Who Are the Jews? Defining Judaism

Who Are the Jews? Defining Judaism Part 4

It is time for us to learn a little more about Herod, the Great. He was known as “the madman who murdered many priests and his own family, including his wife,” “the evil genius of the Judean nation,” “and the greatest builder in Jewish history.” He was a loyal supporter of Hycrannus II and was named King (basileus) of Judea by Mark Antony. He had to win his throne by waging a 3 year war against Antigonus. He was married to one of Hycrannus’s daughters (whom he later killed), who also was an Hasmonean. He was a convert to Judiasm, an Edomite by ancestry, and brought many priests from Babylon intermixing them with the Jewish priests and their doctrines. His leadership of the Jewish religion was greatly questioned by the Jewish priesthood as he paid for his embellishments by exorbitant taxes which did not go to pay for the operation of the Temple of Jerusalem. He had no loyalty to Moses or that law and like other presidents, some of which we have today, feigned faith in what he did not believe. Interestingly, while Herod was re-building the Temple, he would accept no help from the Pharisees or Sadducees nor the doctors of the Law—he “did it his way.”
In Matthew 2:1-23 Herod is shown to be the King who became known for the “Massacre of the Innocents.” Alarmed at a replacement to his throne, Herod assembled the chief priests and scribes of the people and demanded to know where the Christ child was to be born after he had been informed by the Magi of His birth. They told him, Bethlehem (unlike Joseph Smith of the Mormon religion who said Christ was born in Jerusalem) It is interesting that no other external historical record is given of the “massacre” other than the Bible, yet not question, it is the reason why, in a dream, Joseph, on his return from Egypt, settled in Nazareth (to stay clear of Herod’s son who had been assigned to reign after Herod’s death). Herod killed himself. He always had had trouble with paranoia and depression. After his death, Archelaus was named king but was considered by Rome too incompetent to rule and was replaced by a Roman prelate until 43 A D.. That is how we got Pilate.
The Jewish religion was and is in a mess. After the return from Babylon and the lack of a prophet to give religious guidance, their religion was a combination of what most think of Christianity—a mixture of what they remembered, what they had practiced in Babylon in paganism, and what they added for the convenience of themselves. The priesthood had inter-married with pagans and serious consideration to “being of Aaron’s family” was not considered since none could oblige that were in power. There was a rabid attempt among all the Jews to trace their ancestries back to Jacob for pedigree. Any man who could was known by the title “Hebrew of the Hebrews” and was automatically given a place of supreme honor among the people. This explains the two chapters in the preamble to the ancestoral records of the Christ! One can understand why they who had this ability were immediately enemies of those who could not!! Like Herod, they great cause to destroy their qualified competitor, especially if they, like our Lord was able to “divide the sheep from the goats.” John 8:44
The peaching of Christ is pretty simple: “He that is of God hears God’s words. You therefore hear them NOT, because you ARE NOT OF GOD.” John 8:47 “Jesus answered them, ‘ I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you believe NOT BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP, as I said unto you. John 10:25-26 Christ taught in many places in parables. The words of our Lord were not for ALL men. To His disciples He said: “unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: but to them it is not given.” Matthew 13:11 “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables: and without a parable spake He not unto them.” Matthew 13:34

