The Second Commandment – a letter by Concerned Reader

The exile could not possibly be caused by Israel refusing to pray to or pay homage to a son of man, Period! Do you know how I know this clearly and unambiguously?

“You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars–all the heavenly array–do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” (Deuteronomy 4:15-19)

Your gospel texts confirm that I have the right reading of Deuteronomy 4 because when the beast of revelation comes seeking worship as a man claiming to be a god sitting in the temple, your book tells you to ignore such a one at the cost of your very life.

Ergo, you have a double standard, special pleading, and cognitive dissonance that you are applying unconsciously only in the case of the Nazarene.

I say the Bible teaches unilaterally not to pray to or pay homage to anything that looks like a human being.

You would say the same, but you make an exception for Jesus.

However, I do not even see a physical Nazarene anywhere on planet earth at the moment do you?
You say he is in heaven!

Meanwhile, I see images, sects, and pop culture images everywhere!

So, in the here and now, what is it in terms of actual divine service that you are advocating?

Christian services.

You would love people to go to a Church on Sunday, or Saturday and look at a wooden image of a man on a cross, and hear the stories, hoping that they be reminded and associate this image and various prophetic texts with Yeshua who died 2,000 years ago.

The verses I gave you just above would completely contradict this kind of religious service in form if not functionally as foreign to the covenant.

You never met Jesus, neither did I, we only heard the stories from pastors and family. Based on these stories, we went to Church, where we saw crosses or Crucifixes, and they said “Jesus died for you” pointing to that image!

Imagine if instead of a golden calf, Israel had made a golden Moses.

Based off of their memories of him, they teach the people.

Imagine that while Moses is on the mountain, the people of Israel are telling stories of his mighty works and setting up communities. People go to large temples and gaze at the Golden Moses behind the pulpit and they are healed from all matter of diseases. They sing songs about Moses, they celebrate his birth, his miraculous escape from Egyot, and they await the day he will return.

Now, imagine that he is on the mountain for 1,000 years. Everyone who knew him while he was on earth has died. Are you telling me that he would recognize a damn thing when he comes down with the tablets of the law?

I submit to you, that this is the only kind of service you could ever be advocating for concerning Jesus, because that kind of service is all the gospels have to offer.

Posted in The Ultimate Truth | 12 Comments

Invisible Proof – a Letter by Jim

I thought I should draw attention to a point that has been stated many
times, but perhaps could bear repeating. When you write that the
Christian messiah rules in heaven, so that he fulfills the passage in
Jeremiah from which you quoted, it should be noted that this is a claim
without any evidence, fitting within the pattern of general Christian
proofs which are invisible. If Jesus rules in a heavenly realm, none of
us can know that. Yet, the passage does contain elements that would be
visible if they had been fulfilled. Jeremiah writes of a time of peace,
a time when Judah will be saved and when Jerusalem would be secure
(Jeremiah 33:16). If these things had happened in the time of Jesus,
they would have been observed and known. However, the opposite happened.
Shortly after the coming of the Christian messiah, no one could say that
Judah had been saved or that Jerusalem dwelt in security. Instead, great
tragedy befell them.

One observes then, that the Christian claims lack credibility, because
any element of a prophecy that could be tested, Jesus is supposed to
have fulfilled in secret. Any elements that would be known publicly, he
did not fulfill. While Christians claim that Jesus fulfilled many
prophecies, these fulfillments must be taken on faith, for they are
private events of which virtually no one had any knowledge. One must be
highly dubious of the claims to fulfilled prophecy that happen in secret.

Let me ask you, honestly, would you accept similar proofs from any other
claimant to the title of Messiah or even Prophet? Let us say a man
arises, claiming to the Jesus returned, and he submits as proof to you
that he just descended from the clouds, privately, in an event witnessed
by few or no one, would you not be right to doubt his claims? Of course
you would be. And, if he claimed that he had been at the right hand of
the Father for the past two millenia, would you accept the mere claim?
Would you pledge him fealty? Would you do his bidding? If not, then on
what grounds do you expect others to behave any differently?

The fulfillment of prophecy in private is not proof of anything, by
nature of the proof being unknown. The missionary claim that Jesus
fulfilled oh-so-many prophecies is baseless, because even if a great
many of those prophecies were not misrepresentations by the Church, they
were fulfilled privately and cannot serve to verify his claims. For
example, he was supposed to have been born in Bethlehem in fulfillment
of messianic prophecy, yet his birth in Bethlehem was a private event,
unknown to the populace. (See John 7:42.) Allowing that Jesus may
actually have been born in Bethlehem—and ignoring questions of Christian
misinterpretation of Micah—this cannot be used as a piece of evidence in
support of the Church’s claim that he is the messiah, because the event
was unknown. His resurrection falls in the same category. It cannot be
used to establish the legitimacy of his prophecy, because it was not
fulfilled publicly. It is an untestable claim.

