Friday, June 10, 2016

Was Jesus a Jew?

Much effort has been made over the past several decades to burnish Jesus’ identity as a Jewish carpenter in order to build affinities  between Christians and Jews. The truth of the matter is that Jesus was neither a Jew nor a carpenter.

We have dealt previously with Jesus’ vocation which was that of a rabbi, but here we wish to explain why Jesus was not Jewish, a statement which will surprise many. In order to accomplish our goal, we need to take time to discuss the ethnic composition of Judea at the time of Jesus’ birth, as well as trace the history of the Hebrew people beginning with Abraham.

Of all of the races of Adam delineated in Genesis 10, God called out Abraham to be the founder of a new race of people designated as Israelites in the Bible. The line would descend through Isaac and Jacob, later known as Israel.

These people, known also as Hebrews, would eventually form a nation after captivity in Egypt, but would finally split into 2 nations known as Israel and Judah, the former being called the House of Israel made up of 10 tribes, and the latter called the House of Judah which included the Levites.

Both nations would be conquered and deported, the former by the Assyrians and the latter by the Chaldeans, although the Assyrians took many Judahites living outside Jerusalem.  Although the House of Judah would spend only 70 years in captivity in Babylon, its people would return to their homeland to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. The northern kingdom would remain scattered, eventually becoming major people groups in western Asia and Europe all the way to Scandinavia and Britain.

The people of the House of Judah were eventually overwhelmed by Edomites of whom Herod, the tyrant who sought to murder the toddler Jesus, was the archetype. The Edomites descended through Esau who had despised his birthright and married Canaanite women. These offspring of Esau were not racially Israelites who descended through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The House of Judah had compelled the Edomites to convert to Judaism after conquering them under Maccabees. But as noted, they soon dominated Jewish religious life with heavy infiltration of Babylonian religious elements brought back from the Babylonian captivity.

The genealogies of Jesus given in the Gospels trace his lineage to Judah and to Adam. Thus Jesus was most emphatically a Hebrew – not a Jew.

The important point is that Hebrew and Jew are two different races because each group descends from two different lines from Isaac. This sets up the conflict between Jesus and religious leaders of Judea at the time of his ministry.

Jesus had sharp words for the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees who based their religious teachings on the Talmud – not upon the Holy Scriptures. He reserved his harshest language for these people whom he called hypocrites, liars, and murders, even stating that they were of their father the devil, by which he literally meant that they were the seed of Satan as spoken of in Genesis 3.

Jesus came to save the lost sheep of Israel, meaning that his ministry was to the remaining Hebrews of the Houses of Israel and Judah who remained in the land.

The apostles continued this hostility to the Jews by warning new Christians to avoid the Judaizers who sought to impose their onerous religious burdens on the new converts. The prophet Malachi describes the hatred God has for Esau who intermarried with Canaanite women.  Paul drives home the point by noting that not all Israel is truly Israel, meaning, as John later stated, that not everyone who calls himself a Jew is really a descendent of Jacob.

The enmity between the Seed of Satan and the Seed of Adam reached its climax in 30 AD when the Jewish Sanhedrin murdered Jesus, and the Jews said let his blood be on our hands and our descendants – and so it has been to this very hour. But the penultimate act was the destruction of the Jews in 70 AD and their dispersion in 135 AD. Yet they have returned by the hand of Satan to their former lands, and shall be annihilated once and for all when Jesus returns with his mighty army.

In no way, shape, or form was Jesus a Jew. He warned of their destruction and declared that the Kingdom had been taken from them. While they have made a come-back as Revelation foretold, their ultimate destiny is the Lake of Fire.

Copyright 2016 Tony Bonn

No comments:

Post a Comment