The conflict between Jews and Christians over the validity of Christian missions to Jews came to light a few years ago when the Southern Baptists were publically criticized for trying to convert Jews, claiming this was "an act of love". Shortly afterwards, the New York Daily News ran a pair of columns from both sides in its "Views and Opinions" page (9-22-99). The writers were Phil Baum, executive director of the American Jewish Congress ("It's religious arrogance"), and Dan Kammerdiener, executive vice president of the International Mission Board for the Southern Baptist Convention ("Conversion part of faith"). These articles contain the basic arguments from both sides.
Baum voiced the typical concern that "It's a peculiar brand of love, however; Love offered only on their own self-aggrandizing terms. The Baptists tell Jews that our religion is not authentic. They tell us that our Bible — called the Torah — has been replaced by the Gospel, that our souls face purgatory (in fact, God may not even listen to our prayers and the job of Southern Baptists is to put Judaism out of business)". Later, he continues "Southern Baptists' attempts...to convert us can only be described as arrogance on the part of those who insist that only they have found the path to God. And what arrogance—or shall I say, chutzpah— to assume that by acting in this high branded, self righteous fashion, they're doing the Jewish people a favor. On the contrary, by their actions the Baptists show the face of intolerance and bigotry, which serves to turn off not only Jews, but the overwhelming majority of Christians who are devoted to their faith, yet at the same time, realize that the Jews, like themselves, have every right to their belief. He goes on arguing about "religious freedom", about "forced conversion" throughout the centuries, and how the people can "poison the atmosphere", harking back to a time when Jews did not have such freedom, and concludes that "in the light of the intolerance and narrow-minded sectarianism they have displayed, the Southern Baptists would be well advised to get started on a period of repentance of their own" (it was Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which is "a time of repentance").
While there are legitimate concerns here, especially based on past Jewish-Christian relations (as I discuss on rightwing.html regarding the church's relation to the world in general), still, there are a lot of misconceptions. Right from the beginning, you see a claim that Baptists believe in "purgatory". That is a Roman Catholic doctrine, and Baptists are the biggest repudiators of it. On the other hand, there is this "overwhelming majority of Christians" who are "turned off" by such proseletyzing, and don't believe in converting Jews; who in this debate have been held up as the "true Christians" who actually practice "Biblical love and tolerance". But there are liberal churches, who no longer believe in much of the Christian Gospel, but have extracted out of the Bible what they felt it was really all about, such as virtues such as "love", and made them the sole purpose of the whole Bible. Only a liberal would criticize the exclusive claims of the Christian faith.
Also cited by others during the controversy were some Catholic and/or Anglican leaders who decried the Baptists. But even they too have often gone to the opposite extreme from the past of intolerance, have watered down the Gospel, and, almost as if laden with guilt, now profess this universal "tolerance" that has been made the universal virtue of "religion".
Kammerdiener did a good job of answering many of the other objections. The News, however, placed his column on the left, and Baum's on the right, making it look like Baum's column was the answer to his (neither was directly in response to the other, but still, in a culture that reads from left to right, the one on the right looks like the "final answer"; though Kammerdiener clearly answered many of Baum's objections.) For instance, "The offense of Baptists is to have said publically that we are a missionary faith. We have produced an absolute obedience to Jesus Christ, whom we acknowledge as our Lord, our Savior and the fulfillment of the promise of a Jewish Messiah". Baum and others acknowledge our "right" to believe this (which he calls "this dreary path"), but to say that we can't practice it by actually being missionary toward Jews, and to deride it as just quoted, is to in effect, revoke that right, and to commit precisely what he is criticizing us for! "He is the One responsible for sending us to share our faith to the world. His command is that we are to be His witnesses in 'Jerusalem, in all Judea and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. If we were to ignore His clear teaching, we would not be His followers. Kammerdiener continues: "Such a claim seems arrogant to a society now decades into a cultural, philosophical and spiritual relativism that that denies the possibility of knowing any truth. It is the same relativism that derides the old-fashioned viewpoint that faithfulness in marriage is morally superior to adultery. It is a curious fact that Baptists with their claims for truth stand on the heritage of the Ten Commandments and the Jewish Scriptures that society chooses to trivialize and reject. But what about the insistence that we ought to 'live and let live'? Such an attitude places diversity as ultimate good rather than truth". He concludes, contrary to the fears expressed by Baum and countless others, "We would not force anyone to accept our conviction. We would invite everyone to test the truth of this faith and to follow their own consciences in making a decision".
Important to note, is the point that Christian missionary position stands on the Jewish Scriptures, while what Baum and others are saying, actually is what degrades them. First of all, it is not true that the Christian Gospel "replaces" the Torah (five books of Moses), for our "New Testament" clearly appeals to the Law, and when Jesus, Paul and others refer to "the scriptures", it was the Torah (as well as the rest of the Jewish scriptures, which are often ignored by modern Judaism, or at least not given the same attention as the Torah, as well as the later added Talmud and other rabbinical writings). It was these "scriptures" that the Jewish synagogue in Berea searched to test the validity of Paul's teaching, and found them truthful (Acts 17:10-12), though others did still oppose them (v.13ff). Unfortunately, some Christians in the past did describe the Gospel as "replacing" the Jewish scriptures, and these were often corrupt branches of the Church bringing in pagan practices (such as praying to statues), which obviously contradict the Torah. This even went to an extreme in the early centuries of the Church which claimed both Testaments had different Gods. But as I point out in both relativism.html and revelation.html, Jesus and the apostles prophesied a "falling away" in the Church with people being "turned aside to fables", as well as the rise of control-mongering false preachers. Within 100 years of the completion of the Christian Bible, anti-semitism began creeping in, as the Gentiles, realizing that the faith was being opened up to them after the majority of the Jews had rejected it, now began figuring the tables were turned, and the gentiles were now "the chosen", and the Jews the "dogs" (much as the Jews had been thinking about gentiles), or "hard hearted Christ killers", which would justify centuries of persecution from forced conversion to the Holocaust and present neo-Nazi ideology. But Paul, in Romans 11, clearly warns his gentile readers about presuming such things. Of course, the Church would not completely follow its own Bible, but the actual persecution (true "intolerance") is where they fell short, not in peaceful, friendly evangelism, which is commanded all over our scriptures. But now, any evangelism of Jews is decried as "anti-semitic"! Ironically, the Southern Baptists, who have gone further than many other [Bible Believing] groups in repenting of the errors of the past (even coming under fire from other fundamental Baptists for some of the changes), would still be derided as "intolerant", "bigoted", "narrow minded", etc. This confuses the horrors of the past with the validity of evangelism today. Deal with the claims of Christians as they are presented to you in their own right, not react to what was done in the past, using it to dismiss their claims altogether, without even seeing that the Christians today are doing a different approach.
Baum's approach, as we see, operates on the secular mindset of relativity that Kammerdiener addresses. He is concerned about those "who insist that only they have found the path to God"; sounding exactly like the average agnostic or universalist in pop-culture and secular education. In fact, as I discuss on rightwing.html and elsewhere, much of this secular concern is pure reaction to the horrors of the Church's past, with everybody screaming "the Church forced it's ways on people long enough; so away with any claims to 'absolute truth'!" It just becomes "safer" to let everyone believe as they will, but just like the Church, which had been oppressed in the beginning, and then became the oppressor itself when it gained some power; pluralism itself can violate its own objective when it reacts to those who don't follow it's ideals. Communism is a great example of this, as Marx reacted to both religious absolutism, as well as political oppression; but in enforcing its ideals became one of the most oppressive systems on earth, as well as persecuting not only Christianity, but Jews as well. Many more radical atheistic voices totally trash the "barbaric God" of the "crude bronze age texts", as Gore Vidal put it, who said "thou shall not kill", then told the Israelistes to kill others, or killed people Himself. Yet now some will take the claims that there is no objective religious truth, that these ideologies share, as a defense of Judaism from Christianity!
I don't know which form of Judaism Baum acribes to; whether Orthodox, Conservative, Progressive, Reform, or just plain nominal (in name only, and not practicing at all), but if he has any kind of respect for his own Jewish Scriptures, I don't see how he can make a statement like that. Can you read anywhere in the Torah, or Tenach where God grants different "paths" to Him, all at man's own choosing, and each one as valid as the others? As strict as God was on the Israelites with the Law, and as strictly as many Jews try to follow the Law today, do we see this "live and let live" (meaning don't even say someone else is doing wrong) philosophy? Once again, if you reject Christianity and its mission to you, it must be because you think it is wrong according to the scriptures (unless you don't believe in the scriptures), not because of your "rights". Though there are some "reconstructionists" and other theocracy advocates around, still most Christians, including the Southern Baptists, are not trying to take away anybody's religious civil rights. You may have the "right" before man to believe whatever you want, but now before GOD, once again, would any observant Jew argue that we have the right to believe whatever we want?
