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Would anyone be interested in answering a question re: Christianity and Judaism?


Lisa in SC
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This is a genuine question...no traps, I promise. I do have to leave for a while, but I'll be back to participate. I just wanted to post the question during a time when many were likely to see it. Our family identifies as Christian, although we don't currently attend church. My husband was raised Catholic, but he isn't "practicing." I was raised Methodist. We don't actually identify with any specific denomination. That was just background info about us. Not sure it really has anything to do with my question, but I thought I'd give full disclosure.

 

Now to the question. My 17yo actually asked it, and I have no answer. I tried to google, but only came up with some pretty extreme fundamentalist sites which weren't helpful to me. So, where better to turn than the Hive?

 

So, she asked this: If, according to the Bible, the Jewish people are God's chosen people, and, if, Jesus is, indeed, God's son, come to save us, then why, with the exception of the Jewish people who are Messianic, do they not believe this to be so? In other words, if Jesus is God's son, and the Jewish people are His chosen people, wouldn't He have taken great pains to see to it that they understood this to be true?

 

Understand that I'm not disputing whether the Jewish people are God's chosen. If one is using the Bible as one's source, that fact is clear. The problem she's having is why God would allow His chosen to misunderstand who Jesus is, if, in fact, He is God's son. I have no answer.

 

If I haven't explained this well, please let me know how to clarify. Any and all input is welcome. I realize this is likely a charged topic, and my intent is to seek to understand. I am not trying to start discord.

 

As I said, I do have to leave soon and will be gone for a while, but I'll be back to participate. I sincerely appreciate anyone's thoughts on this topic. :)

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Take a look at:

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

http://judaism.about...ew-Of-Jesus.htm

http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

 

Personally, I've found Dr. Amy Jill Levine's lecture, " Reassessing Jewish-Christian Relations," to be very interesting about some of the differences between Judaism and Christianity (though I don't believe it addresses this question specifically but does talk about the fact that Jews and Christians read different Scriptures) http://www.uctv.tv/s...elations-5577 She's a practicing Conservative Jew who is a well-known professor of New Testament at Vanderbilt Divinity School. She's also a great lecturer (I'm listening to her

Great Courses lecture series on the Old Testament now and really enjoying it).

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Well, to Jews saying they are G-d's chosen people really means that they were chosen to receive G-d's commandments (which Moses did on Mount Sinai). They then followed those laws and still do today. When Jesus came along thousands of years later the concept of him as a messiah really did not have anything to do with Judaism. The concept of a man as a deity, toJews goes against the commandment "I am the Lord thy G-d and thou shalt have no other gods before me." Messianic Jews are not Jews, they are Christians, and see things differently.

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It might help to think of it in terms of then and now. There was a time in the early church in which every single Christian was Jewish. The great debate was whether Gentiles could be Christians. The books of Acts, Galatians, and Romans would contain a good bit of what she is asking about from primary sources. Roman legal sources indicate that Christianity was initially classified as a sect of Judaism and enjoyed their somewhat protected status under Roman law in terms of getting out of worshiping Roman gods. As soon as that was changed, the persecution of Christians for not worshiping Roman gods or bowing to Caesar began.

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Well, there are many different persepectives on this and I can only describe the different ways I have been taught and have seen this topic.

 

Many modern day Christians believe that the Jews were chosen as the physical and spiritual conduit for the Christ, who would save the world from its sins. It's not necessarily that they were chosen because they were special, but that they were special because they were chosen. Supposedly, hearts were hardened so that Jesus would be put to death. If they had accepted him, he might not have been executed. Then his blood would not have been shed to "wash away the sins of the world."

 

From my readings (I could be wrong), I don't think the Jews were or are particularly concerned about an eternal salvation from sin. Those who did believe in an afterlife were looking for more of a salvation from the turbulence and horrors of the human condition. You know, there must be some reward for living a good life, otherwise what's the point? Even then, a number of Jews didn't believe in any kind of resurrection at all. If this life is all you've got, what you do only matters for the here and now, not for after you are dead. (Except for how it affects your descendants) Also, Jesus being the Messaiah wasn't a given. And even if he was, the traditional teaching of the messaiah would not have meant that he was equal with God in any way. He would have just been a very special person, like David.

 

What many people forget, or don't realize is that Jews and Christians were not two separate kinds of people after Jesus's death. Most Christians were Jews and lived as Jews, they were considered a sect of Judaism, in the beginning. Paul, and teachings attributed to him, bears a lot of the responsibility for the eventual separation into two distinct groups.

