TYVM – From a Jew to a Christian

TYVM – From a Jew to a Christian

 

Dear Chanan

 

You seem to be disturbed that my heart is bent toward the One Creator of heaven and earth and to Him alone. You would have me bend my heart toward the central character in the Christian Bible as well. I understand that this desire of yours is an expression of your care for me. You believe that if I do not bend my heart toward this character then I will be missing out on God and on Messiah. You would have me add the Christian Bible to the canon of Scripture and you would want me to join the community of “believers”. And lastly you believe that with my refusal to bend my heart toward this character I will have no hope.

 

I would tell you that your suggestion would have me violate Exodus 20:3 as well as Deuteronomy 13:4. But I realize that you are not such a stickler for the “Law”. So I decided to try to explain why your perspective on what I lack is unfounded.

 

God

I have a God thank you very much. My God loves me more than it is possible for any other entity to love me. Every breath that I take is a kiss from my God. Every one of my heartbeats is a personal caress from Him. You see; it was He who designed my body and soul and it is He who sustains them every second. But even if I were a rock I would still know that my God loves me. It was my God who brought every iota of existence into being. He loved me before I existed. And it is only His love that allows existence to continue to exist.

 

Any love that anyone else has for me is a gift from my God. Even if someone were to lay down their life for me they would still not love me as much as my God loves me. After all; no one really owns anything but my God. The life of everyone else aside from God Himself belongs to my God and to Him alone. If anyone has feelings toward me it is because my God planted them in his or her heart and if anyone gives me anything it can only be something that my God had first given to them.

 

The entire panorama of activity all takes place in the arena that my God created and all of the characters in the play of life are subjects of my God. There is not one spot in the entire range of existence that does not belong completely and absolutely to the Rock of my Heart.

 

Let me spell this out for you. Everything that your hero did was done in the world that my God created, while my God was sustaining him, and with gifts that my God freely granted him and for which he paid nothing.

 

My God is a forgiving God. When I fall short, and that happens all the time, all I need to do is to open my heart to the One who created my heart. I know that He loves me and hears my prayer; I know that He listens even before I talk and I know that he forgives my sins.

 

I can’t ask for a better God, a more loving God or for a closer God. All goodness, all kindness, all holiness, all truth and all love reside in Him and in Him alone.

 

There is nothing that I lack with my God.

 

Messiah

I have a Messiah as well thank you very much. His name is David. God anointed him through the prophet Samuel so that makes him a “Messiah”; an anointed one. I couldn’t ask for a better king. He laid out his entire heart for me in the book of Psalms. In these songs he shows me how a subject of God ought to live. In David’s life and in the words of his song he leads me in submission to my God.

 

My king takes the simple truth of life and shows me how it is the deepest song of my heart. The straightforward fact that God is the Master of all becomes an incredible journey on the strings of my king’s harp. And it is on this journey that I want to live my life and it is on this journey that I want to spend eternity.

 

All of the righteous descendants of David passed on his torch. God promised that it is the dynasty of David which will retain the position of the leader of men. And it is to this dynasty that I pledged my heart.

 

David lived his life in awe and appreciation of God’s sovereignty and he taught us to do the same. His descendant that will rightfully occupy his throne will further that cause and bring it to all of the nations. The man who directed all attention to himself and used the “glory of the Father” as an empty catch-phrase is the very antithesis of David and his dynasty.

 

When the long awaited for descendant of David appears he will not need a new pledge of loyalty from my community because we have already pledged our allegiance to the crown of David. And as David before him, he will not try to stand between me and my God. Instead he will stand where my King stands today; that is, right beside me facing God.

 

Scripture

I have a Law from my God. It is a perfect and just law (Psalm 19; 119). It teaches me right from wrong and it is the light of my life.

 

Now you want me to place a Greek book right there alongside the teaching of my God.

 

I cannot do this.

 

The same witnesses who testified that the Law I possess is truly the Law of God taught me that your book is not. But please allow me to take this one step further.

 

The book that you hold runs contrary to the word of God in so many different ways. Your book completely ignores the national relationship that my nation shares with God. Your book shows a disdain for the laws of my God. And your book contains some teachings that are simply not right according to the sense of justice that God planted in all of our hearts. Let me provide two illustrations.

 

In the book of John Jesus teaches that those who reject him do so out of their hatred for light while those who accept him are lovers of light (John 3:19-21). In the same book Jesus goes on to say that those who don’t believe him are “of the devil” while those who are “of God” hear his words (John 8:44-47). The obvious implication is that acceptance of Jesus is some sort of litmus test to see whether one loves the light and is of God or if one hates the light and is of the devil.

 

Let us step back for a minute. Is it morally correct to accept the claims for the divinity of a man before he has proven himself? Even Christian theology which allows for a man to be divine would still not have us simply accepting anyone’s claims for divinity. Christianity acknowledges that if Jesus’ claims conflicted with the Jewish Scriptures then the Jewish people were duty-bound to reject him. The morally correct approach to Jesus’ claims, even according to Christian theology, ought to be an approach of caution and skepticism.

 

But John’s Jesus completely ignores this truth. He ignores the fact that his audience was obligated by the word of God that they had already received to greet his claims with skepticism (if not outright rejection). Instead he applies a manipulative tactic. “If you don’t believe in me then you must be a rotten apple from the beginning.” Who benefits from this teaching? The ones who don’t believe in him don’t care for his evaluation of their spiritual ancestry. Those who do believe in him don’t need this teaching. It is to those who are on the fence that this teaching is directed. This is an effort to get them to make a decision on the basis of not wanting to be seen as “wicked” by Jesus or by those who believe in his words.

 

Is this a reason to believe in Jesus? Even according to Christian theology is it right for a person to accept Jesus so as to “prove” that he was a “child of light” all along? In any case the historical ramification of this teaching was that the followers of Jesus redefined their view of humanity in a very negative way. For many dark centuries the believers of John’s Jesus defined the goodness of man, not by the practice of justice or mercy, but by belief in Jesus or lack thereof.

 

No; your book does not belong next to the words of my God.

 

Community

I belong to a community that stands in a covenantal relationship with God. My community has been under judgment for the past 2000 years but we have also been incredibly blessed by God. The survival of my community as a distinct entity, both physical and spiritual, is an open miracle. My community has been blessed with moral giants, men and women who lived lives of Godliness. These holy people impacted my community and guided us in our relationship with God. God chose to preserve His testimony in the heart of my community. For the past 2500 years my community, as a community, has not succumbed to the lure of idolatry. This is true despite the fact that before that time idolatry was a deep problem in the hearts of my people. I don’t believe that this is a human achievement. I believe that it is a gift from God to my community. It was God who poured courage into the hearts of my people so that they can withstand the persecutions and the torture and remain loyal to our calling as a witness nation before God.

 

God preserved the covenantal sign of Sabbath in my community (Exodus 31:17). This tells me that the sanctity that my community experiences is not a delusion but a blessing from God.

 

What kind of community would you have me join? A community that produced haters and killers of God’s firstborn son? Oh yes, I know that you disassociate yourself from hatred of Jews. You tell me that those evil men were not “real Christians”. If that is the case then why do their books still fill your libraries? Why do their teachings still fill your universities? Did your community ever stop and do some serious soul-searching, asking yourselves, how it is that Jesus’ message got derailed? (if it ever did). Did your community ever stop to ask themselves if the theological seeds which sprouted those hateful fruit are still present in the orchard of your theology? Or do you just satisfy yourself with the pat assurance that those were not “real Christians”?

 

No; your people are not my people.

 

Hope

I don’t have everything I want. My nation is still in exile and I would want nothing more than that my God restore His presence in our midst in an open and manifest way. My people are still suffering from confusion and persecution. In my own life I fall short of God’s light and truth. But my God promised me that these will come to an end. God promised that our mourning will end and that His glory will return to dwell in Jerusalem as in the days of yore. And He promised to circumcise our heart after He brings us back into His beloved land.

 

The hope that God gave me goes much further than that. God promised that His testimony will not depart from the lips of my people (Isaiah 59:21). God promised that our loyalty to Him in these dark days of exile and confusion will play a role in His plan for all mankind (Isaiah 49:23). And God promised us that His light will shine through us to illuminate the world (Isaiah 60:3).

 

I am not trading in these Divine promises for an offer of “personal salvation”.

Thank you very much.

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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96 Responses to TYVM – From a Jew to a Christian

  1. Christianity is a religion of fear not of Love.

    • Annelise says:

      And yet for so many Christians, the Jewish understanding of God shines through the debris of Christian additions and… for them… their faith in God as Christians is totally about love rather than fear.

      • epsilonspacecake says:

        I can agree with what you are saying and perhaps i shouldn’t have used a blanket statement. However, deep in the back of their minds there is a fear of hell that drives them to their decisions.

        • Annelise says:

          How would you describe the difference between this and Judaism? The sincere Christian loves God and desires His blessings and wants to obey Him, out of thankfulness and love; they are also driven by a fear of separation from Him and punishment. The person who is wise and God-fearing according to Judaism is also driven by the same kinds of thing.

        • paul summers says:

          Hello.

          The Gospel message isn’t a teaching of “Fear of going hell”. That would mean that salvation from a NT point of view is being forced by fear into believing in Jeshua. That isn’t what the gospel message teaches. Know where in the NT teaches such, or imply s it The message is thus:

          Jeshua is the Lord God incarnate. He died a substitutary death to pay the penalty of ones sins. He was buried, rose the 3rd day, and ascended into heaven. By the Resurrection sin was defeated. Death being the penalty for sin. That is simply it. There is no more.
          Any other teaching simply is not the “Words of Salvation” as taught by Paul the Apostle.

          When Jeshua asked Peter “Who do you say that I am?, Peter replied, ” You are the living Son of the Living God. The God Man, Messiah.

          Jeshua then said ” It is on this rock” (confession of You are the living Son of the Living God) That I will build my church. Its not Peter as some would say, but it the confession of what peter stated.

  2. Yedidiah says:

    According to Deut 13, false prophets & “the devil” will tempt you with slick, righteous sounding words and “miraculous loaves of bread” to ignore the Words & “obsolete” Law of God“. But say to the man or man-figure, “Man shall not live by bread alone…”. This man, “the devil” will even take you & go into the Holy city & set you & him up on the pinnacle of the Temple. But God can not be tempted nor does He tempt you; but man will tempt you to reject or “leave” the safety of the Temple with his “spiritual suicide” teachings. Throw your self & your soul away, along with all His Teachings. The “devil’s” agents will try to take to “higher spiritual heights”, to mountains showing you all his “glory” and his “kingdoms” spread all over the earth, and promising that you can be a part of it all too, if you just worship the man-image. But, you can say, that there is only One God, the One “your fathers” knew, and no other god or representation of a god, only Him shall you worship. His Words & Promises were spoken & written (even in stone) long before this “new word” came along later and bore much poor fruit that spread through nations who were then enemies, and some who persisted as enemies for centuries, and some who still are now willingly or unwittingly enemies of His first born son, His People.

  3. sonbeam10 says:

    Well I was reading because of not keeping the promise they made Yah gave them up so he was able to come in the flesh and it was You G-d you speak of on the tree incased in Yahshua fleshing body but you I don’t think he was produce without a earthly man well I think your God loved you and me so much he came and shed his blood and now I have the same rights you do not any better and we both have to come back through the blood It was not Christian who came and Got Yahshua at night for fear of the Hebrews who did follow him ,It was your kind law keepers but mans laws not Fathers and they had no fear the only wanted to keep their place and riches then they sent you God to the Roman leaders and they could have saved you God no they couldn’t Your God did it all for you and for me we all all going to have to accept the fact Torah is First and the writhing will line up with Torah if you don’t twist them all the followers kept Yah’s Torah just not the Rabbis Torah . We will all be on our knees ands all will see him in the flesh it will be again this time in full power but in the body he created Yahshua will be King of Kings and we who teach His ways will be leaders in His Kingdom, Please don’t miss all he did for you let His Spirit guild you into understanding they are one and the same
    lots of love, thanks for the lesson, Your God is the light And the Flesh body he walk in was Yahshua

    • Annelise says:

      Hi Sunbeam10,

      You made a very big claim! You said that if we reject Yeshua then we are rejecting God. But we love God too, and we know Him too. We need His grace and we trust in Him to help us. We are like children and servants to Him; He is our Father and our King. We only want to obey Him! And we are blessed every day in His love and life.

      But I don’t think that God came in a body and I don’t think that we will bow to Yeshua in the future. Those things are not true. But the love of God is true, and it is beautiful to obey Him and serve Him alone.

      Blessings to you 🙂

  4. Annelise says:

    Rabbi Yisroel, this post has some of the most beautiful and important thoughts in it.

    A question. You wrote: “Everything that your hero did was done in the world that my God created, while my God was sustaining him, and with gifts that my God freely granted him and for which he paid nothing.” But you do realise that Christians don’t think that is true? And they would agree with you that worship doesn’t belong to ‘someone else’ than God, so I want to understand the point you were getting across in this.

    That said… because I agree with you that no human in history can ever be considered to have ‘been God’… I deeply agree with the importance of what you’ve written here.

  5. Annelise
    If Christians think its true than they are denying God’s absolute sovereignty – if one man is not subject than no man is intrinsically subject
    https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/foundation-of-worship-iii/

    • Annelise says:

      You wrote there that existing in God’s world *inherently* means owing worship to Him. Is that because of the concept that ‘the earth is Hashem’s and everything in it’? And the way idolatry is often mocked in the Hebrew scriptures by laughing that something so small could deserve worship?

      • Annelise says:

        Anyway I truly value what you were painting in what you wrote there. It’s just that it’s a conclusion, and an experience, rather than an argument. Do you think?

  6. Marilyn G. says:

    Christianity is a religion of grace. The same thing can not be said about Judaism. According to Christianity, if you are in Messiah, you will be forgiven of all sins that you repent of (1 John 1:9). According to Judaism, not all sins that are repented of are forgiven. I even learned this from some Orthodox Jews.

    • Dina says:

      Marilyn, I don’t know what Orthodox Jews you’ve been speaking to. All sins that are repented of are forgiven (Isaiah 1:18-20).

      According to Christianity, even if you repent of all your sins and lead an exemplary moral life, you are going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus as your lord and savior. That means that according to your book, all upstanding Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and so on are eternally damned. They are all going to the same place as Hitler and Stalin and other mass murderers and heinous criminals.

      If that is grace, I prefer Judaism, which holds open wide the gate to eternal life to all who strive for goodness, whatever their religion or creed. The God of Israel is not only just but infinitely loving and merciful, and He judges us not only according to our actions but also according to our circumstances and abilities, recognizing that we are but flesh (a theme repeated often in the Psalms).

      Now, that’s what I call grace.

      • Paul summers says:

        Hello. Abraham was blessed by faith in God not by doing good deads. Of course he did good deads because of his faith but not merely by good deads.
        x

        • Larry says:

          ????????