This serves as a caution to Christians, as I criticize in rightwing.html, about pushing for prayer in public schools, and demanding America return to its roots as a "Christian nation" (which is at best, debatable). This rhetoric we hear from many conservative Christians confuses man's rights before man with our standing before God, and has led the Jews and others to think that any witnessing or aim to convert others is an attempt to force a civic obligation on them to change their identity. But like it or not, we are in a pluralistic society that is not particularly Christian, and we have civil duties before man, but our spiritual life and beliefs are between us and God. (It is better even to God this way, because too many have gained a false assurance of having favor with God because of national identity when they are not themselves even personally following Him). But once again, Jews cannot use this to dismiss the whole issue, because if they happen to be wrong, I think they would acknowledge that they will have to answer to God, and the excuses of what others did in the past, or what our civic duties are will not help them out.
There has been outcry over the claim of God not hearing prayers, but God through the Prophets has stated this clearly to Israel. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear"(Psalms 66:18) "The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayers of the righteous" (Proverbs 15:29) Addressing the "rulers of Israel", Micah warns "Then they will cry to the LORD, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time. Because they have been evil in their deeds" (Micah 3:4) "One who turns away his ear from the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination" (Prov. 28:9) "When you [pray- margin], I will hide my eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood" (Isaiah 1:15). "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened that it cannot saved; nor his ear heavy that it can not hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you that He will not hear" (59:1-2). Many Jews have even complained throughout the ages about God's seeming silence or not answering prayers, as evidenced by this verse in Isaiah and even Muhammad's Koran (5:64). But the scriptures repeatedly say that God does not listen because of our sin. God will hear a prayer of repentance from the wicked, of course, but the rest of their requests? Why should He, and what good would granting them be when they are still ultimately under condemnation? "But we're not guilty of the sins mentioned in those passages; we aren't 'the wicked'" many will feel. But this is where the message of the Gospel of Christ comes in. Jesus showed in His Sermon on the Mount that killing was not just causing a man to die, and adultery was not just actually sleeping with another woman, but begins with acts in our hearts whether we carry them out or not. Even normal swearing of oaths ultimately violates taking God's name in vain, because we are sinful and may possibly not keep that oath. Other practices the Jews had such as giving the money they would have used to take care of their parents as the offering to the Temple were actually loopholes that violated the 10 Commandments, and who really would have even thought that? It become clear that nobody has really kept God's Law, and all are in the "wicked" state in which their prayers are not only not heard, but are even an "abomination" to Him. The Psalms clearly say "There is none who does good. Every one of them has together become corrupt. There is none who does good; no, not one!" (53:1-3). It was not Paul who made this up. It came right out of the Jewish scripture, and Paul uses it in his letter to the Romans to build his case of why Jesus as the Christ is necessary to both Jew and gentile. Jeremiah points out "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? (17:9) he continues "I, the LORD search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (v.10). Ecclesiastes 7:20 "There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin".
This should have been clear from the very beginning of the Torah, with the story of Adam, who sinned, hid from God, and then was driven out of the garden. There was the beginning of the "separation" from God that causes him not to hear our prayers. How do Jews think this was resolved? By their attempts to keep the Law? I have heard them claim that Adam was not completely "separated" by "original sin" as Christians teach, but only lost his "innocence" of "the knowledge of evil". But that right there is enough to separate him from a holy God! Remember, it was they who "hid". They could no longer stand before God. Afterwards, human civilization quickly degenerated, with the first born child killing his brother, and then the whole world being filled with wickedness to the point that God punished it with the Flood. God started over with Noah, but wickedness quickly sprang up and spread to the whole world again. Why do both Jews and Muslims see the ull significance of the Adamic Fall, and downplay its effect on man? The scriptures are showing us that nobody has been able to keep the Law the way God wants us to. God began by selecting various people such as Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and the Israelites to work with, in order to spread His truth back to the rest of the world. While some of the patriarchs were faithful, they still sinned, and the Israelites continuously fell back into sin, such as idolatry, and even "tolerance" of conquered people's religions, which would then begin to corrupt Israel, after God strictly forbid such allowance.
Now, people have gone to the opposite extreme, and have addressed this sin problem with adding more and more rules, and stricter applications of the Law. The command not to "seethe a kid in his mother's milk" (Ex.23:19, 34:26, Deut.14:21) —probably a pagan practice, and this is connected with the feasts, not the Levitical kosher laws— now becomes "you shall not even eat milk and meat together, or even use the same dishes for them". The command not to gather sticks on the Sabbath (obvious 'work') now means you cannot even flip a light switch on the Sabbath! One day, I was walking past a small Brooklyn yeshiva, and I was asked in to turn off a circuit breaker for the lights (which they program with timers to come on and go off by themselves, which had apparently failed then). I did them the favor, but really thought to myself what bondage they were under. (I didn't want to get into any argument, and didn't know what else to say without them getting insulted). Not only must it be very inconvenient for them to have to go through difficulties like that, but then guess what: with all that caution about not violating the Sabbath, they actually still did violate it even if their interpretation was right! The original commandment (Exodus 20:10) forbids having any others, including "the stranger" doing for you what you couldn't do on the Sabbath! (Plus even if a timer turns on the lights, they are still using power generated by people working that day. Just as they are not allowed to ride public transportation, this would still kind of contradict their idea of Sabbathkeeping as well). So they still broke the Law! I have heard that they will not even take the elevator; but instead walk up stairs; even in high-rise buildings! This is certainly more "work" than pushing a button activating an electrical device!. The whole intent of the Law is turned on its ear here! Now I hear that they are not allowed to turn off stoves or blow out candles that are on when Passover begins. This has caused fires which destroy and kill and threaten everyone in the building and surrounding buildings! Do they really think this was what God intended when He gave the Torah? Worse yet, on the other side of Brooklyn, my wife was working near another Orthodox sect, and saw the men, completely dressed up in the Hasidic garb reading pornography, and some would even proposition the black and Hispanic women for sex! Yet, they are known to be so "holy" that they must engage in their own legitimate marital relations through a hole in the sheet! Then, not too long ago, there was the family walking across the Williamsburg Bridge at the beginning of the Sabbath that watched as their children gave me the finger as I passed by in my train! As Jesus clearly had said: "Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you keeps the Law?" They also seem to recognize man's utter unholiness before God, in suggesting that the command to not take His name in vain, means that we are not to even pronounce it at all! (being that our lips are so "unclean" as Isaiah recognized). What are we to do about this? If we are so separated from, and unholy to God, what do you think will happen to us when we die? Does it look like we will still float up to Heaven to be with Him? It looks like more than a "presumptous claim" that man is headed for eternity in a "very warm place", which Baum confuses with the Catholic "purgatory" (which is actually temporary, and not taught by the New Testament) and which he decries. God had said "the soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4)—(spiritually, not just physically; eternally, not just temporally). "cursed is the one who does not confirm [continue in] all the words of this Law" (Deuteronomy 27:26).
They also need to beware of double standards and reverse persecution. It has been reported that Jews who convert to Christianity are given a hard time becoming Israeli citizens, and are in fact deemed as no longer Jewish by their families. But a Jew can become an atheist, or other religion, rejecting the God of Israel altogether, and not face such ostracization.
The whole argument started on the Jewish fall festivals associated with "atonement" (they were offended that the Baptists would publish a prayer guide for Christians that focused on the Jews during their Holy Days, and as Kammerdiener pointed out, any other date would have still equally offended them). The Jews' historic answer to sin has been the atonement rituals and festivals, which constantly took place in the temple, with the annual ceremonies in the Day of Atonement. The blood of innocent animals was to be shed to atone for the sins of man, who really deserved the death being imposed on those animals. But we no longer have the Temple! The Jews have since substituted simply trying to continue to keep the Law, with the extra restrictions applied, which were taught by the rabbinical writings, most of which arose after the demise of the Temple. But why would God allow His Temple to be destroyed in the first place? In the Torah, we see that God's "presence" actually dwelled in the Holy of Holies in the center of the temple, and He was extremely strict on how men were to approach it, with people being immediately struck down by fire for doing things wrong! The High Priest was the only one allowed in the Holy of Holies, and only on the Day of Atonement, and even he had to wear a rope with bells so the others could drag him out if he was struck down for doing the least little thing wrong. (This all ought to further make people like Baum rethink the whole criticisms of "only one path to God" and the "live and let live" attitudes). But has anyone thought that if the Holy of Holies was so potentially deadly to well-meaning, holy Jewish priests, then how were unholy, God-hating, pagan gentile armies able to several times come in and destroy the whole place?. It was reported that one time, the armies even swung their swords around in the air in the Holy of Holies, aimed at God, who supposedly dwelled there. But then where was God then? What about the final destruction of the Temple in AD70? Why weren't the gentile armies struck down? God must have left the Temple for any of that to happen. If you think that too is a "presumptuous" claim, we see it recorded by the prophet Ezekiel in the 10th chapter of his book!
