WORDS OF FAITH
“… nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine …”
1 Tim. 4:6
Central Church of Christ Naples, FL
November 07, 2010
Who are Hebrews, Israelites, Jews and Gentiles?
(Gen. 14:13; Josh 13:6; Jer. 34:9; 1 Kings 8:41-43)
Those of the children of Israel who were in captivity in
Babylon and later in Persia (this included those remaining from the
captivity by Assyria, 721 B.C.) were called collectively by the
term, “Jew.” The following verses are typical (emphasis mine):
1. “Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up
from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad
city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations” (Ezr. 4:12).
2. “That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain
men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped,
which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem” (Neh. 1:2).
3. “And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone;
for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore
Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the
whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai” (Est. 3:6).
4. “Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near,
and accused the Jews” (Dan. 3:8).
Since Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Daniel are books concerning
the captivity, all of the above verses contain terms that were employed to
designate those of the people of Israel in captivity;
whether they were of the kingdoms of Judah or Israel.
The term “Jew” was used to describe Israel as a whole
throughout the remainder of the Old Testament. But how were the
Israelites described in the New Testament as pertains to the word
“Jew”? Much the same way (emphasis mine):
1. “So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this
saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day” (Matt. 28:15).
2. “And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the
Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant” (Luke 7:3).
3. “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem” (John 2:13).
4. “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly
according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them
all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do
the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews” (Gal. 2:14).
The inspired Biblical penmen Matthew, (Mark also used the
term “Jew”), Luke, John, and Paul all used “Jew” to describe the
general populace of the children of Israel in the first century A.D.
“Jew” was used somewhat interchangeably with “Israel” or
“Israelite.” Notice how Paul uses the terms, “Hebrew,” “Israelite,”
and “Jew” in reference to himself (emphasis mine):
1. “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a
city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel,
and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the
fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day” (Acts 22:3).
2. “Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am
I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I” (2 Cor. 11:22).
Each designation has its own connotation because of its own
individual background, but all three terms were used to describe
one and the same person and one and the same people. - John
Passages to Ponder
“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort
you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk
and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (1 Thess. 4:1)