"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

Q & A: What is the Difference Between Jews and Christians?

June 15, 2011

in Christianity:,Esau/Edom,Idolatry,Roman Catholicism,The Torah

Jews are a people who descend from Jacob (or non-descendants-of-Jacob who have joined the Jewish people through conversion to Judaism).

The foundational teaching of the Jews is their Torah (literally “Instruction”). The Torah mainly documents the formation saga of the Jewish people, but it also contains the precepts of the covenant between them and the Creator, in which guidelines called ‘mitzvot’ are laid out for the Jewish people to follow as a path for living a righteous life. These mitzvot are all referenced in the Asseret HaDibrot which are often called the Ten Commandments, however, the correct translation is actually ‘The Ten Statements’ (given through Moses at mount Sinai). Some key aspects of the mitzvot are:

  • The Jews are to avoid the futility depicting the Creator in any way.
  • The Jews are to Love their Neighbor as themselves (Leviticus 19:18)
  • The Jews are to Love God with all their might (Deuteronomy 6:4)

The complete Jewish Bible is called the Tanach which is an acronym made from the names of its three parts: Torah (Instruction), Nevi’im (Prophets), K’tuvim (Writings).

The Jews also expect that non-Jews need to follow the 7 Commandments given by God to all nations starting with Adam and Eve and being completed with Noach (after the Flood). These Commandments are found in Genesis and are known as the Noachide Laws. The Torah does not teach that non-Jews must follow the mitzvot specific to Jews.

Judaism teaches that all people are born innocent and good but with the ability to do both good and bad with the freewill to choose. Additionally, mistakes (sins) cannot be atoned for by anyone other than the person who makes the mistake, nor can mistakes be atoned for before they happen.

Judaism completely rejects the concept that a man can be the literal child of HaSHem. There is no prophecy that a man will be born as a ‘saviour’ for all of mankind as there is no need for such a concept in Judaism.

Christians are people of any national origin, who believe in the scripture known as the New Testament (in addition to the Jewish Tanach, which they refer to as the “Old Testament”). Christian beliefs from the New Testament are very different than the beliefs from the Old Testament, as follows:

1- In the New Testament, Paul calls the Commandments of the Torah a “curse” and preaches that Jews no longer need to adhere to them in other to fulfill God’s expectations. By contrast, the Torah teaches that the Noachide Covenant (for Gentiles) and the Sinai Covenant (for Jews) are ETERNAL.

2- In the New Testament, Paul and the Gospel of Hebrews establish a doctrine that Salvation comes ONLY by confessing Jesus as Messiah. The Torah states that Salvation comes by following the Commandments, and that ONLY God can judge and by grace give Salvation (according to a person’s good deeds, as Commanded in the Torah).
Hosea 13:4And I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt, and gods beside Me you should not know, and there is no savior but Me.

3- In the New Testament, the author of John’s Gospel equates Jesus to a incarnation of God. According to Torah God can and does manifest Himself in the physical world (e.g. as a burning bush, or as the angel who appeared before Abraham). However: the Torah tells us not to confuse a manifestation of God with God Itself:

Deuteronomy 4:15-19Since you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire, take care and watch yourselves closely, so that you do not act corruptly by making an idol for yourselves, in the form of ANY figure).
Numbers 23:19God is not a human being, that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind.
Hosea 11:9For I am God, and not man
Deuteronomy 4;35-40To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him.

So, even if/when God manifests Himself through physical means (e.g. a burning bush, a visitor to Abraham, or as the man Jesus as Christians believe) it is maximum idolatry to praise any physical form as if it were God. The man Jesus can not be praised as God because that is equivalent to describing God as finite or as “two”. God tells us that God should be thought of as one aloneDeut 6:4 Hear, O Israel: YHWH our God, YHWH is one alone.

4- The New Testament establishes that God required a human sacrifice in order to forgive humanity for its sins. The Torah says that sacrifice does not dispense people from having to follow God’s commandments (especially Justice and Love).
Micah 6:6-8 ” ‘With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’ [Micah responds:] He has told you, oh mortal, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God? “.
Hosea 6:6 ” For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. ”
Also, human sacrifice is strictly forbidden (see God’s injunction against Abraham before he would sacrifice Isaac).

Amit

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