Baum and others worry about Christians making their religion "not authentic". But just what do you mean by "authentic"? Before man, as another world religion, "no better or worse than others"? Yes. As something that the true God did command for His people as recorded in the ancient Scriptures? Definitely yes. But doesn't God have the right to give further revelation (which the Jews had been waiting for for about 400 years before Christ, since the last prophet)? God had not always commanded the whole Law, as we see in all the people from Adam to Moses, but then through Moses, He changed His demands to man, adding many commandments that had not been in effect before. So He could yet do it again. That is the basis of the dreaded "supersession" of Judaism by Christianity. "Authenticity" is a human concept that is a bit ambiguous and even relative. If you say the Christianity of the SBC and others is wrong for its missionary beliefs then you are saying Christianity is inauthentic as well! The real question is "what is God's will for man now? How may man even approach God, being there is a barrier of sin and condemnation?" God had demanded blood as the payment for sin. Have people now been excused from this simply because the Temple is gone? The evidence is overwhelming that God did effect a change; a new "dispensation" as many call it; He left the Temple, the Temple was destroyed, this time for millennia rather than centuries, and also a person arose, claiming not only to be the promised Messiah, but also paralleling the whole atonement ritual, by living a sinless life, calling Himself a "lamb", and then being slaughtered like one right on the Jewish feast of Passover! His birth and death also fulfilled the timing of Daniel's prophecy of weeks, which also mentioned the Messiah being "cut off..., but not for Himself", along with the final destruction of the sanctuary. The moment he died, it was reported that the veil isolating the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), and then only a few decades later, a Roman emporor would finish the Temple off for the rest of history, until a proposed rebuilding that also is apart of Bible prophecy. But in the meantime, what about atonement? While we will not force you to accept Christ (which would not lead to salvation anyway if you did not accept him in your heart by your own will), all of this should cause you to at least consider his claims, and if they do fit in with Biblical revelation.
Jewish Answers to ChristianityWhile most Jews I have heard usually say some token nice things about Jesus; some even going as far as calling him a "good rabbi", ultimately, he has to be a false Messiah to observant non-Messianic Jews (whether it was he who falsely claimed to be Messiah, or his followers who wrongly exalted him as such later on), and There is a list of reasons "Why Jews Do Not believe In Jesus",as elaborated on the site http://www.aish.com/spirituality/philosophy/Why_Dont_Jews_Believe_In_Jesus$.asp
1) JESUS DID NOT FULFILL THE MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Bible says that he will:
A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)
D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world -- on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9).
The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies.
Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists.
Jesus fulfilled them spiritually in the first coming. What people did not realize was that the original promise of the Messiah coming out of Israel was connected with Israel's faithfulness to the Covenant. But Israel was not faithful, and looked for the Messiah to end all other's people's sin (in total ignorance of their own).
2) JESUS DID NOT EMBODY THE PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS OF MESSIAH
A. MESSIAH AS PROPHET
Jesus was not a prophet. Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry. During the time of Ezra (circa 300 BCE), when the majority of Jews refused to move from Babylon to Israel, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets -- Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended.
A. MESSIAH AS PROPHET
Where does this claim come from? Not the scriptures, apparently, and Jews in the First century and before were waiting for "that prophet" to come. (John 1:21) Many held John the Baptist as a prophet (Matt.21:26)
B. DESCENDENT OF DAVID
The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David (see Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father -- and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father's side from King David!
The descension from the father's side was more of a legal one. That is why Joseph is still mentioned. On the other hand, if Messiah had not come at that time, before all the geneologies were destroyed in the siege of Jerusalem in AD70, then it will be impossible to know who the Messiah is, because the lineage is long lost, especially after millennia of migration and mixing.
C. TORAH OBSERVANCE
The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), "He does not observe Shabbat!"
Many of the restrictions were added by rabbis, and not prescribed in the Torah. Plus, it was the act of healing that was what caused the Pharisees to make that claim. Jesus pointed out that doing the work of God was what the sabbath was made for.
3) MISTRANSLATED VERSES "REFERRING" TO JESUS
Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text -- which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.
A. VIRGIN BIRTH
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an "alma" as giving birth. The word "alma" has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as "virgin." This accords Jesus' birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.
Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text -- which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.
A. VIRGIN BIRTH
This was not made up by Christian theologians, as apparently, everyone in New Testament times seemed to understand the word both ways.
The verse in Psalms 22:17 reads: "Like a lion, they are at my hands and feet." The Hebrew word ki-ari (like a lion) is grammatically similar to the word "gouged." Thus Christianity reads the verse as a reference to crucifixion: "They pierced my hands and feet."
But the Crucufixion does not rest on that one verse. Even if the word was "lions" instead of the physical act of "piercing", when we read the crucifixion account, we see that that was still true. Like lions, they were at his feet, as he hung on the cross!
C. SUFFERING SERVANT Ironically, Isaiah's prophecies of persecution refer in part to the 11th century when Jews were tortured and killed by Crusaders who acted in the name of Jesus.
Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the "suffering servant."
In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews ("Israel") are regarded as one unit. The Torah is filled with examples of the Jewish nation referred to with a singular pronoun.
Ironically, Isaiah's prophecies of persecution refer in part to the 11th century when Jews were tortured and killed by Crusaders who acted in the name of Jesus.
And the sufferings of Israel would be embodied in the suffering of Messiah. (Who was greatly dishonored by those doing those things in his name!) From where did these mistranslations stem? St. Gregory, 4th century Bishop of Nanianzus, wrote: "A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire." Once again, these were the understandings of the Jews of the first century. While the later Church did greatly corrupt itself and many of the doctrines and practices, still, this is not the origins of the basic doctrines of the New Testament.
4) JEWISH BELIEF IS BASED SOLELY ON NATIONAL REVELATION Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8):
What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? The Revelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others... as it says, "Face to face, God spoke with you..." The Torah also states: "God did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us -- who are all here alive today." (Deut. 5:3)
Of the 15,000 religions in human history, only Judaism bases its belief on national revelation -- i.e. God speaking to the entire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He'll tell everyone, not just one person.
Judaism, unique among all of the world's major religions, does not rely on "claims of miracles" as the basis for its religion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of "miracles" to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut. 13:4).
The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracles he performed. Whenever anyone's belief is based on seeing miracles, he has lingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performed through magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in the desert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.
Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago.
Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8):
What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? The Revelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others... as it says, "Face to face, God spoke with you..." The Torah also states: "God did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us -- who are all here alive today." (Deut. 5:3)
The Revelation at Mount Sinai was itself a miracle (of God of course), as was the works of Jesus, so both the Torah and the New Testament have the same basis of revelation. Jesus also criticized the people of the day for "seeking signs". Later Christianity would follow in seeking signs, but this is not a disproof of Jesus.
5) CHRISTIANITY CONTRADICTS JEWISH THEOLOGY
The following theological points apply primarily to the Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination.
A. GOD AS THREE?
The Catholic idea of Trinity breaks God into three separate beings: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).
Contrast this to the Shema, the basis of Jewish belief: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE" (Deut. 6:4). Jews declare the Shema every day, while writing it on doorposts (Mezuzah), and binding it to the hand and head (Tefillin). This statement of God's One-ness is the first words a Jewish child is taught to say, and the last words uttered before a Jew dies.
In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god is considered idolatry -- one of the three cardinal sins that a Jew should rather give up his life than transgress. This explains why during the Inquisitions and throughout history, Jews gave up their lives rather than convert.
The following theological points apply primarily to the Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination.
Once again, this is best explained at Triune Nature of God
B. MAN AS GOD?
Roman Catholics believe that God came down to earth in human form, as Jesus said: "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).
Maimonides devotes most of the "Guide for the Perplexed" to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that He assumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human form makes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: "God is not a mortal" (Numbers 23:19).
Yes, God is incorporeal, but if He was able to "appear" to man all of those times in the Torah, then He has the ability to manifest Himself on earth, and that is all the concept of Jesus says.
Judaism says that the Messiah will be born of human parents, and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, and will not possess supernatural qualities. In fact, an individual is alive in every generation with the capacity to step into the role of the Messiah. (see Maimonides - Laws of Kings 11:3)
Once again; this is not a demi-god, properly taught and understood. And how can a completely normal man be able to do what Messiah is prohesied to do? Unless you just want a political leader "like all the other nations", (to exalt your position in the earth) which Israel was criticized for in the account of Samuel.
C. INTERMEDIARY FOR PRAYER?
The Catholic belief is that prayer must be directed through an intermediary -- i.e. confessing one's sins to a priest. Jesus himself is an intermediary, as Jesus said: "No man cometh unto the Father but by me."
In Judaism, prayer is a totally private matter, between each individual and God. As the Bible says: "God is near to all who call unto Him" (Psalms 145:18). Further, the Ten Commandments state: "You shall have no other gods BEFORE ME," meaning that it is forbidden to set up a mediator between God and man. (see Maimonides - Laws of Idolatry ch. 1)
While the Caholic position on priests does violate this principle, still, if it is true that God is manifest in Jesus, and he is NOT "another god", then you are dealing directly with God. The concept of "mediator" involves our separation from God because of our sin. The fact that New Testament writers employed these Hebrew scriptures shows they knew they were not contradicting them.
