Is Christianity a form of Completed Judaism? Is it right to refer to a Jewish person that recognizes Jesus as their Messiah as a Completed or Fulfilled Jew? These two questions go hand in hand and one cannot be answered without the other being answered also. The claim is sometimes made that Christian and Jewish belief systems are too different from each other for the term Completed Jew to be appropriate.
To know if Christianity is the completed form of Judaism a closer study of Judaism must be made. For this closer study, JewishRoots.Net will use the Bible as its main source. That’s because there is a difference between what the Bible teaches about Judaism (Biblical Judaism) and what the Rabbi’s teach about Judaism (Rabbinical Judaism). A more independent, in-depth study is encouraged concerning the Biblical passages referenced here.
The real question goes something like this. Are Christianity and Judaism similar enough that Christianity could be considered the finished form of Judaism or are they so distinct in their respective theological beliefs that they cannot be connected?
The first Jew, Abraham, received his righteousness due to his faith in God that God Himself would keep all His promises. Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).
The theological thought here is that it is faith that was credited to Abraham as righteousness and not his actions or works (good deeds, mitzvoth, etc…). Abraham received this credit of righteousness many years before his circumcision. The obvious chronology of Genesis proves it. When Abraham was circumcised, Ishmael was thirteen years old and Abraham was ninety-nine (Gen. 17:23–25). But when Abraham was declared righteous by God (Gen.15:6), Ishmael had not yet been born or even conceived (Gen.16:2–4). When Ishmael was born, Abraham was eighty-six (Gen.16:16). Therefore Abraham was declared righteous by God at least fourteen years before he was circumcised. (1)) For more on this covenant please read The Abrahamic Covenant-The Root Of Every Blessing.
Since Abraham was the first Jew, we can look to him as God’s example. Since the first Jew was saved through faith and not works, all Jews after that are also saved through faith. This is the position of Abraham and all Jews after him. This is the position of the Old Testament (Biblical Judaism) and this is the position for both Jews and Gentiles reconfirmed in the New Testament. For more on this topic please read Romans Chapter 4.
Biblical Judaism teaches righteousness is credited due to faith in God’s promises (Gen. 15:6). Living the right life is the result of right believing.
Rabbinical Judaism teaches righteousness credited to us because of our works.
Now that we have established that our righteousness is credited to us due to our faith and not our works, let’s look at another issue concerning salvation.
Does the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, teach that God will send someone else to die for our sins in order that we can be saved?
While often a topic of discussion and even debate, JewishRoots.Net believes God has made this prophetic promise clear. The prophet Isaiah wrote about him that would take the punishment for us this way: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
This Old Testament passage is never read as part of the annual cycle of weekly Bible readings. Many Jews are not aware that Isaiah spoke about the Messiah this way. They often believe that this is a New Testament passage when they hear it for the first time.
Isaiah 53 is Biblical Judaism and it is prophetic, fulfilled in the form of Jesus Christ who took our place so that by His wounds we can be healed (through faith in Him His righteousness is credited to us).
The Rabbis are aware of this passage (which may be the reason it is never read at Temple or Synagogue services). Today’s Rabbinical Judaism position is one that would want you to believe that the “He” in this verse is actually the Nation of Israel. While that is today’s rabbinic position, it has not always been that way. For more on Isaiah 53 being a Messianic passage in the Bible please read What The Rabbis Said. For more on why the Nation of Israel cannot be the “He” in the Isaiah 53 passage please read Why Isaiah 53 Can’t Be National Israel.
Learn more about the Isaiah 53 Prophecy.
God has given many created things free will. The first two people God created, Adam and Eve, both had free will. They chose to disobey God’s command to not eat from a specific tree (Gen. 2:17). Influenced by Satan in the form of a serpent, Adam and Eve both chose to sin by breaking the one rule that God had given them.
Since that time the entire human race has inherited (or been born with) this sinful nature that was created not when God created Adam and Eve, but when they exercised their free will in a sinful way.
The Old Testament Psalms recognize that this sinful nature is passed on from generation to generation. We receive it from before our very birth. That is why King David wrote: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5). King David recognized that he had his sinful nature before he was even born, while he was still in his mother’s womb. Interestingly, David writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit also teaches us that God recognizes a human life at the time of conception, while still in the mother's womb.
