Who Are the Jews? Defining Judaism Part 6

Israel is the name God gave part of Abraham’s seed, but not all. Abraham, after Sarah graduated, married again and fathered seven more children. Genesis 25:1-6 Nothing much is ever said about the sons and daughters of Abraham and Keturah. It is though in the minds of the world they did not and do not exist, yet they did. Of the sons of Abraham that get the status of important, the sons of Isaac were two, Esau and Jacob, while his first-born was Ishmael by Hagar.
As a group, Abraham’s sons by Sarah are the parents of our Lord Jesus Christ. They became known as the 12 tribes and that part of Abraham’s seed that gained the name, Israel. As a name, Israel is defined as God prevails. Everyone likes this name but when we follow the record of history, this was the name of the descendants and the nation of the descendants that composed the northern kingdom consisting of the 10 tribes under Jeroboam. The southern kingdom was known as Judah and it retained its independence for approximately 135 years after Assyria conquered the northern kingdom and took its leading citizens into captivity. Everyone seems satisfied with the position of the pre-millenial denominational churches and seems to throw in the towel on other verses of scripture that seems to “muddy their waters.” In Esther 8:17 there occurs something very troubling. “In every province and city, wherever the king’s decree and command came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.” Where is the ancestral record? Who fathered these people? This is like taking in 100,000 Syrians into this country and thinking they will not affect our nation. Who are they, what do they believe, and what effect will their false religion have over our people???
Soon after the conversions described in Esther, Alexander the Great conquests established a common Hellenistic culture around the Mediterranean, exposing pagans to Jewish religion and lifestyle. Judaism became a vibrant missionary faith. Many thousands of Gentiles became God-fearers and converts. We have proof that the highest ranking Generals in the Roman army were believers BEFORE they heard of Christ. It was a death sentence for them to believe anything not taught in Rome. During the third and second centuries B C, a group of Greek-speaking Hebrew scholars in Alexandria translated the Old Testament into Greek called the Septuagint so that it could be available in the common language of commerce and culture. Philo and other Jewish apologists strove to explain Israel’s faith to the Gentile world. They wrote inter-testament books—including those in the Apocrypha—that described the superiority of their god. The proselytizing zeal of the Jews was still strong during Jesus ministry. Most Gentiles who converted to Judaism did so because Israel’s God offered both a superior way of life and the hope of resurrection. Some, like the Edomites and Idumeans, were forcibly converted by Jewish rulers. There were about 6 million Jews throughout the Roman Empire when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, of whom a large proportion were converts or descendants of converts who came from Babylonia. Regardless of their pedigree, all Jews identified with the symbols and story of Israel and hoped that Messiah would come to initiate the longed-for days of blessing and restoration. But when He appeared, many didn’t accept Him. John 1:10-14 Two thousand years have brought significant religious and demographic changes to non-Christian people who identify with the Hebrew tradition. Majority of the Jews in the Roman Empire probably converted to Christianity during the first five centuries following the official Jewish expulsion from synagogue worship. It is a common misunderstanding that following the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in the Jewish-Roman wars of AD 70 and AD 135 that the Jews were driven from their land and soil. Jews were farmers, people of the land AND DID NOT DISBURSE!! Just who or what is a Jew?

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