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!!

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