Who is a 'Jew'?
How does the Bible define a 'Jew'?
Who is a 'Jew'? In our current day the term ‘Jew’ is misleading. The term would most closely apply to those from the tribe of Judah, one of the 12 tribes, or to those of the Jewish faith. ‘Israel’ was the name given to YHWH’s people that he led out of Egypt. ‘Israel’, YHWH’s people, were once ruled by King Saul, King David, and King Solomon before the kingdom split; with 10 tribes going to the north and 2 tribes to the south. The northern tribes were referred to as the ‘House of Israel’; and the southern tribes were referred to as the ‘House of Judah’.
In the Book of Esther, after the Babylonian exile, there was a remnant of exiles that chose not to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the wall. The Medes and Persians were presently ruling that region. The people of the House of Judah were made up of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin; Levites; and remnants of the northern House of Israel. Also, at that time, there was a mixed multitude from the intermarriages with the nation people.
The word ‘Jew’ has been highly misused and can be a misleading term. The term ‘Jew’ more closely describes a religion and not a nation; even though some presently claim the state of Israel ‘a nation of the Jews.’ The current state named ‘Israel’ was man ordained. True Israel is born from above and is made up of believers from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
Merriam-Webster defines Jew as follows:
Jew noun \ ˈjü \ Definition of Jew
1 : a person belonging to a continuation through descent or conversion of the ancient Jewish people
2 : one whose religion is Judaism
3a : a member of the tribe of Judah
b : israelite
4 : a member of a nation existing in Palestine from the sixth century b.c. to the first century a.d.
First Known Use of Jew
13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a
History and Etymology for Jew
Middle English, from Anglo-French ju, jeu, from Latin Judaeus, from Greek Ioudaios, from Hebrew Yĕhūdhī, from Yĕhūdhāh Judah, Jewish kingdom
Many of those that did return to rebuild Jerusalem after Babylonian captivity, could no longer prove their genealogy. It is no different today and DNA tests are inconsequential. A more proper descriptive term would be Hebrew Israelite. But know this, all people must come by faith through Yahusha to be part of spiritual Israel; which is compiled of believers from both the natural branches and those grafted in through Yahusha HaMashiach, our Melchizedek High Priest.
For the Scriptures tell us:
Gal 3:28 There is not Yehuḏi nor Greek, there is not slave nor free, there is not male and female, for you are all one in Messiah יהושע.
Gal 3:29 And if you are of Messiah, then you are seed of Aḇraham, and heirs according to promise.
And Paul defines a ‘Jew’ or ‘Yehudi’ as follows:
Rom 2:28 For he is not a Yehuḏi who is so outwardly, neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
Rom 2:29 But a Yehuḏi is he who is so inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart,g in Spirit, not literally, whose praise is not from men but from Elohim. Footnote: g 1Co_7:19, Exo_19:5, Deu_10:12-16, Deu_30:6-8.
As far back as in Yahusha’s day and further, the term ‘Jew’ was being misused; therefore, Yahusha told us that the ‘Synagogue of Satan’ were those that ‘said they were Jews and were not.’
Paul further explains in Romans.
Rom 9:6 However, it is not as though the word of Elohim has failed. For they are not all Yisra’ěl who are of Yisra’ěl,a Footnote: aA play on words. See Explanatory Note on “Overcomers.”
Rom 9:7 neither are they all children because they are the seed of Aḇraham, but, “In Yitsḥaq your seed shall be called.” Gen_21:12.
Rom 9:8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Elohim, but the children of the promise are reckoned as the seed.
Therefore, believers should not be deceived by those elevating themselves with ‘claims’ of being ‘Jews’ or by Bible translations loosely using the term ‘Jew’; for in YHWH’s kingdom, there is neither Jew nor Greek; slave nor free; male nor female. The ONLY WAY a person can be set-apart to YHWH is through Yahusha HaMashiach, the Door. Yahusha is the only one that can identify the original tribes. The 12 tribes made up the natural branches. The promise to Abraham was fulfilled through Yahusha. He is our Melchizedek High Priest from the tribe of Judah. The Melchizedek Priesthood was restored to its reigning position through the New Covenant ratified by the blood of the Lamb.
We each must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; stay in Covenant Torah; love YHWH with all our hearts; and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Mat 22:37 And יהושע said to him, “ ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ Deu_6:5.
Mat 22:38 “This is the first and great command.
Mat 22:39 “And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ Lev_19:18.
Shalom and Blessings, Libby