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Jews in the New Testament

Reader comment on item: "Godless Saracens Threatening Destruction":
in response to reader comment: Explanation of the Holy One of Israel - In Hebrew Terms or Greek?

Submitted by Anne Julienne (Australia), Dec 9, 2020 at 17:28

The New Testament was written (mainly) in Greek and the word that appears in the original John 4:22 is Ἰουδαίων or Ioudaiōn. This could be understood to mean simply "people of Judea" or "people of the Judaic faith". By the time this was translated into English (1611 for KJV), the word "Jews" was used. This has created confusion and no doubt misunderstanding between us. By the time of that later date, the word "Jews" did not refer simply to the land of Judea or the Judaic faith. It had come to refer to those people of the Judaic faith who had rejected the fuller salvation promised by Jesus.

That rejectionism was a critical part of the meaning of the word "Jew". This was not the case at the time that John 4:22 was written. It's true that Jesus believed he was fulfilling or completing his native Judaism but the vast majority of Judeans did not see things that way. All true Jews today do not agree with Jesus on this matter, otherwise they'd be Christians. (I know there are Messianic Jews and celebrities like Bob Dylan who complicate these matters but broadly speaking a Jew is not a Christian.)

Where you and I are at odds is over this confused and confusing definition of what it is to be a Jew. In my view, a Jew is a person who has not converted to Christianity. It seems to me - this is how you come across to me - that you view Jews as people ripe and ready to transform themselves into Christians, ripe and ready to make what to you is the logical leap of faith. To me, this is a means of effecting the conversion, of Christianising Jews, of waiting in anticipation of what is sure to follow. It is that waiting, that expectation, that, to me, causes your sense of a brotherhood with Jews to fall short of Jesus' teachings on love.

Jesus asked that we love our enemies and Jews are precisely His own enemies. Every Jew who has not (yet) converted is an enemy of Jesus. Most Jews are polite about this. They don't spit on his image, they don't portray Christians as Satanic. But, deep in their souls, they have said "no" and are sticking to it. And this is what a good Christian should love about the Jew.

I hope this additional clarification is helpful.

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