Thank you for these excellent questions. We often hear the phrase “Judeo-Christian ethic,” which leads people to believe that Jews and Christians share the same moral values. Though it is true that they have common core beliefs based on the scriptures, we shall see that there are also major differences between them.

The name “Jew” was initially used to describe Israelites from the tribe of Judah and later it was used for all Israelites living in the southern kingdom of Judah and Benjamin. But as time went on the name “Jew” became synonymous with all “Israelites.” What does the Bible say about Israelites? In Romans 9:3-5 the Apostle Paul had this to say about them, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” Paul himself was a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin but he recognized all “Israelites” as his “kinsmen according to the flesh.” In this wonderful passage he brings out how blessed they were by God. Let’s look briefly at each of the privileges that belonged to the Israelites:

1) The ADOPTION is referred to in Exodus 4:22: “Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” Israel was selected out of all the nations in the world to be God’s chosen people.

2) The GLORY is seen in Exodus 40:34: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” Israel was blessed with God’s presence in their midst.

3) The COVENANTS were given to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 & 15:1-7, to Moses in Exodus 20, to David in 2 Samuel 7:8-16, and in the future to a repentant Israel according to Jeremiah 31:31-34.

4) The GIVING OF THE LAW was given to them through Moses in Exodus 20-23.

5) The SERVICE OF GOD speaks of all the rituals and offerings performed by the Levitical priesthood, which was recorded for them in Leviticus 1-9.

6) The PROMISES encompasses hundreds of promised blessings that were given to the nation, initially through Abraham and then through his sons and all the prophets.

7) WHOSE ARE THE FATHERS refers to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 9:5 declares “That He may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

The GREATEST BLESSING is mentioned last: “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” Israel’s Messiah, who was “God manifest in the flesh,” was born of them! Matthew 1:1 reads, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” God selected this nation to give birth to the One “who is over all, God blessed forever.” The Son of God became a man to redeem Israel and to offer salvation to the whole world and this is why Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:22, “Salvation is of the Jews.”

How did the Jews treat their Messiah after He presented Himself to them as their promised Messiah? John 1:11 says, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” They rejected their Messiah and had Him crucified! Now the nation of Israel is set aside and the gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached throughout the world. God is, according to Acts 15:14, visiting the Gentiles and taking “out of them a people for His name.” In Acts 11:26 we see these Gentile believers “were called Christians first at Antioch.” As one studies the book of Acts and all the New Testament epistles, we learn that Christians are a “heavenly people with heavenly blessings,” in contrast to the Jews who are God’s “earthly people with earthly blessings.” They may share the same moral values, but they are quite different according to God’s purposes.

In closing, I would encourage you to study Romans 9-11. You will learn in those three chapters of God’s dealings with the Jews in the past, present and future. In short, we learn that God blessed them richly in the PAST, as we saw in our brief outline of Romans 9:4-5; He has set them aside in the PRESENT age because of their unbelief; and in the FUTURE He will restore them to Himself and fulfill all the covenants and promises He had given to them.  (184.10)  (DO)