Who Are the Jews? Defining Judaism Part 8

Israel is the name God gave Jacob on the night he wrestled with the Angel. Genesis 32:28 As a group, his sons along with the 12 tribes that descended from them inherited the name. Although Israel always accepted proselytes, it was at first largely made up of people physically descended from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Eventually, the term “Israelite” was replace by the term “Jew,” (Yahudi), derived from the kingdom of Judah (Yahuda), the southern Israelite kingdom that retained its independence for approximately 135 years after the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom and took its leading citizens into captivity.
After the fall of the kingdom of Judah, Judaism (the Israelite religion) continued to be open to Gentile converts. The book of Esther mentions this and other references. During the third and second centuries BC, a group of Greek-speaking Hebrew scholars in Alexandria translated the Bible into Greek (Septuagint) so that it could be available in the common language of commerce and culture. Many apologies were written attempting to explain Israel’s faith. Tongues had ceased and the only communication from God to the world was through the translation of the writings of His Apostles. Many thousands of Gentiles who were converted to Judaism because Israel’s God offered a superior way of life and hope of resurrection. They wrote intertestamental books—including those in the Apocrypha, that described the superiority of their God. Some like the Edomites and Idumeans, were forcibly converted by Jewish rulers. There were about six million Jews throughout the Roman Empire when Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem of Judea, of whom a large proportion were returnees. When Christ appeared, many didn’t accept Him. John 1:10-14. Despite their pedigree, all Jews identified with the symbols and story of Israel and hoped that Messiah would come and initiate the longed-for days of blessing and restoration. When He came, they didn’t know Him!!
To argue that after the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus and the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt, Jews altogether ceased to cultivate the land or Eretz (sand) of Israel is to demonstrate complete lack of understanding of these people. The Jewish farmer was not easily torn from his soil, which had been watered with the blood and sweat of his forebears. Despite depression and suffering, the rural population and people who lived there remained unchanged.
The Arabic-speaking Palestinian peasant is not a descendant of the Arab conqueror (Muslim) who captured Israel and Syria in the seventh century CE. The Arab conqueror did not destroy the agricultural population they found in the country. They expelled only the alien Byzantine rulers, and did not touch the local population nor did the Arabs go in for settlement. Even in their own homeland, the Arabians did not engage in farming. These Arabs did not seek new lands to settle their peasantry. Their interest was political, religious and material. They wanted to propagate Islam and to collect tax monies. The myth or romantic tale that the dominant group of modern Jews are uniquely the descendants of Abraham creates a tribal idolatry.
Although today’s Jews identify with Israel of the Old Testament, they are not uniquely the descendants of the patriarchs, and their rejection of Jesus has locked their focus on the tribal aspects of the Old Testament tradition while distancing themselves from the universal message of the Old Testament prophet. They have not “rights” to demand or “rights” to return in a genetic sense, displace or drive out its current inhabitants to establish a Jewish state. God gave them this land, once, now He owes them nothing!! I will prove the Jew and the Palestinean are really the same people!!

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