The School of Matthew

The School of Matthew

 

A Critical Review of “The Return of the Kosher Pig”

Preface

Imagine two schools of medicine. Let us call them “x” and “y”. Each of these schools has their own approach to medicine and each of these schools puts forth students who put their respective school’s theories into practice. As you probably guessed, these two schools disagree on many elements of the study and practice of healing people. Disagree is actually too mild of a word. Each of these schools earnestly believes that the other school is not teaching medicine, but murder.

One day, the faculty of school “x” admits that they have made a mistake. Not just a one-time mistake but a mistake that had continuously been taught as truth for years and years. Not just a minor mistake, but an error about one of the fundamental concepts of medicine. Let us say that they had been teaching that the liver and the heart are useless organs. May I remind you that the members of “y” had been preaching for years that the liver and the heart are vital organs – but the members of “x” have always disregarded the opinion of school “y”.

At this point you would expect the members of school “x” to do some soul searching. They should ask themselves how this error came to be preached as truth? What fundamental flaw in their system allowed this error to be perpetuated for years on end? What prevented them from realizing their mistake for so long? Why could they not appreciate the inherent truth of school “y’s” teaching concerning the heart and the liver?

Imagine if the members of school “x” do none of the above. Instead they continue teaching whatever they have taught up until now – without even fully rearranging their medical theories to fit with the “newfound” truths that they learned about the heart and the liver.

Would you begin to take them seriously?

The meaning of this parable should be apparent. School “x” is Christianity while school “y” is Judaism. The mistake that many Christians have admitted to is that their teaching of “replacement theology” – which insists that the Church has replaced Israel – is an error. Let us pause to understand the depth of this error. Israel is the second most important word in the Jewish Scriptures after God. Reading the Bible with an incorrect understanding of the word “Israel” is as bad as reading a book about the earth’s climate without knowing what the word “cold” means. You would expect that the various schools of Christian theologians who have now come to realize the error should pause and take stock. They should ask themselves what lead them to this error. They should ask themselves what flaws are inherent in their system that allowed this error to be perpetuated for so long. They should ask themselves why they could not hear the truth inherent in the claim of the Jewish people when they asserted that Israel is Israel and not the Church.

Finally – you would expect them to open their ears just a little bit when the same Jewish people are arguing that God is God and not Jesus.

Is that asking too much?

Introduction

Christianity asserts that Jesus was the Messiah predicted by the prophets of Israel. This assertion has been rejected by the Jewish people, the disciples and followers of the very prophets whose prophecies Jesus allegedly fulfilled. The fact that so many people accept the claims of the Church does not intimidate the Jew. The simple truth is that Jesus is not the Messiah predicted by the Jewish prophets and that’s all there is to it.

All the Jew needed to do was to look out the window to know that the Messiah hadn’t arrived (as of the time of this writing). The prophets taught that when the Messiah comes the world will be filled with knowledge of God, the exiles of Israel will be gathered back to the land, the Jerusalem Temple will be rebuilt and all of mankind will live in peace (Isaiah 11:9; Ezekiel 37:21,27; Isaiah 2:4). As long as these have not happened then we can be sure that the Messiah who Isaiah and Ezekiel had hoped for is not here yet.

If a Jew was curious and wondered what it was that convinced so many Christians that Jesus was indeed the Messiah he would look to the basic texts of the Church.

What would the Jew expect to find? Since Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah because he supposedly fulfilled the prophecies of the Jewish prophets then the Jew would anticipate that the Christian Scriptures would present some record of the fulfillment of these prophecies. Because we are dealing with foundational matters of faith the Jew would expect that the Scriptural arguments presented by the Christian authors be direct and to the point. Just as Scripture puts forth the foundations of the Jewish faith with force and clarity so would we expect that any important message of faith be presented with the same forcefulness.

The Jew would open the book of Matthew with this expectation in his heart and begin reading. And the Jew would be sorely disappointed. There are so many errors in the first two chapters of Matthew alone that it would be difficult for the Jew to read any further.

Matthew presents Jechoniah as the son of Josiah when in fact he was his grandson (Matthew 1:11 – 2Kings 24:6). Matthew claims that Isaiah 7:14 foretold the virgin birth of Jesus when Isaiah says nothing about a virgin and when read in context, it is clear that Isaiah’s prophecy should have been fulfilled many centuries before the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:23). Matthew translates the Hebrew word “al’fei” as if it said “alufei”. The former means a clan while the latter means a chief (Matthew 2:6 – Micah 5:1 (2). Matthew claims that Jesus fulfilled the prediction of Hosea 11:1 when in actuality Hosea is not making a prediction at all (he is speaking of a past event) and he is referring to the people of Israel and not to the Messiah (Matthew 2:15). Matthew goes on to quote Jeremiah in reference to a massacre of babies when Jeremiah was actually speaking about a nation in exile (Matthew 2:17,18 – Jeremiah 31:14 (15). The kicker is Matthew 2:23. Matthew tells us that Jesus went to live in Nazareth in order to fulfill the prophecy; “he will be called a Nazarene”. There is no such prophecy.

At this point the Jew would put down the book. It is clear to the Jew that to the author of Matthew, words have no meaning. The concept of context seems to be beyond him. And fantasy and fact seem to be completely interchangeable in the mind of this author.

To a Jew who is already holding the book of Matthew in his hands I would say; don’t close the book just yet.

Turn to chapter 23. If you want to know how the Christian world looks at Judaism read that chapter. You can talk till you are blue in the face. You can show them all the sacred texts of Judaism. You can present all of the saintliness of our holiest men and women. It won’t help you. Matthew has already convinced the world of Christendom that Judaism is a legalistic, hypocritical, haughty and cruel religion. The pages of history are soaked with the effects of Matthew’s slander.

This is what a Jew sees when he reads the book of Matthew.

Now that the Jew has closed the book the question that comes to mind is how did anyone believe this man? Why wasn’t this book laughed out of town as soon as it appeared?

Many people would answer this question by postulating that the masses accepted Matthew’s book simply because they wanted to believe. Their desire to believe in the message of Christianity blinded them to the mistakes that abound between the covers of Matthew’s book.

I wouldn’t be so cynical. I believe that people are essentially good and they want to believe in the goodness and trustworthiness of other people. It is hard for people to accept that someone would be so irresponsible that they would mislead others in matters of faith. When a book is presented as a sophisticated piece of work people tend to believe that that is exactly what it is.

This misplaced faith in Matthew put down the foundations of many universities. Throughout the centuries scholars have diligently studied the writings of Matthew and have invented fantastic theories to explain away the errors that plague his book. But the underlying theme of all of these excuses is the belief presented by Dr. Michael Brown in his multi-volume Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus. Dr. Brown tells us that the authors of the Christian Scriptures; “were sometimes writing to Jews who knew their Scriptures well. To manufacture, misquote, or misinterpret verses from the Tanach would be absolutely self-defeating” (Answering Jewish Objections vol. 4; pg. 3).

This misplaced faith in the sophistication and the good intentions of people like Matthew laid the groundwork for centuries of crookedness. For many years the Church has taught that the Jewish people were no longer the chosen nation of God. Many Christians recognize that this belief is unbiblical. But how many Christians have paused to take stock and to ask themselves how it is that so many scholars of Christendom were able to make such a grievous error?

For many dark centuries hatred of Jews and a disdain for Judaism was considered an integral part of the Christian faith. Since the atrocities of the holocaust many Churches have renounced hatred of Jews (the disdain for Judaism is still quite popular). But how many Christians have stopped to ask themselves how this error came to be so deeply embedded in their theology?

A building that stands on a crooked foundation cannot be straight. A theology that is erected on the assumption that Matthew was sophisticated and responsible cannot be free of serious error. And wherever Matthew is respected then his methods and his errors will not only be perpetuated but they will breed new errors and more irresponsibility. And not only will these errors not be laughed out of town but they will be adorned with honor and respect.

How can I be so sure?

Let me introduce you to Itzhak Shapira and his book; “The Return of the Kosher Pig”. Shapira tells us that he holds “full rabbinical ordination” from IAMCS, a Christian school that respects the book of Matthew. And Shapira’s book is decorated with accolades from leaders of various Christian institutions. Joshua Brumbach calls Shapira’s book a “tremendous contribution and an excellent resource”. He goes on to say that Shapira’s book “far surpasses much of what currently exists in regard to Messianic Jewish apologetics”. Dr. Brown tells us that Shapira’s book was written “with much careful study”. Rudy Gonzalez, Ph.D. tells us that he is “convinced that the arguments raised and defended here (in Shapira’s book) cannot be easily dismissed”. Paige Patterson describes Shapira’s book as “one of the most learned” that he has ever read. And this is only a partial listing of the praise garnered by Shapira’s book.

At this point we can expect that Shapira’s book would be the height of accuracy and sophistication. If this is our expectation we will be terribly disappointed. Shapira’s work is riddled with misquotations, mistranslations, misinterpretations, misunderstandings, faulty logic, quotations that do not exist in the original source and in the true tradition of Matthew, slander of the Jewish people and their faith.

No, I don’t expect you to take my word for it. I will walk you through the painful journey if that is where you want to go. I will begin the journey by pointing to an internal inconsistency that is evident at the heart of Shapira’s central argument. This will be followed by a page by page catalogue of blunders. This list is far from exhaustive. I limited myself to those mistakes that can be easily described. My silence on any one point should not be equated with agreement.

List of Errors

Toward the beginning of Shapira’s book (pg. 35) he informs us that Judaism has changed over the last 2000 years. According to Shapira 21st century Judaism rejects the concept of a divine Messiah but by the standards of 1st and 2nd century Judaism belief in a divine Messiah was accepted. It was Maimonides who took Judaism for a “violent and sharp turn” with the creation of his thirteen principles of faith.

So Maimonides and “21st century Judaism” will be the villains of this book. And Shapira will present himself as the true continuum of 1st and 2nd century Judaism. However, Shapira does not stick to his own pattern. In his excitement to see divine messiah’s in every Jewish text Shapira somehow managed to pull Maimonides and 21st century Judaism on to his own bandwagon.

On page 158 Shapira tells us that Maimonides contradicts his own principles of faith when he presented a particular prayer. According to Shapira the prayer reads as follows: “It is our duty as living beings before you, Hashem (Lord), to declare your name, to praise and exalt David son of Jesse your servant the Messiah”.

The prayer that Shapira is misquoting is not some obscure prayer that is only seen by scholars who study the fine print of Maimonides complex texts. This prayer is recited in every Orthodox synagogue of 21st century Judaism. If Shapira’s rendition and interpretation of the prayer would be correct, then Maimonides together with all of 21st century Judaism believes in a divine Messiah.

The actual prayer reads: “It is our duty as living beings before you, O Lord … to praise and exalt You beyond all the songs of David your servant your Messiah”. In other words no one is praising and lauding the Messiah but we praise God with the words of David. The prayer can be accessed online http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/spb/spb17.htm . How did Shapira make this mistake? This is a prayer that he should have said as a traditional Jew every Sabbath. Did he understand what he was saying? Did Shapira stop to think before he accused Maimonides of “violating his own principles”?

On page 21 Shapira “proves” to his readership that Judaism became a reactionary religion; a religion that developed as a negative reaction to Christianity. The evidence he presents to support this preposterous theory is a single paragraph from the Talmud. In this paragraph the Talmud records that in ancient times people wanted to establish a custom to read the Ten Commandments on a daily basis. The Talmud goes on to say that the spiritual leadership prevented this practice from being established due to the arguments of heretics who contended that the only aspect of the Torah that was binding was the Ten Commandments. The spiritual leadership of Israel felt that this custom would inadvertently lend credibility to the fallacious arguments of those schismatics.

Shapira introduces this episode with the words: “The transformation of the framework of Scriptural interpretation from a proactive to a reactive nature is summarized nicely in the Talmud.”

Here (as well as in other places in his book) Shapira slanders the teachers of Israel by insinuating that they modified Judaism as a negative reaction against Christianity.

You may have noticed that this passage from the Talmud is not speaking about “Scriptural interpretation”. It isn’t even speaking about abolishing a practice that had been in place. It speaks about preventing a proposed practice from becoming accepted.

It is on the basis of this lone paragraph that Shapira bases this heavy accusation that Judaism is not a religion with its own principles but one that has developed in reaction to Christianity.

Shapira did not seem to notice that Christianity is barely mentioned throughout the Talmud. The authors of the Talmud did not see Christianity as a significant theological entity on their radar screens. This is obvious from the paucity of material they left us on this subject. In sharp contradistinction, the authors of the Christian Scriptures and the subsequent Church Fathers filled their books with their venomous thoughts on Judaism The same council which voted on the “divine” nature of Jesus (the central thesis of Shapira’s book) also rejected the use of the Jewish calendar simply because it was Jewish. It is entirely plausible that the vote on the alleged divinity of Jesus was influenced by the same hatred toward Judaism that guided these men of the cloth in their rejection of the Jewish calendar. Instead of minding the breaches of his own house, Shapira accuses the teachers of Judaism.

(https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/who-reacted/ )

On page 26 Shapira addresses Rabbi Cohen’s contention that “any conversation about the Messiah needs to start with a strict definition… When Jews speak of “The Messiah” there is a common understanding of what is being spoken of.” Shapira dismisses Rabbi Cohen’s statement by pointing to the Talmud which barely speaks of the Messiah and to the followers of false Messiahs who obviously had a different definition of Messiah.

What Shapira had failed to understand is that the Jewish Scriptures themselves give us more than enough information about the Messiah. There is no need for the Talmud to elaborate on this subject because the prophets have already given us a strict definition of the Messiah.

The followers of the false Messiahs fall into two categories; those who believed that the man they pinned their hopes on will fulfill the Biblical prophecies, and those who reshaped their understanding of the Biblical prophecies just so it can fit their hero. The first group of people did not violate the “common understanding” that Judaism shares about the Messiah. They simply hoped that the “common understanding of the Messiah” will be fulfilled through their candidate. The second group of people (those who reshaped their theology to fit their man), cannot expect their twisted theology to be accepted as truth. It is obvious that their theological conclusions are based on their infatuation for the man of their heart.

Shapira’s appeal to the paucity of Talmudic discussion and to the followers of false Messiah’s as evidence to Judaism’s lack of definition of the term; Messiah, is an exercise in futility. The Talmud doesn’t need do provide a definition where Scripture has already provided one for us. And the followers of the false Messiahs, inasmuch as they presented a new definition for Messiah, are not legitimate teachers of Judaism.

On page 31 Shapira addresses Rabbi Shulman’s accusation that the missionaries have little regard for the rabbis and their teachings. In Rabbi Shulman’s words; “We only seek for them (the missionaries) to stop misusing and distorting what they (the rabbis) teach.”

Shapira responds to this with; “we have given the rabbis a seat of honor in this debate.”

This is amazing. Aside from misquoting the rabbis and twisting their words, Shapira consistently accuses them of intellectual dishonesty. The following quotations are but a sampling of Shapira’s denunciations of Israel’s teachers: “Tragically, post-second Temple Judaism became reactive in nature” (page 21). “Unfortunately, Judaism has taken a a sharp and violent turn against the idea of a Divine Messiah with the creation of the thirteen principles of faith by the Rambam…” (page 35). “some Jewish thinkers held….in order to refute the divine nature of the Messiah” (page 118). “some modern Jewish commentators have twisted this verse…” (page 120). “due to the fear that this verse will actually speak of the Messiah…various Jewish thinkers came up with twisted thoughts…” (page 145). “Radak, Shmuel Gordon, Metzodot and most of the sages of the Talmud went around and around trying to refute this as a Messianic prophecy due to the implications it presents.” (page 146).

If this is a “seat of honor” than what is a seat of shame?

On page 34 Shapira describes the Jewish beliefs about the two Messiahs; Messiah son of Joseph and Messiah son of David, with the following words: “The rejected and suffering Messiah is known as Messiah son of Joseph while the returning, conquering king is known as Messiah son of David.” This false premise is the basis of many of the errors in Shapira’s book. Whenever he sees the concept of a suffering Messiah in the Jewish writings he concludes that it is referring to the son of Joseph and whenever he sees a glorious Messiah he assumes it is talking of the son of David. What Shapira has failed to understand is that neither Messiah is “rejected”, and according to some rabbinical literature, both Messiahs suffer and according to the Talmud itself, both Messiahs reign together (Succah 52b).

On page 37 Shapira lists several Jewish ideas that are found in the Christian Scriptures. He then concludes that the Greek Testament ought to be considered a “Jewish book”. How ridiculous! According to this line of reasoning the Quran, the Book of Mormon, and Benjamin Franklin’s Farmer’s Almanac, ought to be considered “Jewish Books” since they all contain some Jewish ideas.

It is obvious that we first have to define the term “Jewish” before we can consider if a given book is or isn’t “Jewish”. Throughout history, the deification of a human (or any other inhabitant of this planet for that matter) has been considered the antithesis of Judaism. To claim that a book is “Jewish” when it violates the very essence of the principle that Jews have lived and died for is a shameless attempt to redefine Judaism.

On page 38 Shapira presents his argument for the acceptance of the literal understanding of the Bible. In this context he claims that there are over 300 prophecies about the coming of the Messiah and his “return”.

This claim demonstrates that Shapira has no grasp of Scriptural reality. The famous missionary slogan; “Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies” only makes sense if one ignores the literal contextual meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures. Furthermore, Shapira is not even conforming to the typical missionary claim, as dishonest as it is. The missionaries contend that Jesus “fulfilled” 300 prophecies, but they acknowledge that he failed to fulfill many hundreds of prophecies as well. Shapira is claiming that there are a grand total of 300 prophecies concerning the Messiah in the Jewish Bible all together. I challenge Shapira to back up this claim in a way that supports his claims for Jesus. For the record, I have listed 1000 verses that teach us that Jesus is not the Messiah of Israel. https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/1000-verses/

On page 42 Shapira tells us that the Rabbis believed that the Targum Yonatan was “straight from God Himself”. He goes on to say that the Talmud recognizes Targum Yonatan as a direct revelation from a Bat Kol.

Shapira is making two mistakes here. Nowhere does the Talmud say that the Targum Yonatan was a revelation through Bat Kol. And the Talmud recognizes that a Bat Kol is not a direct revelation from God. In Sotah 33a we see clearly that a Bat Kol is relegated to the realm of angels and not “one of the manifestations of God” as Shapira claims.

On page 45 Shapira quotes Rashi as teaching that the study of Bible is “not a good habit”. In the footnotes Shapira provides us with the “exact” Hebrew words that Rashi uses. The problem is that Shapira cut off Rashi’s sentence before its actual ending. What Rashi is actually saying is that one should not guide his children to study the Bible “too much”. The point of this teaching is that the study of the Bible, which is not such a demanding process, not distract the children from study of the Oral Law. But the Talmud itself says that a full third of one’s time for study should be dedicated to study of the Bible (Kiddushin 30a).

On page 46 Shapira states that he met an Orthodox rabbi who placed a Bible underneath a book of the Talmud. He does not describe this as the activities of an eccentric or deranged individual (which he was if he exists) but he presents this as typical behavior of Orthodox Jews.

In the Beit Lechem Yehuda commentary on the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 283:1) it clearly states that the books of the Talmud may not be placed on top of any book of the Bible. This ruling is universally accepted and is taught to school-children from 1st grade. If Shapira is the expert in Jewish tradition that he claims to be he should have realized that the actions of this Orthodox rabbi are not representative of Orthodox Jewry as a whole.

On page 47 Shapira claims that Rashi teaches that the rest of the books of the Tanach (aside from the Five Books of Moses) were given to Israel not as spiritual books which are filled with the holy spirit but rather as add-ons to the divine inspiration of the Torah.

This is a lie. Rashi (as well as every other Jewish teacher) revered all of the books of the Bible as books that were written in the spirit of prophecy and Divine inspiration (Rashi Chulin 137a).

On page 52 Shapira presents several teachings of the Talmud that speak of people who “enter the kingdom of heaven”. The Talmud teaches that various activities are indications of one’s place in heaven. Shapira presents these teachings as if the rabbis encouraged these activities as a replacement for our walk with God or as a solution to the problem of sin. The Talmud never presented these teachings in that context. These activities are not presented as an alternative to true righteousness but as an indicator of righteousness.

On page 53 Shapira concludes his slander against the teachers of Israel by telling us that; “The same sages spoke against Yeshua in the pages of the Talmud with a great many contradictions. In this book, we can’t go through all the references that speak against Yeshua of Natzeret…”

What audacity! In all of the 2700 pages of Talmud there are three paragraphs that might be speaking of Jesus (some scholars reject this interpretation and propose that Jesus is not mentioned in the Talmud at all). The Christian Scriptures, which is a much smaller set of books than the Talmud is filled with false propaganda against the Jews and their religion. Yet Shapira is worried about the Talmud’s “bias” against Jesus?!

On page 64 Shapira presents us with a teaching from the Zohar. He tells us that the Zohar (II 81a) speaks of two voices that are one. He goes on to say that one of these “voices” is the Messiah. But the passage in the Zohar says nothing about the Messiah. Shapira tells his readers that the word “water” represents the Messiah. This is simply false. The word water especially when contrasted with the word wind (as per the passage in question) represents the kindness of God while wind represents His splendor. (https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/response-to-line-of-fire-14/ )

In the same paragraph Shapira quotes another passage from the Zohar. “The highest kedusah (“holiness”) has three sides and they are united to each other and this is the essence of the Torah”. This quotation is simply a figment of Shapira’s imagination.

Shapira goes on to say that in the “same place” the Zohar speaks of three that are one in relation to the Shema. Here Shapira actually gives us a real page number. The problem is that the page number sends us to the second volume of the Zohar while his first quote was allegedly from the Zohar’s comments on the first section of Genesis; the beginning of the first volume. There is no way that these two quotes can be in the “same place”.

At this point I will make a general comment about the writings of the Kabbalists. There are many quotations from the mystical writings of Judaism that can be misconstrued to read as if these writers believed in a plurality within the concept of God. But this mistake can only be made if the intention of the author is completely ignored. The writers of these mystical works were aware that their words can be misunderstood in this way and they warned their readers not to jump to these unwarranted conclusions. I present here quotes from three of the authors of these mystical writings; the Zohar, Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato), and Avodat Hakodesh (Rabbi Meir ben Gabbai). I chose to quote from these three authors simply because Shapira builds his case on his misunderstanding of their words. But in fact most of the kabbalistic writers preface their works with similar words of clarification and warning.

“For behold before God created any image in the world and before he formed any form He was alone without any image or comparison. And one who speaks of Him before creation where He is outside of any image may not attribute to Him any image or form at all, not with the letter “heh” and not with the letter “yod” and not even with the holy name and not with any letter or dot at all and this is the meaning of “for you have seen no image” (Deuteronomy 4:15). Anything that has any image or comparison you did not see. But after He made the image of the chariot of the elevated man did He descend there and was called with that image (the Tetragrammaton) in order that He be known with His qualities and he is called E-l, Elo-him, Sha-dai, Tz’va-ot, Eh-yeh, in order that he be known with each quality how the world is ruled with kindness and with judgment according to the deeds of men. For if His light were not to spread over His creations how would they (His creations) know Him and how would the verse be fulfilled “His glory fills the earth”? (Isaiah 6:3). Woe to the one who attributes to Him any of these qualities, even these qualities that belong to Him” (Zohar vol. II pg. 42b)

“Above all, it is necessary to know that the true essence and nature of God cannot be grasped at all. It has no analogy, neither with any concept that exists among created things, nor with any idea that the imagination can conceive or the intellect comprehend. There are no words or descriptions which are truly fitting and proper to use in relation to God.

When we speak of God, we make use of words, but we do so only in borrowed or metaphorical terms, so that we should understand what we must regarding Him. Our vocabulary contains only words pertaining to natural concepts, bound by the limitations of created things, and it is therefore impossible for us to say anything at all without these words. But all who seek God and speak about Him must clearly realize that any descriptions or words used in relation to God do not truly relate to Him. They can apply only in borrowed terms, and in no other sense. One must be very careful in this respect.” (Luzzato; Essay on Fundamentals; Feldheim 1983; pg. 367,368).

Rabbi Meir ben Gabbai devotes three chapters in his book, Avodat Hakodesh, to explain how God is absolutely One (Section I chapters 11,12 and 13). He goes on to say that all of the distinctions in God’s names and in His attributes are only perceived as such from the perspective of His creations but they do not describe or affect His essence in any way.

We can learn from these statements (and the many similar pronouncements that abound in the writings of the kabbalists) that when these authors speak of any plurality in relation to God they are not referring to various persons within the godhead. They are referring to distinctions in God’s names and in the expression of His sovereignty in the world. When they say that two are one, three are one or five are one, the kabbalists are telling us that the various names of God are in essence one.

To put this distinction in Scriptural terms we will turn to the book of Zechariah. Zechariah declares: “On that day the Lord will be One and His name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9). It is clear and obvious that God is always one and we don’t need to wait for “that day” (the Messianic era) for God to be One. What the prophet is telling us is that on that day all of mankind will recognize that God is truly One and that all of His names are truly One. All of the discussions of the kabbalists relate to the last phrase of Zechariah’s declaration (His name will be One) and not to the first phrase (The Lord will be One).

Shapira’s misrepresentations of these writers, against their own express warnings, is either ignorant, dishonest or both. As Luzzato declares: “the fool desires no wisdom, they are deeply destructive when they direct their thoughts towards God to say that the Pharisees permitted the matter in violation of God’s command that we make no image or form (Exodus 20:4), for they have attributed corporeality and the qualities of corporeality to the Creator of man…”(Introduction to Kin’at Hashem Tze’va-ot).  How can Shapira attribute Christian theology to people who saw that theology as the very antithesis of all that they stood for? Is there no limit to insolence?

Let us move on in our journey through Shapira’s book. On page 66 Shapira presents Sam Stern’s quotation from the Zohar. In this version of the Zohar God’s name “Elo-him” is divided so as to read “E’l” and “hem” and he translates this expression to mean “they are gods”. The interesting thing is that this version of the Zohar exists nowhere outside of Sam Stern’s imagination. The Zohar does indeed divide the name “Elo-him” but not along the lines that Stern set forth but rather the letters are divided to read “mi” and “aileh” which has nothing to do with Stern’s “they are gods”.

Nachmanides does indeed divide the name E’lohim along the lines that Stern attributes to the Zohar but he clearly explains this expression to mean “Master of all powers” (commentary to Genesis 1:1). Shapira himself describes Nachmanides as one who “strongly rejected the idea of a divine Messiah” (page 54). It is clear that Nachmanides was not attributing plurality to God with the use of this expression.

Stern goes on to tell us that the Zohar points to the two entities in Daniel 7:13 (the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man) as proof to the existence of two representations of God. There is no such teaching in the the Zohar. The Zohar actually explains that the one like the son of man that Daniel speaks of is both Israel and the Messiah (Zohar vol. I, 145b, 170a). The Zohar teaches that the dominion spoken of in that passage refers to Israel’s dominion in the Messianic era.

On page 68 Shapira arrives at the climax of his presentation. He presents a quote from Luzzato which he translates as follows: “There is a great secret in the word boreicha [“your creators”], as it represents the internal essence of Messiah! …which speaks of Messiah who is the healer of all flesh and who does wonders.” Shapira provides the Hebrew text for this quote in a footnote. Shapira tells us that this quote is from Luzzato’s commentary on Ecclesiastes.

The fact of the matter is that there is no extant commentary by Luzzato on Ecclesiastes. Shapira’s quote is from the website of a Rabbi in Israel who claims to have conversations with Luzzato (who passed on in the mid 1700s) and to whom Luzzato reveals his teachings on a regular basis. Shapira did not deem this tidbit of information to be important enough to share with his readers. If these Rabbi’s revelations are authentic then Christianity must be a false religion because this is part of what his Rabbi claims to have been taught by Luzzato.  But putting all of this aside, Shapira’s English translation is completely off the mark even according to this strange Hebrew text.

This Hebrew text is referring to the concept of the soul of Messiah. It is understood that every human soul is rooted in God’s name. It is also understood that as a person grows in spirituality he or she is granted a deeper soul than the one they possessed until now. The soul that is granted to a person corresponds to that individual’s task in life. This particular text is telling us which aspect of God’s name will enter into the inner soul of the Messiah. It is God who remains Creator and it is God who heals all flesh. According to this text, the Messiah’s soul will emanate from this aspect of God’s name. But this text does not say that the word “boreicha” represents anything and it does not say that the Messiah is the healer of all flesh.

