Annelise on Amazing Grace

Annelise on Amazing Grace

Annelise is a former Christian who now worships the God of Israel alone

My family grew up singing songs of thankfulness and surrender to God for saving us from guilt and allowing us to live in His kindness. Many of these were based on verses or imagery from the Hebrew scriptures. We were also taught that instead of punishing us as our rebellion deserves, God humbly chose to be born like us and experience the consequences of sin for us. One song I remember describes God as a ‘servant King’, who generously veiled His glory and came not to be served but to serve. The helplessness of a baby and the heavy sorrow of bearing sin for all humans are described as an undeserved gift to us from God.

This image becomes stronger in the lives of Christians when experiencing guilt and forgiveness. As humans we bring disobedience and weakness before God in His perfect holiness. So there is thankfulness for grace and the beauty of learning to live in His righteousness, which Christians believe comes actually through faith in Jesus.

I spoke sometimes with Muslim friends, who felt it was degrading to describe God as a man. The smallness of a human amidst creation, our humble state before God, and the disgusting or mundane nature of some aspects of everyday life seemed to them inappropriate to attribute to the One, Majestic God. But I felt that the depth of a costly gift like the one in the Christian view of Him in fact showed the majesty of His love.

I won’t describe here why I believe Jews can’t accept Christianity, or try to show that it isn’t true. What I want to bring across though is that nothing is lacking if it isn’t.

One of the biggest questions to grapple with, for someone who has known God’s love and grace and doesn’t hold any longer that they came through Jesus, is this: So what does His love for us actually look like?

There are many songs and prayers in the Jewish Scriptures, and in the worship offered by traditional Jews today, which thank God for this love and salvation. We can’t understand how or why He would love us, but through the prophets God spoke of His compassion for Israel and humanity in very deep language. His people thank Him for saving their nation in the past, and for how He will restore them in future. With awe we hear His promise to wipe away sins, because His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. The grace of that gift draws us to repentance, to thankfulness and love, and to new ways of life. The gifts of His love for us are countless. The choices in each day and moment to be led only by what He wants us to do, nothing different, are a deep and secure experience of nearness to Him. And even though it is yet to flower in fulfillment, the beginnings of the redemption are real in the forgiveness, righteousness, and knowledge of His ways that God has put already in our reach.

As to the idea about a man who was ‘one with our Creator and suffered for us’, a story like that cannot be beautiful if it is not true. The merciful salvation promised through the prophets will be breathtaking whenever and however it is ultimately revealed.

But if God did not command Israel to see a particular suffering human as Himself, then the love we owe Him alone is being accidentally offered by Christians to a man who was just like us and experienced what it is to owe thankfulness and worship to God as well. Our God will be glorified in the earth when distractions like that fade away and the realities of His actual gifts are seen openly throughout nature, history, and our lives. But the truth that Christians (and others) have already acknowledged about how much He has loved us, how near He is to us, and how much we owe Him as servants and children, will never fade away. They will not be out of reach for anyone who turns to Him on the paths He has given and commanded us to come by.

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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16 Responses to Annelise on Amazing Grace

  1. Annelise says:

    The community of observant Jews whom I’ve met, and teachers I’ve learnt from, definitely believe that this mercy from God has been poured out already and there’s nothing to wait for; nothing lacking; God never said it had to come from an ‘ultimate sacrifice’; it’s accessible to us wherever we are. And according to Tanach, they’re right. But Christians sometimes talk about how Jews come to the High Holy Day services with a sense of uncertainty about whether God will accept their repentance and forgive them. To a Christian, this would sound quite different from (and less than) the total security of mercy ‘promised’ to people who are being loyal to Jesus, trusting God for mercy, and still striving live in holiness.

    When Jews plead with God as a community for atonement, is there really a sense that the atonement hasn’t already been accepted and is not a certain hope? Is there a sense that it needs to be regained every year (at least on a community level), and that human fallibility can constantly cause God’s judgment to be given even to those who are trying to serve Him?

    In what I saw and heard last Tishrei, I think that Hashem’s mercy is hoped in absolutely by Orthodox Judaism. Those who know this and love Him put themselves fully at His mercy with both love and hope. But the observation above comes from the fact that there’s also a sense of humility, of not wanting to assume that God will give grace if repentance isn’t real; a fear of Him in the realisation that the grace given is not deserved; and a pleading for His mercy on the Jewish people as a whole, not all of whom are turning to Him together.

    I can’t see anything lacking in that, according to the Scriptures. It seems very much like what the prophets were clearly saying about serving God wholeheartedly according to His commandments and covenant.

  2. Tom Quinlan says:

    While this article rightfully expounds upon the deep compassion and love that God has for Israel and humanity, it does not go near the burning bush of His wrath that the same God has for the nations that divide His land and scatter His people, OR the unquenchable anger that He expresses toward this same people Israel that is found all through Moses and the Prophets. What is this “quarrel of the covenant” that He has against His people that will cause Him to turn His face away YET AGAIN at the end of the age? What (or Who) has been rejected that could justify such an outpouring of this amazing anger? I would like to hear a satisfactory explanation from any author that rejects the necessity of the incarnate God taking upon Himself the sins of His beloved people as well as those of the whole world.

