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Who cares about Jewish “stuff”?
A few questions are in order for my Christian audience. Why should Christians be interested in Jews or Judaism? More to the point, why should Christians be interested in Jewish festivals?
* True Christianity realizes the God of Israel chose a humble Jewish virgin to bear His child.
* Jesus, the Son of God, was therefore born to a Jewish mother.
* Joseph, His adoptive father was Jewish.
* The disciples were Jewish.
* They lived in a Jewish land.
* They spoke, wrote, read, and were familiar with Jewish languages and idioms.
* They attended Jewish worship services in the Temple and various synagogues.
* The original New Testament Church did not have a New Testament for several centuries. All scholars concede that the New Testament is based upon thousands of words referenced, quoted, or paraphrased from the Hebrew Bible.
* Other portions were based upon Jewish apocryphal or pseudepigraphical writings (These are non-canonical, yet invaluable texts e.g., The Assumption of Moses, the books of the Maccabees, and the book of Enoch.) For more detail on this interesting subject, see my book, Does Jacob’s Trouble Wear a Cross?
Judaism: Womb of the Church
Most of the Bible from Genesis 12:1 through Revelation was basically written by Jews, to Jews, about Jews, or with Jews in mind. (Luke and Acts were probably written by Gentiles, but they nonetheless address Jewish issues on behalf of the early Jewish Church.)
To correctly understand our New Testament, it is beneficial to have a working knowledge of the world from which it was birthed. Judaism was the womb of the Church. Christianity developed in a very Jewish world. In fact, it was so Jewish that some of the founding fathers of the faith were “astonished” that God made room for the Gentiles (Acts 10:45). God sent three supernatural signs before Peter was convinced that it was safe to play with Cornelius the goy-Gentile. Remember, even the original evangelists who worked outside of Israel were said to be initially preaching to “none but the Jews only.” (Acts 11:19)!
A Personal Note:
Today, a chasm exists. The Church has a dangerous lack of knowledge related to their own Jewish origins. Without that knowledge, believers have burned bridges. We need a stable foundation to span from yesterday to today. Tomorrow should not be built upon weak speculation. It should be constructed on the solid footing that was provided by the God of Israel. To that end, I hope this material offers insights and perspectives for mature Christians to grow deeper in their love for the God of Israel and His chosen people.
I have a smorgasbord of degrees, diplomas, & certificates, nonetheless, I feel quite helpless. As I research and prepare this text I am anticipating your review. I hope the Spirit of God will meet us and adjust our spirits as He stirs our hearts. Perhaps He will impart His message into our souls so that His purposes truly become our purposes. We need to be delivered from my agenda, your agenda, and even the agenda painted by modern, western, religionists of varying views. My desire is that this material would service special chosen servants of the Most High God and that His agenda would become clear and compelling in the hearts of those servants.