D. INVOLVEMENT IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD
Catholic doctrine often treats the physical world as an evil to be avoided. Mary, the holiest woman, is portrayed as a virgin. Priests and nuns are celibate. And monasteries are in remote, secluded locations.
By contrast, Judaism believes that God created the physical world not to frustrate us, but for our pleasure. Jewish spirituality comes through grappling with the mundane world in a way that uplifts and elevates. Sex in the proper context is one of the holiest acts we can perform.
The Talmud says if a person has the opportunity to taste a new fruit and refuses to do so, he will have to account for that in the World to Come. Jewish rabbinical schools teach how to live amidst the bustle of commercial activity. Jews don't retreat from life, we elevate it.
This will be completely answered below. Most Christians, including Catholics are involved in the world. It is only certain sects that retreat, just like you had Jewish sects such as the Essenes who retreated from the world.
6) JEWS AND GENTILES
Judaism does not demand that everyone convert to the religion. The Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish or not. King Solomon asked God to heed the prayers of non-Jews who come to the Holy Temple (Kings I 8:41-43). The prophet Isaiah refers to the Temple as a "House for all nations."
The Temple service during Sukkot featured 70 bull offerings, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. The Talmud says that if the Romans would have realized how much benefit they were getting from the Temple, they'd never have destroyed it.
Jews have never actively sought converts to Judaism because the Torah prescribes a righteous path for gentiles to follow, known as the "Seven Laws of Noah." Maimonides explains that any human being who faithfully observes these basic moral laws earns a proper place in heaven.
Still, that is considered a "religion". According to this, then, there are one of two religions man is obligated to join, as the other religions which worship other gods would not be acceptable. And actually, they are different branches of the same religion! If all are supposed to worship God, then there is the mandate to "convert" to His true faith!
7) BRINGING THE MESSIAH
Maimonides states that the popularity of Christianity (and Islam) is part of God's plan to spread the ideals of Torah throughout the world. This moves society closer to a perfected state of morality and toward a greater understanding of God. All this is in preparation for the Messianic age.
Indeed, the world is in desperate need of Messianic redemption. War and pollution threaten our planet; ego and confusion erode family life. To the extent we are aware of the problems of society, is the extent we will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the first questions a Jew is asked on Judgment Day is: "Did you yearn for the arrival of the Messiah?"
How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The best way is to love all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (as best we can), and to encourage others to do so as well.
Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed toward redemption. One apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement is afoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition.
The Messiah can come at any moment, and it all depends on our actions. God is ready when we are. For as King David says: "Redemption will come today -- if you hearken to His voice."
With Christians' awaiting of the return of the Messiah, the true ideals of the Torah, plus the ideals expressed by Maimonides are still true.
At this point, I would like to address Noahidism, the path prescribed for non-Jews in the religion of Judaism, as articulated in The Path of the Righteous Gentile by Chaim Clorfene and Rabbi Yakov Rogalsky, and other books. One Noahide ministry is www.noahide.com, and this site has some more claims regarding Christianity that need to be addressed. On the page compare.htm is a table comparing Judaism ("God-centered, selfless") and Christianity ("man-centered, selfish"), and from here I got my first detailed view of a Jewish apologetic against Christianity, before later finding the above. This site, associated with the Lubavitcher sect, takes an even more negative view of Jesus and Christianity.
|Bible (5 books of Moses) written by G-d, with Moses as secretary||New Testament written by man|
|G-d creates man in His image; thus man has a soul and free will||Man creates G-d in his image; thus Jesus is declared to be a deity.|
|Bible (Hebrew Scriptures) quotes G-d directly, in His own words, over 3800 times||New Testament never quotes G-d a single time, other than quotes from the "Old Testament"|
|Man's purpose is to serve G-d through His Law -- the commandments||G-d's purpose is to serve man by providing salvation -- for free|
|G-d's commandments are binding obligations||G-d's Law is a nice idea, but it is only "fruits of the spirit," not a duty.|
|Jews believe in the Bible because G-d said so (orally)||Christians believe in G-d because the Bible tells them to|
|Jews study the Bible only according to the oral tradition received from G-d||Christians interpret the Bible according to their own ideas and opinions|
In both Judaism and Catholicism, this "unwritten tradition" is often called the "framework" or even "background" of the written revelation. Thus, you can't understand it it without the tradition. But how are a bunch of additional rules by themselves a framework or background (as that is what the oral traditions ultimately boil down to)? That again is just projecting our current environment back into the scriptures. Lest anyone say that the oral delivery itself is the "background" (e.g. making an argument that since God appeared and spoke, that was his "primary revelation" which the scripture is only a secondary addition to) oral was just a method of communication. It was not an end in itself. All the methods of communication (oral, writing, signs) were to compliment each other, not supplement each other! However, the written one is the one that has carried on to the present. No one is still experiencing God's visible or audible appearances! For instance, the rule that turning on a light switch violates "kindling a fire on the sabbath". This is supposed to be one of those "oral traditions"; right? But there were no electric light switches in Moses' day! It is clearly an interpretation of much later rabbis (within the past two centuries), and they can only appeal to their own wisdom in applying the principle; not an "oral Torah" given at Sinai, over 3000 years before such a situation existed! Many of these other rules have similar origins.
People need to think what the "framework" of scripture really is! What is this really all about? Just difficult, detailed rules by which we make ourselves better than others? Unchallengeable authority of man, where he can tell people anything, and they just have to follow? Or is it man's fall, God's grace? If we could answer that, we wouldn't have a lot of these religious disputes.
But let's examine the primary proof-texts used for the oral tradition. The most common example seems to be "Then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock... as I have commanded thee" (Deuteronomy 12:21), and one site comments "An examination of the Jewish Bible from cover to cover would reveal that no mention is made of the process that was commanded the Israelites regarding the slaughtering method. Thus, it is rational to assume that the directions existed as a body of knowledge outside of the Torah". But a simple reading of the context reveals that slaughtering method is not what God was referring to here. God had earlier commanded them to go to a particular place to offer sacrifices (v.11, 13, 14). When their borders increased (v.20), then they may sacrifice somewhere else as He commanded if the original place is too far. He is simply referring to the command to sacrifice He had just given them, and modifying it for a special circumstance. There is no reason to hypothesize on some "slaughtering method", that you even admit is not mentioned, and since we do not see that spelled out for us anywhere, then the way the Jews have been doing it must be God's unwritten command. Once again, anyone can then claim that about "their own ideas and opinions". Another site points to “'You shall keep the Sabbath holy, as I have commanded your fathers...' (Jeremiah 17:22) - as I commanded them in the Oral Tradition". But by the time we get to Jeremiah, Moses and the other patriarchs were "the fathers", whom the commandments given were recorded for us in the written Torah. Another proof-text is "complicated commandments" such as fringes (Numbers 15:38) and phylacteries (Deut. 6:8), which "are instructed in the Torah, but yet no details are given...". But the passage gives enough detail (such as the color and content) for it to have meaning. Any details that were added to that were just that-- added later by others, and cannot be used as their own authority for a supposition of an oral tradition. This is why the scripture alone is the best way to understand the revelation. Men make mistakes, and we see right here where the scripture has been MISinterpreted in trying to prove oral tradition in the first place! Likewise, the phylacteries appear to be a spiritual metaphor. Keep the commandments in your mind, and do them with your hands. But while it is understandable people would take a literal application of this to be safe, you still cannot project this later response to the passage back into the text on its own authority. The scriptures in neither case tell us that there were more details that were not written. We look at our contemporary practice and see additional practices, and then justify them with the notion of them being oral details.
This is the way both Jews and Catholics and many other groups have approached scripture, and have read all sorts of doctrines and practices into it that are just not there. It is why there is so much religious confusion in the world today.
|Jews believe in Moses because G-d gave him authority||Christians believe in Jesus because he gave himself authority|
|G-d controls evil, using it to punish sinners and for other purposes||The devil controls evil, using it to rebel against G-d|
|G-d creates and runs the world to serve Him||Evil controls the world, which will ultimately be destroyed|
|By doing G-d's commandments, man brings G-d closer||Christians wait until G-d brings Himself closer to man before agreeing to do any good works.|
|Man follows G-d's commandments according to G-d's own detailed instructions, whether or not it makes sense to man||Man uses his own reasoning and interpretation to decide what are "good works" and what are not.|
|Man transforms the world to reveal its Creator -- to bring G-d's eternal kingdom here on earth||Man leaves the world behind, escaping earth to enjoy heaven|
|Man has direct access to G-d through prayer and repentance; any mediator only gets in the way & blocks the relationship||Man has no access to G-d except through a man (Jesus)|
|Doing G-d's commandments is a privilege & opportunity that provides true freedom||G-d's law is a burden and a curse that enslaves and condemns man|
|G-d made eternal covenants -- 1 with Jews, 1 with gentiles -- and He keeps His promises||G-d "changed His mind," throwing away the old covenant for a new one|
Another page on the site, "son.htm", argues that Israel is God's "son". This is true, but that does not preclude God's causing of a virgin to conceive and bear a son. Of course, both Jews and Muslims are united in thinking that is some pagan doctrine, held in common with the other religions, that reduces God to some inferior deity producing "offspring". But that is not what the concept of the sonship of Christ means. Pagan religions were mockeries and corruptions of the revelations God had given, ultimately promoted by the demons (fallen angels) who were behind them. Isaiah had prohesied God would cause a young woman to be with child, and regardless of what you think the proper interpretation of "alma" (young woman or virgin) is, this is where the Christian idea comes from, not the pagan corruptions. Also on the page is a citation of Deuteronomy 4:12, 15-16. "And the Eternal spoke to you from the middle of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form, only a voice.... And guard your souls carefully, for you did not see any form on the day the Eternal spoke to you in Horev from the middle of the fire, lest you become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any physical shape, the form of a man or woman". "In other words, G-d has no physical shape. He is infinite and unlimited, and never appears in the form of any human. Nor does G-d have any 'partners.'" But once again, Jesus is not a "partner" with God (as the Koran also charges), nor do we believe His body encompassed the natural "form" of God. He was basically another manifestation, only a new type, just as the other visible manifestations the Israelites had seen, including several in "human form", such as Abraham's "three men" (Genesis 18), and Jacob (32:22-30). The body was a real body, but God could manifest Himself as this human person, while still remaining God in Heaven, and without creating a second "god" beside Himself. If you say God can't, then who are we to limit God?
