One of the world religions, Christianity, evolved out of another world religion, Judaism. Are they similar? Hardly! Some of the early Christians even wanted to severe all connections with Judaism, studying only the writings of Luke and the letters of Paul. However, there were others who wanted Christianity to remain steeped in Judaism; in essence, they would become another Jewish sect.
Let’s take a surface glance at three major differences:
#1. Jewish prophets of the Old Testament had anticipated the coming of a Messiah who would appear with power and triumph over their political enemies (one of their enemies was the Roman Empire). However, Christian scribes of the New Testament have portrayed Judaism as having rejected their Messiah when he came to sacrifice himself, suffer, and die at the hands of those very same political enemies, the Roman Empire.
#2. Judaism had emphatically rejected the concept that God could ever become a man, as Numbers 23:19 states "God is not a man ... nor a son of man", while Christianity claims to be the fulfillment of Judaism as the result of God becoming a human being: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).
#3. From the Old Testament, written about 1300 years before Christ, let’s read the words of Moses to the Israelites: “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6).
From the New Testament, let’s read the words of Paul to the Gentile Christians (i.e., non-Jewish Christians): “Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.” (Ephesians 1:4).
So, the Jews were the first to claim to be God’s chosen people; the Christians were the second to claim to be God’s chosen people. However, the winner are the Christians for God chose them long before He created the world! WOW !
There they are – three big contradictions! How would you like to be God and have to respond to the prayers of these two opposing peoples? It would be like listening to the Smothers brothers arguing with each other over whom Mom loved best!
The god of Judaism is named Yahweh, but is referred to as Lord. The ‘Lord God’ phrase appears around 300 times in the Jewish Scriptures. When their prayers were directed to the ‘Lord God’, they assumed (I mean, they knew) that it was the true God who heard their prayers.
Now, the god of Christianity is referred to as Father, or Heavenly Father. But Christians often pray to their God’s son, whom is addressed as Lord Jesus or the Lord Jesus Christ. This phrase appears over 100 times in the New Testament. When their prayers are directed to the ‘Lord Jesus’, they assumed (I mean, they knew) that it was the true God who heard their prayers.
Truly, when anyone prays, it is always directed to their god-concept which is thought to be the true God. However, put yourself in God’s shoes. Just imagine that 'you' are the one and only true GOD and that you are receiving prayers from different people of different religions that are addressed to their god-concept.
Do you respond to their prayers? Ignore them? Chastise them? Love them anyway? What ya gonna do?
OK, you can come back down here now!