On page 72 Shapira accuses the Rambam of deviating from the Torah when he uses the word “yachid” to describe God’s oneness. Shapira seems to be unaware that the popular version of the Rambam’s thirteen principles was not authored by the Rambam. In his Hebrew Mishne Torah the Rambam does not use the word “yachid” to speak of God’s oneness. He uses the same word “echad” as does the Torah.

In any case this discussion is ridiculous. The word “echad” means precisely the same thing that word “one” means in English. And the word “yachid” means “alone” or “unique”. Both of these terms can refer to a compound unity as easily as they can refer to an absolute unity.

On pages 75-77 Shapira points to the fact that some followers of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe have declared their leader to be divine. This tells Shapira that the belief that a human being can be divine is well within the accepted parameters of Judaism.

These people (who declared the Rebbe to be divine) were ostracized as heretics by every segment of Judaism. It is clear to one and all that their obsession with the Rebbe has lead them to these heretical conclusions and that it is not their devotion to the precepts of Judaism that lead them to their obsession with the Rebbe.

This argument that attempts to bring proof from the believers in charismatic leaders actually works against Shapira. There are not many psychological factors that can distort a person’s view of reality as much as the adoration of a beloved leader. In every culture the followers of magnetic personalities elevated their object of adoration according to the terms of their respective culture. These ardent believers did not let facts or theology get in their way. They rewrote the physical facts and restructured the theology in order to maintain their devotion to their hero. In the culture of Judaism the trajectory generally follows the path of; scholar, saint, prophet, Messiah, and sometimes even god. This says nothing about the actual theology of Judaism. This says everything about the agility of the human mind and what people would do in order to justify devotion to someone who has captured their hearts.

On page 84 Shapira presents a quote from Rabbi Chaim Vital about the lofty nature of Messiah’s soul. But the text he quoted actually proves that Rabbi Vital did NOT believe that the Messiah is to be divine. Rabbi Vital clearly says that the Messiah will receive this lofty soul. In other words the Messiah is a recipient of God’s blessing like the rest of God’s subjects. The recipient of God’s blessing must be a subject of God and not the object of worship. Furthermore, Rabbi Vital explains that the Messiah will not receive a soul that is greater than Adam before the sin it will only be greater than Adam’s soul after the sin. There is no question that Rabbi Vital did not believe in a divine Messiah.

On page 87 Shapira lists the Metzudat David as one of the commentators who understand the great mountain of Zechariah 4:7 as a reference to the Messiah. In fact this commentator understood that the great mountain is a reference to Gog, the archenemy of the Messiah. Shapira actually puts the Hebrew words of the Metzudot David in the footnote so anyone who reads Hebrew can see that his translation is off the mark.

On page 88 Shapira quotes the Abarbanel’s comments to Zechariah 4:7 as if he applied Isaiah 2 to the Messiah. The Abarbanel is actually quoting from Isiaiah 11. (Here too Shapira’s mistake seems to be rooted in his trust of secondary sources. It seems that he doesn’t feel the responsibility to check his quotations in their original sources.) Furthermore, the mere fact that Shapira quotes Abarbanel in his attempt to establish the concept of the divinity of the Messiah is horrifying. The Abarbanel devoted much of his life’s work to refuting this very idea that Shapira is advancing. Abarbanel wrote a book; Yeshuot Meshicho, to refute arguments such as those presented here by Shapira. Yet Shapira has no problem presenting the Abarbanel to his readers as a man who believed in the concept of a divine Messiah.

On page 92 Shapira tells us that the prophet Zechariah and the ancient rabbis taught the spiritual cleansing can be received only by the Messiah and his spirit. He quotes Ezekiel 36:25 and 26 which speak of God sprinkling Israel with waters of cleansing and giving them a new spirit. Shapira claims that the water represents Messiah. This is simply false. The ancient rabbis did not teach that the waters of cleansing are the Messiah.

On page 94 Shapira tells us in that Rabbi Shammai Astreicher interprets Psalm 121 as if the Psalmist (or Israel) look to the Messiah (represented by the mountains) for help. The fact is that Shapira’s quote from Rabbi Astreicher is just one paragraph from a longer article. Merely a few pages later Rabbi Ostreicher explains what he meant when he spoke of the Messiah. It goes without saying that Rabbi Ostreicher does not believe in a divine Messiah.

On page 94 Shapira tells us that the Abarbenel understood that the Midrashic teaching that Messiah will be greater than the angels proves that he believed in a divine Messiah. He also lumps the Abarbenel together with Moshe Ibn Crispin as if he agreed that Isaiah 53 is talking of the Messiah. It is obvious that Shapira never read this Abarbenel that he is quoting in the original source. The Abarbenel makes it clear that he believes that Isaiah 53 is talking of Israel. And he also makes it clear that when the Rabbis said that the Messiah is greater than the angels that they did not mean that he is divine, but that in one limited aspect he is greater than the angels.

On page 95 Shapira argues that; “The claim that the Messiah will be divine is supported by many rabbinic sources. It is interesting that most of the sources date back to the time before the Rambam.”

The fact is that Shapira did not provide one source to prove that any of the rabbis believed that the Messiah is to be divine. It is only after he has distorted the original sources, as we have documented above, and after he has argued that if the rabbis attribute certain tasks or qualities to the Messiah that must mean that they believed that the Messiah is divine. At least one of these rabbis (the Abarbanel) directly addresses Shapira’s argument and he comes to a completely different conclusion.

The entire argument has no foundation to begin with. If you want to tell me that someone believed that something or someone was divine you need to first find out what this person believes about divinity. In the context of Judaism, conferring superlative titles on a human being has nothing to do with attributing divinity to this individual.

Finally, it is interesting to note that most of the rabbis that Shapira has misquoted do NOT predate the Rambam. Abarbanel, Ramchal, Rabbi Astreicher, Metzudat David, Rabbi Chaim Vital and even the shady Ibn Crispin all postdate the Rambam. Shapira doesn’t have his history straight either.

On page 97 Shapira tells us that the Zohar teaches that the Messiah suffers for the sins of Israel. Indeed, the Zohar does teach this but it is also obvious from that text that the Zohar did not consider the Messiah to be divine. The Zohar actually points to a specific Rabbi and tells us that his suffering also atones for the sins of the generation. Furthermore, the atonement spoken of by the Zohar has nothing to do with the Christological concept of atonement. The Zohar clearly says that each individual ultimately needs to answer to God for their own sins. It is only here on earth that the suffering of the Messiah is efficacious and this atonement has no eternal ramifications.

On that same page (97), Shapira presents a Pesikta Rabbati that he claims speaks of the Messiah’s death. The Pesikta actually speaks of Messiah’s suffering but not his death.

On page 98, after quoting the Targum to Isaiah 52:13 which speaks of the Messiah Shapira tells us that Rabbi Moshe Shulman denies this obvious fact. The fact is that Rabbi Shulman directly addresses this quote from the Targum and he points out that the Targum does not apply the suffering of Isaiah 53 to the Messiah, only the exaltation. Shapira unethically misrepresents Rabbi Shulman’s words as well as the words of the Targum.

On pages 101,102 Shapira presents his arguments as to why Isaiah 53 “must” refer to the Messiah and cannot refer to Israel. He divides his argument into 8 points. For some odd reason points #1 and #2 are exactly the same. He argues that the expression “my people” in verse 8 must refer to Israel so how could Israel be both the spectator and the one being observed?

Had Shapira read Rashi (who articulates the view that the servant of Isaiah is Israel) he would have realized that his question does not begin. Rashi does not claim that the servant represents all of Israel. Rather Rashi teaches that the servant represents the righteous of Israel. Furthermore, the rabbinical commentators explain that the expression “my nation” from verse 8 refers to the respective nations of each of the Gentile kings mentioned in 52:15. If Shapira is the expert in rabbinic writings that he claims to be he should have addressed these arguments.

His second point (listed as #3) is that the servant in the chapter consistently appears as a singular individual. This is particularly interesting as Shapira himself makes the fallacious argument that an extra “yod” in the word “bor’echa” (- “Creator”, Ecclesiastes 12:1) represents plurality (page 66). In keeping with his own argument, Shapira should be consistent and acknowledge that the extra “yod” in the word “bemotav” (- “his deaths”, Isaiah 53:9) also represents plurality and the servant of Isaiah is a group of people rather than an individual.

His third point (listed as #4) is that the servant is blameless while Israel is not blameless. The problem with Shapira’s contention is that the servant of Isaiah 53 is not presented as blameless. The verse that Shapira is hinging his contention on merely says that the servant was not guilty of the crimes that his persecutors accused him of and which they had used to justify their actions (Isaiah 53:9).

The next point Shapira makes is that the Jews “always resisted” the various persecutions they had to endure over the years. It seems that Shapira is unfamiliar with Jewish history. He is also unfamiliar with Scripture, which clearly describes Israel’s suffering in a way that conforms with the suffering described in Isaiah 53 (Psalm 44:23; Isaiah 51:23).

( https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/isaiah-53/ )

On page 102 Shapira quotes Rabbi Dessler’s classic Michtav M’Eliyahu as if he applied Isaiah 53 to the Messiah. When we read the original words of Rabbi Dessler we see that he said nothing of the sort. Rabbi Dessler is not talking about Isaiah 53 or about the Messiah in the essay that Shapira quotes. The entire quote, barring one half of one irrelevant phrase, is simply a figment of his imagination.

On page 106 Shapira presents a list of comments on Isaiah 53 following an introductory statement (on page 105) in which he states that the idea of a Messiah that is more than human is “not foreign to Jewish thought”. Amongst the list of commentators he quotes Rabbi Laniado, the author of “Kli Paz”. The words that Shapira presents in his name are nowhere to be found in his writings. In his comments to Isaiah 11, Rabbi Laniado actually states the opposite of what Shapira is trying to prove and he does so with force and clarity. He prefaces his own comments with a firm statement of faith that no prophet, not even the Messiah, can exceed Moses in the realm of prophecy. It is clear that Rabbi Laniado believed that the Messiah will be a human and no more. And it is also clear that Rabbi Laniado saw the concept of attributing divinity to the Messiah as something foreign to Judaism.

On page 108 presents a quote from Nachmanides. He tells us that this quote is found in Igeret Teiman. The fact is that Nachmanides did not write Igeret Teiman but rather this quote is found in the Ramban’s postscript to his debate with Pablo Christiani. To quote Nachmanides to prove the alleged divinity of the Messiah is the height of audacity. The entire purpose of the essay from which this quote is taken is to refute the very notion that Shapira is trying to establish.

On page 110 Shapira quotes Boyarin in order to establish that the one like the son of man of Daniel 7:13 is the Messiah. What Shapira failed to tell his readers is that Boyarin recognizes that the editor of the book of Daniel did not believe that the son of man is Messiah; he believed it was the people of Israel as is evident by the explanation that is appended to the vision. Boyarin believes that the chapter in Daniel was written by two different authors; a theory that Shapira does not subscribe to.

On page 114 Shapira attributes the usage of “gezera shava” to Metzudat Tziyon. This demonstrates Shapira’s complete lack of familiarity with either the term “gezera shava” or the Metzudat Tziyon or both. The Metzudat Tziyon is a commentary on Scripture on the most basic level. The comments of the Metzudat Tziyon are limited to the direct meaning of words. Metzudat Tziyon often supports his rendition of a given word by quoting another passage in Scripture in which this same word or a grammatical derivative of this word is used. But this has nothing to do with rabbinical “gezera shava” which points to similar words, not to determine their literal meaning, but to create a conceptual connection between the two passages. The commentary of Metzudat Tziyon never engages in this style of Scriptural analysis. It seems that this simple piece of knowledge, one that school-children are familiar with, is beyond the grasp of Itzhak Shapira.

On page 119 Shapira recaps his arguments concerning Daniel 7:13. As with his comments on Isaiah 53, his arguments here are full of holes.

His first argument is that Daniel Boyarin among many other Jewish scholars identifies Daniel 7:13-14 to be speaking of the Messiah. It is interesting to note that Shapira highlights Boyarin from amongst the scholars who comment on this passage. Boyarin actually recognizes that in its present format the book of Daniel identifies the figure from 7:13 as the people of Israel. It is just that Boyarin contends that the original phraseology of verses 13 and 14 trace their origin back to a Canaanite influence (The Jewish Gospels, page 45). And it was that Canaanite influence that introduced the concept of a “divine human” into the thought process of the Jewish people. But Boyarin recognizes that the editor of the book of Daniel believed that the figure in verse 13 is the people of Israel.

Shapira’s second and fifth argument (here too, he turns one argument into two) is that the service of the son of man is the type of service that is only directed toward God. He argues that while Isaiah 60:14 speaks of the various nations repenting of their mistreatment of Israel but it does not use the Hebrew word “avad” (service) to describe their attitude toward Israel. Shapira failed to notice that merely two verses earlier (Isaiah 60:12) the prophet does use the word “avad” to describe the Gentile submission toward Isarel. Shapira’ argument is simply built on his lack of knowledge of the Scriptures.

In his third argument Shapira makes an incredible error of translation. He translates the Aramaic word “asei” which means “come” as if it were the Hebrew word; “you”. Putting this error aside, his argument has no foundation. He argues that the son of man is presented as a singular entity therefore he must be an individual and not a nation. Shapira is ignoring the context of this verse which is part of a larger vision. In this vision great and mighty nations are represented by individual beasts. It only follows that Israel is also represented by an individual man.

On page 122 Shapira tells us that the sages of the Talmud expected either Messiah son of Joseph or Messiah son David to come but not both. This misunderstanding of the Talmud has no basis in fact. The Talmud clearly speaks of both of these rulers coming simultaneously (Succah 52b). When the rabbis of the Talmud spoke of two options for the appearance of the Messiah, they were referring to the Messiah son of David. If Israel will merit the Messiah will make enter on a glorious note and if Israel does not merit then he will enter on a subdued note. But both of these scenarios describe the son of David and not the son of Joseph.

On page 123 Shapira claims that the Targum Yerushalmi on Genesis 3:15 speaks of the piercing of Messiah in his heel. This is a lie as any reader of the Targum can readily see.

On page 123 Shapira claims that the Midrash associates Messiah with Genesis 3:15. The Midrash he quotes actually associates Genesis 4:25 with Messiah and not 3:15.

On page 123 Shapira claims that the Ramad Vali identified Jesus as Messiah son of Joseph. The actual words that Rabbi Vali uses are “sod Moshiach” and the Ramchal (Rabbi Vali’s teacher) actually has an essay explaining the meaning of these words (Kin’at Hashem Tzev’ot pg. 104; Rabbi Freidlander edition). It is clear that these words do NOT mean that the man is literally Messiah son of Joseph. In any case Rabbi Vali himself makes his views on Jesus very clear (Sefer Halikutim Vol. 1 pg. 54) and it is obvious that he saw him as an opponent to God and Godliness.

On page 124 Shapira gives us a lengthy quote from Rabbi Moshe Alshich’s comment to Zechariah 12:10 ( – here Shapira does not claim to be quoting from the original text but from a missionary rendition). In the rendition that Shapira quotes the Jews “discover” that the one they have pierced is Messiah the son of Joseph. Furthermore, in this rendition of the Alshich, Messiah is described as the only one who can forgive sin and as such will be looked upon by the people of Israel.

These Christological details are not present in the original words of the Alshich. According to the Alshich Israel does not “discover” Messiah son of Joseph, neither do they look to him as the only one who can forgive sin. Israel knows and loves Messiah son of Joseph and they look to God as the only one who can forgive sin. If Shapira is the Hebrew expert he makes himself out to be he could have easily checked the original source and he would have avoided this misquotation.

On page 128 Shapira informs us that according to the “traditional Jewish understanding” Zechariah 13:7 refers directly to the suffering Messiah. In parenthesis Shapira refers to Radak and Ibn Ezra. A few lines later on the same page Shapira boldly asserts that Radak cites Ibn Ezra to suggest that this passage (Zechariah 13:7) speaks of the suffering Messiah.

Actually Radak and Ibn Ezra say nothing of the sort. They both say that this passage refers to the destruction of gentile kings that will take place in the time of Messiah son of Joseph. Neither of these traditional commentators say that the prophet is referring to the suffering Messiah in Zechariah 13:7.

On pages 129 and 130 Shapira associates both a paragraph from the Talmud and a prayer from the Yom Kippur liturgy with Messiah son of Joseph when in fact both of these refer to Messiah son of David.

On page 130 Shapira tells us that he “stumbled across” a “rare” Polish Yom Kippur Machzor (liturgy text) of which he provides a photocopy. The quotation that he presents from the Machzor is one that every novice missionary knows so there would be no need for Shapira to “stumble across” it. This is not a “rare” prayer but one that appears in almost every Ashkenazic Machzor. In his excitement to present this prayer Shapira mistranslated the text. In the Hebrew text the prayer is addressed to God while in Shapira’s version the prayer opens with the words; “turn to us, Messiah”. A child who is familiar with Hebrew can confirm that Shapira’s translation is in error.

On page 139 Shapira gets confused with his own translation. He quotes the Talmud which contrasts two verses in Isaiah (Isaiah 24:23 and 30:26). The Talmud explains that the former refers to the world to come while the latter refers to the days of the Messiah. Shapira then tells us that the Talmud equated the reign of the Lord of hosts (mentioned in 24:23) with the reign of the Messiah when in fact it was the verse from chapter 30 that the Talmud associated with the Messiah and not the passage from chapter 24.

On page 145 Shapira speaks of Isaiah 9:5. He tells us that some of the Jewish commentators who explained this verse as a reference to King Hezekiah did so “due to the fear that this verse will actually speak of the Messiah as rabbi Ginzburg believes, various Jewish thinkers came up with twisted thoughts that minimize the simplicity and the beauty of the textual meaning of the text. Shapira goes on to tell us that these scholars were motivated by a “desperate attempt to hide the true meaning…”

What Shapira fails to tell his audience is that there is an overwhelming weight of textual and contextual evidence that this verse refers to King Hezekiah. Many Christian scholars acknowledge this truth (https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/thomas-on-isaiah-95-6/ ). Yet Shapira cannot think of any reason to attribute this verse to King Hezekiah other than a twisted bias against Jesus.

On page 146 Shapira lists Rabbi Elijah of Vilna as one of those who understood Isaiah 9:5-6 to be a reference to the Messiah. This is simply false. Twice in his comments on Isaiah 9:1-6 does Rabbi Elijah tell us that this prophecy refers to Hezekiah.

On page 149 Shapira makes the statement that the Bible never refers to a human being as “elyon” (uppermost). This is simply false as Deuteronomy 26:19 and 28:1 both have this term apply to Israel. The verse that Shapira is discussing (Psalm 89:28) is clearly talking about the human David since it refers to his children sinning and to the devastation of his kingdom (verses 31 and 39).

On page 150 Shapira argues that the Messiah must be divine because the prophet predicts that Israel will serve him. What Shapira fails to tell his readers is that the prophet also speaks of service of the people of Israel with the exact same words that are used to speak of service of the Messiah (2Chronicles 35:3). Since Shapira acknowledges that Israel is not divine he must recognize that his “proof” from the words of the prophet is wrong.

On page 158 Shapira claims that the Ibn Ezra calls the Messiah by God’s name. Here we are dealing with a commentary on Scripture; the realm of the missionary’s supposed expertise. But Shapira couldn’t be more wrong. He completely misunderstood the Ibn Ezra. In his comment to Psalm 2:6 the Ibn Ezra explains that the Messiah is the king that God anoints. He then comments on Zechariah 14:17 to illustrate how the Messiah is described as “God’s king” in the sense of the king that God established on earth. Ibn Ezra concludes his comment by saying that if this (the king of Zechariah 14:17) were to be a reference to God then the prefix of the word “l’melech” would be vowelized differently. It is not as Shapira would have it that the Ibn Ezra read Scripture as if it called the Messiah by God’s name. Instead the Ibn Ezra tells us that the Scriptures speak of the Messiah as the king that God anoints.

Still on page 158 Shapira goes on to make yet another mistake. He quotes Maimonides’ prayer that refers to the Messiah with the expression “yeshu’ot meshicho” (-the salvation of his anointed one). The fact that Maimonides calls the Messiah a king after he just declared that God is the only king tells Shapira that Maimonides believed in a divine messiah. Without getting into the faulty logic of Shapira’s assertion it seems that Shapira is unaware that Maimonides drew his phraseology directly from Scripture (2Samuel 22:51; Psalm 18:51). These passages speak of David himself who was the king that God anointed and was not divine even according to Shapira. The conclusion that Shapira arrived at on the basis of this phrase (“yeshu’ot meshicho”) is completely without foundation.

On page 163 Shapira associates the Talmudic discussion about the possibility of Torah being forgotten with the Messianic era. In fact this Talmudic discussion is not referring to the Messianic era but to the era of exile when some say that the Torah will be forgotten due to the trials and tribulations of Israel’s suffering.

On page 164 Shapira claims that Maimonides contradicts his own principles of faith when he tells us that the Rabbinically instituted fasts will be nullified in the messianic era. What Shapira fails to understand is that when Maimonides spoke of the eternal and unbreakable nature of the Torah he was not referring to those laws instituted by the rabbis. He was only referring to the laws that God gave us through Moses.

On page 168 Shapira demonstrates his lack of familiarity with the Targum. He translates the ubiquitous Targumic phrase “min kadam” as “from the beginning” when in fact it means “from in front of”. This phrase is so pervasive that it even appears in the popular “rabbis kaddish” prayer recited in synagogues all over the world. Yet Shapira doesn’t know what the phrase means. In any case Shapira contradicts himself on this matter. On page 166 Shapira’s mistranslation of the Targum on Isaiah 9:5 gives him a deep messianic “secret” but on page 145 he complains that the Targum does not see this verse as a Messianic prophecy.

On that same page Shapira presents the Targumic rendering of the Hebrew phrase “Avi Ad” as “The Messiah”. In a footnote he presents the original Armaic term as “almaya meshicha”. Here again Shapira demonstrates his inability to read the Targum. The word “almaya” is the last word in the previous phrase while the word “meshicha” is the first word of the next phrase. It is only the word “almaya” which is associated with the Hebrew words “Avi Ad” and not the word “meshicha” (anointed one or Messiah). Shapira simply missed a crucial comma in the reading of the Targum.

On page 173 Shapira presents us with two conflicting translations of the same piece of rabbinic literature. He first tells us that Rabbi Pinchos of Koritz taught the Messiah was created “in essence” before the creation of the world. But further on he tells us that it was “the purpose” of the Messiah that was created before the creation of the world. Needless to say it is his second translation that is correct.

On page 175 Shapira quotes Rashi to the effect that the Messiah will be rejected. But upon reading Rashi’s comment (Micah 5:1) it is obvious that he is not speaking about a rejection of the Messiah but to a rejection of the house of David on account of his questionable ancestry that is rooted in Ruth the Moabite.

On page 176 Shapira insists that the Hebrew word “mimenu” refers to a singular entity and it should therefore be translated as; “from him” and not; “from them”. On the basis of this argument he would have the word “mimenu” in Zechariah 10:4 refer back to Micah 5:1. His entire premise is demonstrably false as the word “mimenu” appears many times in Scripture in reference to a plural entity (e.g. Numbers 21:1; 31:2; Deuteronomy 2:36).

On page 177 Shapira presents the Malbim’s comments to Zechariah 10:4 as if the Malbim believed that the king and the high priest were one and the same person. It is obvious from Malbim’s comment that he understood that they are two separate people.

On page 180 Shapira presents Genesis Rabba 98:9 as if it said that the Gentiles will receive the Messiah before the people of Israel. In fact the Midrash says that in the Messianic era Israel will stand on such a high spiritual level that they will not need the teaching of the Messiah. The Midrash says nothing about the Gentiles receiving him “first”.

On page 184 Shapira claims that Isaiah 51:4 teaches that the light of God will first be revealed to the Gentiles. This concept is nowhere to be found in that verse. In fact merely a few verses later (Isaiah 51:7) the prophet identifies Israel as a nation that already possesses the teaching of God in their hearts and this long before the Gentile nations merit to see the light.

On page 186 Shapira presents the Midrash (Genesis Rabba 1:6) as if it teaches that the Messiah descends to hell and rises to heaven at the same time. This teaching is a figment of Shapira’s imagination. It is not found in that Midrash or in any Midrash for that matter.

On page 191 Shapira presents a translation of Metzudat David. In this translation he mistranslates a verse from the Bible. Shapira renders Joel 2:2 as if it said “as blackness spread upon the mountains” when in fact it says “as dawn spread upon the mountains”.

On page 204 Shapira tells us that the Maharal “clearly expected” the Messiah “to be divine”. He bases this on a quotation from the 41st chapter of Mahral’s book “Netzach Yisrael”. But the Maharal makes it clear beyond a doubt that he never believed that the Messiah is to be divine (see for example chapter 62 of that same book).

On page 209 Shapira presents us with a translation from the Zohar. His translation is riddled with so many errors that it is difficult to count them. But we will present one glaring error from his analysis of this passage from the Zohar. According to Shapira the Zohar mentions “three faces”. This is wrong. The Zohar mentions three spirits but just mentions “all faces” without attributing any number to the faces. It is clear from the words of the Zohar that the faces and the spirits are completely different entities.

On page 215 Shapira presents us with a fantastic rendition of the Targum. He claims that the Targum on Deuteronomy 18:15,18 speaks of a supernatural origin for the Messiah. His reading of the Targum is completely erroneous. The Targum speaks of a prophet that is compared to Moses by virtue of sharing the same holy spirit that inspired Moses. The Targum says nothing about the origin of the Messiah or of anyone else for that matter.

On page 216 Shapira quotes the Radak’s comments to Micah 5:1 in his effort to establish the concept of a divine Messiah. In that very same comment the Radak directly addresses and refutes the Christian claims on this subject. Shapira ignores the Radak’s own words and exploits a half a phrase of his commentary for his own idolatrous purposes.

On the same page Shapira quotes the Targum to Micah 5:1 to the effect that the origin of the Messiah is from before creation. Shapira conveniently ignores the fact that the Targum emphasizes that it is the name of the Messiah that is from before creation and not his physical existence.

From page 227 through page 236 Shapira deals with the prayer found in the Rosh Hashana liturgy which mentions Yeshua. Shapira addresses some of my remarks on this subject (from a personal correspondence) and he concludes that my understanding of this text is not supported by professor Liebes or by any of the Jewish writings. The complete article of professor Liebes actually confirms my understanding that the reference here is to a being that is less than divine. Liebes actually advances the theory that this prayer originates with the early Christians who did not believe in a divine Messiah, a theory that undermines the very faith that Shapira is trying to support. Yet Shapira does not hesitate to quote those elements from Liebes articles that he feels advance his cause while suppressing the elements that openly refute his entire thesis.

On page 236 Shapira presents us with his interpretation of Isaiah 63:9. In this passage the prophet describes God’s affection for the Jewish people. God Himself is afflicted with their suffering (as in Zechariah 2:12) and the messenger of His face saved them. The prophet continues with the words; “with His love and with His compassion He redeemed them; He lifted them and bore them all the days of the world.” Shapira claims that “according to the Hebrew language rules” the four verbs (love, compassion, lifted and bore) “reflect contiguity between the subject and the verb.” On the basis of this “language rule” Shapira concludes that the prophet is describing the love and compassion of the messenger and not the love of God.

The problem is that there is no such “language rule.” It is purely a figment of Shapira’s imagination. Just to illustrate the absurdity of Shapira’s “language rule” let us apply it to Isaiah 44:12 which speaks of the toil of the one who creates an idol. “The ironsmith makes an adze; he works with charcoal and fashions it with hammers. He works on it with his strong arm though he is hungry and without strength, though he drinks no water and grows faint.” According to Shapira’s “language rule”, since the “hammers” are introduced with the Hebrew letter “vav” then according to Shapira we should apply all the verbs that follow directly to the hammers. That is to say that it is the hammer that works with “his strong arm”, it is the hammer that gets hungry and weak, and it is the hammer that thirsts and grows faint.

So much for Shapira’s “language rule.”

On page 238 Shapira claims that the Ramban interpreted Isaiah 63:12 as a reference to the Messiah. This is patently false. What the Ramban is saying is that the same mighty arm that God applied in the time of Moses will be also applied in the time of the Messiah. The Ramban did not say that Isaiah 63:12 speaks of the Messiah.

