Why only the Jews?


#1

Quick question: while reading my world religion text book for class a question popped into my head. Why didn’t god have a profit like Abraham, and Moses in the other cultures of the world, why did he just focus on the Jews? I’ve tried to answer this but I can’t, I figure he’s all powerful so he could have done so and he’s all loving so why wouldn’t he want to show these others the path to paradise? Can someone help?


#2

[quote=credo_in_christ]Quick question: while reading my world religion text book for class a question popped into my head. Why didn’t god have a profit like Abraham, and Moses in the other cultures of the world, why did he just focus on the Jews? I’ve tried to answer this but I can’t, I figure he’s all powerful so he could have done so and he’s all loving so why wouldn’t he want to show these others the path to paradise? Can someone help?
[/quote]

God choose the Jews to bring the Messiah, the Savior into the world. He sent them prophets to keep them pure so that, in the “fullness of time,” Jesus would be born of the house of David.

Jesus is God’s final prophet for the world. Everyone comes to the Father through him, that includes everyone born before, during and after Christ’s earthly ministry.

There will be pagan people in heaven who will have used the grace God gave them according to their understanding, but these people will be saved because Jesus redeemed every person who ever lived on the planet when he died on the cross for our sins.

We are still to take the Gospel to all the world, however, doing as Jesus commanded and baptizing them and making disciples of them. And the Church has been doing that for centuries. There are Catholics in nearly every country and culture around the world, barring only those that will not let the Church come in with missionaries.


#3

Also, the Jewish people were responsible for teaching people to live by God’s law, and if people did this, they believed they could still be saved by God, hence Jewish people do not actively seek converts. The Jewish people, without doubt, had a huge responsibility


#4

This is a particularly interesting question to me, because a possible answer occured to me when my bible study class was recently studying the Gospel of Mark. There is a rather “harsh” section in Mark 7:24-30. Here it is:

From that place he went off to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.

He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”

Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”

When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.At first reading, it just seems like a very un-Jesus thing to say. The children, of course, are the Jews, and gentiles are the dogs. It seems insulting and appears to denigrate gentiles. But the thing is, that section occurs shortly after the miracle of the loaves and fishes happens for a Jewish audience, and immediately after this section, the miracle of loaves and fishes is repeated for a gentile audience. Throughout this gospel, Jesus does preach to and heal gentiles, so it seems out of character for him to suddenly say “Jews only”. What occurred to me was that his statements were really meant to address questions like yours.

Particularly in the early church, facing rejection from Jews, and finding most of their converts from gentiles, it would be natural to ask why God bothered starting the covenant with the Jews.

It may not be an intellectually satisfying answer, but if nothing else, this passage has Jesus saying that that’s the way God decided to lay out the salvation history.


#5

well these are interesting answers but well with the last one i have this problem: if gods plan for salvation has him not treating the gentiles in the loving fasion as he does the jews then it sounds like an unloving plan, and for a God how is all loving it just doesn’t make sence.


#6

[quote=credo_in_christ]well these are interesting answers but well with the last one i have this problem: if gods plan for salvation has him not treating the gentiles in the loving fasion as he does the jews then it sounds like an unloving plan, and for a God how is all loving it just doesn’t make sence.
[/quote]

It doesn’t make sense because we have a distorted idea of God. He is described today as a sentimental grandfather type in the sky, who loves everyone regardless, and is not too concerned about sin.

That is far from the truth. God is an Infinite Being and perfect in every attribute. His mercy in infinite, yes, but so is His justice. God not only hates sin, but he hate the sinner as well (could quote many passages of the Bible to confirm this). The devil and his followers committed just ONE SIN, and were cast out of heaven and into hell for all eternity. That same fate waits humans who die in sin. They will be the object of God’s wrath for all eternity.

During the Old Testament, the Gentiles were, generally speaking, pagans who worshiped false Gods. That is a great offence against the one true God. According to both the Old Testament and New, the false God’s of the pagans are actually devils (1st Corinthians). So, when they worship their false God, they are actually worshiping devils. That is what the Bible says.

God has given us His law and a conscience. If we violate them, we are sinning against God and become objects of His hated. The nature of God is love, but not the kind of sentimental love that we hear so much about today (which is, by the way, where we get the false notion of God’s love). God’s love is a pure and holy love that cannot tolerate evil. Evil is contrary to God’s love. This pure love is the nature of God. The Bible tells us that “God is love”. Therefore, since God is this pure and perfect love, it is His nature to hate evil and those who commit it. So, it is the very love of God that will condemn people, since His love is absolutely perfect and this cannot tolerate sin.

Fortunately we have access to His infinite mercy, by which He will forgive us and wash away our sins - but only if we repenent and confess them. When that happens, we are not longer an object of His hatred, since our souls are cleansed from that which God hates.

Conclusion: Let us turn to God with our whole heart; beg pardon for our sins; make a firm resolution not to offend Him again.


#7

God chose the Jews to receive and transmit His self-revelation. Who are we to question or try to explain His choice? God’s ways are not are ways.


#8

[quote=credo_in_christ]well these are interesting answers but well with the last one i have this problem: if gods plan for salvation has him not treating the gentiles in the loving fasion as he does the jews then it sounds like an unloving plan, and for a God how is all loving it just doesn’t make sence.
[/quote]

I think the key here is in the word “providence.”

Providence: The care, guardianship, and control exercised by a deity; divine direction.

God provides. He has provided each and every O.T. gentile with all they need to live in unity with Him. How do we know this? Because that is God’s character. He’s just like that.

