Judaism - God's Covenant People
The primary religious document of the Jewish People is the Torah or Christian Pentateuch. Another document that is important to the Jewish People is the Mishnah which are rabbinic traditions that were written down about AD 200. There are also the Gemaras which are lengthy commentaries on the Mishnah. (Babylon and Palestinian) Finally there is the Talmud Gemaras plus the Mishnah (Babylonian Talmud and Palestinian Talmud).
Jewish teaching rejects the idea of original sin taught in Catholicism.
The Jewish People observe feasts throughout the year which inlcude:
1. Rosh Hashanah which is ten days of penitence. The tenth day is Yom Kippur (the day of atonement). On that day the Jews pray for forgiveness.
2. The Feast of Tabernacles (succoth or booths)
3. The Passover or Feast of Unleavened Bread for 2 separate days.
4. The Feast of Weeks or the Christian pentecost.
5. Hanukkah the Fesival of Lights. When Judas Maccabeus defeated Antiochus Epiphanes armies.
The various branches of Judaism are as follows:
1. Orthodox Jews
a. Hasidic or Ultra-orthodox are a group within the orthodox Jewish people.
b. Orthodox Judiasm has changed little in 20 centuries.
2. Reform Jews
a. This is a liberal group.
b. They put Talmudic practices aside.
c. Their synagogues are called temples.
d. Some groups change Sabbath observances to Sunday.
3. Conservative Jews
a. This group is intermediate between the other two.
b. They retain feasts and many traditions.
Features of this belief are as follows:
1. The covenant of Abraham promising land and blessing from the Lord.
2. The Jewish sacrificial system shows they see the need for atonement for sin.
3. There were changes after the Babylon captivity including:
a. Even after the temple was rebuilt, synagogues continued.
b. After Jerusalem fell spiritual leaders were rabbies instead of priests.
c. External rules included Sabbath, food restrictions and holy days.
4. After the Romans destroyed the temple there were more changes including:
a. Synagogues became very important.
b. Sacrifice ceased. The rabbis taught that the Jews have access to God and that salvation comes through obedience to the law.
c. The Romans drove the Jews out of Palestine in AD 135.
A Biblical Evaluation of Judaism
1, Jews deny the sin nature. They minimize man's need of redemption. They teach that repentance is all one needs after failure.
2. Most forms of Judaism are based on culture and tradition. Practice is more important than belief.
3. Judaism is an ethical system and a way of life.
1. The first Christians were Jews.
2. Jesus was a Jew.
3. Jews feel they have to give up their Jewishness if they become Christians.
4. Christians tend to emphasize the "Gentile culture" when portraying Christianity.
5. There are two Messiahs; One from Joseph's line (the suffering Messiah or Savior) and another from Judah's line (what Jewish people believe will come as a conquering king). The advent of Christ brings these two together. He is the suffering Savior and will return as the conquering king.
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