On yeshu.html, they even insinuate that Jesus was the "false prophet" mentioned in Deuteronomy 13 and 17, even down to His being "from the people" (Jewish) and "who would rebel against the authority of the judges of the Jewish people (the Sanhedrin), and who should be put to death for his rebelliousness (v. 8-13, esp. v. 12)", as well as the "little horn" of the beast in Daniel chapter 7, who would "change the Law — including the calendar and the holidays (Daniel 7:8, 20-25). Elsewhere, this false prophet is described as a king who would disregard the G-d of his fathers, exalting himself as a god and giving honor to this new god-head (Daniel 11:36-39)". When I first read those prohecies, I realized that Jews might be able to aply them to Jesus. But there are many important differences. Many Christian groups apply them to the Roman emperors or the papacy— leadership of a corrupted branch of the church, and/or the future "antichrist", which would corrupt the concept of the true God to a false one "their fathers knew not". Notice, the false leader honors this false god "with gold, silver, and precious stones". When did Jesus ever do anything like that? But later leaders who claimed to be his "vicars" did, and would be honored themselves in such ways.
Daniel 11 shows this king fighting with other kings in the world, and "he shall enter the glorious land [because he came from "the north", not from Israel], and many countries shall be overthrown...the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt" When did Jesus do all of this? He does "meet his end", but only after "Plant[ing] the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain". Jesus did not have a palace. In fact, he "had nowhere to lay his head" (Matt.8:20). Likewise, in chapter 7, what three gentile kings did Jesus ever "pluck out by the root"?
So these people did not even fully read these prophecies, yet plugged Jesus into them. One prohecy of him in Daniel is in 9:26, where it says that the Messiah too shall be "cut off" (killed), but "not for himself". Deuteronomy 13 and 17 are not even "prophecies", but simply God's instructions on executing false prophets and obeying the judges. But this is conditional on whether the person in question is really a false prophet, and whether it was the judges themselves who were the false leaders! God was not saying that they could instruct anything they wanted, and the people must follow. Several times the leadership of Israel had gone astray, leading the people after false gods, and God was angry with the whole nation. Just because they looked like they were upholding the Law by Jesus' time doesn't automatically prove they were right. Since this false messiah is still yet to rise, and he will make a "covenant" (Daniel 9:27), Jews (and Noahites) are the ones in danger of being deceived by him. He will appear to do what they are expecting the Messiah to do, including presiding over a restored Temple. But then he will break the covenant and stop the Temple worship.
Then you have the following claims:
The man known today as "Jesus" fulfilled all these prophecies. He became a "king" (over the Christian church) who changed the original Law, doing away with the Hebrew calendar and the Biblical holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkos — the Festival of Tabernacles, Passover, etc.). He disregarded the one, infinite G-d of the Hebrew Bible in favor of a new "trinity" that included himself. And he repeatedly broke the Law by committing terrible sins, while openly challenging the G-d-given authority of the rabbis of the Sanhedrin.
Naturally, Jesus did sometimes pretend to respect the Law, but whenever he thought he could get away with it, he turned right around and broke that same Law. In Matthew 5:17-19, he declared that he came to fulfill the Law, and in Matthew 23:1-3 he defended the authority of the rabbis. But the rest of the time, he rebelled against the Law — thus showing that his occasional words of piety were meant only to hide his evil agenda. The following sins of Jesus are recorded in the "New Testament":
1) Jesus repudiated the laws of kosher food (Mark 7:18-19). [Compare this to the prophet Daniel's strict adherence to kashrus, in Daniel chapter 1.]
2) He repudiated the laws of honoring one's parents, and called on his followers to hate their parents; he also dishonored his own mother (Matthew 10:34-36; Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 14:26).
3) He violated the Sabbath by picking grain, and incited his disciples to do the same (Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-26).
4) He again violated the Sabbath by healing a man's arm, which was not a matter of saving a life, and he openly defied the rabbis in his total repudiation of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-13; Mark 3:1-5). [Compare this to G-d's view of violating the Sabbath, in Numbers 15:32-36, Nehemiah 10:30-32, and dozens of other places throughout the Bible.]
5) Jesus brazenly defied and disobeyed the rabbis of the Sanhedrin, repudiating their authority (This is recorded in many places throughout the New Testament, but look especially at Matthew 23:13-39 and John 8:44-45).
They also misunderstand Jesus' teaching on the parents. "Hate" in that case means "love less", and wouldn't any Jew agree that a person should put God before his parents, especially if they may not be following Him (or even trying to lead you away from God), which was the context of Matthew 10 and Luke 14? Matthew 12 also, the context is that while your natural parents may reject you for the truth if they are not following it, God still has other believers who can be your spiritual family. He never rejects his mother or says we are freed from any obligations we have to our parents in the Law. Meanwhile, once again he shows that it was the Jewish leaders themselves who were actually breaking the Law regarding honoring one's parents! How then can anyone dare to make this claim about Jesus?
With the healing on the Sabbath incident and his upbraiding of them in chapter 23 and elsewhere; the "rabbis" are once again appealed to as God's authorities, and they should have been, but if it was true that they were themselves corrupted (as even some rabbinical sources have said regarding the leaders of Jesus' time), and if Jesus was really God's Messiah, then first, wouldn't the Messiah have authority over the leaders, especially if it was they who had gone astray? And wouldn't God Himself invalidate and replace corrupt leaders? Many of their restrictions on the Sabbath were not even from God, but their own attempt to assure that nobody would ever violate it. (Where does it ever say that one could not heal someone on the Sabbath, whether it was to save a person's life or not?) An "oral tradition" could always be appealed to, and who would be able to challenge that? And what of Jesus answer to those accusing the disciples for plucking grains?--David did the same thing, in the Temple, and the priests technically "work" on the sabbath! Jesus backed himself up by pointing out that "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27). It was God's gift of rest to man, and to worship Him, the source of life; not something else man could use to oppress others and glorify himself as he breaks other commands and thinks one makes up for the other.
Just look at all their conniving in trying to trap Jesus in his words; each attempt ending up in their actually trapping themselves. If they were in the right, would that be necessary? How about abusing the Torah, by taking a woman caught in adultery, but not the man (See Leviticus 20:10, and there's your explicit proof adultery was wrong for men as well, by the way!). He began writing on the ground (probably the commandment itself, and the man could have been one of their friends, or even one of them themselves), and said "He who is without sin, cast the first stone!", and they, being "convicted by their conscience" quickly threw them down and fled. (John 8:1-9) No wonder he called them "vipers" in Matt. 23! That is just what they were acting like here! Can you really say these were God's truthful leaders?? Were they on the side of “truth” just because of their titles? Look at the rest of what he says in that chapter. Are those things right, or did he make it all up? On the flipside; in John 8:46 Jesus asks those leaders "Which of you convicts me of sin?". Why didn't they at that time throw their accusation of sabbathbreaking or blasphemy? Clearly; it was they who stood convicted as the sinners! How about them cohorting with the pagan Romans to kill him, even saving their own necks by saying "WE HAVE NO KING BUT CAESAR!"? Since when was that God's prescribed way of executing sinners, and whatever happened to God and the throne of David as their King? Do you think God would continue to recognize such slick shady leadership as His authority for His people? Wasn't that a high act of treason against the heritage God had given them? Wasn't it even worship of Daniel's fourth beast? Once again, while Israel in the time of the patriarchs and prophets was constantly chastized for falling into paganism and rebellion, Israel of Jesus' time had gone to the opposite extreme of obsessing on "the Law" (the "letter", that is), but was still just as sinful and rebellious as they ever were. In fact, the pretense of Lawkeeping made them worse, because now they were so full of self-righteousness, that it was harder than ever for them to see their own sin and repent.
