Second Response to Dalton Lifsey
Dalton (I hope its O.K. that I use your first name), I want to thank you for writing. You will find out that many Jewish people reading your words will see in them seeds of hatred, but I will not go there. I sincerely appreciate your writing. By putting your cards on the table, I know where you stand – and we can talk. As long as we can talk, there is hope that we can reach some level of understanding.
I intend to respond to your 3 points and to your challenge.
You contend that our message is inadequate and our skills are not up to par.
I will not comment on my skills – I would be the first to agree with you that they are not up to par. I will however disagree with your assessment of the message I bear. It is not my message. It is the message that God Himself imparted to our nation (Deuteronomy 4:35). That message is not inadequate. That message is the hope of all mankind – Jew and Gentile alike (Isaiah 54:5).
You contend that our “resistance” to the message of Jesus is part of a long historical continuum of hard-hearted Jews.
We don’t “resist” Jesus. We insist on remaining loyal to the God who loved us first. This is what we were chosen for and it is for this loyalty that we will be vindicated as the prophets promised (Isaiah 26:2).
You contend that I had argued that Jews were somehow endowed with superior skills which give them an edge over the Gentiles in evaluating the claims of Jesus.
It is here that you most seriously misunderstood my point, and I thank you for pointing out to me how my point can be misunderstood.
When I say that the only ones qualified to evaluate the claims of Jesus were the Jews, I was NOT referring to superior skills that the Jews may or may not possess. I was referring to a social context – and let me explain:
All of Christendom agrees that before Jesus came on to the scene, God had already imparted truth to the Jewish people. All of Christendom acknowledges that it was the moral duty of the Jew to examine the claims of Jesus in light of the truth that had already been granted to them. All of Christendom agrees that as long as the Jew sees the claims of Jesus as contrary to the truth that God had already granted to them – then it is their holy and moral duty before God and man – to reject those claims.
What were those truths granted by God to the Jewish people before the advent of Jesus? My guess is that you would say: The Jewish Scriptures (and please don’t hesitate to correct me if I am wrong).
Here is my challenge to you. Try to read the Jewish Scriptures as a Jew would have read them before the advent of Jesus. Try to read those holy words as a personal message from a loving Father to His firstborn son – because that is what the Jewish Bible is. Try to develop a complete world-view on the basis of the Jewish Scriptures alone. And then, and only then, evaluate the claims of Jesus in the light of that world-view.
It is not impossible for a Gentile to do this. In fact, I know of many courageous Gentiles who have found the God of Israel by following this basic exercise. I believe that there are many more sincere truth seeking Gentiles that would take this step too. However, it would help if their teachers would be more willing to help them in this process rather than hinder them.
As part of a response to the June 9, 2011 Line of Fire radio show, I wrote the following appeal to Dr. Brown: “The myth of the “blindness of the Jew” is an ugly stain in the history of mankind. Dr. Brown, instead of working to perpetuate this myth, I appeal to you to educate Christians of the fallacies of this myth. Explain to your audience that as long as the Jew sees the teachings of Christianity as a contradiction to the Scriptures with which we were entrusted by God – it is the moral duty of the Jew to REJECT those teachings. Encourage your audience to try to read the Jewish Scriptures as a Jew would have read them before the advent of Jesus. Encourage your listeners to attempt to acquire a complete world-view on the basis of the Jewish Scriptures alone – and ask them – how would they view the doctrines of Christianity in the light of the Jewish Scriptures.”
As part of his response, Dr. Brown wrote:
“I don’t see the rationality of your proposal as you see it. Furthermore, for Christians here, they know the Tanakh is true because of Yeshua. If your arguments against him were true and he was neither Messiah nor Savior nor Son of God, they would have no reason to continue to believe in the Tanakh either. They have come to know the God of Israel through him, they have received forgiveness of sins through him, their lives have been transformed through him, and if he was not who he claimed to be, then for them, the Tanakh would be another book of myths and fairy tales. I might as well tell you, “The Torah is true but there is no God, so follow the Torah.””
(You could read all of this in context – http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2011/06/09/dr-brown-answers-the-rabbis-part-2/#comments)
In my humble opinion, it is this attitude of Christian leaders that makes it so difficult for the Gentiles to acquire the proper tools to evaluate the claims of Jesus.
To summarize; my point about Gentiles not possessing the proper tools was a point about the Gentiles failing to read the Jewish Scriptures in its proper context – I was not making any elitist claims about “superior skills” of Jews over Gentiles.
Now for your challenge: You ask me to give you one good reason why the prophecy of Isaiah (49:1-7) cannot be the words of Jesus.
I will give you two reasons.
a) You may have noticed that the words in 49:2 are directly parallel to the words in 51:16. If you read 51:16 in context (verses 12-16) you will see that God’s servant is the righteous of Israel.
b) The servant that Isaiah speaks of brings glory to the God of Israel. Jesus brings glory to himself – not to the God of Israel.
You assert that to “love Jesus is to be a true Jew”.
Please; don’t try to redefine Judaism. According to the Jewish Scripture being a true Jew means being loyal to the calling of our nation to bear witness to the world that there is but One God (Deuteronomy 4:35, Isaiah 44:8). Of all the Jews who ever lived, it is Jesus who represents the most extreme antithesis of Israel’s calling before God. There can be no greater conflict with Israel’s calling than to direct the devotion of men towards an entity other than the One that God Himself taught us to worship.
I recognize that you may have a problem understanding some of what I wrote, or perhaps even all of what I wrote. I encourage you to read my blog. Many of the concepts that I touched upon here only briefly are articulated more clearly in various articles.
But most of all, I encourage you to write again. As long as we can still talk, there is hope that we can reach some level of understanding.
If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.
Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.
Yisroel C. Blumenthal