Summary Lesson 19: “The Plan Of Salvation”
- True Nature of God Diminished: By the time the Crusaders approached the Holy Land, a prominent Jewish philosopher, Moses Maimonides, began collecting writings and interpretations of other Jewish sages to codify and centralize them. He included ‘Thirteen Articles of Faith.’ The first three declared that God cannot be explained, thus eliminating reference to the anthropomorphic nature of God.
- Meaning Lost on Resurrection/Death: The Jewish interpretation that God has no . . . physical attributes begs the question of what kind of resurrection there is. “The Talmud explains that there are three partners in the creation of a human being; the father and mother who supply the physical parts, and God, Who supplies the spirit. At death, God reclaims his part, and the spirit lives on even though the body has died. “The souls of the righteous enter paradise . . . The souls of the wicked enter hell . . . where they undergo purification . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Some Rabbis Believed in Resurrection: “This doctrine poses some obvious difficulties: the body actually decomposes after burial so how can it be reconstituted; furthermore what about overpopulation of the world? Those who believe in resurrection claim that anyway the whole process will be miraculous and the miracle will solve all the problems. In modern times most Jewish theologians do not subscribe to the doctrine of physical resurrection and movements such as Reform Judaism do not consider it to be a necessary belief for the Jew.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Scriptures Use Body Language: Remember that there are two things necessary to understand the scriptures, 1. the learning of the Jews and 2. the Holy Spirit that reveals the holy subtleties. Consider the scripturally described attributes of the Lord, his being and his body that he gave for us. Could Isaiah have been suggesting that everything around us, even “body language,” refers to him?
- References to Satan as a Personage Have Also Largely Disappeared: In the Talmud, Satan is at times identified with the yezer ha-rah (the evil inclination). “The rabbis taught that one must therefore always be aware of the power of temptation, for the yezer ha-ra can grow . . . At first it resembles the thread of a spider’s web, the wise men tell us–fragile and barely visible. lf not controlled it will become as strong as a stout rope. ‘Who is mighty?’ ask the sages. ‘One who subdues his (evil) inclinations.'” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Repentance Consists of Several Stages: “. . . firstly the sinner must reflect on his actions and realize that he has indeed done the wrong thing. He must then make up his mind never to do it again, and confess his sin. This confession is not made to any other human being but is made by the sinner directly to God. However, even when a sinner has done all these things, his repentance is still not final until he has been exposed to the same temptation and withstood it. Of course he should not deliberately put himself on that spot again.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Repentance Means Return: Repentance in Hebrew is known as ‘teshuvah,’ which literally means ‘return,’ and signifies a return to God. A person who repents his sins is known as a ba’al teshuvah. Many rabbis of the Talmud believed . . . that when a person repents out of love of God (and not just out of fear of divine punishment), all the sins he had committed are considered to be mitzvot . . . perhaps the most