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A Brief Overview of Judaism

What Is It?

Judaism, the name is derived from the tribe Judah, one of the twelve ancient tribes of Israel. The religion of Judaism and between being Jewish are two different things; it is quite common to be Jewish ethnically and culturally but not practice the Jewish faith. There are four branches of Judaism: Orthodox, Hasidic, Reform and Conservative.

Orthodox Judaism means living in strict adherence to the Law that is made up of 3 books: the Torah, the Mishnah and the Talmud. The Torah is the teachings of the Five Books of Moses. The Mishnah consists instructions of daily living known as Halakah or ‘the way to walk’ by famous rabbis. The Talmud was complied around 500 AD; it has 36 volumes and is based on the Mishnah.

Hasidic Judaism has its heritage to a mystical reformer named Baal Shem Tov in eighteenth century Poland. Baal Shem taught that Jews could find God through joyous experience of His presence rather that through strict adherence to laws and culture.

Reform Judaism emerged in the late eighteenth century with the idea modernize Judaism. This meant that the Talmud was not binding and that the principles of Judaism are more important than the practices.

Conservative Judaism arose in the United States as away of maintaining middle ground. Conservative Jews recognizes the Law as binding while adapting to modern life.

What Do They believe?

The Jews do not believe in ‘original sin’, and therefore to them, mankind is not born either good or evil; he is free to choose between both. The religious Jews believe that there is one God, but they do not believe that Jesus Christ is divine because He failed to deliver Israel from oppression although many do accept Him as a good teacher or prophet. The Jews believe that salvation is obtained through following the Law and moral living.

The Difference Between Judaism and Christianity:

The Bible claims that everyone is born is sinful and falls short of God’s standard.

… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God … (Romans 3:23)

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one …” (Romans 3:10)

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned … (Romans 5:12)

Christians believe in the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit … (Matthew 28:19)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Jesus is the Son of God, and He died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase a place in heaven for us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,14)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Salvation is received by faith in Jesus Christ.

… knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

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