 

A more liberal Christianity says that Jesus was more of a prophet and "Son of God" is a metaphor. Not everyone wants to listen to people who are speaking hard truths about the world we live in, they stir up emotions and cause revolutions. In a sense, this could be what Jesus was doing and why he was killed.

 

I think the real question your daughter may be asking is "Was Jesus truly God's son?"

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Take a look at:

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

http://judaism.about...ew-Of-Jesus.htm

http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

 

Personally, I've found Dr. Amy Jill Levine's lecture, " Reassessing Jewish-Christian Relations," to be very interesting about some of the differences between Judaism and Christianity (though I don't believe it addresses this question specifically but does talk about the fact that Jews and Christians read different Scriptures) http://www.uctv.tv/s...elations-5577 She's a practicing Conservative Jew who is a well-known professor of New Testament at Vanderbilt Divinity School. She's also a great lecturer (I'm listening to her

Great Courses lecture series on the Old Testament now and really enjoying it).

 

DP

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Take a look at:

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

http://judaism.about...ew-Of-Jesus.htm

http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

 

Personally, I've found Dr. Amy Jill Levine's lecture, " Reassessing Jewish-Christian Relations," to be very interesting about some of the differences between Judaism and Christianity (though I don't believe it addresses this question specifically but does talk about the fact that Jews and Christians read different Scriptures) http://www.uctv.tv/s...elations-5577 She's a practicing Conservative Jew who is a well-known professor of New Testament at Vanderbilt Divinity School. She's also a great lecturer (I'm listening to her

Great Courses lecture series on the Old Testament now and really enjoying it).

 

Thank you. I haven't had the opportunity to read through the links you provided, but I will do so. :)

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Well, there are many different persepectives on this and I can only describe the different ways I have been taught and have seen this topic.

 

Many modern day Christians believe that the Jews were chosen as the physical and spiritual conduit for the Christ, who would save the world from its sins. It's not necessarily that they were chosen because they were special, but that they were special because they were chosen. Supposedly, hearts were hardened so that Jesus would be put to death. If they had accepted him, he might not have been executed. Then his blood would not have been shed to "wash away the sins of the world."

 

From my readings (I could be wrong), I don't think the Jews were or are particularly concerned about an eternal salvation from sin. Those who did believe in an afterlife were looking for more of a salvation from the turbulence and horrors of the human condition. You know, there must be some reward for living a good life, otherwise what's the point? Even then, a number of Jews didn't believe in any kind of resurrection at all. If this life is all you've got, what you do only matters for the here and now, not for after you are dead. (Except for how it affects your descendants) Also, Jesus being the Messaiah wasn't a given. And even if he was, the traditional teaching of the messaiah would not have meant that he was equal with God in any way. He would have just been a very special person, like David.

 

What many people forget, or don't realize is that Jews and Christians were not two separate kinds of people after Jesus's death. Most Christians were Jews and lived as Jews, they were considered a sect of Judaism, in the beginning. Paul, and teachings attributed to him, bears a lot of the responsibility for the eventual separation into two distinct groups.

 

A more liberal Christianity says that Jesus was more of a prophet and "Son of God" is a metaphor. Not everyone wants to listen to people who are speaking hard truths about the world we live in, they stir up emotions and cause revolutions. In a sense, this could be what Jesus was doing and why he was killed.

 

I think the real question your daughter may be asking is "Was Jesus truly God's son?"

 

Great post; thank you. Actually, you typed much of what I had to say to dd on the matter. Of course, you added to it hugely, and your response is very much appreciated.

 

I guess your post leads us to a new question (does that mean I need to start a new thread? Re-title this one?). Why is Paul given so much "space" in the Bible? Is it because there weren't any others who were as outspoken as he? There were others, though. So, was this just a decision made by man a long time ago for a reason we may possibly never know?

 

Regarding your comment about what you think my daughter may really be asking? I'm aware. I think I may be asking it too. Any good sources you might recommend? Thanks.

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It might help to think of it in terms of then and now. There was a time in the early church in which every single Christian was Jewish. The great debate was whether Gentiles could be Christians. The books of Acts, Galatians, and Romans would contain a good bit of what she is asking about from primary sources. Roman legal sources indicate that Christianity was initially classified as a sect of Judaism and enjoyed their somewhat protected status under Roman law in terms of getting out of worshiping Roman gods. As soon as that was changed, the persecution of Christians for not worshiping Roman gods or bowing to Caesar began.

