Judaism.... An Overview
The focus of this article is the religion of the Jews. When studying Judaism, however, we must understand that there is a distinction between the Jewish people and the religion of Judaism. Many Jews do not embrace Judaism but consider themselves to be secular, atheistic, or agnostic.
Messianic Expectations in 1st Century Judaism
The popular notion that either: The 1st century Jew HAD NO expectation of a Messiah-figure; or The 1st century Jewish expectation was of a purely natural, human-only, regular political leader. In the light of the 'HARD' data we have, both of these positions are COMPLETELY mistaken -
Not even the great leader Moses had any say in the formulation of ANY of the old Testament laws, sacrifices, and temple observances - all of which came directly from God. If God intended the sacrifices to continue He was perfectly capable of not letting the temple be destroyed. If He did intend for the sacrifices to stop why didn't He give the Jews a new set of regulations instead of leaving the 'alterations' to Rabbis none of whom walked with God as Moses did. In any case without the shedding of blood there was no atonement for sins - 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement'. Leviticus 17:11 and numerous other verses
Anti-Semitism in The New Testament?
According to Newsweek magazine (Feb. 16 2004 cover story) Some “scholars argue that the Gospels have themselves fueled anti-Semitism throughout European history and that a literal presentation of the biblical material is inherently dangerous’. However the problem is that Jesus was born into a Jewish family... His mother was Jewish... His early followers were Jewish, and the people who first heard him preach were Jewish. The New Testament writers were JEWISH and seemingly proud of it. So what is commonly called Anti-Semitism was a rebuke from within, much as the prophets of the Old Testament called their people to repentance.