          • LarryB says:

            Isn’t choosing faith a good work as you call it? You may be blessed with a better faith than others but first one has to choose.

        • LarryB says:

          Paul
          Let me try this again? -Abraham was blessed by faith in G-d, not by doing good deeds, but not merely by good deeds? I’m having a hard time understanding your point.

          • paul summers says:

            Hello
            What I meant was that Abraham was blessed by God because of his faith that he had in God. Its not a case of just doing good works to be blessed. Its a balance, however you need to have faith in the creator first. Hebrew ch 11 speaks very clearly on this about the OT saints. Abel, Noah, Moses, etc.

            x

        • Dina says:

          Hey, Paul, did you notice that about five seconds later Abraham questions God and asks him how he will know that he will inherit it (Genesis 15:8)? Doesn’t that show lack of faith? Or that in Genesis 18:19 God says that He has chosen Abraham because he commands his children and household to keep God’s commandments and do charity and justice? Doesn’t that show the importance of taking action?

          Faith, obedience, good deeds–all are important according to Hebrew scripture. You are cherry picking again (which is a fine practice, you say).

          Besides, what is your point? How do you answer my challenge above, that Judaism rather than Christianity is the religion of grace, based on what I said?

          Peace and blessings,
          Dina

          • paul summers says:

            Hello Dina

            Yes I agree with you that Abraham did question is appointment from God. Moses also. That just shows the fallen condition of humanity. Abraham showed a lack of judgement and faith as he so sojourned from Canaan into Egypt because there was a famine. He should have relied on God to supply his needs. So yes of course he lacked some faith. But Abraham was just like you and I in the area of that we have to grow and mature. On route we make mistakes, but gods grace is sufficient. The Abrahamic covenant was unconditional, nothing could or would stop Gods plan, however God chose Abraham for His future plans for the establishment of the nation of Israel, and the blessing for the world thereafter.

            Abraham showed a lack of faith in listening to Sarah and having a child with Hagar. God had promised a child to Abraham through Sarah, not the other way round. However God still put the covenant into action through the promise of Isaac.

            We all fall and fail, that’s our sin nature. But a base of faith is essential, however small it is at the time we hear the Lords voice or calling etc. Its all a case of how much we want to grow and mature, how much faith we are willing to put into practice. Its how much we are willing to submit to Gods will and let Him lead our lives, or are we going to follow the worlds ideas and put our trust in the carnal flesh?

            Abraham clearly had a base of faith because he Listened to God when He called Abraham to leave his land and people. In Gen 15;6 the scriptures clearly say ” he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
            Abraham had to have some faith before he got up and left his land.

            Then it says

            Gen 15;8-9 This statement of giving Abraham a sign isn’t a sign because Abraham doesn’t believe in God. Its a sign of the sealing of the covenant. Abraham is requesting a physical sealing of the promise, not “I don’t believe in what you are saying!” ,That would make a contradiction too scripture.
            Again you see blood atonement being very important, before the Law was ever given.

            The Midrash on this passage states that Abraham feared that his descendants would fail and sin thus they would not enter into the promise land as earlier promised. So give me a sign so my son sons will see. (paraphrase).

            There isn’t one person from the OT who didn’t fail at some point. Even the disciples of Jeshua lacked faith on many occasions throughout Jeshua ministry.The NT isn’t shy in revealing this weakness of the human condition. In my opinion the OT and the NT show Gods grace on humanity very equally.

            x

          • Dina says:

            Hi, Paul.

            I am not sure you heard me clearly. I said that faith along with obedience and deeds is important and quoted from Genesis 18:19 to prove it.

            Furthermore, you still have not answered my original challenge.

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • paul says:

            Hello Dina
            Well this topic is a big issue here, Gods Grace. We are not talking just about one verse etc. Of course from my perspective I believe in the God of Israel and non other. Being a Christian I also believe that Jeshua is The God-Man. The NT talks about Gods grace being sufficient when one is weak in the flesh. You mentioned this also from the Jewish OT/ scripture point of view. So to a point we agree that Gods grace is something that we cannot truly understand from a human angle. Non of us deserve Gods unlimited Grace.

            However after reading some of your previous statements I would say we are poles apart in points of view. Similarly as far as we are at the same void of disagreement about Jeshua of Nazareth.

            Gods grace is as previously stated unmeasurable, however this grace does not extend into the next life/heaven if one is a atheist etc. Im know for a fact the OT doesn’t teach it, nor does the NT. The Roman Catholic church seem to teach such nonsense called purgatory. IE One can repent and get a second chance when you stand before the Lord God. I’m sure if a thing did exist then all would simply go into heaven, Why??? because who would choose hell if there eyes were finally opened to the truth, while standing before God? Even Adolf Hitler, Stalin etc would bow the knee. For one, no one can stand before the Lord Adonai anyway. In His presence all will confess Him as Lord. By your reckoning these murderous men will be justified? Also that would raise the question why would God bother establishing a Law, covenants, a directive so you can have a personal relationship with Him etc etc, if in the end all roads lead to God anyway?The very reason God separated Israel from the other nations was to establish His Name, so all the world would see God through His creation and word etc.

            You must have a base of faith.

            A Lot of confusion with people is the word “Repentance” At most people tend to think that the word means to say sorry. However this is not true. The word means to change ones mind. You think in one way, then change to think in the other way. Change direction as it were. However this repentance has to come from the heart, its not just lip service.

            The Jewish scripture clearly teach that Israel were to have nothing to do with the neighboring tribes,cultures etc. Joshua was commanded to destroy all and to take over the land. The Lord God repeatedly said that He was the only God, no other God is to be worshiped and that He was/is a jealous God. This is massive in the scriptures.

            I don’t seem to understand your ideas on Grace. Grace is workable from Gods point of view, while one is alive here on planet earth, no matter who you are or what you have done in life. But once you take your last breath on earth that grace ends. As I stated earlier, works no matter how good they are, are useless if you are an atheist or a believer in any other God except The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, (BC)

            The NT teaches teaches that we are saved from eternal judgement (hell) by Gods Grace through Faith in Him, plus nothing.
            Christ made it very clear that He was/is The Lord God, The God Man Messiah, Born to die,and to be resurrected according to the scriptures, Law, Prophets and the writings.

            For God so loved the World That He gave His Only Begotten Son, and whoever should believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting Life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the World, but that the world Through Him might be saved.

            x

          • Dina says:

            Hi Paul.

            I appreciate your passion and conviction, but I am dismayed because I do not understand how you so completely missed my point. Let me try again and I hope this time to clarify.

            I said that Christianity is not a religion of grace because the doctrine that no matter what you do, without faith in Jesus you’re damned to hell, is cruel and unjust. I made the very opposite point of what you understood: I said that according to your belief, Hitler and I are both going to hell, though Hitler is thoroughly wicked and I am a decent human being (if I may say so myself; a flawed but pretty okay one). Such a theology condemns to hell for all eternity the most heinous criminals along with good upstanding people of all faiths and no faith except for Christians. That is not grace. That is not justice. That is not mercy.

            What happens to all humans before Jesus came along? How could they have placed their faith in a person who hadn’t been born yet and was unknown to them?

            What happens to all humans who lived in places where the “good news” hadn’t reached them, like the Native Americans, Aztecs, Mayans, and others before Europeans discovered North and South America?

            What happens to all humans who have been indoctrinated since birth against religion, or against idolatry?

            How do you see this as God’s grace? How do you not see this as the whim of a petty and vicious god concerned only for his own glory?

            Traditional Judaism, on the other hand, holds that the gates of heaven are open wide to all who strive for goodness, whatever their race or religion. You get your idea of the afterlife from Christian scripture; I get mine from Jewish tradition (as described in the Talmud).

            You made an important point that the Torah says nothing about the afterlife. That’s because Judaism focuses on what we’re supposed to do in this world. The Torah provides the blueprint for how to live our lives in FAITH and OBEDIENCE to God. That’s all we need to know and that’s all that matters. God says He will reward us for our obedience, but that is not the reason for obedience.

          • paul says:

            Hello Dina

            Can I first point out that I did understand your previous comments, and I hear what you are saying. However I don’t believe what you are saying.

            From your point of view you are measuring Gods Grace upon yourself and what you do in life. You are basing ones eternal life on the flesh and not on what Gods demands and requires from Himself.

            Yes we are all flawed in our sin nature, and yes we all, well most, want to lead to perfect-ish life. However we cannot live a full holy life because of the very sin nature that we have, inherited from our parents genes. So no matter what we do in flesh we all still fall short of what Gods requires. This is why we need the bases of Faith first. Then we walk, fall but learn and grow in the Lord in this life.
            We cannot earn our salvation by being good, nor do we receive it as a reward. From a NT point of view the Fullness of Gods Grace was sending His Son Jeshua of Nazareth to Earth to die for the penalty of sin. We did/do nothing to save our own lives or to make us righteous before God. The Law could not bring men to salvation. The Law didn’t fail. The Law was there as a tutor and a guide, yes to live by, but men could not live up to its full requirements. that’s why Jeshua came to fulfil the Law. The Law is Holy, but through the God-Man who came to fulfil it, in all its truth. Paul made these points in Romans.

            To answer your point about individuals not hearing the good news and going to hell, are actually true.
            This point is made in the opening chapters of Romans. Please let me explain.

            Since the dawn of creation Gen ch 1. God, through the ages has revealed Himself to man. You can put these into a list.

            1. Creation of the world and the Heavens.
            2. God has given man a conscience.
            3. Providence. This can me clearly seen in the survival of Israel.
            4. Nature.
            5. Scripture.

            I made the point of saying in my last post that before Jeshua, all that man had to do was to truly believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel. This was base of faith. Some more than others. Some a little better than others in life, but still a believer in the One True God of Israel. No other God. Even if they hadn’t heard of Gods Name, or Israel, even before Israel became a nation, men by conscience new that a God existed. Not many Sun, moon, weather gods but one true god. That at that time, was all that was required. You can see the shift of faith from the tower of babel etc. But man new the true God from Adam and his descendants. Its because of the sin nature that man turns his back on God. You only have look at the Exodus to see how short a time men can change there minds on who they want to serve.

            If you read Romans it talks about how man has failed to live up to the Light of Gods revelation of Himself. It talks about worshipping animals and the created, instead of the Creator Himself. Because of this refusal to live up to the light that had been given to all of mankind by God through some of the list which I gave, God handed them over to a debased mind. Basically a point of no return. However if say a tribe in the middle of absolute know where, lived up to the general revelation of truth that God had shown them, nature, creation, then God Himself would by His divine guidance send a missionary to preach the Gospel of Jeshua. This teaching of the Word, will bring sons to glory. If only one heard and believed from 1000 people then, the word would have accomplished Gods predestined Plan. So if no person or tribe ever saw or even heard a missionary preach, that’s because God in His Devine nature, new before hand that Jeshua/God would be denied.

            Jeshua said, I AM the Way, The Truth and The Life, no man goes to the Father except Through Me.

            Like I said before, Salvation is based on Gods Grace through faith in Him, plus nothing. All we have to do is to believe in Him. Christ Jeshua did it all, so we don’t have to. Now that’s Grace.

            x Peace

          • Dina says:

            Paul, the doctrine of original sin is not supported by the Hebrew scriptures. It’s a new concept introduced in Christian scripture (which I do not accept as authoritative). Indeed, in Genesis Chapter 4–right after the banishment from the Garden of Eden, no less!–God tells Cain that he can overcome sin. What a concept!

            Furthermore, the concept that only faith in an individual (and before that individual, in God–what changed, exactly, that suddenly the faith needed to switch to someone else?) can get you eternal salvation is also anti-scriptural; otherwise Scripture wouldn’t spend dozens of passages warning the Children of Israel that they will be punished for disobedience to God’s law and rewarded for keeping it.

            Finally, the fact that you are comfortable with the fact that I, Dina Bucholz, and little children who don’t have this faith, are going to hell along with Hitler, shows that you do not understand the concept of justice and mercy. The fact that you decided that God kept the “good news” from those He knew wouldn’t accept it shows you do not believe in the concept of free will; besides, why is God today not keeping the “good news” from billions of people today who obviously won’t accept it?

      • paul summers says:

        Hello Dina

        Sorry to be slow here. Are you referring to this point ref Marilyn?

        • Dina says:

          Yes, Paul. I showed why Marilyn was wrong to say that Christianity rather than Judaism is the religion of grace. It’s the other way around, of course.

          As an aside, it’s important to stress that this is not the reason we practice Judaism. We obey God’s commands because He said so, period, end of story. God in His infinite loving kindness, sees fit to grant us grace for our obedience, but we must obey Him because that is our due to our Creator, whether He rewards us or not.

  7. Rogelio Aquino says:

    I don’t think why they called them as Christians, where in fact the first Christian Church was already gone, wipe-out or face-out in this world. Because the truth about the prophecy of the Founder Jesus Himself, written in John 16:1-4. “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you[a] because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the[b] time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
    And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. History told us, that the authorities of this Church ( the Apostles) was persecuted until they died. And they didn’t gave their Apostleship to anyone to prolonged the existent of this Church.into this world. I think the world of Christianity of today is the outcome of deception implemented by Satan into the false History of Christianity, written in Apocalypse 12:9. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    • paul summers says:

      Hello
      Im a little confused here on your statement?

      If the so called church which is present here today, the ones that are and have been persecuting the Jews for the last 2000 yrs are not the real church of Christ but a anti type, then surely by that reasoning the original church of Jeshuas day were not pagan or anti scripture or antisemitic, which seems to be the label that Jeshua is clearly and often given here.

      When Jeshua spoke to Peter about giving him the keys to the kingdom, Jeshua spoke about the church in a future tense. ” I will build my church” not it is buil,t etc. The NT teaches that the church was birthed at Pentecost. 50 days after Passover.

      The apostolic period did end after all the apostles were killed though.

      The major error in your last statement is thus. The book of Revelation was written by John, who was given the book to write down as Jeshua gave him revelation of the church to come and the end times. Hardly a good idea if the church was going to fall in the next few yrs. The Scripture that you gave about the dragon being being cast down, is yes the satan, but the NT teaches that satan is cast out towards the end of the 7 year tribulation. This is where satan will finally try one last ditched attempt to destroy all of the Jews from the earth. Under this mass persecution the saved remnant will call upon the Name of Adonai and have there eyes opened to the truth of Jeshua your Messianic King. Then and only then after Israels national repentance will Israels see Messiah Jeshua God and King of the Jews.

      When you see it is satanic that the Jews are being persecuted, who will all so see that if there are no Jews left here on earth then there is no second coming of Jeshua. The true church of Jeshua do hate Jews, only Satan and his fallen angels.