 

I followed you right through the sentence ending with the words "primary sources." I'm not trying to be difficult, but is the remainder of your post historical background for that time period, or does it relate to the question? I'm dealing with one child traveling this week and lots of medical stuff, so I apologize for being slightly muddle headed . :)

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Great question! For some great background info (in addition to the New Testament), check out "Our Father Abraham: the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith" by Marvin R Wilson. The author is an evangelical Christian who has devoted his career to this topic (he's highly respected by both the Christian and Jewish communities.) I have a mental list of the "Top 5 Most-Transformational Books I've Ever Read." This one's on it. :-)

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0802804233/ref=redir_mdp_mobile

 

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Regarding your comment about what you think my daughter may really be asking? I'm aware. I think I may be asking it too. Any good sources you might recommend? Thanks.

 

Well, I have enjoyed reading books by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. They cover many aspects of the historical Jesus and Christianity. Specifically:

The Last Week, The First Christmas, and The First Paul.

 

The Jewish Gospels by Boyarin is a look at the historical Jesus from a Jewish point of view. Other perspectives are: Paul and Jesus by Tabor, and Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene by Bart Ehrman.

 

These are all from a "liberal" Christian point of view, except the one by the rabbi. :-)

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Regarding your comment about what you think my daughter may really be asking? I'm aware. I think I may be asking it too. Any good sources you might recommend? Thanks.

 

Sorry, for some reason I didn't see this when I posted!

 

In that case, the first resource I would recommend is a priest or pastor that you trust. Do you have such a resource in your life?

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Great question! For some great background info (in addition to the New Testament), check out "Our Father Abraham: the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith" by Marvin R Wilson. The author is an evangelical Christian who has devoted his career to this topic (he's highly respected by both the Christian and Jewish communities.) I have a mental list of the "Top 5 Most-Transformational Books I've Ever Read." This one's on it. :-)

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0802804233/ref=redir_mdp_mobile

 

That sounds like an interesting read. I'll check it out. Thanks!

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Sorry, for some reason I didn't see this when I posted!

 

In that case, the first resource I would recommend is a priest or pastor that you trust. Do you have such a resource in your life?

 

No, not really. We've been visiting churches off and on since we moved to this area, but haven't found a fit. Of the many we've visited, they have seemed either too fundamentalist or have been charismatic in nature, or, on the flip side, the others have seemed too watered down...almost as if they don't really believe in anything and are simply going through the motions. I mean no disrespect to anyone who finds what they are looking for in any of these types of churches. They just don't work for us.

 

As I mentioned in my OP, dh is a 'lapsed Catholic,' but I was not brought up in the Catholic Church at all. I don't think either of us would feel comfortable going to a priest with this sort of issue.

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.

 

Fair enough. :) But I don't think I can give my questioning daughter such a brief answer, and expect satisfaction. Her question raised other questions, both in her and in myself, so I was looking for something a bit more meaty with which we could wrestle, research, study and discuss.

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Fair enough. :) But I don't think I can give my questioning daughter such a brief answer, and expect satisfaction. Her question raised other questions, both in her and in myself, so I was looking for something a bit more meaty with which we could wrestle, research, study and discuss.

 

 

I don't know if you saw my original comment, but I thought it would detract from your topic too much when I realize I'd read it wrong in the first place.

 

Is your daughter interested in following the line of thought and logic wherever it will go, or is she more interested in keeping her faith?

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So, she asked this: If, according to the Bible, the Jewish people are God's chosen people, and, if, Jesus is, indeed, God's son, come to save us, then why, with the exception of the Jewish people who are Messianic, do they not believe this to be so? In other words, if Jesus is God's son, and the Jewish people are His chosen people, wouldn't He have taken great pains to see to it that they understood this to be true?

 

He did take great pains to see to it that His people understood it to be true. They chose not to believe because of the hardness of their hearts.

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Is your daughter interested in following the line of thought and logic wherever it will go, or is she more interested in keeping her faith?

 

 

Both can be accomplished, of course. As Christians, we wondered about the "Jewish roots" to our faith a few years ago (more, we were just looking for the historical expression of our faith; we were tired of a faith that prided itself on "new and improved!" with each new trend). We looked into messianic Judaism and realized it was just another Christian denomination with no historical ties to the Jewish faith. So, instead of standing here in the 21st century looking back, we went back to the beginning and asked "What really happened in the Church after Pentecost?" and moved forward from there. We read both Christian and non-Christian sources/opinions. That led us to the Eastern Orthodox church, although in the beginning, that wasn't a destination we wanted to reach. It was too foreign. But we realized we had to follow the line the church followed and converted.

