Archive for October 28th, 2010

The other day a friend called to ask me about why Jews no longer offer animal sacrifices on the altar. The easy answer was that the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. God commanded the people to make their sacrifices only in the Temple in Jerusalem. That’s why crowds flocked to Jerusalem from all over the world three times a year to take part in the most important of the seven festivals. These festivals are all connected to atonement and salvation and all required a blood sacrifice. When the Temple was destroyed there was no longer a sacred altar upon which to make a sacrifice. The people, exiled and scattered, could no longer offer their sacrifices.

Her next question was, “so what do they do for salvation?”

Some Christians believe Jews try to be saved by obeying the 613 rules they find in the Old Testament. In reality most Jews believe they can only be saved by faith in God (the Father) and trust Him with their lives and circumstances. They obey out of gratitude and because God expects it from His chosen people. My thoughts went to the Day of Atonement, which we celebrate by fasting and praying. Some may think this is a work, but we are not trying to work our way to heaven. We know we are already there, forgiven by the Blood of the Lamb. The Day of Atonement is my way of honoring Him who made the ultimate sacrifice. But for the Jew, it is different and, I believe deeper because the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) actually begins ten days earlier on their New Year’s Day (Rosh Hashanah)!

 The ten days separating these two feast days are called the “Days of Awe” which designate the first ten days of the year are to be spent in deep meditation and expectation of the year to come. At the top of the list one would contemplate humility along with much soul searching, then and most importantly, repentance. I can’t simplify it much more and it would take a volume to fully explain it, but the “Days of Awe” culminate on the Day of Atonement. So what about Jews and salvation? Do you think David, the apple of God’s eye, is in Heaven? Of course he is.

From Romans, chapter 11[Amplified]:

26And so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. 27And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins. 28From the point of view of the Gospel (good news), they [the Jews, at present] are enemies [of God], which is for your advantage and benefit. But from the point of view of God’s choice (of election, of divine selection), they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers. 29For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] Just as you were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained [His] mercy, through their disobedience, 31So they also now are being disobedient [when you are receiving mercy], that they in turn may one day, through the mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy [that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you–through you as messengers of the Gospel to them].

    32For God has consigned (penned up) all men to disobedience, only that He may have mercy on them all [alike].

    33Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!

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