Most modern Christ-followers mistakenly think that the New Testament states that the Jewish people rejected Jesus. But is their reading of the New Testament itself accurate?

The foundational proof text for the idea of the “Jews rejecting Jesus” comes from the traditional misreading of the Gospel of John, where in translation from the original Koine Judeo-Greek we read: “He came unto His own, but his own received him not.” (John 1:11).

The standard interpretation equates “his own” with first-century people of the Jewish religion; thus making two basic interpretive mistakes. First, it ignores the grammar of the original – the first “own” is neuter (τὰ ἴδια), but second “own” is masculine (οἱ ἴδιοι). This indicates that at least the first “his own” cannot possibly refer to the Jews! The second mistake ignores the fact that the word (Ἰουδαῖοι) used in John’s Gospel, translated traditionally as “Jews” back then did not mean “people of the Jewish religion” as it does today. The primary meaning of this word was “Judeans” or even “the leaders of the Judean region.”

The New Testament acknowledges that there was a veil placed upon Israel for the spiritual benefit of other nations (reminiscent of the veil that was once placed on Moses’ face). But the New Testament never claims that “the Jews rejected Jesus.”

The question that bothers Apostle Paul is “why don’t all Jews believe in Jesus”?  He formulated the issue as follows: “Did God reject His people?”

very clear answer follows: absolutely not! … at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (Romans 11:1,5) 

Ask yourself, “How many other interpretive mistakes am I making because I don’t have a full understanding of the Jewish background of Scripture?”  You can remedy that situation right now! Make today the day you embark on a new and deeper understanding of the Bible.

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75 COMMENTS

  1. It is my understanding that in jesus days the tribe of Judah where the judeans and the appellation jew came way lather in the 17th century and Israelites where of 12 tribes not only jew. I'd sincerely appreciate your point of view about that.

    • + More answers (1)
    • Yehudah (Judah in English) was the fourth son of the patriarch Yaakov (Jacob) whose tribal lands were located Jerusalem and lands to its south and east were located . This is the original Hebrew name from which Greek and then Romans derived their words for people of this culture. The term "Yehudi" referring to a native (male) of Judah, the southern kingdom, appears 74 times in the Hebrew Bible. The plural is "Yehudim" and the feminine form is "Yehudit" (Judith). The term passed through several ancient languages until the word morphed into the Middle English word "Jew" by 1300 AD.
  2. Sir. I have been reading you material for some time. I even bought one of your books. Just a general principle here. I think the Greek itself is the root of most modern misinterpretation of the New Testament scriptures. I spent some years looking at the sources and looking for existence of source documents. From what I can discern, the last person to have primary documentation in his hands was Jerome. Today's "Greek" appears to be a back-translation 'back' into Greek from Jerome's Latin Vulgate. Are there original docs in Greek? Proof they were originally in Greek? Curious.
    • No this is incorrect. See this please (I trust this will help) - https://israelbiblecenter.com/new-testament-written-hebrew/
  3. Sir, as related in Matthew 22 and the parable of the marriage feast, "for many are called, and few are chosen". Some people think they have the proper credentials (the wedding garments in the parable) but they do not. This applies to everyone, Jews or otherwise. For such people there is a gnashing and weeping. Choice seems to be a two way matter. God calls, and people make a choice as in the wedding feast parable. Even grace can be rejected by those who think they know better than God. What is your choice?
    • Not sure what you are asking me? :-) (it seems that you are peraching/evangelizing me, if so, you are around 25 years late) :-)
  4. Dr. Eli, I agree that there are many misinterpretations if you will with respect to the acceptance vs rejection of Y'Shua by His Own People. The Leaders at the time clearly rejected Y'Shua as Messiah and just because a hand full rejected you can not take for granted that "all His People" did. Just look in the book of Acts and the thousands who were converted. All if not most God Fearing Yehudim. Shalom
    • In my humble opinion, 'the Remnant' are those who down through the generations clung without wavering to the original teachings of God: Abraham, Issac, Jacob (Later re-named Israel - Jacob's seed - after fighting all night with God. He would not give in. The name, Israel means -he who overcomes - Jesus Christ and the Apostles and 'the early Church' lived by the same Holy and true laws of God. The early church started proper on the day of Pentecost. God said, He would save a Remnant from then down to the end of days...and He has!!!
  5. Thank you for your point of view, which if correct, (I have no reason to think it is not) will be a big help to me. I have taught Southern Baptist Sunday school for over 20 years, and I also participate in our jail ministry. As I insist we read the Bible Word for Word, trying hard within time limits to leave nothing out, I am constantly trying to explain to my student why John does not give them an excuse for Jew hatred. Your explanation will help me out.
  6. My normal attempts to explain to my students about this subject is like this: John is a Jew, telling Jews about the Jew Jesus(Lion of the tribe of Judah in Rev). His coworker is Paul, who specifies what a pure Jew he is, who still keeps the Law along with most other Jewish Christians(Acts 21:24). It is illogical that when John or Acts says "the Jews", he means all or even most Jews, He must mean the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Your explanation of the translation problem will help me out, thanks again!
  7. Dr Eli. I much valued your piece on the Samaritan woman, but I think this one might be a case of special pleading on behalf of the Jews!! As I understand it, you are saying Jesus came to His people (neuter) but the Jewish leaders (masculine plural) rejected Him. But surely it was clear from the call for Barabbas from the crowds, and Pilate's withdrawal, that the whole world abandoned Jesus (while God has never abandoned anyone - yet). Surely too, the veil was to protect the Jews (as much as the Gentiles) just as the veil on Moses' face!!
    • Thanks, Richard. Actually, Jewish leaders are not my suggestion. I invite you to get my book ($5 on Amazon) and see my entire argument I think you will really like it (read people's reviews).
  8. There are other Scriptures that speak of large numbers of Jewish followers of the Messiah. After the resurrection of Lazarus, so many of the synagogue workers and priests believed that the council leaders plotted to kill both Jesus and Lazarus. I put it this way: there is no act more Jewish than to believe that their Messiah has already come, bringing salvation to all who will believe - Yeshua !
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