Satan was able to greatly influence Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1-15). At times, Satan is also able to influence most of us to exercise our free will in negative ways that do not bring honor and glory to God.
Satan used his free will to desire to be worshiped. Some of the Angels used their free will to worship Satan instead of worshiping God. These angels are thought to be fallen angels (also known as demons). Both Satan and our free will are the source of original sin. Satan’s fall from good standing with God is recorded in Isaiah 14:12-17.
The New Testament teaches that God in never the source of temptation although He can be the source of testing (James 1:13).
Sometimes Angels are referred to as messengers. Prophets also were messengers since they had a message for Israel and the rest of the world if the world would only listen. Some Prophets used their free will in order to choose not to obey God.
Remember Jonah, who was to deliver a message to Nineveh. Jonah chose to go the opposite direction of what God wanted, only to be given another chance after being swallowed by a big fish for three days. This message is read on the Day of Atonement because God wants us to know we also have another chance.
Remember Moses, whom is often thought of as Israel’s greatest prophet. He murdered a man (Exodus 2:12). Due to sin in his life, he was never allowed to enter Israel. Most of the time, Moses did the right thing. God still allowed him to have free will. He also, like Isaiah, told of a prophet coming that would be greater that he was. Learn more about this prophecy that Moses taught by reading A Prophet Greater Than Moses.
Christianity completes this Biblical truth this way. Because one man’s sin (Adam) brought condemnation to all that followed, then one man’s righteousness (Jesus was perfect because he was sinless and His substitutionary sacrifice for us was His “one act”) that can bring righteousness to all (who put their faith in Him).
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men (Romans 5:18).
The Old Testament teaches that God is the creator of the Heavens and the Earth. It also teaches what has become the cornerstone prayer for all of Judaism. Found in Deuteronomy 6:4 the passage reads "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! This Bible verse, known as the Shema, teaches that there is only “One God.” It is often believed that Christianity teaches that there is more than one God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The New Testament teaches that there is only One God, and the only way to get to heaven is through Him.
The New Testament teaches that this One God consists of the Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. That collectively these things make up who God is. God is like a complex unity and there is more than one component that makes up One God. Similar in some ways is the idea that it takes more than one grape to be referred to as a cluster of grapes, yet several grapes together are considered one cluster.
The Old Testament does not rule out the theological idea of God being a complex unity. Judaism recognizes the “Father” in prayer (Avinu Malkeinu, Our Father and our King). It also recognizes the Holy Spirit of God hovered above the waters during creation (Gen. 1:2). Jeremiah teaches us that the one who God will send to deliver us is known as The Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6). This prophetically recognizes our deliver as God Himself.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach that there is only “One God.” Most denominations of Judaism only recognize the Father and the Holy Spirit (Messianic Judaism recognizes the Son also) as the makeup of this complex unity. The New Testament recognizes the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as this same complex unity also referred to at times as the Tri-Unity or Trinity. They both theologically agree that there is only “One God.” For more on this please read Lessons From The Shema.
Christianity helps to make the understanding of the definition of who God is complete. Concerning the Son, Jesus, the Prophet John explained it this way.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men (John 1:1-4).
John helps to teach us that when God spoke the world into existence the creation mechanism that He used was words, which at the time, is who the Messiah was.
Read more on the Divinity Of The Messiah.
God gave the Torah to Israel through Moses. The Torah is considered direct revelation from God. Even though Moses wrote it, Judaism teaches that he was inspired by the Holy Spirit what to write, to the letter. The New Testament teaches the exact same thing. It also “completes” this view by extending the divine inspiration to the New Testament authors who were also Jewish.
Many purposes for the Torah, (also sometimes referred to as the law, teachings and guidelines) have been suggested. They include the fact that the Torah teaches how to live a moral life (10 commandments) and how to live a legal life (God’s penalty for certain sins) along with how to live a religiously ceremonial life (Jewish holiday observances).
Without the Torah, man wouldn't know right from wrong and would be forced to develop His own guidelines instead of following God’s.
Biblical Judaism looks at the entire Old Testament as written by God through inspired Prophets’. The Torah (first 5 books, Genesis-Deuteronomy) came first. These 5 books offered revelation from God. Later, God gave further revelations through all the other Old Testament prophets including Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah.
