Christianity vs. Judaism: The major differencesHere, in great brevity, is a summary of some of the major differences between Judaism and Christianity. |
Principle | | Christianity | | Judaism |
Nature of God | | Trinity | | Unity |
Nature of Messiah | | Divine,
Sin Sacrifice | | Only human,
Righteous King |
Atonement | | Blood Required | | Prayer and Repentance |
Sin | | Everyone stained by Adam and Eve ("original sin") | | All begin with clean slate |
Righteousness | | No one | | Within our power to choose |
Satan | | Fallen angel | | Agent of God |
Torah | | Written only | | Written and Oral |
Commandments | | Not ...view middle of the document...
To Jews, the law is called the Torah and comprises the written law (basically the Old Testament) and the oral law which Jews believe is handed down from Moses. There are 613 commandments to obey in the Torah of which the 10 Commandments are the best known.
However, Israel was never really able to keep her side of the covenant and be obedient to God’ law. Although the people of Israel took possession of the land of Canaan (today’s Israel) they continued to rebel against God and finally the people of Israel were exiled to Babylon. During this time, God sent many prophets who warned the people of their sin and reminded them of God’s promises. They also added that the exile would not last forever as God would rescue His people and that afterwards the people would be able to obey God and so not be judged again. This is where the promise comes in of a messiah (or anointed one) who would be the rescuer sent from God to fulfil the promises.
The Old Testament ends with Israel waiting for the messiah to come.
Up to this point, Christians and Jews are pretty much in agreement.
Lots in Common
Indeed, Christians and Jews share lots of common heritage – after all Jesus was himself Jewish. This leads to many things in common between Judaism and Christianity which include:
* the same (one) God who is holy, righteous, just and loving and who created the world
* the same promises in the Bible about God’s plan for mankind after the fall
* the same view of the Bible (at least the Old Testament) as God’s revealed word
* the same desire to have a relationship with God and worship him
* the same awareness of sin in mankind and its consequence for righteous judgement by God
* the same belief in the need for a messiah to rescue God’s people and restore God’s kingdom
However, there are many things different between Judaism and Christianity, of which by far the most significant is the answer to the question of who is Jesus and consequently understanding how God is working out His promises. Jews do not accept Jesus as the promised messiah. Divisions about him started during Jesus’ lifetime and continue today.
Jews believe that the messiah will be a human, non-divine person who will restore the physical kingdom of Israel, rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and bring earthly peace. This is very different from the Christian belief that the people of Israel now means all those who follow Jesus and who by faith are Abraham’s descendants. Christians believe that Jesus has fulfilled God’s promises and has already ushered in the way to a new relationship with God by grace. We acknowledge our own inability to live by God’s standards, we trust in Jesus to have paid the price our sin deserves and we find a new path to eternal life through him.
The other key difference between the two faiths is about sin and atonement meaning man’s disobedience to God and the means of achieving forgiveness. In the past, in order to receive forgiveness from...