Who are God's People Today?
People from several denominations considering themselves Christian have told me in all seriousness that God's people are the present-day Israelites. Some of these people were practicing Bible readers seasoned in their faith.
For this discussion then to carry any weight, it needs to be well grounded in difficult matters with good scriptural proof. It is therefore not a subject that those who are new to Bible reading might want to undertake! Consider yourself warned!
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In mankind's infancy, when we were few, God chose to interact with men on the basis of each one's heart condition and desire to serve God. Thus we remember Abel, Enoch (7th from Adam born to Jared, not Cain's son), Noah, Job, Abraham, and others.
There is indication in the Bible that other worshipers (read book of Job) of God existed in these early times and that God interacted with these informal worshipers individually as needed and also through a little mentioned priest, Melchizedek. (more than one spelling)
There is an ancient account neither supported by the Bible, nor rejected by it – even though absence in itself is no validation at all. This account comes from the Jewish Targums of Jerusalem and Jonathan and states that Mechizedek was Shem, Noah's son.
The former link died (
Link to:Pseudo Jonathan Targum). I found another reference to the material though you have to look for the reference: Gen 12-17, chapter XIV, paragraph 4. The quote is: "And Malka Zadika, who was Shem bar Noah. . ."
The new link: Pseudo Jonathan Targum
The quote from the 1st link of Jonathan's targum: PsJon Gen 12-17, Section III, Lech Lecha, XIV. π 4: "And Malka Zadika, who was Shem bar Noah, the king of Yerushalem, came forth to meet Abram."
Frankly, much in the Targum seems so much nonsense that the above doesn't seem to warrant much credence despite its rationality. Still, perhaps the Targum is accurate in this detail? It makes little difference to this study, and is of little importance to our general knowledge of the Bible. It is merely a point of interest.
Genesis 14:18, "But Melchisedech the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God, 19Blessed him, and said: Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth." (DRC)
If my calculations are correct, this time-line of some of Noah's descendants show how Shem died circa 1868 BCE and Abraham died circa 1843 BCE – only 25 years apart. The above graph assumes that the 2370BCE date for the deluge is correct. If anyone is an expert on chronology and has a different calculation, please let me see this.
If anyone has another date for the deluge, merely using that to calculate an offset, permits an adjustment of the subsequent lifetimes and births of Noah's descendants to coordinate it with their date.
Shem was 600 and Abraham 175 on dying. The graph shows how their lives overlapped; so they were contemporaries. This permits one to speculate on the possibility that Shem was the Melchisedech that met Abraham. Since the Bible doesn't say anything about this, it remains up to each individual Bible student to choose what they believe in this matter.