The Jews

The Jews are the descendants of Abraham, especially from the tribe of Judah. It would be incorrect to identify Judaism with Old Testament religion, and overlook the rabbinical teaching which forms a large part of present-day Jewish religion. Judaism is a mixture of tradition and scripture and the result of a long process of religious development. To the Jewish mind, everything is theological, no distinction is made between the religious and the secular. All life is in unity, all belongs to God. God is all in all, whether good or bad, in vicissitudes or in joy, nothing is left to chance.

In early Rome, certain constant features persisted, the Jew remained obstinately monotheistic, no other Gods but the one true God. Wherever the Jew went, he stood out manfully against the worship of any god-Caesar. No graven images could enter Jerusalem; even the Roman standards with their eagles had to stay outside.

Jesus called the Jewish scribes and Pharisees of His day, serpents and a generation of vipers and that "You shall not see me henceforth until you shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord." The second coming of Jesus being tied to the Jewish acceptance of the true Messiah is something that has been given very serious consideration in these last days. Many Christians have finally come to the realization that it is time to repent of the serious wrongs that have been afflicted on the Jewish people by them in history and that reconciliation with our Jewish brothers is very important in the restoration movement. To really accept Jesus as the Messiah, Christians must make the Jews so jealous that we are recognized as the people of God. For that to happen, it is us that needs to change first, not the Jewish people. The Jews do not need to be converted to a Gentile religion, the Gentiles need to be converted to a Jewish one. Our Lord Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and the light to the Gentiles was given us through the promise of Abraham from God. The Christian church will come to the realization that when we were circumcised in the heart, we became spiritual Jews. We must once again become the powerful witness that we were in the first century and we must reclaim the power in the name of Jesus that was taken from us from faithless teachers and pastors and those that have usurped the Lord's authority by calling themselves Christian leaders, so filled with spiritual pride that they have shamed the entire church and brought us under judgment.

There is a strong Messianic movement among the Jews but Israel as a nation must accept the true Messiah. Central to the restoration is to restore Israel both to the land and to the symbol of the Messiah, "David" her king. As the "times of the Gentiles" end, we must realize that the Christian church must be more aware of its Jewish heritage and foster the reconciliation. This is very important.

Our enemy satan knows that when Jesus returns, his days are over. To keep that from happening, the devil must place the Jews as an enemy in the minds of God's people. As leadership of the church was taken from the Lord and placed under fleshly leadership, the church began to see itself, rather than Jesus, as the source of salvation. By taking the Jews out of context with the divine plan, tradition replaced biblical and apostolic mandates. In the medieval West there was but one church, and everybody except the Jews belonged to it. The first great massacre of the Jews occurred during the First Crusade by Christians. The establishment of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 led to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and also introduced the ghetto period.

Calling itself holy and regarding itself as the messianic community, the Christian church became unable to look at itself realistically; the church then denied the ambiguity of its religion, its infidelities, its betrayals, its legalism, its hypocrisy, and its blindness, and projected those onto the Jewish people. Hatred and contempt for the Jews served as the Christian's defense against self-knowledge. The Jews were penalized, for example, obliged to live in a separate quarter (ghetto). In Christian countries, the Jews, who had the disagreeable faculty of growing rich at the Christian's expense, often were subjected to dreadful persecutions. The fact that the Christian Church had forbidden usury placed unlimited business opportunities in the way of the Jews. They profited by them in their dealings with Gentiles. Koran - For the iniquity of the Jews... in that they hindered many from God's way, that they took usury, though they were forbidden.

Judaism rejects the idea of human proneness to sin. Repentance, prayer and active kindness are enough to achieve perfect reconciliation. Influenced by the enlightenment, historical exegesis of the Bible started, dietary laws obsolete, this was called Liberal Judaism. Orthodox or traditional Judaism took its stand upon the Talmud with legalism and particularism.

Jewish prophetism must be considered as the real birthplace of a universal historical consciousness in world history. With this truth contains: an exclusive monotheism, rooted in the idea of justice as the characteristic of the true, universal God; the faith in the unrestricted sovereignty of this God to rule over history according to his purpose; the idea of one creation which is essentially good and one mankind which, although fallen from its original innocence and unity, shall be blessed through the history of the elected nation; the call of Abraham, implying the demand to separate himself from the spatial gods of his father's house and to follow the God of time and the future who is the God of all nations; the exodus from Egypt as the fundamental event, the center of history, for Israel; the covenant between God and his nation; the prophetic threat that God might punish and destroy even his elected nation; the promise that the exiled remnants will become the bearers of the world-historical aims of God, that a Messianic king out of David's seed will arise, that in the last day, the day of Yahweh, all his enemies will be overcome and Jerusalem will become the center of true adoration justice and peace.

This is the Old Testament interpretation of history. Their religion determined not only how they believed or prayed, but how they dressed and washed and ate, how they observed the Sabbath, fasted and kept aloof from all Gentile defilements. From circumcision and phylacteries to Kosher food, therefore, from tassels on their garments to scrupulous observance of the Sabbath, the minutiae of the law were to them much more than minutiae. They were the distinguishing marks of the Jew, the indispensable guardians against assimilation. Without them the Jews too would gradually have been absorbed into the powerful, alluring culture of the Hellenistic world. Two Judaisms had been created, one in Palestine and one in Diaspora - Gr. "scattering", from the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem by the Babylonians in the 6th century.

How odd of God to choose the Jews - But not so odd as those who choose the Jewish God and spurn the Jews. Yet the majority of Israel either rejected the prophets outright or devitalized their message by compromise. Many Gentiles were attracted to Judaism, some partly adopted while others went the whole way, circumcision, baptism, sacrifice in temple. Judaism must also be reckoned among the more formidable of the competitors for the religious allegiance of the peoples of the Roman Empire. As a faith identified with one ethnic group and stressing its belief that Israel was a peculiar people, especially chosen by God, it could scarcely hope to win all the human race yet thousands of non-Jews were attracted by the Jewish faith and either sought full incorporation into the Jewish people or constituted a fringe who had accepted many Jewish beliefs.

The Jews of Judea scorned the people of Galilee as ignorant backsliders, and the Galileans scorned the Judeans as slaves caught in the cobwebs of the law. For the devout Jew there were three special hours of prayer - 9 am, 12 midday and 3 PM. They agreed that prayer was efficacious wherever it was offered, doubly precious when it was offered in the temple courts. Judaism was then what we should call pluralistic and continued so until the rabbinical consolidation took place after the fall of Jerusalem. From then on a single type of Judaism, that of the Pharisaic party dominated. We must consider that the Judaism of Jesus' day represented a perversion of the Mosaic economy and testimony. The essence of the New was spirit; contrast absolute, pro tem. There is no spirit at all in the old, there is no letter in the new. Judaism knows as little of sacraments as of mysticism.

The Jewish people had certainly not become a non-political people but - and this is a special reason which may fan the political instincts and passions - a people deprived of its political existence. Seen against this background, it is most astonishing and remarkable that political problems should take second place in Jesus' preaching. The reason for this is without any doubt the expectation of the approaching reign of God. This kingdom is not a distant ideal for him. The Jews are culturally and socially influential. They cannot avoid being influential as a people. In any society in which they are found, Jews are influential out of proportion to their numbers.
[03, 04, 33, 142, 183, 35, 95, 315, 327, 333, 23, 15, 334, 311, 313, 360, 319, 378, 398, 416, Matthew 23:33; 37]

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