"Why don't Jews believe in the New Testament?" many Christians ask. "After all it includes the Old Testament." That is exactly the problem. To Jews, there is no Old Testament, so there can be no New Testament. There is the Hebrew Bible (Torah) and the Christian Bible (the gospels). One contains the law of Moses; the other the law of Christ. One is considered the immutable word of God; the other claims to add to and alter his word. Perhaps, most importantly, one holds hope for the coming of the Messiah (Mashiach) while the other claims that Christ was the Messiah who died for mankind's sins.
The Torah vs. the Gospels
The Torah teaches that God is one, indivisible, all-powerful. It continues that God is incorporeal, that is, without a body and that he does not manifest himself in the form of a human being. The Torah also teaches that mankind is born pure and without sin but that he has freewill to do good or evil. The basic lessons of the Gospels, on the other hand, is that God brought himself down from the heavens in the form of a man, that man is inherently evil, and that Jesus Christ, because of original sin, died on the cross to save mankind.
Law of Moses vs. Law of Christ
Christians tend to argue that the Gospels (Law of Christ) only describe Jesus' explanation of why his coming fulfilled the prophesies of the Torah (Law of Moses) and that he never intended for the Law of Moses to be altered or even extended. However, the interpretation of the Gospels by many Christians indicates otherwise. According to bible.ca, "The Old Testament was preparatory, temporary, and limited. The New is complete, eternal, and universal." This is completely contradictory to Judaic beliefs, which are that Torah is the complete teachings of God about how a righteous person should live his life.
The Messiah or Not
The Tanakh, which includes the Books of Moses, of the Prophets, and of Writings, teaches that only a person with specific characteristics will be the Messiah who shall deliver all people, not just those who are Jewish, to the world to come. Those characteristics include that he will be a descendant of King David, observant of Jewish Law, a righteous judge, and a great military leader. However, most importantly, Jews believe that because God is so inherently different from and above mankind, he would never manifest himself in the form of a human being as Jesus claimed. The conflict between the Jewish perception of the Messiah and the Christian one is the most consistent anomaly preventing Jewish belief in the Christian Bible.
Purity vs. Original Sin
Among the many contradictions that, to Jews, makes the Christian Bible unacceptable is the notion of original sin and the attendant belief that God required a blood sacrifice, that is, the Jesus had to die for mankind's sins. In Judaism, nothing could be further from the truth. Judaism teaches that humans are born pure and with free will to be good or evil. God, Jews are told, has given them the Torah as a road map to being righteous men in his eyes. He has no intermediaries, so Jews pray only to him for forgiveness, thus, there is no possibility that others may pay for one man's sins.
Jewish Acceptance of Christian Beliefs
While Jews do not accept the New Testament as a revision, extension, or addition to the Torah, Judaism does believe that each person should be able to worship as they please. Judaism also teaches that, so long as human beings follow the tenets of their chosen religions, they will be seen as righteous in the eyes of God. In addition, in recent years, some Jewish scholars have begun to study the Christian Bible in an effort to understand it better and bring about a more harmonious relationship between Jews and Christians.
- Torah Through Time: Marc Zvi Brettler
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