Do Jews and Christians worship the same God?

August 15, 2017 by Rabbi Raymond Apple
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This and other questions are answered by Rabbi Raymond Apple.

BLESSING ON THE MOON

Rabbi Raymond Apple

Q. Can you explain “Kiddush L’vanah” (saying a prayer when we see the new moon)?

A. The Sanhedrin used to proclaim the commencement of a new month after hearing evidence from witnesses who had seen the new moon.

These days we work out the date of Rosh Chodesh by means of mathematical calculations, and on the previous Shabbat we make an appropriate announcement during the services (except for the month of Tishri).

However, there is still a way in which we take note of the actual arrival of the new moon. This is “Kiddush L’vanah”, which is a combination of verses, prayers and blessings, recited out of doors early in the new month.

One view is that it should be said as soon as the new moon is visible. Most authorities require us to wait until the moon is sufficiently bright to be able to affect the earth. “Kiddush L’vanah” is usually said on Saturday evening when we are still dressed for Shabbat.

The prayers said emphasise not only that the moon is seen but that it is evidence of the creative activity of the Almighty. By gazing at the heavenly bodies we know there is a God and we feel a sense of privilege at beholding His handiwork.

WHO’S GOING TO DAVEN?

There are weeks to go before the Holydays. There is plenty of time. Who needs to be concerned with Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot or Simchat Torah so early?

One answer is that anyone involved in synagogue administration needs to be thinking about, planning and organising the Holyday services.

In many places this process begins the moment Pesach is over. There is so much to be done, so many things to be put into place, so many lists to prepare. There’s not a moment to lose!

The chazanim need to study the prayer book, the rabbis to prepare their d’rashot, the administrators to co-ordinate everything; the cleaners to spruce up the synagogue seats. Time is running short!

And the rest of us? We aren’t under any pressure. We have time! Or do we?

Perhaps our agenda for these months is also a lead-up. Less silly errors, less wounding words, more good deeds, more thought of prayer and penitence, certainly more charity.

“Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” says Amos (4:12). We have work to do!

JEWS & CHRISTIANS & THE ONE GOD

Q. Do Jews and Christians worship the same God?

A. Many people think so, but that statement is uncomfortable for both.

Jews cannot conceive of God other than as absolutely one, indivisible and incorporeal. Christians cannot conceive of Him without Jesus.

Churchill called the British and Americans one people divided by a common language; Jews and Christians have one God, but it is two irreconcilable God-concepts, not one.

Comments

12 Responses to “Do Jews and Christians worship the same God?”
  1. John Denney says:

    I agree with Roy Sims’ assessment. From a Christian perspective I believe that Islam is the Anti-Christ (in one sense). Islam want a world rid of Jews and Christians. They want one law that is tyrannical not religious. They believe that the G_d of Israel and Christianity is in favour of killing innocent men, women and children and justify it by calling us infidels. I believe Jews and Christians can live together but Islam and Jews or Islam and Christian cannot. The west wants rid of Christianity and G_d but pander to Islam and cover up much in the media by couching terrorist events with politically correct statements. The west is heading down a path os self destruction and allow Islam to surreptitiously enter into politics and introduce laws that favour Islam. In Australia Islam is now supporting Same Sex Marriage because they know after it is made law (and it will be) the governments will have very little ground to prevent polygamous marriage and who knows where it will end. The time is coming (very soon) where we will see Islam rise up even stronger than ISIS and a new world war, that will be difficult to stop, will see massive global decimation. The hardest hit will be the Jewish people and the Christian people. The west will beg Christians to come and fight for them even though they have set up the west to be an immoral society via its immoral politically correct laws.

