Judaism - 101

A is for Abraham

The historical records of Judaism as preserved in the Jewish Bible - the Old Testament - show G-d's speaking to Jewish Patriarchs  is the beginning of true  personal faith G-d had to talk to man because man had no way to know about the one G-d or how to reach him.

After Adam and Eve's separation, G-d raised up the great patriarchs and prophets to speak his words and demonstrate his will to us. 

G-d's dramatic action in creation establishes the relationship of personal faith and face-to-face contact with his creation, both male and female. From the beginning of Adam and Eve,  G-d speaks to people.  They heard his voice and responded, one way or another.  We can expect to hear G-d's word in our time not only through the Scriptures, but also directly by the Holy Spirit touching our minds, and through the words and works of others.  Simply, our G-d wants to communicate with his beloved children.

Abraham,  Isaac,  Jacob,  Joseph,  and Moses - all became men of great personal faith.   The same personal relationship with G-d and the personal faith  it generates,  is seen in Job, Noah, Lot, Daniel, the Prophets, and David.

This record of conscious contact with G-d and the resulting personal faith authenticates the historical record of the Old Testament.  At the same time, the personal faith relationship between G-d and man is described.  Humans expect G-d to reveal himself to us, and act in human destiny.  G-d cares and is involved.  G-d is lovingly theistic.

The ancient world had only one way for worship before Moses.  While the Patriarchs had personal faith, other people were polytheistic pagans worshipping their invented old and new gods.  In that worship, they had invented religious systems that included temples, priests, priestesses, rituals, liturgies and sacrifices.  

G-d selected Moses to change this and lead the Jews both from Egypt and also from pagan idolatry, and into personal morality and personal faith.  The story of the Exodus tells Moses' difficulties and successes as G-d's theology teacher for the Jews.  Through Moses, the Jewish religious system centered in the tabernacle and later the Temple was developed.  That religious system became known as JUDAISM.

While personal faith was a part of daily Jewish life, Israel's relationship with G-d was based on the Temple worship system and its Priests' authority.  Central to it is the Torah, the Law, and the Talmud with its 613 requirements for proper worship and daily Jewish behavior.  

When the Roman Empire sacked Jerusalem, and its general Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, Israel lost its priesthood and Temple religious system.  Without the Temple, Torah/Talmud Judaism and its 613 rules no longer could be obeyed. All that was left for all Jews, everywhere, was whatever personal faith they had.  Judaism as defined and described in the Jewish Bible - the Old Testament - was erased and ended.  (See Deuteronomy 28:15 ff.)

As seen in the histories of the Patriarchs, Prophets, and great leaders of Israel, personal faith is more than believing in G-d. 

Personal faith is submission to G-d's full time directions and corrections.  That includes personal two way communication  directly with G-d.   G-d talks to man and man talks to G-d.  Since the end of Torah Judaism, G-d puts personal faith in the hearts of people by his act of free grace.  This was predicted by the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31).

With the Temple gone for 1,900 years and without Priests, Jews and all people lacking the Temple must rely on making personal contact with G-d without fulfilling the Torah.  There must be a way to reach G-d without Temple rituals, liturgy, and sacrifices.

What is this way?  Without the Temple, there is only one way to reach G-d.  It is by prayer!  All people, every where can pray. G-d hears all of them. This is simply because G-d is always present, all knowing, all powerful and all loving of his entire creation.

Few people understand the GRACE of G-d as G-d reveals himself to those who agree to do G-d's will, regardless of the consequences or cost.  G-d called and Abraham went.  G-d called, and Moses went.  G-d called and David went.  

G-d would like to call you, but will you respond?

G-d is calling each of us to put aside all personal desires and be subject to his directions, in this life as well as the life to come.  The problem is not one of hearing the directions.  The problem is being willing to erase all self-concern to become whatever he wants, go wherever he wants, and do whatever he wants as did Abraham and Moses.

Without the Temple, the only sacrifice that can be made is one's self.  The only gift we can give G-d is our self - our willingness to allow him to direct all areas of our lives.  This is the foundation of personal faith and the reception of G-d's grace.

So modern Judaism,, lacking the Temple, expects each person to give G-d the greatest sacrifice - the greatest gift any person can give, yourself, your life - your final "Passover" sacrifice and your personal Passover from a self-centered, self-directed life into a G-d centered, total commitment to learning and following G-d's  direction - his will - at all times.  

Can YOU trust G-d enough to do this?

Are you willing?  

Are you Able, to be like Abraham?  

Is it, "Me too, G-d," or, "Not me, G-d!"


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