Martin M. van Brauman

Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us all?  Why, then, is one person betrayed by another, in order to defile the covenant of our forefathers? Malachi 2:10

Christianity is built upon the foundation of Judaism.  Christianity and Judaism were not intended by God to be one in physical worship, but one towards God’s Plan.  The Jewish people were “chosen” to proclaim the “good news” that there is the one God.  Judaism has never taught that salvation, or eternal life, was dependent upon being Jewish.  Under God’s Plan which is beyond man’s comprehension, both Jews and Christians have a covenantal relationship with God through the expansion of the covenant of Abraham.

After the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D, rabbinic Judaism replaced worship in the Temple with the study of God’s Word and prayer and replaced a physical Temple in Jerusalem with a Temple in time, the Sabbath.  Without such Divine expansion of the Covenant of Abraham, the Jewish people would not have survived the crucifixions, mass murders and the Holocaust.  With the destruction of the Temple, the Jewish people had to participate more completely in a personal Covenant written upon their hearts.

 For this is the covenant that I shall seal with the House of Israel after those days – the word of the Lord – I will place My Torah within them and I will write it onto their heart; I will be a God for them and they will be a people for Me. Jeremiah 31:32.

 The Jewish people are the “chosen people” in recognition by God of the obligation, the “yoke of heaven,” Jews accepted at Sinai of the Covenant.

 You are standing today, all of you, before the Lord, your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers – all the men of Israel; your small children, your women, and your proselyte who is in the midst of your camp, from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water, for you to pass into the covenant of the Lord, your God, and into His imprecation [oath] that the Lord, you God, seals with you today, in order to establish you today as a people to Him and that He be a God to you, as He spoke to you and as He swore to your forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.  Not with you alone do I seal this covenant and this imprecation [oath], but with whoever is here, standing with us today before the Lord, our God, and with whoever is not here with us today [all Jewish souls were present at this covenant, just as they were at Sinai when the Torah was given – even though the bodies were not yet born].  Deuteronomy 29:9-14.

The spiritually active Jew establishes a personal covenantal relationship with God through Torah study and prayer.  Jews experience the revelation of the Torah given to Moses at Mt. Sinai as if the revelation were a contemporary and ongoing event, because all Jewish souls were present at Mt. Sinai.

The suffering of the Jewish people represents to the world what Jesus’ crucifixion embodies in Christianity.  The “binding of Isaac on the Altar” in Genesis 22 and the “suffering servant” passages in Isaiah 53 help the Jewish people understand their suffering and persecution history.  But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen. Isaiah 41:8-9.  The “suffering servant” described in Isaiah 52:13 through 53:9 is an allegory concerning the future history of the Jewish people as God’s servant, while Jesus is the image of the “suffering servant” in Christian theology.

Through Jesus, a personal, covenantal relationship with the God of Israel can exist without conversion to Judaism.  Through Jesus hope is given to the Gentile world, in which the non-Jewish world can become “those who have received a faith as precious as ours.” 2 Peter 1:1.  They can join the Jews, who have been the keepers of the Covenant of Abraham.  Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity are covenantal missions to the world having two forms, one to deepen the Sinai meaning as God’s witnesses and the other to bring God to the world.[1]

 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Galatians 3:14.

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. . .

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:11-22.

For the Jew, the Torah is the portal to God as Jesus is the portal for Christians.  Both Jesus and the Torah are the “tree of life” and bring the “Divine Presence” into a person’s life.

 It is a tree of life to those who grasp it, and its supporters are praiseworthy. . . . safe-guard the eternal Torah and its wise design.  Proverbs 3:18.

However, the Torah is not a way of salvation to God for salvation is entirely within God’s “grace.”  God’s grace is simply grace without professing certain dogma or reciting rituals.  To call upon the name of the Lord is the key that opens up the door to heaven.  By grace, we come into a relationship with God and the result is redemption and salvation.

Jesus was faithful to the entire Torah and lived and taught his fellow Jews to keep the commandments of the Torah. The word Torah means instructions.

. . . until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law [the Torah] until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:18-19. [Jesus is confirming the importance of the commandments and even the least important commandments.]

 Dr. Amy-Jill Levine wrote of the importance of the survival of the particularism of the Jewish people in relation to the world evangelism of the church.

 Had the church remained a Jewish sect, it would not have achieved its universal mission.  Had Judaism given up its particularistic practices, it would have vanished from history.  That the two movements eventually separated made possible the preservation of each.[2]



[1] Didier Pollefeyt, Jews and Christians: Rivals or Partners for the Kingdom of God? In Search of an Alternative for the Theology of Substitution, (1st ed. 1997), p. 87.

[2] Rabbi David Zaslow, Jesus First-Century Rabbi, (1st ed. 2014), p. 177.

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