  8. Gail Benson says:

    The sum of the matter, when all has been considered: Fear God and Keep his commandments, for this is man’s whole duty. For God will judge every deed–even everything hidden–whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

  9. paul says:

    Hello Dina

    Thanks for your recent reply.

    Can I please start with that I do believe with the concept of free will. Man has always been able to make his own decisions in life. Whether spiritual or material. Adam being the first prime example. The very command from, God being “You shall not eat of the fruit” shows that Adam could make his own decisions.
    When from a NT perspective predestination, election isn’t a concept of God choosing His elect (believers). ie “”you will be mine, instead of him because you are better than him””! Its a case of God knowing before hand who will except Him, from the ones who will not. If God didn’t know before hand, before it ever happens wouldn’t make Him much of a God in the bigger scheme of things. That would mean the earthly things around us today are unravelling before Gods eyes and God not knowing what was coming next etc. That’s the basic way I can explain predestination.

    The point you raised also was about children going to Hell. I of course can only say what the bible teaches on the whole about such matters. The scriptures don’t actually say anything on the matter. But looking at the subject openly you soon deduce from my past comments that a person as to be in a position of maturity and sound mind to make a decision about sin/Christ/God/salvation. Of course a 2 yr old child cannot do such. So to say a child is to be punished for something they could not understand would be plain stupid and cruel. Something which God is not when disciplining his creation. So to clear any confusion here, not receiving the Good news for children or the infirm doesn’t mean that they are condemned. We just have to believe that God in His wisdom and divine justice does the right thing, which of course He does. Anything on top of that is just speculation.

    The third point you raised was “How come God isn’t keeping the good news from millions who just deny it?”
    Well that’s the point of which the said individuals will be judged on. From hearing the gospel then rejecting it. When I mentioned that for example a missionary preaches the news to a tribe of 1000, and only one hears it and believes. The other 999 had equal opportunity to accept it, but decided to (free will) to reject it. The missionary who preached doesn’t know before who will and who will not believe. He/she isn’t God, but God knows. So the missionary preaches the gospel, sows the seed. God does the harvesting. Someone can preach the gospel for 50 yrs solid. Day in day out. In that time no person can except the message. The point is that the person preaching is carrying out the commission which Christ commanded to the early the Church to do. From Gods perspective that preacher would never bring any one to faith. Not because the word was insufficient to save, its because that is Gods plan for that said preacher and those who heard. Its a case of sowing, not all seeds fall on good ground. Looking from another way someone can preach the gospel once, and then just one excepts it. The person preaching gives up and does other things in life. The overall picture is that God in His divine foreknowledge knows all things that work for Him and His Kingdom. The NT teaches of rewards given to believers in the Messianic Kingdom for the work they did in faith while here on earth. The more one works in the faith the more one is rewarded. A prime example of one man coming to faith out of thousands at a open air mission is the testimony of Billy Graham.

    The subject the evil inclination is something which I would like to hear more on. I of course do not believe in such. I assume that you hold the concept that sin/evil or the capability to sin was put into man from the start of creation through Adam?

    You mentioned that God will judge the children of Israel who disobey His Laws and commands. That of course I agree on, however I am a little confused on the matter where you quite clearly stated that all religions were acceptable to the One True God of Israel, which is totally contrary to scripture, no matter which ever way you try to read it? Of course if the said followers of false gods repented while here, alive, well that’s different.

    And Finally my last point is this. We started this discussion on Gods Grace and what it entails. You made the point of Adolf Hitler Going to Hell. Well of course he is already there in the outer darkness awaiting his final and just judgement from the Lord.
    But I will add this, not AH, but if someone just as foul and sick from whatever there used to do or believe in, were to truly repent and except the Lord Jeshua God as there Messiah, before they died then Christ will forgive and give eternal life to ANYONE who calls on His Name.

    x

    • Dina says:

      Paul, let me put it you more starkly.

      We both agree that Hitler is in hell.

      Where are his six million Jewish victims? Are they in hell, too? Yes or no! Do they deserve the same fate as Hitler, yes or no?

      All the people in the IDF that you worked for, all the people in the State of Israel that you support, all the Jews that you know personally, and I, Dina Bucholz–do we all deserve the same fate as Hitler? Yes or no?

      Answer me that!

      • paul says:

        Hello Dina
        That’s a very open, direct and honest question, Which only deserves the same in reply, I can only give you on what the scriptures teach.

        First of all I would like to state for the record, that from a human point of view we are all under the same condemnation, Jew and Gentile, from the moment that we are conceived in our mothers womb, when we take our first breath in life, we are all sinners and we are all spiritually dead. To make a comment and say ” Yes you deserve to go to Hell” would be immature, and scripturally inaccurate, because we all deserve to go to hell because our carnal flesh is enmity before God, no matter who we are, race, religion, gender etc.

        I mentioned before that salvation isn’t a reward nor is it earned. Its by Gods grace, through Faith in His Son that we are saved from eternal judgement. Both Jew and Gentile. In fact the NT make numerous points that the Gospel should go to the Jew first not the gentiles.

        The NT shows that everything the Law, Prophets and the writings spoke of, about the Messiah finally came true in the fullness of time in Jeshua. The most incredible part of the prophecies is that Messiah would be rejected, crucified, buried and resurrected. Jeshua wasn’t rejected because Jeshua got it wrong. Jeshua was rejected because the scriptures said He would. Adding to that, Jeshuas rejection was my (Gentiles) acceptance into the promises of the commonwealth of Israel. But we are NOT overtakers of the promises, just partakers. Israel will fully enjoy all her covenant promises when the time comes, because the God of Israel will deliver, just has He promised.

        So to answer your question. NO one deserves God wrath, No one deserves to go to hell, however the scriptures teach that eternal judgement waits for those who reject the gift of The Messianic Son Of David, Jeshua of Nazareth, who is The God-Man, The Redeemer of Israel. Prophet-Priest-King.

        John 3:1-26
        Acts ch 7.
        1 Corinthians v 18-31

        xx

        • Dina says:

          Hi, Paul. I do so appreciate your kind and respectful tone. Thank you for that.

          I’ve been reading Christian Scripture, and iI’ve only read the first two books, but it seems pretty clear that whoever accepts Jesus is accepted into the kingdom of God, and whoever doesn’t is packed off to hell.

          So my original question still stands. How does a just, good God send the most heinous criminals to the same place as really good people who simply don’t believe in Jesus?

          Last point: all the faith statements you presented (with eloquence and conviction) come from Christian scripture. Hebrew scripture repudiates every single one. How can you accept both scriptures as true, if the one does not support the other?

          Peace and blessings,
          Dina

          • Annelise says:

            By ‘really good people’, I think Dina means not just people who are trying to be less sinful by their own merit and yet still don’t match up to God’s standard of holiness. She’s talking also about people who seek to obey God, and to obey Him by relying on Him for grace and forgiveness, and yet do not believe it would be righteous in His eyes for them to accept J.

          • Dina says:

            Yes, I do mean that, thanks for clarifying. But I also mean people of all faiths or no faith who strive for goodness. And that includes, yes, even atheists.

          • Annelise says:

            Agreed… I think that a relationship with goodness is often part of the way a creature relates with the God of goodness, whatever they personally know about that. But I just knew that Christians might interpret you to be saying that people can be ‘good enough’ for God without needing His forgiveness.

          • paul says:

            Hello Dina

            Thank you for your last response. Kind words.

            To answer your first two points, I think I can answer these together. To accept Jeshua as Messiah pre death wasn’t a case of a blood sacrifice through Christ, of course that hadn’t happened as yet. But Jeshua did authenticate His Messiahship through many signs and wonders. This is all that what was required at the time. Jeshuas disciples didn’t even understand Jeshua words on the His death and resurrection prior to the crucifixion. Infact Jeshua had to rebuke Peter for saying that nobody would harm Jeshua. Jeshua told Peter that he wasn’t mindful of the pre purpose plan of God. (Nothing was going to stop His Fathers plan of His Sons death.) However Peter did believe that Jeshua was the Messiah of Israel, he just didn’t quite understand all the finer points. Why? Because of our human fallen flesh we all cannot see and fully understand the mind and the Devine plans God has for us. However He does show us His Name through the pre set time pattern that He has for the world. This culminated fully in the divine revelation of His Son Jeshua, who to answer your last question, He did so by living out the prophecies of the OT scripture. 300 at least. Of course these prophecies and types etc. are argued and contested. If there was say one or two then you could say that Christianity and all its so called interpretations were false, but to argue about finer little words like, Virgin does it mean that? or nail pierced hands, doesn’t really mean nail pierced hands, Blood atonement? Not the Passover Lamb- even though Jeshua was killed at 0900 hrs. on the 15th of Nisan etc. etc. The list is endless. So much time and effort is used to try to prove Jeshua as false, and so actually,deny the very Jewish scriptures that Jeshua came to fulfil, simply lies unfortunately in the basics of Does one actually believe in God and all His Fullness.

            Post resurrection. I stated a few reply’s ago that to believe/saved/ receive eternal salvation is simply this;

            That Christ Jeshua died a substituteary death, the pay the penalty of ones own sins. He died, was buried and rose again on the third day. By dying and being resurrected Christ conquered the grave/ death, because the penalty of sin is death. (That is why we die) because of sin. That is why God Himself had to leave the glory of Heaven to pay the penalty for sin. Just by some one just saying sorry isn’t enough for Gods standard. He set the standard, He set the very high price that was required, so we don’t have to. We cannot save ourselves. The Law cannot save. But God Himself can through the Law and the Word becoming Flesh.

            I will finish Dina with this. Before one can accept Jeshua has Messiah, one also has to be convicted that they are sinners and that Christ died on the cross to pay for the ransom that God The Father required. That’s your sins and mine. It is that blood atonement of the Passover, that Gods righteous anger passed over me personally through His Son, to set me free from the bondage of Slavery. If there is no faith of a blood sacrifice then one stays in Egypt and suffers the consequences.

            Thank you again.

            Shalom

            xx

          • Dina says:

            Hi Paul.

            Thanks for taking the time. We can’t really have a debate about what Hebrew scripture teaches or, rather, does not teach, because we do not agree on the criteria we use to quote scripture. I only want to quote teachings that are clear, direct, consistent, and comprehensive. You feel that cherrypicking, quoting out of context, and using mistranslated texts are all fair game (we’ve already hashed this out). So let’s set aside my contention that Hebrew scripture repudiates Christian doctrine.

            I’d like to point out that you have failed to answer directly my question about hell. I have yet to meet a Christian who will give me a straight answer.

            May God our Father lead us by the light of his truth.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • paul says:

            Hello Dina

            Jeshua is speaking to His Disciples. Behind the scenes the Pharisees are planning to have Jeshua killed ch 11 v45-57

            John Ch 15 v 18-25 says this.

            If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I spoke to you, “A servant is not greater than his master” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My Names sake, because they DO NOT KNOW HIM WHO SENT ME. If I HAD NOT come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have NO EXCUSE for there sin. He who hates me, hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin, but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written IN THERE LAW ” They hated Me without a cause”

            John ch 14 v1-11 should also be read.

            To answer your question Dina the NT teaching is very clear. To reject the Son of Man, Jeshua The Messiah is to reject the Lord God Himself, as both are One. You cannot except Adonai without His Son.

            Does God punish all that reject Him?, yes, Why because, who ever rejects His Son rejects God and His Grace. Because of mans free will, this then, is mans responsibility to except the gift that the Lord God has given to all men, God will be fully justified by the said rejection, so all, Jew and Gentile will be held accountable before Jeshua when He judges all. The names not found in the Lambs Book of Life are cast into the Lake of Fire.

            It has never been a case of who is more better than his neighbour, or how many good deeds we have done in life. In the eyes of God our Father we have all fallen way short of holiness or righteousness. Our relationship with God was broken with the fall of man. The NT clearly teaches that our relationship with God is only healed through His Son and the Blood sacrifice on Calvary.

            As a closing statement, I would also like to say that Christianity was/is never a religion to out do Judaism. It never was a contest as such. Jeshua came to fulfil Judaism in its fullest and purest way. The word became flesh as John stated. However the Law was restricted, because of man in his fallen ability, man can never ever live up to it full requirements. Paul stressed this point.
            Jeshua didn’t have a problem with the Law per se, He had a problem with the Pharisees and Sadducees interpretation of the Law.

            I hope I have finally answered your question?

            Thank you so much Dina for all your correspondence and patience. I think its time we ended this discussion. Of course if you want to chat more then please do not hesitate to say so.

            In The Name of Adonai, God Of Israel, God of all creation.

            Shalom from the UK. x

          • Dina says:

            Yes, Paul, if you wish to end the discussion I will be happy to respect that. You did indeed answer my question, albeit in a roundabout way. I understand that it’s hard for you to tell me to my face that yes, you do believe that Hitler and his six million victims received the same fate. It’s not easy to tell a sincere Jew committed to worshipping God, who loves God, that she deserves the same fate as Hitler.

            I get that.

            What I don’t get is why Christians think they have any hope of packaging this horrific doctrine in a way that is attractive to Jews.

            You can have the last word, Paul. Feel free to respond or not, as you wish. It was a pleasure talking to you.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Annelise says:

            When I was in Christianity I believed about hell that God knows and judges the heart: i.e., He knows whether or not someone rejected J ‘knowingly’, with awareness and understanding of the actual nature of the Christian claims. And I felt that if a true lover of God also truly understood Christianity, they’d accept it.

        • Dina says:

          Hi Annelise.

          What you believed then is what many Christians believe, but it is not a thought-through position. The notion that people such as I who knowingly reject the idea of worshiping a dead man as a god deserve the same fate as truly evil people like Hitler is despicable.

          Besides, what individual Christians believe is irrelevant, as CS is quite clear that the only way to heaven is through Jesus.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            I noticed that you have now and in the past noted that one should not “worship” anything but God. And even when I have told you that I do not “worship” anyone as God but God alone you find a way to be critical of that.

            However, it seems to me that your understanding of the word worship (shacha in Hebrew) and your criticism are not based on Scripture.

            I’m wondering if you can defend your criticisms about worship scripturally in the Hebrew Scriptures based on a word study. My counter claim is that you and some others have misunderstood the word “worship” and have inappropriately applied it exclusively to God when as evidenced in scripture it is applied to people as well. The below list is a small sampling from the OT English translations of the use of the word as it applies to people.

            • Lot “worshipped” the two strangers who came to Sodom (Gen. 19:1)
            • Abraham “worshipped” the pagan leaders of the land in which he lived (Gen. 23:7)
            • Jacob “worshipped” his older brother when they met after being apart for years (Gen. 33:3)
            • Joseph had a dream that his parents and brothers “worshipped” him (Gen. 37:10)
            • Joseph’s brothers “worshipped” him (Gen. 43:26)
            • Joshua fell down and “worshipped” an angel (Joshua 5:14)
            • Ruth “worshipped” Boaz (Ruth 2:10)
            • David “worshipped” Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:41)
            • Abigail “worshipped” David (1 Sam. 25:41)

            The above proves that we should not look exclusively to the word but rather to the context in which we find the word. We give God and God alone a special worship from the heart which we do not give to others. But the same word is used in both contexts whether speaking of worshipping God or speaking of worshipping men. It is the worship to God which is unique not because of the word “worship” but because of the context in which the word “worship” is used.

