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The Creator of heaven and earth, in His mercy towards fallen man (Genesis 1-3), had made a covenant with their father Abraham, in virtue of which his seed, and in his seed all the peoples of the earth, should be blessed (Genesis 12, 18; II Esdras 9).
The Law as read and explained in their local synagogues regulated their every act, kept them from all defilement with idolatrous worship, and maintained intact their religious traditions.At the present day, the term designates the religious communion which survived the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. It was that religion which had prompted the exiles to return to the land promised by Yahweh to their ancestors, and they were now determined to maintain it in its purity.A brief account of Judaism thus understood may be given under the following heads: (1) Judaism before the Christian Era; (2) Judaism and Early Christianity; (3) Judaism since A. From the Captivity they had learned that in His justice, God had punished their sins by delivering them into the power of pagan nations, as the Prophets of old had repeatedly announced; and that in His love for the people of His choice, the same God had brought them back, as Isaias (40-46) had particularly foretold.The latter party strenuously maintained these positions.Its extreme wing was made up of Zealots always ready to welcome any false Messias who promised deliverance from the hated foreign yoke; while its rank and file earnestly prepared by the "works of the Law" for the Messianic Age variously described by the Prophets of old, the apocalyptic writings and the apocryphal Psalms of the time, and generally expected as an era of earthly felicity and legal righteousness in the Kingdom of God.