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작성일 : 08-11-06 15:32
ABSTRACT: "A Study on New Testament‘s Understandings about Judaism Focused on Hebrews"
 글쓴이 : 조동호
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"A Study on New Testament‘s Understandings about Judaism Focused on Hebrews"

Wirtten by Dong-Ho Cho

1. The Necessity of This Writing
The necessity of this thesis writing is, firstly, because the scriptures are understood as much as one knows the Judaism. Without knowing it, one cannot be assured of the correct understanding the whole 66 books of the Bible. The Christianity is based on Judaism in its root. Jesus and His twelve disciples were all Jews and the early Christian church missionaries such as Paul, Barnabas and many others were Jews who had been soaked through the Judaism for hundreds of years from generation to generation. Their thoughts, languages and behaviors were deeply rooted in Judaism. And yet the reason they became the Christians who sacrificially devoted themselves to the evangelism of the Christian Gospel after they deserted Judaism which they cherished for hundreds of years from generation to generation was because there were great differences in between the Judaism and the Christianity.

Israelites have the great traditions and inheritances that cannot be seen in any other religion since the Judaism was begun with the covenant between God and the Israelites at the mountain of Sinai. Such things are circumcision, Sabbath Day, prayers, many seasonal festivals and others. In addition, there are Mishnah and many rabbinic laws such as Gezeirah, Takkanah and Minhag. These are the regulations for the Sabbath Day, the Ceremonial Washings of the Hands and Vessels, and the Diet such as the Kosher and the Kashrut that have the boast of the thousands of years' history. Especially they have the Torah which consists of the first five books of the Old Testament and that God gave through Moses as the books of the covenant. Israelites selected 613 commandments so called Mitzvot out of them and have observed them for thousands of years. And thus they have the special ethnic consciousness as the elected. They have also the hope so called 'Ha-Tikvah' for the coming of Messiah and the world to come so called 'Olam Ha-Ba,' that is, the restored Israelite world. To know well such things is so vital to understand not only the Old Testament but also the New Testament.

The necessity of this thesis writing is, secondly, because the ministers can teach about the Jews and the Judaism correctly and be of help to the saints as much as they know the Judaism. Most illustrations of the ministers on Jews and the Judaism are superficial and not only incorrect informative but also eulogistic only without knowing exactly what the differences are between the Judaism and the Christianity and why God inaugurated the Christianity as the elected one of the new covenant after He gave up the Judaism as the elected one of the old covenant. Such things are not desirable and are apt to cause misunderstanding the Old Testament and the Jews as we see in some heretics such as the Adventists and the Jehovah Witnesses.

2. The Purpose of This Writing
The purpose of this thesis writing is, firstly, to clarify the method and the interpretation that the writer of Hebrews understood Judaism and to discern the differences between Old and New Testaments and the distinction between Judaism of the Old Testament and Christianity of the New Testament. Today it frequently happens for the Christianity of the New Testament to be changed or distorted into the Christianity of the Old Testament because too many people incorrectly understand that the Old Testament is the equally same scriptures revealed by God as the New Testament is the scriptures revealed by God and that do not know the differences between them. In this situation the matter to the contemporary Christianity required urgently and badly is to restore the New Testament Christianity. If the Reformation in the 16th century was to go back to the Bible, then the new Reformation in the 21st century is to go back to the New Testament.

The purpose of this thesis writing is, secondly, to reveal how differently the Hebrews explained the Old Testament compared with the methodology that Jews understood and interpreted the Old Testament. Especially in this thesis the author made an effort to reveal the differences as compared Jewish position with Hebrews' viewpoint on 'the Promised Land,' 'the Homeland,' 'Jerusalem and Zion,' 'the Rest,' 'Moshiach: the Messiah' and others.

3. Methods That the Hebrews Presented Jesus
The Hebrews explained why Jesus was the Messiah to the Jews who were going to abandon the Christian faith. Although the Jews were ones who were denying the divinity of Jesus, the Hebrews rather explained why Jesus was much superior to the angels or greater than Moses and why He became a high priest much greater than high priests in the order of Aaron as emphasizing on the divinity of Jesus. In addition, the Hebrews presented Jesus as the only one who is the substance and the evidence of what the Jews hoped for, the high priest forever who was able to give the true rest that the Jews were longing for, the one who exalted above the heavens, the one who is the mediator of a better covenant, the one who is the high priest of good things to come and the great shepherd who opened a new and living way to approach the throne of grace with confidence.