On that same page (238) Shapira goes on to attribute his lies to the comments of Rashi on Isaiah 63:9. Shapira tells us that Rashi explains that the words “he was afflicted” speak about the angel Michael. Fact is that Rashi translates the verse in a way that the phrase; “he was afflicted”, does not even appear in the verse.

On page 246 Shapira claims that Rabbi Yekutiel Weiss applies Hosea 11:1 to the Messiah in his book “D’veash V’chalav”. Upon examining Rabbi Weiss’s book it becomes clear that Shapira conflated two different thoughts and Rabbi Weiss makes no such application.

On page 247 Shapira claims that Luzzato applies Hosea 11:1 to the Messiah in his book “Article of Redemption”. The funny thing is that this verse does not appear at all in Luzzato’s Article of Redemption. This quote is simply another figment of Shapira’s imagination.

On page 250 Shapira makes the argument that since the Alsheich identifies the Messiah as a “na’ar” (youth) this then equates the Messiah with the angel Metatron who is also called “na’ar”. This argument is ridiculous. The term “na’ar” describes any youth and the term “na’ar” appears countless times in the vast body of rabbinic literature. It is obvious that there is no basis to jump to the conclusion that every time the word na’ar appears the intention is to describe the angel Metatron.

On page 252 Shapira claims that the Sh’la referred to the angel Metatron as “son”. This is false. The Sh’la clearly distinguishes the angel Metatron from the entity called “son” (Torah Shebichtav; Parshat Chayei Sarah).

On page 255 Shapira misquotes the Zohar. According to Shapira the Zohar is saying that the angel Metatron was not created, when in fact the Zohar does not say this about the angel Metatron (or any angel for that matter).

On page 261 Shapira claims that the Zohar teaches that the Messiah is to be born from a virgin. There is no such teaching in the Zohar.

Conclusion

Shapira and his defenders have already begun to generate fantastic theories to explain away the mistakes that plague his book. This does not surprise me. A religious community that can defend and justify Matthew can defend anyone.

I believe that each and every human being is created in the image of God. This means that no matter how many sophisticated arguments are presented to establish a falsehood the breath of God in our nostrils will not be satisfied with a lie.

Shapira has done humanity a great service. He made it that much easier to see through the sham erected by the followers of Matthew. Even people who cannot read Hebrew and cannot study the original words that Shapira has mangled in his presentation will see through this farce. Just step back and look at the map of Shapira’s thesis. He begins with the argument that 1st and 2nd century Judaism accepted the concept of a divine Messiah. And it is only due to the Rambam’s sharp and violent reaction to Christianity that turned Judaism into the monotheistic religion that it is (page 35). Yet the overwhelming majority of Shapira’s “sources” for the concept of a divine Messiah postdate the Rambam.

Shapira himself identifies the Ramban as one who “strongly rejected the idea of a divine Messiah” (page 54). Yet his book is full of quotations from the same Ramban in his effort to “prove” that the rabbis believed in a divine Messiah (pages 108, 148,201, 238). Even the Rambam himself, the arch-villain of Shapira’s opening remarks, is eventually quoted by Shapira as a rabbinic “source” for the concept of a divine Messiah (page 158).

How could anyone take this man seriously?

Yet here we have Daniel Nessim; Executive Director of Chosen People Ministries (UK), leader of Messianic Congregation Beth Sar Shalom, and a trustee of the British Messianic Jewish Alliance, assuring us that “Messianic Judaism has never before produced such an extended, thoroughly researched case for Messiah Yeshua.” Or take Paige Patterson; President of South West Baptist Theological Seminary, describing Shapira’s book as “one of the “most interesting and learned tomes that I have ever read.”

A man who maligns the teachers of Israel with the claim that they “have elected to go against the words of the Torah itself and the Prophets” (page 47) is described by Russell Resnik; Executive Director of the Union of Messianic Congregations, as a man who “honors the people and traditions of Israel” (page ix).

What does this tell us about these leaders? What does it tell us about the religious and intellectual culture that can honor such crude ignorance as if it were the height of sophisticated erudition? And what does it tell us about the spiritual foundations of this culture?

Perhaps it is time to reconsider the clever arguments that have been presented to defend Matthew’s blunders? Perhaps it is time to reexamine Matthew’s character assassination of Judaism and her teachers? If acceptance of Matthew can lead to admiration of Shapira then perhaps it is time to reassess that original acceptance?

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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292 Responses to The School of Matthew

  1. Blasater says:

    R’ Blumenthal– Kol Hakavod for unraveling “the piggy book”, as my friend Yohan calls it. Another “BIG” assertion by Shapira, when confronted regarding his work, is that he is using proper Pardes. Did you see any evidence what so ever that this book was written using sound Jewish Pardes? (I’m certain this is somewhat of a rhetorical question)
    Toda!

    Blasater

  2. I thought Moshiach bar Yosef and Moshiach bar Dovid are one in the same, yet you say ….. “On pages 129 and 130 Shapira associates both a paragraph from the Talmud and a prayer from the Yom Kippur liturgy with Messiah son of Joseph when in fact both of these refer to Messiah son of David.”

    • Annelise says:

      Offgrid, I think that the descendant of Joseph would be in a different tribe from the descendant of David, and so must be two different people even from the start of the traditions.

  3. Annelise says:

    I had thought some of those things in Matthew (not including ch 23, though) could be fairly explained within the rabbinic model as long as the verses weren’t seen as proofs of anything but rather hints. I may be quite wrong though because I’ve studied even less rabbinic material than Shapira 🙂 Anyway, the things you’ve presented here are shocking. I knew that he was saying quite unfounded things like this, but the level of poor scholarship driven by horrendously false obsession isn’t good and it truly is strange that these leaders and teachers affirm it. I hope that people can have the gift of light to let go of the whole facade of unique truth lying there against the testimony of traditional, God-fearing, holiness-honouring Judaism. It should be a gentle reality hit because of the goodness and humble realities to find here.

    One note: I’ve heard Christians say (fairly, in my opinion) in the past that counter-missionaries can at times miss the point by saying that the “even according to you” approach is wrong to use when it contradicts an author’s broader viewpoint. In fact, I think that sometimes it is right to say “you are saying that X is a heretical idea when we use it to ‘prove’ Y, but in fact even people who do NOT believe in Y sometimes believe X nonetheless!” An example where this is appropriate would be when Orthodox Jews remind Christians that some of their own writers have also taught that the various kinds of offerings in the Torah will not be done away with in the future (even while those authors believe with the author of Hebrews that J’s death was necessary for atonement on a different level), or Christians remind Orthodox Jews that there are mainstream Jewish authorities and believers who have entertained the idea of the king appearing in the world twice, to be crowned the second time (even while acknowledging that those believers in Judaism do not think the king needs to be recognised before his reign).

    What Shapira seems to be doing much of the time with these kabbalistic works, though, is not at all the same. He is saying: “You say that Y is a heresy, but even these esteemed rabbis believed it!” when in fact in the context of their work you can see that their quotes are being twisted to say things that they meant to prove the opposite about. The same thing happens when people try to say the ancient concept of God’s word, wisdom, presence, or messengers proves an incarnation when in fact it comes to show how God interacts with creation closely *without* being part of it.

    People should know that a lot of great wisdom and closeness to God exists in the Jewish heritage and traditional texts, but you have got to take the time to learn them in the context of learning they were designed for. Even people who have spent their whole lives doing so often do not claim to have the level of expertise that Shapira has designated himself, according to this portrayal of his book (which I’m inclined to believe after conversations with him a while ago).

    • Annelise says:

      edits:
      “the gift of light to let go of the whole facade of THINKING THERE IS unique truth lying there”
      ““You say that X is a heresy, but even these esteemed rabbis believed it!”

  4. R’ Blumenthal was engaged with me in a long discussion (or interrogation since he never provided any answers) as I am the author of the book. In the course of the discussion he accused me of being anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish and much worse which is based on baseless hate. I will post detailed response to this slander to prove just how biased this review is and inaccurate and false. One can take anything out of context to manipulate anything and this is a classic example of that. I encourage all to read the book for yourself and not to base your opinion on this review. I have also challenged R’ Blumenthal to a public debate which he turned down. If one lives by hate towards Yeshua , all what he is going to see hate. May HaShem open the eyes of R’ Blumenthal for real Divine revelation of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua. A detailed response can be expected.

    • Dina says:

      Mr. Shapira,

      You wrote, “One can take anything out of context to manipulate anything.” Please look in the mirror, sir. Christians have been doing exactly that since Paul, so you are only the latest in a long line of Christians to manipulate texts to match your false theology.

      You also wrote, “If one lives by hate towards Yeshua , all what he is going to see hate [sic].” I find it astonishing that Christians expect us to love one in whose name we suffered the Crusades, Inquisition, and Holocaust. Not to mention forced ghettos, forced poverty (because all occupations except moneylending were forbidden), frequent massacres, public tortures and executions, book burnings, over seventy expulsions–come on, have you ever read a book of Jewish history? Who’s been hating whom, exactly? All the Jews ever wanted was to be left alone.

      With the bloody and hate-filled legacy you represent, you have no standing to lecture Rabbi Blumenthal on hate.

      Furthermore, Jews don’t live “by hate towards Yeshuah.” Jews are completely INDIFFERENT to Jesus and Christianity. The Jews in my immediate and extended circle of family and friends don’t give Christianity a second thought. Instead, we live our lives by love toward Hashem and His Torah. We focus on obeying Hashem and improving our character. We couldn’t care less about Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Joseph Smith, or any other religious leader–they are all the same to us. If we bear more antipathy to Christianity than to other religions it’s because we have suffered more at her hands than at the hands of any other.

      Rabbi Blumenthal has made it clear, for good reasons, that he is willing to debate anyone in writing. Why isn’t that good enough for you?

      May Hashem open your heart and mind to receiving His messages and give you the courage to follow through. I pray that you return to the God of your fathers.

      Peace and blessings,
      Dina

      • Dear Dina,

        Let me ask you a question. Here is hypothetical situation:

        Let us say that I walk during the Shabbat in a neighborhood and two Yeshiva students recognize me as Messianic and they hit me and kick me and curse at me. Does it mean that all Orthodox Judaism is bad? Should I go to the Rosh Yeshivah and accuse him of being a bad teacher because these two boys? Should I judge his entire Yeshiva Students? G-D FORBID NO! Sadly, you are making me Guilty by association without knowing anything about me. Let me try it again: I am a Jewish person who live a Torah Positive lifestyle among my people. I don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter and I keep Kosher. I was raised and still practice normative Judaism. I have NO CONNECTION to what you describe above , as I can say quite the opposite. Most of my family died in the S’hoah. I have no connection to Christianity except on being “Or-Lgoyim” (weekly Torah Show). So please don’t assume things out of ignorance.

        We all know the faults of Christianity and the pain it brought to our people. You can even read it in TROTKP, but somehow R’ Blumenthal failed to mention that. There is NOTHING about my faith that resemble Christians as they themselves discount the words of Yeshua (Matthe 5:17-20 as example). Should I blame Rabbi Yeshua? G-D Forbid no!

        HaShem gave us a choice ראה נתתי לפניך את הברכה והקללה….please don’t associate me with Christianity as you would be sinning against a person that you really know nothing about. I don’t associate those who send me the hate mail and want to kill me with all of Judaism either. We have Hebrew expression “Y’esh G’am V’Gam”, it is important for you to recognize that.

        Jewish people are very interested in Yeshua, again you claim that Judaism speak in “one voice” which is not. Many are interested and even more recognize the truth while continue to believe Torah positive lifestyle. You must make Havdalah between Christianity to Authentic Messianic Judaism. See for yourself below:

        2000 Years ago the question was “How can a Goy believe in this Jewish Messiah?” Sadly 2000 years later we ask “How can a Jew believe in the same person” as the Messiah. Make an Havdalah between Modern Christianity to the words of Yeshua and his Talmidim.

        Kol Toov,

        R’ Itzhak Shapira

        • Dina says:

          Mr. Shapira,

          I am having trouble opening this video. If you post the URL, I will be able to try it in a different browser.

          But I would like to make a point about your comment above. It matters not if you are a Jew, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim. If you misrepresent Judaism, as Rabbi Blumenthal has argued, then he and other Jews who see it that way have the right to publicly correct the perceptions in your book.

          You are correct that I should not make assumptions about you. Based on your defense of the belief in a divine Mashiach, I thought it reasonable to assume that you worship Jesus.

          Do you indeed worship Jesus? If the answer is yes, then you have cut yourself off from Am Yisrael. And it doesn’t matter if you live among us, keep Shabbat, wear a kippah, and go to Beit Haknesset.

          If the answer is no, then I believe you are a very confused individual.

          In your earlier comment to me, you wrote about Chabad. Anyone in Chabad who believes their Rebbe had divine status is indeed a kofer and all I can say is that

          ונכרתה הנפש ההיא

          applies to him as well. You may not be aware that the rest of Orthodox Judaism has placed Chabad outside the mainstream precisely because of their obsession with their Rebbe’s person.

          Best wishes,
          Dina

    • LarryB says:

      “I wouldn’t be so cynical. I believe that people are essentially good and they want to believe in the goodness and trustworthiness of other people. It is hard for people to accept that someone would be so irresponsible that they would mislead others in matters of faith. When a book is presented as a sophisticated piece of work people tend to believe that that is exactly what it is.”
      Yea, that really sounds like hate. Who would ever in their right mind accept a live debate when it so quickly has already become name calling.

    • Tsvi Jacobson says:

      Rabbit Shapira: Oh how I know you never having met you. When a young man I was shown proof texts from a KJB and was persuaded that my KJB (ahem so called Jewish bible) spoke of Jesus. Just like you. I was young and impressionable. Thank God that he took the blinders from my eyes and I could read the Tanach as a Jew seeing how far fetched Christian interpretation is. Hosea 11:1 Messiah ? no Israel…lt says so and as one reads it one knows that Hosea 11:2 proves it. Minor point I know. Just like all of your so called proof. Come back to us The money might not be good but a clean nephesh is better to have. Tsvi

  5. Yedidiah says:

    I studied in the “school of Matthew” and as a Christian, especially in my teen years, I decided that Matthew was my favorite gospel. Until I read page after page of hatred, slander, demons, a devil, “people thrown into fire”, or sent to eternal punishment in hell”, etc. That god was not the God that I knew, nor at times, anyone that I could follow. But I struggled through it, because somehow I thought it was the most “Jewish” of the gospels, therefore it was about the “real Jesus”. Many people believe the “real Jesus” is the one found in John’s gospel, but that Jesus didn’t speak to me either. So I became a cherry picking Christian and ignored the contradictions and the hypocrisy that I seen in the text. I still favored Matthew, but after more in-depth study on Jesus and about the NT text and Christian history, I seen that Matthew was not a very “Jewish” text nor much of a “Tanach/Torah observant” or compliant one, although much of it’s “witness” is selective quotes, mis-quotes, “types”, and stories from the Hebrew Bible. Little history and much allegory and “drash”. So to me, it does not seem reasonable that Matthew was writing to persuade a “Jewish” (unless some small group or cult) audience. He is not answering “Jewish objections to Jesus” (why should he try to convince Jews of Jesus’ “Jewishness”?), but like Paul, Matthew is a missionary and he seems to be answering the questions of non-Jewish audiences and trying to persuade them of his “Jesus”. Mark, Luke, John, & Paul are speaking about different Jesus’s. Persuasive writing should be clear and direct & Matthew (the one we have today) is not in several ways. Some Christian scholar recently wrote that “Gentile” Luke is more “Jewish” than Matthew. And Matthew was not influenced by later “rabbinic sources” as Shapira and Brown seem to be arguing. To quote “non-believing” rabbis as “proof” or as if they were Christians is quite absurd. In my own studies of Jesus, as a “believer” & follower, I found that instead of “Hebrew roots”, I most often discovered the Babylonian and Greek-Roman ones. I am even having to give up on believing that “my beloved” James and “Peter’s” writings are not Jewish texts, but instead are Greek or Hellenistic ones. BTW, calling Jesus, Yeshua does not alter the theology that is found in the NT text (or Brit Chadasha text).

    • Yedidiah says:

      I don’t believe Rabbi B “hates” Jesus, he just loves HaShem more than a man who some people claimed to be a god. What is so wrong with loving & worshipping the “original” God? To simple folk, a manifestation, like all idols, may be necessary to have faith. But what is so wrong with HaShem saying that he was not a man? Why did he warn people against idolatry; the spiritual “manifested”, “incarnated” in a physical entity? Why obey some teaching of some ungodly, disgusting “drinking of human or god blood” and eating of “god-human” flesh? Does God wants us to “love” that teaching? Not hate, but pity is more likely commanded. Or at least, “stay away, far, far away from those archetypical pagan man-god preaching”.

  6. eli says:

    Shapira, you have been exposed. No one hates you or Jesus or attacks you. You are the biggest dramatic victim along with all of the others like you. The proof is in the pudding. You distort, you twist and lie. You lie. You are not a Rabbi. This is not your title of expertise, yet you pass this off and prey on people’s ignorance. Sit there and say no one has told you anything. The book is garbage. There is no truth to it. It is meaningless.Your claims are all mistranslated, random unrelated pseudo explanations, you dance around the facts and try to distract. No. Enough. Humbly go away and that’s it. Live your life. You are not a rabbi. You are not even Jewish anymore. You are an evangelical Christian. Every one is tired of your excuses. How you can still show your face is chutzpah. You are an insult. You cannot prove anything other than you are a deceiver who cries wolf and plays victim. Shame on you for taking advantage of the ignorant.

    • Dina says:

      Eli, please don’t tell Shapira to go away. He has promised a detailed response, and I am curious to see how he defends himself.

      I must also point out that once a Jew, always a Jew. Don’t you want this man to come back? How else other than to engage with him?

      The hope for repentance and salvation is not withheld from anyone. Our Sages taught, “Even if a sharpened sword is laid upon a man’s neck, he should not despair of God’s mercy.”

      All the best,
      Dina

      • Thanks Dina,
        The response will arrive as I will expose the truth about the integrity of R’ Blumenthal and the rest of Jews4Judaism . You are welcome to visit us at http://www.facebook.com/ahavat.ammi to see just how deceptive J4JUDAISM are. Here is an example : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LsHfsKutBQ

        I stand behind my book and will answer those false claims as G-D gives me time.

        BTW, I have no desire to return to Eli’s brand of Judaism as Moses very little to do with their Judaism. Eli does not know me and you can read above the demonic spirit from his words. Are those the keepers of our Torah? G-D Forbid. I live among my people in Israel and it is funny that those who DO NOT live in Israel, DO NOT serve in the IDF have the Chutzpah to talk in such a way. It is shameful. The Talmud teach that the 2nd Temple was destroyed because of S’inat Cheinam. The same hate that is filled in the hearts of some men today. I received Death Threats, today a person who is R’ Eli Cohen friend wrote me that he wants to burn down my book. What a short and sad and pathetic memory we have, just 60 years ago they used to burn our books……their Judaism is not Authentic and you are not the Keeper of Torat Moshe. Shame on you for speaking in such way (not Dina). I encourage you to look at the countless videos at http://www.kosherpig.org for yourself , read the Tanach and reach your own conclusions. May G-D bless you in all good things from above. Ask yourself a single question, if the book is so poor as they claim why would they spend Day and night the last 45 days to attack it NON-STOP? אמת מארץ תצמח R’ Shapira

        • Dina says:

          Mr. Shapira, I object to the aspersion you cast on the integrity of Rabbi Blumenthal. I happen to know him. He is my rabbi. And he is one of the kindest and most honest people you could ever hope to meet.

          You say you will write a response if God gives you time. If you are a sincere truth seeker, you must take the time. In the spirit of truth, I look forward to reading it.

          What Eli said to you in anger was out of place, but you should know better than to lump that reaction with all Jews. In fact, you should know better than to assume that Eli is demonic based on this one interaction. Demonic is a strong word. If Eli is demonic, what was Hitler? Also, one deed does not make up a whole person. If that were the case, there would be no good people. Eli misspoke, but for all you or I know, he could in general be a loving and devoted husband and father, a generous neighbor, an active and contributing member of his community. Your judgment of him is harsh and unfair.

          If you worship Jesus, sir, then you are certainly not the keeper of Torat Moshe. You do not live among your people, since you have willingly cut yourself off from your people. It gives me no joy to say this. I feel a great sorrow for you and for those like you whose descendants, in just a few generations, will no longer identify as Jews.

          Emet me’eretz titzmach indeed. May the atmosphere of the Holy Land penetrate your soul and open your eyes to the truth. Come back to your true family!

          Dina

          • Dina says:

            Mr. Shapira, it is now the next morning and I have more words for you.

            I think it would be fair to say that a wish dear to your heart and the hearts of people like you and Michael Brown is for all the Jews, every single last one, to follow Jesus.

            Please take a moment to think about the consequence of what you are advocating.

            Since the birth of Christianity, individual Jews have joined the followers of Jesus. What happened to them? Where are their descendants? The answer, of course, as you surely know, is that they assimilated and became absorbed into the general population. Famous converts to Christianity like Pablo Cristiani, Nicholas Donin, and Heinrich Heine have no Jewish descendants today.

            If the entire nation of Israel were to convert to Christianity, there would be no reason for them not to marry gentiles. After such a mass conversion, within three to five generations, all the Jews would be absorbed into the gentile population. The nation of Israel would cease to exist.

            You and Michael Brown and others are advocating the disappearance of Israel as a national entity, something our enemies have been trying to do since our inception.

            Can you contemplate that and not shudder? It quite takes my breath away.

            What must Hashem think of those who thus try to kidnap His firstborn son?

            I have more to say.

            You wrote, “Ask yourself a single question, if the book is so poor as they claim why would they spend Day [sic] and night the last 45 days to attack it NON-STOP?”

            This reminds of the story of the boy who killed his parents and asked the judge for mercy because he was now an orphan.

            Please realize that you took a lot of time–I would imagine longer than 45 days–to write a book attacking Judaism and its leaders. If Christianity is so strong, why take so much time and effort to attack a tiny group of people who practice a different religion? Can you answer your own question?

            A handful of Jews (the vast majority, as I’ve already shown, remain indifferent) have responded in defense.

            It pains me to see the lack of self-awareness on the part of Christians who mount an offense against Judaism and then act miffed when Jews react in defense. The pattern is always the same: first the Christian attacks, then the Jew defends.

            Never, never, never have Jews initiated an offense against Christianity. Remember, all Jews have ever wanted was to be left alone. Had you left off attacking us, you would not now be enduring a counterattack.

            The operative word is “counterattack.” In the beginning, there was the missionary. Then and only then was there the countermissionary.

            Mr. Shapira, I hope you will read all my words carefully. I pray that you take some time to do some honest and courageous introspection. Oh, and how I pray that God lead you back home.

            With much sadness,
            Dina

          • LarryB says:

            I’m sure he will respond, he said he would 5 times in two posts. I just hope its before they burn down his book, and he has no place to write. lol

        • Annelise says:

          Hi Itzhak,
          I’d really like to share with you something I feel about the issue, person to person. There’s a Jewish proverb saying a gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. Maybe you feel like the traditional Jews you’ve spoken to are ignoring this advice and speaking to you with harshness and anger. My personal observation, just from my own experience, is that it isn’t about you, they aren’t attacking you as a person…as hard as it is to feel slandered on the Internet and need to defend your work, I hope you don’t need to engage with it emotionally or to protect your honour. In my view, we are speaking not about you (most of us haven’t even met you) but about your words. Our experience of thet love of our maker, and the blessing of the Jewish heritage, makes us think you have been taken captive by a lie about Hashem. And so we speak with sharpness to just stop this, but it isn’t about you personally…it’s about taking this very detailed book as an example of great misrepresentation of Judaism that sweeps up many people into limitations and loss. So I hope that you don’t feel like you have to answer the bombardment of words and emotions about such things. Personally I think you need to humbly take serious account of these things (I used to follow J so I don’t say that lightly), but in terms of the Internet I hope you can see that we aren’t talking about you, just about these ideas and methods…don’t feel caught up in it personally. Another Jewish proverb says to treat wisdom as a treasure, and it is that which makes us speak so forcefully as we do…not hating the light and holiness of God’s way with Israel and the world, but thankful for the grace and gift of it; we’re just guarding the Torah. May you be blessed also in that gift, thank God for it.

        • Mr. Shapira, once again instead of responding to clear objections to your mistranslations and misquotes, you feel the need to lash out in anger and rage, in attempts to demonize and discredit anyone who challenges your claims. Why this anger? Why are you so sensitive to anyone disagreeing or challenging your views? Instead, how about you explain yourself–please respond to R’ Blumenthal’s review, if you have anything of value to say for yourself. This doesn’t take long at all. You can try doing one objection per day or per week even. Let go of the anger, the rage, the bitterness, the spirit of hatred and insults. Try to dialogue with people, and humble yourself a bit, and try to learn a thing or two.

      • Dina says:

        Eli, it may be out of line for me to say this–and if so I ask Rabbi Blumenthal’s pardon–but it seems to me you have crossed the line from civil discourse to personal attack, which violates the rules for this blog.

        I quote from the Comment Policy:

        “Comments are allowed on this blog because we believe that through civil respectful conversation we can all be lead closer to the truth. If you do not share this belief then please do not comment.”

        And

        “Please DO NOT attack other people commenting on the blog in a personal way.”

    • Tikvah says:

      If he’s a decendant of Avraham,he’s Jewish…

      • Not really, since the children of Jacob and their descendants are the children of Israel, which today are commonly known as the Jewish people, since mostly we come from the descendants of the southern kingdom of Judah.

    • Eliyah Lion says:

      Once Yehudi always Yehudi! Eli you should know that.

      Yisroel, interesting exchange if I remind you of those people it is your view. But to respond to your question concerning Isaiah 7. If you find the text crystal clear, good for you. But you certainly know that a prophecy applied for a context X can be applied also for another more ample context. Multiple layers of interpretation or even different interpretation are normal… For prophecy is like a big diamond that each person sees with his background and in a context.

      A light of perception might come out that give understanding to some of it, but the prophecy full meaning can only be understood by the Ruah Holy for She is the Author of all prophecies. Now you will consider that also inspired man of Eloah can be revealed an interpretation not yet known for it was hidden to a specific moment to be unsealed.

      Daniel is a perfect example of what I am saying. John also in the Apocalypse chapter 11 shows us what was impossible in his time when now with the technology it is possible. Here is the example:

      ”9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.”

      Here the question is how can peoples, tribes, tongues and nations will see their dead bodies in Yerushala’im if the television was not yet invented in the time of John??

      P.S.: That should question you also to the power of the Christian Scriptures and may be you should consider that you might have been mislead by rejecting them as not being dabarim elohim.

      • Eliyahu According to your template anyone can say any interpretation in the Scriptures and claim to be inspired by a ruach and threaten dire warnings for anyone who refuses to heed his words – according to you what standard do we have by which to measure a claim for prophecy?

  7. scipman says:

    Mr. Shapira,
    I personally know Rabbi Blumenthal and have been studying with him weekly for many years. Rabbi Blumenthal is a kind and truthful individual whose integrity is beyond reproach. He is the most knowledgeable person I know when it come to all aspects of Judaism. The Rabbi has presented questions relative to your book with detailed analysis and references. I look forward to your timely answers to the questions and analysis Rabbi Blumenthal has posed.

  8. Rambamist says:

    Its funny that Mr. Itzhak Shapria would be so angry toward either Rabbi Eli Cohen or Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal for giving a criticism of the book, when Mr Shapira says in his book to check the sources and make up our own minds. I dont have to read the book to see that this will be a book of distortion after distortion. The reason I say that is because all I had to do is listen to one of your youtube videos concerning a question on Isaiah 9:5[6] where you quote the Sefer HaGe’ulah by the Ramban and then read the comments by Ramban to see how you conveniently do not fully quote the Ramban.

    You claimed int he Video that the Ramban commented that Isaiah 9:5 is applied to the messiah and thus proves that the messiah can be divine. What you conveniently left out and did not quote or read is the rest of that commentary where the Ramban clearly states that Isaiah 9:5 is about King Hezekiah who helped bring about a complete and total repentance to Israel. So you snipped this commentary by the Ramban and made it fit your Christological view of the biblical text in question! Then you say you “paraphrased” the Ramban for which you should have said “misrepresented!”

  9. Dear Dina,
    Thank you for your detailed response. Since you seem quite sincere I will take the time to break down my answer:

    1. The issue is not with writing a review about my book, but rather with the way a M’achloket was handled. Rabbi Blumenthal had no Musar in doing so and I will prove it to you. You can check these facts with him since he is your Rabbi. Place take the time to read my words carefully as I have done yours and understand it. The issue here is Musar and agenda.

