The Jewish Beliefs on Judgment Day
The Jews believe in a messianic era that will bring about a resurrection of the dead and Day of Judgment. This will be followed by Olam Ha Ba -- a better “World to Come.” There are few absolutes in Judaism, and always much discussion and disagreement between rabbinical scholars. Some rabbis believe this Day of Judgment will happen after the resurrection, while others believe it is accomplished every year on Rosh Hashanah.
1 The Teachings of Judaism
Along with Christianity and Islam, Judaism is one of the Abrahamic religions. In the Old Testament, Abraham was called upon to be the father of the Jews, who were deemed the “chosen people.” The central religious text in Judaism is the Torah, which is comprised of the first five books of the Old Testament. Other religious texts are the rabbinic writings of the Talmud and the ancient mystical teachings of Kabbalah. The Torah contains the 613 commandments by which Jews are to live. Their belief is that by living in accordance with these laws, on the Day of Judgment Jews will earn a place in the World to Come. All of the Abrahamic religions believe in a Day of Judgment that will come about at the end of the world.
2 The Moshiach
The Jews believe that a “Moshiach” (Messiah) will usher in a new world at the end of days, which the Torah references in Numbers 24:14: “And now, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you … what this people will do to your people at the end of days." The Moshiach will be a learned leader who is prophetic like Moses and wiser than Solomon. The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Joel and Hosea all refer to the messianic era. Jews believe this messianic era will happen when they have proven themselves worthy through their “mitzvoh” (good deeds); therefore much of Jewish ritual and tradition center around service and giving back to community. Though the Moshiach could come at any time in any generation, the Talmud states that it will be before the Hebrew year 6000 (approximately 2239 on the Gregorian calendar) and after that, a resurrection of the dead and Day of Judgment will follow.
3 Day of Judgment
On the Day of Judgment, the dead will be resurrected and divided into three groups: the wicked, the righteous and those who fall in between. Daniel 12:2 says, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence." At this time God will judge each soul and determine where each will spend eternity. Early Talmudic texts refer to Olam Ha Ba, a World to Come that will be made manifest at the end of days. It also speaks of Gan Eden (Garden of Eden), a harmonious place where souls reside. In Olam Ha Ba, all will worship under one God and live together in peace. Ethical behavior, as is found in practicing the 613 commandments of Torah, will guarantee immunity on the Day of Judgment and secure a place in Olam Ha Ba -- a place of righteousness, justice and overflowing abundance.
4 Rosh Hashanah: A Day of Judgment
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year on the Hebrew calendar. It celebrates the creation of the world, but is also considered a day of judgment when God judges the actions of each individual. It is believed that on this day he decides who lives or dies, as well as what the coming year will be like for them. Deuteronomy 11:12 states: “The eyes of God, your Lord, are upon [the land] from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.” On Rosh Hashanah, it is believed the individual and the entire world are held in judgment. God’s judgments will be sealed in the Book of Life on another of the holiest Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur.