It couldn’t remain Jewish for a number of reasons. The sacrificial elements had been resolved for one. The OT Laws were specific to the Jewish people in that though they may be universal as we understand it now, and it was not forbidden for others to adopt the faith, the Jews were not commanded to proselytize or convince others to join in their way of worshiping God. In fact they were often commanded to wipe out the existing population taking neither slaves nor animals. They basically kept God for themselves.
I think even today Jews think they were chosen to be separate from all others, and being especially and remaining close to God. I tend to think they were chosen for other reasons that were fulfilled in the coming of Christ that eventually allowed all people to rejoin God. They assumed the Messiah would imbue the Jewish faith onto all nations with military victory. The reality is that all nations are given the Word in love, rather than all nations coming to it by war. Christ said “Salvation comes from the Jews.” Christ is salvation and He came from the Jews.
Another thread going about Mary being a vessel of God to bring Jesus into the world, has a parallel to the Jews being the vessel to bring Christ to the world. Mary was the perfect vessel by virtue; the Jews were the chosen vessel, made pure by all the events described since Abraham. With the many different gods and belief systems before and after God spoke to Abraham, He made clear by choosing a single people to speak through Who He IS. It wouldn’t really work if He chose more than one, because different groups would develop different understandings. The many different Jewish and Christian sects today show the wisdom of Gods choice. He spoke through one people so that we could all understand it when it finally unfolded as it has. The new and everlasting covenant established by Christ.
After the fall of Jerusalem at around 70 AD, the Judaism as espoused by the Pharisees and the new Jewish sect called “Christian” vied for control of Judaism. Around 90 AD the “split” between the two was made final.
From the Gentile influence and it’s move into the Roman Empire, Christianity became increasingly “non-Jewish”.
In the Gospel of John we can see the conflict personified between Jesus and the Jewish leaders, it shows just how hostile the division really was…it carried with it anti-semitism down through the centuries.
I do not think it would be accurate to phrase the facts as you have. The Catholic Church is the main trunk of the faith of Israel. The provisions imposed as penalties for the apostasies of the Golden Calf and the Baal of Peor expired when the New Covenant was instituted. However, all other aspects of the faith of Israel were continued and perfected. The Temple Sacrifice was continued in the Perfect Sacrifice of the Mass. The heritage of the People of God was retained. The Church, in the Liturgy of the Hours, daily prays the prayers of the Temple. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets – as He Himself explained to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Hence, it would be more accurate to say that the Rabbinic Judaism adopted by those who would not embrace the Messiah’s Church, even after the fall of the Temple, is a branch severed from the main trunk of the Faith of Israel, which continues in the Catholic Church.
This fact was not lost on the Romans and Greeks who converted to the Church in the ancient world. One of the most impressive aspects of the Faith was its antiquity – with writings and prophecies validating the truths of the Faith from hundreds and even a thousand years earlier. This was one of the reasons that the Catholic Faith was so attractive to the Romans who were used to fads and cults cropping up in the east and sweeping the Empire, only to fall into obscurity after a few years. The Faith was new in the New Covenant, but it was recognized as ancient as the perfection of the Old Covenant and as validated by the ancient Scriptures of Israel.
When one considers the sacrifice, incense, priesthood, temple worship, pilgrimages, sprinklings with water, cleansings from sin, etc., it is clear that Catholic practice is much closer to the practices in Jerusalem before the fall of the Temple than the practices of the Rabbinic Jews. In fact, the Church retained the Scriptures as used in the Temple – including the entire Septuagint – while the Rabbis narrowed the Scriptures and re-translated key passages, specifically as a means of rejection of the Church.
An easy way to appreciate the truth of this relationship is to note that Jesus is the reigning King of Judah, the Son of David. He is our eternal King and the Head of the Church. Hence, we are subjects of the living King of Judah; we are Jews, in this sense. Those who have rejected Jesus have fallen away from the Faith of Israel; we hope and labor that they can be brought back. Those who have rejected Christ’s Church have separated themselves from the true Israel; we hope and labor that they may be brought back.
Baptism is birth into Israel. All of the baptized are children of Abraham, Israel, and David, each of whom are Saints of the Catholic Church.
So, the Catholic Faith is not a branch of the Jewish Faith, it is the tree.
Christianity is not just a bunch of confused Jews. It indeed started out as a sect of Judaism but unforunately regressed away from absolute monotheism due to Roman paganistic influences making Yehoshua bar Yosef into a god-man, adopting Roman pagan rituals (baptism, drinking the blood and eating the body, kneeling, staues in the place of worship etc.) as well as adopting the pagan holidays (christmas for instance) . Christianity’s growth was the result of bringing the pagan majority closer to monotheism. However that same regression seperated it forever from the Jewish people and true absolute monotheism, a concept which was too difficult for the masses to comprehend and accept. The irony (or perhaps God’s plan?) was that Christian antisemitic persecution of the Jews made the Jews virtually autonomous and outside the realm of Christian society. On the one hand this inured the Jews to outside non Jewish influences. On the other hand it allowed the Jews as a small well educated intelligent homogenous group to further intellectual religious development of talmud, Kaballah, halachah, philsophy etc.
I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you for me to say that that understanding of Christianity from your perspective is flawed.
I won’t dispute much else you said except that times and understandings have changed on the part of many Christians with respect to Jews. As a majority Christian nation, America is an ally of Israel, I think, for the nexus of our faiths among other reasons.
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