Skip to comments.Who Is a True Jew?
Posted on 10/19/2011 2:40:04 PM PDT by GiovannaNicoletta
Q. In the Old Testament, the terms "Israel," "Jacob," and "Jew" all seem to clearly be applied to the grandson of Abraham, the son of Isaac, the man Jacob and his physical descendants (Gen. 32:28; 35:10). But in the New Testament, the terms "Israel" and "Jew" are used in passages which are more difficult to understand which some interpret as teaching that faithful Gentiles are described as "Israel" or "true Jews" (e.g., Rom. 2:28-29; 9:4; Gal. 6:16). Can you shed some light on this?
A. I believe that much of the confusion concerning the use of the term Israel in the New Testament - and especially whether it refers to believing Gentiles - can be cleared away by recognizing that although, consistent with its use in the Old Testament, the term always denotes those who are physical descendants of the man Jacob, there are also passages where the writer desires to call attention to a subset from within the physical descendants of Jacob who also share the faith of father Abraham. Here are some principles to consider when reading such passages:
Who Is a True Jew?
A key distinction which must be kept in mind is to notice that the New Testament never refers to Gentile believers as the seed of Isaac or children of Jacob. Instead, those who are of faith are sons of Abraham (Gal 3:7-9,29). This is because we Gentiles who believe participate in the unconditional promise which God gave to Abraham, In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Gen. 12:3 cf. Gal. 3:8). The way in which the Gentiles participate in this promise is through their identification with Abrahams descendant Jesus, having believed upon Him by faith. Instead of being sons of Isaac or sons of Jacob, our relationship as Gentiles to the New Covenant covenant goes back to its very source in the promises given to Abraham who is called the father of all those who believe (Rom. 4:11) - both believing Jews and believing Gentiles (Luke 19:9; Rom. 4:11-18). This is the root of the cultivated olive tree into which believing Gentiles have been grafted and unbelieving Jews have been cut off (Rom. 11:16-18). 
After warning the church of Philippi concerning unbelieving Jews, where Paul is emphasizing that true circumcision is of the heart, the most he will say is we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Thus Paul contrasts spiritual circumcision of the heart by faith with physical circumcision, an external rite which in and of itself does not produce saving faith. If there was ever a passage where Paul could clearly redefine Israel to mean believing Gentiles this is it, yet he does not go that far. Even here, Paul is not really teaching anything new because this theme is strongly taught within the Old Testament (e.g., Deu. 10:16; 30:6; Ps. 119:70; Jer. 4:4; 9:26; Eze. 36:26; 44:7).
I hope this helps to clarify the way in which the New Testament addresses the issue of physical descendants of Israel verses Gentiles who are children of Abraham by faith - but still Gentiles (Gal. 2:12,14; Eph. 3:6).
 Concerning the believing remnant, see 1Ki 19:18; 2Ki 19:4; 2Ki 19:30; 2Ki 21:14; 2Ki 25:22; Ezr 9:8; Ezr 9:15; Isa 1:9; Isa 6:13; Isa 7:3; Isa 10:20-22; Isa 28:5; Isa 37:4; Isa 37:31-32; Isa 46:3; Isa 59:21; Isa 65:8; Jer 5:10; Jer 5:18; Jer 23:3; Jer 44:28; Jer 50:20; Eze 5:3; Eze 5:12; Eze 6:8-10; Eze 9:8; Eze 9:11; Eze 11:13-16; Eze 12:6; Eze 14:22; Joe 2:32; Mic 2:12; Mic 5:7-8; Mic 7:18; Zec 11:10; Zec 13:8-9; Ro 9:6; Ro 9:27; Ro 11:5; Ro 11:17; Ro 11:25; Ga 6:16; 1Pe 1:1; Re 12:17
 A common error in interpreting this passage is to mistake the cultivated olive tree with its root as denoting Israel such that believing Gentiles are joined to Israel. But the root concerns the promises made to Abraham as the father of the faithful. Also, unbelieving Jews who are called Israel in this passage are broken off from the tree with its root. Thus, the tree and its root cannot be Israel.
How about letting True Jews say who is a True Jew?
A True Jew is a Jew who is A) Born of a Jewish Mother and B) Holds fast to the Torah, writings and prophets, passed down from Moses to now.
Gentile Christians should not hold fast to being the seed of Abraham but Noah. Noah was given a covenant for all mankind. Abraham, Issac and Jacob etc...were given the covenant for Jews.
This is hilarious. A protestant prophwxy blog derining “Jew”
No true Jew would take this idiocy seriously.
I understand that there will be many who have a problem with that, Scripture being optional and all, but there it is.
It'll be interesting to see if anyone actually is able to Biblically dispute the article.
What will be even funnier is the contortions some people will twist themselves into trying to deny all the Scripture that was provided to support what the writer is saying without being able to give Scripture to support their own position.
