Christianity teaches that no good works of men are counted as righteous before God. It is difficult to think of a concept that is more contrary to the Jewish scriptures. The Tabernacle and the Temple narratives, which take up so much of scripture, tell us how God favors the obedient works of men – Exodus 25:1-31:11, 35:4-40:38, Leviticus 8:1-9:24 Numbers 7:1-8:26, 1Kings 5:16-8:13, 2Chronicles 1:18-7:3. These narratives show us how important this concept is to God. The fact that the details of the people’s obedience are recounted and repeated demonstrates how significant these acts are in God’s eyes.
The following scriptural references all demonstrate that the Christian teaching which denigrates the deeds of men has no basis in the words of the Living God.
Genesis 7:1, 18:19, 22:16,18, 26:5, 30:18, Exodus 1:21, 4:25,26, 15:26, 20:6, 23:22,25, Leviticus 25:18,19, 26:3-13, Numbers 15:40, Deuteronomy 17:18-20, 30:11-20, 32:47, 1Samuel 12:14, 15:22, 2Samuel 22:21-27, 1Kings 2:3, 3:14, 6:12,13, 8:23,25, 9:4,5, 11:33,34,38, 14:8, 15:5, 2Kings 10:30, Jeremiah 7:3-7,23, 9:23, 17:7-8,10, 22:1-4,16, Ezekiel 3:21, 18:5-9, 17, 20:11, Isaiah 1:19, 3:10, 56:4-7, 58:8-14, Hosea 6:6, 10:12, Amos 5:14,15, Zephaniah 2:3, Psalm 1:1-3, 15:1-5, 18:21-27, 24:3-5, 25:10, 37:31, 41:2, 103:17,18, 106:30,31, 112:1-10, 128:1-6, Proverbs 12:22, 13:6, 15:26, 16:6, 19:17, 21:3,21, Ecclesiastes 12:13,14, Daniel 9:4, 12:3, Nehemiah 1:5, 1Chronicles 22:13, 2Chronicles 7:17, 15:7.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
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I think you’ll find positive verses about works in the New Testament too.
What you’re criticising is not Christianity itself, but Luther’s thrust on grace, to the denigration of works.
That’s why Luther hated the book of James:
Hi Yisroel (which is my father’s name, now deceased).
Hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name.
I’ve seen you on Yash613’s blog. I’m a bit of a bulldog on Yash’s blog, but hopefully do not talk (too much) bull. I’ve also seen you on the RoshpinaProject blog. I am a Jew who believes in Ye(ho)shua.
The reason why I believe in Yeshua is that after studying historiography I came to the conclusion that the NT is a genuine historical document. In other words, the rational basis of my faith is based on exegetical considerations – as far as I can achieve this – and not on theological presuppositions. As you know the first followers of Yeshua were all Jewish and undoubtedly Torah observant, as much as you are today. They also had problems with the relationship between the Law and Faith. And the problem has never gone away for Jewish believers in Yeshua.
Yeshua said that faith in Him rather than works was central. There is a problem because the NT does seem to contradict – which you’ve pointed out – many of the verses you quote. The fact that you point this out indicates that you believe the NT is an historical document.
My question is: do you think that Yeshua preached what you consider blasphemy or do you think that it was not Yeshua but others (like Paul) who preached (what you consider) blasphemy?
You’ve been more of a poodle than a bulldog, but your comments are always welcome 🙂
****The reason why I believe in Yeshua is that after studying historiography I came to the conclusion that the NT is a genuine historical document. In other words, the rational basis of my faith is based on exegetical considerations – as far as I can achieve this – and not on theological presuppositions.****
What would it take to change your mind?
How about archaeological evidence that the Greek Testament is not an accurate historical document?
How about evidence, from Christian scholars no less, that the GT is filled with virulent anti-Jewish rhetoric?
How about the fact that “Yeshua” is a contrived name that was put into use during the 2nd half of the 20th century as the efforts to convert Jews to Christianity were put into “overdrive”?
