Judaism: How do non-Jews achieve "salvation" (if they can at all)?


#1

I’ve read in a Jewish book that Gentiles (non-Jews) can anticipate being in the Divine Presence for eternity if they adhere to the Noahide code. What is the Noahide code? Is my understanding correct, from the Jewish point of view? Is it not a fact that Jews believe that Gentiles not only do not need to adhere to the laws of the Torah, but Jews would discourage Gentiles from even attempting it? (this sounds like a courtroom) Is it not true that it is for this reason that conversion to Judaism is discouraged, that “the Law” is for the Jews alone?

thank you in advance


#2

Judaism doesn’t have a concept of salvation like we do. Of course, Christian soteriology has its roots from ancient Judaism, but that’s a conversation for a different time.

For Judaism, what is important is living out the principles of ethical monotheism. For everyone, Jew and Gentile, that is following the seven Noahide laws. The Jews also get the extra bonus of having to follow the Mosaic law in order to fulfill their covenant with God.

For Christianity, what is important is reconciling ourselves to God by letting him help us break free of our worldliness and sin and becoming one with him by Theosis, which is salvation. This is achieved by entering into the new covenant, which everyone in humanity has an obligation to do.


#3

Does that include hindus, Jews and Buddhists? What if they don’t enter into this?


#4

thanks for jumping in. I guess I’d still like answers to my original questions. With those in hand, maybe I can comprehend what you’re saying at a higher level of abstraction.

When st Paul downplays the need for a Christian convert to first be circumcised (etc) he seems to be falling back on the Noahide idea, that salvation does not come through the Law. Yet, (do we or ) don’t we see the Noahide covenant rearing itself in the principles of his teaching, without explicit mention of it?


#5

For Jews salvation is complicated… salvation is not a Jewish concept. You get into sheol by following the mitzvot. Only the worst people go to hell, The prayers of the saints (tzaddik) and Abraham pleads with Gd for the Jews. The Jews who have been not good and are put into gehenna and through the burning away of their sins rise out of gehenna into sheol (another compartment of hell were all the righteous await the messiah being made known to them). The really bad ones sink down. The more prayers and charity those on earth give for the souls of the departed the faster they rise out of gehenna into sheol. Gentiles have to follow the commandments and they too can be in sheol. If you are Jewish you know the rules and the prayers of the people on earth and the tzaddik praying you out of gehenna.

There are the saints, the Tzaddik who have achieved holiness on earth through prayer and habitual charity and are close to Gd on earth. These are the persons who hear the prayers of the Jews and reorder the prayers of the Jews and submit it to Gd in a manner pleasing to him. The Jews will (even today) make pilgrimages to the graves of the tzaddik and ask for their prayers and graces. Also, the relics of the tzaddik are avenues of grace for those who own them (there are no first class relics of the Jewish saints only second class relics). The tzaddik are powerful but do not see the face of Gd so there are limits.

What has actually changed between Jews and Catholic? Nothing really in the end. Catholics and Jews have the same beliefs and the same path. The difference is that Catholics do not believe we are going to sheol but to heaven. But the rest of it is the same. Be aware I do not refer to the reformed or the conservative factions but the ultra orthodox hasidic (Lubavitch) Jewish beliefs which is the one I know.


#6

It applies to every human on the planet. It is possible that a non-Christian can saved, but this is up to mercy of God. All salvation comes by Christ.


#7

What is required for salvation:

  1. Baptism is necessary but not sufficient on its own ( baptism does not save you if you die in a state of mortal sin)
  2. Being inside the Catholic Church is necessary. How is someone deemed to be a Catholic? It is through sacramental baptism as a Catholic, through baptism of blood (non-Catholic dying for the Catholic faith), or baptism of desire explicit (e.g. being a catechumen to become baptised), baptism of desire implicit [invincible ignorance] (not knowing about Christ and his Church but living a life according to the teachings of Christ in that ignorance may (not will) save you)
  3. Dying in a state of grace.

#8

I lived in Israël for some months and did a ‘meet the ultra orthodox tour’ so to say with a very kind orthodox jewish lady who showed us around in the orthodox neighbourhood and told us about the religion.

She did indeed say they don’t try to convert anyone to Judaism. God gave the jews their specific task on earth, which according to her (and if we re honest, according to history) is more of a burden than a blessing. There would be no point in becoming jewish when you re not born a jew. The concept of life after death is vague in judaism. But she did tell us that everyone who lives a good life, no matter what religion you follow to do this, will be righteous in the eyes of God.


#9

As others have pointed out, salvation (as a Christian would understand it) isn’t a Jewish concept - from experience, I’d suggest that it’s important, when looking at other religions, to understand that you can’t expect them to ‘work’ the same way as your own. Core ideas and foci can be very, very different.

Simplifying things (hugely), Judaism isn’t a religion centred on correct ‘belief’ (orthodoxy) but on correct ‘action’ (orthopraxy - Orthodox Jews are Orthoprax Jews) - Judaism doesn’t have ‘Law’, Judaism is ‘Law’.

When you read your New Testament, you find a peripatetic teacher (rabbi) called Jesus wandering around rowing with other rabbis about the Law and its interpretation. A lot of his arguments were not particularly original from a Jewish perspective - they’re about how to live an ethical life and Judaism could be described as a very, very long row about just what that means. That is the focus of Judaism, the question of what happens after death isn’t a major theme of the Torah or the Tanakh (the OT to you) so it’s not a major Jewish theme.

So, if you ask what happens after death, we’re pretty vague on the subject, we have hope for a ‘World to Come’.

