (Col. 3:24); is an inheritance that will be received under the terms of the New Covenant, not the Old (Heb. 9:15); is an eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15); is an inheritance that "is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away" (1 Pet. 1:4); and it is an inheritance that is "reserved in heaven for those who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet. 1:4-5).
Related terms: (1) "To distribute as an inheritance" (the hapax verb kataklÍronomeō, 2624). Paul, preaching in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch, stated that, when God had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, their land of Canaan – to Israel – "He distributed as an inheritance" (Acts 13:19). So this verb applies only to God's allocation of the Promised Land to the nation of Israel. (2) "Lot" (the noun klÍros, 2819). (a) Strictly speaking, the word refers to a small object, such as a twig or pebble or potsherd "thrown to determine a choice or assign a portion" (as in Matt. 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24; Acts 1:26 -- used twice here) (Friberg). (b) By extension, it refers to "allotment," or "that which has been allotted." It is so used in Acts 1:17 of Judas, who was counted among them and had been allotted (langchanō, 2975) his "share" ("allotment," klÍros, 2819) in the ministry of the twelve apostles. Peter told Simon the "Magician" he had no part or portion ("allotment," klÍros, 2819) in this matter (Acts 8:21). Peter urged the elders (1 Pet. 5:1) among his readership to shepherd the flock of God among them (1 Pet. 5:2) not as lording it over "those allotted to your charge" ("allotments," klÍros, 2819), but instead, proving to be examples to the flock (1 Pet. 5:3). The Apostle Paul told King Agrippa that the Lord had sent him to Jewish people and Gentiles "to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance ("allotment," klÍros, 2819) among those who have been sanctified (hagiazō, 37) by faith in Me" (Acts 26:17, 18). We see that faith in Jesus Christ, which brings about forgiveness of sins, is necessary to obtain this inheritance ("allotment," klÍros, 2819) (Acts 26:18). It is God the Father, moreover, who has qualified believers to share in the inheritance ("allotment," klÍros, 2819) of the saints (plural of hagios, "set apart ones," 40) (Col. 1:12). This sharing of the inheritance ("allotment," klÍros, 2819) is done in the sphere of "the light" (Col. 1:12) rather than under the authority of the darkness (Col. 1:13), and is connected with the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13). We observe then, that, as translated by the NASB, the word klÍros (2819) is translated as "lots" 5X; "lot" 1X; "allotted to your charge" 1X; "portion" 1X; and "share" 1X. Only twice is it translated as "inheritance" (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:12). In my opinion, it ought to have been more accurately translated "allotment" in both of those passages. At the very least, it ought to underscore to us who will be granted an inheritance through faith in Christ, that it was not we who rolled the dice and happened to choose Jesus. It was God who rolled His dice and selected us. And His dice are loaded. By that I mean predestined.
Inherited Sin. All humans, save Jesus, have inherited from their first parents, Adam and Eve, a propensity to sin. Sinning, disobeying God, comes naturally to us because our spiritual genetics are tainted by sin. This we might term "spiritual AIDS" - Acquired Immune Deficiency Sindrome. Or, if you will, an Acquired Immune Deficiency in regard to Sin.
Inspiration. “All Scripture is ‘God-breathed’,” a literal translation of the Greek word theopneustos coined by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16. God guided the authors of Scripture so that the words of Scripture they penned were exactly those that God wished. This is true regardless of the method by which God manifested Himself, whether by dream, by vision, by dictation, or by other unspecified revelation. Because liberal scholars have repeatedly denied or redefined Biblical inspiration, conservative scholars have often added qualifying descriptive terms, such as verbal (the very words of Scripture are inspired, not merely the concepts); plenary (all the words of Scripture are inspired, not just some of them); inerrancy (there were no errors or mistakes in the Bible); infallibility (the Scriptures cannot err in matters of faith, practice, history, or science); and original autographs (inspiration applies to the original documents the authors of scripture penned, not copies transcribed by others, resulting in variant readings).
Intercession. The activity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in praying to God on behalf of the saints. The most prominent passage for the intercession of the Holy Spirit is Romans 8:26, 27. The same root word, entugchanō (1793) is used in both verses, but the word is heightened in Rom. 8:26, huperentugchanō (5241). The thought of the passage begins in Rom. 8:22. There, Paul states that the whole creation groans together (sustenadzō, 4959) because of the futility of death and decay imposed on it because of Adam's sin and the curse it brought. Furthermore, we Christians, who have the guarantee of the Holy Spirit, groan (stenadzō, 4727) within ourselves, awaiting our adoption, which includes the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23). In the same (groaning) way, (Rom. 8:26), moreover, the Holy Spirit comes to our aid with regard to our weakness.
