Sometimes it’s hard for people to get accurate information on Judaism. The increase in Christian Evangelical sites which pose as “messianic judaism” exacerbates this problem.
So this is the first in what will be a regular feature: questions about Judaism and Jews – along with clear, candid answers.
If anyone reading this has their own query, please feel welcome to submit it, and I’ll post an answer on Friday, when this FAQ post will appear again.
For now, though, here are a few very common questions about the Jewish faith:
A: There are 23 Jewish messianic prophecies. They must all be fulfilled – and in one normal, mortal lifetime. There is no ‘second coming’ in Judaism!
To qualify as maschiach, a person must thus fulfill them all *before* he dies.
Here are the actual prophecies:
* The Sanhedrin will be re-established (Isaiah 1:26)
* Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance. (Isaiah 2:4)
* The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:17)
* He will be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1) via King Solomon (1 Chron. 22:8-10)
* The Moshiach will be a man of this world, an observant Jew with “fear of God” (Isaiah 11:2)
*****In other words – this must all be accomplished in a human lifetime*****
* Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership (Isaiah 11:4)
* Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9)
* He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10)
* All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12)
* Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8)
* There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8)
* All of the dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)
* The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11)
* He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 52:7)
* Nations will end up recognizing the wrongs they did to Israel (Isaiah 52:13-53:5)
* The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)
* The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)
* Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9)
* The Temple will be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40) resuming many of the suspended mitzvot
* He will then perfect the entire world to serve God together (Zephaniah 3:9)
* Jews will know the Torah without Study (Jeremiah 31:33)
* He will give you all the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4)
* He will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13-15, Ezekiel 36:29-30, Isaiah 11:6-9).
A: As there is no concept of ‘original sin’ in Judaism, there isn’t really any concept of needing to be ’saved’. You’ll never, ever hear any Jew speak of this, in fact.
Judaism teaches that we are all born with a divine spark within us, and that we are born pure and innocent. It is entirely possible for every person to draw closer to G-d, and he has provided us with ways of doing this.
For Jews, that ‘way’ is studying Torah and applying it to our everyday life, and in general, simply by behaving with compassion and integrity to our fellow men.
Non Jews are advised to follow the seven Noahide Laws.
Nobody is expected to be ‘perfect’. Only G-d can ever achieve ‘perfection’.
What we as humans must do is learn from our mistakes, sincerely repent when we have offended either G-d or any fellow human, and to make amends to anyone we have hurt. We must try our best – and our actions count more than our beliefs. Thus Judaism says that the ‘righteous of all nations will have a share in the world to come’.
We don’t believe in ‘hell’, so we don’t act with honour to avoid ‘punishment’ in the afterlife. Rather, we try to do the right thing purely because it *is* the right thing to do
In Judaism we have a concept called ‘tikkun olam’ or ‘repairing the world’. We try to make the world a tiny bit better through our own actions.