Who Are the Jews? Defining Judaism Part 3

When Alexander the great died of a drunken stupor at the age of 32 in Babylon, he had already planned the dividing of his kingdom to his generals who would govern as the Diadochi (the successors). Antipater, Perdiccas, Ptolemy, Seleucus, Antigonius, and Lysemachus. Thus began the Hellenism of the then known world. The “hegemony” or head of these factions was finally re-established in these Greek City States. Of interest to this study, Ptolemy governed Egypt and Seleucus governed parts of Syria and Judea. South of Judea (which had self-governed itself for a while) were the Idumeans. The Idumeans were descendents of Esau, the brother of Jacob the son of Israel therefore the grandson of Abraham. The Idumeans were non-Jews at the beginning who later became what would be known as “the Jews.” During the Maccabean revolt, the Hasmonean dynasty of the Jews were completely overrun and forced to incorporate all the customs of the Jewish society. From this time forward, most scholars admit the distinction of Jew and Idumean was non-existent.
Coming from Babylonian captivity, the Jews who came back to the Palestine area had no distinct prophet or wise men to guide their return to the active faith of Moses. Mixed and intermingled with the sons of Esau, they brought into their practice of religion paganistic customs of Babylon.
This is what Christ came to when He lived in Nazareth. There were two groups of people living cheek to cheek, speaking almost the same language, and reeling under the oppressive yoke of Roman rule. By this time many of the Idumean-Jews had worked their way into the priesthood, bringing along their pagan oral teachings. These teachings were known as the “teaching of the elders.” The two leaders of this “oral tradition” were the Pharisees and Sadducees. This is why our Lord spent so much of His time teaching and re-establishing much of the teaching He had given to Moses. It seems the Edomite element of these Jews utterly rejected Christ. During the centuries that have followed, these people continued to develop and propagate their highly altered form of the ancient Hebrew revelation and form a faith unknown to that of the “pure-bred” Jew. Their faith is now the teachings of much of the Babylonian Talmud. Matthew 15:2,9; Mark 7:3,13.
Judiasm would possibly have expired had it not been for the decree of the emperor of the Khazarian Empire in our modern Ukraine. This mixed Russian, Eastern European, and Mongolian people took to the “teachings of the elders.” When the nation ceased, what had been considered Khazarians were now calling themselves Jews. They have since been called the “thirteenth tribe.” Having been expelled from Constantinople, they developed the Khazar trade and contended with Mohammedans and Christians for the theological allegiance of this pagan people.
It is common knowledge that as of a century ago, most so-called Jews in the world were found in Eastern Europe, with the highest percentage concentrated in Poland. For the second time these “remnant” religious people were hi-jacked with a substantial portion of their faith from sources other than the Hebrew Scriptures. When Rome overthrew Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the ancestral records were destroyed and have never since been in existence. Now, for the second time this people are taken over with no genetic link to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, Judah or any other Hebrew. From historical records, 96% of the so-called Jews of today are descended from this Khazarian branch and are of the Khazar tribes of Russia, Eastern Europe and Western Mongolia. The other major sect of Jews are the Sephardic Jews which are a people from the mixing of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, Griganshites, Kenites, Edomites and some (maybe) true undefined true Israelites. All of these above mentioned peoples were the avowed enemies when there was a true Israel!!

Who Are the Jews? Defining Judaism Part 2

They “think of themselves more highly than they ought.” They are called a “stiffnecked and rebellious people.” They have been given a “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” They are people that are spoken of “that He made clay and it was marred in the hand of the potter; so He made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” “Go to this people and say; ‘Behold, I frame evil against you and devise a device against you: return ye now everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said. “There is no hope. We will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.” “Therefore will I do unto this house which is called by My name, wherein you trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore, pray NOT thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to Me: for I WILL NOT hear thee.” Jeremiah 7:14-16
Yet, these are NOT that people we know as Jews!! In the 2nd century B.C. John Hycrannus of the Hasmonean dynasty, took the Kingdom of Judah which came from Babylon (around 536 B.C) with a religion with many pagan elements in it, established a system of oral teachings that Scripture condemns as the “tradition of the elders,” Matthew 15:2-3, conquered a people directly to the south of Judah, the Edomites (descended from Esau) who had been disinherited because the older son of Israel had married a Hittite woman, thus destroying forever the pure genetic pedigree of his descendants, subjugated them and gave them a choice to either die or convert to the religion, language, and culture of Judah!!
This was forbidden by the law of Moses. Deuteronomy 7:1-5; Leviticus 20:24, Joshua 23: 12-13; Ezra 9:1-15; and Nehemiah 13:23-30. With death or conversion, most chose to convert. The true descendant of Abraham chose conversion. Hycrannus had them circumcised and use the laws of the Jews. Dora, Marissa, and Idumea from that day forward kept the entire law of the Jews. The Edomites were incorporated into the Jewish nation, and the whole providence was known as ”Idumea.” As a separated people, the Edomites disappear from the pages of history and are known as Jews. Over the next century as imperial Rome cast its long shadow over the Middle East, these Edomites or Idumeans were gradually absorbed into Jewish society. Many of them, such as Herod, achieved high status, working their way into the priestly and aristocratic classes. Those who leveraged their way into the priestly professions had a strong proclivity for the pagan oral teachings (teachings of the elders) brought back from Babylon. Dominance in the two mainstream religious parties, the Pharisees and Sadducees, was soon theirs to enjoy and capitalize upon.
This situation helps us understand the words of Christ when He lived and walked the hills of Galilee and Judea. There were two groups of people living in the land of Judea. They spoke the same language, were under the oppressive yoke of Roman rule, and were together in that time called Jews.
In A. D. 70, the city of Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah was utterly shattered by the Romans. Many survivors were scattered throughout the Roman world, finding refuge where they could. The Edomite element of these Jews, who had utterly rejected Christ, lodged themselves in various enclaves in the Roman Empire including the great city of Byzantium (Constantinople). During the centuries that followed, these people continued to develop and propagate their highly altered form of the ancient Hebrew faith in which the Biblical aspects were almost completely submerged in layers of pagan philosophy and rules. It was during this era that their oral tradition was codified into a written textual form called the Talmud. It has been the foundation of the religion of Judaism for many centuries!!

