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          (Based on Chapter VII of Jakob Jocz’s published dissertation, The Jewish People and Jesus Christ, Baker, 1949, rev. ed. 1979; reorganized and summarized in table by Jon Lieberman, Messianic Jewish Life Ministries, 8/99)

* When the word "man" is used it represents in this theological context

"mankind" and means both men and women.



(Based mostly on oral tradition)


(Based on O.T. as interpreted by N.T. docs.)

UNITY OF GOD One God (Yachid) / Supreme Being– absolute one person; (Messiah not divine) One God / Supreme Being– (Echad) tri-unity; (Father, Son & Holy Spirit are all co-equal as God)
TEACHING ABOUT MAN’S NATURE: The emphasis is on:



The Image of man

No guilt for Adam’s sin

Lofty idealism, optimistic

No original sin, man essentially good

Man can save/improve himself

Man no different in nature than Jesus

No man is/can be perfectly good

Man is not helpless

Man is free and independent

Man sins but is not sinful

The Fall of man

Adam’s sin directly affects all humans from birth

Depravity of mankind, pessimistic

Original sin: Total depravity

Man is totally impotent to save himself

Jesus is a unique man among all humans born

Jesus, the man, was without sin

Man needed incarnation, is lost/helpless

Man is a slave and needs to be set free by God

Man sins and is sinful (Rom. 5:1)

God’s transcendence Overcome by man’s actions / mitzvot

Man reaches upward towards God

Man can reach God by his efforts

God must perform a specific action

God reaches downward to man

Man can not reach God by his own efforts

Relationship to God (at birth) God is father; all Jews chosen

No guilt, no sin, no broken relationship

God is Creator; only remnant of Jews are chosen

Guilty, a sinner, God’s wrath upon all

When an individual becomes God’s child At birth.  It may be affirmed at one's Bar / Bat Mitzvah when the young 13-year-old boy or girl becomes responsible to follow the Torah, the Law of God.  A Jew is considered to "already" be a member of the covenant people and there is no need to be "born again." The Talmud says all Jews have a part in the world to become because they are "born" Jews. [Special privilege for Jews] By adoption, at salvation, (It may be as a child at some age of accountability, or as an adult; either way it involves a person's will, an informed conscience, a conviction of sin and a decision to trust in God and His Messiah.)  Being born a Jew does not guanatee entrance into the kingdom of God or one's place with God in eternity.  [It also is available equally to Jews and gentiles on the same basis.]

What man’s choice does:

Is God omniscient, knowing all? Yes

How free is man: Absolute freedom

God will not override human choice

Man attains to salvation, no free gift

Redemption depends on Israel’s repentance

Repentance is an act whereby you are forgiven and made right with God.  Man does not wait for God to come to him.

Man determines his own fate.  Man is less dependent upon God's initiative.


Not free – yet still responsible for one’s actions

God is sovereign—even over man’s choices

Man undergoes salvation by - God’s gift

While we were yet sinners, Messiah died for Israel

Repentance does not change the person; It only leads a person to the Savior who then forgives and cleanses the sinner.

Man can do nothing except respond to God’s choice.  Totally dependent upon God's action.






Approach to God


Personal: from individual acts of sin

Through forgiveness

No salvation to accept. Must continue to work for repair of broken world

God doesn’t act prior to repentance

Man takes first steps to God

Repentance atones for sins


Personal: from sin nature

Through the new birth, a radically changed nature

Must accept a salvation, by faith, already procured by the act of God in Christ for us.

God’s action precedes repentance

God takes first step to remove barrier bet God & man

God makes atonement for sin


Human ethics:







Life is a series of choices

Man alone responsible to stop sinning

OT commands presuppose human freedom to obey the Law (Torah)

Sins (plural), no sin nature

At birth: all born with a pure and holy soul (thus sins habits are acquired)

Nature has an evil "inclination"

No need to be saved from sin, you have to overcome it

Evil: need not exist in life

Devil: None or little emphasis


Overcome: by man’s action

Man gets the victory (daily/Yom Kippur)

Man helps God to triumph

Sin can be overcome by change

Sin is an act (you can stop)

Talk of moral change



Power to live right -available after you're saved

Man in bondage, can’t stop sinning

Law not meant to be a strict guide for all time – but point to one’s inadequacy to keep Law.

Man is born with a Sin nature and thus sins.

At birth: inherited sinful nature

Nature of man: not inclined but "driven" to sin

Everyone (Jew & gentile) need salvation from sin


Evil: will always exists in the world because of indwelling sin and the existence of a devil who controls those under sin’s dominion and is the god of this age who blinds all mankind - holds people captive

Overcome: by God ‘s action

God gets the victory (At Calvary- the place where Jesus died and atoned for our sins)

God needs no help. He did it all.

Change effected by action of the Holy Spirit

Sin is your whole life that must die

Sin is an indwelling power, can’t stop it

A Savior-Redeemer brings salvation / regeneration





Suffering: Its purpose

Concept of Sacrifice:



Can you discover God by

Reason and logic alone?