 

I realize some make a different choice, and wholeheartedly respect that. We just ended up asking ourselves, "If the church that was there on day one -- the one that Christ began through the apostles -- still exists, why would we not want to be a part of it?" That's our story. I know others have different stories to tell.

 

 

To Lisa (the OP), your daughter is asking great questions. I hope she finds good sources for her answers, and that her journey of faith toward God continues! With some who posted above, I also believe that the apostles were wholly Jewish and so Christ DID reach out to the Jewish people. They followed Him into a new covenant. The Jewish people (who didn't) are still God's chosen people; the Christian church (those who did follow Christ, as well as the Gentiles who follow Him) is His body. It was through these apostles and their successors that the church developed according to Christ's instructions and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

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No, not really. We've been visiting churches off and on since we moved to this area, but haven't found a fit. Of the many we've visited, they have seemed either too fundamentalist or have been charismatic in nature, or, on the flip side, the others have seemed too watered down...almost as if they don't really believe in anything and are simply going through the motions. I mean no disrespect to anyone who finds what they are looking for in any of these types of churches. They just don't work for us.

 

I understand what you mean, because I've been in a similar situation. Long story. I eventually did find what I was looking for, and hope that you will too.

 

Living out your faith is much harder, I think, outside of a church. I believe that church is for much more than just fellowship, though the fellowship is important too. But I digress, point is, that's why I recommended priest/pastor first. In the absence of that, I'm far less qualified to advise you than others on these boards. So I hope you'll get some good recommendations. I know that Mere Christianity was really helpful to me personally. And I've heard good things about The Case for Christ, though I haven't read it myself. Like I said, I'll let others who are more qualified take over from here. :-)

 

As I mentioned in my OP, dh is a 'lapsed Catholic,' but I was not brought up in the Catholic Church at all. I don't think either of us would feel comfortable going to a priest with this sort of issue.

 

 

Sorry, I didn't understand from your post if he was still a believing but non-practicing Catholic, or if Catholicism was out.

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The Jews do not hold The Bible (as we Christians know it) to be God's word. They include the Old Testament in their scriptures, but the New Testament, as far as I know, is not considered sacred scripture. The OT has many prophecies that were given to the Jews in order that they recognize the Messiah. The New Testament, to Christians, introduces Jesus as the Messiah. The Jews do not believe he was the Messiah even though the OT prophesies were fulfilled in his birth/life because they were looking for a very different "king".

 

Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel both have some very good works about *who* Jesus was and the OT prophesies which he fulfilled.

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I don't know if you saw my original comment, but I thought it would detract from your topic too much when I realize I'd read it wrong in the first place.

 

Is your daughter interested in following the line of thought and logic wherever it will go, or is she more interested in keeping her faith?

 

 

I did see the original comment, and thought it was a fair one. i was just looking for a little more information. I think she's interested in following the line wherever it will go, as am I.

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So, instead of standing here in the 21st century looking back, we went back to the beginning and asked "What really happened in the Church after Pentecost?" and moved forward from there. We read both Christian and non-Christian sources/opinions. That led us to the Eastern Orthodox church, although in the beginning, that wasn't a destination we wanted to reach. It was too foreign. But we realized we had to follow the line the church followed and converted.

 

I realize some make a different choice, and wholeheartedly respect that. We just ended up asking ourselves, "If the church that was there on day one -- the one that Christ began through the apostles -- still exists, why would we not want to be a part of it?" That's our story. I know others have different stories to

 

 

I'm not being argumentative, I promise. I'm simply trying to understand. What sources did you use to determine what really happened in the Church after the Pentecost? How did you determine that you found the church that was there on day one?

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Sorry, I didn't understand from your post if he was still a believing but non-practicing Catholic, or if Catholicism was out.

 

 

He believes that there is a Creator, but no longer follows beliefs specific to the Catholic faith. He never believed them. He practiced them growing up because doing so was non-negotiable in his family.

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I'm not being argumentative, I promise. I'm simply trying to understand. What sources did you use to determine what really happened in the Church after the Pentecost? How did you determine that you found the church that was there on day one?

 

 

Mostly it was writings from the early church fathers, some of whom were alive while some of the apostles still were. (Click for online reading; there are books, too.). Reading through these made me see that the early church was very liturgical, which I'd never realized or understood before. There were other things, too, like regular fasting being implemented from the get-go and infants being baptized and bishops being the leader of the local church. Anyway, I just realized that my view of Christianity was quite tainted because I'd never put historical lenses on to look at it.

