12. Judaism At The End Of The Old Testament Period

   
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12. JUDAISM AT THE END OF THE OLD TESTAMENT PERIOD

I. NATURE OF EARLY JUDAISM

1. In the presence of frustration the community reorganized around the LAW.

2. This explains why the Sabbath became such an outstanding feature of Jewish theology.

3. Henceforth, Judah is that remnant of Israel which has rallied around the law and looks forward to the redemption from worldly bondage by the Messianic deliverer—the survival of the everlasting kingdom.

4. The books of Jonah and Joel probably belong to this period.

5. This is an era of theological evolution and reconstruction.

6. The Jews have the Scriptures—and their traditions. Out of these they must build a new philosophy.

7. The canon of Scripture is taking shape. The religion of the law is formulating the cult of the TORAH.

8. The Jews seemed to sense that the age of the prophets had ended. Their future was to be organized around the temple and the law.

9. Twice Yahweh had delivered them from bondage, but their third deliverance had come by means of military conquest.

10. The high priest became an important person in the new Jewish community.

11. It was the LAW rather than the cult that claimed Jewish allegiance.

12. The scribe became an important person in the Hebrew religion.

13. The synagogue took a new place in the Jewish community.

14. In the synagogue service the first act was the reading of the law.

15. Presently there came along the new aspect of law—the ORAL LAW.

16. Also now comes into the picture the wisdom feature of the Scriptures.

17. All this means that piety—righteousness—becomes the important feature of religious living.

18. Next come the thousand and one little details of legal restrictions and minute features of obeying the law.

19. They really derived great pleasure from carrying out all these trifling obligations of their ceremonial and moral laws.

20. In the end they arrived at the position of absolutizing the law.

21. The Jews were gradually divorcing Yahweh and their religion from history.

22. The Jews were becoming legalistic, formal, ceremonial, and increasingly intolerant.

II. THEOLOGY OF EARLY JUDAISM

1. There were two diverse and contending attitudes among the Jews:

a. A narrow-minded and intolerant attitude toward all gentiles.
b. A warm concern for the salvation of the world.

2. This conflict and tension now became real. Stated otherwise it was:

a. The Jews as the “chosen people”—Yahweh’s elect.
b. Yahweh as the God of all nations—missionary obligations.

3. Israel was surrounded by paganism. Nehemiah and Ezra thought they must protect the remnant of Israel from moral contamination.

4. The Jews succumbed to the idea and the ideal of a “holy people.” They surrendered to racial isolationism.

5. Hate of gentiles gained over love for gentiles. Intermarriage was taboo.

6. The idea of the “holy people” grew. More and more the Jews withdrew from all contact with gentiles.

7. Especially they refused to have any dealings with Samaritans.

8. But among the few the sense of world mission was never fully lost. But Judaism never became a missionary religion.

9. They consolidated their theology. Monotheism triumphed. They became more and more eschatological. They persisted in their olden beliefs regarding Providence.

10. There was growth of the concept of angels and intermediaries. Wisdom was exalted. The word of God was all but personified.

11. They wrestled with the problem of evil. Began to charge it up to Satan. Still held to olden concepts of health and prosperity as rewards for righteousness, and sickness and adversity as punishment for sin.

12. Allied with Satan were the fallen angels—demons and evil spirits.

13. Divine justice and rewards after death claimed attention. The majority believed in the resurrection of the dead.

14. They sought to bolster hope for the future and to reinterpret their captivity and restoration.

15. More and more they taught the coming of the Messiah and the new age.

16. The Jews were becoming apocalyptic. They studied anew the book of Daniel.

III. THE LAST TIMES

1. Presently John the Baptist came. Then began the conflict with Jesus’ teachings—and their rejection.

2. Sects and parties were springing up—Israel was becoming divided and weakened.

3. There were:

a. Pharisees.
b. Sadducees.
c. Nationalists.
d. Hasidim.
e. Nazarites.
f. Roman loyalists.
g. Maccabeans.
h. Essenes.
i. Qumrans.
j. Christians.

4. Then came the revolt against Rome and the END.

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