    When the book was released, R’ Blumenthal wrote an article against my comments on Exodus 19:16, he plainly LIED in the article as I will prove upon answering his list with direct quotations. The troubling part is that he went and contacted another leader to send his concerns about MY BOOK to him to Act as “The Dividing Nachash”. He did not even had the Musar to address me correctly or to reach out to me!.. He try to discredit me in front of another person and not even to speak to bring to me directly his objections. Is that your Torah? Is that Musar? If he really wanted a discussion he would have approached me which HE DID NOT. I don’t know if you understand how serious is what he has done as he violated the Torah that he claim to protect.

    2. During my discussion with R’ Blumenthal over 50 pages he brought allegations that are so far-fetched from the truth while refusing to answer any of my questions that it became clear that he is not seeking a real discussion but rather to discredit me and the book. He told me that I disrespected IBN-EZRA (False!) and misquoted the Gera (False Again) as the other person who was CC on it saw the entire discussion. I will expose it to the world soon to show just how deceptive and dishonest R’ Blumenthal is. He also told me that he does not want discussion as I asked him questions and he refused to answer. Thankfully it is all document and will be shown to the world. He has no integrity! I am sorry. A Rabbi in teacher in Israel does not speak what he did. I am not obsessed as R’ Blumenthal in trying to destroy and shame others but he leave me with no choice as he crossed the lines.

    3. R’ Eli Cohen who did not read the book at this time (I have it in writing in his own words) posted Fake Reviews about the book and promoted FAKE REVIEWS on Facebook which I will gladly prove to you while calling me names like Schizophrenic. Is that a way that a Rabbi and a teacher to speak? The things that came out of his mouth are shameful to anybody who love the Torah of Moses. You are correct I don’t want to take part of this type of Judaism that has no Derech Eretz or Musar. I encourage you to google Eli’s friend Menashe Walsh blog or read his fake reviews on Amazon and blog. Is the Torah claims that it is ok to lie?

    4. You claim above that “We are on the attack”, well we are not. I would gladly had a nice open civil discussion about ANYTHING with R’ Blumenthal but when people send me Death Threats, want to burn down my book and resort to name calling against me and my family there is really nothing to talk about. I challenged R’ Bluemnthal to a verbal debate because Hebrew is my first language and he keep on saying that I mistranslated words which I did not.I am not as strong nor I have time to type long English Messages.

    5. TROTKP can be a lot of things, but there is one thing that it is not: It is not a book of Hate against CHAZAL or the Jewish people. I can assure you of that. It is a book that upheld our people and Rabbis in the highest standards. You need to understand that I live and grew up among the Orthodox in Israel and it does not matter what anybody else says or call me. I am Jewish/Israeli who lived among my people. If I am a Kofer then most of Chassidic Judaism who believer in the Rebbe as the Messiah are just as much as Kofrim.Have you actually read the book that you think that it is against our people? It is not. Thanks G-D that hundreds of our people are greatly moved and touched by the book. Read it for yourself before siding with your Rabbi.

    I wish you all good things from Above,

    R’ Shapira

    • Dina says:

      Mr. Shapira,

      I’d like to thank you for reading what I wrote and taking the time to respond. That was kind of you.

      In this comment I will not try to refute your points. I want to talk about something else, and it is this:

      Your lack of self-awareness is so evident it’s painful to watch. I mean no disrespect when I say this.

      In this latest comment of yours you have engaged in personal attacks against Rabbi Blumenthal and Rabbi Cohen. I don’t know you and I don’t know Rabbi Cohen. But I do know Rabbi Blumenthal and I do know that he is not guilty as charged. Therefore, when you call him a liar and dishonest and not interested in truth, you damage your own credibility in my eyes.

      Also, whether it’s fair or not, when you engage in ad hominem attacks, you are perceived as the one who lost the argument. In fact, I have been following Rabbi Blumenthal’s blog and I read his review of your book. And I know what my eyes have seen and what they have not seen.

      My eyes have seen Rabbi Blumenthal, with cool self-restraint and impeccable logic, take apart your arguments. He did not expect his readers to take his word for it but provided evidence. In other words, he didn’t just say “Shapira mistranslated this or quoted this out of context.” He provided the sources, your translation or misquotation, and then his translation or correct interpretation.

      My eyes have not seen Rabbi Blumenthal calling you names or attacking you personally. He gave your book a critical and scholarly review. He labeled only your actions, not your person.

      Look, sir, I checked out the youtube video you linked to one of your earlier comments. You wanted me to see it and decide for myself. I watched five minutes, because that was all I could stomach of you shouting at Julius Ciss, interrupting him, not letting him speak, and making contemptuous faces at him.

      זה לא היה יפה מצידך. לא דברת איתו באופן מכובד

      I am stunned that you thought this video would bolster your credibility with me. It in fact accomplished the opposite of what you had hoped.

      Regarding who attacked whom first–I can only suggest you study Jewish history. I can recommend a few good books, and some of them might even be available in Hebrew. You will then see how the Jews tried to mind their own business for the last two millennia but were constantly interrupted and harassed by Christians (an understatement if there ever was one). This pattern continues to the present day. As a wise old Jew once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

      I have one plea for you. Mr. Shapira, אני מתחננת, I beg you to try to be honest with yourself. Consider the consequences–the grave and enormous and awful consequences–of your life’s work. And pray, pray, pray for clarity.

      The search for truth does not end until we draw our last breath. May our Father lead us by His light of truth and unite us all in love for Him and obedience to His laws.

      Peace and blessings,
      Dina

    • Tzahi
      1 – I wrote an article NOT when your book was released but when you spoke on the radio with Dr. Brown – here is the article – check it out https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/response-to-line-of-fire-14/
      It was in response to what you said together with what you wrote

      The “other leader” I contacted was Dr. Brown – who endorsed your book – I had every right to send him a list of reasons why he should not have done so

      2 – You did disrespect the Ibn Ezra – its in your book and you did misquote the Gra – that’s in the book too – I stand by what I wrote to you. Your questions were so out of context of the discussion – there was nothing to answer. YOU failed to give me the page numbers for references that you quoted in your book

      3 – I will let Rabbi Cohen take this one

      4 – You claim that you are “not” on the attack. Read your book again.

      5 – You “assure” us that your book is not a book of hate – Hey Tzahi – I didn’t accuse you of intellectual dishonesty – just plain ignorance – yet you describe my critique as “hate” – so what do you call consistent accusations of intellectual dishonesty?

      In short – Tzachi – you don’t realize the seriousness of your sin. Our people have been chosen to testify to the world that everyone and everything is subject to Hashem and to Him alone – you write a book trying to warp the testimony of our nation – and you want a “nice open civil discussion”?

      The door is always open for Teshuva – If you sit down and read what I wrote and are ready to repent of your sin – then we can have a “nice open civil discussion”. But if you stand by what you wrote in your book – then we will be discussing things in this format – it could still be civil – but it won’t be “nice” – you get what you asked for

      Your Pharisee friend
      Yisroel

      • R’ Blumenthal,

        Let me provide you brief answers as I am absolutely amazing by what you wrote above.

        1- As K’lal Musari , if you write against somebody or a book you should notify the author of the book. For instance, before writing TROTKP I contacted you and asked for permission to use one of your quotes as there is חוקי הגינות even in M’achloket. You were not fair in any way. Your issue is not with Dr. Brown but rather with the book (that is the bottom line) I have your very first email of concerns and I keep all the documentation from our discussions, it was not even addressed to me. You have tried to turn Michael Brown against the book like a Nachash without even contacting me. In addition, all of your concerns were with THE BOOK. Michael Brown is NOT the author of TROTKP but I am. If you had a concern and great offense you should have followed this principle of Musar from Torah : וְכִי יֶחֱטָא-לְךָ אָחִיךָ לֵךְ וְהוֹכַחְתָּ אוֹתוֹ בֵּינְךָ לְבֵינוֹ וְאִם-יִשְׁמַע אֵלֶיךָ קָנִיתָ לְּךָ אָחִיךָ׃(ויקרא יט’ יז’) 16 וְאִם-לֹא יִשְׁמַע וְלָקַחַתָּ עִמְּךָ עוֹד אֶחָד אוֹ שְׁנָיִם כִּי עַל-פִּי שְׁנַיִם אוֹ שְׁלֹשָׁה עֵדִים יָקוּם כָּל-דָּבָר׃ In addition, you have lied in the article as I will prove to the world. You put words in my mouth that I never said and I will call you on that. Is that your Musar R’ Blumenthal? Please address the point. If you wanted to write against the book or against me you should have at least approach me and not other people. This is deceptive and ugly behavior

        2. I have not disrespected Ibn Ezra and even Dr. Brown does not think so. In the case of the G’era you are wrong again as no misquote occured as I will prove to the world. I have given you most of what you asked for until you wrote me with ultimate Chutzpah “I am not interested in discussions or long answers, I want information so that I can write my arguments”. Your argumentations and deception R’ Blumenthal is based on fantasies . Only HaShem knows the hearts and if Ibn Ezra said ולא אוכל לפרש and he does NOT mention anything else you have the Chutpzah to tell me that I have disrespected him. You also failed to mention that in the same Perush Ibn Ezra call the other commentary פרוש חסר לב (Heartless commentary), Is he also disrespected fellow Rabbi? Why is it that you Measure me with so much anger and hate and you don’t apply the same rules to fellow Rabbis? No misquotes occurred. I will address that in detail . You did not approach me in Noam or Neemus, it was angry and Harsh for no reason as I have deep love for you.

        3.I will address that on another thread

        4. I read my book and many other Jews who were deeply moved and touched. Are you HaShem that you know what is my heart? How arrogant. You want to assume the worse of another Jewish man and I can’t help you with that. You are transforming your anger to thoughts that I do not have. I am sorry that you feel that you have monopoly on Rabbinic writings and the perushim. You don’t.

        5. You accused me ONLY of intellectual dishonesty? Is that it? Think again. Here are direct quotes our of your Mouth to me for no reason that are filled with hate:

        “You are lying through your teeth”
        “You speak in the book D’evray Hi’tnasut”
        “Your book is propagating false slander against God’s first born son”
        here is another favorite:
        “Such slander is the breeding-ground for hate and worse”.

        You have accused me R’ Blumenthal at a lot more. You accuse me of spreading HATE and being Anti-Semitic. Have you gone Mad?!?

        I will not post what Eli wrote as it will not add him Kavod but it is equally bad.
        .
        In conclusion: You have exercised yourself in the worse S’inat Chinam that I have ever experienced with much manipulation. I shared my letters with my father who is an observant man and he could not believe that a Rabbi and teacher in Israel speak like that. Many of our people see the deep love in TROTKP , but you choose to focus on hate and slander. When you decide to make a Teshuva for what you have wrote and for the way that you have conducted yourself we can speak again. BTW, you can expect many answers from your review not that I need to justify myself but for the sake of the truth. Look at yourself in the mirror and look how much time you spend on TROTKP yet there are TEN OF THOUSANDS of Jews who DO NOT follow Torah and left the G-D of Israel and yet you focus your efforts on The Messianic Jews who love G-D in all of their hearts? Your focus is off. Messianic Judaism is not our issue, but rather it is our hearts as Jews. I do worship the same G-D of my fathers, but I do it in the Merit of Yeshua and not on my own. In what Merit will you enter to the M’alchoot.?

        My heart is breaking for you as you clearly don’t see the offense that you have committed towards another Jew and offense ultimately against G-D himself. You think that you acted honorably ? אשרך if this is the case.

        B’emet,
        Shabbat Shalom

        • Tzahi,
          I wrote it to you in private so as not to publicly humiliate you, however, I have no objection to you publicizing the full quote of what I wrote to you.

        • Tzachi
          1 – My intention in writing to Dr. Brown was not to “bad-mouth” you – but merely to point out to him that he made a mistake in endorsing you and that he should consider retracting his endorsement. I didn’t write to you because I didn’t think that you would talk logically about this as every subsequent post of yours confirms.
          Your claim that I put words in your mouth is a lie – just listen to Dr. Brown’s July 25th radio show – minute # 57:59
          http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2013/07/25/an-interview-with-messianic-jewish-rabbi-itzhak-shapira-on-his-new-book-the-return-of-the-kosher-pig/
          2 – You did disrespect the Ibn Ezra and you did misquote the Gra – I encourage anyone who can read Hebrew and English to read your remarks and read the Gra and Ibn Ezra in the original
          and you did not give me “most of what I asked” – I asked for a four references and you gave me one
          4 – If you write that the rabbis “elected to go against the Torah” – is that not an “attack”?
          5 – When I said I accused you only of ignorance – I was referring to my critique posted here – not to the letters that I wrote to you.

          Again Tzachi – what are you thinking? You write a book that goes against the deepest love that Jews have for God – and you expect us to be silent?

          You know Tzachi – I say this to you – If just my first critique of your book is correct (about your (mis)quote from the Rambam’s prayer where you have him “exalting the Messiah”) – then your book should be moved to the fiction section of the library.
          If you come back on this blog without explaining at least that one point – than you have admitted that you don’t have an answer.

          Your Pharisee friend who prays for your heart to be turned back to your God and to your people
          Yisroel

        • Dina says:

          Dear Mr. Shapira,

          Why is it so important to you to discredit Rabbi Blumenthal and company?

          You wrote a book that you surely knew would be unacceptable to Orthodox Jews. Before undertaking such a project, you should have developed a thicker skin. Then instead of engaging in personal attacks on those who criticize your work–which is a complete waste of time and doesn’t reflect well on you–you would now be able to focus your energy on writing a devastating rebuttal.

          You see, in the end, the best way to discredit your critics is to destroy their ideas with powerful arguments. Really, it’s the only way.

          I have been thinking a lot about you because it makes me so sad to see a Jew–an Israeli who speaks Hebrew, no less!–so misled and so misguided.

          I speak Hebrew myself, and so I cannot understand how someone who really understands the language can be led so astray.

          I hope you find the courage and strength to acknowledge the truth when you see it.

          קרוב ה’ לכל קוראיו לכל אשר יקראוהו באמת

          Love,
          Dina

    • Dear Tzahi,
      I’m writing this for the sake truth and clarity.
      It would have been appropriate for you to share full context of my comments and the chronology of events instead of presenting half truths.
      You claim that I wrote a “review” without reading ANY of the book.
      You’ve made this claim a number of times.
      I responded to this allegation immediately after you made it and yet you keep repeating it.
      This is a copy of the exchange we had on September 18 on my FB wall.

      Ahavat Ammi You have not read ANY of the book. It is not true. You told me you gave it to R’ Blumenthal just short while ago.
      September 18 at 2:22am · Like
      Rabbi Eli Cohen Tzahi, did you not make a section of the book available for download? I have it my desktop as a PDF.
      September 18 at 2:22am via mobile · Like
      Ahavat Ammi first 20-30 pages or something.
      September 18 at 2:23am · Like
      Rabbi Eli Cohen Have you not been posting many quotes in full on FB from the book?
      September 18 at 2:23am via mobile · Like
      Ahavat Ammi not many, just a few.
      September 18 at 2:23am · Like
      Rabbi Eli Cohen Do your videos not reflect what’s written in the book?
      September 18 at 2:23am via mobile · Like
      Ahavat Ammi There are hundreds of M’evohot.
      September 18 at 2:23am · Like

      So clearly there was enough content available for me to read and research before I made my comments.

      You have claimed a number of times that you have from me in writing that I have not read your book.
      You present that bit of information to people to give the impression as if you had confronted me about my “review” to which I had admitted to you that I had written those comments without reading any of your book.

      That’s simply not true!

      I will copy and paste here the context of my comment to you (which I feel) you have misrepresent to the public.

      Tzahi Shapira
      G’mar Hatimah Tovah Eli . B’rachot
      Sep 11 · Sent from Chat
      Rabbi Eli Cohen
      גמר חתימה טובה לך ולכל המשפחה!
      Sep 11
      Tzahi Shapira
      תודה אלי, קראת את הספר?
      Sep 11 · Sent from Chat
      Rabbi Eli Cohen
      האמת היא שלא. השארתי את זה אצל הרב ישראל אבל בעזרת השם כשהוא יגמור לקרוא אותו הוא ישלח לי את זה.
      Sep 11
      Tzahi Shapira
      בסדר גמור אלי. הוא שלח לי מספר שאלות, לא יצא לי לענות, הייתי בישראל בראש השנה ורק חזרתי. היתה לי דרך פגישה ארוכה מאוד עם אריאל כהן. יצא לי לבקר בהרבה בתי כנסת של חב”ד דרך לדבר על ישוע. הרבה תשובות מענינות גם בנוגע לכפרות. תשמור על עצמך איש יקר.
      Sep 11 · Sent from Chat

      What is clear from here is that your question whether I had read the book was NOT in response to my “review” about your book!

      In addition, as everyone can see, this took place on September 11.

      As I have shown above from our discussion from the 18th of September, I DID read parts of your book.

      I contacted you via your FB page asking for the sources you were quoting in your book. You provided me the sources and proceeded to present me with further direct quotes from your book. In fact I have over a dozen slides from you in which you give me direct quotes from your book. This was all BEFORE I posted my “review” on my FB wall.

      I had looked up the original sources and I was shocked at your misrepresentation and mishandling of those rabbinic texts. After trying to reason with you and getting nowhere I was extremely frustrated as I could see that I was “talking to the wall”.

      For an example of what I mean “talking to the wall” have a look at this exchange we had:

      • Rabbi Eli Cohen
      Tzahi, how many rabbis would you like me to provide you with their letter saying that you have misrepresented the rebbe in order for you to agree to remove the quotes from the Rebbe?
      9/18, 12:21am
      Ahavat Ammi
      I have read them for what they are Eli, I have hundreds more, DON’T YOU GET IT? This is a waste of time. You will never make a Teshuvah, as you will not read the book seriously. You have made your decision and no matter what evidence I will show you it will not be enough for you.
      9/18, 12:21am
      Rabbi Eli Cohen
      You haven’t answered my question
      If I bring you 100 chabad rabbis will that be enough?
      9/18, 12:23am
      Ahavat Ammi
      Nothing will be enough because my case is not based on single quote. I have thousands of them to build the case. First you need to read the book for yourself, then we can discuss. You have failed to take the first step by JUDGING, SLANDERING, and LYING without reading it.
      9/18, 12:24am
      Rabbi Eli Cohen
      I think that this last comment speaks volumes!!!! “Nothing will be enough”. Enough said.
      Good night

      This has been my consistent experience with you. I try to show you that you have misunderstood and therefore misrepresented a rabbinic text and you respond by sending me another whole lot more of rabbinic quotes instead of addressing the specific text that I am addressing.

      Now, on September 18 I wrote a FB post (which you want to call a “review”) addressing those who endorsed your book asking how they could endorse your book when it contained such mistakes.

      I would hardly call that a “review” of the book.

      In any event, when all the dust settles, I will forgive you for coming to my FB wall (and anywhere else that you could) to try and discredit me by accusing me of being unethical and being full of hatred, but I can tell you that it’s not very encouraging when I actually spent time reading your book and looking up the references (something that clearly most of those who endorsed your book didn’t bother doing).

      You wrote on page 11 “I urge every reader, scholar, and investigator to read this book critically in the spirit of unbiased limmud, or study, and to “test everything… and hold on to the good””. I tried to be as unbiased as I possibly can be. I PURPOSELY did not begin to challenge the conclusions you came to about the divinity of the messiah. While making my way through your book I limited myself to “test everything…. and hold on to the good”. I found your ability to accurately present Chazal to be virtually non-existent and therefore felt the obligation to share that with the public.

      This has never been about attacking YOU. This has always been about exposing the misrepresentation of the Rabbis and Judaism.

      Here’s the last thing I’d like to say.

      I have posted this below on my FB.

      Dear Friends,
      After much thought and consultation with my peers and teachers I have decided to move on to more productive use of my time.
      I have spent the past few weeks examining and researching the quotes from the The Return of The Kosher Pig.
      I have shared (in several Facebook posts) some of the shocking ignorance I found displayed in that book.
      Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal Has produced an extensive review of the book.
      I feel that I no longer have the need to continue reading and critiquing this book since this has already been done by Rabbi Blumenthal.
      While I am happy to help anyone with questions arising from that book (i.e to go and look up a quote in the original for them) I do not plan to waste another minute on that book.
      G-d gave me a limited time on this world and I have more important things to do with my time than to waste it on absolute nonsense.
      Shalom
      B’Ahavah
      Eli

  10. Dina says:

    Mr. Shapira, one more thing before I get back to my real life:

    You said that you challenged Rabbi B. to a verbal debate because of your Hebrew being an issue. May I suggest you reach out to Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi and challenge him? He’s an Israeli Sephardi like you (maybe you aren’t Sephardi but you look it; I hope you don’t mind my saying so; forgive me if you do), and I think it would be entertaining to watch the two of you hash it out in Hebrew.

    And it would also be great fun to see who is more successful at interrupting whom and not letting the other speak.

    http://www.divineinformation.com/about-rabbi-mizrachi/

    Best,
    Dina

  11. Mr. Shapira, please stop playing the victim, sir! It makes you look desperate, and it’s obvious that you are not answering the clear objections to your mistaken claims in your book. We noticed this early on when your started to come to R’ Eli Cohen’s FB page before R’H, and you would post screen shots from your book as “proofs”. Based on your comments on videos, and your FB discussions with us, we argued and refuted your claims, which were clearly based on distortions on your part. When pointing these mistakes in your book and videos, you get offended, and claim we are attacking you. In short, any criticism or challenge to your claims, you see it as personal attack against you, for which you must lash back with cruel words as can be seen from your replies, how you insulted many on there. However, YOU NEVER answer the questions or points raised! Instead of answering the issue at hand, you dodge questions and respond with a bunch of unrelated quotes from your book, thinking that is somehow “proof”. Why do you act this way, Mr. Shapira? Do you really believe you have the truth? Do you really believe that you cannot make mistakes? Do you really claim to know and properly explain the words of the Sages without mistakes or misunderstandings?

    The problem Mr. Shapira, is that YOU wrote a book which tries to make the case that our Sages believed in a divine messiah, which is NOT the case at all. You claim that our Sages taught these things, and we HAVE EVERY right to challenge you or anyone that makes such claims, just like the RaMBaN did in his famous debates, as well as many others. You sir, refuse to understand we have this right and duty, to correct and reprove, to admonish and warn, set the record straight when people make claims about our Torah and the teachings of our Sages. We will not sit idly by. We cannot, and anyone with common sense should understand and expect that, just like we expect certain actions from you and other like you in your camps.

  12. I have little expertise in Judaism and the opinions of former rabbis, but it does seem to me that you grossly misrepresent them. If it was true that all a Jew has to do is ‘look out of the window’ to determine whether Messiah has arrived, why did so many eminent rabbis follow Sabbatai Sevi, or other imposters and frauds like him? Why was there so much sacrifice, so much intense debate about a manic depressive, even after he apostatised to Islam? Why didn’t they simply apply the same Blumenthal hermeneutic, and save themselves and their followers a great deal of expense and degradation? What’s the purpose of this misrepresentation?

    • Their fervent hope and belief was that Shabbtai Tzvi WILL (future) go on to fulfill all these messianic hopes.
      Once he converted to Islam it was clear to most that he was not going to usher in the scriptural messianic hope.
      The same happened with Jesus. The followers expected him to usher in the messianic age which would bring with it an empirical change to the world (universal peace and universal knowledge of G-d). When (according to Matthew 16) Jesus told his disciples that he was to go up to Jerusalem to be killed (without having ushered in this utopian era) the Peter was shocked!
      The pattern that is usually followed is that a charismatic leader appears on the scene, attracts a following and a heightened messianic expectation starts to spread. The excitement is a result of people believing that they have found the candidate that will “make it happen”. When that charismatic leader dies without “making it happen” one of two things happen.
      1. The followers realize that this individual is not going to be the one to “make it happen” and therefore they reluctantly move on with their lives hoping for G-d to send the real messiah ASAP.
      2. the followers hold fast to their belief that their charismatic leader will still somehow return to “make it happen”.

      In either case the hailing of this leader as “the messiah” is not as a response to him fulfilling “all the prophecies” but rather as a hope and belief that he WILL (future) be the one whom G-d will choose to “hammer home the final blow” and usher in the messianic ere.

      • Thanks for this illuminating and detailed reply, though it might have been more accurate for Yisroel to have written ‘All the Jew needed to do was to look out the window to know that the Messiah hadn’t completed his mission’ rather than ‘arrived’.

        • Yehuda says:

          Perhaps, but without completion of the empirically verifiable components of his mission, any speculation about a Messianic “arrival” is really not relevant from the perspective of the Torah. From the Torah perspective the definition of the Messiah is the person who succeeds in this mission and the true focus of the messianic age is the resulting changed world. Beyond that I could speculate, that any non-levite Jew who has ever lived and died might in fact be the messiah who has yet to complete his mission. Such speculation might interest some, but has no basis in or relevance to the Torah.

          In fact there are – as we speak – thousands of living Jews who believe that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of blessed memory – dead now over 20 years – is the Messiah. (and an even more radical subset has attributed divinity to him, G-d forbid). Such is the unfortunate human nature when a beloved leader ultimately fails to reach the aspirations his devotees have assigned to him.

          • Thanks, Yehuda. I find much to agree with, but may I probe your first assertions a little? If we can only recognise the Messiah once he has accomplished all his objectives, why then did so many rabbis and others jump the gun, not only with Sevi, but also Bar Kochba, and a plethora of other less known ‘Messiahs’? I well understand the caution now – Gentile Christians too have had more than their share of deluded prophets and claimants to Messiahship (after the Nazarene). However the question remains, is it impossible to identify the Messiah before His accomplishment of all His tasks? If Deut.18.15,18 provides analogy, Moses’ own history suggests early recognition may be important to Israel above all other nations. Indeed, if recognition was impossible, until there was already universal peace and universal knowledge, why would the command there be necessary? With respect, I don’t think this position carries much water, and perhaps the errant rabbis who followed the deceivers, even in their later moments of repentance and regret would be quick to say the same.

  13. Yehuda says:

    Charles.

    You asked “why then did so many rabbis and others jump the gun”

    I guess it’s for much the same reason that I as a fan of the NY Mets often jump the gun and believe that every promising new young player who comes along is going to lead then to a string of 10 consecutive world series titles.

    It’s because human nature often tries to see what it hopes to see in the face of suffering and persecution. Rabbis are humans and are not immune to this. I don’t see this as difficult to grasp.

    As to your references to Deut 18:. That is a command to recognize that God can and will send prophets in a role similar to Moses (i.e,. Jeremiah and Ezekiel) and that they should be adhered to. It is not about identification of the messiah.

    I also never said recognition was impossible before the mission is accomplished. Merely that absolute identification was not possible prior to that point. But more importantly, it isn’t critical. However Judaism certainly encourages it’s aherents to be cognizant of someone who emerges as a potential messiah, to follow him and aid him in his purposes so long as that path remains promising and true to Jewish teaching. Not because making the ID is the end in itself but because achieving the result is the focal point.

    Part of the reason you have difficulty with this is because your christian orientation places primary emphasis on the person of the messiah rather than reality he will usher in which is the Jewish emphasis.

    Allow me to repeat something I posted to someone else on another thread. perhaps you will find it illuminating.

    In the future post-messianic world we can imagine an eccentric Jew who rarely leaves his home or talks to anyone. In fact let’s imagine that he has a particularly phobia about hearing people’s names mentioned. This reclusive Jew could be a devoted, pious, observant, righteous Jew, in the messianic age, without ever even being told the name of the person who is eventually revealed as the Messiah !

    You see to Jews, the messianic era is about God, His people, and their restoration to their former glory and only indirectly about the person of the messiah because – and this is important – WE DON”T EVER INTEND TO WORSHIP HIM,

    Peace.

    • David says:

      Hi Yehuda,

      Since you are not calling it “worship,” what do you call it, or how do you characterize what the people of Israel do in regards to Moshiach? And how do you characterize how the peoples and kings of the nations will come and: “bow down at your feet, bend low, faces to the ground, lick the dust from your feet, supplicate, pay tribute,” which is what the people of the nations will do in regards to the people of Israel as prophesied in the OT.

