Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Savior? from what?

As a Christian, I've always been intrigued with the Jewish people and their faith. I attended a Messianic Synagogue for a period of time to get a grasp on how the gospel completed the faith of a Jewish person. Most of the people I met were curious Christians like myself, or Jewish people who were not raised as practicing Jews. Even the Rabbi was not raised with attendance in a synagogue. His understanding of the faith was more cultural, I suspect.

Lately I've been thinking about liturgy and the history of the Christian faith. I've been trying to see what the early church looked like. How did the early Roman and Eastern churches look in practice? How did it vary from the Apostles? How did it vary from the Sabbath worship of the Jews? It's a piece of history that I can't look up on youtube by watching a Sabbath service today. Back then, there was no Talmud or Mishna and the like. All they had was the Tenach, the Sanhedrin, the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

I asked a Jewish friend about temple worship, but she couldn't really tell me what that looked like. She tells me that the Jewish people aren't looking for atonement through a savior. They hardly pay attention to the Tenach anymore. They don't study the prophets, but rather the Talmud. (extra-biblical writings) She tells me that the messiah is a political leader that will give them back their holy land and peace. Some even believe that the messiah is just an era of peace. That blew my mind. When did they stop looking for the anointed one? When did the promises & prophecies become moot points to their faith? If Jesus was saying "I am he", then didn't somebody have to be looking for him?

Gary Held, a pastor on the Wittenberg Trail forum recommended some books to me by N.T. Wright. These would show me the Judasim of Jesus time. I googled the name and found a website with some of his papers on them. I found what I was looking for, and it even answered questions about the "Torah redactor" theory. I didn't find anything about liturgy, but I did find the historical Judaism I was looking for. They were looking for atonement, but not the likes of Jesus.

I think over the years, in the many writings of subsequent Rabbis, Judaism has tried to play down the role of the anointed one so as to make Jesus look less credible. Now they scoff at the idea of a savior for sins.

2 Peter 3:3-7 mindful of the words spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the Lord and Saviour by your apostles; knowing this first, that there shall come at the close of the days mockers with mocking, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for from the time the fathers fell asleep all things remain thus from the beginning of the creation. For this is hidden from them through their own willfulness, that heavens were of old, and an earth, having its subsistence out of water and in water, by the word of God, through which waters the then world, deluged with water, perished. But the present heavens and the earth by his word are laid up in store, kept for fire unto a day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Wow. It's right there! God knew a time would come where the people would deny the promise. I found the current expression of faith of the Jews to be troubling, but now I understand it.


Brian P Westgate said...

They say that the Mass (East and West) started out with the Synagogue service, adding to the beginning with Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, and then at the end the Blessed Sacrament. Much the same happened in the East.

Someone to talk to would be Fred Einstein, onetime member of Zion. He has translated a good amount of hte Rabbinic Fathers, who lived before Christ. They preach Christ clearly, and even prophesy that those that followed them would reject Christ. Why'd they reject him? Partially because they wanted a political Messiah. The Jewish "faith" hasn't changed one bit since Christ came.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

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