Being A Jew: According To The Bible
1) What is the Bible’s definition of a Jew? The Bible says that a Jew is any person who has a relationship with Jesus by faith Galatians 3:7,26,29. This person is one who is willing to be circumcised in the heart, not just in the flesh Romans 2:28-29.
2) If you were born an Israelite genetically does that make you a Biblical Jew? No! A Biblical Jew is one who accepts Jesus by faith Galatians 3:7,26,29, who obeys Jesus by love John 8:37-39, and who has accepted the promise that Christ would redeem them Romans 9:6-8. The Bible gives examples of people who were not Jews but were counted as Jews – Rahab the Canaanite Joshua 2 & 6:17,22-23; Ruth the Moabitess, the book of Ruth; Matthew 1:5; Uriah the Hittite I Chronicles 11:41; Zelek the Ammonite I Chronicles 11:39; and Ithmah the Moabite I Chronicles 11:46. These were born not Jews but were accounted Jews because of the their faith in and love of Jesus.
3) How long have Biblical Jews been around? Since Adam and Eve accepted the promise of a redeemer (Genesis 3:15 & Revelation 13:8). Biblical Jews have been in existence and God reports that Adam’ son Abel was accounted righteous because he obeyed by faith Hebrews 11:4.
4) Why then are Jews accounted as children of Abraham? Because after God’s people (Genesis 6:3), before the flood, rebelled and continually sought after evil that God gave them 120 years to repent (Genesis 6:3) and accept His plan by faith. When they chose not to accept God’s plan God destroyed them with the flood and started His plan again. Abraham was called out of Babylon and Jesus chose to make a covenant with Abraham, and his children, that if he would accept Him by faith He would preserve them and give them opportunity to witness for Him. Genesis 12:1-4; Genesis 15&17; Hebrews 11:8-19; Galatians 3:29. God offered this to Abraham and by faith Abraham accepted this agreement and was accounted in right relation with God Galatians 3:6. Because of what Abraham did, and what Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons did, God chose to use this group of people to display His graciousness to the world and attempt to entice all the rest of the people in the world to accept Him as well. Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Isaiah 52:7-10; Luke 2:28-32; K Kings 10:1-13.
5) Did the Jews have difficulty in their relationship with God? Constantly! They were constantly turning from God to have faith relationships, the Bible’s term for adultery, with the gods of the heathen nations. God warned them over and over, and stated to them over and over again the difficulties they would have (Book of Judges) and what kinds of serious troubles they would get in to by turning away from God (Deuteronomy 4:23-31; 8:19-20; 28:15-68; 31:16-29) but the people would not listen. They would not have faith that God knew what He was talking about and insisted upon their own ways. Hebrews 3:7-19.
6) Did the Jews ever reject God? Yes! In I Samuel 8&12 Israel rejected God as their king and chose to have a human king to rule over them just like the other nations did. Still Jesus in His great mercy forgave them and continued to work with them. He even blessed them with kings like David, Solomon, Jehosophat, Hezekiah, and others, to show them what could be done if they would only surrender to God, obey Him, and trust Him to care for all their needs.
7) Did God ever try to discipline them in order to improve the relationship? Yes, God tried every way He could to correct them. Isaiah 5:1-7; Matthew 21:37-46. He even let them be conquered for 70 years by the kingdom of Babylon (Jeremiah 25:1-12; & 29:1-14) and then brought them back to the land of Israel and try again. Ezra and Nehemiah. But even though God had done these things for them the nation of Israel slowly built up their guilt until God set a deadline for them as He had done for the people before the Flood. In Daniel 9:24-27 God gives them a deadline that if they choose not to follow His plans they will place themselves in a position of rejecting the Messiah (Jesus) and will bring chaos on themselves as a nation, and as individuals, and they will cut themselves off from official relationship with Him. Jesus stated this in the parable of the householder. Matthew 21:33-45. In this parable the priests prophesy their own behavior and prophesy God’s response. Jesus confirms this by another parable in Matthew 22:1-7, which incidentally was fulfilled in AD 70 when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. God tried every way possible to save Israel and the literal Jews rebelled continually until they were cut off. Romans 11
8) Did the Jews reject Jesus? The literal Jews rejected Jesus, the spiritual Jews (God’s remnant) always have accepted Him. The Romans proclaimed Jesus King of the Jews (John 18:33-40) but the leaders of the Jews rejected Him and chose Caesar as their king. John 19:1-16. In fact when Rome tried to save Jesus, the Jewish leaders accused Pilate of being a betrayer of Caesar. John 19:12. Jesus accepted their decision and turned away to let them have their fate. Matthew 23:37-38; Luke 13:34-35; Luke 19:41-44.
9) If the literal nation of Israel rejected Jesus and Jesus accepted it, is there a spiritual nation of Israel? Absolutely! In Matthew 21:33-45 Jesus states that He will take the kingdom of God away from literal Israel and give it to a nation who will bring forth fruit acceptable to God. God identifies that nation in the Bible as his church, a holy nation. I Peter 2:1-10. God also accepts the believer as part of the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12,19) and the Israel of God Galatians 6:16.
10) If a literal Jew wanted to repent and accept Jesus as the Christ would he be able to? God is always interested in repentance and Jesus would recreate that person into a spiritual Jew, one who accepts the promises by faith. Romans 2:28-29; Romans 9:7-8, 24-32; Galatians 3:16, 26-29.