Learn the Difference Between Israelites and Jews

Would it be alright if we can all just start referring to the Muslims as “Jews”. After all, aren’t they all from the same family / heritage as the Jewish people. Are they not mostly descended from Abraham just as the Jews are?  Obviously you can’t just call everyone by the same name just because they are related in some way or another.

How about this?  Try swapping the terms ‘Texas’ and ‘America’ for a week.  Every time you would use the word “United States” or “America” or “Virginia” or any other state, say “Texas” or “Texan” instead.  See how quickly people lose the ability to keep track of what you are even talking about.  Very soon, with this kind of abstract jumbled talk and thinking, the history and understanding of the American people would be lost and difficult to recover.  A person who considered Texas and the United States as one and the same would completely misunderstand a history book of America.

This is the same reason so many people have so much trouble following (with understanding) the Old Testament and some of the New Testament as well.  “Israelites” are not synonymous with “Jews”.  Whenever most teachers discuss or even refer to the “Jews” of the Old Testament they are nearly always making these same exact sort of misapplied generalizations for God’s chosen people and their identities.

Take for example the riddle posed to the house of Israel in Ezekiel 17 where the Jews of Jerusalem (the final holdouts of the house of Judah) are being sent into captivity in Babylon.  How can you make sense of the closing verses of that chapter if Israel is one and the same as the Jews who were being taken into captivity?

Eze 17:22-24  Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:  23  In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.  2And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.

This is a good example of how confusing it is to misidentify or distinguish the difference between Zion, Jerusalem, Israel, Samaria, Jews, Judah, Joseph, Ephraim, Jacob, house of Israel, house of Judah… etc by simply calling them all Jews.

Or, how about in 2 Kings16:5-6 where the house of Israel is going to war with the Jews (house of Judah)?

2Ki 16:5-6  Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 6  At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.

I could give plenty of other examples here but if you care to look into this further you’ll probably do that on your own anyway.  The important thing is that people begin to discriminate between the different terminologies concerning the people of Israel and their appearances in Biblical history and prophecy.  If you have an interest, then hopefully you will undertake the opportunity soon in your life to expose yourself to the enlightening power of our Father and His Word and Spirit.

If you’re satisfied to misunderstand the Bible then keep making the comparable confusion of terms like those mentioned in the examples above.  But for me, it’s already difficult enough that we have to defend against the misnderstandings and interpretations of scripture over the centuries by the meddling of organizations which are not being spiritually led.  But to add on top of that the shuffling of terms and concepts makes understanding the Bible all the more difficult for anyone who has been exposed to such babblings.  Is it any wonder that so many people do not understand or read the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Having been steeped in years of misinformation and presumptions, it’s difficult to gain an interest in resolving the questions concerning the Bible, let alone reverse the damage to our foundation done by the many years of the misapplication of the terms.

Understanding the context of the usages of these names is obviously necessary to gain proper intention of the meanings.  I hope you will look into them yourself to verify anything you question.  The following is a few examples in the usage (actual and symbolic) of several of these terms as objectively as I am currently able to understand them.

Israel

  • the name given to Jacob by God – Gen 35:10, Gen 43:6
  • the name as applied to Jacob and all of his descendants – Jdg 1:28 , note in Isa 8:14 that God refers to both houses of Israel.
  • the 10 northern tribes of Israel after the split of the kingdom – 2 Kings16:5

Jacob

  • the patriarch Jacob who was renamed Israel – Gen 32:28
  • Jacob and his descendants – Isa 58:1 , Jer 31:7

house of Israel

  • the 10 northern tribes (Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun , Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph[Ephraim, Manasseh] )Jer 3:18 , Eze 37:16
  • occasionally all of the tribes of Israel – Exo 16:31

house of Judah

  • the southern tribes of Israel after the split of the kingdom (Judah, Levi, Benjamin)1Ki 12:21, Jer 5:11, Zec 8:15

Ephraim

  • the secondborn son of Joseph  Gen 48:13-14
  • the 10 northern tribes – Jer 31:20, Eze 37:16, Hos 6:4, Zec 9:13
  • the tribe of Ephraim (Joseph’s second son)Eze 37:16, Gen 48:14, Jer 31:9