Biblical Judaism, by using instructions found in the Torah, was to teach Israel how to live. It taught right from wrong, and it offered a way to seeks God’s forgiveness when a wrong or a sin had been committed. This was the purpose of the law in the Old Testament. The New Testament supports this completely.
The Permanence of the Law:
How long was the Law to last?
This topic is often discussed in many Jewish circles today. This has been the cause behind Biblical Judaism being broken into different Jewish denominations (the three largest are orthodox, conservative and reform) based on the perceived level of obedience required by the Torah today.
Biblical Judaism teaches that the things taught in the Torah (also known as the Old Testament and as the Old Covenant) will be in effect until the New Covenant comes. This passage is taught in Jeremiah 31:31. (See discussion on this passage later in the article).
The New Testament teaches (the same as the Old Testament) that the Torah was given to us so that we would know right from wrong. It teaches that because we can know what is wrong (due to a violation of the Torah) that we should be able to recognize that sometimes we give in to our sinful nature and therefore we have a need for forgiveness.
The New Testament helps to complete an understanding of the true intent of the law, by teaching that the no one is truly able to follow all the laws all the time. Jesus helps to further explain this. He encourages a higher standard of the law. He revealed that even more important than the obligation to the written law was the obligation to the true intent or spirit of the law.
As an example, consider what Jesus taught from the Mount of Olives.
You have heard that it was said, do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5-27-28).
The Spirit of the law has the same goal as the letter of the law but a greater depth of revelation. Once a person realizes that he is unable on his own, (without God’s help) to do all that God’s will is for them in their lives, the law has served its primary purpose. Once a person realizes that they are sinners because they are unable to keep all of the law all of the time and therefore a need to be forgiven exists, the law has served its primary purpose. Once a person realizes that the law has built into it a substitutionary sacrificial system, which points toward our need for a permanent substitute to take our penalty for our sins away just like Isaiah 53 teaches, the law has served its primary purpose.
The law is permanent in a way that it continues to teach these things from generation to generation. Symbolic illustrations from the Old Testament are completed through New Testament applications. An example of this would be the Passover holiday. The traditional Passover meal (Seder) retells the story of Israel being saved from the bondage of Pharaoh by placing the blood of a lamb around the doorposts of their individual dwellings. This act of faith caused the Angel of Death to “Pass Over” those homes because they were marked by the blood of the lamb. The New Testament application finds Jesus conducting the traditional Seder meal, and revealing that He is to be considered the permanent sacrificial lamb and that those who believe in Him, paint their own hearts (doorposts) with His permanent sacrificial lamb’s blood. This allows the Angel of Death (the penalty for our own personal sin) to “Pass Over” the believer in Messiah at Judgment time. This is symbolically done with what is referred to as communion.
The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah wrote But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed; …he was led like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53: 5, 7). The New Testament identified this lamb when it reveals: Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).
Jesus is often criticized because of His effort to teach us about the law, and our inability to keep the true intent of the law. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus reaffirms that the greatest commandment of all is to Love the Lord your God (part of the traditional Shema prayer). He teaches that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the law and the prophets. In other words, people who love the Lord will be motivated to do the right thing for God, towards others.
This overview of the law was accepted by Judaism. Jesus teaching was found in the Talmud. The following was written by Talmudic scribes a few hundred years after the death of Jesus.
On another occasion it happened that a certain heathen came before Shammai and said to him, ‘Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.’ Thereupon he repulsed him with the builder's cubit which was in his hand. When he went before Hillel, he said to him, what is hateful to you; do not to your neighbour: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary thereof; go and learn it.(2)
While these are great guidelines to live by, we as humans fall short on occasion.
There are other references in the Talmud that reduce the number of commandments by King David, Isaiah, Micah and Amos.(3) Jesus was simply reaffirming what the Rabbis already knew.
There are two different kinds of covenants (agreements) in the Bible. A covenant is either conditional or unconditional and both kinds are used by God in the Old Testament.
The Unconditional Covenant: God would keep His end of the covenant without any conditions being placed upon the recipient.
The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3) is considered an unconditional covenant. From the Old Testament perspective, the covenant between God and Abraham is unconditional because only the Lord passed between the halves of the animals prepared for this covenant. The fact that God alone walked between the pieces signified that the total responsibility for fulfilling the covenant was His. The covenant was with Abraham in the sense that, humanly speaking, it revolved around him. But its conditions and obligations were God’s alone.(4) As a physical sign of belonging to this agreement, Jews were circumcised.