Many of those gentiles are now in Heaven; the Scriptures say as much: “Once no people, now God’s people.” God works for each person’s good – but not haphazardly. If God gave us no idea of what particular choosing were like, then we would not value His particular choice of us.

This reminds me of a conversation in The Incredibles.

Mother: Everybody’s special, Dash.

Son: That’s just another way of saying nobody is.

: Prodigal :


#9

[quote=credo_in_christ] Why didn’t god have a profit like Abraham, and Moses in the other cultures of the world, why did he just focus on the Jews? I’ve tried to answer this but I can’t, I figure he’s all powerful so he could have done so and he’s all loving so why wouldn’t he want to show these others the path to paradise? Can someone help?
[/quote]

First, the Jews weren’t the Jews when God chose them as His first born (I use that term from Exodus 4:22 “Then you shall say to Pharoah, 'Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.””). At that time they were the Israelites, before then they were the Hebrews.

As for why He didn’t send prophets to other cultures…all cultures came from the one source - Noah.

Remember that God has this great plan laid out already, He knew at the Fall how to bring salvation to His people and that’s what the Old Testament is all about, we’re able to see God’s plan unfold before us, leading up to our Salvation through His Incarnation.
Of the descendents of Noah the line of David sprung…that line being the one from which Jesus would come.

When the branches of Noah spread out over the lands to become the other ‘cultures’ of which you speak, God stayed with the Chosen line, to keep them on track. As you’ll see in scripture the Chosen People kept forgetting about God, so He’d remind them of their covenant with him through the prophets. The other cultures were not in a covenant with God so He had no reason to send prophets their way.

Looking at the Big Picture, and not just the Old Testament, God did show others the path to Paradise through His Incarnation in Jesus Christ . He entered into a New Covenant with all people - all those cultures of which you refer are now invited to enter into new life through Him. We only got one prophet, so to speak, in Jesus. There will not be any others, but that’s because Jesus left us the Catholic Church. By remaining true to His Bride we will always know God’s love and mercy. We don’t need any prophets because we have the Living Church.


#10

stream of consciousness response to the question …

The promised land is at the cross roads of three major continents; Asia, Africa, Europe. God chose a typical representatin of one of those people already living there and spoke to him. Abraham responded. From that point on it was off to the races & God took care of most of the inhabited world in one place.

By the way as we all know Abraham was not a Jew.

Why did God’s choice go thru Isaac & Jacob and thence to the 12 tribes especially Judah? It seems that contrary to the primogeniture practiced in the culture of the time and place, God was interested in other qualities, perhaps ability.


#11

[quote=Mot Juste]This is a particularly interesting question to me, because a possible answer occured to me when my bible study class was recently studying the Gospel of Mark. There is a rather “harsh” section in Mark 7:24-30. Here it is:

From that place he went off to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.

He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”

Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”

When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.At first reading, it just seems like a very un-Jesus thing to say. The children, of course, are the Jews, and gentiles are the dogs. It seems insulting and appears to denigrate gentiles. But the thing is, that section occurs shortly after the miracle of the loaves and fishes happens for a Jewish audience, and immediately after this section, the miracle of loaves and fishes is repeated for a gentile audience. Throughout this gospel, Jesus does preach to and heal gentiles, so it seems out of character for him to suddenly say “Jews only”. What occurred to me was that his statements were really meant to address questions like yours.

Particularly in the early church, facing rejection from Jews, and finding most of their converts from gentiles, it would be natural to ask why God bothered starting the covenant with the Jews.

It may not be an intellectually satisfying answer, but if nothing else, this passage has Jesus saying that that’s the way God decided to lay out the salvation history.
[/quote]

well these are interesting answers but well with the last one i have this problem: if gods plan for salvation has him not treating the gentiles in the loving fasion as he does the jews then it sounds like an unloving plan, and for a God how is all loving it just doesn’t make sence.

This is probably one of the most misunderstood passages in Scripture. If you go to the parallel account in Matthew which we heard a Mass a few Sundays ago, you will notice two things:

  1. This incident takes place right after a discussion between Jesus and his opponents, the Pharisees, who are critical of Jesus’ disciples for not following their interpretations of the minute details of the Jewish purity laws (Mt 15:1-20).

Many of these Pharisees (the name means “separated ones”) made it a point to not associate with those whom they felt did not live up to these laws. They also distanced themselves from Gentiles (non-Jews) whom they considered unclean. They would not even enter their house for fear of defilement (John 18:28-29).

After this confrontation, Jesus takes a nearly 100-mile round trip “detour” to the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon (present day Lebanon). Sidon was the name of the son of Canaan (see Genesis 10:15-19), forefather of the original inhabitants of the Holy Land and traditional bitter enemies of the Jews.

Though Jesus is sometimes seen to be taking a cold approach to the Canaanite woman seeking his aid, he is in fact mimicking the “separateness” of the Pharisees to highlight their blindness and to make a point about how God, on the other hand, shows no partiality (Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11; Col 3:25; James 2:1,9).

  1. At the same time Jesus is showing the hypocrisy of his opponents as compared to the mercy of God, he is eliciting a response from the woman, who must persevere in prayer. The very fact that she belongs to a despised race (to the Jews of that time) and that she is a woman (many of whom had less social standing then) makes the gracious mercy of Jesus more, not less, striking.

Sorry to go off on a tangent: the answer to your orignal question is that, knowing what we know of God’s love and mercy for his creatures and that he desires all to come to salvation (1 Titus 2:4), we can be assured that he has given, is giving, and will give to every person ever created on earth, ample opportunity to seek him, find him and accept him. For a good synopsis of this, read Romans 1:15 to 2:16.


closed #12

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