            The Hebrew word shachah eoccurs more than 80% of the time for “worship” in many English translations of the bible. This same word is also translated to “bow down.” Shachah (Strong’s number 7812) is used for bowing or prostrating oneself, often before a superior or before God.

            The examples of “worship” in the OT confirms that in the biblical culture, people bowed down before those to whom they wanted to show respect or honor. Lot “worshipped” (shachah) the strangers who came to Sodom even though he had never seen them before. He prostrated himself before them to show them respect (Gen. 19:1). Moses “worshipped” (shachah) his father in law, whom he respected and honored (Exod. 18:7). Abigail “worshipped” (shachah) David. She honored him by prostrating herself before him. These three examples can be multiplied many times over, but they show that when someone wanted to honor another, he would fall down before him. The act of falling down is called “worship,” and reveals the heart of the worshipper—respect and honor towards the one being worshipped.

            When the word shachah appears in the Hebrew text, it usually refers to the action of bowing down, and we can translate it that way into English, as the following examples show.

            Genesis 23:7
            Then Abraham rose and bowed down [shachah] before the people of the land, the Hittites.

            Genesis 33:3
            He himself [Jacob] went on ahead and bowed down [shachah] to the ground seven times as he approached his brother [Esau].

            Genesis 42:6
            Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down [shachah] to him with their faces to the ground.

            However, when shachah refers to a person “bowing down” before God, the translators many times, depending on the English version used, translate it to the English word “worship.” The three examples below are typical.

            Exodus 24:1
            Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship [shachah] at a distance,

            Exodus 33:10 (NASB)
            When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship [shachah], each at the entrance of his tent.

            There are times when it is NOT appropriate to honor or “worship” someone.

            God says that it is wrong to bow down before (shachah; worship) other gods (Exod. 23:24).

            Also, true worship comes from the heart. That is why Mordecai would not bow down before Haman, because Haman was an enemy of the Jews (Esther 3:2; 9:10).

            And there is the issue of insincerity in worship.

            Adonijah was a half-brother of Solomon and had plotted to usurp David’s throne. But Solomon sent word that if Adonijah would do what was right, then Adonijah’s life would be spared. So Adonijah came and worshipped, bowed down to, Solomon the king as an act of honor and respect, implying that he would be obedient. Actually, Adonijah’s gesture was insincere, and he ended up being put to death (1 Kings 2:25).

            1 Kings 1:53
            Then King Solomon sent men, and they brought him down from the altar. And Adonijah came and bowed [shachah] down to King Solomon, and Solomon said, “Go to your home.”

          • David says:

            Correction: The reference to Mordecai not bowing down (shachah) to Haman should read Esther 3:2 and 3:5.

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            I’m taken aback because I never made this argument. You created a straw man and then spent quite a lot of time and scholarly study to knock it down. Well, I’m sorry for all your trouble.

            Scripture does not prohibit bowing down to (or worshiping) a human being or a human king AS a human. Scripture does prohibit bowing to (or worshiping) any entity other than God as God. Isn’t that obvious?

            Scripture makes it quite clear that there is nothing wrong with revering another human as a human. I have lots of reverance for lots of people, including Rabbi Blumenthal. But he would think it odd if I were to start bowing to him. Let’s face it: we live in an era when people don’t show respect by bowing unless they are about to have a karate match.

            I object to your veneration of Jesus only because you give him more than is rightfully due to a created being. As a mere human, when he was alive Jesus was in as much need of God’s mercy and grace as anyone else. As a dead man, he can do nothing more for you than any other dead man. If you believe he has any more power than this, you are attributing to him some form of divinity even if you don’t call it that.

            Incidentally, my comments to Paul were directed to him and to the vast majority of Christians who are Trinitarians–and not to you, David.

            Our conversation focused on the Christian doctrine of hell. Do you believe I am going to hell because I do not accept Jesus as my lord and savior?

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            Perhaps I’ve mixed up your comments with that of Annelise or someone else and if so, I apologize.

            But even now you seem to be saying one the one hand:
            “Scripture makes it quite clear that there is nothing wrong with revering another human as a human.”

            And on the other hand:
            “I object to your veneration of Jesus only because you give him more than is rightfully due to a created being.”

            In what way am I giving Jesus more than the Jews gave King David or Moses for example. Or, for that matter what I expect you will give your king, the Jewish Moshiach. Will you not bow down to him as did Jews in the past bow down to King David?

            Or will you refuse?

            Are you forgetting that the Moshiach will be not only a teacher but also a king?
            Did not the subjects of the Jewish kings bow down to them?
            And don’t Jews bow down to their monarchs in lands that still have such as in the case of the UK?
            Will it not be the case that the Moshiach will be king of the world?
            Your argument that we are done with the era of monarchies is not biblical as that’s exactly what we’re going to have in the era of the Jewish Moshiach.

            Which is noted in this article (copied in part) written by a Jew.

            Moshiach: A Return to Monarchy?
            By Naftali Silberberg

            “How can the expansion of democratic principles be a portent of the coming of the Messiah, when Messiah himself will be a monarch who will rule over a theocracy?! Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the years preceding the Redemption to be characterized by an increased number of nations which are governed by monarchs – kind, benevolent monarchs, to be sure, but monarchs nonetheless.

            The Messianic Redemption, dubbed the “true and complete” redemption, will arrive when the world is ready to “elect” G-d of its own volition. The prophet Hosea says, “The children of Israel shall return, and seek the L-rd their G-d and David their king.”

            The same is true with Messiah himself. In Jewish tradition, the king — due to his obvious greatness and leadership capabilities — is chosen and crowned by the people, as opposed to a dictator who imposes his dominion on an unwilling nation. …”

            When we proclaim “We want Moshiach now,” we are in effect taking part in a democratic process. We are casting our ballot for G-d, expressing our yearning for the day when “the L-rd shall become King over all the earth; on that day shall the L-rd be one, and His name one.”

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            You clearly did not hear me, so please listen carefully. I said that it’s fine to bow to a human king. I said, in what I believed to be a light-hearted tone, that today people don’t bow to each other to show respect. Although I was kidding around, it’s true. There used to be a time when people were bowing all over the place (that’s still me being light-hearted). Now people only bow to monarchs.

            Yes, if I were a subject of, say, the Queen of England, I would curtsey upon meeting her. But as I am not her subject, but a proud American, I might offer instead to shake her hand (or whatever the appropriate protocol is).

            Yes, the Israelites of yore bowed to their kings. That wasn’t my point. Again, you seem intent to argue against an argument I never made. It seems as though you are arguing against what you wish I had written rather than what I actually wrote.

            You asked what’s the difference between your reverence of Jesus and mine of Moses and King David and the future Messiah. My response is, are you kidding me? Are you serious, David? Do you know ANYTHING about Orthodox Judaism? Do you imagine that the way you worship Jesus is remotely similar to the veneration Jews show to their leaders? Are you comparing your over-adulation of Jesus to the simple respect Jews express toward Moses and David?

            Where to begin?

            One. WE DO NOT BOW TO IMAGES. Furthermore, we do not have images of Moses or King David in our homes. Walk into any Orthodox Jewish home and you won’t see any hanging on the walls.

            Two. THE FOCUS OF OUR WORSHIP IS ON GOD AND GOD ALONE. Moses and King David are not a part of our worship, not even peripherally; they are rarely mentioned in our liturgy; they rarely come up in conversation on religious matters between fellow Jews. You will, however, hear God’s name mentioned a lot. It seems that every other word out of an Orthodox Jew’s mouth is Hashem, Ribbono shel Olam (Master of the Universe), Hakadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One, blessed is He), Baruch Hashem (thank God), and so on.

            Three. OUR LEADERS DO NOTHING FOR US AFTER THEY DIE. Moses and King David ruled over the nation of Israel, one as prophet, the other as king. That’s it. They were sinful yet righteous, as much in need of God’s grace and mercy and as much subject to His judgment as the rest of mankind. Once they passed on, they were no more. They can do nothing for us now; all we have are their teachings which we value and which we study.

            Four. WE DO NOT LOOK TO OUR LEADERS FOR SALVATION BUT PLACE OUR FAITH IN GOD ALONE.

            I do not know exactly how you worship Jesus because I am more familiar with Trinitarian worship. Do you have images of Jesus or the cross in your home before which you genuflect? I cannot argue this point unless I know how you worship.

            I do know, because you have emphatically stated it, that Jesus is the center of your worship. A dead man! That’s one massive difference right there. And if that’s not committing outright idolatry, it’s certainly too close for comfort.

            You believe that faith in Jesus atones for your sins and that you cannot otherwise attain eternal salvation. Besides for the fact that this odd notion is not found anywhere in Scripture, that’s a second massive difference right there.

            You place your faith in a human; I place mine in God. To do otherwise is idolatry. After all, of what worth is a man who has breath in his nostrils (Isaiah 2:22)?

            Of what relevance to our discussion is the article you cited in which one Jew expresses his longing for the Messiah? Did you misunderstand his citation at the end to refer to the Messiah? It clearly refers to God. One day, the world will recognize the Oneness of God and acknowledge His sovereignty over all the earth.

            David, my conversation with Paul centered on where people who don’t believe in Jesus go after they die. You failed to answer that question. Am I going to hell because I don’t accept Jesus as my lord and savior (or however you want to put it)? Am I going therefore to the same place as Hitler? Are his six million victims roasting in the eternal lake of fire together with him?

            Best,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            I was reading through some previous threads and saw a post of yours addressed to me here which I had not previously read or addressed.

            So, I’m addressing it now (late).

            I think you’ve misunderstood my intent for my writing about “bowing down.” It’s not so much the specific act whether it is now as you argue out of fashion, or old fashioned or as I argued might be still practiced in places (Japan comes to mind for example). And the concept at least, if not the act, of bowing down will be practiced in the Messianic age to come when the nations pay tribute to and “worship” those in the Nation of Israel.

            What I was really getting at in my previous posts is that the same word in Hebrew is used to represent one act on the outside of the body but a wide variety of a level of respect and honor on the inside (in the heart) depending on who or what it is we are addressing in our “shacha” or bowing down or worshipping depending on how you want to translate it.

            I’ve said repeatedly on this blog when asked, that “I worship only God as God.” I might add here that I worship in the sense of respect, pay homage to and honor only Jesus as Jesus. I don’t worship Jesus as if he were God and I don’t worship anything or anyone else as if they were Jesus or God. I don’t worship images etc. I think I’ve repeatedly stated that Jesus is a man and not God. And, since the same word shacha is used for everything, the determining factor is the heart, and not the outward act.

            Jesus by the way is not a dead man. He was resurrected by God. God has that power. Do you deny that God has that power? God also has the power to take those who he wants to be with him without going through the process of death as in the case of Enoch for example. In addition, have you not read Rambam’s statement of faith regarding resurrection of the dead? So, we’re not arguing about the possibility of resurrection, we’re just arguing about whether it was done in the case of Jesus or not.

            Reading your post it’s obvious to me that you also misunderstand completely my relation to God and Jesus the Christ, God’s son, and how I view and separate that relation between the two. God is everything; he is the Father of us all including his son Jesus; He is the creator of the universe including being the creator of Jesus. Jesus is nothing apart from God and has nothing apart from God, was never anything apart from God, is nothing apart from God, and never will be anything apart from God. Jesus is God’s instrument in salvation. God is the ultimate salvation. Jesus is the savior because God is the ultimate savior. Jesus does and says only what he sees and hears from his Father, God. He makes nothing up on his own.

            Jesus has all power and authority not because it is inherent in him but because it was given to him by God.

            That is why when you see Jesus you see God, not because he is but because he reveals God.

            The reason why I listen to Jesus and honor Jesus is not because he, Jesus said so but because God said so. God tells me how I should respect and honor Jesus as His instrument on earth and heaven. I have come to know God more fully through Jesus because this is God’s desire. Jesus is not the “center” as you say but the intermediary similar to how Moses was for the Nation of Israel. Jesus is honored as God’s anointed agent, not as an independent self-appointed prophet apart from God.

            Also, another aspect of the many aspects of the honor and respect due Jesus is because through his free will he accepted and achieved all that God asked of him regarding the matter of salvation of mankind (to include the Nation of Israel and the multitudes). And for that he should also be honored. Jesus then for those reasons and others surpasses even Moses.

            Moses was addressed as “lord.” Moses was bowed down to. Moses was respected and honored. Those who challenged his authority were punished. The people at Mount Sinai listened to the actual thundering words of God come forth and be interpreted out of the mouth of Moses in a way they could understand. Moses was the “instrument” “intermediary” of salvation to the people. He delivered the people from bondage for God and delivered the law to the people for God.

            God revealed himself as YHWH to Moses, something He had not done with Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, or anyone else prior. Moses was given such Holy Spirit of God that God took some of His Holy Spirit from Moses as needed and spread it around to other leaders of the Nation of Israel.

            Moses is even “vernerated” can I say or honored to such a high degree within Judaism now that he is personally named in one of Rambam’s statements of faith. And no wonder, because it’s clear that modern day Jews wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Moses stepping in and interceding on behalf of the Nation when God wanted to wipe out the entire Nation with the exception of Moses and start all over with Moses. But Moses convinced God to change his mind and not kill everyone all at one time. And God did change his mind, and the Nation of Israel which is alive to this day (has never died or been wiped out or destroyed by God or anyone else) owes its existence in part all the way back to the desert and intercession of Moses between God and the Nation.

            Now, you say that you don’t talk much about Moses today. Well, maybe you should considering the fact you might not be here without him. Either way whether you do or you don’t, Moses is entitled to all of the honor and respect for reasons cited above and many more which I’ve left out. And, Jesus is entitled to so much more than Moses it cannot be expressed in words.

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            You misrepresented a lot of my arguments and made several new and very flawed ones. I’m tempted to set you straight, but I won’t. I don’t want to get sidetracked from the original challenge I had presented to Paul. I ask you to answer that challenge.

            Where do good people go who don’t accept Jesus as their lord and savior? Where are the six million Jews who were dragged from their homes (while their Christian neighbors–their neighbors!–silently stood by) and killed in the Holocaust? Are they sharing a fiery table in hell with their tormentor, Hitler? Is Hitler in hell hosting my great-uncles and aunts and some of my first cousins once removed, for whose deaths he is responsible? And thanks to whom I have never met?

            While I’m at it, I’ll throw in another challenge. I know, I know, you hate when I do that. Sorry, I can’t resist, so here goes. Why the hell, pun intended, do Christians think that Jews would ever want to turn their hearts to a man in whose name they have suffered the worst atrocities for nearly two millennia? That would be, like, Stockholm syndrome to the billionth power!