    • Annelise says:


      God’s anger against sin is very real. As people who love His holiness we understand why He punishes rebellion.

      The promise in Tanach is that when people, and nations, turn away from that rebellion and turn to God, He will (by indescribable mercy) accept them again with love and forgiveness. It mentions nothing of a final sacrifice where He Himself takes the punishment. The simple promise is that He will accept sinners who turn to Him.

      Orthodox Judaism takes Him at His word, thanking Him for forgiveness, just as Jews have been doing since the giving of Torah. They don’t go beyond the promises to speculate about how He is able to do it.

      “And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right— if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.” (Ezekiel 33)

      • Tom Quinlan says:

        Shalom Annelise,

        As for the people that “love” His Holiness, I fully expect a return to stoning those who disobey His commandments as soon the Temple sacrifices are restored in an autonomous Israel. Would you agree that this will again be a Torah necessity at that time?

        This will especially include those “idolatrous” believers in Jesus who live in the Land?

        Perhaps at that time we can take a fresh look at the amazing grace of God and resume our debate on who He is. That is… if I am still alive, since I will not betray the One who gave Himself for me.

        • naaria says:

          Are you proposing that the God of the NT is not the same God as that of the OT? Or that Messiah (with the OK from God) will demand Torah compliance and if need be by “stoning”? The book of the Revelation of John still to require more bloodshed, “cutting down” & “throwing into the fire” the “weeds” and “cursed trees”. Such anger & hatred toward people in general and Jews in particular, is seen within or by Jesus as portrayed within large parts of the gospels, especially in Matthew & John, and in “Revelation”. There are many preachers of hell and “fire & brimstone” in churches, but seldom is that seen espoused by Rabbis. Prosperity & blessings & heaven for believers; hell for all others. The “factor of guilt” is well played & used in many churches. There are very few churches that I have seen that did not preach, each Sunday service or in each meeting or gathering, the extreme & very dire consequences of not believing in Jesus, a god portrayed in the image of a man as if God could not be merciful nor compassionate nor show grace unless he becomes a man or is seen as human like us and as if Almighty God (who knows the numbers of hair on your head) is incapable of both sensing and understanding human pain, anguish, fears, and suffering. God has to resort to promoting a form of idolatry in order to “win the nations over to His side”. There are some who sense that the Israel that you speak of (that “Israel that God has an unquenchable anger toward” because of their idolatry & their turning to the god models of “the nations”) is very likely reflected in the “Israel that is called Christianity”, for many speak of the Church as replacing Israel or becoming Israel. If that is true, then perhaps the incarnate god or “god appearing clothed in the skin of man” is like the proverbial “wolf wearing sheep or lamb’s clothing”?

          • naaria says:

            As a child, I thought and believed as a child in a Santa Claus and a babe in a manager, but probably never in a “bogey-man”, and I created realities out of my rich imagination. As I grew older, fantasies faded away and I heard of the concept of People being created in a likeness of God & once I could understand that God, I never ever could reconcile that with the simple concept that I also heard of, that God became a man, which seemed too much like the Greek & Norse myths; gods created in the image of man and in the imaginations of people (patterns of stars appearing to some people as a bull or lamb became the source of stories about bull gods and lambs of god, etc & the sun became a sun-god or a son of god). Instead of people emulating or imitating God, we now had gods acting & thinking like people. My childhood toy doll or bear could die and live again as I imagined it to. But, only a feeble imagination could imagine that a god could die and yet be worthy of being called God. Instead of people “in-spirited” we had god become “incarnated”. If a god became matter, what does spirit matter? The god I saw that the “wise adults” wanted me to see, was the mirror image of me. People are the god that they have created, “incarnated” in their own image. Make God who you think you want God to be. I wanted something more God-like than the man-god they offered from their minds and from the way their minds read or mis-read books.

            God is the creator of ALL and most of that is outside of Humans or Earth or far beyond where our weak vision sees; far beyond the simple, humanistic concepts of a god or God. And the non-incarnated God is so much more awesome, so much more glorious then the one created and imagined from “the words written by men”. Instead of looking at your god image incarnated in your mirror, try to see outside of Man; look outward, not to nature & it’s forces, which is another source of idol worship, for God is not in the earth or in the wind or in the fire, but out beyond the vast expanse of space & time. You (your humanistic world-view of God) must decrease, so that God can increase. You may be humbled, but you will be in the presence of God; at one with God. God called you, created in His uncreated likeness, as worthy. Set aside the human concept that You are “fallen” and choose Life and pickup a more Godly concept, for it was God who said “Be Ye Holy as I am Holy”. You are a Child of God; let no mere un-enlightened person tell you otherwise.

          • hyechiel says:

            Dear Friends;
            On some level, G-d is the G-d of all humanity. The theology, though, is not consistant with all faiths. Why we have different faiths, so yes, same G-d, but jews are required things which isolate and insolate us from all other faiths. Now, for the future, we were told by Zaphaniah that all the nations shall come to worship HaShem at the Holy Temple. i noted it is Nations-plural, not Nation-singular.
            So be true to what you have, and do not interfere with His work, and all shall be well in that regards.

