The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

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Old Testament Faith vs. Modern Judaism

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 22, 2016

I have written extensively about how the Old and New Covenants are one continual revelation of Jesus Christ–the salvation of mankind; and how the New Covenant Church is the continuation and fulfillment of the Old Testament faith, by virtue of its being an Olive tree that joins together Jew and Gentile people of authentic faith into one Body for eternity.

Confusion is introduced when Bible teachers claim that New Testament faith has its “roots in Judaism.” The truth is that New Testament faith has its roots in the Old Testament faith, for they are both pure faith in Yahweh and His Messiah Jesus.

However modern Judaism is a religion which actually contradicts both Old and New Testament faith. While modern Judaism does still borrow from Old Testament faith practices when convenient (such as circumcision, meeting in temples, etc.), it has added to them myriad traditions and laws God never spoke, many of which completely obscure the purpose of God’s law and/or create loopholes around God’s law.

Michael Hoffman gives us an example of such a confusion-bringing teaching by Presbyterian theologian Douglas Jones–

“…consider the case of Abraham, that ancient father of Judaism and Christianity…One of the best ways of beginning to think about the nature of Christianity is to think of it in the light of Judaism. Today, we so often think of Judaism and Christianity as two distinct religions, almost like Buddhism and Islam. But early Christianity never saw itself in that way. The earliest Christians saw themselves as faithful Jews simply following Jewish teachings. In fact, the first main dispute in the Christian church was whether non-Jews, the Gentiles, could even be a part of Christianity! Christianity self-consciously saw itself as the continuing outgrowth, the fulfillment, of true Judaism. As such, Christianity didn’t start in the first century but long before with King David, Moses, Abraham, and ultimately the first man, Adam. Everything in older Judaism was building up and pointing to the work of Jesus Christ. Over and over, the early disciples explained that Christ was the fulfillment of the ancient promises of Judaism…So when we start thinking about Christianity, we have to understand its very Jewish roots. We should assume that Christianity ought to look and sound like Judaism except when it explicitly claims to change something. We should expect that the Scriptures, institutions, basic principles, laws, meditations, family life, etc. of Judaism would carry over into Christianity, unless Christ, the final prophet, authoritatively changed a practice….Christianity’s Jewishness is pervasive indeed.”(1)
 While Douglas Jones properly tied the New Testament church to Old Testament saints like David, Moses and Abraham, his improper use of the term “Judaism” to describe their faith is a dangerous misstep. Christians have fellowship with all the righteous–that would certainly include David, Moses and Abraham. But we do not have fellowship with the unrighteous–those who follow another spirit and another gospel–such as is found in modern Judaism.  Mr. Hoffman explains–

By improper application of the words “Jew” and “Judaism,” the preceding statement of a leading modern conservative Presbyterian’s view of Judaism, extols a palimpsest of confusion. First and foremost, by terming the Old Testament religion of Yahweh  as “Judaism,” an inexorable connection is inevitable and established between the religion of those who rejected Jesus as the Messiah, and the Old Testament religion of His Father, Yahweh. The reader is given the distinct impression that modern Judaism bears within it the seeds of the religion of the Old Testament, that it is the Old Testament religion without Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing could be a greater source of delusion. To ascribe to the ancient Israelite religion the term “Judaism” is a grave lexical and hermeneutic error. It gives to the creed of the entire Twelve Tribes of Israel and their Covenant Elohim, the title of a perverse man-made tradition that flourished among one segment of the offspring of the fourth son of the patriarch Jacob (the tribe of Judah). The word “Jew” is a corrupted form of the word Judah. It refers to two of the twelve tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin, and does not even appear in the Bible until II Kings 16:6, and then again in 25:25 and II Chronicles 32:18.

Paul’s allusion to the “Jews’ religion” in this context is instructive. Paul’s reference in this regard is negative: “And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” (Galatians 1:14). The hallmarks of the “Jews’ religion” according to Paul, are two-fold: persecution of God’s Church (I Thessalonians 2:14-16), and allegiance to the “traditions” of men. 

The Pharisees asked Jesus why His followers disobeyed the Talmud (at that time known as the “tradition of the elders” and not yet in written form), by refusing to engage in ritual hand-washing: “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” “But Jesus said unto them, ‘Why do ye transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15: 2-3). How can it be said that “Judaism” (the “Jews’ religion”) is the root of Christianity, when according to Paul, it is a religion of man-made traditions and according to Jesus Christ, Judaism’s traditions of men made the Law of Yahweh of “none effect”? (Matthew 15:9). How can it be said that “Judaism” is the root of Christianity, when in the Old Testament there was no “Judaism”? One searches in vain for the term, yet modernist Christians today use it almost exclusively to describe the religion of the Old Testament, of Yahweh and His people.

After some Jews rejected their Messiah they formalized the tradition of the elders condemned by Christ as the very nullification of the Law of God, and that new religion is accurately and properly termed Judaism: “This new system, treated at first as simply provisional because of the surviving hope of restoring the Jewish commonwealth, had soon to be accepted as definitive…Then it was that Rabbinical or Talmudical Judaism fully asserted its authority…the Mishna ‘Oral Teaching’ completed by Rabbi Juda I, committed ultimately to writing in the form of the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds and expounded by generations of teachers in the schools of Palestine and Babylonia, held undisputed sway over the minds and consciences of the Jews. In fact, this long acceptation of the Talmud by the Jewish race, before its center shifted from the East to the West, so impressed this…Law (Mishnah) upon the hearts of the Jews that down to the present day Judaism has remained essentially Talmudical both in its theory and in its practice…Orthodox Judaism…distinctly admits the absolutely binding force of the oral Law…” (2)

  Hopefully, you can see that neither Jesus nor Paul accepted Judaism as authentic faith, but instead a corruption born out of rebellion against God. Remember that Jesus told the Pharisees God would require of their generation all the righteous blood from Abel to Zechariah, whom their fathers had killed.  Not only did they refuse to enter life, they hindered others from doing so by “taking away the key to knowledge.” (Lk. 11:45-52) Their spiritual children continue to do this to this very day, obscuring and perverting the Word of God with their legions of laws and traditions.

Thankfully their physical children can repent and be converted, and become the children of God!  Paul is a prime example, and we also have the example of Nicodemus going to learn from Jesus in John 3. It appears that Nicodemus did become a follower of Jesus, forsaking the traditions of his fathers for the living Truth. He later publicly identified with Jesus by helping to give Him a proper burial (John 19:39-40), an act which surely burned the bridge between himself and the Pharisees.

God bless you as you continue to seek clarity on these issues!

(1) Hoffman, Michael. Judaism Discovered: A Study of the Anti-Biblical Religion of Racism, Self-Worship, Superstition and Deceit (Kindle Locations 2473-2483). Independent History and Research. Kindle Edition.

(2)Hoffman, Michael. Judaism Discovered: A Study of the Anti-Biblical Religion of Racism, Self-Worship, Superstition and Deceit (Kindle Locations 2484-2513). Independent History and Research. Kindle Edition.

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