            David, if you are going to answer only one of these, may I ask you to stick with the original one?

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            I’m happy to debate the issue of life in the age to come with you. I’ll be back within a day or two.

          • Dina says:

            Okay, David, I’ll see you in a couple of days. I’ll make this really easy for you. Just a simple yes or no question.

            Do good people who don’t accept Jesus as their lord and savior go to hell? Is Hitler spending his eternity in hell together with his six million Jewish victims, some of whom are my own relatives?

            Yes or no?

            You can think about that for the next few days. Then I’d appreciate if you would come back with a single-word answer. And then we can debate the issue at greater length.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina

            Regarding your questions/challenges to me:

            To address your first question regarding Hitler, Jews and hell, I’ll first have to set the record straight on hell.

            Many Christians have a misconception of “hell” because of a mistranslation of the Greek into English and because of the corruption of Greek philosophy into Christian thinking.

            There is no hell. There is no eternal torment.

            There is a resurrection of the dead.

            There are only two choices that God offers to us in the matter and it is not between hell and eternal life. It is either to live forever following the resurrection in the age to come or to die the second death in the lake of fire which is to be no more. There is no eternal torment, one either lives forever or one is no more.

            Many passages of scripture prove that it is a choice between death and life, and not between eternal torment in hell and life. The most famous passage of scripture in all of Christendom is probably John 3:16:

            16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

            Note that it says “may not perish.” It doesn’t say live in hell in eternal torment.

            The choice therefore is between two options, either to perish or to have eternal life.

            To attain eternal life and not perish one needs to “believe” in God’s Son.

            Anyone in the church age, or age of grace, which started on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts may attain eternal life in said manner. And the corollary is that anyone who doesn’t attain the right to eternal life in the church age by believing in His Son will perish.

            So then to address your question directly with the above in mind that there is no hell, anyone in the age of grace who hasn’t believed in the Son of God including Hitler (assuming he didn’t believe in the Son of God in a pre-death conversion) and the Jews you referenced (if they didn’t believe in the Son of God) will perish following their resurrection.

            We will either be resurrected to eternal life or be resurrected to the second death.

            Regarding your second question, it’s not what Christians think or want. It’s what God wants. God wants all to choose life. And the way to choose life is to believe in his Son. One of the main reasons why Christians talk about it is because we are commanded to do so. It is not in our power to make someone’s choice for them, nor are we accountable for another’s decision; our responsibility is to inform. We are each accountable to God for our own decisions regarding our own eternal life or our own death.

            So to address your question directly, it seems to me the reasons why someone would believe in the Son of God and choose eternal life as opposed to death would be appealing equally to Jews just as it is to non-Jews. God makes no distinction between Jew and non-Jew in the matter of eternal life and death.

          • Dina says:

            Congratulations, David. You are the first Christian I asked this question to who gave me a fairly direct answer. It took you a while to get to the point, but there it is, in the fourth-to-last paragraph.

            Your notions of the afterlife are bizarre (death, oblivion, then resurrection either to eternal physical life or eternal death/oblivion), but at the moment I’m not interested in that debate. That wasn’t the point of my question.

            The point of my question was, whatever your notion of the afterlife, are those who believe in Jesus saved (whether you want to say through heaven or resurrection to eternal life) and are those who don’t believe condemned (whether to hell or a second final death).

            And you said that yes, those who believe get life, and those who don’t get death.

            Therefore, if Hitler accepted Jesus before he died, he gets to be resurrected to eternal life. And his six million victims (who did not, and please don’t pretend they might have by saying “if they did”), will be resurrected only to be burned alive again in the lake of eternal fire.

            Adolf Eichmann, who requested a confessor before he died, gets eternal life. He was one of the main architects of the Holocaust. Ah, justice is sweet!

            Torquemada gets to live forever; his victims whom he burned alive at the stake get to be burned alive again. Nice!

            (Just imagine the carnage at the end of days, all those billions of burning bodies.)

            I’m not done. You wrote, “Anyone in the church age, or age of grace, which started on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts may attain eternal life in said manner.”

            I wonder what changed from one day to another that suddenly people who were perfectly capable of attaining eternal life through other means (and what were those means, pray tell?) the next day could only attain it through belief in Jesus.

            But let me follow your logic and see where it goes. Since it took several centuries for Christianity to spread throughout Europe, that means that a lot of people who never heard of Jesus will never attain eternal life. A block of about 1500 years elapsed before Christianity reached Africa, North America, South America, and Australia, four continents stocked with aboriginal peoples who stand eternally condemned for their ignorance, poor souls.

            This is justice? This is mercy? This is grace? How do you believe this and sleep at night with an untroubled conscience?

            David, you also wrote, “One of the main reasons why Christians talk about it is because we are commanded to do so. It is not in our power to make someone’s choice for them, nor are we accountable for another’s decision; our responsibility is to inform.”

            You did a fine job informing me. Your information clarifies the difference between the Jewish and Christian concepts of justice and mercy. Your information highlights the fact that we absolutely do not worship the same God. Is the irony of Christians who claim that the Jewish God is wrathful and vengeful while worshipping a god who is cruel and capricious with a sick and twisted sense of mercy and justice lost upon you?

          • Nikki says:

            Dear Dina, Annelise, and all Christians who keep going around in the same circle of misunderstanding: Your questions seem to focus repeatedly on hell, salvation, “belief”, etc. What I don’t understand is how Christians came to believe that they are “off the hook” from complying with the laws throughout the Torah. Just as Jews today are obligated to carry out G-d’s commandments/laws, so it has been throughout the millenia…true for Jesus…true for me! Why not you?

          • Dina says:

            Nikki, I am not a Christian. I am an Orthodox Jew. The Torah is addressed to the Jewish people; God’s covenant at Sinai is with the Nation of Israel; therefore, only Jews are obligated to observe it. Gentiles are included in God’s covenant with Noah.

            (I have commented extensively on this blog on other issues as well.)

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Nikki says:

            Dina — TODA RABA — I stand corrected…and I thank you for doing so.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            Regarding the justice of God permitting those who have done atrocious things to inherit life:

            Basically the same applied in the previous age of the Law. So this concept that bad people who repent of their sins can inherit eternal life is nothing new.

            Let me also reiterate that God’s offer (in the age of grace) of eternal life is available to all. And all will die the second death including the best of the best and the worst of the worst if you don’t take God’s offer.

            But what many (including Christians) forget is that there is a two-step process.

            Step one:
            Step one is what we’ve been talking about which is to inherit eternal life by believing in Jesus that he is the Son of God, that God raised him from the dead.

            Step two:
            We are all judged by our acts which we did or didn’t do in our life (some Christians forget or deny this part).

            So the way to think of it is that step one gets you in the door and step two is the judgment of what you receive or don’t receive once you inherit eternal life.

            Regarding when the age of grace began:

            I should have written that it became available on the day of Pentecost. So as you pointed out, as the “good news” spread, it became available to more and more people. Those who hadn’t yet heard can’t decide to believe or not to believe. Until you hear, you’re still under the old rules of the dispensation. In the example you gave, those who hadn’t heard yet would still be working and judged under the dispensation of Law. Once you hear, you can decide to believe and attain eternal life or decide not to believe and therefore not to inherit eternal life.

            As far as what changed, I need to go into a little background information to explain that.

            There are dispensations or administrations (some call them ages). God changes some of the rules for each dispensation. Some of the rules he leaves the same. For example God changed the rules for food in each dispensation so far (we are in the 5th dispensation since the world began). We believe that we are all obligated to obey the rules of God which are in effect for each dispensation in which we live. We are currently living in the age or dispensation of grace (or church age or age of the Sacred Secret) which started with the day of Pentecost and will continue until the rapture when dead Christians come to life. In following dispensations (after the next one) the Old Testament people will be resurrected.

            The age just before this one was the dispensation of the Law which you (apparently) are still adhering to but which is no longer in effect in Christian thinking. The dispensation of the Law started with Exodus 20:1 and continued until Acts 1:26 (There were three dispensations before the Law).

          • Dina says:

            Oh, boy, oh boy, oh boy, David! I have a lot to say, but it’s going to have to wait. I will be away for a few days, so I will try to get to this sometime next week, please God. In the meantime, you can read my last comment to you on “A Conversation about Isaiah 53.” I wrote to you in response to your last remarks to the wonderful Blasater.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            Do you have any idea what happened to the “recent comments” section?

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            Jim’s comment to you, which I hope you will read carefully, is what they call “a hard act to follow.” Nevertheless, I promised you a response, so here it is.

            First, thank you for confirming what I wrote in my previous comment that the Christian idea of justice and mercy is twisted and that the Christian god is cruel and vindictive. I do like clarity! And since you don’t like going round and round in circles, we can leave it at that.

            You responded to a parenthetical statement with your old assertion that God changes the rules. I had asked you to take that off the table because it makes all Scripture citations meaningless. After all, if the citation contradicts your belief, you can conveniently argue that God changed His mind. Very neat!

            But I see that this is a problem so I am going to address it head on.

            If God promises something and changes His mind capriciously, then how can we trust Him? An unpredictable god is not a god you can take seriously.

            Furthermore, you do not really believe that God changes His mind with new revelations. You believe he established all the remaining “dispensations” in the Christian scriptures. If you really believed what you say, you would have to take the claims of all claimants to prophecy seriously. You would have to seriously consider the words and revelations of Joseph Smith, for example.

            Now let us look at Hebrew Scripture. Scripture teaches clearly and consistently that God’s laws are forever binding on the people of Israel.

            See for example: Genesis 7:7-13; Exodus 12:14,17,24,42; Ibid. 13:10; Leviticus 23:31,41; Numbers 35:29; Deuteronomy 11:1; Ibid. 12:28

            I could cite you dozens more but for lack of time I shall stop here.

            If you were God and you wanted no mistakes to be made, what language would you choose to be more clear than “forever,” “all your generations,” “all your days,” “eternal decree”?

            Can you find an equally clear teaching in the Torah or anywhere in Tanach that God’s laws apply only for the first 1400 years post-Sinai?

            You brought as proof the changing laws of food. First, that is not a clear teaching, just a hint. Second, nothing changed. You are still included in God’s covenant with Noah; those laws still apply to you. Third, the “changing” of the law only for the people of Israel was not a second revelation.

            There was only one revelation, at Sinai. The fact that Noah encountered God and received instructions from him is not a revelation. It is part of the historical record written in the Torah. Since the Jews received the Torah at Sinai, it is part of the Sinaitic revelation. And as I said earlier, it changed nothing.

            So, again, can you find a clear teaching in the Torah to support your claim that God changes the rules for different eras? Something as clear as the citations I provided above?

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,
            To be honest, I’m not sure if I addressed Jim’s comments. Where is it, which thread?

            You wrote:
            First, thank you for confirming what I wrote in my previous comment that the Christian idea of justice and mercy is twisted and that the Christian god is cruel and vindictive. I do like clarity! And since you don’t like going round and round in circles, we can leave it at that.

            My response:
            I think that falls under the definition of putting words in my mouth, but my guess is that makes you feel better than debating me on what I say. The Christian God is one and the same as the Jewish God. All goodness and any concept of justice and mercy flow from God. The Judeo/Christian God that established the penalty of death in the beginning with Adam as a punishment for disobedience, who caused the flood thus killing innocent babies; who ordered the extermination of men, women and children of the nations in the Promised Land and other peoples; who ordered the killing of women and children of his own people (but not Aaron who was mainly responsible for not preventing the incident of the golden calf), who caused all Israelites to fall in the desert who were over the age of 20 … He is the same God who gave Adam a pathway and opportunity to choose life for himself and his children, who provided for the salvation of humanity through Noah, who called Abram out from among the pagans and promised salvation through his seed and “good land” to his descendants. He’s the same God who was going to wipe out the Israelites all at one time when they refused to go in and take possession of the good land, and He was set to make a new mightier nation out of Moses but relented upon the insistence of Moses not to do so. He is same God that even though Moses acted against him, by failing to preserve His holiness amongst the people, allowed Moses to see the Promised Land with his own eyes from across the Jordan.

            You wrote:
            You responded to a parenthetical statement with your old assertion that God changes the rules. I had asked you to take that off the table because it makes all Scripture citations meaningless. After all, if the citation contradicts your belief, you can conveniently argue that God changed His mind. Very neat!

            My response:
            God is the creator of all things. As the creator He has the authority to end and/or amend that which he brings into existence including the universe and rules which he has established to govern the universe and any part thereof at any time period thereof including the “Law” which governs behavior within the Promised Land.

            Sometimes God changes his mind too. Not as man changes his mind, but only as God. Man has no authority to tell God anything much less that He can’t change his mind.

            You wrote:
            But I see that this is a problem so I am going to address it head on.
            If God promises something and changes His mind capriciously, then how can we trust Him? An unpredictable god is not a god you can take seriously.

            My response:
            That’s because God doesn’t change his mind “capriciously” as you put it, and he’s not “unpredictable” in that sense as you falsely claim. That’s your misinformation and mischaracterization. But He can and does change his mind as proven in scripture. Sometimes He gives us new revelation which we previously misunderstood or only understood in part or didn’t know at all, and you seem to mistake that for Him changing his mind. Sometimes He promises something and gives us something even better.

            So, regarding changing His mind, scripture is full of instances where God “CHANGED HIS MIND.”

            Following the incident of the Golden Calf, God was ready to wipe everyone out, then He changed His mind.

            Exodus 32:10, 11, 14; 10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.” 11 But Moses implored the YHWH his God… 14 And the YHWH CHANGED HIS MIND about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

            God threatened to NOT go with the Israelites, then He changed His mind and decided to go with them.

            Exodus 33:1 – 6; 12 – 19 “…3…Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I WILL NOT go up among you, or I would consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people. 15 And he (Moses) said to Him, “If you presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 17 The YHWH said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

            Regarding God’s threatened destruction of Nineveh; God changed his mind:

            Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.

            Numbers 23:19 is often used by you and others who support the false claim that God doesn’t change his mind.

            Numbers 23:19 “God is not a human being, that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it? Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

            You misinterpret Numbers 23:19 which is specific to the circumstances of Balaam responding to Balak, and you are pulling it out of the context in which it is found and fail to compare it with the many instances in scripture which clearly show that God does change his mind. Numbers 23:19 is emphasizing the fact that God is not human and doesn’t change his mind LIKE WE DO. And in addition, WE LIE. God doesn’t lie. Sometimes we hide behind a lie and falsely claim that we’ve merely changed our minds. Sometimes on the other hand we’re not lying but we are fickle, changing our minds from one minute to the next for no good reason. God is not like us, when he changes his mind it’s done for a good reason. In the case of Numbers 23:19, there is not a good reason for God to change His mind and give favor to Balak’s request to curse Israel. So in that case He doesn’t change his mind. God has decided to bless and not curse and nothing Balak could possible say or do would cause God to change his mind. Moses on the other hand could cause God to change his mind and did.

