My Biblical knowledge is somewhat limited, so even if I did have the time, it’s beyond my ability to provide a detailed history of the Jewish people. I am not a teacher, so am not trying to teach, but rather, share thought and insight. What follows is an attempt to put things into perspective, by way of an extremely brief outline of certain events leading up to the time of Jesus Christ.
Approximately four hundred years had elapsed from the death of Noah to the day when Abram was called by God to live in a new land, sometime around 2180 BC.
The worship of false gods was normal practice prior to the flood, and quickly became the norm afterwards. Abraham nor anyone else at the time had the benefit of the written word of God, for about the only texts known to exist in his day were Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Sumerian cuneiform script recorded on a series of clay tablets. Any prior history from Adam onward had been passed down the generations orally, and much like ”Chinese Whispers,” it had resulted in the original truth becoming mixed with error and obscured by tradition and fable.
Typically, these ancient mythologies recount the story of the original God who created the Universe, and a usurper god who eventually defeated him and came to rule the universe in his stead. This led to the concept of a ”dying-god,” who would become associated with the season of winter and death. In turn, this perversion of truth gave rise to the fertility cults, sun-worship, and its counterpart, moon-worship.
Before very long, the ”dying-god” (the Creator) was regarded as the god of evil, and the usurper, who is actually Lucifer, regarded as the god of good. From this developed the belief that just as the god of good required good sacrifices, the god of evil demands bad sacrifices. He must be appeased, it was believed, to avert his evil, and turn it on one’s enemy, and the most evil of sacrifices was the slaughter of an innocent child.
Through the craftiness of Satan the truth was twisted and turned until it was upside down and back to front, and gullible man had swallowed the bait, hook, line, and sinker.
The Babylonian creation and flood stories, such as those found in ”the Epic of Gilgamesh,’‘ would later be written in manuscript form, but this was still long before Moses had recorded the Pentateuch, or the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.
In truth, there was no written law or Scripture, from the time of Adam until Moses, about four-thousand years. For this reason many argue against the authenticity of Scripture and claim the Book of Genesis to be nothing more than an account ”borrowed” from other religions, and based upon oral tradition and those earlier records.
Whilst Abram’s family acknowledged the most high God, they were surrounded by the followers of pagan religions, who acknowledged the usurper god, for they lived in the city-state of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia, whose chief deity was Sin, the moon-god. It was from out of this pagan community and background that Abram was called.
Genesis 12: 1-3.Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and he is the first person recorded in Scripture to be an Hebrew, ( a descendant of Shem through Eber. Genesis 14:13.)
Around 2,000 BC, Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, is born, although God would later change his name to Israel. Hence through the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel) would come the twelve tribes of Israel, and his grandfather, Abraham, would become known as the father of Israel, or the father of the Jews.
At this time however, they were still known as Hebrews, and due to a time of severe famine and drought in Canaan, Jacob and his sons and their families would finally arrive in Egypt. Here the Hebrews would remain in bondage to Pharaoh until the time of the ”Exodus” in 1446 BC.
Moses, a Hebrew by birth, lived during a period of time that is known as the Late Bronze Age. although the exact dates of his lifetime are unknown. But after God delivered ”the children of Israel” from the captivity in Egypt, and after the 40 years spent in the wilderness, Moses had an encounter with God at Mount Sinai, at which time he was given the Ten Commandments. Yet it was more than that, for it was as if God had said to Moses;
”Listen son, you and your forefathers have lived amongst the heathen, and have heard all the hype and myth concerning me, and concerning the origin and history of man, and now, commencing with the beginning, I intend to set the record straight.”
Genesis 1:1.In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth.
Moses, inspired of God, went on to write the first five books of the Bible – known as the Pentateuch or the Torah.
But the Law of Moses, the 10 commandments, were not given to benefit man, as a motivation to ”make him better.” Other than revealing some specific requirements of God, the Law was given to condemn all who fell short of perfection.
In all fairness, the Jews at the time did not realize God’s true purpose for the giving of the Law, but the author of Hebrews would write in 8:7, For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.[covenant]
It may not sound ”politically correct,” but the high calling of the Jews is straight from the God who chose them out of all the nations of the earth.
Deuteronomy 7:6. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Neither would Jesus’s claim that his ”mission” was to target one particular group, be considered ”politically correct.”
