2.4 Jesus Was an Old Testament Israelite


"Jesus was an Old Testament 'Israelite' -- not a New Testament 'Christian.' Jesus lived the life of a Jew under the Law of Moses; Jesus was not a New Testament 'Christian' and did not live the 'Christian life.'"


  1. This argument states that Christ was not a Christian. We agree. Did Jesus become a “Christian” after the cross? Do we listen to Jesus after the cross because Jesus, the “Israelite” became a New Testament “Christian”? Of course, if He were a Christian, He would have to be a follower of Christ. A Christian is someone who belongs to Christ, is in Christ, and follows Christ. Thus, in order for Jesus to be a Christian, someone else would have to be the Christ. Then, Jesus could follow the Christ, and be a Christian. Of course, this is absurd. Jesus did not need to be a Christian. He needed to be the Christ, the role model, the pattern that “Christians” would need to follow. Since He intended for His words He had been speaking to Jews only to be preached “in all the world” (Matthew 24:14; 26:13), then He intended His pre-cross words and actions to be a part of that which would be a model for “all the world” to follow.
  2. The fact that He was an “Israelite” by nationality did not prevent Him from “giving an example that you should do as I have done” (John 13:15). His disciples were given the example of service in John 13, and then in John 15:20 they were told to “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” (KJV). They were to take that lesson (given before the cross) and remember it when they got into the kingdom age and began to suffer persecution. They were to be Christians and remember Christ as having set the pattern for Christians to follow. They were not just to restrict their memory to what Jesus said in the 40 day period that he was with them after the cross.
  3. But Jesus was much more than an “Israelite,” He was the Christ, the Son of God, and the Mediator of the New Testament (Hebrews 9:15). Hebrews 9:19 compares the NT to the OT mediated by Moses. It says Moses first “spoke” the precepts (but did not give “all” of the OT, the rest to be revealed by the Spirit through the prophets), and then “dedicated” it with blood. So, while the Patriarchal Law was still “in effect” for Moses and Israel, Moses “spoke every precept of the law” and then “dedicated” it with blood. He did not first offer the blood and then tell them the precepts of the new law He was enjoining upon them. He first “spoke” the law, then dedicated it with blood. At this point, it (the Mosaic Law) came into effect. Likewise, “the prophet like unto Moses” (Jesus) spoke of many precepts that He expected of His disciples who would enter the kingdom. He told them that there were other things He wanted to say, but the Spirit would complete it (John 16:12-13). Thus, Jesus mediated the New Testament, speaking some of it and promising the Holy Spirit’s help in revealing “all” truth. Moses spoke the precepts and the rest of the OT was revealed in time by the Spirit through the prophets. After speaking the precepts, Moses dedicated it with blood. Likewise, Jesus spoke the kingdom precepts and then dedicated the New Kingdom law with His own blood.
  4. Being an Israelite by birth in no way implies that He was forbidden to speak New Kingdom precepts, or that He had to be a “Christian” before we can follow what He taught. Moses spoke the new Sinai precepts while the Patriarchal Law was still “in effect,” and then afterward “dedicated” it with blood.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email