Two reasons were found in the method and the context that the Hebrews presented Jesus in such manner. The first was because an old Jewish hope longed for the Canaan Land promised to the Abraham at first, the Messiah so called the Second Moses or the Moshiach prophesied in the era of the Babylonian Captivity and the World to Come so called Olam Ha-Ba or the Theocracy. The second was because the differences of understanding the Second Moses to come were existed.

The Jews believe the Messianic Idea of ingathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service. However in Judaism the word 'moshiach' does not mean 'savior.' In fact the Jews do not use the word 'messiah' because they believe that the notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save us from the consequences of our own sins is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought. So they use the Hebrew word, 'moshiach' instead of English word 'messiah.' In Judaism the moshiach is a charismatic leader inspiring others to follow his example and a great military leader who wins battles for Israel but a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.

The Hebrews explained that this kind of Jewish hope was not right as clearly classifying into 'things in heaven' and 'things in earth,' 'things of infinity' and 'things of finiteness,' 'things of eternity' and 'things of moment,' and 'substance' and 'shadow.' And the Hebrews disclosed that the contents of Jewish hope, Ha-Tikvah, were nothing but things in earth, things of finiteness, things of moment, and the shadow of good things to come, but that the ones of Christian hope were things in heaven, things of infinity, things of eternity, and the substance of good things to come.

In the same context the Hebrews disclosed that Jesus was neither a high priest in the order of Aaron nor the second Moses descended from King David, but the one who was superior to angel, superior to Moses, and superior to any high priest in the order of Aaron. And the Hebrews also revealed that Jesus as the one in the heaven did not follow the laws in the flesh set aside because they were weak and useless, and that Jesus became a high priest with an oath made by God and became the guarantee of a better covenant because of this oath. Especially in the chapter 7 the Hebrews speaks with emphasis that Jesus has a permanent priesthood because Jesus lives forever, and continues as follows:

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need--one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever(Heb. 7:25-28).

Another important method that the Hebrews presented Jesus was the typology that the Old Testament contents were seen as the types or the shadows of the New Testament contents and that the New Testament contents were seen as the entities or the antitypes of the Old Testament contents. In the typology the things in the past were seen as the types or the shadows of the things in the future and the things much better. And the things in the future or the things much better were seen as the entities or the antitypes of the things in the past. Therefore those were the explanations of the Hebrews that the Old Testaments' "regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary"(Heb. 9:1) were the types or the shadows of the Christ Jesus and His works that the New Testament teaches and that in the other way the Christ Jesus and His works were the entities or the antitypes of the Old Testaments' "regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary."

The Hebrews explained that it is the unshakable eternal Kingdom of God for the saints to go forward and to reach at(Heb. 12:28). The saints' procession and direction of ascension is not to that Mount Zion and Jerusalem of the Palestine Land, but to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God(Heb. 12:22). That is the heavenly place that we will be greatly welcomed by God, Jesus our Lord, thousands upon thousands of angels and all the saints in joyful assembly, and that we will be crowned with the laurel of victory and that we will have the true meaning of rest after we saints have done all the long toils in the earthly place and when we have arrived at.

4. Main Messages of the Hebrews
The main messages of the Hebrews can be given in five outlines.

The first is the explanation of the Hebrews concerning 'the procession and the direction of ascension.' The Jews, who understand leaving home land and living in the foreign countries as living in the place of exile, call migrating toward the edges of the east as their eyes to Zion and Jerusalem look to be 'Ascension to Zion.' There appears a highway to Zion in the Isaiah chapter 35 verses 5 to 10. Isaiah chapter 35 is the prophecy on the Messianic Age that the Israelites hoped for so much and the scripture on the restoration of Israel. This scripture is literally understood by the Jews and is the World to Come that would be come true in the land of Israel someday in future. However, in the New Testament, the highway to Zion is spiritually understood as the one to heavenly Zion and Jerusalem and is introduced as the one called for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. The Hebrews chapter 12 verse 22, using the phrase, "Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God," explained the Better World to Come as the Kingdom of Heaven.

The second is the explanation of the Hebrews concerning 'the ultimate accomplishment of God's promise.' The Hebrews chapter 11 is the story of the people whom their names were entered to the (Faithfulness) Hall of Fame after they faithfully finished their procession of ascension. What is so important is that they have not literally received what they were promised by God. According to the Hebrews, "they did not receive the things promised but they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own"(vs. 13-14). They were seeking for opportunity to return as they fixed their eyes on home land just as the Jews did the same way for a couple of thousand years. As the Hebrews chapter 11 continues, the hope ('Ha-Tikvah') that the faithful Hebrew ancestors were greatly longing for is not an earthly country, but "a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them"(vs. 15-16). The Hebrews continues to say that the promise that the faithful Hebrew ancestors were received by God or the hope that they were truly longing for is not this land nor earthly things, but heavenly things.