Seriously? Piece of cake...give me a few minutes.
I'll be interested to read what you have to say, but unless it includes what the New Testament has to say on the matter, we probably won't come to any sort of understanding.
blah blah blah. True Jews my Aunt Fanny. Any true Jew in my family would laugh in your face at the ignorance you post.
Can you refute the article with Scripture? That's the only thing that counts. Can you do it?
“Excellent, educational, enlightening”..
Insightful, illuminating, informative..
And the diagram!!!!!!!
A perfect manifestation of the reason why we are all here at FreeRepublic,
I must say
According to Genesis, a true Jew is anyone who is descended from the tribe of Judah. Everyone else from the other tribes are israelites.
Thanks for posting this. Gentiles are NEVER going to be Jews. Not literally, not spiritually. As much as some would like to believe they are spiritual Israel, they fool themselves. God made no covenants of promise with us. That is why the dispensation of the grace of God is so wonderful. His offer of reconciliation through the finished work of Christ took down the middle wall of partition that separated Jews from Gentiles. And declared us equal before Him. But this time isn’t forever. It will come to an end. And the middle wall of partition will be back up. God will once again be dealing with Israel as a Nation, the promises He made to them will be fulfilled, and Gentiles will be blessed through Israel, just as God promised Abraham.
I've never seen the Scripture about this laid out so well and in such detail until this article. It really solves the issue of exactly who is a Jew - the fact that there is a physical Israel that has a future in the plans of God and living descendents of Abraham with the necessary DNA for Jewishness and Gentiles are nowhere to be found in that mix.
St. Paul insists on his being of the tribe of Benjamin, but I think he may sometimes include himself among "the Jews." St. Luke has him doing so in a speech at Acts 21.39 and 22.3.
why do you keep denying Scripture?
For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal. His praise is not from men but from God.
why do you keep denying Scripture?
The author says Paul was part of true Israel beacuse he is of Jacob and the faith of Abraham? False!
Deut 12 :32 Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.
Deut 4:5 See, I have taught you statutes and judgments (F)just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. 6 So keep and do them, (G)for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 7 For (H)what great nation is there that has a god (I)so near to it as is the LORD our God (J)whenever we call on Him? 8 Or what great nation is there that has (K)statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?
9 Only (L)give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart (M)all the days of your life; but (N)make them known to your sons and your grandsons.
Did Paul take away from the law? Yes. Did Paul teach the law as paseed down from Father to son? No! Therefore he was NOT of the faith of Abraham, of whom G-d said:
I will establish the oath which I swore to your (Issacs) father Abraham.5 because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.
Did Paul teach the law, statutes and commandments? No! Paul is NOT of the faith of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Nor did the Jews of that time reject the faith of Abraham by rejecting Jesus. NEVER does the OT EVER say that there must be "faith" in a messiah or you are not saved. NEVER.
The author is repeating the same tragic misunderstanding of scripture that Abraham was "saved" by faith. That is just nonsense. Abraham believed in G-d PROMISE...not in G-d Himself...and that what was recognized as righteousness. Abraham had long ago had "faith" in G-d and left his fathers house! By the time he had "believed" in G-ds promise he had already built 2...2! sacrifical altars! Why? And did G-d affirm his covenant to Isaac because of Abrahams faith? NO!!!!!! because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws. Not faith! He kept the law!
So it is the "unbelieving" Torah Jews, who have kept the law for 3500 years...passed down from father to son, who are of the faith of Abraham not the gentiles or "believing Jews".
More? In the messianic era, what is taking place?
Isaiah 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Jer 16: 19O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
Ezek 44: 7In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
8And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
9Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger (Gentile), uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.
Zechariah 8:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'
So, what do we see here? A) The nations will stream to Zion, to Jerusalem, to LEARN THE LAW. B)The Gentiles shall come from all over the earth to Israel. Why? Because they have inherited lies! C) When the 3rd temple is built, even the gentiles MUST be circumsized spiritually AND physically to be in G-ds Sanctuary. What? Paul says that circumcision is bad! But Circumcision is still very much a part of life in the messianic era? How can that be? Paul is wrong.
The Gentiles come to Israel to learn the LAW. They acknowlege they have inherited lies. They must be circumsized to enter G-ds house. It will be world wide.
Do the Jews ever come to some other faith? No The nations abandon their false faith.
A protestant prophwxy blog derining Jew
An obsession of a certain school of interpretation.
No true Jew would take this idiocy seriously.
I suspect you are correct.
"But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. "
"They answered him, 'Abraham is our father.' Jesus said to them, If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing what Abraham did, ...You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.' "
English Standard Version (ESV)
21So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
please note, Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews of His day, they would die in their sins unless you believe I AM HE.