Notes on Terminology
||There is raging
debate among the Jewish community as to exactly "who is a Jew." Is being
a Jew a matter of nationality? Ethnicity? Religion? Does being a Jew mean
being a part of "Israel" in the sense of being a part of God's people? In
considering this question, the following definitions must be kept in mind:
Semitic people descended, like the Arabs, from Noah's son, Shem, whence comes
the word "Semite"
of Abraham through his grandson, Jacob, whose name was changed to "Israel,"
and those who entered into their covenant with God. The Israelites were divided
into 12 Tribes, each first led by one of Jacob's 12 sons: Reuben, Gad, Aser,
Judah, Nephthalim, Simeon, Levi (the priestly tribe), Issachar, Zabulon,
Joseph (Manasses, Ephraim), Dan, and Benjamin (the Tribe of Paul).
was a member of
the Tribe of of Judah, or
lived in Judea
I.e., all members
of the Tribe of Judah were Israelites, but not all Israelites were Judeans.
Not all who lived in Judea were practitioners of the Old Testament religion
or were of the Tribe of Judah. Judah is a subset of ancient Israel, not a
synonym for it.
the word "Judean" and today is used to describe any or all of the
below in most any combination:
per a religious
standard, anyone who practices Judaism (the modern name for Talmudism)
per the Talmud
other racist standards, such as Nazism, anyone whose mother is a Jew (which
begs the question)
per eretz Israel's
"Law of Return," someone whose mother is a Jew and who does not practice
a religion other than Judaism (i.e., a "Jew" can be an atheist and can still
be called a "Jew") or someone who converts to Judaism
after the Babylonian
Captivity: those of the blended House of Judah (members of the Tribes of
Juda, Levi, and Benjamin)
per the New Testament,
all Christians (Romans 2:28-29)
The people of God.
In Old Testament times, these were the Hebrews and converted "strangers"
(those of other nations) who honored the Covenant made through Abraham's
son, Jacob. It was after Jacob was renamed "Israel" that the faithful came
to be known as "Israelites."
In the Church age, it refers to all those who honor the New Covenant in Jesus
Christ. That line from Adam to Christ, the New Adam, is straight: the tree
of Israel is and will always be one tree, with some branches broken off and
some grafted in.
a political state
more properly and fully called "Eretz Israel," and whose inhabitants are
called "Israelis" -- most of whom are ethnic Jews, many of whom are not (note,
too, that not all Palestinians are Muslims; many are Christians, for example),
and most of whom do not practice Judaism (neither the Old Testament religion
nor Talmudism). After the Temple fell in 70 A.D., the land now known as Israel
was named by the Romans "Palestine."
inaccurately used to refer to the Old Testament religion based on Torah and
priestly authority (Malachi 2:7). After the Babylonian Captivity, Torah-based
religion practiced by the Israelite Tribe of Judah became Pharisaic Judaism,
which later became rabbinic Judaism, based in varying degrees on Torah
(230 A.D.) Originally Oral Law, but written down in 200 A.D.The Mishnah consists
11 tractates on crops, foods, and land-related regulations
12 tractates on the Sabbath and the liturgical year
7 tractates on marriage, divorce, and oaths
10 tractates on criminal and civil law
Things"): 11 tractates about sacrifices and the Temple
12 tractates about purity laws and rituals
or "Palestinian Talmud":
(ca 400-500 A.D.) Consists of sermons, Biblical commentary, parables,
Bavli or the
(compiled ca. 430-560 A.D.) Contains around half of the Mishnah and commentary
called Gemara (the word "Gemara" is often used interchangeably with "Talmud").
It is the Babylonian Talmud that is most often referred to when one speaks
of "the Talmud." This is the most important literature in modern Judaism,
even more important than Torah.
(codified ca early 14th c.) Claimed to be a part of Torah given to Adam,
the Kabbalah (the word means "tradition") is a mystical system that concerns
itself with the process of creation. Because of its esoteric, gnostic elitist
nature and its emphasis on magic, the conjuring of supernatural forces,
numerology, astrology, reincarnation, etc., watered-down Kabbalah has become
a trendy, New Age fashion.
True Kabbalah, however, is for initiates and is not supposed to be studied
until one is firmly grounded in basic Judaic principles (usually around the
age of 40 among the non-Hassidic). Parts of Kabbalah are in print (the Zohar
--"Book of Splendor"-- by Moses de Leon, for example), but other parts
are a matter of orally transmitted, deeply secret tradition. Kabbalah has
played a great role in the development of many diverse movements, including
Masonry, Rosicrucianism, Renaissance-era secular and Christian thought, Aleister
Crowley's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (and other Hermetic systems),
(12th c.) another compilation of Oral Law, like the Mishnah, but treated
with less authority and as a supplement, a practical guide to the
The rabbi is not
the equivalent of the Israelite priest, for they offer no sacrifices and
the Temple is no more. The equivalent of the Israelite priest is the Catholic
priest who is ordained after the order of Melchizedek and who re-presents
the once and for all Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.
the Central and Eastern European Jews. Most of the Eastern European Jews
are descended from the Turkish Kingdom of Khazaria (an area of land known
to the Greeks as "Scythia"; to the Church Fathers as "Magog"; and to moderns
as various Eastern European and Southern Russian States) which converted
to Judaism in the 8th and 9th centuries. The vast majority of modern Jews
fall into this category. The Jewish historian, Josephus, writes that the
people of this area descended genetically from Japheth, son of Noah and brother
of Shem, the father of the Semites. Shem's descendant, Eber, gave his name
to the Hebrews.)
Jews who settled in the Mediterranean area and are mostly associated with
Arab and Yemenite
Jews who descend from a Jewish kingdom in Yemen in the early Middle Ages
under the rule of Dhu Nuwas
African Jews who claim origin from the Tribe of Dan
Sect, begun in the 8th century, that rejects rabbinical authority
There are also
Jews of many "races," as it were, in other parts of Africa, China, India,
and other places.
Back to Dispensationalism,
Israel, the Church, and the