Jeremiah 31 teaches that Christianity is NOT the New Covenant

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Jeremiah 31 Teaches that Christianity is NOT the New Covenant

Christians point to the passage in Jeremiah as the foundation for their faith. Jeremiah speaks of a New Covenant, and Christianity insists that it is a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy.

A thoughtful reading of the relevant passage in Jeremiah will reveal that Christianity is the very antithesis of the New Covenant predicted by Jeremiah.
The prophet describes the New Covenant as something that is unique to the Jewish people. It will set them apart from other nations (Jeremiah 31:32, 35, Ezekiel 37:28). In sharp contra-distinction, Christianity claims to have broken down the barrier of separation between Jew and gentile (Ephesians 2:14).
The prophet describes the New Covenant as a positive development in the history of Israel (Jeremiah 31:25, 27). The advent of Christianity ushered in a period of darkness for Israel.
The prophet describes the New Covenant as something that…

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Unanswered: Did Dr. Brown Address Deuteronomy 30?

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Cry of Grace

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Cry of Grace

The haftora that we read on Channuka ends with an rebuke to Zerubavel’s opponents. “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubavel (you will) become a plain. He will bring out the cornerstone, with cheers of ‘grace, grace!’ for it” (Zechariah 4:7).

Zerubavel was attempting to lay the foundations of the Second Temple and there were many who opposed him. The prophet compares his opponents to a great mountain. As Zerubavel takes out the cornerstone for the Temple the great mounatin will turn into a plain, in other words his opponents will simply dissipate. And when people see that cornerstone of the Temple they will loudly express their excitement over the beauty of this stone. The power of the cornerstone to blow away the enemies of Israel lies in its grace and beauty.

The opponents that we faced during the days of the Second Temple were also…

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Who Are You Talking To? – Excerpt from Supplement

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

I. 37. Page 110

Brown’s compares of the accusation that the Christian Scriptures is a book of hate to the anti-Semitic accusation that the Talmud is a book of immorality. This analogy is outrageous. No one who revered the Talmud ever read it as a license to be immoral, but many people who are still considered authorities on the Christian Scriptures read it as a license to hate Jews.

There is another relevant question that must be asked here. The entire purpose of communication is to transport ideas from the mind of the communicator to his intended audience. The words the communicator uses are not the end-goal of the act of communicating. The words are just a means to reach the end-goal. The ultimate purpose of any communication is the ideas that the target audience walks away with. With this information in front of us, we can appreciate why any…

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Resonance

Resonance – Psalm 119:54

Christians see the Jewish Scripture as a music sheet of an exquisite song. The point of the Christian song is Jesus but the harmony reverberates in the Christian’s ear from every page of the book.

Then the Christian meets a Jew. The Jew tells him that this book has nothing to do with Jesus. The Christian listens to the Jewish arguments about translation and context and is unmoved. In the mind of the Christian, the Jew is making a tragic mistake. The Jew is reading the music notes without realizing that this is music. The Jew seems to be looking at the notes as if they were a story about some stickmen climbing a ladder. How can you argue with someone about music when they are completely tone-deaf?

What the Christian fails to realize is that music is subjective. Those who composed the Jesus song used the notes that they found in the Jewish Bible but the song did not come from the book; it came from their hearts. When a person’s heart is overwhelmed with love and devotion then they hear music everywhere.

The Jewish Scripture is a book of music but it is important to bend your heart to the music of the book and not bend the book to the music of your heart.

The music is deep and the music is rich. It starts from the simple and straightforward meaning of the words. It continues through the observance of the commandments in the life of Eternal Israel. Israel’s prayer, Israel’s conversation over God’s Law and Israel’s life as God’s witnesses resonate through the ages. Each of these contributes to the overall harmony and not one of these is ignored.

The pain and persecutions of exile have caused the song to become dim in the ears of some. But for some the song rang so deeply that they gave their lives for God with happy hearts.

As time wanders along more and more people are hearing the song. The basic notes of justice, charity and holiness point to a faith and trust in the One Creator who loves us all.

This is how the song goes:

In the beginning God created heaven and earth…

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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An Open Letter to a Closed Mind – by Jim

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Bible 819 has been commenting on this blog for a while now. He/She has not engaged in dialogue, but has been preaching with his/her ears closed. Here is one of Jim’s enlightening responses to this closed-minded commenter.  

Bible819,

You present us with an interesting choice. You say that one cannot trust the judgment of the Jewish people. You claim that they have been unfaithful to their mission. You claim that they are no longer the witnesses of God upon the face of the earth. But of course I know that these claims do not originate with you. Of course not; they originate with the Church. And against the claims of the Church, we have the appointment of the Jewish people by God. So now we must consider the claims of these two parties, that of the Church and that of God.