If you are, as you claim, a Jew by birth, perhaps the truth I am sharing with you will resonate within you and help you to rethink your present belief system. It is still the month of Elul till Wednesday before dusk!
G-d said that obediance in His way is central. He told us to study and see if we find it so; if you have a controvery with Me, tell Me.
So even the Creator did not tell us that we have to accept His being Supream, or if we do, not to loose our ability to think. After all, Bo, He did grant us something we really do not see in other creaters; Free Will.
Hindu Scriptures, Confusuan writings, Zoroasterian, Islamic and others are also “historical.
I depend on the Word of G-d, as He said it. It is found only in the Tanach-the rest are relating to His word, not His word.
As He said; 1.-I have no father, and I have no son. and 2.-I share my glory with no one.
As for blasphmy? To many inserts have been found in the New Testament AKA Gospel, so I am not one to judge. There is only One Judge that I can refere to, and He does as He sees best.
I think you’ve confused Christian grace which inspires good works with Martin Luther’s over-emphasis on grace in opposition to works.
Luther hated the book of James because he considered it legalistic:
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You insinuate that I believe that the NT is a historical document. I believe that the NT is a propaganda work edited by the gentile followers of Paul (2nd or 3rd generation) – with some scraps from earlier strata perhaps.
My debate is not with the early Jewish Christians who are dead and gone – thanks to the brotherly love shown them by the followers of Paul. The reason I write these articles is because I see my blood brothers and sisters being taken in by the idolatrous double-talk of the present day Church. So I interact with those beliefs.
You asked me a question as to what Yehsua actually preached. This question is off topic – and I would like to to keep the comments focused – but I will answer you. From a historical standpoint it is impossible to know what Yeshua actually preached – because any work that may be close to original was destroyed and/or edited by the gentile Church. From a spiritual standpoint – the question is irelevant. G-d did not see fit to preserve the original Jerusalem Church established by Yehsua and his Jewish disciples. That tells me that G-d did not consider these people his covenant people – who He promised to preserve – but rather He had the curse of Ezekiel 13:9 fulfilled against them in its entirety
Do you believe that man’s works can be counted as righteous before G-d?
R. Blumenthal – Paul writes to the Ephesians:
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Why would God prepare those of us in Christ to do good works, if he does not approve of them?
But I’m surprised you should adopt this line of argument – surely your objection to Paul is that Judaism does not believe that one is “saved” merely by one’s works, as Judaism does not share Christianity’s concept of salvation in the first place.
Please explain further your remark:”My debate is not with the early Jewish Christians who are dead and gone – thanks to the brotherly love shown them by the followers of Paul. “
You did not answer my question – are our works counted for righteousness before G-d?
What do you mean “counted for righteousness”?
Do you mean, whether God looks upon us and says “okay, that’s someone I love” when he sees our good deeds, or do you mean he says “that’s someone I’m happy with”, etc?
I just want to know that we’re both working from the same definition of the term, because otherwise there’ll be plenty of room for misunderstanding.
I mean as in Genesis 15:6
If I may use the very example of the akedah itself, Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac was inspired by his faith in God, and would not make sense without it.
If you take the faith of Abraham away, you are left with a murder attempt – surely.
I don’t think either of us would wish to separate works from the faith they are rooted in.
A few minutes ago you quoted Psalm 106. Permit me another quote from Psalm 106, verse 38 –
they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.
Same action, but a different faith at work.
The right faith inspires the right action pleasing to God, but actions of their own can be good or bad depending on the context and the faith they are grounded upon.
G-d told Abram to “lay” his son on the alter, not to cut him. Why an Amgel had to physically restrain Abram, because he would have kiled Issiac.
On a similar note; this was the last time G-d spock directly to Abram, because he failed to take responsibility fo what was asked of him. Moses, on the othrehand, communicated his fellings to HaShem about the punishment of the people when we had the Golden Calf. G-d wants us to use our brains, or why did he give us the ability to think and to use our free will?
So as we read in the Tanach, it was not the same thing, as what the Psalm critisized was a g-dless sin.You are right in the context of the akiadah that right faith does inspire right action-if we act on it.