All of this has a selfish motivation as well. After realizing that God would not bless them in open rebellion against the Law, and after 400 years of silence following the last prophet, they figured that if they tried being extra “good”, now, then God would have to bless them and send His Messiah (and for the selfish reason coming up). But their hearts were not changed one bit, and they had simply gone to an opposite extreme in following the letter of the Law, but were still violating its spiritual intent. So once again, this is all what further proves Jesus' authenticity rather than disproving it, and it is only one's preconceived rejection of him because they don't like what he teaches that could cause one to make these claims against him. He was not what they expected of the Messiah (a political ruler who would put down all other kingdoms immediately and make them rulers— once again, how man-centered!). They expected him to clean up the rest of the world; they didn't expect him to clean house first! (Isaiah 10:1-12) (this comes from being so unaware of one's own sin; thinking they are keeping the Law perfectly, when their leadership, even under the Romans was corrupt. This is what Jesus meant by "If you have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? Luke 16:12). So they rejected him, and then had to build this whole system of reinterpretation of the Law and the prophecies to justify it, and added the following claims:
The page even continues:
The Talmud (Babylonian edition) records other sins of "Jesus the Nazarene":
1) He and his disciples practiced sorcery and black magic, led Jews astray into idolatry, and were sponsored by foreign, gentile powers for the purpose of subverting Jewish worship (Sanhedrin 43a).
2) He was sexually immoral, worshipped statues of stone (a brick is mentioned), was cut off from the Jewish people for his wickedness, and refused to repent (Sanhedrin 107b; Sotah 47a).
3) He learned witchcraft in Egypt and, to perform miracles, used procedures that involved cutting his flesh — which is also explicitly banned in the Bible (Shabbos 104b).
But these are unsubstantiated claims made by those who already rejected him and were tying to discredit him. (Recall; they accused him of casting out demons by the power of Baalzebub; which he clearly debunked —"Satan does not cast out Satan...else by whom do your children cast them out?"(Matt.12:27). So we see right there the origin of that first myth). Many secular scholars today also try to "reimage" him with suppositions as to what he did in his young adulthood (not recorded in the Gospels), with tales of him learning religion in Egypt (or even the Far East), and then him being married, to several wives, even being homosexual, etc. All of this is from people who do not like Christianity and try to disprove the Bible, and many of them do not have nice things to say about the God and biblical leaders of Israel either! People made up fables regarding other Biblical figures as well. Ever heard of the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses (witchcraft manuals)? Meanwhile, the page goes on to mention "Jewish mystical teachings, preserved from Moses and Mount Sinai"; so the life and teachings of Jesus were occult, but "mysticism" (such as Kabbalism), which characterized pagan religion (including the same Gnosticism that corrupted early Christianity!) is perfectly OK, and not a violation of God's commands, but is even apart of God's Law! God clearly says that we shall not worship Him "the way the pagans do" (Deuteronomy 12:30, 31) This is highly ironic.
They even criticize the New Testament for being written in Greek, but this is because God is God over all of man, not just the Hebrews.
They continue: "The false, rebellious message of Jesus has been thoroughly rejected by the vast majority of the Jewish people, as G-d commanded. Unfortunately, however, this same message has brought a terrible darkness upon the world; today, over 1.5 billion gentiles believe in Jesus. These lost souls mistakenly think they have found salvation in Jesus; tragically, they are in for a rude awakening. Truth and eternal life are found directly from G-d, through performing His Law. Any 'mediator' only separates man from G-d". But then once again, keep trying to approach God with a rebellious nature that does not seek Him, and keeps parts of the Law; enough to pride ones self as "good" but not the whole thing, and with no more sacrifice for sin, and not realizing we are already separated from Him. You'll see who's really in for a rude awakening!
they conclude by quoting "G-d is not a man, who can lie, nor the son of man, who relents.… He has not beheld iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen perverseness in Israel" (Numbers 23:19), applies "For their 'rock' is not like our Rock.… Where is their god, in whom they trusted?" (Deut. 32:31, 37) as a "prophetic" reference to "the Christian Church", "'See now that I, only I, am He, and there is no god with Me. I kill, and I bring to life; I wound, and I heal, and there is none who can rescue from My Hand.'" (Deut. 32:39), "I am the First and I am the Last; besides me there is no god.… Is there a god besides Me? There is no rock; I do not know any" (Isaiah 44:6), and "Israel is saved in Hashem with an eternal salvation.… Assemble yourselves and come, come near together, you gentiles who have escaped [the judgment]. (They have no knowledge, those who carry wooden sculptures and who pray to a god that does not save.) Announce and bring near, even take counsel together: Who declared this from ancient times, and announced it from then? Is it not I, Hashem? And there are no other gods beside Me, nor any righteous and saving god other than Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all ends of the earth, for I am G-d and there is none else. By Myself I swore, a righteous word went out of my mouth and it will not be withdrawn, that to Me every knee will bow and every tongue will swear" (Isaiah 45:17, 20-23). On their page regarding their campaign to abolish Christmas as apart of converting all gentiles to Noahidism (Xmas.html and Xmas2.htlm) they claim "Christianity, moreover, is absolute idolatry, not shittuf (partnership of deities), based on at least two of its beliefs (held almost universally by the estimated 1.9 billion Christians worldwide): (1) That the other two members of the "trinity" are of equal power and stature to Hashem (G-d forbid!)" [the other being "that the physical world is primarily under the dominion of the Satan"; which is once again, a distortion). But once again, Jesus is not seen as "another god", and sects who say that he is, or others who carry sculptures are not truly following the Christian faith. (Yet, once again; these groups that do that appeal to an "oral tradition"). Since the third "member" is the Holy Spirit; which Jews believe in and would say is equal to God, then do they have "another god" beside Hashem? Kabbalism, by the way; posits the same type of concept for God; but rather increases the number to ten! From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalah:
Most forms of Kabbalah teach that the Sefirot [emanations of God (or infinite light) into the universe] are not distinct from the Ein-Sof [the true, unknown nature of God], but are somehow within it. The idea that there are ten divine sefirot could evolve over time into the idea that "God is One being, yet in that One being there are Ten". This would be similar to the Christian belief in the Trinity, which states that while God is One, in that One there are three persons. This interpretation of Kabbalah in fact did occur among some European Jews in the 17th century.Even if one argues that "Most followers of Kabbalah never believed this interpretation of Kabbalah", the main difference is "the mainstream understanding of the Kabbalistic sefirot holds that they have no mind or intelligence; further, they are not addressed in prayer, and they can not become a human being. They are conduits for interaction - not persons or beings". But with one exception, the same can actually be argued for the Christian concept of the Trinity. Prayer is made to the Father, in Jesus name; but not necessarily TO Jesus himself. (He is the intercessor, recall). Some Christians would even say that there is only one mind in God. Karl Barth (who suffered in the Holocaust) said there are not three divine "I's", but one "I". So we see a great deal of double talk and deceit in making these charges against Christianity.
Rabbi Leon Modena, a 17th century Venetian critic of kabbalah, wrote that if we were to accept the Kabbalah, then the Christian trinity would indeed be compatible with Judaism, as the Trinity closely resembles the Kabbalistic doctrine of sefirot. This critique was in response to the fact that some Jews went so far as to address individual sefirot individually in some of their prayers.
Kabbalah had many other opponents, notably Rabbi Yitzchak ben Sheshet Perfet (The Rivash); he stated that Kabbalah was "worse than Christianity", as it made God into 10, not just into three.
Also, “G-d is not a man” in that context means He is not a lying sinner like man. It does not mean He cannot manifest Himself as a man. Once again, Jesus' relation to God is explained at triune.html, and may be hard to view as not compromising true monotheism, but before we even get to that deep theology, we must address the issue of how our sins are now atoned for, and if Jesus meets the requirement.
on paganism.htm we see:
"But these corrupt priests spread the lie that we need a mediator between G-d and man, without whom we cannot reach G-d. The phony 'mediators' became the idols and false gods worshipped by the deceived masses. The people were even fooled into believing that G-d dresses Himself in the body of a man, such as Pharoah of Egypt or the King of Tyre.(This site is full of such conspiratorial rhetoric; including for current events, especially concerning Israel and America!)
Likewise, the priests knew that the Law is the only path to eternal life, and that a sinner is forgiven and cleansed, not through any sacrifice, but only by returning back under the Law. In the Bible, King David declares before G-d:
"You will cleanse me with a hyssop plant and I will be pure; You will wash me and I will be whiter than snow....
"Because You will not desire a sacrifice, or I would give it; a burnt offering you will not want. The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit; a broken and crushed heart, G-d, You will not scorn."
Yet the pagan priests led the people away from true salvation, pretending that only the blood of sacrifices could appease the angry gods and goddesses. The priests mocked G-d's Law, which guides and blesses every part of our daily lives, by calling it a "curse" too burdensome for man to follow.
The priests of the different nations joined forces, becoming an international priesthood seducing and enslaving most of the world under paganism."
