Judaism and Christianity
The recent decision of our government to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is very significant because it is the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel thus affirming that Jerusalem is the legitimately owned land belonging to Israel and totally subject to Israeli control and sovereignty.
Jerusalem is considered the “Holy City” by three major religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As most people know, this is the core issue of Middle East conflicts. In reality, Christianity has no “Holy City” to the degree of the Judaic or Islamic religions because Jesus taught that his kingdom was not of this world. (Matt.18:26) Were Christians to designate a “Holy City” it would probably be Bethlehem where the incarnate savior of the world was born and whose birth will be celebrated this Christmas by an estimated 2.7 billion people.
Christians greatly regard Jerusalem as significant partly because of the fact that Jesus was crucified there and partly because Christianity has its roots in Judaism which, since the earliest days of history have occupied the territory of present-day Israel with Jerusalem as its capital. This partially explains why Christians and Jews are closely allied.
Understanding the reasons for this alliance does not alter the fact of vast theological differences between them. The similarities between the two religions are that both believe in one God and both believe the prophecies of the old Jewish prophets who prophesied of a coming Messiah (savior) who would someday come into the world. Both believe that God has declared the death penalty for human transgression. Both believe that God approved designated substitutes for the death penalty of the sinner. In Judaism this substitute sin offering was the sacrifice of animals such as lambs, goats, and bulls but in Christianity it is Jesus Christ himself, who is the acceptable substitute offering for the sins of the world and no further sacrifice will ever be needed again. That is why the Gospel is, ”Good News.”
Jesus Christ was conceived by a virgin just as the prophets of Judaism predicted in Isaiah 7:14.. He was born in Bethlehem just as the prophet Mica predicted in Mica 5:2. His sacrificial suffering and death on the cross was predicted by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 53. The fact is that over 300 messianic prophesies of Jewish prophets in the Old Testament were specifically fulfilled in detail in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Could such a detailed fulfilment of ancient prophecies be coincidental? The odds against it are astronomical!
Christians have great affection, respect, and compassion for the Jewish people because they know that the same prophets who accurately prophesied the coming of the Messiah also prophesied that in the end times God will send a divine revelation that will cause multitudes of Jews to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the true Messiah.
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.