Being raised in a Christian family, I am familiar with different Christian Bible stories. One of the stories that I get glued on and try to understand deeply is the story of Ishmael. Though Ishmael was Abraham’s first son, he was not the promised son. Furthermore, he is considered a patriarch of Islam. This raises a lot of questions, but what I am most interested to know is, Did Ishmael go to heaven?
Bible readers, scholars, and even theologians cannot tell with certainty whether Ishmael went to heaven or not. Though God extended his love to Ishmael because he was Abraham’s son, this is not a guarantee that Ishmael went to heaven. Furthermore, the Bible does not picture him as a faithful servant of God, which makes concluding his eternal destination even harder.
In this article, I will dwell on whether Ishmael went to heaven. Some of the questions I will cover include; does the Bible say Ishmael went to heaven? Did he believe in God? What happened to him after he died, and many more. Keep reading to get the answers to these questions and more.
Does the Bible say that Ishmael went to heaven?
The Bible does not mention the eternal fate of Ishmael. What the Bible discusses in detail is his birth. It also accounts for how he lived his life. Additionally, though the evidence from the Bible portrays Ishmael as someone who did not fully trust in God, it is hard for us to determine his eternal fate. This is because, despite Isaac and his mother despising Sarah and Isaac, God still favored him because he was the son of Abraham.
Did Ishmael believe in God?
Ishmael did not show exemplary faith and believed in God like his father. The book of Romans even portrays him in the non-elect category. After Abraham chases Hagar and his son Ishmael away, there is a high possibility that Ishmael grew up worshipping other gods aside from the true God.
However, despite all these, he still found favor before God’s eyes because of who his father was. However, it is important to note that having a faithful father does not buy you grace. Additionally, theologians argue that Ishmael went astray and worshipped other Gods other than the God of Abraham, and that is how Isaac being the patriarch of Islam, stemmed.
What happened to Ishmael when he died?
Though the Bible does not discuss extensively what happened after Ishmael’s death, it gives us a glimpse of what was unveiled. Before he even died, his father Abraham died, and he attended the burial. Ishmael died and left behind 12 sons and a daughter, who later married Esau.
However, just as God had promised Ishmael, he became a nation, and out of him, other nations grew too. His nations were not blessed as those that stemmed from Isaac since Isaac was the blessed son. Isaac carried his father’s blessings to his descendants, and most of Ishmael’s descendants are not discussed. Additionally, his eternal fate after his death is not discussed in the Bible either.
Do Christians believe that Ishmael went to heaven?
Christians do not believe that Ishmael went to heaven. Though Ishmael was a descendant of Abraham, he led a totally different life from what Abraham and his household led. The Bible does not portray him as a faithful servant of God the way it portrays Sarah, Isaac, and also Abraham, who is even referred to as the father of faith.
Additionally, the Islamic view that Ishmael is their patriarch makes determining Ishmael’s fate complicated. However, whether Ishmael is in heaven or not, God did not exempt him or his descendants from the offer of grace that gives us salvation.
What do theologians think about the eternal destination of Ishmael?
The eternal fate of Ishmael is still a debate among theologians. This is because neither the Bible nor extra-biblical sources provide enough evidence to point us in one direction. What we know about Ishmael is recorded in the book of Genesis and the Islamic lore that indicates Ishmael deviated from God’s covenant.
However, what theologians acknowledge is that despite Ishmael not being the promised son, God still showed him a favor because he was Abraham’s son. After Abraham chased him and his mother Hagar away, God still provided for them and promised to make him a great nation. However, no one can say with certainty the eternal fate of Ishmael.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.