Who were the Jews of the Bible?
The vast majority of Western Christians, and Jews, embrace a concept regarding Biblical Jews that does not exist in scripture or in ancient history. Moreover, this appears to have come about through years of repeating numerous misconceptions, half-truths and even outright lies. It also appears that many of our educational institutions, including numerous Christian seminaries, have taught these fallacies in the past and continue to do so to this day. It is hard to understand why this is ongoing, because most of the facts that refute these false teachings are easily found in the Bible.
Therefore, let us analyze what God's word actually shows regarding the Jews of the Bible. Note: if you have read any of the other pages in this site, some of what you are about to see here will be redundant.
To help logically analyze what the Bible tells us, let us begin by looking at some facts.
1. God did not refer to anyone as a “Jew” (in Hebrew pronounced yeh-hoo-dee' [Ioudaioi]), until the final years of the recorded Old Testament era; or approximately 600 years before Christ. Therefore, most of the noted people of the Old Testament, that is Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, etc., were NOT Jews.
2. God only begins to use the name “Jew” after Israel and Judah became separate kingdoms and He divorces the Sons of Israel, who were of the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom Israel (Jeremiah 3:8). Therefore, none of the people from the tribes of, Ruben, Simon, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim and Manasseh were Jews. These are also the Israelites who were later referred to, and still referred to today, as "the 10 lost tribes."
3. God only begins to use the name “Jew” after He rejects the Southern Kingdom of Judah (who God said was even more wicked then the Northern Kingdom of Israel) and then begins to send them into Babylonian captivity. At that time, the Temple (sometimes referred to as Solomon's Temple) is also destroyed and the Arc of the Covenant is permanently removed from the people (Note: It has never returned and never will return, as "the gift of the Holy Spirit" has made an earthly temple obsolete).
4. God only begins to refer to some as “Jews” when the Law starts becoming corrupted with man's law, that is, the oral teachings of the Rabbis, called the Mishnah. The Mishnah, in written form, became referred to as “the Talmud” (see page 10). It is important to note that this is what Jesus was addressing when He confronted the religious Jews and said they were "teaching as your doctrines the precepts of men". (Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7.)
5. Although the name “Jew” first appears in the Old Testament, it is mostly found in the New Testament. For example, the name “Jew”, in singular, can be found only in seven places in the entire Old Testament.
6. Nowhere in the New Testament does the name “Jew” (in the flesh) appear, or is used, as an endearing term. In most cases it is used for those who were antagonistic to Jesus and/or the advancement of God's New Covenant Kingdom.
7. In every Biblical instance, those who opposed Jesus as the Messiah, then persecuted and attempted to kill him and destroy God's Kingdom, were called “Jews” by God. (for more clarity regarding this see the answer to question 8 of the Test on pg 4)
8. Significantly, we find that scripture itself states that Jews are not pleasing to God and are hostile to all men (1 Thessalonians 2: 14-15). Therefore God's Word states that Biblical Jews were the ones who killed both Jesus and the Old Testament prophets. (Two important points: 1. It is God's words that record this fact, not our words. 2. This scripture is referring to Biblical Jews, not anyone identifying as a Jew today.)
9. Of further importance is the fact that the religion called “Judaism” began to evolve shortly after God rejected the people of the southern Kingdom of Judah and sent them into Babylonian captivity. What the Bible calls “Judaism” did not exist when the northern Kingdom of Israel existed, or prior to Judah's Babylonian captivity. This was near the end of the Old Testament era.
10. There are only two verses in the entire Bible where the name “Judaism” can be found. In Gal. 1: 13-14, “Judaism” is used to designate the religion of the Jews of that time. Furthermore, “Judaism” is defined as being antagonistic to God and His Church. The “Judaism” of the Bible began near the end of the recorded Old Testament era and gradually evolved into the religion that opposed Jesus and therefore God the Father (as stated by Jesus in Luke 10:16).
11. Jesus never called, nor did He refer to, himself as a “Jew”. Of significance is the fact that He often spoke of the Jews as if He were not associated with them. One example is found at John 13:33, wherein He speaks to his disciples as follows: "...and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you..."
12. In the Bible, the Jewish lineage was carried through the father, not the mother (as it is now). Therefore, Jesus was not officially a “Jew”. It is important to acknowledge here that the Father of Jesus was the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18) and not of any fleshly lineage needed in order to be born a “Jew”. However, it can probably be said that legally Jesus was a “Jew” since Joseph, His adopted father, was a Jew.
13. In Duet. 6, God warns the Sons of Israel that if they are unfaithful He will wipe them from the face of the earth. At first consideration, this may not seem connected to the topic regarding who the “Jews” of the Bible were, but it is. The physical, traceable lineage, of people who came to be called Jews, were the people who God eliminated shortly after the end of the recorded New Testament era.
14. At Luke 10:16, we can confirm that Jesus said those who reject Him also reject the Father. Therefore, “Judaism”, the religion that officially rejects Jesus, is a religion that rejects not only Jesus but God the Father as well. Hence, according to God's Word, Judaism today is a Godless, antichrist religion.