From the New Testament perspective, the Abrahamic Covenant was an unconditional covenant (who ever believes in him (Jesus) shall have everlasting life), but it does have conditional blessing attached to it. You must believe in order to receive. It is also viewed as unconditional because this messianic blessing comes to the world regardless of Israel’s behavior.
The New Testament teaches that this covenant is constantly being fulfilled by believers in Christ. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise (Galatian's 3:29). As a sign of belonging to this agreement believers in Jesus are circumcised inwardly, through their heart, out of faith.
From both the Old Testament perspective and the New Testament perspective the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional.
The Conditional Covenant: God would keep His end of the covenant providing something was done in return. It has an “if” attached to it.
The Mosaic covenant is considered conditional. Conditional in the idea that Israel chose to accept the conditions of the covenant when they said “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 19:8). In this covenant God promises are directly related to Israel’s obedience to the Mosaic Law. If Israel is obedient then God will bless them, but if they disobey, then God will punish them. The blessings and curses that are associated with this conditional covenant are found in detail in Deuteronomy 28.
This covenant would be in place only until the one prophesied about by Jeremiah (see Jer. 31:31) would be instituted. The question is not if the Mosaic Covenant will ever be replaced because the Old Testament and New Testament both agree that it will be. The question is has it already been replaced by the Jer. 31:31 covenant, instituted through the Messiah.
Followers of Jesus the Messiah believe that the Jer. 31:31 covenant has now been instituted and are awaiting the full fulfillment of this covenant which will occur at the second coming of the Messiah. Both Covenants are Jewish covenants that God used Jewish prophets (Moses and Jeremiah) to let Israel know what His will would be for them. Moses himself knew that someday God would lift up a prophet greater than he was (Deut 18:18).
The New Covenant is The New Testament:
God’s covenants each have a purpose. So did each of God’s prophets. Some Jewish people are surprised to learn that God, through the Prophet Jeremiah, revealed that someday the Old Covenant would be replaced with a new one. This is biblical Judaism directly from Jeremiah 31:31.
The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the LORD. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the LORD. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, Know the LORD, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD Almighty is his name: (Jeremiah 31:31-35).
Jeremiah lived around 600 years before Jesus. He foretold of a New Covenant (Testament) along with other prophecies. Believers in Jesus believe that the events surrounding Jesus’ death and more importantly, His resurrection, instituted this New Covenant. The question should not be; does Biblical Judaism teach that someday there will be a New Covenant? The Bible clearly does. The question should be; is the New Testament that Christians believe in, the New Covenant that Jeremiah foretold about?
The Book of Hebrews 8:8-13 reveals that it is.
Questions are sometimes asked concerning Jeremiah’s 31:31 prophetic New Covenant. It is obvious that if this is the New Covenant prophecy there are still parts of it that are unfulfilled. This is true from both a Biblical Judaism perspective and a New Testament perspective. The answer why has to do with the topic of prophecy itself.
When an Old Testament Prophet revealed the word of God he was usually unaware of when the prophecy would be fulfilled. Prophets were messengers delivering a message (prophecy) from God. Some prophecies were short term in duration, while others were longer term. Some prophecies have a duel fulfillment meaning. They include a short term fulfillment which may already be accomplished by now along with a longer term fulfillment still to come. Some prophecies have begun their state of fulfillment but have not fully finished yet. God’s promise to re-gather Jews from the four corners of the world and bring them back to Israel is an example of a partially fulfilled prophecy (Ezekiel 28:25). It is still ongoing. Learn more about The Prophetic Re-Gathering Of Israel.
Messianic prophecy works the same way. Some Messianic prophecies have already come true such as those involving the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Others are in a partial state of fulfillment and the rest will be fulfilled when Jesus returns (His second Coming).
A close look at Biblical Judaism shows that the Old Testament teaches a Messiah that has two different tasks. The first is that He would die for us: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
The second task was to be the King of Israel. Obviously, a Messiah that is dead could not live to be king (Unless He was resurrected, ascended into heaven and will return again in that capacity which is exactly what the New Testament teaches). The rabbis who lived in the generation when the Second Temple was still standing (also the time that Christ lived) knew that this is what Biblical Judaism taught.
