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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:

1.          Originally an inhabitant of Judah – 2Kings 16:6

2.          ‘Judean’ shortened to ‘Jew’ during exile – 2Kings 25:25

3.          Synonym for Hebrew – Ezra 4:12,23, Neh.4:1,2, Est.4:3,7, Jer.34:9

4.          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.


1.  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 ‘Jews’.


2. 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.


3. 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 never Jews.


4. 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, Rev.2:9.


   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.


Other references to ‘Jews’:

·               “For the Pharisees and the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands” Mark 7:3

Aramathea was a city of the Jews Luke 23:51


·               The 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


·               Paul 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


·               Paul 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


·               When people are “in Christ” there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, bond or free Gal.3:28


·               Jesus 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. 


·               Rom.2:29 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 heart”.


·               Rom.3:27,28 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 do this?


   And where is their proof?

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