Is the Jewish God the Same as the Christian God?

A friend of mine is sitting in on a three-hour study on Wednesday mornings on the end times hosted by Southern Evangelical Seminary and taught by Dr. Barry Leventhal.

During the study Dr. Leventhal, a messianic Jew, compared the God of Judaism against the God of the Bible. Coming from a Jewish background he took a perspective most non-Jewish Christians don’t think about. This raised some questions, the essence of which were:

1)      Do the Jews today believe in the same God as Christians?

2)     What about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were they “saved” and didn’t they believe in the same God we do?

These are great questions; hopefully my explanation will be instructive. This is in no way to be construed as antisemitic, rather it is merely Christian polemic on a theological question.

Since I wasn’t there for the study I ask my friend to give me the scriptures he stated, so I would have some context. She e-mailed me back following. I have taken the liberty in adding bullets for clarity.

Here are the scriptures and Barry’s comments:

  •       John 5:22-23 – “Impossible to honor Father if don’t honor the Son”
  •       1John 2:23 – “deny the Son? you [sic] deny the Father, deny Him in His fullness”
  •       1John 9 (didn’t write anything down for this one). [I think she meant either 1 John 4:9 or 5:9, either one testifies to the deity of Jesus].
  •       He then referenced Genesis 1:1 – Elohim, [in the Hebrew is] the plural [for] God;
  •       Psalm 2:7, Son points to the Throne;
  •       and Psalm 110:1, Johovah [sic] says to Adonai.

Then, Barry said that the Jews don’t believe in the Messiah.  They don’t believe in the same God as we do. Barry went on to talk about Islam, Extreme and Radical.  He said that we don’t all have the same God.

A. W. Tozer one of my favorite theologians and authors wrote:

The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.”[1]

I think Barry’s point is that since the Jews as a nation; as a whole rejected Jesus Christ at his first incarnation, the God they now worship is not the True God. Let me explain.

Understand that the Jews (B.C.) only had the Old Testament (the Tanak)[2] until the Messiah; the Lord Jesus Christ. To be clear, the Old Testament is messianic, that is, it did prophesy a coming Messiah, but prophecy is progressive.[3]

The Lord Jesus’ incarnation was an expansion of revelation after God’s 400 years of intertestamental silence (from Malchi to Matthews); in other words, God spoke again in Christ, the Logos. Jesus Christ was the Savior for all men, not just the Jews. None of this invalidates the Old Testament prophecy, Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

The Lord Jesus was not only the “light to the Gentile,” but was also the “Seed of Woman” prophesied in the Garden. This was revealed more clearly when Simeon blessed Jesus saying, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A Light Of Revelation To The Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2: 30-32).

In other words, the Hebrew nation as a whole rejected their Messiah, the Son of God, who was God, the Second Person of the trinity and so thereby the God they worship is not the True God.

The Muslims believe in Allah. Allah does not = the God of the Bible. Islam, I believe, is the ultimate satanic counterfeit religion. All false religions and cults are Satanic, however I believe Islam will provide the Antichrist. But that is a discussion for another time.

As to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, remember the Hebrew nation (the Jews) did not always exist; remember the biblical chronology.

Creation –>the Fall–>Man’s cumulative sin–>The Flood–>The Earth’s Repopulation by Noah and his three sons . . .

Then came Abraham and he came out of Chaldea, a polytheistic culture (yep, man was straying away from God again). He came out by faith. Recall the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 which declares,

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise (vv. 8-9).

Then Isaac was born by faith, then Jacob, whose name was changed to what? To Israel. Israel and his sons are the antecedent to the twelve tribes—now Israel is born as a nation.

Were Noah, Abraham, and Isaac Jews? No. Were they Christians? No.  Did they believe in the trinity? No? Did they conceive of the Messiah? No.

Because revelation is progressive, those concepts were not clearly known then, but they believed in the One True God with the knowledge and light God had given them. This becomes evident if you compare the prophecy in Genesis 3: 15 against the Abrahamic Covenant, then against the scriptures Barry gave in the Psalms 2: 7 and 110: 1, against Psalm 51 and the verse above from Luke 2.

Will they be in the Eternal Kingdom? Absolutely!

[1] A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (HarperSanFrancisco, 1961), 1.

[2] The TaNaK is the Torah (Books of Moses), the Nuivim (the Prophets), and the Ketuvim (the Writings).

[3] Although evangelical scholarship still recognizes that there is something messianic about the Hebrew Bible [the Old Testament], for the most part it sees it as a story that finds its climax in Jesus, not as predictions [italics mine] that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled. (Michael Rydelink, The Messianic Hope, (B&H Academic)

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