Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith

Those who studied biblical prophecy in the late 1930s believed an evil power of darkness had been unleashed in Europe. German dictator and tyrant Adolf Hitler, like a demon on assignment, was initiating his "solution" to the world's problems by planning what historians would later identify as the Jewish Holocaust.

When 1948 arrived, the world was missing 6 million Jews, including 1.5 million children who had perished during the Nazi "Final Solution." Most Holocaust survivors were without a permanent home, had few if any possessions, and had watched their paintings, antiques, gold and silver jewelry, and money being seized by Hitler's godless goons.

Yet the Jews have not only survived but also thrived since May 14, 1948, when the British Mandate over Palestine ended and a new Jewish nation with the name "Israel" was resurrected from the grave of history. They make up less than 1 percent of the world's population, yet 176 Nobel Prize winners have been Jews.

Twenty-five percent of the organizations that have received the Nobel Peace Prize were founded or co-founded by Jews. While 67 percent of American high school graduates attend college, 80 percent of Jewish high school graduates go to college, and 23 percent of them attend Ivy League schools.

Studies have shown that Ashkenazi Jews (those from Northern Europe) are highly intelligent, with a verbal IQ of 117-125, and that they score 12-15 points higher than gentile groups in this area. The No. 1-rated economically productive small group is Israeli-Americans, who, according to author Steven Silbiger, are "seven times more likely to have the highest concentration of higher incomes and lowest rate of dependency upon public assistance."

In the spiritual arena, the ancient Hebrew shepherd Moses gave us the Torah-the first five books in the Bible-and inspired Hebrew prophets penned the remainder of the Old Testament Scriptures. The majority of writers in the New Testament, along with the founder of Christianity, were raised and educated in Jewish families.

Historically, the Jewish people have been both the most successful and the most persecuted of any ethnic group. Their business expertise has exalted them to the highest positions in the global business community, producing top lawyers, skilled doctors and surgeons, and successful civic leaders.

They are the only people who were 1,939 years without a nation, a united language or a capital. Yet today they have returned to their original land (Israel), speak their original language (Hebrew), and pray at their original capital (Jerusalem). So what is the secret of their success?

I call this unique ability to not only persevere but also flourish the Jewish DNA of success and survival-and it all began with one man, Abraham. Abraham the "Hebrew" (Gen. 14:13) left the city of Ur (in Mesopotamia) with his wife, Sarah, and numerous servants, settling in a large, desolate, desert land called Canaan.

He dug wells, built a massive livestock portfolio, amassed commodities in gold and silver, and eventually turned the barren landscape into a blossoming desert. He made peace with surrounding tribes, who honored him as a man of God (see Gen. 20).

More than 400 years later, the descendants of Abraham had produced 600,000 men of war (see Exod. 12:37) who marched out of Egypt to reclaim the land called Israel, which God promised Abraham's children they would possess (see Gen. 15:18).

This piece of Middle East real estate was named "Israel" in recognition of the new name God gave to Abraham's grandson Jacob (see Gen. 32:28). After the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived at the Promised Land, dividing it among 9-1/2 tribes who settled in the land, leaving 2-1/2 tribes (Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh [see Josh. 22:9]) on the east side of the Jordan River.

The Israelites were marked as God's covenant people, and their daily guide for living was the Torah, written during Moses' 40 years in the wilderness. This divine revelation became the "God code" for social, moral, ceremonial, sacrificial, and civil laws and requirements that would forge the Hebrews' living standards and mold their moral ethics. By following this rule book of heaven, the Hebrew nation would enjoy abundance and success, and they would rise in influence above the surrounding tribes and nations.

Devout religious Jews, often called "Torah-observant Jews," have followed God's Torah code for 35 centuries, enriching their personal lives, families, health, and, in many instances, their finances. For centuries, gentile Christians have ignored or simply not studied the many important practical applications of the Torah code.

Many of its truths are important for our time, such as the significance of physical rest one day a week, the importance of eating the proper types of food, the blessing of moral standards and the life cycles for raising children. We need to examine these codes to understand why devout Jews often build strong families, live long lives and celebrate life.

Books have been written about Jewish wealth and why Jews have been successful, but many secular books leave out the significance of the Torah and the covenant as the spring from which all Jewish blessings flow.

There are hidden secrets encoded in the Torah, the Abrahamic covenant, and the divine revelations in the Old Testament that have molded Jewish thinking and lifestyles, making the Jews a people who cannot be defeated, a blessed ethnic group and a nation that survives against all odds.

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