Well, what about everybody else? Since your ancestors didn’t sign up for the ‘Covenant’, you get off lightly. No reason you have less hope for the ‘World to Come’ than Jews, you don’t even have indulge in the OCD as religion (:hushed:) as we do (it helps to think of it as constantly bumping into God).

As to the ‘Noahide covenant’, you can look that up easily, just think of it as the basic rules of a civilised social life (and non-Jews are just as adept at creating libraries’ full of interpretation - and rowing about it - as we are).


#10

Thank you all. Yes, there are such extreme views among different branches of Judaism. I probe the Mussar and Chassidic teaching which I find so inspiring (and I haven’t plumbed the depth of these by any means – and I realize that there are anti-Christian beliefs in Jewish writings). Catholicism just doesn’t value the Jewish scriptures which my Church believes are about or focused on Jesus Christ - Massiach (if I spelled that right). (it seems that the study of Judaism is about as endless as the study of Catholic teaching.)


#11

Yes, as the fulfillment of Judaism, the Catholic Faith has its own rule book and all sorts of legalities and constant readings and what not, along with out own Traditions and all that.

It can be very difficult for one to comb through


#12

Yes very much so Catholicism is fulfilled Judaism. Catholic Tradition is actually Jewish Tradition. The Apostolic Tradition is really Jewish Shebaalpeh. Unlike most other Christians, Catholics maintain a connection through its traditions with Judaism (what Judaism was meant to be). All the stuff that Protestants consider crazy is actually Jewish traditions. Praying to saints, relics, indulgences, pope (<190 BC), purgatory are from Judaism and remain mostly unchanged in Catholicism.


#13

Could you explain this a little more? While one can recognise certain themes that might have parallels, the idea of indulgences seems strange and a ‘pope’?


#14

Parallels? The source is one Tradition.

Read Acts I as a Jew. It tell you there is a synagogue which has come to exist in accordance with Jewish law. There is already a Great Beit Din which has come into existence. The Nassi of the Beit Din is sitting in the Beit Din which has not happened since 190 BC and giving it direction bringing to end a controversy which existed in Judaism during the STP.

What is Peter called the Prince of the Apostles. Because that IS what Peter was - the Nassi of the Beit Din. Nassi literally means prince. In Judaism today, since 190 BC has not been the high priest but a secular authority. In 1948, when the state of Israel was created Israel once again had a Nassi - the head of state of Israel is the Nassi of Judaism. Catholicism also has a nassi - Catholic merely call him a pope - the head of state of the Holy See. In fact, the official residence of the President of Israel is BethHaNassi. BethHaNassi contains the relics of the Tazzadikim (Jewish saints) from which he, like the king of Europe drew power and graces from. Excepting in Judaism you are still allowed to trade in relics which Catholics since the council of Trent are not permitted.

Indulgences exist in Judaism to get out of Gehenna and one can receive indulgences during the Jubal years through certain acts performed. When these acts are performed, they lessen the time period one would be in Gehenna. Jews do not talk much about heaven and hell, what they do is put their trust in Gd, so they do the best they can do and leave it to Gd.


#15

Rather hard for me to do otherwise.

Here’s the Jewish Encyclopedia on nasi, it wasn’t the equivalent of a ‘Pope’, we do not have a central religious authority, we have religious courts. Here is the JE on saints.

As to indulgences and the power of relics in Judaism, you’d have to explain that to me with greater clarity.


#16

I am well aware of what a nasi is today. I know what a nasi was after 70 AD. What was a nasi prior to 190 BC before the High Priest was removed from the Beit Din. When the great beit din sat it was the highest authority. As I stated the Nasi is secular since 190 BC prior to that the Nasi did sit in the Beit Din.

Here is an explanation regarding praying to the saints
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/562222/jewish/Is-it-okay-to-ask-a-deceased-tzaddik-to-pray-on-my-behalf.htm

tzaddik relics

As for the Jubal/Yubal year was it was for the manumission of slaves and returning the land to Gd and began with the day of atonement. It was also a universal remission, liberation.


#17

It’s in the JE article.

What do you think the ‘highest authority’ was considering? It was a court. The US supreme court has a Chief Justice, does that make him a Pope?

I did say that there were themes that might be described as shared, they’re not the same thing. Hasids are not the only (Orthodox) Jews, it’s a bit like saying that because the Eastern Orthodox view something in a certain way, Roman Catholics also view it in the same way. To some, Kabbalah is the route to a kind of spiritual enlightenment, to me it’s nice for men to have a hobby, even that one.

Perhaps you’ll explain how that is the same thing as the Catholic idea of ‘Indulgences’?


#18

Agreed the Beit Din was the highest authority, I did not say otherwise. However, within the Beit Din the Nasi was the ranking member and he was Chairman and gave the directives to the Beit Din. The Beit Din was what ousted the High Priest from the position of the Nasi. My point is that this position was restored by Christ into the Beit Din. I agree that Hassids are not the only Orthodox Jews, but the Labavitch tradition is all that I am familiar with growing up.

The Catholic Church closed down the last slave markets in Western Europe in 452. Land in the Roman Empire was not “leased” from Gd, rather it was held by title. So the Jubilee Year was solely for the purpose for the remission of temporal punishment for sins. This is the idea behind indulgence associated with the Jubilee year.

However, I think you mean Indulgences which were purchased. Again these too were served the purpose of remissioning temporal punishment. But these are sourced from the Maccabees, when Judah Maccabee paid for the temple for the souls of his fallen comrades as a offering for their sins.


#19

I think we’ll just have to agree to differ (or just differ).


#20

What are the points we disagreeing on?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.