Matthew 15:24. But he[Jesus] answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Generally speaking, a Jew is seen as a member of the people and cultural community whose traditional religion is Judaism and who trace their origins to the ancient Hebrew people of Israel. But it’s a little more complex than that.
Whilst they are indeed the physical descendants of Abraham, his son Isaac, and his son Jacob, the name ”Jew” was primarily tribal, and when the country divided into two kingdoms, it denoted a person from Judah of the southern kingdom as distinct from Israel, of the northern kingdom.
The usage of the word “Jew” in the Bible seems to have been applied after the captivity from Babylon in 597 BC, at which time the Israelites were called Jews to distinguish their ethnicity from the Gentiles. This same distinction becomes quite apparent in the New Testament, when for example. the gift which had been received by the Jew had also been received by the non-Jew.
Acts 10:45. And they of the circumcision[ Jews] which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Yet Jesus made it quite clear that in the end-times, at least, there will be non-Jews, or Gentiles who will claim to be Jews, but are not Jews, for they are the synagogue of Satan.
Revelation 3:9. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie;…
The Talmud is generally called “The Babylonian Talmud” The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol XII, 1905 p.1.
During the 70 years that the Israelites were held captive in Babylon, a hybrid religion developed. This would eventually become the religion of the Pharisee, the man-made religion of the Talmud that is today called Judaism.
“Judaism is not the religion of the Bible.” Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser, Judaism and the Christian Predicament, 1966. p159.
In his “History of the Talmud” Michael Rodkinson, on page 70, states; ”The Talmud, then, is the written form of that which, in the time of Christ, was called the Traditions of the Elders and to which he makes frequent allusions.”
Based on the belief that at Mount Sinai Moses had received both the Written Torah and the Oral Torah, the religious leaders viewed the written law to be for the public, whilst the oral law was to remain secret. Therefore the oral law was never written down but passed from generation to generation.
Moses is said to have transmitted this oral law to Joshua; Joshua in turn to the seventy Elders; the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets to the Great Synagogue. It is held that it was later transmitted successively to certain Rabbis until it was no longer possible to retain it orally.
Basically it gave explanation of how the written laws for the public, should be executed and followed. But if and when a new set of circumstances arose, whilst the principles stayed the same, those principles could be adapted accordingly.
The four hundred years between the completion of Malachi, the final book of the Old Testament, and the birth of Jesus Christ, are sometimes called ”the silent years.” During this time period the number of new “laws” and “interpretations” issued by the Jewish religious leaders exploded. They became more elaborate and complicated as they strove to circumvent the written law as given to Moses BY God, while publicly retaining the appearance of Godliness.
Can you imagine being homeless in today’s world, and a ”man of the cloth” comes down on you like a ‘ton of bricks’ for daring to pick up your sleeping-bag, on a Sunday of all days, and cart it from one shop doorway to another shop doorway just across the street. That’s how crazy things had become in Jesus’ day, for the religious authorities had determined that such an act constituted ”carrying a load” on the Sabbath. Therefore it was in breach of the commandments of God.
These were the men Jesus referred to as; Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Matthew 23:33.
The Talmud as it is today, is a vast collection of Jewish laws and traditions, which was finally completed around 500 C.E. Sadly, in an attempt at self-justification, and under certain circumstances it permits practices which are forbidden in the Bible, such as bestiality, sodomy, and child-molestation, as the example verses show.
Yebamoth, 63a: “R. Eleazar further stated: What is meant by the Scriptural text, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh?” This teaches that Adam had intercourse with every beast and animal but found no satisfaction until he cohabited with Eve.”
Sanhedrin 55b: “A maiden three years and a day may be acquired by marriage by coition, and if her deceased husband’s brother cohabits with her, she becomes his.”
Charles. A. Weisman informs the reader in ”Who Is Esau-Edom?” 1994, p.5;
In 1923, Dr. Alfred Luzsenzsky, who had translated the Talmud into Hungarian (in 1910), was charged, by order of the public ministry of Hungary, with ‘pornography’ and with ‘corruption of public morals.’ The court found that: ‘The horrors contained in the translation of Alfred Luzsenzsky are without exception found in the Talmud. His translation is accurate.’