Who Are the Jews? Defining Judaism

Most of us are very familiar with the name Jew. This is the given name of a people that began to be some 2500 years ago after the creation of man. World history reveals a remarkable story in which one group of people assumed the identity of another. The vast majority of people who are today called Jews are NOT, in terms of strict definition of the term, Jews at all.
The term ”Jew,” actually a later comer to the Old Testament, originally meant one who can genuinely claim genetic descent from Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. It is Hebrew, the word is “Yhadi,” meaning “of Judah.” Later, it was a kind of a slang word given the whole people because the tribe of Judah was the largest numerical tribe among them.
The true people of Judah were a numerous part of the ancient, twelve-tribed Israelites. As you and I know, the name “Israel” means those who belong to God. It was given to them as a reward won from a wrestling match between Jacob and Christ to shore up Jacob’s faith in the wisdom of God. In time, the Israelites divided into two kingdoms. The southern one was called the “Kingdom of Judah,” and the region it occupied, “Judea.” All of its inhabitants, of whatever tribe, were often called Judeans, and in time “Jews.” As time passed, the Northern Kingdom was taken into captivity and scattered to the north and west somewhere around 700 B.C..
The Kingdom of Judah was later taken to Babylon in 586 B.C , where many stayed and never returned to their homeland. Seventy years later a remnant returned, and gradually, with much struggle, regained its status of nationhood. Unfortunately, the religion they returned with had picked up many pagan elements while in Babylon, this gradually evolved into a system of oral teachings that Scripture condemns as the “traditions of the elders.” Matthew 15:2-3 This “good ole boy” religion was what Christ found when He came to dwell in the flesh and bring the Church of Christ into existence. One could just imagine He who was the author of Judaism and the struggles He had to go through when He “came unto His own and His own received Him not.” John 1:12 When the life of Christ is studied, and one does not see the immediate problem which our Lord faced when He came in physical flesh, they cannot see the immediate differences which He taught and that taught by the scribes and elders. There is something else often overlooked in this study. When Jesus referred to the Jews He always told them they were not the people of God!! It rightfully angered them. When He referred to the Temple of God, He was referring to something they no right to occupy and since they could not be blessed as the “people of God” Christ called them children of Satan. John 8:44.
When some of the Jews returned to their homeland they had no prophet from God, no wise man, nor any credible written law they could follow, so, they made up their own. At this juncture in history, an unusual development occurred that muddled the meaning of the words Judah, Judean, and Jew. Int the second century before Christ, a dynamic priest-king of Judah, John Hyrcanus of the Hasmonean dynasty, conquered the people directly to the south of Judah, the Edomites. These people were also known by the appellation Idumean.
The Idumeans were descended from Esau. Jacob-Israel’s twin brother, Genesis 36:8, married a woman named Adah, a Hittite, thus destroying forever the pure genetic pedigree of his descendants. For this, Esau essentially was disinherited. Rebecca, Esau’s mother, was told by God that Esau would serve Jacob before their birth. She was the only human being alive who had this knowledge. When it came time for Isaac to “bless” his sons, his inheritance from Abraham, she had to act. Genesis 25:23