      I can’t find anywhere in the OT where the people prayed anything regarding the Moshiach directly. I read in many places on the internet that Jews today have daily prayers, the Amidah, and from that you recite this, or words to this effect several times a day:

      “The offspring of your servant David may you speedily cause to flourish, and enhance his pride through Your salvation, for we hope for Your salvation all day long. Blessed are you, Hashem, Who causes the pride of salvation to flourish.”

      Judaism has also created many writings including Rambam’s 13 articles of faith in which Jewish thought is restricted and funneled into approved doctrines in which the individual Jew must hold to and profess faith often daily in to be considered a Jew.

      Rambam’s Number 12 pertains to the Moshiach and is:

      “12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. How long it takes, I will await His coming every day.”

      Judaism also holds that the Messiah will be greater than Moses, who himself has one of Rambam’s 13 named after him BY NAME! and, is considered the greatest ever up to the time of the Messiah who will supersede him then in greatness.

      So I say, really, every day? Judaism prays all over the world and awaits its king and teacher, and you say that’s not worship? This guy who’s supposed to be the greatest, greater than Moses? In what way do you characterize the treatment that Judaism lavishes on the individual man Messiah to the point where he is prayed for and he is included in Rambam’s 13 and is waited on EVERY DAY? I would characterize what Judaism does as worship (not the kind of worship given to God but the kind given to a man, as was given to Moses and King David), if not worship then veneration, exaltation, pay homage to, adoration, honor, reverence, devotion, or religious ardor/zeal.

      The people of Israel “worshipped” the man King David in the OT. That wasn’t considered wrong. The Moshiach will be a “king” of the line of King David. The Moshiach will also be the teacher. So how is it that the Moshiach will be greater than King David and King David was worshipped and the Moshiach will not be?

      Also, as noted above in the first paragraph, the nations will come to the people of Israel and: supplicate, pay tribute, bow low, and lick the dust from your feet, etcetera, etcetera. Of course you’re not going to characterize such behavior as “worship” because scripture says it will happen, and you believe apparently that “worship” is only given to God. Just how do you characterize it when God says that people will bow down and lick the dust from the feet of the people of Israel? Even if you take it as metaphorical, as a reflection of what is in the heart, how do you say it’s ok that the nations will do that, or hold that in the heart, considering the fact that you say regarding the Moshiach:
      “WE DON”T EVER INTEND TO WORSHIP HIM”

      Considering all that then, Judaism should be the first to stop such behavior of the nations when the nations are seen coming to bow low before Israel in the Messianic era.

      But I suspect that Judaism will consider it to be ok for the nations to engage in such behavior and/or hold such in their heart (and conveniently will not classify it as worship). Maybe at that time Judaism led by her King, the beloved Moshiach, will even encourage such behavior.

      Judaism criticizes Christianity for “worshipping” their Christ.
      But Judaism also “worships” its own Messiah every day.
      And, Judaism will (as scripture says) allow the “worship” of itself in the Messianic era.

      What say you?

      • David
        Yehuda is articulate enough and I hope he will take the time to respond to your words. I will take this opportunity to explain how it is that we love our human king, we love the Torah we love the righteous people at the same time that we have committed our hearts completely and exclusively to love of God (Deuteronomy 6:5).
        We love God with all of our hearts and all of our souls. From the power of that love, we love His word, those who live it and those who teach it. We love the people that God chose and the King whom He anointed. We love all who He honored by creating them in His image and we love all of His creation because it is His creation.
        But the center of focus remains God.
        Our love is extended according the object’s place in relation to God.
        David – little question for you – who do you see as a closer brother – a Jew who rejects your assertions about Jesus but worships the One Creator of the world alone – or is it perhaps a Trinitarian Christian who loves Jesus as you do and “only” makes the mistake of considering him God?
        One more point – Maimonides did not believe that the Messiah will be greater than Moses.
        Yisroel

        • David says:

          Hi Yisroel,
          You say these things as if you’re oblivious to the fact that Christianity doesn’t also focus on God. The problem is that you try to make a distinction on this aspect where there in none. You will have in the future and have also had in the past intermediaries. That doesn’t mean that you don’t focus on God any more than it doesn’t mean that Christianity doesn’t focus on God. I agree that Trinitarnism erroneously deifies the Messiah, and I’m not denying that. However, many Christians are not Trinitarians (me included as you know) so you can’t paint with such a broad brush. And even within Trinitarian rank and file Christians (non-theologians) you’ll find that many don’t share a true “unknowable” “undefinable” “mysterious” (words that Trinitarian theologians have used) Trinitarian belief with hard core Trinitarian theology.

          Regarding your question of who is closer to the truth, the Trinitarian or the Jew. From a practical point of view, rank and file Christians (not hard core Trinitarians) who happen to be Trinitarian by default are more open to study scripture (than the Jew) and see where a hard core Trinitarian argument becomes very difficult to make or support based on scripture. The Jew on the other hand goes by tradition, culture, extraneous writings, and history more so and sometimes in contradiction to scripture.

          From a truth perspective the Trinitarian wins out for the following simple reason. God commanded us to obey, and in Deuteronomy He commanded us to listen to his prophet. The Trinitarian errors when he deifies this prophet, (Jesus who is also the Son of God). But Judaism as practiced is in more in error by not listening to the prophet at all and further harms it-self and individual members by actively and falsely speaking against Gods anointed.

          Both extremes are bad but the extreme of Judaism attacking Christianity is worse because think what will happen on the day of judgment. The Trinitarian will see that he mistakenly deified Jesus but (being a Christian) will be saved for his belief in the Son of God (he still has the absolute guarantee to inherit life). But the Jew who actively spoke against God’s anointed will have no defense. It will only be upon God’s great mercy then that he will inherit eternal life, but he might not; there is no guarantee as with the Christian who mistakenly holds to some form of the trinity.

          I’d prefer to be a Trinitarian with a guarantee of eternal life.

          • Dina says:

            Pardon me for inserting myself into this conversation, David and Rabbi B., but OMG, David!

            Idolatry is the greatest sin in the Bible. The very worst crime a person can commit against God. And you think it’s no biggie that Trinitarians make the tiny mistake of deifying Jesus, because at least they believe in him. “The Trinitarian,” you assert, therefore “wins out” over the Jew.

            Wow.

            Wow, wow, wow.

            Okay. Deep breath. Find me a clear teaching in the Torah, something at least as clear as the myriad teachings against idolatry, that instructs us to believe in the Messiah in order to attain eternal salvation.

            Something like, “You shall believe in the Messiah so you shall live forever” to correspond with something as clear as “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).

            In other words, since idolatry is such a severe sin, and since the Torah contains so many clear teachings on the subject, I want you to find me an equally clear teaching about belief in the Messiah being necessary for eternal life. So clear that even if one’s belief in the Messiah is idolatrous, it’s better than monotheism combined with non-belief in the Messiah. Not hints, David. Something as obvious as the teachings on idolatry so that I will be shocked into speechlessness.

            And let me tell you, that will be something to see.

          • Dina says:

            And another point, David.

            You wrote, “I’d prefer to be a Trinitarian with a guarantee of eternal life.”

            It should not be a question of what you prefer but of what God demands of you, even if it sends you to eternal death. We owe our total obedience to God no matter the consequence.

            As God is merciful and full of grace, He rewards us for our obedience. But that is not the reason for our obedience. We do what God says (to the best of our ability) because He said so. Period, end of story.

          • David
            Sorry for the lateness of my reply – Your second answer (that you rather be a Trinitarian than a Jew) confirms that your first answer is false. The Bible spends much more time articulating the sin of idolatry than it does any other subject – yet you’d take that sin over something else. The fact that you do this in the name of “loyalty to the Bible” while criticizing the Jew for being “blind” to Biblical truth – is a testimony that you also are a student in the School of Matthew.
            And one more thing that your answer confirms is that your devotion to Jesus is not God centered but Jesus centered.

          • At least we are somewhat clearer about the distinctions between us, and that is productive. When it comes to idolatry, I suggest however that Rabbinic Judaism is the guilty party. By partially retaining a Hellenic anti-anthropomorphic view of a simple, wholly transcendent and non personal Deity, similar to Xenophanes and his heirs, a position the Sadducees with their rejection of angels, the resurrection and most of the Tenach imbibed more deeply still. Why dare I write this? Do you not reject the doctrine of the unique Son of God? Do you not confuse the theophanies? Solomon wrote, ‘Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.’ On the other hand, Xenophanes in his vigorous and proper rejection of pagan images and myths went too far & overreacted against the Divine essence and image. He wrote mockingly, frag 5 ‘But mortals suppose that the gods are born (as they themselves are), and that they wear man’s clothing and have human voice and body.’
            Yehudah has given us some useful tests of worship, if we apply them to Abraham’s companion in Gen.18.17+, when the 2 angels descended to Sodom, what do we find?
            1) It is an acknowledgement that we owe our existence solely to God. and
            2) It is an acknowledgement that we owe our ongoing sustenance and well- being solely to God
            ‘now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes’
            3) It is a recognition that God is an entity who listens to and can accept and act on our prayers no matter how miraculous the request
            ‘Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there.’
            4) It is a subjugation of the soul on a level of profundity that can derive only from an acknowledgement of the above points.
            ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?’
            To make explicit that HaShem had appeared in physical form, eaten, drunk and spoken with his friend, the passage concludes, ‘And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham:’ Friends, are you more influenced by Torah or, as Maimonides was, seduced by the ardour of pagan philosophers for a barren and futile theological simplicity?
            Does not the fatal idolatry of which you wrote lie in rejecting God’s testimony, rather than receiving it?

          • Yehuda says:

            Hello again Charles,

            I’m inserting myself into this exchange only because you chose to quote my descriptions of worship of God into you latest post.

            I have no real interest in – nor will I – enter into a debate about the theological significance (or lack thereof) of Genesis 18 vis-a-vis what it teaches us or doesn’t teach us about the nature of God and worship. This topic has been dealt with at great length in many places including on this blog and I will leave it to others to take that up if you or they are so inclined.

            I do want to comment, however, on two specific points you make which are especially – how shall I say this delicately – absurd.

            First is your accusation that Rabbinic Judaism is unduly influenced by Pagan thought. That’s particularly rich. Now I for one have never been especially interested in the line of argument that attacks Christianity on the basis of it’s having pagan elements. I believe that to be true, but beside the point. The point to me is its irreconcilability with the Torah. However, I would think that if a Trinitarian Chrisitian did want to engage Judaism in debate the last area it would want to raise is the issue of Pagan origins. Most knowledgeable missionaries know enough not to pick that fight because they know that will keep them indefinitely on the defensive. But again I have no real interest in this discussion beyond saying that your assertion is pure speculation and nothing short of humorous in that it essentially accuses Rabbinic Judaism of – like Xenophanes – going “too far” in its “…vigorous and proper rejection of pagan images and myths” Got that folks? Our pagan influence is our overzealous rejection of pagan images to an extreme that prevents us from accepting trintarianism.

            Second is what appears to be your unique contribution to the Genesis 18 discussion – that the final verse of Genesis 18 somehow seals the deal on the idea that when Abraham spoke with God he was speaking with a physical entity with whom he had just eaten and drank. Or as you put it.”To make explicit that HaShem had appeared in physical form, eaten, drunk and spoken with his friend, the passage concludes…,” Are we ready for the zinger… ‘And the LORD went his way,”

            I will only point out that the verse doesn’t even say that. Since you read Hebrew Charles, you know that the words are “Vayelech Hashem” which literally means only “And Hashem departed”. the “on his way” part is a bit of poor translation. It should have said “Vayelech Hashem L’darko”, to mean that.

            In any event, I am happy to leave to our readers to decide whether that closing – even in your rendering of it – has the theological import you assign to it.

            Peace.

          • Much to your credit, Yehuda, your style of argument is much the sharper for being somewhat less pedagogic and more engaging. I didn’t expect a warm embrace for this argument, but I am serious, as a little more study of that link about Maimonides will unveil. Nor am I alone in this. With God’s enabling, your soldiers won glorious victories against the odds over the Hellenic Seleucids, but your rabbis (along with most Muslim and misguided Christian academic theologians) were increasingly held ransom by their trojan horses, Parmenides, Plato and most of all by the one who named and crystallised the idol’s identity as the Simplex (though 2 centuries after the tragic watershed with Messiah) – Plotinus. How else could Rome vanquish Israel if not for this tragic subsequent idolatry?
            Israel still needs theological Maccabees.

            PS Is not the whole of Genesis 17 an act of worship and prayer, and God went up from Abraham.
            וַיַּעַל אֱלֹהִים – does HaShem actually need to move? Of course not, but His manifestation was physically present.

          • Dina says:

            Charles, I don’t know what you could possibly have to say after Yehuda’s devastating comments, but I do have this to add.

            Several Christians have pointed out to me all the different places in Tanach where they see a physical manifestation of God. Some examples include Jacob’s wrestling with God, God’s communication to Moses in the burning bush, and God’s meeting with Abraham (which you pointed out). Of course, your interpretation of these events is incorrect, but putting that aside, let me ask you some questions:

            Why have Jews never–and nor have Christians–worshipped these physical manifestations? Why is Jesus the only “manifestation” that Christians worship? And if it’s so common for God to show himself as a human, why did He stop doing so after Jesus?

            I will also put to you a question I have asked several Christians and for which I am tapping my foot waiting for an answer:

            If God manifests Himself in a physical form from time to time, why can this argument not be used to justify the worship of Krishna, who Hindus believe is the incarnation of the divine? Why can’t sun worshippers say that God manifests Himself in the sun, and thus justify their idolatry? In short, why can’t this argument be used to support just about any idolatrous practice?

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • We may only worship HaShem as He reveals Himself, not as we choose Him to be. We may not make images of Him, but He freely and properly reveals Himself as he pleases does He not?
            (Exod. 24.10) וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל I agree anything else is vile idolatry.

          • Dina says:

            Charles, you failed to answer the question. You merely restated your belief.

            And that is all I or anyone else following this thread needs to know. Thanks for the clarity.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Sorry, Charles, I should have said questions. You failed to answer all my questions.

            Best,
            Dina

          • Yehuda says:

            Charles,

            I’ve noticed you have a tendency to comment on my style,whenever we interact…

            And since the topic has suddenly shifted to Genesis 17, let me answer your question. No. Genesis 17 is about God commanding Abraham about circumcision and about Abraham’s obedience to the command. It is not a lesson on worship. And since the verb in question is now Va’ya’al (and he ascended) and not Va’yelech, let me ask you how you envision this particular physical manifestation. Is it not possible, even likely, that God was a bird in that particular instance? Yes a talking bird. God could do that if he wanted to couldn’t he? Should I be concerned that I may not be recognizing god’s avian aspect and that my worship of him is therefore deficient on that count?

          • Given scepticism about the claim that Rabbinic Judaism is tainted by idolatry in its assimilation of pagan ideas of God, perhaps you might consider this.
            Genesis is very clear that God made man in his own image, male and female. Each sex reflecting distinct aspects of the Divine being. Adam perceived that his wife bore something unique of the Divine character in the name he gave her. Doesn’t Hebrew itself too bear testimony to the Divinely ordained interdependence and dance of the genders, in its extraordinary and unique juxtaposition of the numerals – maths being the very music of creation?

            By stark contrast, effacing the Divine nature with notions of essential simplicity, and ingloriously depersonalising Him, the philosophers degraded themselves and their wives repulsively. Socrates for example said of his wife Xanthippe, ‘”None of your soft-mouthed, docile animals for me,” he says; “the horse for me to own must show some spirit” in the belief, no doubt, if he can manage such an animal, it will be easy enough to deal with every other horse besides.’ His and Plato’s habitual pederasty, in the Symposium, in no small part probably the cause of Socrates’ condemnation in Athens was also the consequence of worshipping natural causes and denying the Creator. So Paul argues in Romans 1, echoing the prophets.

            Philosophically minded theologians from all three branches of monotheism have embraced this misogyny, none more vigorously than Islam, the most rigorous exponent of apophatic transcendence to an extreme that denies Divine personality (and that despite or perhaps because of its roots in fertility cults), and none more foolishly and inconsistently than Christians, it being deeply inapposite to God’s relationality. Often this follows in proportion to the dependence on pagan thought. Rabbinic Judaism also has a part in this. I realise Philo was a controversial allegorist, but his more extreme dependence on Hellenic philosophers, was associated with a more extreme misogyny. ‘It is said by men who have applied themselves to the study of natural philosophy, that the female is nothing else but an imperfect male.’ ‘The woman therefore, that is the outward sense is also summoned together with Adam, that is the mind, but separately God does not summon her. Why not? Because being destitute of reason she is incapable of being convicted by herself.’

            Philosophical Rambam the champion of the Solitary himself is not by any means free of this ugly and unscriptural taint. Maimonides was the only legal authority in his misogynistic days, to codify the law stated in the Sifre that women may not be appointed to any type of public leadership position in the Jewish community (MT Melakhim 1:5). What would Deborah say to that I wonder? Although he judged women trustworthy to check for leaven, he also advised, “most women’s minds are not directed towards study, rather they misinterpret, rendering the text irrational due to their poor minds” (MT Torah Study 1:13). (Present company undoubtedly excepted.)

          • Dina says:

            Charles, what you have just done is disgusting.

            Who are the Jewish rabbinic leaders of the past–of the same fame and stature of Socrates and Plato–who “engaged in habitual pederasty”? Why do you think that strict monotheism is the same as “denying the Creator”?

            Christianity claimed to offer its followers a path that is morally superior to Judaism. You need only compare the communities of rabbinic Jews to the larger surrounding Christian communities in which they lived to see that Christianity failed spectacularly. Internecine wars filled with bloodshed, exploitation of the poor, corruption in the Church, the horrific persecution of the helpless Jews in their midst–all these moral failings are splashed across the pages of Christian history.

            Let’s look at pagan origins and misogyny. Yehuda warned you, Charles. He told you not to go there. Well, you asked for it.

            Here are statements of the Church fathers regarding women:

            In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell. –Tertullian (c160-225)

            Woman is a temple built over a sewer.–Tertullian (c160-225)

            Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God. –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)

            What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children. –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354 – 430)

            Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. –Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century

            As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence. –Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, 13th century

            And now from Protestant Reformers:

            The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)

            No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)

            Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)

            Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude.–John Calvin, Reformer (1509-1564)

            Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born.–John Wesley, founder of Methodist movement (1703-1791)

            Egg on your face, Charles. You can keep your leaders; I’ll take Maimonides.

            But I’m not done with you yet.

            Pagan ideas influenced the rabbis? Like hell! It’s a bit suspicious, isn’t it, that the virgin birth, god-man savior myth is common to the pagan religions that predated Christianity, such as Horus, Osiris, Mithra, Dionysus, Adonis–in fact, over thirty virgin-birth myths from ancient cultures around the world abound.

            Everyone knows the pagan origins of Christmas. December 25 coincides with the pagan Roman holiday of Saturnalia. The Christmas tree is a pagan symbol (leftover from pagan tree worship). There is a lot more, like the pagan origins of gift-giving, Santa Claus, etc.

            Easter comes from the name for the northern goddess Eostre. Easter eggs, Easter bunnies–all have pagan origins.

            There is a lot more, but I’m not writing a book, just a comment on a blog.

            So I’ll take the moral consequences of my strict monotheism over the immoral consequences of your idolatry.

          • Yehuda says:

            Dina, Dina, Dina…Don’t you know that none of the folks you quoted were real Christians…Real Christians tend to be an ill-defined and exceedingly small group of people who happen to agree with the Christian with whom you find yourself in discussion.

          • Dina says:

            LOL, Yehuda!

            The Christian heaven is very tiny, indeed. (See Luke 13:23-24: Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.)

          • Thank you. It’s interesting that all the Christian teachers cited were prominent supporters of Divine Simplicity. The more egregious quotes come from the more ardent supporters, Augustine, in whose order Luther trained, in particular, gives the game away when he misappropriates 1 Cor.11.7, ‘She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God’. To my mind, it confirms that the injury to dignity of the Divine image is recompensed with an injury to human dignity. Need we add to the list on either side? BTW, I didn’t intend to accuse any rabbis of pederasty – merely illustrate the extreme wickedness of the philosophers.
            As to Xmas itself and Easter trappings I have long agreed they have pagan roots.
            My objective is not clear Christendom of the charge of idolatry, far from it, it is the accumulated syncretism of many centuries, merely to point out that in one important particular, Rabbinic Judaism and Maimonides especially is also deeply infected with the same taint – neo-Platonic Hellenism, Islam only pursues that fatal track more ardently.

          • Here’s another implication of neo-Platonic teaching from a reasonably sympathetic commentator (personally I think he goes further than is legitimate for what I have read of Rambam’s, though not for say for Ghazzali or his opponent Ibn Sina), “The absolute transcendence concept of deity is set forth by Maimonides in his formal discussion of God’s attributes. By absolute transcendence is meant that God is in no way an entity that is to be found in human experience, neither as an object of knowledge nor as an object that enters into relation with humans in any other way…In presenting his absolute transcendence view, Maimonides states that persons who think or feel that they have knowledge of God or that they are otherwise in relation with Him not only commit fundamental philosophic errors, but are also deluded by their imaginations into mistaking fantasy for reality.” Tell that to Abraham, and perhaps he would smile knowingly at such ‘wisdom’.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Charles.

            I guess I quoted the wrong Christians. Silly me! And you quoted the right Jews. Clever you! Did you miss Yehuda’s brilliant insight, and I quote, “Don’t you know that none of the folks you [Dina] quoted were real Christians…Real Christians tend to be an ill-defined and exceedingly small group of people who happen to agree with the Christian with whom you find yourself in discussion.”

            Let me see if I can boil down your contention into two sentences:

            Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all smack of idolatry; therefore…what exactly?
            Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all smack of misogyny; therefore…what exactly?

            You know what, Charles? We would have a more fruitful discussion if you stopped hiding behind vague arguments dressed up in fancy words.

            I shall present a refutation to Christianity that might be too simple for your sophisticated brain to grasp. I write in Plain English; I hope you understand that language.

            Are you up for the challenge? Here it is:

            First, what does “messiah” mean? Messiah is the English rendering of the Hebrew word “mashiach,” which means anointed one. The Hebrew Bible uses this word dozens of times: Aaron was anointed as priest, all the Jewish kings were anointed, and even objects were anointed. Interestingly, you will not find the term “the Messiah” in reference to the Messiah as either religion understands him.

            Instead, Scripture describes a utopian era during which a Jewish king who will be a direct descendent of King David through his son Solomon (2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10) will rule in Israel (Isaiah 11:1-10; Jeremiah: 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-17; Ezekiel 34:23-30, 37:24-28). Since he will be an anointed king, we got into the habit of calling him the Messiah. Furthermore, the Messiah will be a sinful, not sinless, human being who will therefore be required to bring a sin offering at the Temple (Ezekiel 44:27-29; Ezekiel 45:22-23).

            Jesus cannot be a direct descendant of King David, since tribal lineage can only be passed through patrilineal descent (see for example Numbers Chapter 1). According to standard Christian doctrine, Jesus was sinless, contradicting the Scriptural verses I cited above. He was not anointed as king; furthermore, he did not reign over all of Israel as King of the Jews (although he claimed that title for himself). He could not do this even if he had all the personal credentials to be the Davidic king because Israel was under the thumb of the Roman Empire.

            To conclude the first part, Jesus could not have been the Messiah because he was not a direct descendant of King David through his son Solomon, he did not rule over Israel as king, and he was not sinful (according to Christianity).

            The Jewish prophets painted a picture of the Messianic era in language so clear, unmistakable, and unequivocal as to be irrefutable. Following is a list of the elements of the Messianic era that they prophesied:

            INGATHERING OF THE JEWISH EXILES (Deuteronomy 30:3-4; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 43:5-6; Isaiah 49:12, 18, 22; Isaiah 60:4; Isaiah 66:20; Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 31:7; Jeremiah 32:37; Ezekiel 11:17; Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 34:13; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 37:21)
            REBUILDING OF THE THIRD TEMPLE (Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 33:18; Ezekiel 37:26-28; Ezekiel 43:7; Ezekiel 44:15:-16; Micah 4:1)
            NATIONAL RESURGENCE OF TORAH OBSERVANCE (Deuteronomy 30:10; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 37:24; Ezekiel 44:23-24)
            UNIVERSAL PEACE (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 65:25; Jeremiah 33:9, 16; Ezekiel 34:25, 28; Ezekiel 37:26; Hosea 2:20; Psalm 72:3)
            UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 66:18, 19, 23; Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 38:23; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 8:20-23; Zechariah: 14:16)
            PUNISHMENT OF PERSECUTORS OF THE JEWS/VINDICATION OF THE JEWS IN THE EYES OF THE NATIONS (Deuteronomy 30:7; Isaiah 17:12-14; Isaiah 25:1-8; Isaiah 30:26; Isaiah 30:28; Isaiah 34:1-35:10; Isaiah 40:1-11; Isaiah 49:8-13; Isaiah 52:7-10; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zephaniah 3:8-20; Zechariah 8:23; Psalm 9)

            This is a mere sampling; I did not get all the references, but this should show you the intense and high level of corroboration of all the elements of the Messianic era predicted by the Jewish prophets from Moses onward.

            To conclude the second part, Jesus did not fulfill a single element of this picture. After his death, the Temple was destroyed and has not been rebuilt since, the Jews were taken into exile and scattered, war erupted, universal knowledge of God never happened, observance of God’s laws and statutes decreased among the nation of Israel, and obviously the Jews have yet to be vindicated, as most everyone (including you) thinks we are in error. We are still beset by enemies on all sides (think of the tiny state of Israel surrounded by bloodthirsty Arab nations and constantly facing international condemnation).

            The idea that the Messiah will appear, fail to succeed in his mission, and then come back to life to complete it is non-Scriptural–and anyway, that is not what Christians believe. Contrary to the many citations above, Christians look forward to the time when Jesus will descend from the clouds, sweep up all his believers, leave everyone else (billions of people) to die, and shame Israel who rejected him. Jews on the other hand look forward to a glorious future of universal peace when all of God’s children will unite in His worship.

            One more point, Charles. The Torah tells us how to identify false prophets(Deuteronomy 13:4-6 and 18:21-22). Jesus failed on both counts. You can be sure that if any person claiming divine prophecy tries to change the law, the Jewish people will reject him as a false prophet. You can also be sure that if he makes a prediction that fails to materialize, he will also certainly be rejected as a false prophet.

            Good luck!

            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Charles, I just want to add that although my words are sharp and I disagree with you most emphatically, I respect you as a person.

            I still you think you use too many big words :), but now I know your heart is in the right place.

            So I hope you read my words in the spirit in which they were offered, which is the spirit of seeking the truth and drawing ever closer to God. In light of that, I do hope you read my challenge above. I’m curious to see your response (as long as you leave out words like “syncretism” and “neo-Platonism” 🙂 ).

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Dear friends,
            That’s a tall deal of challenges, and I think now on an overburgeoning page is not the time to take it on – but I promise to chew on them. A lot of the problem is sequencing, as suggested before here over Messiah’s arrival vs the consummation of his work. Perhaps I can ask one question in reply to your great stack of questions? What exactly does Daniel mean when he says Messiah (and only one title bearer is worthy) is ‘cut off’, יִכָּרֵת, around the time of the accomplishing the 7 tasks listed in 9.24,7*? For once I agree with Asher Norman in his ’26 reasons’, it does indicate ‘the severest punishment’, and for what? אֵין לוֹ that mysterious phrase suggests it was not on his own account. In this way, I think Jews and even now some believing gentiles too have been ordained to sanctify the Name by drinking from similar though distinct cups over the centuries, they have been scapegoated for other people’s sins, as we have read in detail in your posts.

            *Though the passage is a complex chessboard of interactions, unlike many, I suggest confirming the covenant is the Messiah’s prerogative (sorry, primary role – (but it’s longer!)) not the Roman ‘prince’,who is but a secondary agent in his purpose.
            I don’t celebrate Shabbat, but Shabbat Shalom to those who do.

          • Dina says:

            Hi, Charles.

            I see you can’t resist them polysyllables :).

            I’ll make this easier for you by breaking the argument down into three parts:

            1. What personal credentials qualify a person to become the Messiah?
            2. What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish?
            3. How do we identify a false prophet?

            To answer these questions, I cited verses from Hebrew scripture whose meaning is so plain as to leave no room for misinterpretation.

            In order to refute this, all you have to do is bring equally clear and unmistakable citations that COMPLETELY CONTRADICT the verses I brought to the table.

            In other words, avoid verses that hint rather than clearly teach or topics that do not directly address this argument. (Please reread the previous sentence at least five times.)

