WE KNOW WHAT IT WAS that the first apostles preached, which stirred people to believe and be converted: “When they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12). What are the “things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”? The following list is a brief summary of the basic teachings of the Bible, together with a selection of Bible references in connection with each teaching. The BibleIt is the Word of God and is unique. It contains God’s message to humankind for our salvation. It was written by many men over the centuries whom God used as instruments for the writing of His Word. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
In your magazine you speak of Israelites and Jews as one and the same. They’re not! Jews are Israelites but not all Israelites are Jews. THAT’S CORRECT. ‘Jew’ actually means ‘man of Judah’, and Judah was just one of the 12 tribes of Israel. So why do we use the name ‘Jews’ to refer to all people of Israel? The kingdom of Israel began around 1000 bc. Its history is recorded in the Bible books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. In time the kingdom split in two—ten tribes formed the northern kingdom which is known as Israel, and two tribes formed the southern kingdom. Judah was the dominant of these tribes and so the southern kingdom was known as Judah. The northern kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians around 700 bc and the ten tribes were scattered. The southern kingdom was destroyed by the Babylonians around 600 bc, but its
ALTHOUGH HIS PEOPLE were so frequently disobedient and unfaithful, God was supremely patient with them. As the prophet Isaiah reminded them: “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts” (Isaiah 65:2). Some suggest that because of Israel’s unfaithfulness, which culminated in them rejecting and killing God’s own Son, He has disowned the nation of Israel. This is not what the Bible says. For example this is what the angel Gabriel told Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he
THE BOOK OF ESTHER is the account of an orphaned Jewish girl who rose to become the Queen of Persia, during the Jewish exile around 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Esther lived with her uncle Mordecai in the Persian capital Shushan. The first two chapters relate how, due to her striking beauty and her charm, she won the heart of King Ahasuerus. At the end of chapter 2 Mordecai overheard a plot to assassinate the King. With Esther’s help he foiled it, but he received no recognition. Plot to Destroy the Jews Chapter 3 sees a man called Haman appointed as chief of the King’s nobles. All the King’s officials were obliged to bow in homage to Haman, but Mordecai refused. Furious, Haman determined to get revenge not just on Mordecai but on all his people. (Neither Haman nor Ahasuerus knew that Esther was Mordecai’s niece.) Haman
WHAT DO YOU THINK of the Jews? Whatever you think, you have to admit that they are unique. Throughout their long and turbulent history they have defied repeated attempts to destroy them. They have retained their identity despite huge pressures to assimilate into other cultures. They are a tiny minority of the world’s population, and yet their impact on history, science and culture has been huge. They seem able to attract hatred like no other group of people: there’s a special word for it, ‘anti-Semitism’. The Jews are an enigma. History They were crushed and exiled by the Babylonians in the 6th Century bc, and again by the Romans in the 1st Century ad. During the last 2000 years they have wandered all over the world, enduring persecution almost wherever they went. At various times they have been expelled from many different countries including Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, France, Spain, Italy