Today we look at the principle belief that God alone is creator. The purpose of this series is to help clear up the many misunderstandings that people (mainly dealing with Christians here) have about Jews and specifically the beliefs which exist within the "ism" of Judah.
I agree with Messianic professor and synagogue leader Joshua Lessard who stated that there is not one Judaism. There are many.
That in itself is news to most who profess Jesus. So, for sake of this article, when talking about "Jewish," you can be talking about blood, belief, or practice. They all intersect to various degrees, but we are talking about beliefs here.
What do Jews believe? What do Christians believe? What is so different. While most people simply say, "That's easy. They don't believe in Jesus." And walk away, I think it is worth looking at the beliefs in detail since the Savior is Jewish, the 12 disciples and early apostles were Jewish. The book known as Bible was written by Jewish people.
Let's look at our heritage and see what we embrace and what we have forgotten. Maybe down the line, we will understand the "why."
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That is a main reason for taking this time to walk through the Thirteen Principles of Judaism as proposed by Maimonides, the medieval scholar. Here is a quick (even more Reader's Digest) recap of them:
- God alone is the Creator
- God is unique and one
- God is incorporeal and incomparable
- God is first and last
- We are to pray to God alone
- The words of the prophets are true
- Moses is the chief prophet
- The Torah has been divinely preserved
- Torah cannot be changed
- God knows all things
- God rewards the righteous
- The Messiah will come
- The dead will be resurrected
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I hope that in itself is an education. Perhaps I should stop here, but not if I would examine my own beliefs and the Word of Elohim in light of each principle. How many of Judaisms principles can be agreed upon by most Christians? How many disagreements would there have to be to have widespread abuse and torture of Jews by people who cling to a cross? I know I took a stern turn there, but please read history. And please listen to the words and the tones by evangelicals today regarding the chosen people of Abraham. So please, if you are still with me at all, look at the beliefs and stand them next to your own. See what is agreeable. See what can be contested. And think what needs to happen with that knowledge. Principle One: God alone is Creator
"I believe with perfect faith that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things." - Maimonides
Well, Genesis 1:1 pretty much sums that up. Pick your translation, they pretty much all say the same thing.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Gen. 1:1 NIV
I cannot see a problem with mainline evangelical doctrine here, but I have to point out that many Christians are having a little issue with this. If we can't get past verse 1 of the entire Bible, how do we even start liking it later on. Let's look at our New Testament to see if anything changed to make us disagree.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. Col. 1:16 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, ... And, "YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; Heb. 1:3, 10 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. John 1:1-3 Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. Rev. 4:11 NASB (The four angelic creatures in heaven seem to agree.)
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I don't think I need to write anything more. What a beautiful thing, to know who made us and to give Him praise and glory for such power.
I close the chapter with this: So far... I am a Jew. Let's take the time to unwrap numbers 2-13. Spoiler alert: I think we will find much that we agree with in regards to what is considered Judaism.
I happen to know that we are explicitly shown in the gospels that there were a variety of Judaisms in the Roman occupied land of Israel during the time of Jesus/Yeshua's walk on earth. We know they did not agree.
We know that all Christians do not agree on all the distinctives known to Christianity. My hope here is that if we discover a point in which we protest, that we don't throw the Moses out with the baptism water.