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Ask The Pastor

Dec 16, 1998

Dear Jordan,

You are most welcome to ask questions.

(1) Your first question: "I want to know how Jewish people are
different than Christians."


Answer: A primary difference between Jewish people and Christian people has to do with religion. The religion of the Jews is called Judaism. The religion of the Christians is called Christianity.

Judaism in general does not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore, when Jewish person becomes a Christian, they are no  longer consider to be a Jew. (According to their own religion.) The exception to this would be in a religious group called 'Messianic Jews.' But this groups leaves itself open to question.

This is also where the issue of who a Jew is can become  complicated. For the most part being Jewish simply means you  practice the faith of Judaism. If a person of another culture or  another religion converts to Judaism, they are considered Jews. If a Christian converts to Judaism, this would mean that they renounce Jesus. (All this is in a general sense.)

Yet there are many things that we hold in common with the Jews. Some Jewish writers say that Christianity is a mirror reflection of Judaism. For example we use the same Old Testament as they do and hold to many of the same teachings. Both groups believe in one God.

Then we need to understand the roots of Christianity. Some Christians are not aware that Christianity had its origin with the Jews. At the beginning it was part of the Jewish religion. But because God did not intend the work of the cross to be limited to Jews, Christianity eventually became a religion of its own, and for all peoples. The prophets of the Old Testament said this would happen, and that God's people would be called by another name.

I hope this helps answer your first question. There are other  complicated issues involved but I didn't want to bore you. Feel free to ask additional questions.

(2) Your second question: "Why they don't believe the same stuff
that we do."

Answer: Jesus caused a division among the Jews that continues to this day. You might say that the Jewish religion was severed into two camps. Many thousands of the early Jews did believe in Jesus. This resulted in the Christian Jew. But many others did not.

The non-believing Jewish leadership tried to keep the peoples away from Jesus. Over time most Jewish people did not even know that Jesus and all the apostles were Jews. The 'new' Judaism that had been invented by the rabbis was totally different from ancient Judaism. Actually Judaism itself begin dividing into various groups. The three main streams today are the Orthodox, Conservative, and the Reformed Jews.

To give you some background, what happened is that in 70 ad, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies, along with the temple. The fracture between the Christian Jew and the non-Christian Jew began to intensify. The non-Christian Jews no longer had a place to center their religion. The Christian Jew had no problem since they simply worshipped the true God through Jesus Christ. The Jewish leadership had to structure a new form of Judaism that would not be Christian.

This new form of Judaism eventually took on the name Rabbinical or Talmudic Judaism. But by now the Christian Jews had become more accustomed to worshipping God with peoples of other cultures. And so the name 'Christian' became the dominate name for all who believed in Jesus. The non-Christian Jew continued on a road that secluded themselves from other cultures.

(3) Your third question: "If they [Jews] will go to heaven."

Answer: For those Jews who fully rejected Jesus, the road of  salvation was cut off. The Bible is very clear in that a person must believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Jesus told certain Jewish leadership, "Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (John 8:24) Jesus died for the sins of the world. If any person rejects His great sacrifice, they have no other means of salvation. Even the Old Testament prophets taught this.

The good news today is that many Jews are turning to Jesus in great number. According to reports, more Jews have turned to Jesus in the last 19 years than in the last 1900 years. Other reports tell us of a great move in Israel to reclaim Jesus to their heritage.

(4) Your fourth question: "Do people who believe in reincarnation go to
heaven."

The problem with believing in reincarnation is two-fold. First it is contrary to God's word. The Bible teaches 'resurrection' not reincarnation.

The Bible says it is appointed once for man to die and after this the judgment. Reincarnation teaches that we die over and over again, reappearing each time in a successive form. These rebirths are suppose to cleanse our karma. The teaching is a denial of God's truth.

The second problem with the doctrine of reincarnation is that it allows the enemy a place to work in a person's life by working a deception. This doctrine is based upon man evolving into godhood. It is essentially found in the Hindu and Buddhist religions. As for salvation, any person who truly believes in reincarnation would be denying the Biblical way of salvation. This person would disqualify themselves as a candidate for heaven.

Happy to help with any questions you may have.

Buddy
Bro. Buddy Martin - Ask the Pastor

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
Lawrence "Buddy" Martin
email: Bro.Buddy@ChristianChallenge.org
Web: http://www.ChristianChallenge.org

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318-640-4300