Question: What exactly is the difference between the Hebrew people, the Jews and the Israelites?

Answer: There are no precise differences, inasmuch as all of these terms may refer to the same group of people. Yet some less-than-precise nuances have been suggested. They are as follows:

1. Hebrew refers to the language and the cultural aspect of the people. It also refers to their origin through Abraham, who was called a Hebrew (read Genesis 14:13).

2. Israel refers more to the nationalistic aspects of this group of people. All people who are born Jews or who convert to Judaism are regarded by the Israeli government as being citizens of the nation of Israel.

3. The term Jew is probably the most commonly used name for the people of Israel. It is derived from Judean.

In conclusion, it must be said here that some who seek to make a marked distinction between the terms Hebrew, Israelite and Jew often do so because of ulterior motives. Some in the Church have taught, and would like to support the theory, that the Church is Israel. That is the doctrine of supersessionism, which teaches that in this age of grace, God is finished with the Jews as His people and has chosen the Church instead.” We in Jews for Jesus do not hold to that view because we feel that it detracts from God’s calling and purpose for the Jewish people as we recognize it from Scripture.


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