[This post is a work in progress as part of the CAA Catechism.]
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Summary in 400 words or less:
Judaism is the foundation of Christianity, and the religion practiced by Jesus, a Rabbi, and Paul, a Pharisee. Though it stems back to Creation, Judaism officially began with God’s covenant promise to Abraham, and the rite of circumcision.
God promised that the entire world would be blessed through Abraham’s descendants. After the Jews were enslaved for 400 years, God chose Moses to deliver them, and bring them into the land He promised to give them. God gave Moses laws by which the Jews should live, and both the Old and New Testament confirm these laws are everlasting, and will not pass away until completely fulfilled (Duet. 29:29, Luke 5:18).
As time passed, the promised Messiah became a symbol of hope and deliverance from oppression. Many Jews did not recognize Jesus as their Messiah on his first coming, but the Bible states they will recognize him upon his second coming (Zech. 12:10). In the meantime, Paul admonished Christians to never forget that while Jews may be the enemy of the gospel, they are not enemies of God, but beloved of God (Rom. 11:28).
Far from being a dead religion, Judaism has yet to be wholly fulfilled; countless prophecies have yet to come to fruition. And in Judaism, we find the entirety of God’s redemptive plan outlined in the Biblically mandated Jewish feasts, which God calls rehearsals (Lev. 23:4).
The “rehearsals” which have been fulfilled:
Passover—Jesus’ crucifixion (1 Cor. 5:7b).
Firstfruits—Jesus’ resurrection (1 Cor. 15:23).
Pentecost—Coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts2).
The “rehearsals” which have not yet been fulfilled:
Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets)—While the NT informs Christians that Jesus returns as king at the last trumpet, the Jews celebrate this feast knowing it heralds the Messiah’s coming, and blow the trumpet to usher in the Messianic kingdom.
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)—The midrash depicts God as sitting upon a throne while the books of deeds are opened, and each person stands before him on a day of judgment. A person’s fate is sealed on Yom Kippur, with the names of the righteous preserved in the Book of Life, and the names of the wicked blotted out forever.
Sukkot (Tabernacles) —reflects back on the wilderness days when God dwelt in the tabernacle amongst the Jews. Rev 21:3 says the tabernacle will once again be amongst men, and that God will dwell forever with those faithful to Him.
Scripture for YouVersion: Jeremiah 31:37; Romans 11:28
Short audio/video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyEaAcPGAhA
Three questions (one fill-in-the-blank, one multiple choice, and one discussion question):
1. The Jewish feasts are ______________ that outline God’s redemptive plan for mankind.
2. The religion practiced by Jesus was _______________.
3. How does Judaism differ from other religions (excluding Christianity)?
References for further reading:
Josephus: The Essential Works by Paul Maier
An Illustrated History of the Jewish People by Lawrence Joffe
The Case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz
Collaborators: JC Lamont
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