And "mediators" and blood sacrifices are the invention of pagan priests, and all God demanded all along was "returning to the Law", or "a broken spirit"? It is ironic; as this writer sounds just like a true Christian Gospel preacher in citing those scriptures. It is certainly true that what God desired were these virtues and not physical rituals. But rabbinicalism once again fails to explain how we are freed from those physical rituals, and what they were for in the first place. This writer now seems to deny that God ever ordered or recognized sacrifices and mediators in the first place! (Has he read the Torah at all? What he says would make Moses Himself one of these "pagan priests"!) Blood sacrifice goes back to the time of Adam, when God killed animals to provide a covering for their nakedness after they sinned and fell. Then it figures prominently in the stories of Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham and the rest of the patriarchs up to Moses and the Torah. The pagans who turned from God all descended from Noah and still had knowledge of the need for sacrifice, but of course, began directing them to false gods of their own making. Part of the reason for this, was that beginning with Adam and Eve, man was so separated from God by his sin, that he could not stand before Him and deal with Him directly. Adam and Eve hid, and those after them instead of worshipping Him directly, exchanged His glory for idols they themselves made. These were certainly easier to deal with than a Holy God.
Even Israel had Moses as a mediator who went up onto the mount on their behalf to receive the Law from Him. Even while he was up there, the Israelites, terrified of the true God, fashioned a golden calf to substitute. Then, God gave them the Torah, which had regular sacrifices for sin. No, these sacrifices could not actually atone for sin. The New Testament makes it clear that "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4), and that the sacrifices were only a reminder of sins every year as was stated. They reminded man of the severity of sin. Sin was not to be taken lightly. It would lead to a bloody, messy consequences, and it was really supposed to be the sinner being slaughtered like that. But it was all GRACE on the part of God. Since the sacrificial system did not really atone for sins, God allowed it to come to an end, and instead instituted something better. The sinless Messiah would now be the perfect sacrifice, and only by receiving him would you be covered by the atonement and have any forgiveness of sins. Then you would receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and be born again, enabling you to keep the Law better, (As we see promised in Ezekiel 11:19, 20; 36:26, 27 regarding the future restoration of Israel) and if you do sin, you will be convicted unto repentance.
another critical site: http://www.outreachjudaism.org/jesusdeath.html, states:
The ancient pagan religions promoted the same idea about atonement as Christendom continues to preach today (e.g. Molech). They would joyfully offer a child into the fires of their sacrificial offering in order to expiate their sins and appease the gods. Why would a child sacrifice be used in this pagan ritual rather than an adult? The reason is because a child is thoroughly innocent of sin. A child, they reasoned, could not have committed iniquity and thus mirrored the animal sacrifice which also had to be unblemished. The Torah therefore admonishes the children of Israel never to offer human sacrifices, and forewarned Jewish people of terrible consequences if this commandment were violated.
Moreover, if missionaries want to use Leviticus 17:11 to bolster their position that blood sacrifices are indispensable for procuring an atonement, they must use all of the verse, not just a part of it. Leviticus 17:11 specifically says that the blood of the sacrifice must be placed "upon the altar to make atonement for your souls." That is to say, Leviticus 17:11 explicitly declares that blood can only effect atonement if it is placed on the altar. Jesus' blood, however, was never placed on the altar. If the church is going to take the "blood" part of the verse literally, they must also take the "altar" part literally as well. Jesus' blood was never sprinkled on the altar, and therefore his death could not provide atonement for anyone.
Here again, we see a false likening of the Christian atonement with the pagan religions, and even "human sacrifice". But that "altar" in that case was spiritually, in the Heavenly Temple. In which case, again, it was not a literal "human sacrifice", and had nothing to do with the literal child sacrifices of the pagans, so this argument does not work. For one thing, children, though not as responsible as adults are still nevertheless "born in sin, shapen in iniquity"(Psalms 51:5), and thus could not legally make an "innocent" sacrifice anyway. That came from religions that did not believe in the sinfulness of man (more like Jews' and Muslims' concept of the Fall), and were trying to make an appeasement of their own guilt. That does show, however, that the concept that blood is required for sin is something universally engrained in man's conscience. It became distorted, however, as man built his own religions, with their own rituals, trying to do it their way instead of God's way. But the principle is universal, and fulfilled in Jesus.
In fact, in Hosea 3:4-5, the prophet foretold with divine exactness that the nation of Israel would not have a sacrificial system during the last segment of Jewish history until the messianic age. Hosea 3:4-5 reads,That if anything is another prophecy of the change of covenants, where the sacrificial system would be officially, legally replaced by Christ. Then forgiveness (at-one-ment —with God, or reconcilation) would be accessed by prayer. God didn't just arbitrarily throw away the sacrifical system; and out of nowhere suddenly declare "OK, you won't have to sacrifice anymore, just pray now", for no apparent reason without a covenantal basis; for the whole Temple system and the Law was tied to the covenant. The Temple system ceased because Israel kept sinning, and God withdrew His presence, and that's what allowed the Temple to be able to be twice destroyed by pagan armies in the first place! (And still, this begs the question of why it would be reinstituted in the future, according to their own plans). Of course, God knew and actually planned all of this anyway. It was a lesson He wrote in man's history confirming the Gospel and its method of salvation.
. . . for the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.
In the words of the Bible, this period of time would last for many days. Yet, despite the repeated proclamations of the church that the crucifixion of Jesus serves as a sin sacrifice today, the words of Hosea were meticulously fulfilled, and we are without an animal sacrificial system today.
Given the spiritual magnitude of this remarkable prophecy, Hosea was compelled to reveal how the ecclesiastical Temple functions were to be replaced. In essence, if the prophet is testifying that the nation of Israel will indeed be without a sacrificial system during their long exile until the messianic age, what are we to use instead? How are the Jewish people to atone for unintentional sin without a blood sacrifice during their bitter exile? What about all the animal sacrifices prescribed in the Book of Leviticus? Can the Jewish people get along without animal offerings? Missionaries claim they cannot. The Bible disagrees.
For this reason, the statement in Hosea 14:2-3 is crucial. In these two verses, Hosea reveals to his beloved nation how they are to replace the sacrificial system during their protracted exile. The prophet declares that the Almighty wants us to "render for bulls the offering of our lips." Prayer is to replace the sacrificial system. Hosea 14:2-3 states,
Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will render for bulls the offering of our lips."
King Solomon echoes this sentiment as well. In I Kings 8:46-50, King Solomon delivers a startling prophetic message as he inaugurates the first Temple that had just been completed. In his inauguration sermon, King Solomon forewarns that one day the Jewish people would be driven out of the land of Israel, and be banished to the land of their enemies, near and far. During their exile they would fervently desire to repent of their sins. King Solomon then declares that they would face Jerusalem from their exile, confess their sins, "and God will hear their prayers in heaven, and forgive them for all their transgressions."There may not have been any direct mention in that particular passage, but still, the criterion that has been offered for the fulfillment of these prophecies for the Messiah to come are things like "If all of Israel keeps one sabbath perfectly", "if they keep two in a row perfectly", "If everyone is contrite and repentant", and stuff like that. It is not a mere "theological impossibility to Christians", but a real impossibility to man. Man obviously has never been able to be even that limitedly perfect, and forget ceasing to sin for good afterward; so what makes anyone think that someday in the future he will get it right? Why don't the people "just do it", then? What is preventing them? This places our trust in ourselves, and not in God and his mercy. And as was pointed out before, the Jews of Jesus' time may have gone to the opposite extreme from their fathers in the rigorous application of the Law, but Jesus exposed them as just as corrupt as their fathers, and we see they abused the Law. Rather than this fulfilling the prophecies regarding the exile, and the "desire to repent", it became the "final straw" that ended the original nation for millennia to come. And also remember these prophecies in light of the charge that God "changed his mind". Obviously, something changed in God's dealing with His people!
