Jewish Literature in New Testament Times

Preparation for Christ


How did God Prepare the Jews for the Coming of the Messiah?

Jerusalem Temple CoinThe Old Testament is the story of God's dealing with the Hebrew nation for the purpose of bringing into the world a Messiah for all nations. The Old Testament is a sort of stage set for the coming Messiah. "Starting with low, scattered notes, it expands, as time passes, with enlarging crescendo, into clear, loud trumpet tones of the approaching King" as one man of God said. Meantime God, in His Providence, was making ready the nations. Greece united the civilizations of Asia, Europe and Africa, and established one universal language. Rome made one empire of the whole world, and Roman roads made all parts of that Empire accessible. The Dispersion of the Jews among the nations, thus paved the way for the propagation of the Gospel of Christ in their Synagogues and their Scriptures. It is clear that "when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son" Galatians 4:4

Coin of Alexander the GreatJulius Caesar Bust Vatican Museum

Also see The Greek Period, and The Roman Period


Jewish Literature

Esther Scroll

John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."

Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism

Jerusalem Temple CoinThe Rabbinic Writings, The Mishnah, and the Talmud. During the first century A.D. the Pharisaic rabbis created many commentaries on the Torah. When Jesus began his ministry He attacked the Pharisees for putting their traditions above the word of God. All the writings and commentaries of the first two centuries A.D. were compiled and organized into a collection by a man named Judah Hanasi around 200 A.D. forming a collection called the Mishnah. The Pharisaic rabbis were known as the "Tannaim" which in Hebrew is translated teachers, and these men were the teachers who regulated the law. There was another collection of their commentary which was much smaller, it was known as the Tosefta which in Hebrew means "enlargement". The later commentaries on the Mishnah were made by "expositors".

Brief Historical Background

The Jews and Torah
The Holy Scriptures
The Apocrypha
The Apocryphal Literature
The Oral Law
The Mishnah
The Gemara
The Halakah
The Haggadah
The Midrash
The Zugoth
The Tannaim
The Amoraim
The Tosefta
The Baraitha
The Talmud
The Tractates of the Mishnah
The Palestinian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud

The Purpose and Heart of the Law - A Heart Message
Rabbinical Writings Chart

Historical Timeline

The Persian Period 430-332 B.C.
The Greek Period 331-167 B.C.
The Period of Independence 167-63 B.C.
The Roman Period 63 B.C. to the time of Christ
The Old Testament Canon
The Apocrypha
Other Writings
The Septuagint
The Text of the Old Testament
The Aramaic Language
The Targums
The Talmud
The Great Synagogue
The Sanhedrin
The Dispersion
Preparation for Christ




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