We do not even know how to pray as we ought, but the Holy Spirit "super-intercedes" (huperentugchanō, 5241) for us with inexpressible groanings (stenagmos, 4726) (Rom. 8:26). Moreover, the One who searches the hearts (God Himself) knows what is the "mind-set" of the Spirit. This is so because He (the Spirit) intercedes (entugchanō, 1793) on behalf of the saints according to (the will of) God (Rom. 8:27). That is one of the major reasons why those who love God and are called according to His purpose are assured that God causes all things to work together for good" (Rom. 8:28)!
The intercession does not stop there. Not only is the Holy Spirit interceding on behalf of Christians, but so also is Jesus Christ Himself! In Romans 8:33-34, Paul asks His readers, those who are beloved of God and called as saints (Rom. 1:7), "Who will bring charges against God's chosen ones? God is the One justifying. Who is the one condemning? Christ is the One having died, yet more, having been raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes (entugchanō, 1793) on our behalf" (Rom. 8:33-34, author's translation). Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews lauds Jesus as the Ultimate Priest. This is because Jesus continues into the ages, and He holds the unchanging Priesthood (Heb. 7:24). It is from this unchanging Priesthood He is also able to save to the uttermost those approaching God through Him, for He is always living in order to be interceding (entugchanō, 1793) on their behalf (Heb. 7:25).
We conclude, then, that both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ possess an ongoing ministry of intercession on behalf of Christians during this Church Age.
Intermittent Day Theory. The Old Earth Creationism (OEC) view that large periods of time exist between the Biblical days of creation. The Biblical text, of course, is utterly silent on any gaps between the days of creation. Sadly, Intermittent Day theorists are driven by their perceived need to insert vast quantities of time into the creation account to accommodate the assured pronouncements of the scientific community as to the age of the earth. One of the philosophical presuppositions crucial to modern science's dating of the earth is the dogma of uniformitarianism, which the Bible utterly repudiates (2 Peter 3:3-13). Furthermore, radiometric dating is utterly unreliable when it comes to accurate dating.
Irresistible Grace. The belief espoused by Calvinism that God's gracious choosing and calling of some fallen sinners to Himself is irresistible. By that is meant that the sinner whom God chose will inevitably respond affirmatively to God's calling and the wooing of the Holy Spirit. God through His predetermined will and efforts secures a positive response of faith in the person whom He has chosen. Those who are not chosen do not ultimately respond in faith because they do not wish to do so. Only those whom God has chosen and called will inevitably wish to respond to Him and His Son in faith. Perhaps one of the strongest passages that teach this inevitable response is to be found in Romans 8:29-30. (1) There are a group of people that God foreknew as His own from eternity past (Rom. 8:29). (2) This same group of people God predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). (3) This same group of people God called to Himself (Rom. 8:30). (4) This same group of people God justified, or declared righteous (Rom. 8:30). (5) This same group of people God glorified (Rom. 8:30). Obviously the glorification will not occur until the resurrection, but from God's perspective all of these events that occur before time and in time in actual experience, are equally certain. This same truth of irresistible grace is implied also in John 10:27-30, where Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; (John 10:27) and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28) or out of My Father's hand (John 10:29), for my Father and I are one (John 10:30).
I believe irresistible grace is a teaching accurately derived from Scripture. Paul teaches us that none are righteous (Rom. 3:10), that none seek God (Rom. 3:11), that people have turned aside from God and are useless, unprofitable (Rom. 3:12), that there is not a single person who does good (Rom. 3:12). Left to his own devices, man shuns God and will not come. But those whom God has chosen as His own will inevitably respond to Him and to His Messiah in faith (John 6:44; Rev. 22:17).
Israel. God's chosen nation through the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In a limited number of instances, WordExplain uses the term Israel to apply to the land in which the nation formerly and presently resides. In the Old Testament this land is frequently designated as Canaan (eg. Gen. 11:31; 12:5-6).
