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By Richard Gunther
All through my childhood, and right through Sunday school, and all
through my time at Middleton Grange – an Interdenominational Christian school,
then on through dozens of church services, and in the text of novels and in
books about the Bible . . . I have been told that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses,
Israel and king David were all Jews. You probably believe this too, if you have
had any contact with modern evangelists, or a similar upbringing. It seems to be
one of the most unquestioned statements ever made, and to even suggest that
these Bible people were not Jews may seem not only too radical to accept,
but even bordering on the ‘fringe’. It might sound like a ‘flat-earther’
trying to convince an astronaut that the world is a pancake, or a devout
Catholic that the Shroud of Turin is a fake.
But when certain indisputable facts are presented, the truth about the
true nationality of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and king David – and the
Jews, should be reasonably obvious. And it will not be the first time that
traditional beliefs have been proved wrong.
First please read the definition of “Jew” in the International
Inductive Bible Study:
Originally an inhabitant of Judah – 2Kings 16:6
‘Judean’ shortened to ‘Jew’ during exile – 2Kings 25:25
Synonym for Hebrew – Ezra 4:12,23, Neh.4:1,2, Est.4:3,7, Jer.34:9
Later term for all Israelites in the land and in the Diaspora (the
Dispersion) – Mat.27:11, Mark 7:3, Luke 23:51, John 4:9, Acts 22:3, Rom. 3:1,
Gal. 3:28, Rev.2:9
Now let us go through these points carefully and see what they mean.
Originally an inhabitant of Judah.
A Judean – 2Kings 16:6. This is the first reference to Jews in the Bible.
I cannot stress this point enough. Up until this time there are no references to
Jews anywhere in the Bible. The word is used in the context of the time when
Rezin king of Syria came and drove the men of Judah from Elath. Up until that
time there was no such thing as a Jew. Abraham is called a Hebrew, Isaac was a
Hebrew, and Jacob was a Hebrew. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel and his
descendants became known as Israelites.
During the time of Moses, the “Hebrew midwives” were called to
deliver the baby Hebrews. When the
nation of Israel marched out of Egypt and finally made it to the Promised land,
it was a nation of Hebrews. Some years later the one nation split into two
nations, or kingdoms. Rehoboam ruled the southern kingdom of three tribes, and
Jeroboam ruled the northern kingdom of 10 tribes. The northern kingdom was
usually called Israel, and the southern kingdom was usually called Judah. Still
there were no Jews in the world.
Some 200 years later Rezin invaded Judah’s territory, and word
‘Jew’ appeared in the language. The Jews were driven from Elath during the
rein of king Pekah. (In his 17th year Ahaz began to rein) This event
took place only one king short of the end of the house or kingdom of Judah.
Up until Rezin arrived there were no Jews in the world – only Hebrews
and Israelites. Despite this accurate presentation of history, there are
millions of people who continue to call all the Israelites before tis time
Judean shortened to ‘Jew’ during the exile
2Kings 25:25. Ishmael came and struck down Gedaliah, the Jews, and some
Chaldeans. This event occurred after the last king of Judah, king Hezekiah, was
taken away to Babylon, about 587 BC.
Synonym for Hebrew
– Ezra 4:12,23, Neh.4:1,2, Est.4:3,7, Jer.34:9. These passages refer to the
people of Judah, who returned with Ezra and Nehemiah to help rebuild the city
walls and Temple in Jerusalem. None of these people were of the other, northern
kingdom of Israel, which had been taken into captivity to Syria in about 721 BC,
over a hundred years beforehand. One could therefore, never refer to an
Israelite of the kingdom of Israel as a Jew. They were Israelites and Hebrew but
Later term for all Israelites in the land and in the Diaspora
Mat.27:11, Mark 7:3, Luke 23:51, John 4:9, Acts 22:3, Rom. 3:1, Gal. 3:28,
Pontius Pilate asked Jesus “Are you the king of the Jews?” and Jesus
said ‘Yes, this was so’. (Mat.27:11) Jesus had come for the remnant, the
tiny proportion of the kingdom of Judah which had gathered some 400 years
earlier during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, and who had waited for the return
of the Messiah, and who had become the nation of the Jews. Jesus came for this
remnant, but the leaders of this remnant rejected him, so the gospel went out
into all the world. The Jews were the only visible representatives of the whole
kingdom of Israel – all 12 tribes.
references to ‘Jews’:
the Pharisees and the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands” Mark 7:3
was a city of the Jews Luke 23:51
woman at the well thought Jesus was a Jew, but she was puzzled, because she said
“Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” John 4:9
said “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this
city at the feet of Gamaliel . . .” Acts 22:3
asks what advantage the Jews have in being circumcised. The Jews hung on to the
rituals long after the rest of Israel abandoned them Rom.3:1
people are “in Christ” there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, bond
or free Gal.3:28
reproves people who “say they are Jews and are not”Rev.2:9. Here the word
‘Jew’ is used in the place of the word ‘Christian’. This statement is
also made in Rev.3:9.
shows that being a Christian is called “circumcision of the heart”. The same
sort of name association occurs in Gal.2:15, where Moffat translates it as “We
who are Jews by birth and not ‘Jews by nature’, or, “uncircumcised in
shows that both Jews, the circumcised, and Gentiles, uncircumcised, can come to
God by faith, without any need of the Law for justification.
The use of the name or word ‘Jew’ is strictly confined to a small
group of people. If we imagine the whole nation of Israel as a square of 10x10
squares, we can subtract about 75% of the whole square as the northern kingdom.
They were never called Jews. Now, out of the small area left, take another 75%
as people who were also never called Jews. But a small fraction of them were
taken as captives to Babylon. This tiny percentage left represents the few
thousand Jews who returned to rebuild the city and Temple, and who became known
as Jews. Since then these Jews have remained a distinct population, and today
they number in a few millions. They have kept their family trees intact and if
any more Jews appear they are either born from Jewish parents, or they have
adopted the Jewish religion and grafted themselves into the Jewish population.
All the above is reliably confirmed by all the Scriptures, and by
history. The Old Testament prophets also had no trouble distinguishing the Jews
from the rest of Israel. They addressed their predictions either to the house of
Jacob, the house of Judah, or to the Jews. If these people of God, speaking by
divine inspiration, made a clear distinction when it came to setting the Jewish
people apart, why do so many pastors, ministers, evangelists and Christian
writers still blanket the whole of Israel from Abraham onwards with the name
‘Jew’? On what grounds do they
And where is their proof?
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