During this same generation, Rabbinical Judaism, (which later developed into the Talmud) looked for two different Messiah’s instead of one Messiah coming two different times. For more on this Talmudic teaching please read Two Messiah's by Dan Botkin.
Believing in the New Covenant fits perfectly with the term completed Jew. Believing that the Messiah came and received the punishment for our sins like Isaiah taught, and that He will return to be King of all Kings also fits perfectly with the term completed Jew. Zechariah saw the Messiah coming two different times and foretold of this in two different prophecies. For more on these two separate comings please read The Coming Of Israel's King and The Second Coming Of Israel's King. For more information on the Jer. 31:31 prophey please read A Closer Look At The New Covenant Prophecy.
Even modern day Orthodox Judaism awaits in anticipation for the Messiah’s arrival to usher in the Messianic Age. It is considered one of Judaism’s’ 13 Articles of faith (written by Moses Maimonides) which are embraced by most Jewish denominations.
Believing in the New Covenant, reveals that your heart has faith that God did provide a permanent way for a person to receive forgiveness thereby receiving eternal life in Heaven.
John said it this way:
Replacement Theology is not what the New Testament Teaches:
Sometimes this area of the Bible is misunderstood. Some denominations mistakenly hold the view that there is such a thing as replacement theology. Even though true Christian churches should not believe in this false doctrine, the issue still needs to be addressed here for clarification purposes.
The covenant God made with Israel is for Israel. The Church (believers in Jesus as the Messiah) has not replaced Israel anywhere. Israel still has the title of God’s chosen nation. The reason is simple. They did nothing to earn it, they received it through grace from God and they can do nothing to lose it.
It is true that blessings can come with obedience and that disobedience can bring trials and tribulations and Israel certainly has these things going on even today. But it is a sovereign God who allowed Israel to re-gather itself and become a nation again in 1948. It is a sovereign God who has protected Israel through all of her wars and it is a sovereign God who has a place for Israel In End Time Prophecy. A review of the Book of Romans chapters 9, 10 and 11 provides an overview of Israel’s past, present and future. Paul makes it clear that God is not finished bringing blessings to the nation of Israel.
One thing is for sure, we all need forgiven.
We know from the Bible that blood sacrifices were important to God. Blood was shed in the Garden of Eden to allow for animal clothing to cover up Adam and Eve when the first sin occurred. Blood sacrifices were used during the First and Second Temple worship procedures to allow for a way of atonement for the sinner. The Torah teaches that; For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life (Leviticus 17:11). It is also clear that blood sacrifices offered from an impure heart were displeasing to God.
The New Testament agrees that blood sacrifices are important and teaches that the blood that was shed by the death of Jesus on the cross serves as a perpetual sacrifice so that no other blood sacrifices are required. 40 years or so after His death the Second Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70. Since then, there is no possibility of a blood sacrifice since the temple is needed to be able to accomplish this commandment which is also a way of worship.
This also means that all people, no matter who they are, are unable to obey all of God’s commandments found in the Torah no matter how hard anyone tries. The Talmud teaches that for the last 40 years the temple stood (since the death of Jesus); there were signs from God that the traditional Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) did not provide atonement. For more on this please read about the Crimson String.
Kaparot Note: Even though there can be no blood sacrifice because there is no temple, some Ultra Orthodox Jewish sects practice the Kaparot ritual. By swinging a chicken above their head and then killing the chicken they believe they can transfer their sins to the animal and therefore be forgiven. For more on this practice please read Kaparot.
Concerning the above mentioned Leviticus 17:11 verse, Messianic Jews are often accused of using this verse out of context. The well respected rabbinical commentator Rashi, who is still regarded as possible the greatest commentator on the Torah who ever lived explained, “For every creature is dependent on blood, therefore I have given it to you on the altar to atone for the life of man; let life come and atone for the life.”
In other words, the reason that blood sacrifices played such a central role in the Torah is because they operated on the principle of substitution, i.e., on the principle of life for life. Thus, an ancient Midrash on Leviticus 1:2 states: “When you voluntarily offer a korban olah (i.e., a burnt offering) and it is slaughtered and its blood sprinkled upon the altar, I consider it as if you have offered your very selves.”(5)
Here is another question that often seems to surface when this topic is being discussed. If sacrifices were really unnecessary and unimportant, and if the prophets utterly repudiated them, why pray daily for their restoration?(6) It’s also interesting to note that every traditional Jew around the world prays daily for the restoration of the Temple and the sacrificial system.