God chose Abraham, promising him descendants who would be blessed by God and live in a specific land (Canaan) (Gen. 12:1-3), which was to be theirs in perpetuity (Gen. 13:14-17; 15:7-21). God formalized His promises to Abraham in an unconditional covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant . Jacob's name was later changed to Israel, and his twelve sons and their respective clans are designated repeatedly in the Hebrew Bible as "The Sons of Israel." The Sons of Israel formally became a nation when Yahweh, having brought them up out of Egypt, met with them at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19). God was offering to be the peoples' invisible King under the condition that they obeyed Him. God modeled His offer after the Suzerainty Treaties in vogue in the culture of that day. We call this treaty the Mosaic Covenant, the Law, or the Torah. The Mosaic Covenant amounts, in modern day terms, to the nation's constitution and by-laws. Though God's long-term blessing of the nation of Israel is indisputable, His blessing has always been dependent in any era on her obedience to the Mosaic Covenant (Deut. 28:1-14). Disobedience has resulted in cursing and exile from the land (Deut. 28:15-68). After her rejection of and crucifixion of her Messiah, Israel attempted to revolt against the occupying Roman army. In A.D. 70 the Roman army destroyed the city of Jerusalem and Herod's temple. Shortly thereafter the nation was exiled into nations all around the globe. This Jewish exile is termed the Diaspora.
After centuries of exile, Jewish people have been returning to Israel beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing especially into the twentieth. This movement has been termed Zionism, and it has been met with ferocious hostility, not only by the Arab world, but also by the international community. It appears, however, that the "times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24) of which Jesus spoke are rapidly drawing to a conclusion. God is about to invoke His promised New Covenant with Israel (Jer. 31:27-37). The nation of Israel presently exists in the land of Israel almost entirely in unbelief in her Messiah. But that will change. Soon, we believe, Jesus will return to this earth to defeat His and Israel's enemies (Zech. 12:1-9; 14:1-5, 12-15; Rev. 19:11-21). Many within the nation of Israel will repent of their rejection of their Messiah (Zech. 12:10-13:1), and Jesus will set up His throne in Jerusalem (Matt. 25:31), from which He will, as Israel's visible King, judge the nations (Matt. 25:31-46), and rule both Israel and the entire earth (Psa. 2; Isa. 9:6-7; Zech. 14:9; Rev. 20:1-6). The angel Gabriel instructed Mary that her Son, from the throne of His father David, "will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end" (Luke 1:31-33). And so shall it be. In eternity, the capital of the world will be not New York, nor New Delhi, but New Jerusalem. That name was not chosen by God coincidentally. It means, I believe, that throughout eternity a redeemed glorified State of Israel will exist on New Earth, with its capital city, New Jerusalem, evidently orbiting New Earth in the New Heaven. (Rev. 21:1-27). Here is what Yahweh, through the prophet Isaiah, has declared to the sons of Israel: “For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me,” declares the LORD, “So your offspring and your name will endure" (Isa. 66:22).
Israelis. A more-or-less modern-day equivalent of the OT descriptive term, "Sons of Israel." The descriptive phrase "Sons of Israel" occurs at least 600 times in the Bible. It first appears in Gen. 32:32 (32:33, MT), immediately after God changed Jacob's name from "Jacob" to "Israel." In the book of Genesis, more often than not, the term "Sons of Israel" refers to the immediate twelve sons of Israel or Jacob (see, for example, Gen. 42:5, 21; 46:5, 8; 50:25). But as the clan grew into a nation, the term was expanded to include the whole nation (e.g. Ex. 1:9, 12, 13; 2:23, 25; 3:9). In modern-day, secular usage, the term "Israeli" refers to a citizen of Israel living in the land. Those descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who live outside the land of Israel are typically referred to as being "Jewish." (The term "Jew" is considered by Jewish people to be pejorative and offensive, and they prefer the adjectival description, "Jewish.") For the purposes of WordExplain, any ethnic descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is considered to be one of the "Sons of Israel," no matter where or in what time frame he or she happens to live.
Etymologically, the Hebrew term that best corresponds with the modern term "Israeli" is the term Israelite (a male Israeli) and the term Israelitess (a female Israeli). The masculine term Israelite is Yisrĕ'eliy (3481), used twice in Lev. 24:10 and once in 2 Sam. 17:25. (For another view of the two passages see the appropriate lexical entry in the Blue Letter Bible.) The feminine term Israelitess is Yiśre'êlı̂yth (3482), used twice in Lev. 24:10 and once in Lev. 24:11. (For another view of the two passages see the appropriate lexical entry in the Blue Letter Bible.)