One must find it highly suspicious that observable prophecies, such as
the security of Jerusalem, were not fulfilled in Jesus’ time, while he
fulfilled all kinds of unobservable prophecies, like sitting on a
spiritual throne far from the eyes of men. All the qualities of the
messiah that one could observe, he does not have. He has only certain
qualities that cannot be observed, that must be accepted on faith—and
under threat of Hellfire everlasting! Of course, the Church tells us
that he will fulfill those publicly observable items later, but then,
that too is nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim, no less dubious.

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Breath

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

The Breath

The deepest yearning of man is the longing to connect with God. It is not enough for a person to know with the mind and the intellect that God exists. We yearn for connection, we yearn to experience God.

In the material world we distinguish between knowledge that is purely intellectual on the one hand and between sensory knowledge on the other. Abstract concepts that were not illustrated to us in the physical world, such as the solution to a mathematical equation, remain in the realm of the intellect. We do not connect with such knowledge on any level of depth. We have not experienced that knowledge. In sharp contrast to intellectual knowledge, we have sensory knowledge, concepts that we encountered through our senses. A scene that we saw, sounds that we heard, experiences that impacted us on the level of the sensory. These concepts touch our inner…

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Lineage of the Messiah

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Differences – Excerpt from “The Council of My Nation”

Differences

What are our theological differences? To put it simply, we can narrow it down to four major differences. There are the issues of idolatry, the Law of Moses, atonement, and Messiah. I think it is important that we define these differences before we go on. Our opposing perspectives gives each of us a different way of looking at each of these issues.

 

 

Idolatry.

The Jewish people identify Christianity’s devotion to a certain person, as idolatrous. This assertion is harsh on Christian ears. Christians consider themselves monotheists and they see their devotion as worship of the One God of Israel. Because of their preconceived notions it is difficult for Christians to appreciate the serious nature of this matter. In order to help you see things in a different light, I will ask you to consider the following question; – If the devotion that Christians apply to their savior were to be directed at another man – would that be idolatry? Do you not realize that if the Christian savior is not what his devotees claim him to be then he is “another man”?

 

 

With an appreciation for the seriousness of the issue, we can define the question. Do the Jewish scriptures advocate devotion to a man? Does it allow this devotion? Or does it prohibit this devotion in the strongest terms?

 

 

The Law of Moses.

This one is tricky, because of the divergence of opinion amongst Jewish Christians on this subject. Many Jewish Christians consider themselves “free” from the Law of Moses, they believe that it no longer applies on a practical level. Others accept the binding nature of the Law of Moses, but accept only those laws explicitly written in the Five Books. Others yet accept the full body of the Law of Moses as defined by the living legacy of the Jewish nation. The basis for this position is the recognition that the Christian savior himself believed this way and that he lead his life accordingly.

 

 

The Jewish contention with each of these positions can be stated in the following terms. To the first group  – We believe that the law of Moses is eternal in nature and is binding upon all of the Jewish people in all generations. To the second group – We believe that the living legacy of the Jewish people is the only context from within which to approach observance of the Law. As for the third group, at first glance it would seem that we are in total agreement, but this is not so. Although the third group accepts that the living legacy of the Jewish nation is the only true context for the Law, they differ with us over some key issues. They do not accept the Jewish definition of the law of idolatry.

 

 

We will have to examine the Jewish scripture as it relates to each of these issues. Does the Jewish scripture acknowledge that the living legacy of the nation is the repository for the law – specifically the law of idolatry? Is the law of Moses binding upon every generation of Jews? What do the Jewish scriptures teach us in these areas?

 

 

Atonement.

Here too, Christians differ in their approach. All Christians agree that no atonement can be achieved without devotion to their savior. The divergence relates to the role of repentance in the atonement process. Some are of the opinion that no action on man’s part can play a role in the atonement process, thus repentance is believed to be a result of atonement and not a cause for atonement. Others accept that repentance is a necessary prerequisite for atonement, but that devotion to the Christian savior is necessary to complete the process. The Jewish position is that repentance is the key component in the atonement process. When man repents, God forgives. We will search the Jewish scriptures for guidance on this matter.

 

 

Messiah.

