1. Both pay allegiance to the same God. While many modern Jews are somewhat agnostic, there are many Jews who still pray to the God of Abraham. This is the same God to whom we as Christians pray and serve. There are other religions that claim they worship and serve God; however, the characteristics of the god they serve are different. The God of the Christians and the Jews have the same characteristics.
2. Both have the same history. The Jewish scriptures are the same as our Old Testament. Christians feel connected to the members of Jewish history just as do the Jews: Abraham, Moses, David, etc. These are key figures of the Jews but are key figures for Christians as well. Both revere them highly.
3. Christianity would not exist without Judaism. Actually, the first Christians were Jews. For awhile there were no Gentile Christians. Although not called Christians at the time, but people of The Way (Ac 9:2), they were all Jewish or Jewish proselytes. For a good period of time, these Christians were considered a sect of Judaism (Ac 28:22) because they still attended the synagogue and the temple in Jerusalem and still kept all of the Jewish festivals. It was not until more Gentiles than Jews became Christians that Christianity was no longer considered part of Judaism. If one did not have a Jewish history, Paul and others taught that since salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ, there was no need to keep Jewish traditions (Ac 15). However, Paul was not against Jewish traditions just that they were not essential for salvation (see previous post).
4. Both share a similar future. Many Old Testament prophets prophesied that Israel would spend an eternity with their Messiah when he sets up his kingdom. Some feel that because most Jews and the Jewish leaders at the time rejected Jesus’ message, God has altered his promises and given them to the Christians. However, Paul, who revealed the mystery of the church and the present time of the Gentiles, did not believe this (Ro 11:1). Paul stated that there will be the present time when Gentiles are the prominent Christian group (Ro 11:25), but that Israel will again sometime in the future accept Jesus as their Messiah and will rule with him (Ro 11:26-27). However, Christians are considered the Bride of Christ and will rule with him in his millennial kingdom (Ep 5:23; 2Tm 2:12).
5. The “age of Gentiles” was made possible by the Jews. Throughout the past centuries, a lot of anti-Semitism has developed because they were labeled “Christ killers.” This has caused a large wedge to be created between Jews and Christians. That is very unfortunate, for, as you can see from this post that there are a lot of similarities. Actually, it is the Jewish leader rejection of Jesus that has allowed the age of Gentiles to arise and provide Gentiles the opportunity to become Christians (Ro 9:30-33). When Jesus first came, his message was of his coming kingdom (Mt 4:17). Therefore, if the Jews had of accepted that message the millennial kingdom would have been established then. If that had occurred, what would have been the fate of Gentiles? One can only speculate. None of this caught God by surprise. It all went as God knew it would. Therefore, we as Gentiles can be grateful of our opportunity.
6. Both Jews and Christians have been persecuted. This is not to say that other ethnic groups have not been, but these two groups have been persecuted more often. During the early church times in the Roman Empire, they were persecuted because they would only recognize one king and it was not Caesar but their beloved Jesus Christ. Christians have been labeled as exclusionary because we state that there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ (Ac 4:12). However, although that sounds exclusionary, it is really inclusionary because the offer of meeting Jesus Christ is offered to all. And, if one does not they are not coerced. While history does not always bear out this sentence, it is true if one really follows the teachings of the Bible. The Jews are persecuted because if they are wiped out, God’s ultimate plan cannot come true. They are also a reminder of the reality of a one true God. I think most would have a hard time denying that the holocaust was not demonic in nature. If one believes the Bible, then Satan is a reality and his work is as well. He wants to be the ultimate victor and is the true mimicker of God. Others may not believe the Bible, but he does. He knows how crucial Israel is to the future of mankind and to God’s ultimate plan. Therefore, if they are no more, then God cannot complete His plan. Thankfully, the Bible also records the end and everyone, whether Jew or Gentile, who has put their faith in him will be on the victor’s side.
Although this has been a very brief summary, one can see that through Israel we have a lot to be thankful for. That is also one of the points of this website. We cannot be Christians and ignore the contribution that Israel has played in our genesis, our present state, and will be in our future. The world is forever tied to Israel.
Should Christians Celebrate Jewish Holidays?
Hebrews - Israelites – Jews
God of Easter