Joseph

  • the favored son of Jacob – Gen 49:22-26, 1Ch 5:1, 1Ch 5:2
  • the 10 northern tribes – Eze 37:16, Amo 5:15?, Zec 10:6?
  • the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh – Eze 47:13, Gen 49:22-26 (The story in Gen 48 makes it clear that Joseph’s children Ephraim and Manasseh are the recipients of this blessing)

Samaria

  • the capitol of the house of Israel – 1Ki 16:29
  • the 10 northern tribes – 1Ki 18:2
  • don’t confuse Samaria of the Old Testament with the Samaria and Samaritans of the New Testament.  The Samaritans of Jesus day were largely the descendants of peoples transplanted into the land by the Assyrians many years before when the Israelites were taken into captivity out of the land. – 2Ki 17:6, 2Ki 17:23  See the Three Separate Captivities of Israel for more on this subject.

Judah

  • the fourth son of Jacob – Gen 49:8-12
  • the southern tribes of Israel after the split of the kingdom – 2Ch 25:26, Jer 13:19

Jerusalem

  • the capitol of the kingdom of Israel
  • the capitol of the southern kingdom of Israel
  • the southern kingdom of Israel?
  • that part of the house of Judah which remained uncaptured by Sennacherib(2Kings 18, Isaiah 36, Jer 13:19) , Zec 1:19
  • symbolic of the Jews who have not accepted Christ? – Mat 23:37

Jews

  • the people of the house of Judah (southern kingdom of Israel) and their descendants
  • the remnant of ‘Jerusalem’ which was taken into Babylonian captivity and afterward return to Judaea
  • those who claim to be of the house of Judah

Zion – a word which means basically a waymark, portent, reliable guidepost (symbolic of Christ, Truth)

  • a mountain just to the southwest of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and thought to be the location of the fortress of King David
  • symbolic of the body of Christ
  • in a sense, the house of Israel which accepts Christ as their King and Savior (the true Christians)  Matt 21:4-5

These terms are often used to indicate the 10 northern tribes of Israel which were the result of the splitting of the kingdom after the death of Solomon: house of Israel, Ephraim, Joseph, Israel, and Samaria (don’t confuse the usage of Samaria in the Old Testament with Samaria or the Samaritans of the New Testament who were actually imported into the region of Samaria after the Assyrian conquest of Samaria (house of Israel)).

These terms are often used to indicate the 3 southern tribes of Israel which were the result of the splitting of the kingdom after the death of Solomon: house of Judah, Judah, Jerusalem, Jews, Judaea, sometimes house of David* (this is usually meant to indicate the actual ruling descendants of David rather than a reference to the house of Judah).

None of this is secret knowledge, but you will have to read the Bible to verify it for yourself.  And you will almost surely need to start from the beginning and read it in order (at least once) with comprehension of everything that is being said.  Pay attention to what you are reading or else you will miss a whole world full of valuable information that you might otherwise read right over.  There is all the difference in the world between studying the Bible and reading the Bible.

For example:
Gen 1:7  And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
I have read right over that many times and completely miss that fact that according the Bible there were waters above the firmament.  I’ve looked and I haven’t seen any waters up there.  Surely NASA would have told us if they had encountered any up there.  The Bible doesn’t say that it was clouds and besides, there is no Biblical record of rainfall (or rainbows) prior to the flood.

These are the types of oversights that occur when the objective is to read the Bible rather than to understand the Bible.

Just to give a feel for what I am talking about, consider this example as well:
Gen 1:3  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Again, I’ve read over that verse many times without catching the fact that the appearance of light (illumination) was incidental with God’s first spoken Words. Isn’t it interesting that the apparent remedy for the darkness and confusion of the previous verse is addressed by ‘confusion eliminating’ and ‘darkness eliminating’ properties of Light and Truth?

Are you interested in Gods Word?  Start by prayer and reading it.  Are you interested in finding Truth in this world?  This is a spiritual world.  You do have a spiritual Father.  You can speak to Him and you can seek His help.  It starts by taking action (which is a primary component of Faith).

For the love of Truth, quit confusing it.

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