According to the Church, the Jewish people rejected…

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Who is the Messiah? – excerpt from Covenant Nation

Who is the Messiah?
Boyarin wraps up his arguments by telling his readers that the followers of Jesus did not “invent” the idea of a divine savior, but rather that they drew this idea from the well-springs of Jewish thought that was current in their times. Boyarin argues that the Jewish concept of Messiah as it was understood in the generations preceding Jesus included, or at least allowed for, a second divine figure that is to suffer and die (TJG, pg. 160). The followers of Jesus simply applied these ancient Jewish teachings to Jesus of Nazareth, but they did not invent these teachings.

Aside from the fact that Boyarin ignores the evidence of the Christain Scriptures which clearly indicate that Jesus’ followers did NOT expect Jesus to suffer and die, this after they had positively identified him as the Messiah, Boyarin has also missed the heart and soul of the Jewish concept of Messiah. Interestingly, he did not miss it entirely, he actually included one crumb of Judaism in his description of the Messiah – but he failed to follow up on that one authentic thought that made its way into his book.

Boyarin acknowledges that the Jewish understanding of the Messiah that preceded Jesus would have the Messiah redeem Israel from the “Seleucid and then Roman oppression” (TJG, pg. 160). What happened? Did Jesus do anything of the sort? How did the followers of Jesus identify him as the Messiah without him fulfilling this basic Messianic function?

This leads us to the next question; why were the Jewish people waiting for the Messiah? Was it just so that they could be redeemed from Roman oppression? Was this simply a nationalistic aspiration that was divorced from anything spiritual?

Of-course not! The Jewish people understood that they were called by the Almighty God to testify to the truth of His Oneness by following His Law and obeying His word. They recognized that they had fallen short of their calling, but they still remained loyal to the core of their standing as a chosen nation before God – they had not committed themselves in worship to another god (Psalm 44:21).

The Messianic hope in Judaism centers on Israel’s loyalty to God. Israel looks forward to the day when all of humanity will abandon the worship of idols and serve God together with Israel (Zephaniah 3:9). God alone will be exalted on that day (Isaiah 2:11,17). All will recognize that worship of anyone but the God of Israel is wrong and futile (45:14). And Israel’s loyalty to this truth will be rewarded (49:23).

Israel is waiting to hear one phrase: “Your God has reigned” (Isaiah 40:9; 52:7). In Israel’s God centered heart, this is all that is important. Israel’s human king, like David his ancestor, is not someone who eclipses God’s sovereignty, but is someone whose own humility before God is the catalyst to bring everyone’s heart in line with the truth of God’s sovereignty.

In a certain sense, Judaism views world history as a love story that takes place between herself and her Divine lover. The exodus from Egypt which culminated with the Sinai revelation was the wedding. When the Divine presence came to dwell in Solomon’s Temple, Israel understood that God had come to dwell with His beloved bride. When foreign oppressors trampled the Jewish people underfoot, Israel understood that the relationship between themselves and God was being challenged. But Israel looked forward to the Messianic era, when her relationship with God will shine as the light of the universe (Isaiah 60:2). The Messianic promise for Israel is God’s promise that He will forever remain Israel’s husband.

The Church took this concept and turned it on its head. Instead of a time when Israel is reunited with her Divine lover, the Church taught that the Messiah introduced a deep division and estrangement between Israel and God. Instead of honoring man’s focus on the Creator of heaven and earth, the Church’s version of the Messianic age introduces a new central focus for humanity; a focus on Jesus. Instead of celebrating God’s relationship with Israel, Christianity celebrates Jesus’ relationship with those who “believe in him”. The Church ripped out the heart and soul of Israel’s messianic vision; they ripped out the words “God” and “Israel” and put in their place; “Jesus” and “Church”. The fact that they used some Jewish ideas in constructing their theology does not make their theology “Jewish”. The Jewish concept of Messiah and the Christian concept of Messiah are polar opposites.

Did this happen in the first generation of Jesus’ Jewish followers? Probably not. According to the book of Acts (Ch. 21), the Jewish following of Jesus saw the worship in the Temple as central to their communal identity, even to the degree of bringing animal offerings for the forgiveness of sin. It is entirely possible that the Jewish disciples of Jesus hoped for a day when God alone is exalted and those who believe in Him are vindicated, with Jesus merely serving as an agent of God.

In Paul’s teachings we already see the shift in focus from God to Jesus and from Israel to “believers”. Paul never claims to have acquired his ideas from the wells-springs of Jewish thought as Boyarin would have us believe. Rather, Paul tells us that his theology was the product of his own personal visions. The Christian Scriptures themselves testify that Paul’s teachings did not go unopposed. It is clear that it was the original Jewish following of Jesus who opposed Paul’s anti-Jewish theology. Ultimately, Paul’s theology won out and Christianity became what it is today.

Boyarin’s attempt to rewrite Church history and to rewrite Jewish theology ignores the available evidence. But even more serious is Boyarin’s effort to portray Judaism as if it was a hodgepodge of conflicting ideas. Judaism is not a theology, it is a relationship. It is an eternal covenantal relationship between the Creator of heaven and earth and His beloved bride; Israel.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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