Response to Line of Fire 1
Those of you who have been following this blog may find it of interest that Dr. Brown has chosen to address some of the issues that we have been discussing here – on his radio show: Line of Fire – http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2011/05/12/jesus-the-messiah-of-israel-opening-up-some-major-messianic-themes/
On this program Dr. Brown plays two clips from the Jews for Judaism you tube channel, one at about the 67 minute mark and the other at about the 82 minute mark. Each of these clips is followed by Dr. Brown’s response.
The first of these clips is my presentation of the argument that is articulated in the article; “The Polar Opposite” (https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/the-polar-opposite/ – see also – https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/yearning-for-the-messiah/ ), while the second is Rabbi Eli Cohen’s presentation of the Scriptural concept that all that is required for forgiveness from sin is sincere repentance.
Before I address the issue under discussion, I would like to clear up a possible misconception. The focus of that particular radio show is the belief of some that while Jesus is not the Messiah of Israel, he somehow still plays the role of the savior of the gentiles. In his introduction of the first clip Dr. Brown described the clip as explaining why Jesus is not the Messiah of the Jewish people, which may give the mistaken impression that Jesus could somehow be the savior for the gentiles.
Let it be known that both Rabbi Cohen and I do not subscribe to such a belief. Jesus was not the Messiah of the Jews or the gentiles, and he is not the savior of the Jews or the gentiles. He is not the Messiah – period.
The main thrust of my presentation was that the Scriptures point to David as an example of the Messiah. David brought Israel into a deeper relationship with God through the songs of the Psalms. Through these songs David directs Israel’s devotion and worship towards the God of Israel and towards the God of Israel alone. He does not divert an iota of the worship and adoration that is coming to God towards his own person. This is the Messiah.
Jesus – as a man who demands worship as a deity, is not only – not the Messiah. Jesus is the polar opposite of the true Messiah.
Dr. Brown’s first response to my argument was that a believer (in Jesus) listening to my presentation would shake his head in disbelief. Dr. Brown goes on to argue that Jesus has attracted many people to God serving like a magnet that draws people into a relationship with God. People have thrown away their idols and turned to God through the teachings of Jesus. Dr. Brown declares that Jesus served as a path to God in his own personal life. Dr. Brown claims that religious Jews have told him that they only came to know God through Jesus. Finally, Dr. Brown states that the concept that Jesus somehow distracts from God is “profoundly wrong”.
How is this a response? Does the Jesus of Christianity demand worship and devotion as a deity or does he not? Of-course he does. Is there anything more to discuss?
Some people find it confusing when they see a crude pagan throw away his wooden statues and accept Christianity. This pagan never heard of the One Creator of heaven and earth, and the Christian missionary introduced him to this foundational truth. For this pagan, Christianity seems to have been a positive development. But this does not make Jesus the Messiah any more than it makes Mohammed or Joseph Smith the Messiah. The teachings of these two people also lead many pagans and atheists to recognize the One Creator of heaven and earth.
For someone who never had a relationship with the Creator, entering into relationship with the Creator together with one of His creations, namely: Jesus; could perhaps be viewed as a positive development. But for someone who already possesses a deep and intimate relationship with the One Creator of heaven and earth, be they Jew or gentile, for such a person to bring Jesus into the relationship is a most catastrophic development.
Dr. Brown’s contention that people who believe that they have a true relationship with God without believing in Jesus – don’t “really know” God – doesn’t really deserve a response. How could he tell our martyrs, who gave their lives for the love of God – “you don’t really know God”? How could he be sure that he “really knows Jesus”? After all, according to Dr. Brown, our martyrs were deluded into thinking that they “really knew” God – how could he be so sure that he is not deluded into thinking that he “really knows” Jesus?
The argument I presented in the you-tube clip stands. For an individual who lives with the love of God in his heart, David and Jesus represent two polar opposites. David points this individual ever closer to God, while Jesus attempts to direct this person’s devotion towards himself.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal