The Jewish people are referred to by many different names in the Bible. They are called Israelites, Jews, Hebrews, children of Abraham, Daughter Zion, God’s chosen people, etc.

One of the most common names for the Jewish people in the Bible is “Israelites.” This title was used in the same sense that American citizens are referred to as “Americans.” The Israelites were citizens of Israel. However, the origin of the word Israel is found in connection with Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. After wrestling all night with an angel, Jacob was given the name “Israel,” meaning “one who wrestles with God.” Jacob’s descendants included 12 sons, who became the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel.

A second common name for the Jewish people is “Jews.” The word Jew comes from the term Judah, the leading tribe of Israel. A Jew was, literally, “one from the land of Judah,” although the word later came to be applied to any Israelite, regardless of the tribe to which he belonged. The first occurrence of the word Jew in the Old Testament is in Esther 2:5 where Mordecai is called “a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai”

Another common name for the Jewish people is “Hebrews.” The first mention of a “Hebrew” in the Bible is Genesis 14:13 where Abraham is called “Abram the Hebrew.” Many believe “Hebrew” in this context is related to Eber, an ancestor of Abraham mentioned in Genesis 11:14–16. Regardless of the term’s meaning, its original connection is with Abraham as founder of the Jewish people.

The Jewish people are also referred to as “sons of Abraham” or “children of Abraham.” The apostle Paul addressed the Jews in Antioch using this term in Acts 13:26 (see also Romans 9:7). “Children of Abraham,” highlights the relationship between Abraham and the Jewish people. Jesus and Paul both called upon the 0Jews not only to be children of Abraham by birth, but to imitate the faith of Abraham (John 8:39–40; Romans 4).

“Daughter Zion” is found in many prophetic books and is a poetic reference to the nation of Israel. Often, the passages containing “Daughter Zion” or “daughter of Zion” deal with the redemption and salvation of the remnant of Israel, especially in the context of the coming of the Messiah (Zephaniah 3:14; Lamentations 4:22; Micah 4:8; Zechariah 9:9; Isaiah 52:2).

In the Old Testament, “God’s chosen people” is another name for the Israelites (1 Kings 3:8; Isaiah 47:6; 65:9). This term underscores the fact that the Jews have had a special purpose and calling, from the time of Abraham to the time of the Messiah, and they will again figure into God’s plan for the future.

“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”Deuteronomy 7:6

In short, there is no way to become an Israelite outside of birth, regardless of any adoption of the culture, beliefs or geographic location. The most important aspect for those who are NOT born Jews is the acceptance of Jesus the Christ. This places all people in the same family of God regardless of birthright. Jesus opens salvation to all who believe regardless of birthright.

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:20–24

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.” 1 Corinthians 12:12–14

“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” Romans 10:12

God promised a blessing to all the people of the world through the descendants of Abraham (Genesis 12:1–3). Jesus the Christ, of the tribe of Judah, was born in Bethlehem and resided in Nazareth of Galilee. In Him, if you can receive it, we have all been blessed.



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Tony — Antonakis Maritis

Tony is an Executive Consultant for Research on Biblical Antiquities for and is published by WIPF and Stock Publishers, Amazon and Barnes & Noble