            You wrote:
            Furthermore, you do not really believe that God changes His mind with new revelations. You believe he established all the remaining “dispensations” in the Christian scriptures. If you really believed what you say, you would have to take the claims of all claimants to prophecy seriously. You would have to seriously consider the words and revelations of Joseph Smith, for example.

            My response:
            In the case of new revelation God is not necessarily changing his mind, but providing something better or explaining something more completely. Regarding Joseph Smith and others, you are mistaken because they are not supported or revealed in scripture. Jesus, unlike Joseph Smith and others, was spoken of all through the OT and then he was revealed at the time and place of God’s choosing. Jesus fulfilled prophesies about him whereas other false prophets did not.

            You wrote:
            Now let us look at Hebrew Scripture. Scripture teaches clearly and consistently that God’s laws are forever binding on the people of Israel.
            See for example: Genesis 7:7-13; Exodus 12:14,17,24,42; Ibid. 13:10; Leviticus 23:31,41; Numbers 35:29; Deuteronomy 11:1; Ibid. 12:28

            My response:
            There are at least two arguments against this. There is the standard Christian argument that basically the purpose or intent behind the law is more important than the individual specific points of the law. Jesus is new revelation from God which fulfills the intent of the law. Jesus reveals to us a better way to understand and apply the old law. In some cases some specifics of the law remains in effect while in other cases the specifics of the law changes. But in all cases the intent of the law remains the same. Love God with all your heart mind body and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. This is also why most Christians hold to the 10 commandments.

            So I could argue from that perspective but I’m going to concentrate on something else:

            You fail to take a holistic approach to the bible, as such you fail to understand what is the end and what is the means as established by God. Living long in the LAND which they were about to take possession of, and worshiping your God in the LAND is the end. The specifics of the Law including each and every detail which facilitates that end is the means. In addition, you are making the error of picking a verse here and there which speak to the continuing nature of Law (and since you fail to understand that the Law is a means to the end), you then misinterpret the meaning of the verses failing to understand they are part of an overall plan of God for Israel to possess and live long in the LAND He has given them.

            All references to keeping the entirety including every point and detail of the Law in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are in the context of living in the LAND that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Although parts of the Law and the intent can be applied anywhere, some parts are only applicable to the LAND given by God. So when we speak of keeping the whole law it is always in the context of the Promised Land.

            So then we can take most of these verses which tend to show or explicitly state the continuing and everlasting uninterrupted nature of the Law in its complete form and read them in the context of verses which clearly show they are to be understood to apply and be in force IN the Promised LAND for corporate Israel to take effect when and only upon entering and taking possession of the LAND. The reason why the complete law didn’t take effect before is because they were applicable to the LAND in the future.

            If we examine the tanach and especially Deuteronomy we can see it full of conditional statements, including connecting language of the Law to LAND, and time specific language regarding following God’s complete and detailed Law in the LAND such as “IF” “SO THAT” “SO NOW” “SO” and “THEN” and “SO” and “WHEN.” Specifically regarding the land we see statements such as “good land” “possession” “enter” “promised” “occupy.” Regarding the starting point in time and purpose of the Law, it is always connected to the entering, taking possession of and occupation of the Promised Land.

            What is the purpose of the Law? Note the “so that” statements:

            Deut. 6:18 Do what is right and good…SO THAT it may go well with you. … And SO THAT you may go in and OCCUPY THE LAND.

            6:20: WHEN your children ask you in time to come, “what is the meaning of the decrees and the statues and the ordinances?”…

            6:23: … “TO GIVE US THE LAND that he promised on oath to our ancestors…. ”

            6:24: “THEN the YHWH commanded us to observe all these statutes….”

            7:12 “IF you heed these ordinances…. God will maintain with you the covenant loyalty…

            7:13 “IN THE LAND that he swore to your ancestors to give to you…. ”

            8:1 “This entire command….. you must be diligently observe

            SO THAT
            you may live, and increase and go in and … OCCUPY THE LAND.”

            9:6 “Know that the YHWH is not giving you this GOOD LAND to OCCUPY because of you righteousness….”

            30:19 …Chose life… 20 Loving the YHWH your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days

            SO THAT

            you may LIVE IN THE LAND that the YHWH swore to give to your ancestors, …

            Moses to Joshua:
            31:7 …”Be strong and bold, for you are the one who will go with this people into the LAND that the YHWH has sworn to their ancestors to give them; and you will put them in POSSESSION of IT.

            31:9. THEN Moses wrote down the LAW…

            31:10: Moses commanded them:…

            31:11; Read this law before all Israel…

            31:12. SO THAT
            they may hear and learn to fear the YHWH you God…

            31:13. SO THAT
            their children, who have not known IT may hear and learn to fear the YHWH you GOD

            AS LONG AS YOU LIVE IN THE LAND

            Deuteronomy 27:3 (the law is written on stones on the Promised Land side of the Jordan, not on the other side).

            We also see time specific examples of when to observe the Law:

            17:14: “WHEN you have come into the LAND…”
            18:9 “WHEN you come into the LAND…”
            19:1 “WHEN the YHWH you God has cut off the nations…”
            26:1 “WHEN you have come into the LAND…”
            27:11 “WHEN you have crossed over the Jordan…”

            The corollary of that is when we see that when the Law is not followed in the Promised Land, the LAND AND the people are punished and the people are scattered to foreign nations’ lands. And we see that the way to get back to the LAND is to act righteously where once again the entire law can be observed to remain and prosper: IN THE LAND.

            Leviticus states “IF they confess their iniquity…”:

            Leviticus 26:39 And those of you who survive shall languish in the land of your enemies because of their iniquities…40 But IF they confess their iniquity, …42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob…Isaac….Abraham, and I will remember the LAND.

            See, the Law is used by God as a means to keep the Covenant to Abraham (which is to live long in the Promised Land with God). The Law in its entirety with all of its details is meant to be observed in the LAND by corporate Israel, not some here and some there scattered all over the world.

            Deuteronomy:
            4:25 When you become complacent IN THE LAND…
            4:26 You will perish from THE LAND that you are crossing to OCCUPY….
            4:27 … The YHWH will scatter you among the peoples….
            4:29 … From there you will seek the YHWH your God, and you will find him IF you search after him with all your heart and soul,…
            4:37…”And because he loved your ancestors he chose their descendants after them…
            4:38…” Driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves…
            4:40 …Keep his statues and his commandments which I am commanding you today for you own well-being and that of your descendants after you

            SO THAT

            YOU MAY LONG REMAIN IN THE LAND

            that the YHWH your God is giving you for all time.

            The Law as I’ve noted above has a corporate nature to it as well as individual. For example, regarding the ritual and remembrance of the Passover Exodus 12:47 states that, “the whole congregation of Israel shall celebrate it.”

            That means the whole congregation is to celebrate it together in the LAND given to it by God. It is a corporate celebration.

            You wrote:
            You brought as proof the changing laws of food. First, that is not a clear teaching, just a hint. Second, nothing changed. You are still included in God’s covenant with Noah; those laws still apply to you. Third, the “changing” of the law only for the people of Israel was not a second revelation.

            My response:
            It’s a very clear teaching. God gave a rule to Adam and Eve to eat only from the trees with seed it its fruit. Then following the Garden, He gave a new rule to eat plants of the field. Then He gave a new rule to Noah and his sons after the flood to eat anything except blood. Then He gave a new rule to only the Israelites following Mount Sinai to take effect upon entering the LAND. Then He gave a new rule again to all Israelites in the NT to eat anything just as before.

            You wrote:
            There was only one revelation, at Sinai. The fact that Noah encountered God and received instructions from him is not a revelation. It is part of the historical record written in the Torah. Since the Jews received the Torah at Sinai, it is part of the Sinaitic revelation. And as I said earlier, it changed nothing.

            My response:
            No, it is a revelation and it is part of the historical record as well. Mount Sinai is one of many revelations and is also part of the historical record and there have been many before and since.

            Take for example Rambam’s 13th statement of faith regarding resurrection of the dead. There are only two direct citations in all of the OT which speak directly to resurrection of the body and they are not found in books of Moses. We later read back into the Torah an understanding of resurrection of the body due to this new revelation which we only knew in part or not at all previously during the time of the Torah. This scarcity of evidence in the Torah by the way is probably why the Essenes then did not hold to the doctrine of resurrection of the physical body, but only may have believed in the eternity of the soul. Yet, it is a statement of faith today for Jews mainly due to new revelation following the Torah which shed new light onto passages within the Torah.

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            I will address your comment God willing today or tomorrow, but in the meantime I just wanted to let you know that Jim’s comment to you is just a bit further down on this page. You can do a search for his name or just continue scrolling down.

            Best,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            David, this is going to be a lengthy response, so I’m beginning with an introduction.

            Introduction

            In a comment on another thread, you complained about my debating style. You prefer, you explained, to deal with one issue at a time while I focus on too many at once. I do not believe you read my response, so I will tell you here what I said. Our difference in debating styles is due to a gender difference more than anything else. Men tend to focus on a single issue; when they have resolved it they move on to the next. Women can focus on many issues at once. Neither is inherently superior, just different. I appreciate that we have both tried to accommodate each other’s style. And I want to thank you here for taking on at least four separate issues at once. I understand that’s a bit much for your male brain to handle (okay, I’m just teasing you, David).

            My second point is that I found something you wrote in the comment section on “Defeatist Propaganda” that disturbs me. Here it is:

            “In the end I think we all believe, you and me included, what we want to believe and then we justify it by whatever means makes the most sense to us. You’ll never convince me and I’ll never convince you. That, I think we can both agree on. I can show you all the evidence in the world and you’ll tell me why it’s wrong. And you can show me all the evidence in the world and I can tell you why you are wrong.”

            If we will never convince each other, then what is the point of this discussion? What is the point of truth seeking, if we have predetermined the “truth” and then try to force the facts to fit our notion of the truth? My question to you is, do you still stand by these words? After all, you did say that we must follow the evidence wherever it leads us, even if we don’t like the conclusions. In my time I have had to face quite a lot of unpleasant truths. I’m sure there’s quite a bit more waiting for me down the road, if I am brave enough to confront it. Are you brave enough, David? Are you?

            The Issues

            You explored four topics in your last comment to me:
            1. God’s justice and the afterlife.
            2. Does God change His mind?
            3. When and where does the Law apply? Are God’s promises to the nation of Israel conditional?
            4. Old versus new revelation.
            Let’s examine each of these.

            GOD’S JUSTICE AND THE AFTERLIFE

            Since you like to quote from Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles, here is another one for you:

            “I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, may His name be blessed, rewards those who keep His commandments and punishes those who transgress His commandments.”

            This is, of course, supported by Scripture. Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 23:30; Deuteronomy 28; Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25; Psalms 92:10,13, and so on and so forth.

            Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: If God judges every deed, where else if not in eternity?

            Otherwise, how can we answer the age-old question of why the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper? Judaism takes comfort in the knowledge that God balances the scales in a different realm, a spiritual realm that we call the World to Come, but which most people call heaven or the afterlife. You reject this notion as anti-Scriptural.

            I wonder then what you make of the oft-repeated phrase “gathered to his people” (Genesis 15:15, 25:17, 35:29, 25:8; Deuteronomy 32:50, etc.)?

            Or the explicit reference to the afterlife in 1 Samuel 28? This is clearly not a resurrection but the calling up of the spirit of the deceased prophet. Moreover, what did Samuel mean when he told King Saul in verse 19 “tomorrow you and your sons will be with me”? Where would they be, if there is no afterlife? How can you be together in oblivion?

            You say that the God who ordered the wiping out of entire nations, who killed men, women, and children in the Flood, who contemplated destroying the whole nation of Israel—that same God can decree eternal life for Eichmann and eternal death for his victims.

            I say that physical life here on earth is a free gift from God in the first place; He can bestow it or remove it at will. Eternal life is a whole ‘nother story. And if you followed my line of reasoning above you will understand why the Christian concept of God’s justice and mercy is so appalling.

            DOES GOD CHANGE HIS MIND?

            We’ve been getting stuck on this because we define changing your mind differently. You see, there are two kinds of changing your mind.

            Example Number One:

            Parent scolds child: You naughty child! You did [fill in the blank] and now I shall spank you!
            Child (sobbing): It was a mistake, I didn’t mean to, please don’t spank me!
            Parent (softening): All right, I won’t spank you this one time. Just don’t let me catch you ever doing that again.

            Example Number Two:

            Parent: You have been increasingly defiant and disrespectful, and I am disappointed in you. From now on you will be in your room from the minute you get home from school until bedtime, which will be one hour early, including weekends. You will get out of your room when you have 14 days straight of respectful and obedient behavior.
            Child (screaming and stamping feet): You hate me! You just love punishing me!
            Parent (soothingly): I don’t hate you, and in fact I hate punishing you, but you won’t understand until you have children of your own. In the meantime, I just want you to know that I love you no matter what you do. I will always love you, and I will always be there for you.

            In the first example, the parent didn’t promise to spank his child forevermore, that he would always spank his child, that his child would never escape from being spanked, and that spanking his child is an eternal decree. He has pity on his child and changes his mind. In the second example, the parent reassures his child that his love for his child is eternal and unchanging and unconditional. The child trusts his parent because he knows that his parent will not change his mind even if he steals cookies from the cookie jar.

            This is the difference between the examples you gave of God “changing His mind” and the examples I gave of God’s promises to the Jewish people. If God breaks his PROMISES, He cannot be trusted.

            This is the type of not changing His mind that Numbers 23:19 speaks of. And it applies to all the Scriptural citations I provided in earlier comments on the eternal nature of God’s covenant with the people of Israel and the eternally binding nature of the Law.

            WHEN AND WHERE DOES THE LAW APPLY? ARE GOD’S PROMISES TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL CONDITIONAL?

            You brought evidence that the Law is not unchanging, that it applies only in the Land, and that God’s promises are conditional. You cannot bring as evidence verses that support your point of view and ignore all the other ones that contradict it. I cite Scriptural support for the fact that the covenant is in fact unconditional, that God will not abandon us no matter what, observance of the Torah will never depart from the nation of Israel, and the Torah will never be forgotten.

            Deuteronomy 4:31; 30:1; 31:21; Jeremiah 31:35; Isaiah 59:21

            Here is evidence that Torah observance is the only way to get us out of exile: Deuteronomy 30:1-3. In other words, the Law still applies at anytime and anywhere.

            OLD VERSUS NEW REVELATION

            You said that you do not take the claims of Joseph Smith seriously because he was not revealed in scripture nor did he fulfill prophecies from the Hebrew scriptures.

