What has the Church Received from the Jews? Part 1, The Scriptures

All together, five specific things that the Church has received from the Jews can be listed: the Scriptures, the Savior, salvation, the concept of the local church, and spiritual blessings.[1] We shall look at the first point today, and follow up with the others in later posts.

The following four passages highlight the fact that the Church has received the scriptures from the Jews.

Deuteronomy 4:7‑8

For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? (NASB)

The Mosaic Law served as God’s standard of righteousness. If a Jew in the Old Testament wanted to know what the righteous standard of God was, he had the Mosaic Law to turn to, and these two verses point out that this was given uniquely to Israel.

We may glean two things from this: (1) God revealed Himself to Israel in a way that He has not revealed Himself to any other single nation. (2) God uniquely gave Israel the Law, which was the primary Scriptures of that day. With the completion of the Law, God gave the first five books of Scripture, and for a while, these were the only Scriptures.

Psalm 147:19‑20

He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His ordinances, they have not known them. Praise the LORD! (NASB)

This passage states that God had revealed these scriptural truths to Israel in a way that He had not revealed them to any other nation. No other nation has had this unique privilege.

Romans 3:1‑2

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. (NASB)

The advantage of the Jew was not in the realm of salvation, for Jews are not saved because they are Jews. Jews, like Gentiles, are saved by grace through faith in the substitutionary death and Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. But they do have the advantage in another field, and that is in the realm of Scripture, for unto the Jews were revealed the oracles of God, the Scriptures.

Romans 9:4

…who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises…(NASB)

Paul lists the covenants (Abrahamic, Land, Davidic, New), the giving of the law (Mosaic Law), the (Levitical) service, and the promises (of the prophets) as features or facets of the Scriptures that are in the ownership of the Israelites.

There are three conclusions regarding the Jews and the Scriptures. First, the Scriptures are of the Jews in that they were produced by the Jews, and they were guarded by the Jews; this is true both of the Old and New Testaments.

Secondly, the Scriptures are to the Jews; they were committed to the Jews for safe‑keeping. It was not a day when the printing press was around, so mass production of copies of the Scriptures was impossible. Thus, the Jews were instructed to be the guardians of the Word of God. When one old text became worn out, too old to use, the Jews would carefully make new copies; it was committed to them for safe‑keeping.

Thirdly, the Scriptures are about the Jews. They recordIsrael’s redemptive history, but they also predictIsrael’s redemptive future. Thus, the Church has indeed received the Scriptures from the Jews.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

One thought on “What has the Church Received from the Jews? Part 1, The Scriptures

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