Another reason that the faithful ancestors died without receiving the things promised although they received the promise is because God wanted the Christian Gentiles to be "heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus as the Ephesus chapter 3 verses 5-6 says. Paul says in the Ephesus chapter 3 verses 2-12 that this is 'the mystery of Gospel,' 'the administration of God's grace,' 'the unsearchable riches of Christ' and the mystery which for ages past was kept hidden in God for the Christian Gentiles. Through this mystery of Gospel the Christian Gentiles become heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

The third is the explanation of the Hebrews and New Testament concerning 'what is to come.'

(1)'What is to come' is 'the Kingdom of God' which is the perfect place for rest. And it indicates the bodily resurrection that makes the Christians righteous, glorified and fit to the life in the Kingdom of God. The Hebrews referred many times to 'what is to come.' Following referring to 'better things that accompany salvation' in the chapter 6 verse 9, it mentions in succession 'better hope'(7:10), 'better covenant'(7:22), 'better promises'(8:6), 'the good things to come'(9:11) and 'the good things that are coming'(10:1). And it reveals in the chapter 11 that the better things that the faithful ancestors were longing for was 'a better country'(verse 16). Moreover the Hebrews makes it clear that God was not ashamed to be called God of those who were longing for the better things and that He had prepared 'a city,' that is, the Kingdom of God, according to His planning something better for them in advance(verses 16 and 40). It says that, because of this, the faithful ancestors "were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection"(verse 35). In addition, the Pauline Epistles often mention 'the good things to come.' A verse as a good example is found in the second Corinthians chapter 5 verse 5. It says that "[N]ow it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." But a very important phrase, "guaranteeing what is to come" was omitted in the Korean Revised Version. The Holy Spirit in the Pauline Epistles was often explained as 'the promised'(Eph. 1:13), 'a deposit'(Eph. 1:14, 2Cor. 1:22, 5:5) and 'a seal'(Eph. 1:13, 2Cor. 1:22). And 'the good things to come' in the Pauline Epistles indicates 'an eternal house'(2Cor. 5:1), 'Kingdom of God,' 'eternal life' and 'resurrection.' God promised us the eternal Kingdom of God and the resurrected body and gave us the Holy Spirit as a deposit and a seal guaranteeing the promised. That is why Paul explained the Holy Spirit as 'the promised'(Eph. 1:13), "a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession"(Eph. 1:14), "a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come"(2Cor. 1:22, 5:5) and 'a seal'(Eph. 1:13) or 'his seal of ownership'(2Cor. 1:22).

(2)'The good things to come' is ultimately 'the Kingdom of God' and the good things that will be given in that country is explained as the concepts of 'inheritance' and 'heirs.' 'The world to come' is mentioned in the Ephesians chapter 1 verse 21 as 'the age to come,' in the First Timothy chapter 4 verse 8 as 'the life to come' and in the Hebrews chapter 2 verse 5 as 'the world to come.' And the Hebrews in the chapter 11 verse 40 refers to what "God had planned something better" and in the chapter 13 verse 14 to 'the city that is to come' as 'an enduring city' in heaven. Apostle Paul explained the good things that will be given in the world to come as 'the inheritance.' Paul used a phrase, "a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession" in the Ephesians chapter 1 verse 14 instead of a phrase, "a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come" written in the Second Corinthians chapter 1 verse 22 and chapter 5 verse 5, so that we may understand that the inheritance that will be given in future is the better world to come. Paul is also praying in the Ephesians chapter 1 verse 18 for that "the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints."

(3)It is said that patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints is required in order to gain 'the good things to come.' The Hebrews in the chapter 6 urges not "to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised"(verse 12). And the Hebrews in the chapter 11 says that many saints, to receive the promised eternal inheritance(9:15) and to go to a place they would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went even though they did not know where they were going(verse 8).

'The good things to come' is based on the Old Testament. It is called as 'Thoughts of Apocalyptic Literature' in theology. And it is found in the hope('Ha-Tikvah') of the Jewish background for 'the World to Come'('Olam Ha-Ba') originally found in the Canaan theocratic national ideology of the Chronicles' historians in the era of ancient Persian Empire.