There is no doubt that substitutional blood sacrifices were the heart of the Old Testament law and the most common way for Jews to seek and God to give atonement for their sins.(6)
The prophets and psalmists also taught that prayer and worship could be accepted by God in the same way as (not instead of) sacrifices and incense, a theme also repeated in the New Testament (see Heb. 13:15–16). But it would be entirely wrong to suggest that the prophets or psalmists denigrated or rejected the sacrificial system itself. In fact, it was because sacrifices were so powerful and meaningful in Israelite religious practice that the prophets had to remind the people that the sacrifices had no atoning or blessing power unless they were coupled with repentant and devoted hearts.(6)
Even the ultimate sacrifice—the Messiah laying down his very life for us—has no life-changing value at all unless it is joined with repentance and faith.(6)
Has prayer replaced sacrifice?
Sometimes a comment will be made about prayer replacing the blood sacrifices. Often we find prophets who are away from Jerusalem or living when there is no temple service available to them, praying for the restoration of Jerusalem so that a temple can be rebuilt. There would be no need to pray, even as many do today, for a rebuilding of a temple, if a return to the sacrificial system was not the objective of the prayer.
The most holy place in the world for Jews is the Temple Mount in Israel. This is because they believe that someday, a Third Temple will be built and a return to the sacrificial system will be available to them. Daniel teaches us in the Old Testament that this will occur (Dan. Chapter 9) complete with a return to sacrifices, and Jesus re-confirms Daniel’s teaching (Matthew 24:15). Learn more about Daniel Chapter 9 Prophecy.
The point is this. Blood substitutional sacrifices are the central theme of the entire Levitical sacrificial system. Almost all Jewish denominations pray for the return of the Temple which would allow for the return of the sacrificial system. It seems that while prayer and repentance and charity are wonderful things, they have not replaced the blood sacrifices, they are in addition to them.
The New Testament also confirms this. Even though the believer in Jesus as Messiah is covered by the Messiahs death as a perpetual blood sacrifice, a repentant heart (confession) is necessary, which should be accompanied with prayers of thanksgiving for that sacrifice. Charity is also promoted in the New Testament. Jesus was all about helping others in any way possible, even if it meant you might have to sacrifice something yourself.
There is no doubt that the New Testament recognizes all of the Old Testament Prophets and their writings. Sometimes when the word Torah is used it refers only to the first five books (Genesis – Deuteronomy). Other times Torah refers to these same books along with all of the writings of the prophets. Occasionally it is used to simply mean law. Regardless of its intent, The New Testament and the Old Testament are in perfect harmony when it comes to the written word of God.
A question often asked is does the New Testament recognize the rules and regulations often referred to as the oral law? Jewish tradition teaches that Moses received not only the written law but also an oral understanding on how to apply the written law. In areas where the written law needed clearer definition, the oral law would help supplement an understanding. This tradition may very well be true.
Here is the concern:
The written Torah today (Old Testament) does not change, not even one letter. What does change in Judaism is commentary on what the written word really means. As the world evolves, Judaism needs a system of continuous modifications (or further definitions) on how to apply the written word.
When the temple was destroyed, Judaism needed to change or it would end because there could be no sacrificial system. For hundreds of years, oral traditions were passed down and eventually written down in supplemental texts that today collectively make up the oral law.
The New Testament does not recognize this oral law (sometimes referred to as a second torah) as being authoritive. The authors (rabbis), declared that they had now been given the ability to replace God’s Prophets and that their rulings and oral traditions should become laws.(7) Jewish literature is full of different rabbinic opinions and positions on how to do something or not do something while trying to stay within the framework of this oral law. They are not in complete agreement with themselves, let alone set a clear path for someone who did choose to follow.
While many of the oral interpretations are good, make sense and may very well have originated from Moses, the system in place today has evolved way beyond that and includes a lot of manmade rabbinical influences.