            The Book of Mormon is Mormon scripture. And Mormons see evidence of prophetic fulfillment in Hebrew Scripture. That you see their scripture as full of error and their proof texts as scripture twisting should give you some insight into what it’s like to be in my shoes facing you off.

            That’s why I don’t believe you really believe God has new revelation since Jesus (or since Christian scripture was canonized). If you truly believed that, you would have to take the words of all self-proclaimed prophets very, very seriously. You ought to know by now that you can find evidence for practically anything you want in Hebrew scripture if you’re clever enough, devious enough, and willing to rip things out of context (and mistranslate them as well).

            Finally, I will quote to you some more of Rambam’s Thirteen Principles, which you like to wave in our faces:

            “I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses our Teacher (may he rest in peace) was true and that he was the father of the prophets, to those who preceded him and those who followed him.”

            “I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will never be changed and there will never be a different Torah from the Creator, may His name be blessed.”

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

      • wmghicks says:

        Dina, what if Hitler made a death-bed acceptance of that man before he killed himself. Then he could have gone to heaven (G-d forbid!)

        My point is that Christianity is not only not a religion of grace it is also not a religion of justice. Torah is just. Even if we repent and ask for forgiveness we must do something to rectify our sin. For example, if we steal we can’t just repent and it is cool. We are to repay the theft.

        Of course we know there is no “hell” as taught by the Greek Testament just as there is no “Lucifer” as taught by that book. Both are heretical concepts. Really? A being that can challenge the Almighty for the right to rule (and presumably could if only given the chance?) Who thinks up this stuff?

        A question for Paul: why do you call that man “Jeshua”? Is that an attempt to make him sound more Jewish? Then why use the “J”? Why not do as other messianics do and call him “Yeshua”?

        I am thankful Almighty lead me to Torah and allowed me to learn so I could walk the path of the Righteous Gentile. As an Observant Noahide I find the Greek Testament to be redundant and unnecessary. As a rabbi once pointed out to me, “There is nothing in the New Testament that is good that is new neither is there anything in it that is new that is good.”

        Be well!

        Bill

        • Dina says:

          Hey, Bill, you’re preaching to the choir. You would have done better to address your remarks to David.

          I commend you for your choice to be an observant Noahide.

          Peace and blessings,
          Dina

  10. Nikki says:

    TYVM — Thank you for the eloquent words. You did the difficult job of stating our position. Col Ha’Kavod.

  11. Jim says:

    David,

    I will have something to say about your answer regarding the deaths of the servant over on the Isaiah 53 thread, but I am so bewildered by something you write here, that I must address it.

    You say that Jesus surpassed Moses. There are a lot of things in that post that bother me, including how people need an intermediary between themselves and their Creator. But I’m going to neglect those points to address why we have every right to listen to the words of Moses and none to listen to Jesus.

    The differences between the two revelations may be summed up by two verses, one from the Torah, and one from the New Testament. Not only do the two revelations differ in scope, but these two verses show what is expected of the adherents from the two religious views. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.” (Exodus 19.9). God is establishing Moses as a prophet forever, and the people will hear God speak to him. They won’t have to take Moses’ word for it that he heard from God. They’ll know. On the other hand, “Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20.29). With Jesus, it’s much better to believe without proof. And yet, you would have us believe that Jesus, who was not attested to by God before the nation is of a superior revelation to Moses, whom God spoke to before the people, to establish him forever.

    But God did not establish Jesus in a similar way. The resurrection does not even come close to being an event of the same magnitude, let alone surpass Sinai. I’ll show that from the New Testament, in just a moment, but first I’d like to compare the testimonies we have for Moses and for Jesus.

    The testimony for Moses is tremendous. It is not the Torah. It is the people, the entire nation who received the Torah. They trusted in Moses not on his say so but on national revelation. God established Moses publicly. The Jew does not have to say about Moses: “I know his revelation is true because the Bible says so.”

    The testimony for Jesus is flimsy. It can hardly be called testimony. Of the four gospels, only two of them purport to be from eyewitness: Matthew and John. Of those, they do not often speak of the same events, but when they do, their stories are in terrible contradiction to one another. The crucifixion and the resurrection stories they tell are very different, not so that they contain complementary information, but that both stories cannot have happened. Moreover, many of the events recorded in Matthew would not have been witnessed by him, the birth of Jesus, the flight to Egypt, the baptism of Jesus, the temptation of Jesus. For none of these things was Matthew present.

    John’s gospel would be less guilty of this, but it does present some other challenges to Christian arguments. Not only does his account disagree with the only other supposed eyewitness, he undermines Christian proof texts. For example, Matthew tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that this fulfilled prophecy. But in John 7, it doesn’t seem that John knows Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He reports that people are wondering if Jesus could be the Messiah, and two different objections are raised based on the fact that Jesus is from Nazareth. Some people thought that no one would know where the Messiah would come from. Others thought he must come from Bethlehem. Now, one would expect that John would have written, regarding the latter objectors something to the effect of: “… for they did not know that he had been born in Bethlehem.” Okay, maybe he knew, and didn’t write it. Fine. But the real problem is this, that if the people did not know that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem. So what good is the proof text in Matthew? None. Because the contemporaries of Jesus, by the testimony of John, had no idea that Jesus was from Bethlehem. And that makes total sense considering Jesus was born in a manger, and all that. What this means is that there is no proof of the Christian claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and there is no reason to accept it. In fact, some people think he may have been born in Kenya.

    But now, back to the main point about the witnesses to the key event, the resurrection, which you put on the same level as Sinai. According the New Testament, Jesus prophesied that he would come back from the dead: “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12.39-40). So good; after he was killed, he should come back to the “Pharisees and teachers of the law” to whom he issued the prophecy/rebuke, and said, “See, it is just as I have said.” This of course, he did not do. He came in secret to a few here and a few here, a few there, twelve, seventy, and whatever. But he never presented himself to the “Pharisees and teachers of the law” or publicly at all. And then, after 40 days of wandering around, he ascends to the clouds, also in a private event. And then, 50 days after Jesus was crucified, his followers went out and said, “Look everybody, Jesus resurrected after three days just like he said he would. Don’t ask us where the body is, however. He ascended to heaven, and he’s waiting there for all of us!” (The preceding is not a direct quote.)

    Now first off, if you were alive at that time, imagine this. According to the story, people were expecting him back after three day. More than 16 times that time passes, and then his disciples show up saying that they have good news, it happened just as he said it would. Upon what basis would you accept this testimony? I argue that there is no basis you could have. Just like you can’t know if his mother was a virgin, or where he was born, or if Satan tempted him in the desert, you cannot know if he came back from the dead.

    See, this is nothing like Sinai. At Sinai, Moses was publicly appointed by God. It was the only way Israel could know his words came from God. And every subsequent prophet had to be tested in light of the prophecy of Moses. This would apply to Jesus. And he did not submit his prophecy to scrutiny. It was not verified according to Torah, the Torah that came from the verified prophet of God. Nor was he so verified by God. The testimony comes from a couple contradicting sources, much of what they wrote being unable to be tested and they themselves don’t claim to have seen.

    And what’s stranger, in my opinion, is that Christians will argue that the message of Jesus supercedes Torah. How could it possibly? It doesn’t even make sense to think that the temporary law that serves only as a schoolmaster to reveal our innate wickedness was so important it had to be publicly attested. After all, the gentile believers didn’t need to try to keep this impossible law to learn how wicked they are. But the salvation of the world—the most important thing we can believe—was privately attested by eleven men who didn’t proclaim the message until long after the promised time. Joseph Smith found twelve people to attest to his golden plates. Christians don’t hold to that. But they expect the Jewish people to follow Jesus? They expect anyone to follow Jesus?

    No, my friend, I do not think the resurrection surpasses Sinai. No wonder John writes that those who believe without seeing are blessed.

    Jim

  12. paul Summers says:

    Hello Dina

    Sorry for interrupting your conversation, Im bursting to ask two questions in regard to your last statement, so here they are.

    First you mention that the Law is still in operation and functioning today. Are you saying then that all the verses that you quoted are still relevant for Jews today? Or do you mean that only a few are still relevant, but not all? When the Lord said “For all generations” He didn’t actually mean forever without ceasing?? He could only mean a few lines from the chapters that you gave but not all, and only for set duration of time, but not for ever?

    And secondly you mentioned Gen ch 7 v 7-13. What do you mean by that text?

    Many Thanks

    Paul

    • Dina says:

      Hi Paul.

      It’s nice to talk to you again! I will answer your last question first and tell you that was a mistake. I meant to write 17:7-13. Thanks for catching that!

      Now for your first set of questions, I don’t actually understand your questions. Why do you think I might mean “that only a few are still relevant, but not all?” Why do you think God “didn’t actually mean forever without ceasing?” Why do you think “He could only mean a few lines from the chapters that you gave but not all, and only for set duration of time, but not for ever?” Or why do you think I would think that?

      I’m not clear what you’re trying to ask me. May I trouble you to clarify?

      Thanks,
      Dina

      • paul Summers says:

        Hi Dina
        Sorry I probably wasn’t being too clear.

        Ref your statement, it appeared to me that you were saying that all the verses, that you quoted, were still “Alive” as it were,.Are you saying all the said quotes of scripture are still active for today and all Jews are required to keep the Law??. ie The Laws of Passover, Day of Atonement etc.

        Thanks

        Paul x

        • Dina says:

          Yes. If forever doesn’t mean forever, then what else does it mean?

          • paul Summers says:

            Hi Dina
            Yes well that’s what I thought! I just find it difficult to understand your argument on “forever” though?
            Do you mean then,that according to the Hebrew scriptures, all of the components of the texts that you quoted are still in service today, and are being carried out by Jews in Israel this very year?
            Or do you mean that the services, statutes of the Law etc are just been spiritually carried out in the hearts of all Jews, but not actually seen through?

            Is Israel then, living in a time of, The Law still stands, but the Temple service has ceased for a set temporary period of time (According to scripture)??

            For example, the act of adultery is punished by stoning the guilty until they are dead?
            Does Israel still except this Law as binding? If not who said change it, which of course is contrary to scripture?

            Which leads me to another question. If stoning is abolished now, but was acceptable then, do you think that God was cruel to give such an order. Shouldn’t God be merciful and full of grace? Why condemn the sinner to death?

            Hope you can help?

            Thanks

            Paul.

          • Dina says:

            Yes, Paul, I can help by making your question even stronger. How ’bout that, eh?

            How could any Jew, at any time, fulfill all of God’s commandments, even in the Holy Land during the Temple period? For example, a woman could not fulfill the commandment of circumcision, lacking the requisite, ahem, body part. And a man could not fulfill the laws pertaining to ritual purity regarding the menstrual cycle, also for lack of the requisite, ahem, body parts.

            Childless couples could not fulfill any commandments pertaining to children, such as be fruitful and multiply, you shall tell your children, you shall teach your children, etc.

            Anyone who was not a farmer could not fulfill laws pertaining to working the fields and raising livestock (such laws are numerous).

            An Israelite could not fulfill laws pertaining to the priests (kohanim) or Levites.

            Um, a person who didn’t kill someone by accident couldn’t fulfill the commandment to flee to a city of refuge. (Okay, that’s a joke.)

            And so on and so forth. You get the drift.

            So even during a time and place that even according to you the Law applied, what gives?

          • Dina says:

            And I just want to add one more category of people who would have been limited in their observance of the Law: the sick, lame, blind–in short any kind of physical or mental handicap.

  13. Annelise says:

    To the observant Jews here, I have a question. I understand to a large extent why the Jewish community keeps so many rules to the level of minutiae. It’s different to the mindset I grew up in when I was in Christianity, because the emphasis there (as it is for gentile-believers according to Judaism) is more on morality and less on ritual detail. More about individuals following the spirit of basic instructions, rather than being told exactly how to act them out. I realise that for Torah observant Jews, though, it’s different. You have a law that involves not only ethical concerns and the importance of community and worship, but also a lot of ritual commandments which, being from God, you take just as seriously. Secondly, you are practising as a community, in unison, not just to preserve your own obedience before God but to be obedient together (according to the understanding and insight of the leaders you choose, and the commandment of listening to the judges and priests) and be unified as a testimonial nation in these observances. Third, being now in exile, a lot of customs and rules serve a big and extra function of keeping the community unified and on the same page even across great distance and without the Temple system.

    But why SUCH a level of intricacy in some of these laws? I looked through a large book on the laws of brachos, because this is one aspect of Jewish practice that resonates very loudly to me (I’m in the conversion process). I love that we make these blessings, and that all make them in the same way. But why so much detail about exactly when and how? It’s essentially just a way of blessing God, right, and thanking Him? Would people really go way off the path or out of sync if the blanket rules were simpler, open to a bit of interpretation but still a real and binding idea? It is strange to me to be told you can waste a blessing, or that you should be careful exactly how much you ate or when you pray. I bring this question up here because although I believe that it was done in very much the wrong way, the Christian scriptures (and probably the teaching of J) proclaimed opposition to ‘binding’ intricacies like this.

    Also, secondly, how can you tell whether a Talmudic law is binding for generations to come (at least now while there’s no Sanhedrin to redecide) or just contextual? For example, in a time where we know with enough certainty (when compared with other kashrut principles) that cow’s milk sold in most countries is indeed cow’s milk, how do we know whether the laws about cholov Yisrael still have a purpose? To go to customs, should a woman still leave the house about twice a month (as per Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, etc.) and make sure that she is completely tznius even when totally alone at home? We live in a very different culture now. So how do we weigh these little details in the entire life of observance?

    Then again, I know why simple laws like ‘be modest’ and ‘be careful not to consume non-kosher products’ can’t be the only level that is binding, because people can interpret them in many ways and the community would truly suffer under that.

    • Dina says:

      Hey, being busy with all these laws keeps us out of trouble :).

      Imagine what the whole world would look like today if people spent their time obsessively studying details of such laws. The worldwide crime rate and violent wars would look like the rate current among Orthodox Jewish communities: practically non-existent, though there might be a lot more arguing and debating instead of fist fights and shoot-outs. I’m still half joking.

      Seriously, though, if you read the Torah you will see that in ritual law God is very detail-oriented. Take a look at the laws of sacrifice, Temple service, priestly vestments, building of the Tabernacle, etc. Why not just say, slaughter the animal and drain its blood, burn it, and eat it? Why not just say, wear nice clothes? Why not just say, build a nice temple with pretty marble pillars like the Greek and Roman ones? Even Noah was given specific measurements and dimensions to build his ark as well as what materials to use, and so on. Why does God care?

      Well, obviously, He does care about detail, and the only remnant of Israel He chose to preserve throughout the millennia is the community of detail-obsessed law-observers.

      And He did say we should listen to the rabbis. Rabbis do differ about small points of the law (and I mean hair-splitting differences; all agree on the fundamentals), and so some Orthodox groups are less stringent and some more stringent with regard to things like chalav Yisrael. I didn’t hear the one about a woman leaving her house twice a month. I think that might be cultural. I should have been born in that time period (I like to stay home as much as possible). And while being totally tznius while totally alone is praiseworthy, it’s not exactly the law. (I mean, how would you take a shower, hmm? Or change your clothes?)

