Christianity claims to be the only path to salvation before God. Many individual Christian denominations take this claim one step further with the assertion that this path leads exclusively through membership in their particular church.
This claim is not unique to Christianity. Many religions lay claim to exclusive possession of the way to eternal reward. What is different about Christianity is that its claim is refuted through its own accusation against Judaism. Christianity’s claim to exclusivity is internally inconsistent and self-contradictory – in a word: hypocritical.
You see, Christianity acknowledges that before the advent of Jesus, the Jewish people enjoyed a unique relationship with God. Judaism does not claim that the path to God is limited to membership in the Jewish community. According to Judaism, any human being who acknowledges his or her debt to the Creator, and lives a life in line with the conscience that God planted into our hearts, will be rewarded by God. But Judaism does claim that the Jewish people stand in a special relationship with God as a chosen nation.
Christianity contends that the Jewish people forfeited this singular standing before God. I will allow Matthew’s Jesus to present the position of the Church.
“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:33-43)
The meaning of the parable is obvious. The owner of the vineyard is God, the husbandman is the Jewish people, the son is Jesus, and the “nation bringing fruits thereof” is the Christian Church. According to Matthew’s Jesus, killing the “son” warranted that the kingdom of God be taken from the Jews.
Let us now see how Christianity fares according to the judgment it pronounced against Judaism.
We will note that there are many extenuating factors that mitigate the alleged guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus;
Even according to the biased narrative of the Christian Scriptures, it was not the Jews who killed Jesus, it was the Romans.
The number of Jews that could have been involved in his death had to be minuscule. The majority of Jews that were alive then could not all have been in that place at that one point in time.
Even those Jews who might have been involved in his death could not be considered representatives of Judaism as a belief system. The core texts of Judaism do not preach hatred against Jesus. On the contrary, the Jewish Scriptures that were venerated by the Jewish people of the time, devote more space to the castigation of the Jewish nation than they do in criticism of her enemies.
The hateful and sinister motivations attributed by Matthew’s Jesus to the Jewish people (- “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.”) is contradicted by John. According to Matthew, the Jews recognize that Jesus is “the heir” and their motivation for killing him was to “seize on his inheritance”. According to John the Jews were motivated to move against Jesus because they considered him a blasphemer (John 10:33), and feared that his activities will provoke the Romans to take action against the larger community (John 11:48).
Even the Christians, who accept Jesus’ claims, must acknowledge there was no way that the Jews could have known, before the alleged resurrection, that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Matthew’s Jesus declares that the generation will be given no sign except for his pending resurrection (Matthew 16:4). Thus before his alleged resurrection, the people had no way of clearly and conclusively verifying his claims. (It is in place to note that according to the Jewish Bible, no miracle, not even a resurrection, can justify Jesus’ claims for divinity – Deuteronomy 13:2-6.)
Still and all, despite all of these mitigating factors, Christianity asserts that the Jewish people have had “the kingdom of God” taken from them because they killed someone who claimed to be God’s son.
Let us now see how Christianity has dealt with the one who is explicitly identified by the Jewish Bible as God’s firstborn son. The Jewish Scriptures repeatedly and openly declare that the Jewish people are God’s children, His firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, Deuteronomy 14:1, Jeremiah 31:8).
How did the Church treat God’s firstborn son?
A cursory glance at Church history reveals that the Church poisoned the minds of mankind against the Jewish people. They oppressed, tortured and killed millions of Jews from the days of Constantine until the holocaust.
None of the extenuating factors that mitigate the guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus apply to the guilt of Christendom in the persecution of the Jew.
It was the Christians and the Church themselves who persecuted and killed countless Jews.
The number of Christians involved in these crimes reach the millions over the centuries.
The core texts of Christianity preach this very hatred of God’s firstborn son, and the greatest scholars in Church history understood the texts to mean precisely what they say – that the Jews are no less than the children of the devil.
The motive that the Church had to persecute the Jews is obvious to every student of history. The Church was attempting to seize the inheritance of the Jewish people. They wanted the blessings that God had promised to the Jewish people, and the fact that the Jews were still claiming those blessings, and the fact that their claim is more credible than the claim of the Church, was a thorn in their side.
The Church was in possession of all of the evidence that is necessary to prove that the Jewish people are truly God’s son; namely the Jewish Bible.
So, if the Jewish people had “the kingdom of God taken from them” because of the death of Jesus, what happens to the Church for the death of millions of Jews?
Oh, I forgot the excuses. “Those weren’t real Christians, those murderers cannot be considered true representatives of the Church, “real Christians” helped and saved Jews etc.”
All of these excuses, and more are applicable to the Jewish people in relation to the death of Jesus. But Matthew’s Jesus brushes all of these excuses aside and passes his harsh judgment against the Jewish people of all generations. If these excuses are not accepted by Matthew’s Jesus, they cannot work for the Church.
According to the Church’s own judgment, they cannot be the exclusive masters of the “kingdom of God”. If a one time act took the kingdom away from the entirety of the Jewish people, then 2000 years of widespread persecution should have done the same for the Church.
The judgment that Matthew’s Jesus pronounces against the Jewish people condemns the Christian Church and effectively nullifies her theological claims.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
Nice point and beautifully written.
Out of nterest, besides Matthews poor and despicable interpretation of the loss of chosen people status etc
are they’re not many other books and canonized writers, that give other reasons to their claim of
taken away and regiven special choseness to the christian faith, besides matthews parable.