  2. Dorothy Stevens says:

    Amen Roy Sims Well said. I too am grateful for the faithfulness of the Jews who have borne so much anguish over the last 2000 years (sadly and so regrettably often at the hands of those who have been Christians in name only – Real Christians seek -not always successfully-to follow the teachings of the Jewish Jesus Christ they love which is to “love one another”. We plead for forgiveness for our failings. My life would be empty indeed without the love of the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I have visited Israel and regularly pray for the Prime Minister and for Shalu Shalom Yerusalyim ( forgive any bad spelling – it sounds so much better in Hebrew) I love to read this paper including your comments – I printed your recent comments on “bread”-and would love to come to the Feast of Tabernacles again as so many Christians do to show support to Israel and be in that beautiful land. Thank you. May I say Shalom Dorothy

    • Ron Jontof-Hutter says:

      One obstacle to the “one G-d” debate is church founder Augustine, who advocated the concept of “eternal witness” whereby Jews would be cast eternally to pariah status. This status is central to European culture and reflected in art, politics,music and literature. It has extended to the treatment of Israel.
      An essential gesture for reconciliation would be the formal repudiation of “eternal witness,” which nostra aetate did not address.

      • Roy Sims says:

        BUT that Ron is beyond the capacity of most of us to accomplish.
        What we can do however, as individuals, is to order our own lives in a manner which supersedes the views of a very ancient heretic.
        The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is quite able to distinguish the heart of an individual from the collective heresies of past commentators.
        The Brit Hadashah records an incident when Jewish Yeshua posed the question to His disciples “Who do men say that I am?” and followed it up with another. “But who do YOU say that I am?”
        Therein lies the real issue for the Christian … and the Jew.
        All else is just commentary.
        It’s personal.

  3. Roy Sims says:

    Rabbi Apple,
    I am a Gentile believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with whom God made some unconditional covenants.
    There have always been Gentiles who worship the “Jewish” God, and there always will be.
    There was a time when Gentiles, even before the exodus from Egypt, joined themselves willingly to the “Jewish” God .. even as I do today .. without becoming “Jewish”.
    You are correct, of course, in your observation that Yeshua presents an obstacle to unity between the two ‘faiths’ (which are actually the same!). But the good news is that one day that obstacle will disappear. Zechariah 12 verse 10 talks about it plainly, as do many other Hebrew Scriptures.
    There are many Gentiles like me, and we thank God every day that He has chosen you (Jews) to be a “light to the nations”. We are the beneficiaries of your faithfulness. Thankyou.
    Sincerly
    Roy Sims

  4. Adrian Jackson says:

    All three monotheistic religions (Judaism. Islam. Christianity) worship the one same God.

    • Roy Sims says:

      Whoaaa!! Adrian,
      How wrong can you be!
      If you believe, as I do, that the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for His own reasons and purposes, which He has no obligation to explain to me, chose a people which we call Jews (from Judah) to be His special treasure (according to the Bible), then we have a problem with Islam.
      If you think that the god of Islam and the God of the JEWS is the same deity,(which I do NOT) then that god has the most extreme case of split personality. The God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob LOVES the Jew. The god of Islam wants all the Jews dead.
      How then can they be the same??
      HUGE mistake. Trust me on this please Adrian.
      Roy Sims

    • Sylvia Mccosker says:

      Not Islam. Moshe ben Maimon was very emphatic that the god of Islam is radically unlike the God of the TaNaKh. More recently, others both Jewish and Christian – Franz Rosenzweig, for example, and Jacques Ellul in an essay entitled “Les trois piliers du conformisme”, and Rev Dr Mark Durie in a book entitled “Which God?” – have also systematically disposed of any attempts to assert that the ‘allah’ of Islam (as represented and defined by Islamic practice, texts and theology) is ‘the same as’ the YHWH of the Bible (whether one goes by the TaNaKh, or by the TaNaKh and the ‘New Testament’).

      The godhead of Islam, the god-concept of Islam, is – as defined by William Palgrave, who knew the texts and teachings of Islam very well – “a pantheism of Force”. That is completely unlike the God who is worshipped by Jews as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God who is worshipped by Christians as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God and Father of Yehoshuah the Messiah”.

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