15. The Jews of the Bible, or those who after the cross still rejected Jesus and continued to embrace the Judaism of that day, fit the definition of antichrist (1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 1:7). They fit the definition of antichrist because they (a) denied the Divinity and Incarnation of Jesus, (b) denied that Jesus was/is the Messiah, the Christ, and (c) denied that Jesus was/is the eternal Son of God.
16. Jesus was called "The King of the Jews". However, the crown Jesus wore at His death on the Cross was a crown of thorns. It is important to remember that nothing in God's word is accidental or coincidental, and neither was this reference to “a crown of thorns”. God symbolized the death of Judaism and the final Jewish King (symbolic King) with “a crown of thorns”, not with a golden crown. Jesus came to conquer sin and death by becoming sin on our behalf; the crown of thorns symbolized the sin that Judaism represented. Judaism was/is Man's religion, and as Jesus said, it teaches "the precepts of men."
ANALYZATION OF FACTS:
Let us now put the pieces together and analyze what God's word shows in the Bible with regard to the name “Jew” and the religion called “Judaism”.
The Jewish era (or what is commonly called the Jewish era) began near the end of the Old Testament and, except for a few scattered Jewish holdouts, ended in A.D. 70 when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army. Therefore, the idea that most, or even a large percentage, of the noted Old Testament figures were Jews, is incorrect.
The name “Jew” originated in the Old Testament after God divorced Israel, and Judah was condemned to Babylonian captivity. However, Biblically it is used mostly in the New Testament. God first called the people “Jews” when the corruption of His Law, by the oral teachings of the Rabbis and while Judah was in Babylonian captivity, began to displace God's written Law. It was/is called the “Mishnah”, but in written form is now called “the Talmud”. This corruption of the Law that evolved into what is now called “Judaism”, is what Jesus was addressing when He confronted the Jewish leaders for teaching as their doctrines “the precepts of men”.
It is important to note that, at the time of Jesus and God's New Covenant, the names “Jew” and “Judaism” were not ascribed to as a form of reverence in the Bible. In most cases, such terms were used as a derogatory term. God used the name “Jew” for those who were antagonistic to Jesus and/or the advancement of God's Kingdom. Moreover, in every Biblical instance, those who opposed Jesus as the Messiah, then persecuted and attempted to kill Him and destroy God's Kingdom, were called “Jews” by God.
Moreover, Jesus himself said that the Jews, who were in Judaism at the time of Christ, were in the dominion of Satan. When Jesus spoke to Saul (who later became Paul) while he was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, He said that He was rescuing him from the Jewish people and sending him to open their eyes so that they would turn from darkness to light and from THE DOMINION OF SATAN. (Acts 26: 17 - 18).
There are only two verses in the entire Bible where the name “Judaism” can be found, that is at Gal. 1:13 and 14, wherein the term is used to designate the religion of the Jews of that time. These two verses speak of “Judaism” as being antagonistic to God and His Church. Therefore, Biblically, the “Judaism” of the Bible is a religion that opposes God.
Jesus said that those who hate or deny Him deny the Father, and to deny the Father is to hate God (Luke 10:16 and other verses). Therefore, Judaism is a religion that denies, rejects, and hates God and it should not come as a surprise that God's Word, in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, says that Jews are not pleasing to God, are hostile to all men, and were the ones who killed Jesus and God's Old Testament prophets.
The Jews of the Bible, and those who after the cross still rejected Jesus and continued to embrace the Judaism of that day, fit the definition of antichrist. They fit the definition of antichrist because they, (a) denied the divinity & Incarnation of Jesus, (b) denied that Jesus was/is the Messiah, the Christ, and (c) denied that Jesus was/is the eternal Son of God (1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, 2 John 1:7).
Some will claim that Jesus was a Jew, and then will ask how the name “Jew” could not be an endearing term? That is a legitimate question, and easily answered when we look at the facts.
In the Bible the Jewish lineage came, and was carried through, the father. It was not carried through the mother, as it is now. Therefore, Jesus was not officially born a Jew. Jesus' Father was the Holy Spirit and not of any fleshly lineage as His father would have needed to be in order to be born a Jew. Legally, Jesus can probably be considered a Jew in that Joseph, His adopted father, was a Jew. However, nowhere in the entire Bible did Jesus ever call, or refer to himself as a Jew. Moreover, He often spoke of the Jews as if He were not associated with them. One example can be found in John 13:33, wherein He speaks to his disciples and states, “...and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you..."
God's word states that Jesus was called "The King of the Jews", yet the crown Jesus wore at His death on the Cross was a crown of thorns. God symbolized the death of Judaism and the final Jewish King with a crown of thorns, not with a golden crown. Jesus came to conquer sin and death and the crown of thorns upon the head of The King of the Jews, symbolized what Judaism represented, man's religion, and, as Jesus said, "the precepts of men." Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world and symbolically became a Jew on our behalf when he paid the final sacrifice for the sins of man. (Heb 10:12).
In ending, we refer to Deuteronomy 6 where God warns the Sons of Israel that if they are unfaithful He will wipe them from the face of the earth. This occurred, as Jesus predicted in Luke 19:41-44 (and other verses), in A.D. 70 and finalized in A.D. 135. The Jews of today are not traceable descendants of ancient Israel, and neither is anyone else. See Page 7 and Page 8 at this website.
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