There was no mention of a cross or a dead messiah in King Solomon's prophetic message. Only the contrite and repentant prayer of the remorseful sinner can bring about a complete atonement. Although King Solomon's timeless message stands out as a theological impossibility in Christian terms, it remains the centerpiece of the Jew's system of atonement throughout his long and bitter exile.
|"There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin"|
Here is what the true table of comparisons looks like:
|Gospel of Christ||Rabbinical interpretation and Noahidism|
|66 Books of the Bible written by God with over 40 writers as secretary||Rabbinic writings written by man to interpret Torah, supplement Prophets and other writings, and explain away the Gospel|
|God creates man in His own Image; but man falls into sin(Gen.3, 6:5, etc.); God sends Christ to redeem man (Deut.18:15-19, Zech.9:9)||Man creates Messiah in his own image and thus rejects the one actually sent by God when He fails to live up to people's expectations (take over world immediately, etc)|
|New Testament quotes God, and is the final revelation of His plan.||Rabbinic writings once again are retrospective interpretations of scripture|
|Man's purpose is to serve God through His commandments; but his sin nature has disabled him from fulfilling this.(Psalms 53:1-3, Eccl.7:20) God therefore has to reach down to us and provide salvation for free.(Is.52:7-10) This makes us completely dependant on Him!||Man has the ability to save himself through works of the Law--even though we do not see anybody living up to this; and know deep down inside that we can't. Yet we still depend on ourselves (and thus don't really need God, except to use to try to subject others)|
|God's commandments are binding obligations, and are only possible as fruits of the Spirit (Ezek.11:19, 18:31, 36:26)||God's law is (basically) a nice ideal, as we don't actually live up to it, so it is only to "repent" and keep trying that justifies us. The Spirit of God seems to have no place in this.|
|Followers of Christ believe in the Bible because it is the testimony that God; who is believed in by faith, leaves to us (Is.8:20, 34:16)||Rabbinicalism believes in their traditions because their interpretations of the Bible tell them to|
|Followers of Christ allow the Bible to interpret itself. God-inspired text all fits together, and support common clear teachings in a coherent fashion.||Rabbinicalism interprets the Bible through their traditions, which men wrote down according to their own ideas and opinions|
|Christians believe in all of God's prophets and His Messiah; whom He gave authority to.||Rabbinicalism rejects those sent from God who do not conform to their traditions, and substitutes their own authorities|
|God allows evil to exist, and does use it for His purposes, but this evil comes from fallen men (Jer.17:9) and angels, not God, whom is all good||Rejecting the full revelation of God, evil is now on one hand downplayed, (while evildoers against Israel, America, etc. are continued to be railed against!) The significance of the power of the devil over man is ignored, so evil is associated with the acts of certain people, rather than man's universal sin nature|
|God created and runs the world, and will destroy evil and death by setting up a Kingdom of regenerated, resurrected saints(Jer.31:33-5 Ezek.37)||Evil will be be destroyed when all the world is brought under the rule of a physical "chosen nation" through the "evangelism" of Noahites. Carnal man brings in God's kingdom with his own power. Death (brought by the curse from the fall of man) apparently continues forever|
|God draws man closer, as man (beginning with Adam) by nature runs away from God (Gen.3:8-11, 21, Is.65:2) and falls into sin. This is purely by God's grace (Zech.12:10)||Man draws himself closer through works of the Law, and thinks he is buying salvation or earthly rewards in doing so. God would then be indebted to man|
|Man follows the spiritual Law of God "written on the heart" (Jer.31:33)||Man tries to follow the Letter of the Law according to his own reasoning and interpretation of what it means; adding many details that are not really there, while sliding in "the weightier matters", and even some lesser inconsistencies overlooked|
|Man proclaims God's salvation to the world, and aims to make life better along the way; realizing ultimately that "our life is but a vapor (Job 7:7) that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away" into eternity. This cannot be denied.||Man lives for this world only, hoping that his [imperfect] works might save him after death|
|Man is cut off from God by his sin; but God has sent His Messiah (whom the high priest of the Torah foreshadowed) as our advocate before God; thus allowing us to be redeemed (Zech.6:12-15)||Man's prayer (still heard even though he does not really keep the Law) and incomplete repentance can somehow pass before God. His failure in this area is just excused if he simply keeps trying. How we were granted this access when the Torah said we were cut off is not explained; but just assumed|
|Our walk in the Spirit is a privilege and opportunity that provides true freedom||The Gospel, which makes it clear we can no longer pretend to be justified by the works of the Law, becomes a "rock of offense, and a stone of stumbling". (Isaiah 28:16, Psalms 118:22)|
|God makes covenants with man, but man continuously broke them. God then made a new covenant, (Jer. 31:31-4) in which man is justified by grace. Since this covenant is all of God; it cannot be broken by man.||Man is assumed to have kept God's covenants faithfully, so they continue forever. God once had Temple rituals that pictured redemption; but then He "changed His mind" and decided that blood was no longer needed, and in fact, had no real meaning at all. So man is now saved by his own works, and without any sort of blood sacrifice.|
son.htm concluded, regarding a "chasidic Gentile": "He prays to G-d in the proper way, according to G-d's instructions. He also helps the poor, and he guides his fellow humans -- including non-religious Jews -- back to G-d's Law. A Hasidic Gentile learns how to redeem every part of his life from the emptiness of modern existence, becoming a 'soldier' in G-d's spiritual army." This is what Christians aim to do, even if they fail. Yet we see that there is much assumption, misunderstanding, mischaracterization, generalization, and outright lies in these charges made against Christianity and Jesus. This would not be compatible with either the Mosaic or Noahide Laws. If people are really trusting in their keeping of either Law to justify themselves, we see that they are failing miserably. So "by the works of the Law shall no flesh be saved". We need a substitute to pay the penalty for these sins on our behalf. Please be willing to allow for the possibility that you may have been wrong, and that God is true and every man a liar when He says that there is none who does not sin, and that you cannot approach him with filthy hands, no matter how much you try to do better. You must be cleansed. You need to seek and find out how.
Christians' Responses to Jews
As in many other areas, Christians have often made many mistakes in relations to Jews; going from one extreme to the other. Of course, most now realize that the rabid anti-semitism of Church history was wrong. Yet, some vestiges of the ideology behind it still lurks about in some teachings.
On one hand, we have those who pamper the Jews, based on their interpretation of Genesis 12:3 "I will bless those who bless thee, and curse those who curse thee". To these Christians, that means we must always side with the modern state of Israel, and some fundamentalist ministries such as the fairly popular Chick Publications can be seen proclaiming curses upon those nations or groups of people who have not gotten along with or sided with the Jews. However, many Jews can see right through this, as it stems from the Dispensationalistic view that the Jews must suffer basically another Holocaust to bring them to repentance in connection with the return of Christ. Then, many of these same groups will then spout the same "stubborn stiff-necked Christ-rejecting Israel", stereotype used by others, discussed below. It is true that this term was used in the New Testament, but people like Stephen who used it were themselves Jews, and had taken it directly from the Prophets. It is better to criticize one's own group, that way, there will be no appearance of ethnic bias. The stubbornness of the Jews stands out so much in the Bible, only because they were the ones "chosen" for God's plan, which included the lesson that even with God directly leading a nation, giving them His laws, etc. man was still sinful. Thus it was Israel who wound up "hardened" when God began reaching out to the rest of the world (Romans 9). If any other group had been chosen; it would have been the same thing. I don't know where anyone gets any idea that the pagan gentiles were now the "better" group; or even the new "chosen" as some seem to think.
Next, we have the explosive issue of the Jews' role in the Crucifixion, especially in light of the recent Mel Gibson's "Passion of Christ" film. The movie was criticized as portraying the Jews in a very bad light. From the early centuries, Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, had in the past condemned the Jews as "Christ killers", and this was often used as the justification for their persecution. So naturally, many are touchy on the subject. Gibson, from a conservative "old Catholic" type sect refused to stray from the biblical text in order to soften the Jews' guilt (He did stray enough to include some Catholic traditions, though!)
I have always argued that both sides are equally guilty in the death of Christ; after all, it was all who sinned, and needed to be covered by his blood. The Romans knew he was innocent, but still went along with it because they feared an uprising. That certainly was not free of guilt.
Then, when I saw the movie, (well after its DVD release, because I am squeamish regarding the gore!), the people who looked the worst to me were the inhuman bloodthirsty Roman soldiers. The Pharisees simply looked like old stodgy religious hypocrites; but that did not seem as bad as the Romans. Still, neither side was any better or worse, but equally guilty, and we are all to trust Christ to cleanse us, not go on arguing about who had more blame in his death!
Then, we have Christian ministries to the Jews, such as Jews For Jesus, who have come under fire for some of their tactics, plus increased efforts on the subways and other places, and rhetoric; such as "Jews become completed by accepting Jesus as Messiah". Johnathan Cahn of Hope of Israel ministries, who is a great teacher on this and other subjects, (and a bit more serious than the comical pamphets of J4J) also uses such language on his call-in radio show and public access cable show. Part of the problem is that "Jewry" has become both a religion and an ethnic identity, and Jews know that Christians generally don't keep the Jewish laws, (and that those who do don't really have to); so in their view, we're telling them to become better Jews by basically, becoming non-Jewish altogether! This seems sneaky and dishonest, and to me it does seem we shoot this at them as if they should automatically understand it as a "given". This is part of what makes them think we are "invalidating" their religion, which is one of the charges this article started with. (Thus Jews have countered with organizations such as "Jews for Judaism"). The truth concerning the concept of "completed Jews" comes from passages like Paul's "he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart (Romans 2:29), which is taken from Jeremiah's "I will write my Laws on their hearts" (31:33), and Deut.30:6 and others' "And the LORD will circumcise your heart". The word "Jew" is from "Judah", which means "praiser of God".(Gen.29:35) And since these prophecies promised this would be spiritual, we see this transcends any religious, ethnic or traditional necessity. If Noahite gentiles are acknowledged as truly following and praising God, then right there, they are spiritually Jews, without keeping the whole Torah. And if Jesus is the Messiah who did fulfill those prophecies, then that is why we can speak of Christianity as "completed Judaism". But since "Judaism" has a specific religious, ethnic and cultural connotation in most people's minds, and is seen as a completely distinct religion from Christianity, we should be a bit more sensitive and not force this down their throats.
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