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All Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews!


Abraham was called 'A Hebrew' (Gen.14:13)



This subject is a difficult one to understand by many people. There were no Jewish people before Jacob's son Judah, they all stemmed from him, as the names "Jew" "Judah" imply. Also, today, we think that the Jewish people are all Israel, forgetting that unlike the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who returned under Ezra and Nehemiah from Babylon, there are multitudes of the other Tribes who never returned to Israel after the deportations to Assyria (read "Israel the beloved"). Thus, not all Israelites are Jews, but all Jews are Israelites!

Abraham was not Jewish, although of course he was the founder of the Jewish nation and of the faith of all Israel. He is called, as we read in Genesis 14:13 "An Hebrew" Oxford dictionary: ‘Hebrew’ = ‘One of the Hebrew people’ ‘Hebrew’ = A descendent of Eber (Strongs 5680 Ibriy (Ib-ree) from 5677) 'Eber'= ‘Set apart' (or, Ay-ber) from 5674 (Abar) = 'A descendent of Shem'

Gen. 49, 8-12. Jacob had 12 sons, and from them stemmed the 12 Tribes. They were all Israelites, Each tribe bore the name of the son from whom they came. i.e. the Tribe of Dan came from Dan the son of Jacob, the tribe of Isaachar came from Isaachar another of the sons of Jacob, and so on until we come to Jacob's son, Judah. The descendents of this tribe became known as the 'Jews.' Yahshua came from this tribe so was of course, a Jew.

The term "Jew" is derived therefore, from the name of Jacob's fourth son, Judah, named Yehudah, in Hebrew. So, the term 'Jew' or 'Jewish' simply means, of the Tribe of Judah. The other descendents from the eleven other sons are therefore not Jews. After the death of David's son, King Solomon, a civil dispute split the twelve tribes of Israel into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Judah in the south, which included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (and some Levites and priests) and was centered around the capital Jerusalem and the Holy Temple; and the northern Kingdom of Israel, which included the other ten tribes.
In the 5th century BCE, the Kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyrian King Sennaherib, and the ten tribes were exiled and lost. See "Israel the Beloved". The only remaining Israelites were the residents of the Kingdom of Judah, but somehow, the term "y'hudi" or "Jew" eventually came to refer to all Israelites, regardless of their tribal ancestry. With the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel (Samaria), the kingdom of Judah became the sole Jewish state and the term y'hudi was applied to all Israelites. When the word makes its first appearance in writing (in the book of Esther) its meaning has already expanded to include converts to the Jewish religion as well as descendants of Israelites.

A short history:


Abraham, not Jewish, but an Hebrew Gen. 14:13, ‘set apart.’
Abraham begat Isaac, not Jewish but Hebrew Gen. 21:1.
Isaac begat Jacob, not Jewish but Hebrew. Yahweh called him ‘Israel’. Gen. 32:1-30 and Hosea 12:1-5.

Jacob begat 12 sons Gen. 30.


Reuben, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Simeon, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Levi, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Judah, Jewish, and also Hebrew, from whom came the Jewish people, from whom Yahshua (Jesus) was descended, who also was Jewish.
Issachar, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite)
Zebulun, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Dan, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Gad, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Asher, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Naphtali, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Joseph, Israelite, but Hebrew (Israelite).
Benjamin, was not Jewish, but Hebrew (Israelite).

So, (as in title) All Jews are Hebrews, (Israelites) but not all Hebrews (Israelites) are Jews.

Now, in Exodus 2:1-10 we read of Moses, and that he was a descendent of Levi, so an Hebrew and Israelite (not Jewish) who later led all 12 Tribes out of Egypt.
In Numbers 13:8 we read of Joshua, a descendent of Joseph. Moses sent him and other leaders of the tribes to spy out the land of Canaan before entering it. In Num 13:16 we read "These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua" Joshua was later to be the man who led the whole of the 12 Tribes into the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.

When the 12 Tribes of Israel entered the land, they were ruled by Judges and Kings. Then, because of Solomon’s idolatries, Yahweh separated the tribes. 10 Tribes (1 Kings chapters 11 and 12) moved to the north, into Samaria, called the Northern Kingdom, or Israel (also known as: Ephraim, Joseph or Jacob) while the two tribes, Benjamin and Judah are left in the south, with some Levites with Jerusalem continuing to be capital, thus the Southern Kingdom. After this division, the name ‘Israel’ from then on in the Old Testament, refers only to the Northern Kingdom.
As the southern part of Israel comprised mainly of Judah, it became known as such, the House of Judah. After the conquering of the ten northern tribes by the Assyrian Kings, only Judah was left (2 Kings 17:18 "...none left but the Tribe of Judah only...) until later, Nebuchadnezzar came and conquered the southern part of Israel, or Judah, and took them away to Babylon. Israel (known now as Ephraim, Joseph, or Jacob) are taken out of the land by force, by the Assyrians 7035 B.C. 10% are left in the land of Samaria. Isaiah 6:12-13. The rest is history, they lost their identity, they became as Gentiles, mixed in the nations.

The book of Hosea, a prophet to the Northern Kingdom only (called Israel, Ephraim, Joseph or Jacob) prophesied over Israel (Ephraim) judgement and future restoration. Yahweh instructed Hosea the prophet to marry a prostitute, a symbol of Ephraim and his unfaithfulness and backsliding. The names Hosea is told to give his children are a prophecy of Yahweh’s judgement. (Lo ruhama) "I will no longer have pity upon you."(Israel) and "You will no longer be my people" (Lo Ami ) In Hosea chapters 1 and 2 we read that Yahweh divorced His people for a season, they lost their identity, in other words, you cannot distinguish them, they look and behave just like everybody else. This is not the Jewish people. The Jewish people have an identity, they have remained faithful in the house. Yahweh never divorced them! We all know what they look like and how they live. (We know, of course, that there are thousands of Jewish people returning to their homeland in our day, who have been living in other nations, but we know who they are, what they look like, they have been faithful to their national identity, not so the ten lost tribes.)

However, Ezekiel 37:11-23 states that Israel (10 lost tribes) will one day return to the land. Jeremiah chapter 31 also declares that they will return. There are many more scriptures which support this understanding, that Israel is divorced, but will return, in His time, and be accepted as God's (Yahweh) people once again. The parables of Yahshua in Luke 15, The lost sheep, lost coin, lost son, are all related. The son lost his identity, while his brother (Judah) looked after the land. Isaiah 49 says that "They" (Ephraim) will return to the land, and everyone thinks these are the Jewish people. Not so. Judah, of which the Jewish people are descended were taken captive by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and returned to the land 70 years later with Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. That’s right, Judah returned to the land with some Ephramites who had assimilated into the tribe of Judah.
To speak of the Levites is a subject of its own, as there were Levites allotted to each tribe, so many remained in Jerusalem when the Tribes were divided north and south with Jeroboam and Rehaboam respectively. They continued their temple service until they too with Judah were removed to Babylon. History from here on in the Bible is the history of Judah, the Jewish people. (I emphasize 'history,' not prophecy, although there are some stories involving Israelites who were descended from the 10% the Assyrians left in the land i.e. the Samaritan woman in the gospels)

It is very clear in the Hebrew language that Yehudim is the word for the Jewish people. But what about Ephraim? (Israel, Joseph, Jacob) by which the Northern Kingdom is called. Who are they? Where are these people who have an inheritance in the land of Israel, with his brother Judah? Ezekiel 28:25 "When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob." This is talking of a people who are Israel in the nations, who have lost their identity (see "Israel the Beloved" article) who will one day be joined together with Judah on the mountains of Israel. What a wonderful day that will be, when Messiah re-unites His people. Just because they are lost, does not mean that they are forgotten or unknown by Yahweh. Of course He knows where they are, and He Himself will bring them in the day appointed. (see article "The beginner's guide to the future") Who will deal with the jealousy of Ephraim, and the vexing of Ephraim by Judah? (Isaiah 11:13) It will take a miracle to bring the two 'houses' back together again, but our Father is an Elohim of miracles, Who not only knows where they are, but is also able to make them one nation again. Who will bring about this 'togetherness'? Yahweh, by His Spirit, He will do it. In Ezekiel 37:22 Yahweh promises that, "I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel".

Let us therefore then, understand the mystery of 'All Jews are Israelites but not all Israelites are Jews' the subject of this article. With this understanding will come the great joy in knowing that Yahweh will destroy the barriers between the Jew and the returning Gentile Israelites and make them once again a united people in the Land.