Those who are familiar with the writings of the Old Testament know that the Jews were once the chosen people of God. Many Jews, however, denounced Christ as the Messiah during His ministry and at His crucifixion. “Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:22). The Jews were willing to suffer punishment for killing Jesus, even for generations to follow. “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). The Jews were looking for a Messiah to come and set up a physical kingdom here on the earth. They believed this because they had misinterpreted the Messianic prophesies stated in verses such as Genesis 49:10-12;
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” The name Shiloh as used in verse 10 means Christ. The word “scepter” refers toa staff. It served as a symbol of royalty. David descended from Judah (Matthew 1:3-6). The text indicates that Judah would retain their sovereignty to some degree until the arrival of the Messiah after which at some time that rule would ended. The sovereignty of the nation did not end until Herod Archelaus was deposed in 6 A. D. Archelaus was the son of Herod, an Idumean, though Jewish in religion (Matthew 2:1). The Romans allowed King Herod to reign, but after his wicked son reigned until his deposition, then the Romans took direct control governing through a series of procurators, such as Pontius Pilate. By the time the Romans took direct control, the Hebrew “ruling power” or “scepter” was completely and permanently gone. The Messiah came just when He was predicted to come.
We see other figurative expressions in these verses to describe Christ, such as He rode a donkey and shed His blood, which is represented by grape juice in the Lord’s Supper. Verse 12 states that His eyes would be red with wine, which means that Jesus is able to distinguish right from wrong and judge matters fairly. Verse 12 also mentions His teeth being white with milk. This signifies that there would be so many blessings in the Lord’s Kingdom, which is the church of Christ. There are other reasons that some of the Jews in the Old Testament denied Christ as the true Messiah, and those reasons are still believed by Jews today.
The Jews of today do not include the New Testament in their studies, as the New Testament talks about Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Instead, their book, known as the Torah, consists of only the first five books of the Old Testament or what is known by Bible scholars as the Pentateuch. Jews will also say that they go by the entire Old Testament. The Jews of today choose to focus on their own misinterpretation of the Messianic Prophesies which are stated in various places in the Old Testament, rather than believe that those prophesies pertain to Jesus. For this reason, the Jews who came after the crucifixion of Christ were punished due to their rebellion against Christ as their ancestors had done as we see in Matthew 27:25. This verse is a good example of how we must always be careful what we say because we can see throughout history the consequences of the Jews’ rebellion against God. I believe an example of this is the Holocaust, although it was definitely wrong for Hitler and the Nazis to commit murder. Whether those Jews who deny Christ as the true Messiah suffer in this life or not, they will indeed suffer for eternity if they do not change. Jesus says, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24).
So, getting back to the title of this article, is a Christian a spiritual Jew? As stated earlier, the Jews in the Old Testament were considered faithful followers of God because they kept His commandments. Where they went wrong, however, was denying God’s Son as the True Messiah. God’s promise of heaven was given to those Jews who were faithful in the Old Testament. After Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, the Jews who continued to follow Christ’s teachings were still given the promise of Salvation through the Blood of Christ. “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God,” (Romans 2:28-29). Therefore, today, if a person is a faithful Christian, meaning he or she is a follower of Christ, then he or she is also considered a spiritual Jew. A spiritual Jew is not the same as a physical Jew, although physical Jews who obey the Gospel Plan of Salvation are also spiritual Jews. Those who practice Judaism today are not followers of Christ, and are not spiritual Jews as defined in the book of Galatians. However, those who are spiritual Jews, can count themselves faithful servants of Christ, and heirs to the promise of Heaven. “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).
I hope that this article helps shed some light on the errors of Judaism as well as the difference between a spiritual Jew and a practitioner of Judaism. We, as Christians, can learn from the Jews’ mistakes by making sure that we always act as followers of Christ rather than think that we are wiser than God.