Bible Question:

I have several questions: 1) Why is it that our clergy persist in calling Abraham and Jesus Jews, when in fact Abraham's time was at least 1800 years before Christ? There were no Pharisees or Sadducees in the Old Testament; therefore, there was not Judaism. 2) Why do most of the clergy constantly refer to Jesus as a “Jew” when in fact the Bible is a Christian book and not a Jewish book? Note: If the Bible is Jewish, then we should also be Jewish. However, Jesus condemned the Jews, Pharisees, and Sadducees throughout the gospels. Why would He condemn Jews if He was one of them?

Bible Answer:

Abraham had two sons and they were named Isaac and Ishmael.

The sons of Abraham were Isaac and Ishmael. (NASB) 1 Chronicles 1:28

God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision which became a religious ritual of the Jews. The Jews trace their heritage from Abraham to Isaac and from Isaac to Jacob.

And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. (NASB) Acts 7:8

Jacob is also called Israel, since he is the father of the twelve patriarchs who are called: Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Joseph, Judah, Levi, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, and Zebulun (Exodus 1:2-5). These men are the ancient fathers of the twelve Jewish tribes. The Jews consider Abraham to be the founder of Judaism.

Abraham A Jew?

The Jews considered Abraham to be their father (Luke 1:73) and the founder of Judaism. Yet, Jacob’s sons were the actual fathers of the Jewish people. This means that since Jesus was a descendant of Judah, Jesus was a Jew physically. It is important to realize that a man or woman can be a Jew by birth and reject the Jewish faith – Judaism. Jesus was a Jew by birth.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were leaders in the Jewish religion. According to the ancient historian Josephus, they first appeared at the time of Jonathan, the high priest (900-700 B.C). They also appear in the book of Maccabbees (1 Macc 2:27f) at the time that Antiochus Epiphanes invaded Jerusalem (131 BC). While the Pharisees or Sadducees existed before the time of Jesus, it is important to note that Judaism traces its roots back to Abraham and not to the Pharisees or Sadducees. Therefore, Jesus was a Jew but not a religious Jew.

Jewish Book

The Jews hold only the Old Testament as sacred scripture while Christianity accepts both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus, a Jew by birth, attempted to teach the religious leaders that they did not understand what the Old Testament said about the Messiah. They did not realize that Jesus was their Messiah. Some of the religious leaders did believe Jesus but more did not.

Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue . . . (NASB) John 12:42

The New Testament is about the Messiah – the Christ.

Conclusion:

Jesus not only was born into this world to die for our sins so that He can forgive us, He came to correct the errors of the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus was both God and man. He was a Jew in outward appearance and God inwardly. Jesus was more interested in truth than in nationality or religious ideology. He was God! So Jesus condemned the religious leaders because they taught the people error.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life . . . (NASB) John 14:6 6

Jesus, the Christ, came to fulfill the Old Testament Law and prophets. He spoke the truth because He is truth. Jesus came to this earth to save all men and women, both Jews and Gentiles, from the penalty of their sins . Jesus was a Jew by God’s divine plan.