            Bring me clear teachings from Hebrew scripture that say the following:

            1. The Messiah will not be anointed king nor reign as king of the Jews. He does not have to be a direct descendant of King David through Solomon on his father’s side. He must be sinless.

            2. The Messianic king will not usher in an era that includes an ingathering of the Jewish exiles, rebuilding of the Third Temple with the physical restoration of the Temple services, a national resurgence of Torah observance, universal peace, universal knowledge of God, punishment of the persecutors of the Jewish people, and vindication of the Jewish people in the eyes of all the nations.

            3. A true prophet can be someone who encourages worship of other idols or a type of worship that our forefathers did not experience. A true prophet can be someone who makes a prediction that fails to come to pass.

            Can you do this? I don’t think so!

            But good luck anyway!

            Best wishes,
            Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            Where’s the tanach scriptures?

          • Dare I address such an insatiable desire for emphatic, precise demonstrations to a practiced yet highly sceptical reader? My concern is that many of these proofs need detailed and careful exposition rather than bald statement. Nevertheless at your patient insistence, here is my very brief attempt at the last three sets of questions,

            The Messiah will not be anointed king nor reign as king of the Jews.
            How long before David gained his crown, did he not die a thousand deaths first? How long before the other Messianic portrait, Joseph, gained his promise? When he appeared, was it not wearing a Gentile mask, speaking a Gentile tongue, in a Gentile land?

            He does not have to be a direct descendant of King David through Solomon on his father’s side.
            I’ve posted evidence of matrilineal descent not just inheritance on this blog before. No doubt it will be disputed, and I would be interested to see how, but in my view the case is solid.

            He must be sinless.
            Relying on Ezek.45.22 (your text in Ezek.44 relates to the priests not the Prince) to prove Messiah is sinful looks precarious to me, esp given the character of the passage (Michael Brown helpfully comments on this latter at length in Vol.2.3.17).
            What proof then he is without sin?
            Ps.16.10 (David at death did see corruption, having sin, the Holy One having none, did not), Isa.11.1-5, Isa.9.6-8, Ps.45.4,7 – how can we trample quickly over jewels like this? Jer.23.6 (His perfect righteousness is the very foundation of Judah’s salvation, not just an added blessing, v.5,) this is why Jerusalem claims His name, Jer.33.16, based on her king, v.17. The Messiah is above all else first and foremost a priest, not a King, Zech.6.12. In this sense He is uniquely like Moses, fit to stand between us sinners and the Consuming Fire of God’s unmediated presence. He must be the King of Righteousness before He can be King of anything else, the Ruler over His own heart, before He can rule anything else. His namesake Jehoshua the son of Jozadak deserved to be disqualified and rejected, indicating as ever the shaky foundation of the whole Levitical mediation from its inception in sinful Aaron, Zech.3.

            The Messianic king will not usher in an era that includes an ingathering of the Jewish exiles, rebuilding of the Third Temple with the physical restoration of the Temple services, a national resurgence of Torah observance, universal peace, universal knowledge of God, punishment of the persecutors of the Jewish people, and vindication of the Jewish people in the eyes of all the nations.
            Absolutely, including the last phrase, but in His time and in His sequence, He needed to be ‘cut off’ first, before confirming the covenant. However Torah and the Temple have been profoundly transformed, just as Ezekiel and the other prophets hinted they would. The New Covenant is guaranteed, revealed and mediated by a new Mediator, still primarily at root made with Judah and Israel, with Gentiles grafted in.

            A true prophet can be someone who encourages worship of other idols or a type of worship that our forefathers did not experience.
            No. Though the Jews of the desert days might not immediately recognise the Temple as replacement for the Tabernacle. Reflection on God’s promise would have fully vindicated His promise.

            A true prophet can be someone who makes a prediction that fails to come to pass.
            Absolutely not.

            I must now return to my ordinary labours, I shall not have the leisure I have had this past week to continue. However truth matters more than anything else, and though we debate till our dying days, this is no game, as action must witness, I am in debt to His people forever. God bless.

          • I should have written ‘absolutely he will’ in response to your ‘The Messianic king will not usher’. I believe all these will be fulfilled, more gloriously than we now expect, definitely including Israel’s vindication in the face of her bitter regional and global enemies. Indeed it’s arguable that without the timely help of Christian Zionists like Hechler, Blackstone and Wingate, Herzl’s secular project would have had to have been even more miraculously Divine than it was. Your King was helping you, even though you don’t acknowledge Him. Though like other glorious national revivals, in Hezekiah and Josiah’s time for example, there may also be serious apostacy afterward for a time, as Daniel 11 suggests.
            Direct textual proof that Messiah must be primarily priestly? Ps.110.4 – Melchizedek being primarily honoured for his priestly ministration and blessing even of Abraham, who acknowledged this by tithing to him (Gen.14.18-20).

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, the complete challenge along with the Scriptural citations is here:

            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/the-school-of-matthew/#comment-7471

          • Tikvah says:

            Todah! (I think the names are getting posted to the wrong comments??)
            As someone rightly stated before,”IF”,”IF’,”IF”, He was G-d’s son,And born to a virgin,that would have had to have been a pure incident,so no earthly,natural father.Yeshua WAS a blood decendant of King solomon because his mother was a decendant of Solomon’s decendant,Nathan.(And everyone keep insisting you’re only Jewish through the mother)Fortunately,no-one’s arguing whether He was Jewish or not…;)
            Didn’t being an adopted son of Yoseph,give him all the rights of a natural son?
            I’m checking out for Shabbat…Shabbat shalom

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah,

            1. Matrilineal descent determines Jewishness. This is inferred from Deuteronomy 7:1-5; Leviticus 24:10; and Ezra 10:2-3.

            2. Patrilineal descent determines tribal affiliation (Numbers 1).

            3. Tribal affiliation does not pass to an adopted son. Where did you get that notion from?

            4. Christian scripture traces the genealogy of Joseph only (see Matthew 1 and Luke 3), who was according to Christian scripture not the biological father of Jesus.

            5. The two genealogies of Joseph (which is anyway irrelevant to Jesus) contradict each other.

            Conclusion: According to 2 Samuel 7:12-14 and 1 Chronicles 22:9-10, Jesus does not qualify to be the Messiah.

          • Tikvah says:

            thanks for the info.
            Yes they do obviously contradict each other.I was told that is because one is Miriam’s FATHERS geneology,because women didn’t count in Geneology.(I forget which one)Gives me something to study…;)

          • Dina says:

            To Charles:

            Wherefore do the Christians depart when the discourse becomes of a sudden surpassingly interesting? In vain have I sought a Christian who would thrust and parry with me to the bitter end!

            My pedagogical friend has failed to produce the Scriptures I requested. We are nevertheless in agreement about one point: the false prophet will surely prophesy that which shall not come to pass. Therefore, Jesus was a false prophet (Luke 9:27).

            Perhaps, then, thou shouldst join me in becoming “a practiced yet highly sceptical reader.” ‘Twill do thee a world of good!

            But thine earthly labors call thee. Go then; return to thy mundane tasks; perchance we will meet here again.

            Fare thee well!

            Yours,
            Samuel Johnson, oops, I mean, Dina Bucholz

            P.S. Are you from the U.K. or Canada? Your spelling looks British.

          • Tikvah says:

            OK,this is crazy…using Jer 31 verses to prove it doesn’t exist??????
            Wow,the lengths…the depths

          • cpsoper says:

            It is said rabbis dream of a yeshiva like Heaven, and it would be paradise indeed to have the liberty to ‘thrust and parry to the bitter end’. Unfortunately some of us Brits have no such leisure, and I can’t promise now any quick replies, but I will read what is written sooner or later, but who wants to fence with a snail?
            I have left you plenty of texts, I am sorry you or others haven’t addressed these. I still wait for a reply about the clear marriage of concepts of inheritance and lineal descent in the Zelophehad file. As to false prophecy, I think like your forebears, you’re looking for the full grown tree, when what Messiah spoke of was its sure root and foundation (Lk.17.20-21). It will now surely grow, the Law will be confirmed, your people exalted and blessed, and all this through your own Messiah, I am not alone
            in thinking so
            .
            There is one other matter, which I had not taken up again, I wished to clarify.
            ‘Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all smack of idolatry; therefore…what exactly?
            Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all smack of misogyny; therefore…what exactly?’

            This summary misses the main point. There is a material correlation between a specific problem: use of the pagan concept of the Simplex, and a denial of the image of God, which results in fractured view of God and of humanity and often ends in misogyny, whichever circle it is found in. It is a serious problem in scholastic Christian theology (see the votes of approval – even better on the US site) (even among those teachers my church and I respect in other areas), but it reaches apogee in the Islamic tauhid, which is why I have long taken an interest having served in a Muslim country, and the Simplex also lies almost as much at the heart of Maimonides’ solitary monotheism. I could expand on this, but then I will perhaps again weary you with syllables and obscurities.
            Yesterday, at your prompting, I cut my few remaining ties to the pagan winter solstice we call Xmas, still so much at the heart of winter Christian worship. Removing the high places is a slow and painful business, but when will you each start seriously examining your ties to the paganism at the heart of Maimonides’ Hellenised view of Deity?

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah,

            It doesn’t require a great deal of study to read Matthew 1 and Luke 3 to see for yourself that the genealogies are only of Joseph. To base your faith on “what you were told” seems irresponsible to me.

            Your statement that “women didn’t count in genealogy” is exactly what I was trying to tell you. Tribal affiliation is passed through patrilineal descent only.

            This is a big problem for you, my friend. But it’s only one among many. Good luck sorting them all out!

            Dina

          • “Luke, by the Spirit, introduces his account like this, ‘…that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.’ Matthew, or Levi, a senior tax collector before his conversion, records his genealogy of the Messiah with equal awareness of the many scoffers and rejecters of His majesty. Do critics really imagine the two writers to be presenting so awkward and massive a contradiction, that even a small child could easily perceive it, without any qualification or reference to the other ‘flawed’ position?” Quote from that Z~ file, linked below.

          • Dina says:

            Greetings, Charles! You’ve returned sooner than expected. I knew it! I knew you were British (“labour” and “sceptical” gave it away).

            With my apologies to Rabbi Blumenthal for going off topic, did you know that the average American works 3 1/2 hours more per week than the average Brit (according to Forbes Magazine)? Having said that, I do have more leisure time than most, but I would like to be working. I hope that will change soon.

            I don’t understand what Zelophehad has to do with anything. Your understanding of matrilineal descent in this case is way off the mark, but what is the relevance? The genealogies in Matthew and Luke are clearly of Joseph. I keep checking back to see what I’m missing, and nowhere does it say that the genealogies are of Mary (but even if they were you would still have the problem of matrilineal descent which you have completely misunderstood).

            Furthermore, not only do the two genealogies contradict each other, but one is through David’s son Nathan, and the other passes through Jeconiah, who was cursed that his descendants wouldn’t sit on the throne of David.

            I commend you for ceasing to celebrate Christmas. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, so keep walking, Charles. No goose with sage and onion dressing or Christmas pudding for you this year? Too bad. I have some really great recipes for those in my cookbooks :).

            I can’t argue with you about the Simplex and all that sort of thing because I am unschooled in Greek philosophy. But I find the argument that rabbinic Judaism operates under pagan influences remarkable to say the least.

            The best I can do in that regard is point to the behavior of those who followed Greek pagan theologies (if one can use that word in this case) and the behavior of those who followed the rabbis. You claimed that these ideas led the Greeks to wicked behavior, but I don’t see that being the case with the rabbis. In fact, if we’re going to go by moral behavior, then judging the two societies over the last two millennia, I’d rather stay in the camp of the Jews than the Christians.

            Your faithful servant 🙂 ,
            Dina

          • I agree about error correction.
            No, no, Luke’s whole account focuses on Mary, why does he write ‘as was supposed’ in front of Joseph, and whilst I respect that physicians are not always perfect, do you really think Matthew and Luke as mere human writers could make such an appalling mistake as to confuse Joseph’s father, the very grandfather of their Messiah? Luke would be a quack. Luke’s genealogy is Mary’s not Joseph’s. There is an interesting crossroads at Salathiel and Zerubabbel, but otherwise from David on they are different lines with different purposes – one a formal lineage,the other genetic. Zelophehad’s daughters’ endorsed plea for inheritance rights was founded on the perpetuity of their father’s name, his lineage, same applies to Boaz’ argument over Ruth, using Mahlon’s name, in spite of it not appearing in the genealogies later. You mentioned rife contradictions, what did you write earlier about the Tenach, about how apparent discrepancies can reveal remarkable depths when you consider them carefully – it is certainly so again and again in all the scriptures, double striking of the rock, Peter’s conversion, double feeding of the thousands, these genealogies.
            Heaven is going to have to wait, it’s 12.45 here.

          • Dina says:

            Charles, I missed your last question, so the answer is yes, I think they did make those mistakes. I don’t think they consulted each other’s work before writing it, necessarily. This is only one of many massive problems in Christian scripture. Contradictions between stories are fire, as well as misquotes from Hebrew scripture and fabricated quotes as well. So this is not only not surprising, it’s also one of the least of your problems.

            Also one other point I forgot to address: regarding false prophecy, Luke 9:27 is a false prophecy. It simply did not happen, and the time for it to happen passed nearly 2,000 years ago.

          • Dina says:

            It’s annoying not to be able to correct mistakes after posting them. I meant to say that contradictions are rife, not fire.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Charles.

            I’m surprised that an erudite gentleman such as you are is impressed with Luke’s poor scholarship. I’m even more surprised that you see the genealogy that begins in Luke 3:23 as being Mary’s. Beside for the obvious problem that Mary isn’t mentioned in the genealogy, you have this one:

            Luke 3: 23: He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli.

            If the genealogy was Mary’s, it should have said “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the DAUGHTER of Heli.” That would have been a bizarre way to say it, since the phrase “son of Heli” logically follows “Joseph,” but at least you would then have wiggle room to say that Heli was Mary’s father and not Joseph’s.

            But like I said, it’s irrelevant, because tribal affiliation is passed through the father. As for Zelophehad, your understanding is off the mark. You are referring, I assume, to the story of his daughters in Numbers 27. The story picks up again in Numbers 36. Read that chapter very carefully, paying careful attention to phrases like “their fathers.” And tell me if that in any way changes your current understanding of patrilineal versus matrilineal lineage and the laws of inheritance.

            As for discrepancies: I fail to see how depth is added by making the gospel stories contradict each other in such a way that they could not each have happened.

            I will give you one more example of Luke’s poor scholarship and just another reason why it’s impossible to take this guy seriously (being a doctor is not proof of brains):

            From http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_lib.htm#:

            “Matthew claims that the birth of Jesus occurred during the reign of Herod the Great of Judea, a puppet king of the Romans, whom we know died in 4 B.C. Luke also tells us that Jesus’ birth happened during Herod’s reign. Luke even adds what appears to be detailed and historical evidence of the period. He writes that Jesus was born during a census or registration of the populace ordered by emperor Augustus at the time that Quirinius (Cyrenius) was Roman governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-3). In reality, this has to be a fabrication because Quirinius was not governor of Syria and Judea during Herod’s kingship. Direct Roman rule over the province of Judea, where Bethlehem was located, was not established until 6 A.D. In other words, ten years separated the rule of Quirinius from Herod.

            “If the census did take place, it was in the year 6 CE, long after Herod’s death. Therefore, Matthew’s stories of the Wise Men’s visit to Herod and the Christchild, and Herod’s massacre of the innocents which caused the holy family to flee to Egypt, are all historically impossible. Moreover, it should be noted that Luke also got his facts wrong about the census of Augustus. Such an imperial census would only apply to Roman citizens of the empire, not to Joseph, a Galilean who was not under direct Roman rule.

            “As for the hometown of Jesus’ parents, neither gospel can agree where it was. Matthew has them residing in Bethlehem in Judea, while Luke says they lived in Nazareth in Galilee. Incredibly, Luke has Joseph take his wife Mary, in the last stages of her pregnancy, on an arduous four day journey by foot to Bethlehem because of the census. This assumes that the “census” (i.e. a registration which was to assist in levying a poll or a property tax) was conducted in a most peculiar way. According to Luke, illiterate peasants had to somehow trace their tribal and family heritage back to their ancestral birthplace, and then to report there for registration. The confusion and mass movement of population this would entail was, in fact, contrary to the sensible Roman practice of registering men (women had no political or property rights) for the head tax at their current dwelling place or the chief town of the local taxation district.

            “It was important, however, for the authors of both these gospels, that Jesus be born in Bethlehem because it was the city of David from where, it was prophesied, Israel’s ruler would come (Micah 5:2). Even so, John’s gospel, contrary to Matthew and Luke, relates the common knowledge that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem, and that he was not a descendant of David (John 7:41-42).”

            This is very long, but I haven’t finished.

            You have chosen to focus on a small detail of my challenge. The rest of the challenge regarding the personal credentials of the Messiah show that Jesus did not qualify. First, even if Joseph was his real father and somehow we could accept the contradictory genealogies, each one disqualifies Jesus. One genealogy is through David’s son Nathan and the other is through the cursed Jeconiah. Second, Jesus was never anointed king of Israel, nor did he reign as a Davidic king in Israel.

            The idea that the Messiah will come, fail to take the throne of Judah, die, and come back to do so is found nowhere in Hebrew scripture.

            Then there is the remainder of the challenge: Jesus failed to fulfill a single messianic prophecy from the list I presented and he qualifies as a false prophet both on account of encouraging a type of worship that our fathers did not experience and on account of false prophecy (such as Luke 9:27).

            Okay, that’s enough for now.

            Good luck,
            Dina

          • Dear Dina and all,
            The words ‘son of’ don’t appear in the Greek, they are in italics for that reason.

            You’ll find my fairly careful examination of the passages in Numbers and my response to the claims here and at Jews for Judaism in that file (the link again is here)

            As for discrepancies: I fail to see how depth is added by making the gospel stories contradict each other in such a way that they could not each have happened.
            Can you cite a clear example, and I’ll see if I can show what I mean?

            I will give you one more example of Luke’s poor scholarship and just another reason why it’s impossible to take this guy seriously (being a doctor is not proof of brains):

            Agreed, very true – but sometimes even the sanest, wisest doctor is unjustly accused of folly. It’s wise to consider carefully the motive of the critic as well as the quality of content of the criticism.

            When I was a schoolboy, my teacher who specialised in Greek, mocked Luke’s account of a ship in Acts carrying 276 people. Now we know this was no no special size, and he was just deliberately making hay from nothing, because the Bible exposed his sin.

            You raise an old chestnut. I accept there is a problem with a lack of clear record of Qurinius’ earlier census, but that per se is an argument from silence. It is perfectly plausible, and Luke was a careful and astute historian. It may well be cleared up, just as for example the site if Abraham’s Ur was clairified against the cynics by Sir Leonard Woolley. Your other problems seem to me well address by these sites, a, b,and c.

            First, even if Joseph was his real father and somehow we could accept the contradictory genealogies, each one disqualifies Jesus.

            I beg your pardon? Joseph was emphatically not his real father. The promise to David would have been broken if he were.

            One genealogy is through David’s son Nathan and the other is through the cursed Jeconiah.
            Please read that file.

            Second, Jesus was never anointed king of Israel, nor did he reign as a Davidic king in Israel.
            He reigns now and He waits until His enemies are become His footstool. Think again, humanly, who brought Israel back to Israel – secular Jews and ardent Christians helpers – it’s interesting how little Jews and Christians know about Blackstone, Hechler, Wingate or the many other quiet behind the scenes Christian Zionists who helped block their opponents. The sceptre of your King were believing Christians and largely self-confessedly unbelieving or reform minded Jews – doesn’t that tell you something?

            The rock is spreading out through the world, but those who are first, your own special and privileged nation, to whom we owe very much, will be last and highest in blessing, and those that are last – us gentiles, have been first in tasting his blessing, even if we have so often corrupted in with our idolatries, snatched it as our own heritage, and the even more foolish and evils professed followers, spoken and one foul and wicked things against His own. It’s noteworthy how often idolators hate and persecute those who reprove them, and even now you can see Jew hatred is often worse where idolatry has its deepest roots, in Rome and in the so called Orthodox churches. Though Luther’s demonic vitriol was by no means exceptional. This is not the Spirit of Messiah, or of the early or later martyrs, of whom we have had some in the UK, who prayed for and loved even those who murder them, and gently urge them to repentance.

            The idea that the Messiah will come, fail to take the throne of Judah, die, and come back to do so is found nowhere in Hebrew scripture.
            I agree, but the idea that He will come, then die, then come back to take the throne is most certainly found in Daniel 9, and in other passages.

            Then there is the remainder of the challenge: Jesus failed to fulfill a single messianic prophecy from the list I presented.
            Wait and see, Dina. The return to Israel is already in process, only a few years ago, peole said Jews in Israel were a tiny minority of global Jews – no more. Aliyah may well accelerate, if there are serious problems in the US economy (most of my family are there too, so I’m not hoping for it per se) and is there any other candidate on the horizon is there?

            He qualifies as a false prophet both on account of encouraging a type of worship that our fathers did not experience.
            Please clarify. I doubt Yitzhak Kaduri shared that view, but I may be wrong.

            … and on account of false prophecy (such as Luke 9:27).
            When Elishah’s servant saw the myriad unseen servants around the Syrian army, who seemed to massively outnumber him and his master, he knew he was in safe hands and that the progress of God’s kindgom was not just inevitable, it was already secured. May the Lord God of your fathers open your eyes.

            Now as to my question, though you may not like this, what do you think of this from Maimonides?

            ‘That God is incorporeal, that He cannot be compared with His creatures, that He is not subject to external influence; these are things which must be explained to every one according to his capacity, and they must be taught by way of tradition to children and women, to the stupid and ignorant, as they are taught that God is One, that He is eternal, and that He alone is to be worshipped.’ 1.35 M.N.

            So what is the sublime secret for the elitist philosopher?

            ‘If, however, you have a desire to rise to a higher state, viz., that of reflection, and truly to hold the conviction that God is One and possesses true unity, without admitting plurality or divisibility in any sense whatever, you must understand that God has no essential attribute in any form or in any sense whatever, and that the rejection of corporeality implies the rejection of essential attributes. Those who believe that God is One, and that He has many attributes, declare the unity with their lips, and assume plurality in their thoughts. This is like the doctrine of the Christians, who say that He is one and He is three, and that the three are one.’ 1.50. M.N.

            This denial of the Divine attributes comes very close to a practical denial of God’ personhood, One we can know, though we can never comprehend Him, and there’s much worse in this intermingling with Greek ideals.

            This is not the God of the fathers, these are not the ways of the One we worship.
            Hannah cried, ‘There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.’

            David says, ‘O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.’

            The Book of Job says, ‘He taketh the wise in their own craftiness’

            Yehoshua says, ‘ I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.’

            And Paul writing about Philosophers, says, ‘For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
            Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?’

            God bless you and help you wherever the truth really lies. I may not be able to reply quickly.

          • Tikvah says:

            Smile…My husband just delivered some NEEDED equipment to the settlers,& money to our sister city,Beit Shemesh,but we had to go through our friend’s son, who studies in a Yeshiva, because he will not accept money/things from “Christians”,but …as Isaiah said,”For Zions sake,I will not keep silent,for Jerusalems sake I will not hold my peace,till her righteousness shines forth as the dawn…”Tomorrow we will continue our tele-bible study with Rabbi Shapira…no, not on THE KOSHER PIG but on the Shema & Ahavat Israel….Lila Tov

          • Dina says:

            Hi Charles.

            I won’t be able to reply as soon as I would like, either. You gave me a bunch of files to read, and that will take time.

            When I do get back to you, I think I will start a new thread at the bottom of this page, as this one is getting quite cumbersome.

            Talk to you soon,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, I am not smiling.

            United Christians for Israel raises millions for Israel every year, and I have never heard of the money being rejected.

            There is a deeper reason that religious Jews don’t want to accept your money. You present yourself as Jewish but are really Christian. You’ve contradicted yourself on this point several times; I have no interest in arguing with you about this. I say, call a spade a spade and be done with it.

            Your deceptions (and not you personally but those of Messianic “Jews” in general) anger Jews in a way that you cannot begin to imagine. You continue to practice deception when you force your contributions through using more deception.

            I can respect you if you are a Christian. I cannot respect you if are not truthful about it.

            Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            Oh,so they respect me if I’m an “idol worshipper”?? I don’t understand that.The settlers will not accept Hagees money either & I NEVER misrepresent myself.EVERYONE knows who I am.YOU are bearing false witness.

          • Tikvah says:

            Deception?My Israeli Jewish friends are the ones who are pushing the money through to them”.For Israels sake I will not keep silent…For Jerusalems sake I will not hold my Peace”.Isaiah 62

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, if you worship Jesus you are a Christian who is practicing idol worship. If you claim to follow Judaism and not Christianity while worshipping Jesus, you are practicing idol worship plus deception.

            That is the Jewish point of view. You are free to disagree. I am just explaining to you why you make Jews so angry. Can you understand that?

            I have not been able to find any sources for your assertion that the settlers have refused Pastor Hagee’s money. Please provide evidence or retract that statement. Hagee is popular precisely because he refuses to try to proselytize Jews. He has come under fire for this from other Evangelical Christians, as this article shows: http://www.pfo.org/jonhagee.htm

            There is nothing I prize more than honesty and straightforwardness. That is why I respect Christians but hate the term “Messianic Jews.” It’s a dishonest term.

            I don’t think you are being deliberately deceptive. I believe you are sincere, but you have been misled.

            Best wishes,
            Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            Dina,
            1) ALL Jews are Messianic .And if Christian’s were true to their roots,they would be too,as it means,”follower of the Messiah”.
            2) I have e-mailed my Israeli friend (who held down the Sinai in a bunker & almost stopped the Camp David accord) to find out if his friends will accept CUFI’s money.I’ll let you know.Like I said his son,is in a Yeshiva in a settlement & His son in law is a rabbi,outside of Tel Aviv.
            P.S. my “smile” post was to ,I believe Charles,not you…Sorry for the “deception”,I should have addressed him…

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, your emphasis on the person of the Messiah (saying that Jews are followers of the Messiah) betray your Christian theology.

            Jews are not concerned with the person of the Messiah. We worship God and God alone. Our faith is God-centered. Yours is Jesus-centered. Or Messiah-centered, if you prefer.

            Therefore, to Jews, you are a Christian who presents herself as a Jew. To Jews, that is deceptive. I am not asking you to agree; I am only asking you to understand.

            As for your friend in the bunker–I don’t know him. What he has to say does not constitute real evidence. Provide real evidence for your statement, like a newspaper article from a reliable source. I have searched the Internet and found nothing. I imagine that the settlers’ refusal to accept money from Christians United would upset Christians. I would think that would make a great deal of noise.

            You must be able to support your claim with real evidence because you have made a serious charge. If you are wrong, you will be guilty of slander.

            I beg your pardon for misunderstanding the direction of your comment. Since we had been dialoguing earlier, I assumed it was directed at me.

          • Tikvah says:

            Dina,I do understand.My Messianic Jewish friends get offended if someone says they’re Jews,when they’re not.Like I said,I have reason to believe that I am but I don’t know.I just do what my heart tells me…I have an unexplainable love for the land & the people.I think it’s DNA.If you recall,I said I follow Torah,Sabbath & Messiah & you can “call me what you want”.In the technical & Greek language sense then,I’m a Christian because I’m a follower of the Jewish Messiah,but then so should every Jew be called who is waiting for Him,because that’s what it means.Unlike the others arguing on here, I never tried to change or convince YOU…I just keep saying who I am. I don’t “worship” who you call “jesus”,I worship Adonai.I keep telling you that.Rest assured ,there’s no slander.I’m not playing games.That’s why everyone accepts me.
            As far as my friend,I’m not suprised you didn’t find anything because they stopped the Camp David accords for a week…not the kind of thing they want to get out.But I’ll ask him if he has anything.He was a follower of Kahane.
            Lilah tov

          • Tikvah says:

            Dina,I found the story… http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-6398.html
            BTW,my friend, used to be an anti-missionary…he knows both sides & he knows I’m for real.

          • Tikvah says:

            @ Dina….http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?6398-Yamit-Retrospective-Israeli-Settlers-Evacuated-By-Force I can’t tell if the pics are him…he’s gray now He’s also good friends with the editor of Arutz Sheva.

