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Let’s begin by reading Galatians 1:13-14, which says, “For ye have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and made havoc of it: and I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of mine own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my father” (ASB). This passage teaches us two facts that help us to answer this interesting question. First of all, it teaches us that Judaism was a religion for the Jews only. And secondly, it teaches us that the Jews who continued to practice it were opposed to Christianity, for the Apostle Paul tells us that while he did practice the “Jews’ religion,” he “persecuted the church of God.” It’s obvious then that Judaism was never meant to be the “true” religion; that is, a religion practiced by everyone, or a religion that would last forever, for it has been replaced by Christianity. Now we must answer a vital question: Why did God choose the Jews to be His people and establish this religion we call Judaism?

In Romans 3:1-2 we read, “What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because unto them were committed the oracles of God.” God chose this people so He could give them a new revelation called “the Law.” When Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai it included the Ten Commandments and other laws that would govern every area of their lives. The Law was the very foundation of Judaism and in it God was putting before the Jews a standard to live by. Why did He do that? The answer is found in Exodus 20:20 which reads, “Moses said unto the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin” (NASB). The Law was a TEST! It was given to the Jews as a test to see if they would fear God and obey Him. Did they pass the test? Romans 3:19-20 says, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (NKJV). The Jews failed the test and were found GUILTY of breaking the law. And we learn in these verses that this test proved the whole world is guilty too, for the Jews were but a sample of the human race that is made up of sinners and if they couldn’t keep the law, no one could.

The Law not only contained “laws,” but in it God instructed the Jews how to worship Him. He gave Moses a blueprint for a Temple for worship; He gave him instructions for a priesthood to lead the worship; and He gave him a list of all the animal sacrifices that would be offered to God in worship. The book of Hebrews teaches us the purpose behind all of these things. In a word, the Temple, the priesthood and the animal sacrifices were a PICTURE of things to come. Hebrews 10:1-4 reads, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” We had already seen that the Law was a TEST to prove that all men were guilty sinners. Here we learn that the Law and its prescribed worship was given to show that men needed a sacrifice that could take away sins and that all the sacrifices offered on Jewish altars FORESHADOWED the Lord Jesus Christ, the One Who can take away sins. John 1:29 says, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” In Hebrews 10:11-12 we read, “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God.” After Christ came and offered up His life on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for sin, there was no more need for the sacrifices offered in Judaism; they had served their purpose in giving us a PICTURE of the Lord Jesus Christ and His death on Calvary.

Much more could be said on this subject. I would encourage you to read Hebrews chapters 6-10, for they teach clearly and emphatically that Judaism was only temporary and that the Old Covenant of LAW has been replaced by the New Covenant of GRACE.  (148.1)  (DO)