Who is Jewish? It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? But it’s not! There is more than one basis for being called Jewish.
1. The first basis is ETHNICITY. People who have Jewish parents are referred to as Jewish. Regardless of their religious beliefs or practices, this group of people are still considered Jewish because they are ethnic Jews.
2. The second basis is RELIGION. Ethnic Jews who practice the religion known as Judaism are called Jewish. However, any person who can convert to Judaism and will then be referred to as a Jew.
In Genesis 12:2, the Lord said to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” Today, it’s easy for us to see that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham! Abraham’s descendants can be found anywhere in the world including the great nation of Israel. God always keeps His promises because He is faithful.
With over 300 prophecies about the coming Messiah pointing to Jesus, it may be hard to understand why Jewish people do not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Well, some Jewish people do accept Jesus as their Messiah and Savior. Jewish people practicing Jewish traditions that have accepted Jesus are called Messianic Jews.
Yet there are many more Jewish people who do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. Here are two major reasons why:
1. The first reason is CONTEXT. Jewish people think Christians take Messianic prophecies out of context. Christians argue the Bible passages that contain prophecy have a dual meaning.
2. The second reason is the JEWISH BIBLE. The Jewish translation of the Bible renders certain passages differently. For instance, Christian Bible state Immanuel will be born to a virgin in Isaiah 7:14. In the Jewish Bible, it simply says Immanuel will be born to a young woman.
There are whole books written on the subject, and the many words written do not apply to every Jewish person. However, I hope this blog has helped a little to unravel the mystery of why Jewish people are still waiting for their Messiah while the rest of us are waiting for His return!
In the Bible, we read God promised a chosen nation to Jacob’s descendants including the Promised Land of Israel. We know one major reason God set this nation apart was to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to bring non-Jews into a reconciled relationship to God. Now that Jesus Christ accomplished His Father’s will, does it nullify God’s promise to Abraham’s descendants? Should Israel belong to the Jewish people in modern day times?
The belief that Israel should belong to the Jewish people is called Zionism. Many Christians support Zionism because they believe the book of Romans confirms the original promise stated in Genesis 12. Many Jewish people support Zionism because they have a continued faith God’s promise to them, which is stated in the Jewish Bible. Even people who do not believe in the Bible at all may support Zionism for political or other reasons.
What do you think? I see the existence of Israel as a miracle and a reminder that God has not forsaken us. As Christians, we know for certain God will one day call us to our own spiritual Promised Land in heaven where we can reside forever with Him.
If you are not a Christian, it is easy to become one with simple heartfelt prayer: Dear Lord, I believe your Son Jesus is the Messiah who washed my sin away with his suffering and death on the cross. I believe he was raised up from the dead. His blood guarantees me a place in heaven. I accept the gift of salvation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
If you prayed that heartfelt prayer, you are now an heir of God. Congratulations! Click here to read a poem on our spiritual Promised Land in heaven.
© 2015 Kim Bond
Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!