As your well presented arguement and show of
Hypocricy backfiring, using the same reasoning and theology a thousand fold.
Only applies to mathews interpretation.
Surely, there must be many others given to justify such a bold claim,written numerously in the bible, of the jews being G,ds first born etc
If so, your strong arguement only answers mathew, and not the undoubted many other authors of the new testament, and each concurring philosophy.
Most of those other authors are pretty much saying the same things, but they use different words or they use different examples or parables. But if some idea is basically false, saying something different doesn’t make it true. A reasonable answer answers many different questions. Sometimes people don’t like the answer, so they will ask and ask and ask and never really look or listen to the answer given them.
Yeah actually when you add the following verses he is Referring the Corruption of the Pharisees’ Not the nation of Israel. I have no doubt that Pharisee had a good deal of corruption at that time.
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
Hey Sanhedrin Dude
The Pharisee’s corrupt? We have their writings today – they don’t call anyone “brood of vipers” or “children of the Devil”- they spend their time speaking about good stuff – rather than bad-mouthing their opponents
“… and let us seize on his inheritance”
What an absurd comparison. When the Jews lent a hand to Jesus’es death it wasn’t simply to “expunge evil from their midst” – the general reason for the death penalty. Rather, it was to get his inheritance(!). Are we talking about his physical property? Who says he had anything worth the kill? And if he did would it come to more than pennies per spoiler? Are we talking about his spiritual property? We’re supposed to believe that they connived to frustrate G-d’s plans for the destiny of the world by killing Jesus and then forcing G-d to let them get all Jesus’es priviledges and entitlements? That the G-d who saw to the avengance of Navot’s death would be stuck with giving Jesus’es ‘filthy murderers’ that which was coming to Jesus???
I have bridges of all sizes and price ranges for sale.
But some Christian scholars say Jesus, if he even existed, was also a Pharisee. There were a number of teachings by Pharisees that he accepted. Some call him a rabbi. Others say he was a Sadducee, because he was a strict literalist (whenever he did not object to Torah), except when he felt like adding good pagan ideas to Torah. Some call him an essene (others reject that) or a radical rebel (whenever he wasn’t pro-Roman, pro-Herodian) or a “lion of zion” (or lamb of god, like in Egyptian theology) who rejected the idea that he “came to bring peace” (since blessed are the peacemakers). He was humble and mild-mannered (until he encountered “Jews”), until he continuously exalted himself as a king or as a man-god in the gnostic’ gospel
My last post should have ended with the words “gospel of John”.
Exellent post; Assuming of course there ever was a jesus, which I personally doubt ever existed in the first place, and I am still waiting for someone to prove otherwise; not that it would change my views even if someone could.
The Bible and Jesus’ words, he tells Pilate that “no one takes my life from me, I give it up on my own accord.” Christians who believe otherwise don’t believe their own Scriptures. And yes, we as Christians believe that during Pentacost the blessings of God passed to all “nations”. The miracle of pentacost was not speaking in tongues but the fact that now the good news of God’s amazing mercies are offered to all tribes and tongues. This includes not precludes Israel. And still Paul states in his writings that the Gospel is “first for the Jew and then for the Gentile.” I take that verse seriously. The Jewish people have a rich and amazing history but, I now have a rich and amazing eternity because God became flesh and “pitched his tent” among us. And in the fullness of time gave himself as a propitiatory atonement. I believe that Jesus fulfilled the complete law committing no sin of omission or commission. He stands as my substitute before God. So, I can now confess that I, me, we as Christians are hypocrites. We acknowledge that we have not done all that we are commanded and have left things undone. And we beat our chest as the taxt collector and say “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Reblogged this on 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources.
Rabbi, do you realize the irony that the strongest rebuke you offer against the Christian hypocrisy towards Judaism (and other Christians) in your article is Jesus himself, through his own parables? The thing that protestants have forgotten is that Jesus doesn’t guarantee “salvation” to anyone except the people who bear fruit. Bear fruit clearly means to show demonstrable deeds of righteousness. Jesus’ parables, the gospels, the epistles, etc. clearly teach that you can “run the race in vain,” that you must be righteous, and that G-d shows mercy to those whom he will showing no partiality between Jew and gentile. Even if we grant the premise of the evangelicals that Jesus is the “only atoning sacrifice,” which I know Judaism doesn’t believe, nor do Orthodox Christians, (but for argument’s sake,) the New Testament teaches even in this case, that you have to bear fruit to the gift. Therefore, a truly righteous non christian (who does by nature what G-d’s righteousness requires) has a better shot at “salvation” than a wicked baptized believer. Romans 2:14 & 1 Corinthians 6:9. The context of 1 Corinthians is clearly Paul talking to a Christian congregation about issues of sinning among these same Christians. Therefore, when he says “do you not know brothers that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom,” that he cannot be talking about anyone but wicked believing people among that congregation he was speaking to?
Basically, Jesus taught Torah. Basically, the Cchurch fathers change what they could, to molify the Roman government after the Jews kicked the Roamn butts, before they came up with enough to correct their embarrisment. Now, Torah teaches that all who are moral and ethical shall have salvation. Job is a good example, even though his sons dropped the ball. Also, as we each have a soul; spiritually speaking, one sees the other, we each see G-d. So Jesus of the Nazarene was Jewish, Jesus of the Romans was, well, Mithra?
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