Christians view the Jewish rejection of the Christian Messiah as the most significant issue dividing the Christian and the Jew. The fact is though that the difference runs much deeper. Our respective understandings of the very concept of Messiah stand poles apart from each other. Aside from the technical issues, such as the difference of opinion about the virgin birth (Christians believe that the Messiah must be born from a virgin while the Jews believe that the Messiah must have a human father from the line of David,) there are some deep theological issues such as the questions of divinity and atonement. Christians believe that the Messiah must be divine, while the Jews believe that he is human. Christians believe that there is no atonement without devotion to the Messiah, while Jews believe that devotion to the Messiah has no bearing on the atonement process. (These two issues – divinity and atonement – are subsumed in the previous categories.)

 

 

Still, the list of differences does not end here. The entire thrust of the Christian concept of Messiah runs counter to the Jewish understanding of this same matter. Christians believe that a new election is achieved through devotion to the Messiah. This means that just as the Jews were elected by God on account of their fathers, Christians are elected by God on account of faith in their Messiah. Some Christians believe that this election supersedes the election of the Jewish people – in other words the Jewish people are no longer God’s elect. Others believe that these elections are parallel to each other and that there are two elect people, the Jews, and those devoted to the Christian Messiah.

The Jewish people accept no such election. They see this claim to election as the antithesis of the entire thrust of God’s Messianic promise. The hope and yearning for the Messianic age is very different in the heart of the Jew than the hope that goes by the same name in the heart of the Christian. One yearns for the ingathering of the scattered of the Jewish people, a rebuilt temple, observance of the Law of Moses, and worldwide worship of the God of Israel, while the Christian looks forward to the vindication of the devotees of his Messiah to the shame of the Jewish people, he looks forward to a world in which the only recognized method of atonement is devotion to the same man. Many Christians are also looking forward to the ultimate nullification of the Law of Moses.

 

 

Finally, we have the issue of unfulfilled Messianic prophecy. So much of the prophecies concerning the Messiah have not been fulfilled. Can we accept the Christian explanation of the second coming of the Messiah? Is there scriptural justification for this doctrine? Can one claim the title “Messiah” and demand the honor contained in that title without having fulfilled all of the Messianic prophecies?  We must examine the Jewish scriptures with each of these positions in mind. We must ask ourselves, on which side of this debate would the prophets of scripture have found themselves?

 

 

With the opposing views relating to these issues in mind we can begin our search of the Jewish scriptures. Which position does the Jewish scripture support, is it the Christian position or the Jewish one?

Before we begin, I would like to make an important point. If our search turns out inconclusive (- I don’t expect this to happen, but just in case -), then I will consider it a modest victory for the Jewish position. Firstly, at least the myth of the supernatural Jewish blindness will have been successfully debunked. If the Jewish scriptures are inconclusive, then no supernatural explanations are necessary to explain the Jewish non-acceptance of Christianity. Of far greater magnitude though, is the issue of idolatry. If one is has the slightest doubt about the theology of the divinity of the Christian Messiah, then there is no moral justification to commit oneself in worship. The risk is far too great. If you are mistaken, then your worship is the greatest rebellion against God imaginable!

 

 

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Separating the False Prophet from the True

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The Universal Principles of Justice and Charity – Excerpt from: Christianity Unmasked

The Universal Principles of Justice and Charity

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3 – 7:27) is perhaps one of the most famous teachings of Christianity. In this Sermon, Jesus presents some basic and beautiful truths. The basic principles of morality, justice and kindness are articulated in this teaching clearly and concisely. But if you step back and look at the literary structure of the book of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount takes on a different character entirely.

The underlying theme of the book of Matthew (and Christianity as a whole) is the exaltation of Jesus and the emphasis of humanity’s “need” for Jesus. The author of the book of Matthew presents the Sermon on the Mount not so much as a teaching on how to live a moral life but as an argument for the superiority of Jesus. Immediately after the Sermon (Matthew7:28,29) the author tells us how the crowds were amazed at the teaching; not because of the beauty of the truths they contained, but because Jesus spoke with incomparable “authority”. Key segments of the Sermon are introduced with the phrase: “You have heard that it was said to them of old time” and contrasted with “But I (Jesus) say to you”. This literary device accentuates the fictitious notion that Jesus is the originator of these universal truths and that they were unknown to mankind until Jesus uttered them to his audience.

But this is false. These universal principles of justice and charity were planted by the Creator into the heart of every man and woman; they belong to all of us. Every one of us is sensitive to an injustice that we suffer at the hands of another. We are all acutely aware that injustice is wrong and evil when we find ourselves at the receiving end of an injustice. This is the guide that our Creator gave us all to teach us these universal principles. Every civilization has produced individuals who have brought greater clarity to these universal principles through the lives they lived and through the words they uttered. Clarifying and articulating these universal principles is good and Godly; falsely claiming to be the originator of these universal principles is not.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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