The New Testament recognizes 100 % of the original Torah in its entirety as being inspired from God Himself, but does not recognize all of the men who decided to write down and create this oral law as being 100% inspired by God. This is not just the position of Christianity. Judaism itself has different denominations. While the Ultra Orthodox try to adhere to the oral law, conservative denominations marginally embrace some of the oral law and reform denominations do not. Even though it is still referred to as the oral law, it has been written down in Jewish literature such as the Talmud.
The question is often asked, who really killed Jesus? The New Testament makes it clear that at the time of His death, Rome (Roman soldiers) was in complete military and political control of Jerusalem. Rome did allow the Jews to govern most of the day to day activities of the Temple including sacrifices. Roman soldiers were responsible for the weekly crucifixions’ that took place including the week Jesus died.
The soldiers are however not the only ones responsible. Jewish political leaders did encourage Jesus being put to death. And it is hard to say just how far reaching those consequences were for Israel. History teaches us that within 100 years of that event, the Second Temple was destroyed and almost all Jews had to leave Israel to survive.
Around 135 A.D. the leading Rabbi (Rabbi Akiva) believed that a man named Bar Kochba was really the Messiah. He believed Bar Kochba was going to lead Israel out of Rome’s’ military control and convinced thousands to follow him into battle. Sadly, Bar Kochba was no messiah and thousands of Jews died, following this guidance. This proved again that Israel’s leadership had no ability to truly recognize the Messiah. Due to the San Hedren's refusal to recognize Jesus as Messiah, for 2000 years, most Jews have rejected Jesus.
In Christian theology it is not just the Roman Soldiers and the Jews that helped to kill Jesus. It is all of us. For more on this position please read Who Killed Jesus?
When other people, regardless of their faith, blame only the Jews for the death of Jesus, they are not realizing how comprehensive the sin of the world is.
Still today, many Jews try to live by following whatever is left of the written law. Deuteronomy 27:26 teaches that there is a curse that can be applied to those who break the law. Although this may sound like an ancient curse, it is hard to say how much of Israel’s problems are still brought about by her disobedience to the law.
Israel still needs to go through the prophetic Time Of Jacob’s Trouble to usher in their final redemption. This is Old Testament prophecy reconfirmed in the New Testament. Jer. 30:7 talks about this, and as an encouragement for Israel, Jeremiah teaches that whatever part of Israel is left after this tribulation, will be saved. It is important to understand that it is not the New Testament teaching that Jews will be punished for killing Jesus. It is the Old Test. Prophets who foretold of Israel’s trials and tribulations, which at least were partially caused by Israel’s disobedience to God, long before Jesus was even born.
In Christian theology it is not just the Roman Soldiers and the Jews that helped to kill Jesus. It is all of us.
God is sovereign and all knowing and He knows all things before they happen. He knew the world would need a Messiah and be rejected. He knows Messiah is coming back soon and will finish fulfilling the remaining Messianic prophecies. We do not always have the ability to completely understand God’s ways. That’s why God said through Isaiah “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).
Is there such a thing as a completed or fulfilled Jew? For many Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah they believe so. The New Testament teaches that when it comes to the question of “am I going to be saved” there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. Faith in Jesus to take your place for your sin and repentance for that sin are all that is necessary. The Bible says it this way.
Jesus and the disciples never gave up their Jewish identity. They didn't have to. Their Jewish identity grew and found its deepest most complete, fulfilled heartbeat wrapped around the Fathers will, the Fathers promise and the Wisdom Of The Messiah personified.
Please pray that God will show you truth about the Messiah.
To better understand why some Jewish Believers in Jesus as the Messiah refer to themselves as "completed Jews" please read I Am Complete In Messiah.
This article is written in part to offer an alternative viewpoint concerning reason # 1 in the book Twenty-six reasons why Jews don't believe in Jesus by Asher Norman. There is no intent to be offensive toward any other viewpoint. It is simply offered as a source of information.
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2). The Soncino Talmud; (Shabbath 31a).
3). Makkot 23b-24a. (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus by Michael Brown p.64).
4). John MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Book of Hebrew p.165.
5). Midrash Ha-Chafetz to Leviticus 1:2, cited in Torah Shelemah 25:17 and by Joshua Berman, The Temple: Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1995), 126. Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2 Michael L. Brown p.107.
6). Brown, Michael L.: Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2: Theological Objections. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000, S. 72
7). See Siffra Bechuk.94, BB 12a, Yev. 102a, AZ36a.