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, you wrote that you understand, but I don’t think you really do understand. “Following” the messiah is not the same as “waiting” for him. Jews await the coming of the messiah because of the utopian era he will usher in. Otherwise he plays no role in our daily worship. We don’t talk about him, and we don’t think much about him.

            Your comments show that you do not understand this distinction.

            Your reasons for thinking you are Jewish are weak. If you want to join the Jewish nation, you would need to reject your messiah and undergo a conversion. You are not considered Jewish according to Jewish law. It’s nice that you love Israel and the Jewish people, but that doesn’t make you Jewish.

            Please don’t play word games. You wrote that you do not follow the person I call “Jesus.” Does it matter if you call him Jesus or Yeshua or whatever? This is an example of dishonesty.

            This guy, whatever you want to call him, was Jewish–but he was not the Jewish Messiah. Nor was he a divine being. If you believe either that he was the messiah or that he was a divine messiah, you are a full-fledged Christian. Now do you understand?

            Finally, I asked you for evidence that the settlers had indeed refused to take money from Christians, and you sent me links to articles about the settlers being evacuated by force. Completely irrelevant! If you fail to produce evidence for that claim, you must apologize for slander.

            And then you must face the real reason some religious Jews don’t want to accept your contributions.

            Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            OOPS!I thought you wanted evidence of my friend in the Sinai, or I would be “committing slander”.(well I’m glad I found that article because I always brag to people about “A”,so now I have the story & I forwarded it to him).

            *What you said “I didn’t understand” is how Jews FEEL,so THAT’S what I said,”I understand”,because my friends feel that way….Miscommunication galore going on here .

            *Are you Israeli? because they constantly speak of Moshiach.

            *Here’s my friends answer:

            AXXXX,
            Will Mike take money from Hagee/CUFI?

            Today at 7:22 AM
            I don’t think CUFI will even consider dealing with people in Judea/Samaria. Spoke to their higher ups. Is there attitude change lately?
            A.

            So,this doesn’t establish if settlers take CUFI’s money but my post was about MY EXPERIENCE WITH THEM & why “Mike” wouldn’t accept the supplies from my husband,so A’s son had to go to Beit shemesh & get them.They were actually from his father,so there was no ‘deception”.My husband just got them in.

            Have a peaceful day,I need to get some work done …my hubby will be back before I know it.

          • Dina says:

            Dear Charles,

            I posted an apology to you at the bottom of the page. Just making sure you don’t miss it because it required ingesting a huge slice of humble pie :).

            By the way, did you know that humble pie comes from the medieval French “nombles,” the entrails of the deer or whatever animal was handy which formed the main ingredient of the pie (yum)? Eventually that word became “humble” in English, so the original humble pie was animal entrails pie (double yum).

          • Tikvah says:

            Whomever this “replies to”…Shabbat Shalom everyone

      • Yehuda says:

        David,
        As usual Rabbi Blumenthal provided all the response needed to your post, but I will accept his invitation to respond (and thank you Rabbi B. for the compliment) as well.

        Your post is for the most part a grand exercise in word play. We both know that the English word “worship” has multiple usages which range at one extreme to the service rendered to a deity to, at the other extreme, the adulation the teenage girls give to rock stars. So to accuse Judaism of “worshiping” the messiah is, in itself, a meaningless charge.

        You also seem hung up on OT references to bowing and offerings veneration. Surely you know that bowing, while an act of worship when offered to a deity is also routinely offered in the Torah between humans as a sign of deference and respect. Surely you don’t think Abraham was “worshiping” the Hittites in Gen: 23, nor do you think that Jacob was “worshiping” Esau in Gen 33. Similarly, the passages you quote about future veneration of Israel by other nations are clearly not about worship of a deity. Yes, sometimes the Torah uses the same vocabulary. Are you aware that the same root word used to describe worship of God is also the word used to describe Israel’s servitude to Pharaoh. Does that mean Israel “worshiped” Pharaoh as a deity?

        In the same Amidah you reference, we also express our hope for the redemption in seven distinct blessings, including a prayer for achieving a full repentance (5th blessing), a prayer for the redemption (7th blessing), a prayer for the in-gathering of exiles (10th blessing), a prayer for the restoration of our justice system (11th blessing), a prayer for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (14th blessing), a payer for the restored Davidic King (15th blessing), and the return of God’s glory to Jerusalem (16th blessing). We express this national hope in seven distinct blessings, but you are only concerned with one of them, the 15th, which you think trumps them all. Of course we pray for the messiah. We want the messianic age to arrive and a part of that glorious restoration is the restoration of the Davidic kingdom. We don’t pray TO the messiah. We pray FOR the messiah. Do you not see the difference?

        You anticipate that I will distinguish between the future veneration of Israel and worship of God when you wrote the following:

        “Of course you’re not going to characterize such behavior as “worship” because scripture says it will happen, and you believe apparently that “worship” is only given to God.”

        Well, that’s precisely right. And again it reveals a weakness in the flexibility of the word “worship” not a weakness in the valid distinction being made between what is done towards God and what is done toward any other entity.

        Let’s try to add some clarity to what worship of God deity is:
        1) It is an acknowledgement that we owe our existence solely to God.
        2) It is an acknowledgement that we owe our ongoing sustenance and well- being solely to God
        3) It is a recognition that God is an entity who listens to and can accept and act on our prayers no matter how miraculous the request
        4) It is a subjugation of the soul on a level of profundity that can derive only from an acknowledgement of the above points.

        Is this a complete description of what it means to worship God? Of course not. It’s just a scratching of the surface of what we spend a lifetime trying to perfect.

        Are there also many levels of veneration that can be offered between humans? Of course there are. And many of them are described in the passages you mentioned.

        But let’s not pretend we can’t clearly distinguish those that constitute deference between humans from those that constitute “worship” of God. I think we all know the difference. And if God made one thing crytsal clear in the Torah above all else, it’s that he expected us to know the difference.

        • David says:

          Hi Yehuda,

          You accuse me of word games and then you proceed to base your entire post on word games. My point was not that you “worship” God as does Christianity also but that Judaism criticizes Christianity for its “worship” of a man while engaging in the same behavior yourself. You (Judaism) worship the Moshiach. You tried to wiggle out of it but the fact is you pray NOT just for the coming of the Messianic era but for the coming of the MAN who will be the Moshiach. This MAN is your KING and TEACHER, there is no other. And, you do it every DAY, several times a day. The fact that you also pray for other things doesn’t change the fact for you any more than it changes things for Christianity which also prays for others and other events to happen. Apply the same standard as you do to Christianity. The “MAN” Moshiach is so central to your worship that you’ve allotted an entire statement of Rambam’s faith to him as you have also to Moses, another MAN. I also made the point that you accept and will accept the worship of the nations towards people of Israel in the Messianic era.

          You can’t have it both ways. You can be justified in criticizing that some in Christianity have a skewed concept of who or what God is or isn’t. And that’s a legitimate debate to have. But when it comes to worshipping a man, some here as well as you, have made the boast that, “WE DON”T EVER INTEND TO WORSHIP HIM” when in fact you are already worshipping him. And you will further support the worship of yourselves from the nations!

          That’s my criticism, not that you worship God, not that you criticize Christianity, but that Judaism is so hypocritical in denouncing Christianity when it says that it doesn’t or will not worship a man.

          • Yehuda says:

            So let me get this straight David.

            Judaism is hypocritical because we consider the christian belief that the man Jesus was interchangeable with the creator of the universe, to be idolatrous “worship” while at the same time not considering our fervent prayer for the emergence of our human, mortal, messianic teacher/king to not be idolatrous worship? Correct? In other words there is no valid distinction to be made on that account as pertains to “worship”. Correct?

            One other question, if you survey the full landscape of Jewish prayer you will find that we express our hopes for final redemption more often in terms of the rebuilding and restoration of the Temple than in terms of the coming of the Messiah. And we do that every day several times a day. and additional times on the festivals. Given that this wish is so central to our prayer, does that mean that we “worship” the Temple?

          • Yehuda says:

            …and again just to make sure I am understanding you, you also claim that we “worship” the MAN Moses who also occupies a prominent in the RAMBAM’s statements of faith. Correct?

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            I’m NOT really talking about the criticism Judaism makes regarding idolatry which is a valid argument to have, and I don’t support the Trinitarian counter to that charge (you should know that many Christians are not Trinitarians including me). My criticism of what many Jews do and Judaism does today in general in its attack on Christianity is that in your zeal to show Christianity in the worst possible light you lump the trump card of idolatry argument in with all general arguments about everything including a nitpicky self-righteous hypocritical focus on the fact that Jesus was a “man” and that we admittedly worship this man while Judaism falsely claims that it worships no man and many times Judaism also focuses on the aspect that he died and is as Jews mistakenly believe, now dead claiming that that makes the worship even worse. And what you do then without knowing it is that you put your own behavior with regards to your Moshiach and Moses for example under the same microscope exposing the hypocrisy.

            In an effort to show how wrong and lost Christianity is you over play your hand. You (Judaism in general and specific members on this blog) make the false claim not to have, not to ever have in the past, and that you never will: honor, adore, venerate, worship, (what-ever word you want to use) a man; not the Moshiach, not Moses.

            But the facts which I’ve noted above in my previous post expose the hypocrisy and error of that claim.

            Moses was worshipped, he was sent from God in your eyes (meaning he was approved and empowered by God for his mission) he was treated as lord by the people, he was the greatest in your eyes, he was the intermediary, he interceded, he saved, he judged, etc, and you accept it all.

            Moses is now dead. Moses is now venerated in Rambam’s 13 by name, a dead man. Moses will again be alive at the resurrection. He will again be addressed as lord and worshipped by some of those same people who addressed him as lord in the past as well as even you probably.

            The same and more can be said of your Moshiach who is also venerated even now as we speak and will be more venerated at his coming. Judaism holds that while Moses was the greatest, the Moshiach will be even greater and that none will be greater. You worshipped your King David and you’ll worship the Moshiach. No one will correct the Moshiach, in his teaching. No one will challenge the Moshiach as King. The nations will worship him and his people. And you will be right there approving of it all as you are approving of it all even now.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            Your opening comment of your last post was:

            “I’m NOT really talking about the criticism Judaism makes regarding idolatry which is a valid argument to have”.

            Well for the upmteenth time, when Jews bring the word worship into the discussion about Christiniity, THAT IS ALL THEY ARE DISCUSSING

            We are discussing committing the sin of idolatry with a particular man as it’s subject.

            Do we celebrate certain humans for the role they played, play, or will play in our history? Yes we do. Is that Idolatry, no, because we never confuse them with God.

            You have created a straw man argument about our claiming to never in any way venerate a man. We make so such claim. Our claim is that we worship no man as God.

            A man can be sent by God, have God’s approval, be God’s annointed, be God’s chosen leader, and be a Prophet of God. None of that constitutes confusing the messenger with the God who sent him. No one confued Moses with God. No one confused David with God, and no one confuses or will confuse the messianic King with God.

            I have now tried to make this valid distinction to you several times. You never address it. You simply keep returning to your strawman and your disingenuous use of the word worship to confuse the matter.

            So I will ask you again.

            You claim we “worshiped” David? So did Israel then commit idolatry in that worship?

            And I will ask you again. Does our repeated emphatic payer for the Temple – which we do more often than we pray for the messiah – mean we worship the Temple?

            Please answer the questions.

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            You wrote: “Well for the upmteenth time, when Jews bring the word worship into the discussion about Christiniity, THAT IS ALL THEY ARE DISCUSSING.”

            That’s a false statement and I’ve already pointed out how and where. But to reiterate, basically you (Jews on this blog) lump everything into this idolatry criticism including but not limited to worship of a man in an effort to bolster your attack on Christianity.

            Then you accuse me of a straw man and invent one of your own, that of the distraction none argument of praying for multiple purposes which as you know Christians do as well. We all pray in our own way for things to come to pass including a world which is only possible in the Messianic era. That doesn’t preclude us from praying to God as well or you from praying for the speedy coming of your Messiah.

            And if I’m wrong and you are right that my argument that Judaism’s attack on Christianity goes beyond the idolatry argument regarding Jesus as divine to include the piling on of the hypocritical criticism of Christianity’s veneration of Jesus because he’s a man is just a straw man invented by me then why am I criticized on this blog for just that? I’ve never had one Jew support me on this blog for my non-Trinitarian belief. The complaint against me has always been words to the effect that even though I don’t believe that Jesus is God or divine, I still make the error of worshipping or venerating or paying homage to (insert which ever word you want) of a mere a man (or words to that effect). If the argument against Christianity were simply that Trinitarians turn a mere man into God than Judaism wouldn’t have any problem, or Jews on this blog at least wouldn’t have a problem with my treatment of Jesus as the Christ and Son of God, but it still does as is often made clear to me on this blog.

            If you are saying now you have no problem from an idolatry or erroneous worship point of view with my non-Trinitarian honoring or worship of Jesus then you are definitely in the minority on this blog and I applaud you for your independent thinking and going against the crowd.

          • Yehuda says:

            What has become abundantly clear with each of your successive posts in our little exchange, David, is that the exchange is not really about anything I ever posted but about some bones you have to pick about what you perceive as the treatment you have received on this blog. This helps me understand your reluctance to actually address my points or questions directly because that would distract you from your soapbox. Why you chose something I posted in response to someone else as the springboard from which to launch this particular diatribe is a bit of a mystery, but not especially relevant. I hope, at least, it made you feel better.

            You want some validation for not being a trinitarian? I hereby grant it to you. By not being a trinitarian you certainly have a step in the right direction, or at least one less step in the wrong direction. I do not claim to know enough about your personal beliefs to justify an accusation of idolatry against you. And unlike your oddly narcissistic view of this blog, determining where you personally fall on the idolatry spectrum has never been of any particular interest to me. Moreover, as best as I can tell, the overwhelming majority of discourse between you and others on this blog has been on things like Isaiah 53 where the idolatry issue is not on the forefront. However, you also need to understand that not every comment made on this blog can be expected to be custom tailored to your personal brand of Christianity. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Christianity DOES worship Jesus as God. Again, if it makes you feel better, I hereby qualify all future posts I may make with the following disclaimer: “Anything I post does not necessarily apply to David”.

            Now, since you seem to acknowledge (sort of) the distinction I have made between the idolatrous worshiping of something or someone as God and and venerating something for other reasons, and since you continue to refuse to answer the simple questions I put to you.in an effort to drive home that distinction, I can only assume that you have conceded these points. And even if you haven’t, I am beyond content to let the judicious reader of our little exchange read it carefully and decide which of has been addressing the the other and which of us has simply been attempting to vent his spleen.

            In any event, I wish you peace.

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            I see you have a sense of humor. I can assure you the bones to pick are not imaginary and the reason I didn’t answer the question or questions (I went back to your last post and see there are two) before is because they were a distraction from the point which is that the criticism against Christianity runs deeper than a mere deification of Jesus.

            These are your questions:

             You claim we “worshiped” David? So did Israel then commit idolatry in that worship?
             No.
            And I will ask you again. Does our repeated emphatic payer for the Temple – which we do more often than we pray for the messiah – mean we worship the Temple?

            Not any more than when the people of Israel would worship in the direction in the tent of meeting or in the direction of the temple. That’s my way of saying no.

            I can see that in asking the questions you’ve missed my point which I repeatedly stated in my posts.

            My point was never that Israel is idolatrous in its worship of Moses and David and the Moshiach, just the opposite. My point has always been that Judaism criticizes Christianity of idolatry … and then some, even when you remove the deification factor out of the argument, Judaism still has a problem with Christianity for the worshipping of a man. The hypocrisy comes in because Judaism has worshipped a man as the go between.

            One last point, I read that you claim not to pray “to” the Moshiach but for the Moshiach. Well, he’s not here yet not alive yet according you Judaism. The Israelites did the equivalent of praying to Moses when Moses was alive. Take the case of the serpents. Their prayers went through Moses. They did not pray directly to God. There is no evidence that anyone prayed to God when they were with Moses. They petitioned Moses. They said “pray for us.” In general the Israelites did not speak to God neither in prayer nor in or petition. They spoke to Moses. In general God did not speak to the people either; He spoke through Moses. Take the case of Miriam’s leprousy. Aaron said to Moses, “oh my lord, (“my lord” did you hear that?) do not punish us (God’s punishing them not Moses but he seeks relief from Moses) for the sin that we have so foolishly committed.” And Moses cried to the YHWH, “Oh God, please heal her.”

            These people all went through Moses just as we Christians now go through Jesus, some because they believe he’s God and some because we believe He’s not God but God’s anointed.

          • Yehuda says:

            Hi David,

            if you don’t mind I’d like to make a housekeeping point before getting to your substance..

            So you basically admit that you WERE ignoring my questions because they were a “distraction from THE point”.. Well excuse me but that is precisely what I said in my last post. They may have been a distraction from what YOU wanted to talk about, but they were very relevant to what I had been talking about. And since our exchange began with YOU taking exception to something I had written (i.e. you picked this fight) – to someone else no less – the rules of polite discourse entitle me to determine what I was referring to without having to deal with what YOU wanted to put in my mouth.. And what I was referring to was “worship” in the idolatrous sense and not “worship” as you like to use it to be very loosely interchanged with other forms of veneration. BTW, I make this point not for the sake of one-upsmanship, but as a piece of constructive criticism, You might want to note this in any future exchanges you have because it will save you and whoever your are debating a lot of wasted time. If you begin such future dialogues by saying something like, “Yes, but lets consider the related issue of, etc. ”’. ,

            Now that we agree, that you began this by taking a soapbox opportunity to pick your bones,rather than speaking to what I was discussing., I will for the sake of politeness offer you a response to your issue of “intermediary prayer”. but I’m also advising you that I have no real interest in debating this topic. It’s your bone not mine and as such the likelihood is that I will leave it to any other interested observers to continue this..
            .
            1) If you really want some kind of validation of your personal status and whether or not Jews would consider it idolatrous and why we might distinguish it from the manner in which we venerate our leaders, it would behoove you to state VERY VERY clearly EXACTLY what you mean when you call Jesus the SON OF GOD. As Jews, we consider ourselves all sons of God for the simple little reason that God himself called us that in Deut 14:1. So if you want to clear some of the air on this point, please tell us exactly how Jesus is a son of God in a manner that no other human was, is, or ever will be..

            2) Yes, Jews, subscribe to the idea that those who have earned a special relationships with God might have their prayers answered more expediently than others.. It is also important to note that in both of the instances you mentioned with regard to Moses a critical reason that that Moses was asked to pray was because the sin in question was committed against Moses himself and by asking Moses to pray they were asking Moses to demonstrate that he personally forgave them for their offense which Judaism believes is a necessary element in obtaining God’s forgiveness for sins against our fellow man. However, to repeat my earlier points, there is nothing in Judaism akin to your belief that praying through or to another man is ever REQUIRED in order to achieve good standing with God. On the contrary, King David made very clear in Psalm 145:18 that “God is close to ALL who call upon him”. No intermediary needed. So that actually calls for you – who don’t think Jesus is God – to explain why you think his intercession is necessary..

            See ya..

            All the best,

            Y

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            I think you’ve misjudged me. There’s a lot of accusations there about my motives.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            I don’t think I made a lot of “accusations”.. The only thing I really “accused” you of is taking my original post out of context in order to talk about something else. In the context of these often charged debates,that;s something we probably all do from time to time and it’s not an especially grievous charge. It just wastes time. I assure you none of this is personal. It couldn’t be,because I don;t know you. I’m sure you’re a good guy. And if I’ve offended you personally. I apologize.

            Peace.

        • David says:

          Hi Yehuda,

          If you go back and check you’ll see that from the beginning I never injected idolatry into it. You did. You consistently ignored what I was saying regarding worship about how it is used to show honor to men as well as God. That doesn’t mean we confuse the two. When we worship God we know it’s God and we only worship God as God, and when we worship a man we know its a man and we only worship a man as a man. We don’t worship a man as if he were God. And we don’t worship God as if he were a man. But you kept insisting on your definition and then got personal about it telling me I’m on my soapbox, having bones to pick inventing straw men, playing word games, etc., all the while pretending to be the polite one while looking down your nose at me. Since I wasn’t talking about idolatry, your questions were a distraction to the main topic of worship.

          • Dina says:

            Well, David, Yehuda indicated that he wouldn’t mind if someone took over from here. (I’m disappointed because his arguments are devastating and he writes well.) So I would just say that you failed to make the distinction between worship of the Messiah for whose arrival we pray and for the Temple, the prayers for which outstrip those for the coming of the Messiah. In other words, why is the one considered worship and the other not? And that question of Yehuda’s was definitely relevant to the topic of worship.

            Additionally, you can go back to our other threads and reread our arguments on this topic and see how excellently I addressed this issue :).

            You’ve also failed to address his arguments against the concept of the intermediary in his last substantive comment. Why you see those arguments as mere distractions is beyond my comprehension.

          • Yehuda says:

            Yes I kept insisting on my definition because we were discussing something I WROTE, for goodness sake, and not even to you. What on earth gives you the colossal chutzpah to imagine that I have to defend my words on the basis of what they mean in your dictionary.

            Absolutely remarkable.

            David, I really do wish you the best. But if you don’t recognizing that these discussions are not just about you, you may soon find people becoming tired of responding to you altogether.

          • Dina says:

            Also, David, I did respond to your last comments on “A Conversation about Isaiah” and “TYVM.” I understand if you want to focus on one dialogue at a time; I just wasn’t sure if you were aware that I had responded (and in one case others had joined the conversation).

            Best,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            And, David, I responded below concerning my accusation of Christian contempt. Just want to make sure you’re not missing anything.

  14. Yedidiah says:

    What does one mean by the term “divine moshiach”? Does God anoint other divine beings (gods? Or do angels need to be anointed?) or must God anoint God?? If an anointed divine being becomes a human or acts like he or she were human in order to “preach” to humans (since supposedly humans can’t communicate with God otherwise nor apparently God can’t accomplish His “plan” or acts without first becoming human or relinquishing power to a human), does the divine being need to give up a portion of their divinity or a portion of their anointing in order to be a human messenger? If we can notice “angels” in minutes or in some short period of time, how long must the “divinity” of a divine being be hidden from humans, since supposedly we must believe that it is “true” that humans first require a messenger “play acting” as a human in order to finally come around to worship the “true” God?

    Also, I wonder why Christian “Jews” like Mr Shapira base the foundation of their faith/beliefs primarily on Christian scriptures, while at the same they greatly try to distance themselves from Jesus (aka Yeshua) and Christianity’s & Yeshua’s New Testament. He seems to have far more problems with Orthodox’s Jews than my Christian Pastor who was welcomed to attend RH/Yom Kippur services by a Chief Rabbi in Israel or who was warmly welcomed to eat in the Sukkah of an Orthodox Jew just recently. Perhaps, there is a difference between acting like a sneaky, “trojan horse” who “lives among his ‘enemies’ as if he were still one of them” and one who is not acting, but who is humble, sincere, and honest as a true Christian believer of Yeshua aka Jesus, should be?

    • Yedidiah says:

      I also heard of a well-known mega-church evangelistic Pastor, who is a very strong supporter of Israel, who once confided to an Orthodox Rabbi, that education of Jews about Judaism was important (as Jews for Judaism knows). This man who, like many Christians, wants to bring all Israeli Jews to believe in “Yeshua”, stated that if Jews knew more about Judaism, few would convert to Christianity (or Messianic “Judaism”) and believe in Yeshua, aka Jesus.

  15. Shomer says:

    Finally – you would expect them to open their ears just a little bit when the same Jewish people are arguing that God is God and not Jesus.

    Well, Jesus is God in fact. HaShem had said about “Jesus”:
    Exo 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them….

  16. Dina says:

    David, I’m addressing in a new thread something you mentioned in a comment to Rabbi Blumenthal. Here is the relevant paragraph:

    “Regarding your question of who is closer to the truth, the Trinitarian or the Jew. From a practical point of view, rank and file Christians (not hard core Trinitarians) who happen to be Trinitarian by default are more open to study scripture (than the Jew) and see where a hard core Trinitarian argument becomes very difficult to make or support based on scripture. The Jew on the other hand goes by tradition, culture, extraneous writings, and history more so and sometimes in contradiction to scripture.”

    This paragraph is dripping with contempt for Jews. You imply that unlike Jews, Trinitarians (not the hard-core ones, of course) are more open to reading Scripture with an open mind. Besides for demonstrating contempt for Jews’ ability to think for themselves, you also demonstrate ignorance of how Jews approach the study of Scripture.

    Let me describe the process in my own education.

    When I was in the first grade, I was taught to read and translate Scripture starting from the first chapter of the Book of Genesis. In the third grade, I began to learn Scripture along with commentary. The teacher instructed my class to look for problems in the verses we were studying. The problems we were encouraged to look for were contradictions between similar passages, or differences such as those you would find between the two enumerations of the Ten Commandments. Other problems we looked for concerned apparent grammatical errors, unusual tenses, singular versus plural usage (when plural was used where singular seemed called for and vice versa). Some of the questions were simply “why” or “how” questions. Then the teacher encouraged us to try to resolve these problems. We discovered that all our questions had already been asked and resolved by various classical commentaries.

    The best and brightest in the class were those students who FOUND THE MOST PROBLEMS. Questioning and analyzing was not only not repressed, it was encouraged in the most emphatic way.

    You know, David, there is something about Christians that troubles me deeply. I am well aware that today, Christians (especially evangelical Christians) are pretty much the only friends the Jews have in the world. But when I talk to individual ones, I find a vast contempt for Judaism bubbling beneath the surface. And that terrifies me, because I can’t help wondering how sincere such love is, and I fear that sometime in the future that contempt will burst out from beneath the surface and roar into the old hate that has caused my people so much suffering.

    Your last words, “sometimes in contradiction to Scripture,” is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, or evidence of the cognitive dissonance under which you labor. I and others on this blog have shown you that your beliefs stand in direct contradiction to Scripture, and you remain completely unfazed.

    Peace and blessings,
    Dina

    • David says:

      Hi Dina,

      The paragraph in question is dripping with the truth. Just because you see it as contempt doesn’t make it so. So to set the record straight there is no contempt coming from me. But I do see contempt on this blog, that I agree with. I’m merely stating what I observe in the paragraph. Just because you take offense to it doesn’t mean that it was meant to harm; it was meant to educate, to inform, to provide some background information for my answer to Mr. Blumenthal as to why I answered the way I did.

      If anything the shoe is on the other foot.

      What is the title of this blog?

      Judaism vs. Christianity.

      Why is that? I find a lot of anti-Christian rhetoric here turned around to make it look like the Christian is somehow against the Jew when in fact it’s more often the other way around.

      • cpsoper says:

        As a trinitarian, gentile disciple of the Nazarene, can I ask you David, what do you mean by the worship of the Messiah? Was the exalted deference which the angel in Revelation or Peter refused worship? Why would they refuse what was in your terms wholly appropriate – fake modesty perhaps? If Jesus is a creature, as you suggest, and His Sonship not eternal, nor His Unity with His Father so significant that this unity is also within the scope of the Shem’a and the succeeding command, what is the propriety of this dependence, this reverence, the unique and sufficient mediation He claims over both Abraham and Moses? Why when men fell and Jesus’ feet, ‘glorifying God’, did He not reprove them for a foolish conflation? Why when Thomas cried out at His sight of the wounds, ‘My Lord and My God’, did Jesus not explain his dangerous error? Why when He repeatedly makes the eternal destiny of His hearers hinge on the response to His words alone, or their exclusive relationship to God through Him, why was that not also idolatry, if the Memra too was the mere handiwork of HaShem? Do pagans pay their idols any any more affection or adoration than this?

        • David says:

          Hi cpsoper,

          I’m happy for your salvation knowing that you are a Trinitarian. I don’t know anything about “disciple of nazarene.”

          I don’t know what your primary language is but I speak English. So I’m going to mention this as kind of a basis for what the rest of the post is based on.
          The Hebrew word shachah and the Greek word proskuneo account for the vast majority of cases for the word “worship” as translated in the English bible translations.

          Upon inspection we find that the translators used “worship” only in connection to Jesus and God. And when referring to men they translated it other ways, usually as “bow down.” Unfortunately that sets up a bias in the readers mind that only Jesus and God deserve “worship” therefore Jesus must be God.

          To answer your questions regarding worship of the Messiah, I “worship”, honor, pay homage to, thank, respect, bow down to (insert any word which would equate to worship), Jesus as the Messiah (Christ). In my heart I know that Jesus is Jesus, a man and is not God, not divine. Therefore I don’t worship him as if he were God. Jesus is the Son of God, he was born, he died, and was raised by God and lives now and forever more as will we when we are as well raised from among the dead. I worship only God as God.