 

After reading some of the early church fathers, I started reading the lives of the saints through these early years, and the rest of the last 2000 years, and saw a common thread through them.

 

I just realized, I guess, that according to both Scripture and common sense, if the church is truly Christ's actual body, then it could never fall away. The original still had be to somewhere, even if there were others that had come from it. Prior to looking into these things, I had nothing but a vague notion that the church existed for a very brief while before falling into apostasy, and then somewhere in the 1500's-1600's things started coming around again, with the fullness of the faith coming in the late 19th century or early 20th century, through the charismatic movement.

 

It may sound funny, but some of my understanding on this came right here at the WTM forums. People I respected, and who I knew weren't Christian, and so didn't have a dog in the fight, would -- in the context of a discussion on church history or some such topic -- say something like "The Orthodox church has the best claim to historical Christianity, even more than the Roman Catholic church."

 

Feel free to PM me if you want, or any other comments here are fine too.

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Feel free to PM me if you want, or any other comments here are fine too.

 

 

I may PM you. I need to digest your post and think on it for a while. I believe your reply brought forth more questions in my mind than answers. I'm not complaining. :) I'm just trying to formulate my questions in a sensible manner. Thank you for taking the time to answer my initial questions to you. I sincerely appreciate how helpful and kind everyone has been.

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I may PM you. I need to digest your post and think on it for a while. I believe your reply brought forth more questions in my mind than answers. I'm not complaining. :) I'm just trying to formulate my questions in a sensible manner. Thank you for taking the time to answer my initial questions to you. I sincerely appreciate how helpful and kind everyone has been.

 

Please forgive me, I think I got off topic with my second reply. When I woke up from my nap, I realized that I'd taken a logical/intellectual approach with my reply, when (while that was part of it), it was more experiential than anything. We started attending an eastern Orthodox church, and felt like we'd fallen into great big arms of rest. Later, we realized it was because many of the practices of the church had their roots in the church's Jewish background (no offense meant to my Jewish brothers and sisters who do not see it that way) and it was all as it should be finally. This rang true for us because it's the same God who developed both (or one as a precursor to the other, as it were), so it is very natural that the Christian faith would have some Jewish aspects to it since that was to whom Christ entrusted His teachings and body. Being in an Orthodox church is somewhat like going back in time to the church's early practices (many of them Jewish), and to an eastern way of worship (which is where the church began). It's beautiful. So that brings us back to the original question you posed. I hope that makes some sense. It does in my head. :tongue_smilie:

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Honestly, I so appreciate the time everyone took to try to answer my dd's (and my) question. I'm more confused than when I started though. So many issues are rearing up for me. I can't take up board space and everyone's time with more and more questions. I suppose I will start with the resources recommended here, and then try to figure out where to go from there. Thanks everyone.

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I followed you right through the sentence ending with the words "primary sources." I'm not trying to be difficult, but is the remainder of your post historical background for that time period, or does it relate to the question? I'm dealing with one child traveling this week and lots of medical stuff, so I apologize for being slightly muddle headed . :)

 

 

Sorry. I answered quickly. It is additional support from Roman sources that Christianity was originally viewed as a sect of Judaism rather than a different religion. That is clear in the biblical sources (that it was seen as flowing directly from Judaism) but the Roman govt initially viewed it that way as well.

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I did see the original comment, and thought it was a fair one. i was just looking for a little more information. I think she's interested in following the line wherever it will go, as am I.

 

 

Okay.

 

:)

 

In my original reply, I said the Jews don't believe Jesus is the messiah and the Christian scriptures (New Testament) is valid for the same reason Christians don't believe Mohammad is the final and most important prophet, and the Qu'ran is valid. In other words, these are considered not to be culmination of the original faith, but a deviation of the original faith, the foundation of a different faith.

 

You'd want to look to Jewish resources for disregarding the claim of Jesus as the messiah. I like Judaism 101. Here they explain a few pertinent things:

  • Traditional Judaism suggests the messiah is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days. The world isn't ending, ergo any claim of Jesus being The One 2000 years ago can be disregarded.

  • The word "mashiach" does not mean "savior." The concept has evolved from the Jewish religion to a uniquely Christian one.

  • Jews believe the messiah will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being. The Christian interpretation of the messiah being God Himself is not a Jewish expectation, so this character isn't compelling in a religious sense.

  • The mashiach will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people.

  • Jews (like all non-Christians) have no compelling reason to assume the character Jesus actually even existed.

 

I don't think one can reconcile the two concepts you're trying to support: Jews are God's chosen people & Jesus is God's Son, come to save us.