Human effort (ethical behavior) adequate to reach God

Man's future  judgment- based on his deeds

Image of God in man allows him to always return to God -  make teshuvah

Israel’s suffering

Isa. 53 = Israel suffers for world

Departure from the OT


No "gap" bet. God and man

Reason prevails

Guidebook: Torah (613 precepts/Laws)

Unity bet. God & man is never broken

All Jews inherit the world to come

All human effort inadequate

Man judged by deeds for future rewards only (not personal salvation)

Man is blinded and doesn’t know the way- needs light for his path

Suffering (by itself) doesn’t effect any salvation

Isa. 53: a person suffers for Israel

Similar to and true to OT biblical faith

(prophets, priest, angels)

A gap between God and man

Man’s reason darkened- must hear about Messiah – called special revelation; Guidebook: Torah only leads us to Messiah

God and man separated - great gulf - can’t be bridged except by God’s act of justification

Only "born-again" believers enter God’s Kingdom


Good deeds (mitzvot) make you acceptable

Man not condemned until he sins

Direct access to God - no need for a mediator.  Not even through the Rabbi

Received as an eternal gift

No good deed can give sonship

Man already condemned: inherited Adam’s guilt

No direct approach to God - only through Jesus based on his sacrifice for mankind on the Cross










Main Characteristics (Schechter) - Orthodox View




Rabbinic suffering servant passages





Message of Bible/Torah/Tanach








Liberal Jewish view: (specifically Reform Judaism)


No emphasis on faith in a personal Messiah

Messiah effects "national" redemption, if believed in at all

Not greater than Moses

Will not abrogate Torah

No systematic theology re: Messiah’s person, coming, and rule/reign


Chief mission: political redeemer

  • Descendant of the House of David
  • Final battle whereby enemies of Israel defeated
  • All nations accept rule of Israel by Torah-accept unity of God
  • Mess. Age brings material and spir. Happiness to the world
  • Death disappears and dead will rise
  1. Vicarious suffering for others unknown –not taught today
  2. Only Israel’s sin is atoned for
  3. Messianic kingdom of this world ends itself




Torah as Law is central








Speaks of Messianic Time (Period or age) and not a Person (days of Messiah)

Progress of humanity upward – (the old liberalism view)

Achieved by man

Kingdom of God in our hands (Orth. & liberal basically agree here; Cf. Lubavitch movement’s goal to get Jews throughout world to return to Torah observance. Then Messiah will come)

Israel could be the Messiah! (See Rashi’s "Israel interpretation" of Isa. 53)



Faith in a "person" that accomplishes something for us

Messiah transcends ethnicity: We are all one in the Messiah (Jew and gentile)

The prophet/Messiah greater than Moses: Dt. 18:15

Fulfills Torah Matt. 5:17

Numerous prophecies about person/mission of Messiah (Isa. 53, Micha 5:2, Pslam 110:1, Dan 9:24ff)


  • Chief mission: To die for sin

Basically agrees with this one role of the Messiah. But the Orthodox view is incomplete because Messiah must suffer first before entering into his glory (resurrection and kingdom ruling role)



1. Messiah dies "for" sins and "in place of " sinners as a substitute

2.  Messiah suffers for Jews and gentiles

3.  Sins of the world atoned for by the

invasion by the King into this world


Person of a Redeemer/Messiah is central

Messiah commands obedience

Makes claims of loyalty upon man himself

Forgives sin

Mediates between man and God

Redeems and restoresman

Renews his spirit

Reveals God alone










THE TORAH & REVELATION: No. of ages / dispensations




What is the "Jewish" Bible?






Is there a valid Oral Law?

Only one dispensation. It is Law. [Jewish history, the prophets and wisdom books do not abrogate Moses. They are of minor importance for daily living.]

Do not acknowledge an "Old" Testament.


There is one Jewish Bible called the "Tanach" with the Pentateuch being the special part of the Canon.

The NT = the gentile/Christian Bible);




Orthodox believe in 2nd Law: Oral Law


Canon: (See above)



Even though there are obvious doctrinal beliefs that the rabbis adhere to, the emphasis is always on Orthopraxy or (Practice); Jews are to "practice" or obey Rabbi’s interpretations of Torah

Obedience first

Moses is central

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Law’s purpose: (See atonement above and discussion on ethics)

Gift from God; Final word from God

Ratify covenant by keeping Torah

2 Ages/Phases: God’s plan of salvation is progressive: Law preparatory for and leads to Messiah who keeps and fulfills O.T. Law perfectly: N.T. records the final act of salvation

The Word "Old" acknowledged since believers are no longer under the commands of Torah for salvation. The "New" covenant of salvation without works/Torah takes precedence.

There is one Jewish Bible but it includes more than just the Pentateuch and includes the rest of the OT canon and the NT.

The NT is a Jewish document which was also written by Jews (except Luke) and reveals the Jewish Messianic salvation. Discuss "To the Jew first" passage in Rom. 1:16


Reject any validity to the idea/myth of a 2nd Torah given at Mt. Sinai (which purpose of this Oral Law, according to tradition, was to interpret and apply written Law for every area of one’s daily life.)

All OT books canonical plus NT (= one Bible); The prophets give further revelation re: Messiah, eschatology / end of the Age theology, though they do call Israel back to obeying Torah/The Law. All Scripture given by inspiration (not just 5 Books):

Emphasis: Orthodoxy (right belief); Right practice follows a changed life and the changed life comes from believing what God has revealed about salvation in both the Old and New Testaments.

The knowledge of God first leads to faith (Rom. 10:17). Works follow faith.

Jesus has the Final Word which is mediated through Paul’s understanding of gospel (Paul’s teaching is central in NT)

Law’s purpose: preparation and guide to Christ/Messiah

Torah: God’s gift but not the Last Word from God.

Faith before works; No more "keeping of Torah"; no need to ratify Torah because Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilled Torah. (See Matt. 5:17)


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