      If I may, I’d like to suggest that you ask your rabbi to explain the difference between law, extra stringency (called chumra), and custom (minhag).

      May I also ask, if you would like to continue this discussion with me in particular, to continue via e-mail? My address is dinabucholz@gmail.com in case you no longer have it.

      Good luck with your studies!

      Best wishes,
      Dina

      • Dina says:

        I would also just like to add that the emphasis on morality is higher in Judaism than in Christianity. Emphasis on one does not exclude emphasis on the other. We can walk and chew gum at the same time!

        Compare for example the rate of premarital sex among the Orthodox to that among evangelical Christians. Ditto for adultery and divorce, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.

        Also compare the emphasis on not speaking lashon hara, the laws governing the behaviors in relationships, the laws of business ethics, our chesed and tzedakah organizations, and so on. We spend huge amounts of time on these things as well–and it shows.

      • Annelise says:

        Thanks! In theory I know the difference between Torah law, rabbinic rulings (including distinction between the Sanhedrin period and now), chumra, minhag. In practice, they can be tricky to separate. Two Jews, three opinions 🙂 It’s hard when they actually differ on what is hair-splitting and what is fundamental. Also when it is good to be counter-cultural, and yet cultural context does make a true difference.

        Your point about the Torah’s interest in detail is really good. I’ll think about it. I was asking about why the community feels the need also to add so much extra detail, rather than asking why Hashem cares about detail in the Torah… but I agree there’s some connection at least.

        I definitely still have your email address. Just wanted to ask here so that whoever has time and thoughts could answer and maybe discuss together as well 🙂

        Blessings xo

      • Annelise says:

        Re. second comment, you’re so right that you can walk and chew gum (so to speak) at the same time! It depends on the community, though. As a whole, one community compared to the other, I’d agree with you. But the specific Christian community I was in would be similar to what you described here.

        • Dina says:

          I can’t speak to your personal experience, but an evangelical Christian friend of mine told me that the divorce rate in the evangelical community is the same as in the general population. The divorce rate in the Orthodox Jewish community is far, far lower. When I was a teacher, out of about sixty students, one came from a single-parent home because her father had died. One student’s parents were having marital troubles to the extent that they were considering getting divorced. That’s it.

          Another friend of mine, a former evangelical Christian, was surprised to hear that I don’t personally know any Orthodox Jewish-born person who engaged in premarital sex or committed adultery. I’m not sure she believed me :).

          I should also add that I don’t personally know any Orthodox Jews, born that way or who became that way later in life, who are alcoholic or drug addicts. Not a single person in my entire circle of family, friends, and acquaintances.

  14. paul Summers says:

    Hello Dina

    Thanks for your reply. Of course I did mean keeping the Law which was applicable to an individual ie men and women etc. However I also meant the Law as a whole which included all Jews and aliens.

    But you have only answered a little of a question which was fundamentally read wrong from the beginning. (My Fault)

    As the Law was established with blood (as you gave as an example), and then daily, yearly etc with animal sacrifices, burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings,and trespass offerings etc.These details along with the priest himself in the temple with all objects within the temple were all very important as a part of the temple service to keep the Law.

    Of course now and since AD70 Israel have not had a temple. So this is the basis of my initial question. If forever means forever, where is the temple and priest to carry out the Law as per scripture for ever, for all generations?

    And the question of stoning an adulterer past and present, and Gods justice was never answered.

    Many thanks

    Paul x

    • Dina says:

      Paul, I did not ignore your question, and I will answer it, God willing. But before I do so it’s important for me that you answer my follow-up question. Before I address this, I need to understand how you perceive the observance of God’s commandments before 70 CE.

      What happened to people who were, sick, lame, blind, or otherwise incapacitated and who could not therefore fulfill many of the laws? What happened to childless couples who could not fulfill a whole set of commandments–or someone who could not get married for whatever reason?

      How about a man who could not fulfill women’s laws and vice versa? Or an Israelite who could not carry out the decrees specific to priests and Levites? Or the non-farmer who could not observe those ordinances pertaining to farming and livestock?

      And so on?

      Will you do that? Will you explain to me how you understand this, so I can then answer your original question?

      Thank you, Paul!

      Dina

      P.S. I emphatically and categorically reject your statement that the Law of Moses “was established with blood,” but that is a conversation for another time. –DB

      • paul Summers says:

        Hi Dina

        Yes I’m sure at some point you will finally answer my question?

        In my last posts I’m sure I did make it clear (apologies if not) that when the Law was/is mentioned in scripture, and referred to by me I did say that the Law was in force to those who it applies. This point was also mentioned a few weeks ago when I said Jeshua fulfilled the Law accordingly and which were applicable to Him. Ie Laws for women cannot apply to a man and visa versa.

        So by common sense and reasoning the areas above that you mentioned would also apply. Im sure we would both agree that God is a just God and is perfect in all His ways. If I thought that God would punish an individual who physically could not do a said thing because he/she was unable then God by His very nature and Name would not be Holy. This is the same point I made earlier in regard to children and the infirm making decisions about Christ. God will always do the right thing, otherwise satan could rightly accuse Him of being unjust.

        So keeping all things focused, I will narrow my original question down a little.

        Scenario

        A married Jewish couple live in Israel. They have children, They live 1 mile from the temple. They are both healthy, able bodied, wealthy enough to live daily without worrying about money etc. The year is 20 BC/ or what you would like to call it. One of the two commit adultery. The guilty is caught, tried before a Jewish court and found guilty. If its any difference the guilty one is unrepentant of the crime.

        1. What does the Law of Moses say about the punishment?
        2. Is God Justified with the Law and its punishments.
        3. The same scenario, but the crime has happened today. Has anything changed in regard to the Law of Moses?, if it has, could you please show me from scripture only. Not the Talmud or any other writings.

        Many thanks

        Paul

        • Dina says:

          Hi Paul.

          You answered your own question to me, my friend. Here it is, in your own words:

          “So by common sense and reasoning the areas above that you mentioned would also apply. Im sure we would both agree that God is a just God and is perfect in all His ways. If I thought that God would punish an individual who physically could not do a said thing because he/she was unable then God by His very nature and Name would not be Holy.”

          Peace and blessings,
          Dina

          • paul Summers says:

            Hi Dina

            So in other words you cannot answer my question. Does the Law of Moses still stand? The Law of Moses was given by God to Israel to live by “Forever”. As stated by scripture and reaffirmed by you, but now according to your reasoning the Law is based on Mans thoughts, self interpretation, and common sense and NOT by Gods decree to Moses. Which is strange as you keep quoting the Law and insisting that it is still active.

            The Law says stone the guilty to death. You say,no its doesn’t, It says use common sense?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

          • Dina says:

            Ah, but I did answer your question, Paul. Actually, you answered it! You don’t get it, do you?

            Okay, I’ll explain. But that will take a while, and I’m busy right now.

            Please be patient with me. I will definitely answer you; I can answer you; and please God I will. I hope to get back to you by tonight or tomorrow morning (which on your clock will be tomorrow morning or afternoon).

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Hi Paul.

            Before I begin, I will quote your words again. They are important to bear in mind as you read what follows.

            “Im sure we would both agree that God is a just God and is perfect in all His ways. If I thought that God would punish an individual who physically could not do a said thing because he/she was unable then God by His very nature and Name would not be Holy.”

            I’ll start with the words under discussion:

            Forever
            All your generations
            All your days
            Eternal decree

            Numbers 23:19 tells us that “God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man that He should regret [his words]. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?”

            You asked if forever really means forever, and you pointed to the fact that today Jews are unable to fulfill certain aspects of the Law.

            If you were God, who according the verse I just cited does not lie or change His mind, what words besides for “forever” or “eternal decree” would you use to make it crystal clear that you really mean forever and eternal? You can’t get clearer than that, my friend.

            When I asked you what happened to those Jews prior to Christianity’s advent who could not carry out God’s commands because of limitations that were beyond their control, you answered that as God is just and merciful, He would not hold accountable those who could not obey certain commandments. That’s a very good answer. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

            Besides for certain limitations people might have, you’re forgetting a period in history before the arrival of Jesus when Jews were in exactly the same position regarding observance of the Law.

            I refer, of course, to the era between the two Temple periods.

            Following the destruction of the First Temple, vast numbers of Jews were exiled to Babylon. There, they could not fulfill any laws pertaining to the Land of Israel, including many laws for farming and tithing produce and raising livestock. They could not go to the Temple to bring sacrifices, they could not bring the Passover sacrifice or any of the holiday-related sacrifices, the priests and Levites could not carry out any laws pertaining to Temple service. Under foreign rule, they did not have the power to administer the death penalty (such as stoning adulterers).

            This exile took place in the sixth century BC, about six hundred years before Jesus.

            Were the exiles punished for their inability to perform certain commandments due to circumstances beyond their control?

            They were not punished, because as you so eloquently put it, “God is a just God and is perfect in all His ways. If I thought that God would punish an individual who physically could not do a said thing because he/she was unable then God by His very nature and Name would not be Holy.”

            What is the difference between the Babylonian exile then and our exile now?

            To conclude:

            God means what He says. “Forever” means “forever” and is not a figure of speech. God expects us to keep His commandments to the best of our ability and does not hold us responsible for those commandments we cannot observe due to circumstances beyond our control because “God is a just God and is perfect in all His ways. If I thought that God would punish an individual who physically could not do a said thing because he/she was unable then God by His very nature and Name would not be Holy.”

            It would make very little sense for a just God to demand obedience, take away our ability to adhere to His commands by throwing us into a situation that makes it impossible, and then punish us for that. We yearn for the time when the Temple will be rebuilt and it will once again become possible to serve God in obedience to all of His laws.

            Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 33:18; Ezekiel 37:26-28; Ezekiel 43:7; Ezekiel 44:15:-16; Micah 4:1; Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (pay close attention to verses 8 and 10); Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 37:24; Ezekiel 44:23-24

          • Paul summers says:

            Hello Dina

            Was the temple functioning in the time period that Imentioned ref the case which I was talking about. The subject on the exile is not the topic. You have not answered my question. The answers are YES or NO.

            Thanks

          • Dina says:

            Okay, Paul. I have copied and pasted all your questions on this thread and answered “yes” or “no” as you requested.

            “Are you saying all the said quotes of scripture are still active for today and all Jews are required to keep the Law??. ie The Laws of Passover, Day of Atonement etc.”

            Yes.

            “Do you mean then,that according to the Hebrew scriptures, all of the components of the texts that you quoted are still in service today, and are being carried out by Jews in Israel this very year?”

            Yes and yes (by observant Jews), except for the Leviticus reference and the last reference. And not only in Israel, but all over the world. If you are ever in the States, I invite you to my home to see how we keep these laws.

            “Or do you mean that the services, statutes of the Law etc are just been spiritually carried out in the hearts of all Jews, but not actually seen through?”

            No.

            “Is Israel then, living in a time of, The Law still stands, but the Temple service has ceased for a set temporary period of time (According to scripture)??”

            Yes. Some of the citations in my previous comment show Scriptural support for this.

            “For example, the act of adultery is punished by stoning the guilty until they are dead?
            Does Israel still except this Law as binding?”

            Yes.

            “If not who said change it, which of course is contrary to scripture?”

            No.

            “If stoning is abolished now, but was acceptable then, do you think that God was cruel to give such an order.”

            No.

            “Shouldn’t God be merciful and full of grace?”

            Yes.

            “Why condemn the sinner to death?”

            This is not a “yes” or “no” question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Because God said so.

            “Hope you can help?”

            Yes.

            “Thanks”

            This is also not a “yes” or “no” question, but you’re quite welcome.

            “If forever means forever, where is the temple and priest to carry out the Law as per scripture for ever, for all generations?”

            This is also not a “yes” or “no” question. I’m feeling generous, so I’ll answer this one, too. If you read my previous comment you will see that in fact I answered it already. The laws are in force but God took away our ability to carry them out when He exiled us. God has promised to end our exile and restore the Temple so we can once again observe these commandments. For Scriptural support, see the citations at the end of my previous comment.

            “What does the Law of Moses say about the punishment?” (You asked this regarding adultery.)

            Not a “yes” or “no” question. If it’s anything to you, Deuteronomy 19:15 tells us that two or three witnesses are required to establish guilt. I don’t believe there is any recorded case of stoning an adulterer because of this law. You see, people who commit adultery don’t do it in front of eye witnesses.

            “Is God Justified with the Law and its punishments.”

            I do not understand this question. Does God need to justify Himself? He commands, and we obey. That’s all I need to know.

            “The same scenario, but the crime has happened today. Has anything changed in regard to the Law of Moses?”

            No.

            “Does the Law of Moses still stand?”

            Yes.

            “The Law says stone the guilty to death. You say,no its doesn’t, It says use common sense?”

            I can’t answer this question because I did not say what you accuse me of saying. Therefore, this question is based on a faulty premise.

            So Paul, I gave you “yes” or “no” answers to all your questions. I may have missed a few, so forgive me for that. If you are feeling confused by my answers, read again my previous comment. Read it carefully. You will then understand why the two exilic periods which I compared (before Jesus and after Jesus) during which time the Temple did not exist, are highly relevant to this discussion.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Paul summers says:

            Hlo Dina

            Sorry for the late response. My laptop is broken so im typing on my cel phone, which is so slow.
            Ive got loads to say ref your last statements.

            Until I can respond fully I wil leave you with you with a couple of NT Texts;

            Hebrews ch 8. ch 9. ch 10 v 1~4
            Luke ch 16 v19~31. ps this is not a parable!!
            Luke ch 23 v 40~43.

            Many thanks
            x

          • Dina says:

            Hi Paul.

            Sorry about your laptop. We rely so much on our computers these days that it’s hard to manage without one. I hope for your sake you can get it fixed soon.

            I also want to thank you for the respectful tone of our exchange. I really appreciate it.

            In the meantime, I checked the references you provided. I find it interesting that you would cite support for your views from Christian scripture, since you surely know that I don’t regard it as authoritative. You must know that I consider Paul to be a renegade Jew who twisted verses from Tanach to fit his corrupt theology. And Luke was a gentile who couldn’t read Tanach in its original Hebrew. I have read Mark and Matthew and just begun reading Luke, and I am astonished by the high number of mistranslations and historical and scriptural errors. It amazes me that Christians today, who are educated enough to be able to look up the references for themselves and check the “facts” against the historical record, still fall for this stuff.

            In the future, since the Tanach is the only common ground on which we stand, may I suggest that you cite support for your views from Hebrew scripture only. It’s the only way I can take your claims seriously.

            Looking forward to resuming our conversation when you’re laptop is back in business!

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

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