 

I suggest this because historically speaking, Jews are God's chosen people for Jews, Jews were God's chosen people for Christians. Antisemitism, including the concept that Jews provide a constant blaspheme against God, was the acceptable Christian stand until after the Second World War. Galatians 3 explains the traditional understanding of who the modern day Chosen People are - those who are justified through faith, so they may receive the promise of the spirit through faith. Jews don't have faith that Jesus is the savior, and because this inheritance was given by promise, not lineage, they are essentially shunning God. The practical application of this idea can be found in this timeline of Jewish persecution by Christians. I don't add this to suggest these massacres and exiles were sanctioned by God, but to suggest that Christian society, by and large, accepted the idea that because Jews were not God's Chosen People but constant blasphemers who refused to acknowledge Jesus is God, these were morally (religiously) acceptable public policy solutions.

 

The theological arguments for justification, both Catholic and Protestant, have evolved over the years. The arguments you'll hear today were not offered two centuries ago. That means that either God changed his mind, or for the last 1800 years Christians didn't really know what they were preaching. Or, and I think this is the most plausible explanation, Christians naturally and subtly modify theology to incorporate new information and evolving social trends. This leaves you and your daughter with the awkward question - if Jesus really is the Son of God, and Jews really are God's Chosen People, how could they have missed that?

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Sorry. I answered quickly. It is additional support from Roman sources that Christianity was originally viewed as a sect of Judaism rather than a different religion. That is clear in the biblical sources (that it was seen as flowing directly from Judaism) but the Roman govt initially viewed it that way as well.

 

 

There's a very interesting book on the subject of the various ways in which the Romans understood Christianity (some saw it as an apostasy from Judaism, a secret sect like the Bacchae, a foreign cult, a social/political association, a philosophical school, etc))----"The Christians as the Romans Saw Them" by Robert Wilken (you can " look inside" on Amazon). He uses material from sources such as Pliny, Celsus (through Origen), Porphyry, Julian the Apostate, etc to show contemporary Roman understanding of the movement---very enlightening perspective, especially when you contrast it with the writings of the Church at the same periods.

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You also have the basic issue that Jewish and Christian understandings of sin, especially "original sin," and thus the need for a savior from it, are quite different.

http://judaism.about.com/od/judaismbasics/a/Do-Jews-Believe-In-Sin.htm

http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/original-sin.html

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Original_Sin.html

http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation5.html

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This leaves you and your daughter with the awkward question - if Jesus really is the Son of God, and Jews really are God's Chosen People, how could they have missed that?

 

Thank you for a very well written and helpful reply. I plan to look into all that you included. Are you available for coffee any time soon? I have lots of questions. I'm kidding. Sort of. Lol.

 

The reason I quoted the above is that you wrote exactly what I was trying to express in my original post. That is the exact question we are asking. How could they have missed that? And I'm finding my search is turning up more and more questions...hence my offer for coffee. Ha.

 

Anyway, I appreciate the information. I'll research and pull my hair out over all of these questions, I imagine. It's very difficult when there is no one IRL with whom I can converse, question, discuss these issues. Sigh. Thanks for your patience.

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And I'm finding my search is turning up more and more questions...hence my offer for coffee. Ha.

 

 

This is why I asked if your dd is interested in following the information to where it leads, or if she's looking for an answer supported by her theological beliefs. In my opinion, the answer to your question cannot be reconciled with Christian theology. Like you say, more and more questions turn up. Eventually, one runs into the option to either look at objective information, or believe something on faith. The two will be incompatible at some point.

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I suggest this because historically speaking, Jews are God's chosen people for Jews, Jews were God's chosen people for Christians

 

 

This. The setting apart of the Jewish people was done for a purpose that has since been fulfilled. Paul explained in his letter to the Galatians that "When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."

 

The books of Romans and Galatians also speak heavily to this topic (although you might not see it that way depending on whether you grew up being taught to read the book of Romans from the "Reformed Perspective" rather than what some people are calling "New Perspective").

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As many pointed out many Jews did believe and founded the church. It was hard for the Jews and even the disciples at first to understand. The Jews saw the Mesiah as a conquering king and not as a suffering servant. Nor did they see him as God. Of course they were missing a lot of what the Old Testament was revealing to them. He will be a conquering king when He returns again. They thought He was going to over throw the Roman Empire and set up His kingdom the during His first coming. He is going to do that, but it will be His second coming. At that time they will see and realize he is God and Mesiah. It all part of the plan. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.

