There seems to be an incredible amount of confusion concerning the word Jew as used in the scriptures. As I chat with people I find that almost no one really understands it as it is found in scripture. The first time the word is used is in 2 Kings 16:6 and the "Jews" were in battle against Israel. In the KJV old testament Jew was used only for the house of Judah and did not include the house of Israel, the ten northern tribes. Here is the definition of the Hebrew word used.
3064. Yehuwdiy, yeh-hoo-dee'; patron. from H3063; a Jehudite (i.e. Judaite or Jew), or desc. of Jehudah (i.e. Judah).
So we can see from the above that the word Jew should have been translated Judahite. A Judahite was someone from the tribe of Judah or the house of Judah. A "Jew" in this case is an Israelite, but not all Israelites are "Jews". Some Israelites were from the tribe of Issachar for example and probably would not have appreciated it if you had called them a Judahite or a "Jew". After the national split the house of Israel was sometimes found fighting against the "Jews" or the house of Judah. There was only one instance in the Old Testament when a different word was translated Jew. It is found in Ester 8:17.
3054. yahad, yaw-had'; denom. from a form corresp. to H3061; to Judaize, i.e. become Jewish.
Since a person can not change their heritage and become something else the people mentioned in Ester 8 adopted the religion of the Judahites out of fear.
In the new testament the word most commonly translated Jew was a general term for those who lived in Judaea. It would have been been better translated as Judaean and does not necessarily mean a Judahite or even an Israelite. In fact it appears that most Israelites in Palestine did not even live in Judaea.
2453. Ioudaios, ee-oo-dah'-yos; from G2448 (in the sense of G2455 as a country); Judaean, i.e. belonging to Jehudah.
At the time of Christ to say that all Judeans were Judahites or even Israelites is to not understand the history of the time. Edomites actually controlled the local politics and included Herod and most of the rulers and many Pharisees. There were probably only one or two of the leaders who were actually Israelite Judahites. Some have said that the "Jews" would not have permitted this. The Judeans were a conquered people controlled by Rome. The Edomite Herod had killed and replaced all of the local rulers many years before Christ. They were not able to stop Herod from killing all the children in Matthew 2:16. Edomites as well as many other groups had moved into the land while the house of Judah was in the Babylonian captivity. John Hycanus had conquered Idumea and the land of Judah and Idumea became known as Judea. The Idumeans or Edomites were forced to become "Jews" and practiced the then corrupted Babylonian version of the Hebrew religion. By the way, this is the basis of belief for the modern day Jews. (Phariseeism or Babylonian Talmudism) I believe that the biggest reason that Christ spent most of his time preaching and teaching in the northern territory of Galilee was because that is where more Israelites actually lived.
Another misconception therefore is that Jesus was a "Jew". The Christ is not "Jewish".
The Bible says that Jesus was a Galilean. Matthew 21:11, Luke 23:5-7.
The Bible says that Jesus was from Nazareth. Matthew 21:11, Matthew 26:71
The Bible says that Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, a Judahite, because his lineage went back to Judah. Matthew 1.
Modern Day Jews are not Israelites. According to numerous sources just three of which include the 1925 Jewish Encyclopedia, the 1980 Jewish Almanac and Arthur Koestler's NYT best seller "The Thirteenth Tribe", the modern day Jews are descended from Japheth through Gomer and Ashkenaz. Their only connection to Shem is through Esau Edom. That is their only connection to being Semitic and is only true for about nine percent of today's Jews. The actual quotes to verify these facts are easily found on the internet. My favorite quote from Koestler's book is the following.
"In Part Two, Chapters V-VII, I have compiled the historical evidence which indicates that the bulk of Eastern Jewry - and hence of world Jewry - is of Khazar-Turkish, rather than Semitic, origin." , from the chapter Race and Myth, page 199, "The Thirteenth Tribe".
Another one is from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1925 edition, Vol. 5, p. 41, which says,
"Edom is in modern Jewry."
The late Rabbi Stephen F. Wise, formerly the Chief Rabbi of the United States said,
"The return from Babylon and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism."
Look at John 8:33.
John 8:33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone."
Here we have a group of the Jews of Christ day admitting that they were not Israelites. All of Jacob Israel's descendants went into bondage in Egypt. So be careful concerning the idea that all Jews in Palestine were Israelites.