Faith, like works can be good or bad depending on what it is grounded in. If you have faith in the only One who deserves your faith – the One who Created you and your ability to have faith – then your faith and your works that are rooted in that faith are pleasing to G-d. If you decide who to have faith in …
In short – faith in the true G-d is not something you create – it is there all along for you to discover – before you discover it He already created you and knows you – faith in anyone or anything else is your own creation
Yeah, that’s the point I was making.
Yisroel you said:
“My point is that the theology of Jesus and his Jewish disciples disappeared from the earth with the rise of the Pauline Church. The Chrurch of Paul – when they had the opportunity – killed all who they considered heretics – including the surviving remnants of the Jerusalem Church.”
How do you know what the theology of Jesus and his Jewish disciples were? Indeed, how do you know that Jesus had a theology? Hiw do you know anything about Jesus or the times of Jesus. Eli and and Yash613 say that have no idea about it. But, as you might remind me, you’re not Eli or Yash.
Yisroel said: “faith in anyone or anything else is your own creation”
Joseph responded: “Yeah, that’s the point I was making.”
Joseph don’t you believe that faith is a gift of God as spelled out in Ephesians:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and THAT not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8).
(“That” in the Greek OS A neuter indicatinfg that “that” refers to both grace and faith).
Sorry: OS was meant to be “is”
My point is that the theology of Jesus and his Jewish disciples disappeared from the earth with the rise of the Pauline Church. The Church of Paul – when they had the opportunity – killed all who they considered heretics – including the surviving remnants of the Jerusalem Church.
Do you have a source for this claim?
****Do you have a source for this claim?****
I cannot speak for Rabbi Blumenthal, but I will share with you one source of which I am aware. Perhaps there are others.
The persecution of the remnants of the Jerusalem Church is documented in Robert Eisenman’s book, James the Brother of Jesus. In fact, on p. 349 in his book, Eisenman he notes that Paul led the attack on James in the Pseudoclementines, and that he was also involved in the attack on Stephen (in Acts of the Apostles), and implies that, in fact, perhaps someone changed the name (from James to Stephen) because the account could not record that Paul had assaulted the leader of the church, James (the brother of Jesus).
As I understood it, Orthodox Judaism teaches that Paul (along with Peter and John) was an agent of the Great Sanhedrin sent to undermine the legitimately-Jewish Jesus movement and change their theology, so as to clearly differentiate between Judaism and Christianity:
There are several verses in the Gospel that give glues as to Jesus’ beliefs.
One I love to quote is Matthew 19:16-19, and Luke 18:18, where Jesus declearsa that he is not divine or the son of G-d, as “instructs the young man how to attain eternal life
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and [thy] mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
What we have hee are the 7 Laws of Noah, which the Torah lays out for humankind.
I think his comments of Torah are well known, as well, as he was a traditional Jew, trying to set things straight as he saw it.
Thank you for your comments.
You ask how I know what the theology of Jesus and his Jewish dsiciples was. I don’t know what it was (although I could hazard a guess) – but I do know what it was not. It was not the theology that Paul taught. Paul complains of apostles who taught what he considered heresy – who do you think these apostles were and where did they come from? (please see the article entitled myth vs. reality – it is under the category of “history”)
You responded to my statement about faith and works with the comment: “Yeah, that’s the point I was making” – so do you believe that Jesus was not divine?
yisroel you said:
“You ask how I know what the theology of Jesus and his Jewish dsiciples was. I don’t know what it was (although I could hazard a guess) – but I do know what it was not.”
Would you hazard saying that at a historiographical comference on textual analysis?
I find it interesting that you are more interested in what is unknowable than you are in what is knowable
In any case I would base my guess on the surviving texts and on what we understand about the history of the times
Perhaps you should ask yourself what system G-d put in place in order to confirm the Jewish Scriptures for the Jewish people throughout history (because we both agree that they are true) and see if this system allows for the acceptance of the Christian Scriptures
(You might find the articles under the category “faith structure” helpful)