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You also have the basic issue that Jewish and Christian understandings of sin, especially "original sin," and thus the need for a savior from it, are quite different.

http://judaism.about.com/od/judaismbasics/a/Do-Jews-Believe-In-Sin.htm

http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/original-sin.html

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Original_Sin.html

http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation5.html

 

 

"Original sin" is not the Christian understanding of sin, it is the Roman Catholic (and its offshoots) understanding of sin. The Orthodox understanding of sin and original sin is different.

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Great post; thank you. Actually, you typed much of what I had to say to dd on the matter. Of course, you added to it hugely, and your response is very much appreciated.

 

I guess your post leads us to a new question (does that mean I need to start a new thread? Re-title this one?). Why is Paul given so much "space" in the Bible? Is it because there weren't any others who were as outspoken as he? There were others, though. So, was this just a decision made by man a long time ago for a reason we may possibly never know?

 

Regarding your comment about what you think my daughter may really be asking? I'm aware. I think I may be asking it too. Any good sources you might recommend? Thanks.

 

 

Paul is given so much "space" in the Bible because the early church recognized those letters he wrote as Scripture and different from just very good commentary/wisdom/advice. Some early writings, such as the Didache (sp?) were recognized by the early church as good to read, but not given the same weight as Scripture. Some people mistakenly have the idea that the canon was arbitrarily decided by a bunch of men, and it is true that church councils (comprising the sweep of the church of the time, which was united) "decided." But they weren't deciding based on "I like this and I like that" but were affirming what the broad church was already using and looking to as Scripture. Really only a very small percentage of books were in dispute. Paul's letters were not in dispute , Wiki has a decent chart: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon . Direct, authenticated ties to an apostle of a particular writing were very important in the church's affirmation.

 

So if one believes that the Holy Spirit was given to the church, and what Jesus said in John's gospel that the Spirit would lead them into all the truth, then who really decided is the broad body of the Christian (one united) church at the time. The councils affirmed what the churches had already recognized. So the question for those attending the council was: "Have the churches broadly accepted this as Scripture?" not "Do I vote that this is Scripture?" Hope that makes sense. We can also look back through the writings of very early followers of Jesus (1st -2nd century) and see the continuity of what was accepted as Scripture.

 

But again, to your original question, I would suggest reading Matthew (the gospel addressing most specifically Jewish issues), Acts, Galatians, and Romans. Romans is the hardest to digest of the 4, so I'm actually listing in the order I'd suggest reading.

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So, she asked this: If, according to the Bible, the Jewish people are God's chosen people, and, if, Jesus is, indeed, God's son, come to save us, then why, with the exception of the Jewish people who are Messianic, do they not believe this to be so? In other words, if Jesus is God's son, and the Jewish people are His chosen people, wouldn't He have taken great pains to see to it that they understood this to be true?

 

 

I guess I don't understand what the problem is, unless you don't believe in free will. The Jews were subject to free will the same as the rest of humanity. They sinned just like the rest of humanity. This is evidenced over and over in the Old Testament. As others have said, there were Jews who followed Christ and believed. And there were others who didn't. All of this is in the New Testament. Everyone is free to accept or reject Christ to their own free will. Christ came first to the Jews, and then expanded his ministry and charged his disciples to go forth even further.

 

I'm really unclear on what the issue is. Do you not believe in free will? Do you think that God should have "made" the Jews believe in Jesus?

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As many pointed out many Jews did believe and founded the church. It was hard for the Jews and even the disciples at first to understand. The Jews saw the Mesiah as a conquering king and not as a suffering servant. Nor did they see him as God. Of course they were missing a lot of what the Old Testament was revealing to them. He will be a conquering king when He returns again. They thought He was going to over throw the Roman Empire and set up His kingdom the during His first coming. He is going to do that, but it will be His second coming. At that time they will see and realize he is God and Mesiah. It all part of the plan. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.

 

 

This is the Christian re-interpretation of the Tanakh, similar to the way in which Islam reinterprets both the Tanakh and the New Testament to show that both reveal and are fulfilled in Mohammed, while only being imperfectly understood by Jews and Christians. It's an important distinction to understand that this is not at all the way in which Jews understand the Tanakh.

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"Original sin" is not the Christian understanding of sin, it is the Roman Catholic (and its offshoots) understanding of sin. The Orthodox understanding of sin and original sin is different.

 

 

Thanks for the correction. Could you link to an explanation so that I can learn more? I'm curious. Thanks.

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"Original sin" is not the Christian understanding of sin, it is the Roman Catholic (and its offshoots) understanding of sin. The Orthodox understanding of sin and original sin is different.