To confuse things even more the word Gentile does not mean what we have been taught. The Greek word ethnos is sometimes translated nations, heathen, or gentiles. About six times it stands for the nation of the "Jews". A good example of this is found in Luke 7:5. Gentile is a Latin word used correctly by Jerome in his Latin translation. It means "kin of the same race". Why did the translators put a Latin word in an English translation? So obviously the word "ethnos" does not mean "non-Jew" as many think. Many times when it is used it refers to Israelites from the dispersion or the ten northern tribes. Romans 2:14-15 is an example.
John 7:35 Then the Jews said among themselves, "Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?"
"Dispersion" means Israelite residents living in other countries. These are those Israelites who lost the right to be called Israel, were divorced by God and sent away. They were not lost. They were "put away and punished" as the Greek word translated lost implies. Even Josephus admits that they were living in Europe.
"...wherfore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.", Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XI, Chapter 5, Verse 2, p234.
Many were in Greece. Most people forget that God made a promise that they would one day be "sons of the living God" (Hosea 1:10-11) or Christians. Most of them are Christians today. For more on this see this page.
Here is an example from scripture concerning the word dispersion.
James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
We could rephrase the above verse and show it's true meaning more precisely. The word dispersion is found in the Greek. (James is actually Jacob as well.)
James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are Israelite residents in foreign countries scattered abroad: Greetings.
1 Peter is also interesting.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Here is how it would look if we show it's true meaning more precisely.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the resident foreigner Israelite residents throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
There are so many more identifying marks in scripture. All one has to do is look. Romans 9:4 is a very good one. It is full of words that identify Israelites. Unfortunately many people assign those traits to "other people". Of course many times those "other people" are actually Israelites ignorant of who they are truly. I hesitate making this article longer, but I recently had one email from someone who said,
"Jesus has broken down the wall of partition which separated Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:11-16), no longer making a distinction between them, but reconciled them both in one body (the Church Eph.1:22-23). So, whatever the ethnic background, all nations, since Pentecost 33 AD, fall under the terms of the Gospel - - -either the blessings or the condemnation. Those who obey it are saved, but those who refuse are lost as long as they remain unobedient (Mark 16:15-16, 2 Thess. 1:7-10)"
His last sentence is quite true. Whoever obeys can enjoy the benefits of obedience! I can agree with the first sentence if the terms Jew and Gentile are properly understood. However the rest of what what was written although commonly believed is in error. For it to be true would mean that we have a God who breaks his promises and violates scriptures such as Daniel 2:44. It is paramount that one understand what the New Covenant is and with whom it was made.
"and the kingdom shall not be left to other people"
The truth of the matter is that Christ did accomplish his reason for coming.
"I was not sent except to the lost (put away and punished) sheep of the house of Israel.", Matthew 15:24
The wall of partition was broken down. However what wall between what peoples was it that was broken down? It was the wall that had been erected between the two houses of Israel, the house of Judah and the house of Israel. Most of the time when Gentiles are mentioned in the New Testament they were actually those formerly called Israelites, all who went into the Assyrian captivity. Scripture is very precise in it's language in the Hebrew and Greek. Those of the northern ten tribes are never called Israelites after the Assyrian captivity as they lost that right to "rule with God". As prophesied their rejoining under one head has been accomplished. As prophesied the vast majority of them follow some form of Christianity today with Christ as their head. Here are only two of many examples.
Hosea 1:11 "Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!"
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
Ephesians chapter 2 is an answer to old testament prophecy concerning the reconciling of the two houses of Israel, those near and those who were far off. It is misused to preach that some other people who were never a part of Israel could be reconciled back into Israel. This is done through ignorance of the old testament and it's prophecies. (The phrase "far off" can stand for the house of Israel, the ten northern tribes. Look at all the verses and check the context.)
To be honest if you spend some time researching this you will find so much information you may ask why I did not include more information that helps prove the point even more. I have already added to this article and it is getting too long. It hardly qualifies for something you can read in a couple of minutes which is the goal of this page. So many others have already written much on this subject. In the meantime you should really read the following article that is at this site.
Also please read the following website.
Ezekiel 11:16 "Therefore say, 'Thus says the Lord Yahweh: "Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone."'