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Friday, August 10 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism
"Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men"
A definition of "Judaism," from the 2012 online Encyclopædia Britannica:
"Judaism, the religion of the Jews. It is the complex phenomenon of a total way of life for the Jewish people, comprising theology, law, and innumerable cultural traditions."
The "religion" of Israel, all of the tribes of Israel together (of which Judah was just one tribe; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jacob's Family and Israel In History and Prophecy: Jews), may be summed up by the formal statement by the LORD in The First Commandment (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD):
"20:1 And God spake all these words, saying, 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:1-3 KJV)
Who was, and is, "the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt"? Answer: "that Rock was Christ" (see Who Is The LORD?).
"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant ["ignorant" means to ignore], how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Exodus]; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 KJV)
How is it then, that by the time of the birth of the Messiah, a prophesied event that they were aware of (e.g. see Matthew 2:3-6), that the people of Judah ("Israel" was long gone by that time; see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes - the northern kingdom of Israel never knew the religion of Judaism) not only didn't recognize Him, but actually rejected Him and called Him a "sinner"? What happened to the religion that the LORD gave to them that it later became their religion, but in His Name?
"7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
It was a strong rebuke. But it wasn't just to the Jews who did as they please in His Name that He spoke; the principle applies just as much to the "Christians" of today who proclaim "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name," to which the LORD will one day answer, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" - because they are merely using His Name to worship themselves, by their own traditions.
"7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate [see The Strait Gate]: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
How Did It Happen?
When the kingdom of Judah became corrupt, the LORD had them taken into captivity by the Babylonians (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah and Israel In History and Prophecy: Back To Babylon). The LORD had them remain in Babylon for seventy years.
"36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets], until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD [see Raiders Of The Lost Ark], and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
Exactly as prophesied, the people of Judah returned after seventy years, in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Return Of Judah).
"1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
After the people of Judah rebuilt the city and the Temple, they pledged themselves to be faithful to the LORD.
"8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD [i.e. Christ - see Who Is The LORD?] had commanded to Israel. 8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law." (Nehemiah 8:1-3 KJV)
It was during the many years after that return from the Babylonian exile (and later, from the time of the original abomination of the Temple - see A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation) that the Essenes, Sadducees, Pharisees and other "religious parties" were established. The people's original pledge to obey God's Law, as we read in the verses quoted above, was very good, but in their zeal to obey God's Law, over time they added many of their own "laws" and traditions that eventually overshadowed and contradicted the pure Law of God - "traditions of men" that became the basis of what is called "Judaism" today. By the time that the Messiah came, they blasphemously accused Him of being a sinner because He obeyed God's Law, rather than their traditions.
The apostle Paul was one of the Pharisees who rejected and persecuted the Messiah, but the Messiah later converted him in that famous incident on the road to Damascus (see Straight Street). Paul did not thereafter reject his being a Jew, or even his being a Pharisee ("I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question" Acts 23:6 KJV), but rather he simply recognized the Truth that the people of Judah were originally given by the LORD. Also, again the duality of what happened to the original truth that was given to the people of Judah became "another gospel," just as it has to the merely Christian-professing world (i.e. claiming to be Christian, while rejecting what He actually taught and commanded). The lesson, and the present-day result, is exactly the same for "Judaism" and what merely calls itself "Christianity" (see A Biography Of Abraham: Abrahamic Religions) - both of which lost sight of the actual and original teachings and commandments of the LORD, Who was and is Jesus Christ.
"1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 1:2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
This Day In History, August 10
410: Alaric the Visigoth captured Rome.
757: Aethelbald, king of the Mercians from 716, died. He became a chief king of a confederation including all of the Anglo-Saxon (Saxony is in Germany; the Anglos were a tribe of the Saxons) kingdoms between the Humber River and the English Channel. By 736, he was signing himself as the "king of Britain."
955: King Otto I of Germany defeated the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld, ending a possible invasion.
1519: Ferdinand Magellan's 5 ships set sail to circumnavigate the Earth.
1557: The French army lost more than 14,000 men when they tried to block a Spanish army under Count Egmont at the Battle of Saint Quentin in the Spanish-French Wars. The Spaniards lost just 50.
1582: Russia ended its 25-year war with Poland.
1627: France's Cardinal Richelieu began the siege of the Huguenot fortress at La Rochelle with royal troops.
1675: The foundation stone of the Royal Observatory was laid at Greenwich in south London by order of King Charles II to improve knowledge of the positions of stars and thus aid navigation. John Flamsteed became the first Astronomer Royal.
1792: King Louis XVI of France was arrested after a mob stormed the Tuileries in Paris.
1804: Francis II became emperor of Austria-Hungary.
1846: The Smithsonian Institution was established in Washington as a center for scientific research. It was created from funds at the bequest of British scientist James Smithson.
1876: Alexander Graham Bell made the world's first "long distance" telephone call, from Brantford to Paris, Ontario, Canada, a distance of 8 miles. Bell spoke with his father, Melville, and the conversation lasted 3 hours (Daily Bible Study is written about 10 miles from the Bell Homestead in Brantford, which is now a museum).
1911: The House of Lords in Great Britain gave up its veto power, making the House of Commons the more powerful House.
1913: The Treaty of Bucharest ended the Second Balkan War.
1920: The Treaty of Sevres was signed between Turkey and the Allied powers after the First World War, relieving Turkey of much of the land ruled by the Ottoman Empire (listen to our sermons The Ottoman Empire and The European World Wars).
1954: A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York, officially starting the St. Lawrence Seaway project. Construction of the 3,790 km. waterway took 5 years and opened Canadian and U.S. ports on the Great Lakes to ocean traffic.
1961: The first use of the extremely toxic and carcinogenic defoliant "Agent Orange" (manufactured primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical) by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. By the end of the war, during which 20 million gallons of the chemical was sprayed across the country, it resulted in approximately 400,000 Vietnamese civilian deaths (apart from the thousands of U.S. troops and air crews who inadvertently poisoned themselves and their fellow troops on the ground with it) and 500,000 Vietnamese children born with severe birth defects.
1964: Pope Paul VI issued his first encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam, which stated his willingness to "mediate" in international disputes.
1966: A daylight meteor was seen from the northern U.S. to Canada. It was the only documented case of a meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere and leaving it again.
1977: In Yonkers, New York, David Berkowitz, a 24-year-old postal employee, was arrested for the "Son of Sam" killings in the New York City.
1993: A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand.
2003: A temperature of 38.5 Celsius (101.3 Fahrenheit) became the highest ever recorded in the United Kingdom - the first time over 38 C. / 100 F.
2003: Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko became the first person to marry in space. His wife was on earth, 240 miles below.