Maybe you are like many others; you are someone who is searching for God or searching for some spiritual clarity. I understand that that this journey can be quite difficult and confusing for a variety or reasons. I'm sure you have heard it said, "All roads lead to the same God."
But is this true?
Is it possible for this to be true?
For the next few posts, I would like to invite you to walk through some world religions with me (at a glance, because to delve into all that goes into each of them would be far too great for this blog.)
Let's begin with Judaism since it is the beginning point for other religions like Christianity and Islam. Through historic writings, it was written that God spoke to Abraham (Genesis 12) and commanded him to recognize the singularity and omnipotence of God. Abraham accepted, becoming the father of many nations. Abraham was not just the first prophet of Judaism, but also of the Christian and Islamic faiths.
Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic world religions and one of the first ethnoreligious groups that followed God's command to turn away from idolatry or paganism and worship God alone - a single deity.
The Jewish faith is based upon a covenant between Abraham and God (Genesis 17) to renounce worshipping other gods and worship God alone. God promised to make Abraham’s offspring a “Chosen People.” This Chosen People would become the Children of Israel, and eventually, the Jewish faith.
Exodus 19:5 says that God selected Israel to receive and study the Torah, (Jewish scripture), to rest on the Sabbath, and to celebrate the festivals. Jews were not chosen to be better than others; they were simply selected to be a light to the Gentiles and to be a blessing to all the nations.
In the Torah—the first five books of the Bible—Genesis 14:13 teaches that Abram, was recognized as the first Jew. The name “Jew” comes from the name of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob and one of the twelve tribes of Israel. A Jew is one who has a Jewish mother or one who has formally converted to Judaism.
In Judaism there are “Thirteen Principles of Faith”
1. Belief in the existence of the Creator, who is perfect in every manner of existence and is the Primary Cause of all that exists.
2. The belief in G‑d's absolute and unparalleled unity.
3. The belief in G‑d's non-corporeality, nor that He will be affected by any physical occurrences, such as movement, or rest, or dwelling.
4. The belief in G‑d's eternity.
5. The imperative to worship G‑d exclusively and no foreign false gods.
6. The belief that G‑d communicates with man through prophecy.
7. The belief in the primacy of the prophecy of Moses our teacher.
8. The belief in the divine origin of the Torah.
9. The belief in the immutability of the Torah.
10. The belief in G‑d's omniscience and providence.
11. The belief in divine reward and retribution.
12. The belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era.
13. The belief in the resurrection of the dead.
*Note you might have noticed that when I typed in God- I left out the "O" in G-d. Why did I do this? Jews believe that writing G‑d’s full name could lead to erasing or disrespecting G‑d’s name.
The first five books of the Hebrew Bible were revealed to Moses by God. Christians base much of their faith on the same Hebrew Scriptures as Jews do - yet with some differences : Jews consider works to be main focus of belief and Jews do not believe in original sin (the belief that all people have inherited Adam and Eve’s sin when they disobeyed God’s instructions in the Garden of Eden).
Moses is another famous Jewish name many are familiar with. He was known as one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. Moses transcribed the Torah (also known as the Five Books of Moses
But interestingly enough, the Jews were so determined to not break any of those God given laws that they added and kept adding laws on top of laws to insure not breaking the original ten that were given.
Jews have 613 commandments /rules found in Leviticus and other books that rule all aspects of Jewish life. God also called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt from slavery and bondage.
There are books filled with many historic accounts of generations of judges and kings, times of conquest from outside nations, and Jewish migration throughout several nations around the world. According to Jewish sources, Judaism was the first great faith to believe in one God and Jerusalem was their spiritual capital of the ancient world.
In closing, my desire in all these posts is to focus on main beliefs, a bit of history and what their beliefs are, who Jesus is to them, and to lean their beliefs about the after life so that we can understand them a bit more clearly - but also understand - ultimately - that they do not all lead to the same God and they do not lead to the same after life.
What do Jews believe about the afterlife?
There is no definitive answer to the Jewish afterlife. There are three thoughts in my research in regards to this question.
1. The righteous will go with God somewhere- no definitive Heaven
2. The evil will go to a place of Torment & fire temporarily
3. Everyone in between will got to some kind of purgatory
Judaism is a beautiful religion- woven together with faithful followers and the power and beauty of the Almighty God and His great love and provision for His chosen people. The ancient texts are an amazing testimony of God's goodness and faithfulness. Judaism shows the Jewish believers desire to live and purify their lives and draw closer to God by fulfilling the Ten Commandments - yet Judaism is sadly missing the key link to their religious belief - they have no Savior; there is no available mediator between man and God.
"The Jews believed that the Messiah, the prophet which Moses spoke about, would come and deliver them from Roman bondage and set up a kingdom where they would be the rulers...The people of Jerusalem also thought He would deliver them. They shouted praises to God for the mighty works they had seen Jesus do and called out, “Hosanna, save us,” when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21:9). They treated Him like a conquering king. Then, when He allowed Himself to be arrested, tried, and crucified on a cursed cross, the people stopped believing that He was the promised prophet. They rejected their Messiah (Matthew 27:22)."
Their belief in regards to Jesus vary considerably. Some view Him as a great moral teacher. Others see Him as a false prophet or as an idol of Christianity. Some sects of Judaism will not even say His name due to the ban against saying an idol’s name.
Yet, many Jews are turning to Christ today. The God of Israel has always been faithful to keep a “remnant” of believing Jews to Himself.