Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Jewish Jesus and the Salvation of Gentiles

Did the Jewish Jesus require gentiles to convert to Judaism in order to be saved? That is a question I hear a lot and the answer is “No.” When the Creator created the Heavens and the Earth he also created a kingdom – he did not create a religion.

● The Heavens and the Earth are the Creator’s Temple in the first story in Genesis. (Click here to learn more.)

● The Creator’s Kingdom is a kingdom of creatures “created in his image.” (Click here to learn more.)

The Jewish Jesus was a member of and practiced Late Second Period Temple Judaism. The Jerusalem Temple and the Laws of Moses played major roles in his life. His movement was a Jewish Movement. But his primary message was about the “Kingdom of God (Heaven)” and he preached it to Jewish audiences, but it wasn’t a message that was exclusively for Jews. Pay close attention to his words below:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him,
then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him.
(Matthew 25:31-32a)

This is the judgment of all of the nations of the earth. Connected to his Kingdom of God message, was an urgent warning that the Great Day of Judgment will come soon. He believed it would happen in his lifetime. The Great Day of Judgment will be a repeat of what happened when God caused the Great Floodthe earth would be cleansed of people that did violent and evil things! For the Jewish Jesus, only those in the Kingdom of God will be saved from the fire that God is going to use to cleanse the earth this time (Malachi 4:1).

For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven,
and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” says the Lord of hosts

God saved Noah and his family because Noah was the only man of integrity -- a tzadiq – that God saw on earth. A tzadiq is a man that does acts of tzedaqah. In English translations, tzadiq is translated as “righteous” and “tzedaqah” is translated as “righteousness,” but the English words do not reflect the Hebrew meanings. I encourage you to incorporate the Hebrew words in your vocabulary. The Jewish Jesus taught that those who did acts of tzadaqah will be the ones that will be saved from the firesjust like Noah was saved from the waters. (Matthew 25:34, 37a).

Then the King will say to those on his right hand
(those who did tzedaqah) “Come, you blessed of my father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

God does not judge the nations of the earth by Jewish laws. He uses the standard that existed long before the Jewish nation existed. It will be the standard the Creator uses to judge his actions -- the TOV Standard:

Acts that are TOV protect and preserve lives,
make lives more functional and increase the quality of life.

Now pay close attention to the type of acts the people had done, which Jesus said would be saved:

They gave food to the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty,
brought a stranger into their homes, gave clothes to the naked,
visited the sick, and went to those in prison.
(Matthew 25:35-36)

They are acts are TOV. They affected lives in good ways – and, interestingly, Jesus was quoting Isaiah (58:6-8):

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out, when you see the naked cover him, and do not hide from your own flesh?

Then (after you do the things above) your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, your acts of tzedaqah shall go before you; the glory of Yahweh shall gather you.

Tzedaqah was one of the most important words in the Jewish vocabulary in the Late Second Temple Period – and it still is in Rabbinic Judaism.

Tzedaqah is greater than all sacrifices.

Tzedaqah hastens the redemption.

Tzedaquah atones for sins.

Tzedaqah saves one from death.

The view of the Kingdom of God (Heaven) the Jewish Jesus taught was not the only view that existed. Some groups taught that the Kingdom was only for Jews, others taught the Kingdom was only for Jews that followed their interpretations of the Laws of Moses, still others taught the Kingdom was for Jews and Gentiles that did tzedaqah – and there were other Jewish views too.

But there is one thing that no Jewish group taught, including the Jewish Jesus and even the Roman Catholic Church:

The salvation of individuals.

You can credit Martin Luther with the creation of individual salvation. In the Jewish Scriptures and the teachings of the Jewish Jesussalvation is a group thing. When Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church -- he lost the only way of salvation. Luther had to come up with “a new way to be saved” – and he did it!

No Christian group before the 16th century taught that belief!

How important is that information? We believe it should be of great interest to any Christian and that is one of the reasons we Explore Our Biblical Heritages. We want to identify the origins of our beliefs!  Please share and discuss this with others. Thank you for reading this.

May your life be blessed with an abundance of TOV,
Jim Myers

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