September 11, 2015

Judaism is Not Christianity I: Jews That Reject Jesus and The Gospel

This will be the first in a few posts explaining why Judaism is not Christianity. It is sad I need to do this but I've seen a lot of really bad theology floating around in the Church and the Internet and it is disconcerting that Christians has been led so far astray. You know what I'm talking about. The Christians trying to "get back to their roots" or those with political inclinations that feel that they need to support a modern geopolitical Israel, not the spiritual Israel mentioned within Romans 9-11. I don't know if it is Dispensationalism run amok (John Hagee) or if it is some odd need to relate to the Jewish people. Whatever it is, some Christians feel compelled to maintain Jewish dietary laws out of necessity, Easter as Passover, etc. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is some guilt-laden empathy. Regardless, I'll be posting to delineate between the two and explain why Judaism is now a false religion.

We need to help the Jewish people understand these facts. We are doing them no favors when we treat them as Christian brothers and sisters without teaching them or providing them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without providing them with the Gospel, we condemn them in their sins.

I will go through some of the basic tenants of Judaism to clear the air for the reader. I will admit outright that both Jews and Christians believe in the Old Testament. It might be organized differently and different portions might have different names but it is essentially the same book. The difference obviously comes from misinterpretation of the Old Testament and events that took place after the Old Testament ended. Without seeing Jesus for who He really was it is not surprising the Jews would misinterpret their own holy book. They did not/do not have the proper context and cannot see the big picture as revealed to the believing Christian in Christ.

Jewish holy writ ends with the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. Christian holy writ continues towards something much greater which is one seriously major caveat for Jews to overlook (or more properly, reject). They've been rejecting Jesus and his claim to divinity since He was alive. If they didn't believe He was God when He Resurrected from the dead then, how are we to expect any different from them now?

John 1:45 ~ “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Luke 24:44 ~ “Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Christians believe Jesus Christ abrogated the Law and fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets. In other words, Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the Jewish prophets and embodied in the Jewish Law. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law because he was God’s Son. Please note I said he abrogated the Law, not overturned it. Even Jesus said:

Matthew 5:17 ~ “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

Trinity

From the Jewish side it becomes a bit more convoluted. Christians believe in the Trinity. Jews do not, at least not the way Christians currently understand it. Because they do not believe Jesus was Messiah and that he came in the flesh and ascended in the resurrection body, they are missing what is tantamount core Christian doctrine. Without it, lack of this information can damn a person if they do not understand and accept it. Jews do not believe in the Gospel. Period. They therefore are condemned and incur the wrath of God. In short Christians believe God is both Spirit and Flesh, Jews believe God is completely incorporeal. This of course totally overlooks the Incarnation and the work of Christ on the Cross.

Sin

Jews do not believe in Original Sin or that sin is imputed from Adam to us today.  If one has an incorrect view of their sinful nature, they do not know how to properly repent because they are confused or unware of their inherently depraved nature. In other words, Jews (and some Christians) do not fully understand their complete inability to recognize their need of The Savior. Don’t get me wrong, they know they need repentance. They just don’t realize that the atonement for their sin is Christ. This of course leads to the difference or atonement for sin.

Atonement

As best I can tell, Jews do NOT believe that blood atonement is absolutely necessary for personal or individual sin even though Leviticus specifically states that:

Leviticus 17:11 ~ “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

This issue is quite strange to me and I’m not sure I fully understand it. It seems to be a Jewish theological contradiction. The Old Testament clearly required a blood sacrifice for sin (Leviticus 17:11) and the Jews of the Old Testament knew this for a fact. Conversely, modern Jews and modern learned Rabbis seem to believe that blood sacrifice is not primary or absolutely required anymore even though nothing has abrogated or legally fulfilled that need in their Law (in their point of view). In the time of the Old Testament it is clear they understood this fact due to the immediate rebuilding of the Temple upon arrival back into their homeland. After the exile, the Jews immediately rebuilt the Temple and began offering blood sacrifices again.

Nehemiah 10:32-33 ~ “We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly a third part of a shekel[a] for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the show-bread, the regular grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts, the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.”

The prophets also spoke of a [third] temple in the future and blood sacrifices will still be central to atonement in said Temple.

Ezekiel 45:15-17 ~ “And one sheep from every flock of two hundred, from the watering places of Israel for grain offering, burnt offering, and peace offerings, to make atonement for them, declares the Lord God. All the people of the land shall be obliged to give this offering to the prince in Israel. It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel.

I guess, because the Temple has been destroyed for nearly 2000 years, it’s easy to see why the Jews would want to believe that blood sacrifices have been abrogated in some way.

Obviously, from a Christian perspective, the veil was rent and the Temple was later demolished because the ultimate Lamb of God was slain at the Cross in the message of the Gospel. The Old Testament sacrifices are no longer necessary nor apply to the Christian. They were only symbolic to the Jews anyway because they point to the true Lamb, Jesus Christ.

In light of the Temples absence, Jewish theologians will often argue blood sacrifice is not necessary for atonement. They say deeds and repentance alone can replace blood sacrifices.

Isaiah 55:6-7 ~“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Repentance to whom remains the question. A Triune God devoid of Jesus? That is not true repentance. The good deeds argument arises again in Proverbs 16:6. Again, this is another FAIL. Repenting to a Godhead devoid of Jesus is like repenting to a stone. It’s ineffectual, pointless and meaningless. Psalm 141:2 states that prayer replaces blood sacrifices yet Jews are knowingly making an interpretive error by interpreting a poem/song literally when it is clear David is using analogy here about his prayer life. David’s original meaning had nothing to do with replacing blood sacrifice with prayer. I could go on but you are beginning to see the picture. In the absence of the Temple, Jews are digressing from Scripture because they have no true place to seek atonement absent Jesus or their Messiah.

Christians clearly believe that Jesus is the atonement for sin. Christians believe in the work and deeds that He did, not the works and deeds they do. Not only did Jesus atone for sins, he made it very neat and tidy and easy for people to understand in Scripture. A person would need to be blind to miss it.

Romans 3:25 ~ “[Jesus] whom God put forward as a propitiation [atonement] by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Hebrews 9:22 ~ “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

1 John 2:2 ~ “He [Jesus] is the propitiation [atonement] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

The former sins referred to in Romans 3 is not only the sins of the individual that were committed before they repented and came to Christ but it can also mean the sins that had initially been covered by blood sacrifices in the Old Testament. The sacrifices in the Temple during the Old Testament were only typologies and shadows of the One who would actually forgive the sin: Jesus.

Salvation

We must never forget that Jews see themselves more as a corporate or communal covenant entity. Therefore the idea of individual salvation is sort of alien to their belief. Although Jews believe in ideas of concepts like atonement and repentance, they do not believe in them the way Christians do. Combine this with the fact they do not believe in Original Sin and we begin to see just how much of a “bad way” the Jews are in. Knowing these things it is easy to see why the Pharisees and Sadducee of Jesus’ time became so legalistic and arrogant. The Law misconstrued made them slaves to deeds and this mentality just carried over into the Diaspora and modern times.

For Christians, salvation is through Christ alone. It is by grace through faith in what Jesus did on the Cross by which we are saved.

Acts 4:12 ~ “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8 ~ “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Although Christianity emphasizes good works, they are not the path to salvation. God’s grace through faith in what Jesus did at Calvary is that path.

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