It is the rest that is the most important theme in the Jewish thoughts. Jews is the people who wearied with the longest exile. To them the rest is something absolute and sacred and the symbol of the bliss.

The prototype of the rest the Jews think is the Canaan Land. The Jews as the descendants of the Hebrew wanderers aim for the Canaan Land because they lived so many years as slaves, captives and the oppressed. They have their eyes always look to the Zion and Jerusalem of the Canaan Land.

But it is the viewpoint of the New Testament that there are problems to the Jewish concept on the rest and is the New Testament that makes those errors correct. The Jewish concept on the rest is exceedingly nationalistic, exclusive and territory-centered. It is also too much earthly and materialistic. It is the New Testament that makes this wrong concept on the rest sublimated into universal and anti-nationalistic one. It is the New Testament that makes the Jewish earthly and materialistic concept on the rest sublimated into heavenly and spiritual one.

The Early Christians, especially, the writers of the New Testament were assured of that Jesus, who came down to this world two thousand years ago and was crucified, buried in a tomb, raised on the third day, taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand side of God, was the Messiah promised to come, and fully understood that 'the Kingdom of God' Jesus proclaimed was the true eternal place for rest, 'the good things to come' and 'the World to Come'('Olam Ha-Ba'). Some of the Jews such as Paul and Barnabas realized that 'the Kingdom of God' Jesus proclaimed was not the Kingdom of Israel in the sense of literal meaning, but the Kingdom of God that would be accomplished in the sense of spiritual meaning after the Holy Spirit came down to the individuals who believed in Jesus as the Christ. They had also strong conviction that the present spiritual salvation opened to everyone impartially and freely without racial discrimination and irrespectively of sex and social standing guaranteed, sealed and promised through the Holy Spirit the resurrection and eternal world ultimately accomplished as soon as Jesus came again.

The Kingdom of God to Jews is nothing but a literal world and a world to come that has not been appeared yet. But the New Testament tells us that 'the Kingdom of God' as 'the better thing to come' has been already accomplished in us through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ and of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that God has given us as the promise the resurrection of the holy and glorified body to accomplish in future and the rest to last forever in the New Heaven and New Earth and that He has given us the Holy Spirit "as a deposit and a seal guaranteeing the promised." Thus the Hebrews says that we as saints are 'the heirs' who will inherit 'the good things to come' and God, who planned on such things in advance and made them come true, confirmed them with an oath to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised(Heb. 6:17).

The fourth is the exhortation of the Hebrews. The Hebrews used the phrase, 'let us,' fifteen times. It tells four times in the chapter 4: "let us be careful."(Verse 1); "Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest."(Verse 11); "let us hold firmly to the faith we profess."(Verse 14); "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence."(Verse 16), and once in the chapter 6: "let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity."(Verse 1), and four times in the chapter 10: "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith."(Verse 22); "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."(Verse 23); "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."(Verse 24); "Let us not give up meeting together."(Verse 25), and four times in the chapter 12: "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."(Verse 1); "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."(Verse 2); "let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe."(Verse 28), and two times in the chapter 13: "Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore."(Verse 13); "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name."(Verse 15).

The fifth is the exhortation of the Hebrews to urge patient endurance and faithfulness to the saints. The Hebrews chapter 10 verses 26-39 are fit to the writing purpose. The contents are as follows:

[26] If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, [27] but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. [28] Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. [29] How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? [30] For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." [31] It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. [32] Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. [33] Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. [34] You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. [35] So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. [36] You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. [37] For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. [38] But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." [39] But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.』

5. Concluding Remark
This abstract was the summary of the Chapter 1: "Introduction," the Chapter 2: "A Study on the Hebrews' Understandings About Judaism" and the Chapter 3: "Chapter by Chapter Explanations of the Hebrews" of this thesis. And as the rest part of this thesis, the Chapter 4 is "A Study on Judaism and Its Thoughts for Understanding Hebrews" and deals with the regulations for tabernacle worship, Jewish consciousness about the homeland, zeal for Torah, prayer lives, observance of the Sabbath day, family lives, religious education, seasonal festivals, nationalism, dietary laws and the validity of the emergence of Christianity viewed on Jewish people consciousness. And the Chapter 5 is "A Study on the New Testament Writers' Principles of the Old Testament Interpretation and Application" and finally the Chapter 6 is the conclusion of this thesis, "A Study on New Testament‘s Understandings about Judaism Focused on Hebrews."