 

There are many offshoots that don't agree with the RC belief of original sin. It isn't just the Orthodox.

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Paul is given so much "space" in the Bible because the early church recognized those letters he wrote as Scripture and different from just very good commentary/wisdom/advice. Some early writings, such as the Didache (sp?) were recognized by the early church as good to read, but not given the same weight as Scripture. Some people mistakenly have the idea that the canon was arbitrarily decided by a bunch of men, and it is true that church councils (comprising the sweep of the church of the time, which was united) "decided." But they weren't deciding based on "I like this and I like that" but were affirming what the broad church was already using and looking to as Scripture. Really only a very small percentage of books were in dispute. Paul's letters were not in dispute , Wiki has a decent chart: https://en.wikipedia.../Biblical_canon . Direct, authenticated ties to an apostle of a particular writing were very important in the church's affirmation.

 

So if one believes that the Holy Spirit was given to the church, and what Jesus said in John's gospel that the Spirit would lead them into all the truth, then who really decided is the broad body of the Christian (one united) church at the time. The councils affirmed what the churches had already recognized. So the question for those attending the council was: "Have the churches broadly accepted this as Scripture?" not "Do I vote that this is Scripture?" Hope that makes sense. We can also look back through the writings of very early followers of Jesus (1st -2nd century) and see the continuity of what was accepted as Scripture.

I've always found it interesting that Christians actually don't agree on what constitutes canon, so there is no single "Christian Bible," it's very dependent on the particular Christian tradition. I don't think it's accurate to say that the Church was united at the times the various canons were decided, else there would be a single canon. Here's what the article you quoted gives (note the split between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic was in 1054):

 

 

In the lecture by Dr. Levine, she points out that the Tanakh and the Christian Old Testament are not synonymous. They are actually ordered very differently, which makes a difference in the way one reads the text. The (most widely used) Christian Old Testament ends with Malachi, calling for a return of Elijah (see Malachi 3: 23-24), where the Tanakh ends with 2nd Chronicles, telling the Jews to go home from exile to Jerusalem.

 

Any time one enters into a discussion on this sort of topic, it's also good to realize that the concept of sola Scriptura is a Protestant one and not followed by Jews or large portions of Christianity. For most, Scripture must be interpreted within the framework of the historical traditions and teachings, not only on the words printed in the Tanakh or the Bible.

 

BTW, I've just gotten hold of the Jewish Annotated New Testament edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Mark Brettzler and put out by Oxford University Press, which looks really interesting (haven't had a chance to read it yet)..

 

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There are many offshoots that don't agree with the RC belief of original sin. It isn't just the Orthodox.

 

Again, I'd love to know more, if you could point me toward resources. Do you mean various branches of Protestantism or Anglicanism, or some other offshoot altogether?

 

To add, as I understand it, the RC and Protestant beliefs in original sin (and understandings of such within various branches of Protestantism) also differ fairly markedly.

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There are many offshoots that don't agree with the RC belief of original sin. It isn't just the Orthodox.

 

I was writing quickly, I apologize. You are correct. I was trying to impart that that was an idea that was brought forth in the West and wasn't "original" to Christianity.

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Again, I'd love to know more, if you could point me toward resources. Do you mean various branches of Protestantism or Anglicanism, or some other offshoot altogether?

 

To add, as I understand it, the RC and Protestant beliefs in original sin (and understandings of such within various branches of Protestantism) also differ fairly markedly.

 

Well, the sticking-point seems to be that the RC & protestants are described as believing that original sin means that not only did Adam & Eve commit the first sin & thus we suffer the consequences of that sin, but that we also inherit their guilt. I can't speak to RC beliefs because I'm not one & I don't want to misrepresent.

 

disclaimer: This is simply my experience & I don't mean to describe anyone's beliefs incorrectly.

Some people consider that as Protestants branching out of the RC church, this is also part of our belief by default. This is just not so. There are some Protestant denominations that seem to believe this - at least in practice if not explicit doctrine. But I've never attended one nor have I come across this belief in any theological discussions except with a few strict Calvinists - this seems to go along with the "total depravity" as they understand it & I'm not sure how common this belief is.

 

As far as sources, that's difficult. In my denomination, for example, there is no doctrinal statement on original sin. So you would find no definition of it anywhere thus it makes it really easy to say that because we are a branch from the RC & they believe in original sin as ______ then we believe it, too.

 

Oh, gotta go supervise the kids outside. Be back later if necessary.

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