          • naaria says:

            But there is a problem when one is not truly true to what they themselves have, especially when they “interfere with His work” in others. There can be harm in too much “apologetics” for one’s own belief, if it becomes self-deception and then becomes a self-righteousness that goes beyond dialogue into rhethoric to demagoguery and then, as we see in history or we ourselves have experienced, this “God is on my side” belief may lead to attempts to “correct” others through non-verbal means. Better to be self-critical of one’s own past & be self-correcting self-improving and more apologetic to others with faith “in the same God” than vice versa. The first problem to solving problems is to recognize the problem that you were a part of and that perhaps, you created. So as a Christian, I am most aware of the problems within Christianity. I see its weaknesses and its contradictions and its close-mindedness & hardheadness at times. As for nations, the divisions need not be “faith-based” ones. The many are often more deceived than the few.

          • hyechiel says:

            Dear naaria;
            On you comment on what a Christian is, thenk you. All human beings can and should first, have respect for themselves, then show their faith by respocting all others.
            You do from what I have read, and a good example.

        • hyechiel says:

          Dear Tom;
          Do you accept that one being cannot have forgiveness for another being?

    • hyechiel says:

      Dear Tom;
      G-d is clear on His never being physical. He is the creator of Physical. So we are blessed with knowing that He shall take care of us, as we take care to do as He says. All the Spokepersons (nevia=spokeperson, not prophet, in Hebrew) have the same message for us; accept His Love, and be responsible.

  3. pearlman cta says:

    it was very rare Tom that we could/would find someone subject to any of the 4 methods of capital punishment/atonement. If we did the convicted would accept the punishment as atonement for their delibetatepublic transgression, as only one give the proper warning could be subject to that penalty. After Meshiach we will be very aware of Hashem again and no one in their right mind will ignore a proper warnning that what they do is a Aveira. If a person has medical conditions preventing them from understanding the warning (which should always be given out of love of our fellow) they would be put under medical care.
    see and jews for judaism.
    bottom line all Jews are the first born son of G-d Exodus 4:22
    all Jews are the suffering servant as per Isiah in full context.
    the burning bush that was not consumed represented all Jews too.
    G-d is close to all who call on Him in truth, Asrei Psalm by King David himself.
    replacement theology is for those who deny/hate G-d and His first born son the children of Israel. see what happened to Pharoh.

  4. Annelise says:

    Shalom, Tom,

    I won’t comment on the fairness of the Torah in stating that idolators must be stoned, whatever their intentions.

    I also can’t speak for the halacha in how this would be applied fairly in a case where someone didn’t understand, or where large groups of people do not understand the Judaism they’re rejecting or the seriousness of what they’re doing.

    But I believe that in that day, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Hashem as the waters cover the sea.” (Habbukuk 2:14) I also know that you would not be worshipping Jesus if you didn’t believe he was God incarnate. So when the eyes of the earth are opened to truth, I think there will be a chance for people to respond and accept whatever God shows to be true. The prophets indicated that God desires people to turn away from their idolatry and live (Isaiah 30:22, 31:6-7, Jeremiah 4:1-2, Ezekiel 37:23, Hosea 14:8).

    • Annelise says:

      P.S. I don’t understand these things very well. The idea that accidental idolators will have a chance to respond to the truth in front of their eyes and side with Israel is my own intuition only; maybe someone else can answer clearly.

      Anyway, that time isn’t here yet and the choice can still be made.

  5. hyechiel says:

    Dear Friends;
    I copied this from Rosh Pina Project; a messianic website saying they are Jewish, but worship Jesus.
    What this responded stated sould be taken seriously. We cannot afford misunderstanding where missionaries work to take Jews away from G-d and His Torah.

    Messianic Jews – healing Great Original Schism
    The reconstitution of the Jewish Nation is a wonderful sign and opportunity for the Church itself, the importance of which we are not yet able to grasp. Only now can Israel take up again the question of Jesus of Nazareth and, to a certain degree, this is what is happening. Quite a few in the Jewish religion have started to acknowledge Jesus as ‘the glory of Israel’ They openly acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and call themselves ‘Messianic Jews’. These help us to overcome certain gloomy prospects of ours, making us realise that the great original schism afflicting the Church and impoverishing it, is not so much the schism between East & West or between Catholics & Protestants, as the more radical one between the Church & Israel.

    The common sense approach should be to respect G-d. You show this in many ways, but one important way is to awcknoledge that He placed each of His souls where He wants each one to be. To try and convert a person is a slap in his face. Israel is an opportunity, yes; to accept that G-d is right, and that the Jews are, as none Jesus accepting human beings, as saved as any Christian-depending on the persons behavior, as G-d told us. So for true Chriastains, show it by respecting G-d and His People.

    • hyechiel says:

      Dear Friends;
      What makes the above wrong is that the Moshiac has not yet arrived. Deal with it. You can believe what you want, as a Christian, but you sin if you try to take a Jew away from G-d amd His Torah.

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