          You wrote:
          Was the exalted deference which the angel in Revelation or Peter refused worship? Why would they refuse what was in your terms wholly appropriate – fake modesty perhaps?

          My response:
          I reread that several times and I’m not 100% sure what you mean. So I’ll just paraphrase in my own words and hopefully I’ve captured most of what your question was driving at.

          My paraphrase of your question:
          Why did peter refuse to be bowed down to by Cornelius and why did the angel refuse to be bowed down to.

          My response:
          In both cases the respect expressed by bowing down, “proskuneo” (which also connotes that the one doing the bowing is inferior to the one on the receiving end) was inappropriate because in the case of Peter he recognized that Cornelius was not inferior so he stopped him, and likewise in the case of John he was not inferior to the angel, so the angel stopped him as well (the angel reminded John that he, the angel, was a fellow servant).

          You wrote:
          If Jesus is a creature, as you suggest, and His Sonship not eternal, nor His Unity with His Father so significant that this unity is also within the scope of the Shem’a and the succeeding command, what is the propriety of this dependence, this reverence, the unique and sufficient mediation He claims over both Abraham and Moses?

          My response:
          I’m not really sure what you mean by that either. But I’ll address a few things that I do understand. Jesus is eternal from the day he was born. But, he did not pre-exist himself. He is in unity with his Father in purpose but not in substance. He therefore is not divine but he perfectly expresses his Father in human form. Everything he hears and everything he sees from his Father is expressed and revealed by Jesus. Some differences between Abraham/Moses and Jesus are that they had differing missions. Jesus was also planned from the beginning to be the savior. The others were planned to be foreshadows of things to come. Jesus was favored by God beyond all others for the work he was to accomplish and therefore was endowed with holy-spirit from God his Father without measure and the commensurate power that comes with it. He was begotten by God at just the right time in history to take advantage of all of the lessons God had passed on to Abraham and Moses and Isaiah etc. I guess I could write and write and write but you get the idea.

          You wrote:
          Why when men fell and Jesus’ feet, ‘glorifying God’, did He not reprove them for a foolish conflation?

          My response:
          Men fell at the feet of Moses too glorifying God also when he and Aaron came to tell the Israelites in bondage in Egypt of God’s deliverance. They understood that Moses and Aaron were not God but that they represented God and were bringing good news of from God. No problem there.

          You wrote:
          Why when Thomas cried out at His sight of the wounds, ‘My Lord and My God’, did Jesus not explain his dangerous error?

          My response:
          There are several explanations for that. The word god or God in biblical times was used not as it is today. People used it all the time to refer to someone of prominence. You can even see the use of it this way in the OT. Secondly regarding the use of “god/God”, there were no upper and lower case in the bible. The translators applied punctuation as best they thought appropriate. So in this line of thought, when Thomas says, “my lord and my god” he could well be meaning his lord of the greatest prominence.

          Another possible explanation is that Thomas went from a psychological state of complete rejection of the lord Jesus, the Son of God, to a 180 degree turn around. He was so embarrassed that he blurted out “God” to demonstrate his change of heart. Not that he believed that Jesus was God, but that he now understood that Jesus represented God on earth. And Jesus didn’t correct him because he had compassion on him and his weak and fickle faith.

          Another possible explanation similar to the above is that when Thomas came to see the truth he exclaim with excitement not really thinking of all the words he was using as in the case of the transfiguration. Jesus didn’t correct his disciples when they suggested building tents to shrine them. They just spoke without thinking.

          And I’ve heard other explanations better expressed than what I’ve done here. But personally I think it is probably a combination of all of them in which the word god is used by Thomas as was customary for the times to pertain to a person of prominence and he was just excited and blurting out whatever out of being embarrassed for doubting that Jesus was alive.

          You wrote:
          Why when He repeatedly makes the eternal destiny of His hearers hinge on the response to His words alone, or their exclusive relationship to God through Him, why was that not also idolatry, if the Memra too was the mere handiwork of HaShem?

          I don’t know what that means.

          You wrote:
          Do pagans pay their idols any any more affection or adoration than this?

          I’m not sure what that means either. But pagans believe mistakenly their gods are Gods and reject the true God. If they knew the true God they wouldn’t worship false gods.

          • cpsoper says:

            Thanks David, your reply contains fairly standard Arianism, with its hallmark confusion of worship of the Creator with the creature. There are passages which speak of the worship of believers by unbelievers (as a consequence of error), where are the passages which indicate the glorifying of God in worship by God-fearing believers bowing before a man? 1 Ch.29.20 is the only passage that comes anywhere close and the context explicitly clarifies David’s position as a transient shadow, a mere type of a Greater to come, himself being on the verge of death.

          • Dina says:

            You know what it’s like, listening to a Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian hash it out?

            It’s like listening to two people who support gay marriage having a debate. One says that all sexually deviant unions (incest, polygamy, and so on) should be recognized marriage. The other thinks that’s ridiculous and says that only monogamous homosexual unions should join the current definition of marriage.

            Listening to them trying to persuade each other is like listening to you guys debate the divine or non-divine status of Jesus.

            Just my opinion. You do not need to respond to this :).

          • David says:

            Hi cpsoper,

            I’ll be happy to place into a category and label for you what I believe; I see you like to use labels and categorize people. You can refer to me as either a non-Trinitarian Christian, One God Christian, and/or biblical Unitarian. That means I read and study the bible as written. My one God beliefs are supported in scripture.

            You referred to yourself at least in part as a Trinitarian.

            As such do you hold to the standard “creed defined” Trinitarian belief of God as follows?

            The Trinity God is: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

            Jesus is the second person of the Trinitarian God Head and is 100% man and 100% God.

            Can you cite any scripture to support your Trinitarian definition?

      • Dina says:

        David, when you make a sweeping negative generalization and can’t support it with evidence, it’s not truth; it’s contempt.

        I gave you evidence from my personal experience to show you that you are wrong. Your response: no, I’m right. Somehow that’s not very convincing.

        You mentioned anti-Christian rhetoric on this blog. You are wrong that the rhetoric is anti-Christian. It would be more accurate to say anti-Christianity.

        Now here is something you ought to know. You are not the target audience of this blog. Rabbi Blumenthal (and he will correct me if I am wrong, but I think I am right in saying this) established this blog to convince OTHER JEWS of the truth of Judaism and turn back to Judaism those Jews who, because of their lack of Jewish education, have fallen prey to missionary propaganda. Rabbi Blumenthal has no problem with Christians remaining Christian, if I may be so bold as to state this on his behalf (and please correct me if I am wrong, Rabbi B.). We Jews do not proselytize. That’s because Judaism is for Jews, and all gentiles have a path to God without having to convert. Of course, if they want to join the nation of Israel, they are welcome to–but there isn’t a pressing need.

        And here is something else you also ought to know. A countermissionary blog would not exist if not for the missionary. First came the missionary, then came the countermissionary. All Jews have ever wanted is for you Christians to leave us alone. If you (Christians) would do that this blog would not exist. This blog is a response to Jews who have been aggressively proselytized by Christians AFTER THE FACT.

        You guys started this debate 2000 years ago. You tried all kinds of ways to get us to convert to Christianity, some horrible, some not so horrible, some courteous (as in recent times)–then you act all miffed when we respond with “anti-Christian rhetoric.” Sorry, David, that is just pathetic. And it’s also just wrong.

        I’m not saying you and others like Paul have no right to be here–just that you should understand that this blog is not directed at Christians.

        In fact, it’s also not directed at me, because Rabbi Blumenthal isn’t trying to get me back into the fold, being that I’m already there. So I hope you won’t take offense at my words.

        Best wishes,
        Dina

  17. Derek says:

    O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

    • Tikvah says:

      That says it all…Baruch ha ba B’Shem Adonai!

    • Dina says:

      Derek,

      Your comment disturbs me.

      For 2000 years Christians engaged in the worst kinds of persecution of a helpless people, slaughtering millions over the centuries. When they rebuke the Jewish people for the baseless and vicious charge you repeated from Christian scripture, you know what they sound like?

      Self-righteous hypocrites.

      Sorry for not taking you seriously. You just have no moral standing to do what you did, given the reprehensible legacy you represent.

      There is a rule about calling people names on this blog. But since your scripture regularly engages in name calling against us (hypocrite being a favorite one), I make this exception.

      This is not a personal attack on you, Derek. I’m sure you’re a kind-hearted soul whom I would love to have as a next-door neighbor. But when I see this open disdain for my people, I will call Christians out on it. They need to be made aware of this dangerous attitude simmering just below the surface of their professed love of the nation of Israel, an attitude they learned from a book that attacks their theological enemies. Just think about that for a minute. Our book highlights our own faults. Who is taking the moral high road? And what were the immoral consequences for the peoples of your faith for two millennia?

      May God the Father of us all lead us in the light of His truth. May He open your heart to confront with honesty the bias which you were taught. May He replace your contempt for His firstborn son with respect and compassion.

      Peace and blessings,
      Dina

      • LarryB says:

        Being 1/2 polish, “hopefully from the better half” I cannot wait to see the new movie “Aftermath”. I’m sure the christian community will be flocking to the theateres just like they did for mel gibsons movie about human sacrafice, what was it, oh yea they called it the passion of christ.

        • Dina says:

          Well, Larry, it seems Christians can’t stand the taste of their own medicine. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it themselves. That’s why they loved “The Passion of the Christ” (which negatively portrays Jews) and HATE “The Aftermath” (which negatively portrays Christians).

          I read an online review of the movie and the anti-Semitic comments that followed it are shocking. I also saw the usual defense that real Christians had nothing to do with the massacre.

          The difference between the two movies is that the first one is based on propaganda and the second is based on real, verifiable, historical fact.

          • LarryB says:

            maybe that is why many here say that catholics arent real christians. of course they would have to say the same thing about prodestants too.

          • Tikvah says:

            Dina,It doesn’t “negatively portray Jews” because EVERYONE in the movie is a Jew!!(except of course,the Romans/Italians,who ARE the ones who were killing “Jews”) .It negatively portrays Israels “leaders”,who held an illegal trial.

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, I don’t follow your logic that because all the characters in a given movie belong to a particular group, it follows that the portrayal of that group is necessarily positive.

            Be that as it may, I will share with you some anecdotal evidence of the consequences of that film.

            When “The Passion” was released, my husband’s coworkers watched it. That week, there was a noticeable difference in their attitude toward my husband. He could not ignore the unmistakable tension in the office. This from a guy who thinks it’s hilarious when someone driving by shouts out of their window, “Why did you guys kill Jesus?” In other words, he’s not the you’re-an-anti-Semite-card-flasher type. So he wasn’t imagining things.

            It’s instructive that Christians are up in arms about a film that shows a massive cover-up the massacre of Jews in a particular town in Poland, but they have no problem with “The Passion.” That’s all I’m saying.

        • Tikvah says:

          Oh I get it…You mean like G-d asked Avraham to SACRIFICE (correct spelling)Yitzak…His Son…His Only Son??

          • Dina says:

            Hey, Tikvah, did you actually read the rest of that story?

          • Tikvah says:

            Of course…why?What are you saying?

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, perhaps I misunderstood your comment. What did you mean by this: “Oh I get it…You mean like G-d asked Avraham to SACRIFICE (correct spelling)Yitzak…His Son…His Only Son??”

            If I misunderstood you, then my response does not apply.

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            I don’t know,Dina…I have read the rest of the portion,where G-d saw Avrahams faithfulness & provided another sacrifice…if that’s what you meant….but He DID ask him to sacrifice Yitzak.

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, it’s clear that you have missed the point of the story.

            God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Then He says, basically, don’t do it–I was only testing you to see how much you love Me. God is teaching that we do not sacrifice our children to show our devotion to Him. This was an earth-shattering lesson in a time when human sacrifice was common.

            So the lesson is that God does not desire human sacrifice.

            How did you miss this lesson? How is it that you have managed to twist this story to say that God desires human sacrifice? That although the Torah forbids the sacrifice of our sons and daughters, your god violated his own rules by supposedly sacrificing his own son (to himself, which is just bizarre)? Not to mention that he broke his own commandment not to commit adultery by conceiving a son with another man’s wife. Why couldn’t he have chosen a free virgin?

            By the way, Tikvah, are you Jewish (as in born of a Jewish mother)?

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            The lesson had nothing to do with sacrifice per se, whether human or animal. The lesson was a supreme test of Abraham, and serves as a lesson for us today to be willing to turn over to God everything in our lives including, and most importantly, that which we hold most dear. Abraham would not have been able to pass the test at the onset when first called from Ur of the Chaldeans. But he grew in faith one step at a time.

            The lesson is also that God would not have been able to use Abraham as He did nor can he use us as He has planned for our lives if we are not willing to trust and obey and grow in faith over time as did Abraham.

            The Old Testament is full of statements that God is not interested in sacrifice per se. He’s interested in a change of heart. But our actions as in the case of Abraham can reflect what’s in the heart and in that sense can be pleasing to God.

          • Dina says:

            David, I think you are going to be surprised.

            I agree with you.

            I’m going to clarify and just say that if Christians use this story as a lesson on human sacrifice (such as Tikvah is trying to do), then Christians have learned the wrong lesson. If we can glean any lesson from this story on sacrifice, my take is consistent with Scripture.

            So how ’bout that, eh, David?

            Best,
            Dina

      • Derek says:

        I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

        What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:

        “God gave them a spirit of stupor,
        eyes that could not see
        and ears that could not hear,
        to this very day.”
        And David says:

        “May their table become a snare and a trap,
        a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
        May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
        and their backs be bent forever.”
        Ingrafted Branches

        Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

        I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

        If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

        Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

        All Israel Will Be Saved

        I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

        “The deliverer will come from Zion;
        he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
        And this is my covenant with them
        when I take away their sins.”
        As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

        Doxology

        Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
        How unsearchable his judgments,
        and his paths beyond tracing out!
        “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
        Or who has been his counselor?”
        “Who has ever given to God,
        that God should repay them?”
        For from him and through him and for him are all things.
        To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Rom. 11)

        • Yehuda says:

          I don’t know about the rest of you, folks, but I’m feelin’ the love again. Feel it with me brothers and sisters.

          • LarryB says:

            I appreciate that he took the time to cut and paste NT scripture for his almost entire response without giving the real apostle who wrote it the full credit.

        • Dina says:

          Oh, Derek!

          You and I both believe that the other is cut off from his people for his beliefs. How can we hope then to persuade each other?

          Before I begin, I’d like to leave you my e-mail address, dinabucholz@gmail.com. Feel free to continue this conversation with me via e-mail if you wish.

          If you have had a powerful spiritual and/or emotional experience that has led you to Christianity, then an appeal to your reason would be futile.

          I do not know if that is the case, so I will appeal to your reason.

          As proof of a remnant chosen by grace, you cited the mere handful of Jews God reserved for himself in His answer to Elijah. Derek, why do you say they were chosen by grace when the second part of that verse clearly states the reason God chose that remnant? Does “who have not bowed the knee to Ba’al” sound like grace to you? It sounds like a reason to me. God preserves the righteous remnant of Israel, according to this verse, for their loyalty to Him.

          Indeed, the only remnant of the Jewish people that God has chosen to preserve through the centuries, through fire and water, is the remnant that remained loyal to God and to His Torah. This is the very group Christians have condemned to hell.

          I refer to the Pharisees.

          We are known by various names. Sometimes we are called traditional Jews. Sometimes we are called Rabbinic Jews. Sometimes we are called Orthodox Jews. But whatever the title, we carry on the traditions and teachings of the ancient Pharisees.

          Did you know that, Derek? If you are a Jew, did you know that you are directly descended from the Pharisees? That is the case for every single Jew today (with the exception of converts). If you are Jewish, then a number of generations up your progenitors were Rabbinic Jews.

          That is the one and only reason you can today identify yourself as a Jew. If your ancestors had converted to Christianity, their children would have assimilated and you would never have known your true origins.

          Think about that for a moment, Derek.

          Imagine if every Jew today converted to your faith. You would be thrilled, wouldn’t you? But within three to five generations, total assimilation would occur. This would spell the end of the entity known as the Nation of Israel. The difference between what you propose and Hitler’s Final Solution to the Jewish Problem is that your intentions are good and your actions not violent. But the end result is the same: no Jews.

          God has promised that would never happen. The Jewish people, He promised, will never disappear. Hitler’s Final Solution failed. Christianity has failed to convert the Jewish people, the only people in its midst to resist its message.

          Derek, it may not be important to you whether your grandchildren or great-grandchildren remain identifiably Jewish.

          But if you love God and the nation of Israel, come back, Derek. Come back home.

          Peace and blessings,
          Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            Dear Dina & Derek,
            As a follower of the Messiah (which is what “Christian ” is SUPPOSED to mean),I agree with Dina.I believe that my ancestors were forced to convert,but I don’t know for sure?The only difference there was between the Jews in the first century is that some believed the messiah has come & some were still waiting.As today,they ALL kept shabbat & torah.I believe Yeshua WAS A Pharisee ,as was Yoseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus,& (this would follow your logic,Dina,that if Derek is descended from Jews,he would be a Pharisee.)Christians have wrongly been led to believe that pharisees are evil because a few of them conducted the illegal trial of Yeshua.
            Me & my Israeli friend raise money to support guard dogs in the settlements.As a matter of fact,the FOGELS HAD these dogs & returned them & hired a security company…tragic!! We sell scrap metal,sell things on E-Bay,etc.,to raise $. His son is there & my husband is going this weekend ,to take him some things they need.MY POINT IS,that these people WILL NOT ACCEPT $ FROM “CHRISTIANS”(we keep Shabbat & Torah,so call me what you want),so we can’t tell him where the $ is coming. I told my Israeli friend,”You tell them that I would LAY MY BODY DOWN in front of ANYONE who tries to “CONVERT” a Jew.It is “christians” who need to “convert” to the olive tree,the descendants of Avraham.I do this willingly because I love israel & follow the WHOLE bible.I tell my friends,”when He comes,if it’s His FIRST trip,you vouche for me…if it’s His SECOND,i’ll vouche for you”…:)
            Shalom

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah,

            You wrote, “I believe that my ancestors were forced to convert, but I don’t know for sure?”

            How can you make a decision that involves the fate of your soul without knowing this basic fact? How can you decide to follow Christianity without having studied its history?

            The only reason you know your ancestors are Pharisees, that you are descended from Jews, is that they refused to convert to Christianity.

            If they had, we would not be having this conversation. Their descendants would have eventually married non-Jews, and you would never have been born.

            I hope you take some time to reflect on that thought.

            You wrote: “Christians have wrongly been led to believe that Pharisees are evil because a few of them conducted the illegal trial of Yeshua.”

            You drew the wrong conclusion, Tikvah. “Christians have wrongly been led to believe that Pharisees are evil because” the Christian scripture that you revere taught them to believe that.

            Can you bear the thought, Tikvah, that in a few generations you will no longer have Jewish descendants? That you are ending your Jewish line? Because that is precisely what has happened to every single Jew in history who decided “to follow Yeshua,” no exceptions.

            If this troubles you, then I encourage you to take a good look at your roots. Just at least to be sure that you have made an informed decision.

            I pray that you come back to the faith of your ancestors, Tikvah. Please feel free to e-mail me if you would like to carry on privately (otherwise we can carry on over here). My address is dinabucholz@gmail.com.

            May God lead us all in the light of His truth.

            Love,
            Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            thanks Dina,I REALLY appreciate your passion for me.I don’t follow christianity ….I chose to follow Torah,shabbat & Messiah,whomever we think that is,or isn’t.when i went to israel,the first time,with a Jewish group,I felt ‘home’.I was raised Catholic but have ALWAYS had a Jewish heart.So did my father.I recently found my maternal great grandmothers passport.Her married name was d’agostino,which I KNOW can’t be Jewish so I stopped there,but her maidenname was Capuano,meaning from capua,which was a First century Jewish settlement.Many Italians are Jews,especially since ,after the destruction of the temple,the Romans took everyone back to Italy as slaves.Only G-d knows & I”m fine with that.

          • Derek says:

            God isn’t complicated. He made it very easy. If you confess with your mouth Yeshua is Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the grave…you will be saved. His sheep…the poor, the simple, the outcasts, the sick, sinners (all of us), those that know they fall short of His Glory –hear and follow Him (including many rabbis throughout history).

            For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

            I have always loved my people and Israel…but after I received the gift of the Holy Spirit, my love of Israel and her people began just oozing out of my veins…often bringing me to tears. Many gentile believers feel the same way…after all we are one new man in Christ. It’s a God given love.

            What one event in history led to the knowledge of the God of Israel going out to the nations?

            And the good news was preached by the Jews, first to the Jews. And Israel’s rejection served as the springboard for the message of salvation to reach the ends of the earth.

            How did the founding fathers of America know of the God of Israel? The bible is the rock on which America was built. Our freedoms that we, and many around the world enjoy today, are a direct result of our Jewish Messiah. If you [Jew or gentile] belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. What a gift! And in the end, it all flows right back through Israel. HE will be glorified. May His name be forever praised! Amen.

            I love you Dina. I pray that you come to know your Lord and Savior. Everyday is the Sabbath days rest in Yeshua!

            The earth shook, temple rent torn in two, skies darkened, he did it all for you!!

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah, if you believe in Jesus you are a Christian. If you don’t have a Jewish mother you aren’t Jewish. And that’s just fine.

            But you misled me into believing you are a Jew, and that’s not fine. Please be honest and present yourself as you really are. That’s all I ask.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            Dina,
            Sorry,but I didn’t mean to mislead,I just told the truth.Don’t you realize that you thought I was a Jew because I spoke from the Torah .I wasn’t pretending to be Jewish,…but “if the shoe fits”.You guy’s have pre-conceived ideas that I’m SUPPOSED to have “the lingo”.I’m not like that.I follow Judaism.I don’t believe in “Jesus”…there is no such person….I believe in the Messiah of Israel,as ALL JEWS are supposed to.I’m not a “Christian.”I believe in the Tanach,the Jeremiah 31 covenant & the Messiah…call me what you want.
            My mother MAY be Jewish??(ie; a descendant of Avraham).All those forced conversions resulted in decendants who are still children of Avraham,& need to come home.The TORAH says that we are decendants of the MEN…Avraham,Issac & Jacob….”Judaism’ CHANGED that,not G-d or the Torah..
            Still love & appreciate your sincere concern…
            I call myself “Tikvah” as my online name…because I do HOPE.I’m a life member of Hadassah & Women in Green,Sondra Oster baras’ CFOIC,I’m on the board of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucas,(which I am indirectly responsible for starting).I never misrepresent myself,they know exactly who I am & they love me .(I’m in the Hadassah fashion show every year…;)We are all working for Israel & the redemption.

          • Dina says:

            Derek,

            I can see that you have had a strong emotional experience that led you to accept Christianity as your faith. I know this because I appealed to your reason and you responded with emotion, ignoring the substance of what I said.

            I said earlier that if emotion colors your judgment, then intellectual arguments are in vain. I take that back. I’m not willing to give up on you so easily. After all, Hashem never gives up on us but waits patiently for us to listen to His messages and to return to Him.

            So I ask you, are you willing to engage with me in a debate based on reason? Are you willing for us to try to persuade each other using the force of intellectual arguments and leaving our emotions behind?

            Hopefully,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Tikvah,

            I can’t sort out all your contradictory statements.

            Thanks for your support of the State of Israel.

            Best wishes,
            Dina

          • Tikvah says:

            Am Yisrael Chai,my friend!

          • Dina says:

            Hi Derek,

            Are you saying that you do not wish to engage with me in a reasoned debate? A direct answer would be helpful to me. Thanks!

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

    • Yehuda says:

      Dina,

      Your characteristically articulate response is right on the mark.

      Personally, whenever a christian shows up here simply to preach the “good news” and especially when they do so by using some of the NT’s uglier language, my inclination is usually to respond with something like: “Ooooh, can’t you just feel the love?”

      Stay tuned. Any minute now, a christian will be by to defend the NT’s language by demonstrating how it doesn’t say anything worse about the Jews then the Tanach itself does. I love that one.

      • Dina says:

        Thanks, Yehuda.

        I tried to preempt that comment by pointing out which book highlights whose faults. But as I have found in the past, the irony is lost on them.

    • Jim says:

      Derek,

      I am unsure of the purpose for your comment. I would like to say this, however, that it is dangerous for us as non-Jews (which I assume you are, like myself) to judge Israel harshly. It is true that throughout Tanach, the prophets reprimand Israel. But it is also clear that this is for their betterment, not for outsiders to forge an opinion about Jewish sinfulness. In fact, when a non-Jew is given a prophecy regarding Israel, Balaam, he is not given a message regarding Israel’s sins. Instead he speaks like this: “He [God] observed no falsehood in Jacob, and saw no vexation in Israel. Hashem, his God, is with him, and the shout of the King is with him” (Numbers 23:21).

      I consider it like this: at times, I must correct my children. And someone from the outside, hearing me reprimand one of them might come to the conclusion that my children are rather ill behaved. But it is not so. Both of my daughters are quite wonderful. They are really developing into quite kind-hearted people, but like all children, they have their moments. A stranger, hearing me correct one or both of them, might assume the opposite. But he would be wrong. And if I am telling someone about my children, I do not speak of their mistakes; I tell them how great my children are and how much I love them.

      Now sometimes with non-Jews, they read Tanach, and they see the reprimands of God and they take it as a sign that the Jews are in some way bad. They are mistaken. Not only does he reprimand them; he tells them of his great love for them. And that is ignored. When he gives a message regarding Israel to non-Jews, he tells them how good Israel is, just like I would talk about my children.

      I think we cannot ignore one other thing. The prophets did give over some difficult words to Israel. But what did He have to say to the other nations? Many of those words are even harder. And what is often overlooked is that God gives correction to Israel, but He also gives words of comfort and promise.

      Jim

      • Yehuda says:

        Jim,

        You said: “It is true that throughout Tanach, the prophets reprimand Israel. But it is also clear that this is for their betterment, not for outsiders to forge an opinion about Jewish sinfulness”.

        I commend you Jim. You get it.

        The question is whether you also get that at least some parts of the NT – written in Greek and aimed overwhelming at a non-Jewish Greek-speaking audience were doing just that.

        Peace

        • Jim says:

          Indeed, Yehuda, I do get it. I find the stories that the NT tells about the Jewish people reprehensible and responsible for much of the hatred directed at God’d true firstborn son, Israel. In fact, the other day, I was engaged in a conversation with a Christian, and I was explaining to him why I do not hold to the NT, and why I do not “believe in” Jesus. And after I showed him how the NT misrepresents the holy words of God, and how the miracles that Jesus is supposed to have performed are irrelevant, and how there is no reason to even believe that he did the things claimed on his behalf, none of which the Christian could counter, he said to me, “Well you know what I think? I think the pharisees knew the truth. But they couldn’t give up there power.” I did my best to disabuse him of this notion, but it was interesting and tragic that after being unable to defend the NT, all he could do was heap scorn on the Jewish people. He didn’t know any better. This is the impression given to him by this horribly hateful literature of the Church.

          Christians will say that the NT is in the same vein as the prophets, but as you so rightly point out, that’s just not true. The message is to a whole different audience. It is hate speech, not admonition. To return to my metaphor above, if I were to talk to other people about how misbehaved my children are, this would be lashon hara, not love, not correction. And I should hope I would be ashamed of myself.

          Jim

          • Dina says:

            Jim, that is so beautiful and moving. Thank you for that. After Charles’s disgusting and depraved comment, your words cheered me up. Bless you!

          • Yehuda says:

            Jim.

            I to greatly appreciate the candor and courage of your last comment.

            Peace.

            Y.

          • David says:

            Hi Jim,

            I never viewed the NT as hate speech. I know of no Christians who view it that way. No Christians that I know hate Jews and I see nothing in the NT that would cause one to hate Jews. The admonition in the NT which you mischaracterize is much less harsh than that used in the OT. But I consider neither to be hate speech or vindictive. The NT is not as broad brushed as the OT, which mostly targets the whole nation of Israel for criticism in a effort to change the heart, but also does target the leaders at times for the same purpose. The NT targets the leaders who have poor behavior and who cause harm to Israel. For the most part it doesn’t target Jews in general as does the OT.

            For example in the case of the hypocritical Pharisees, all or nearly all Christians I’ve met understand this to be a historical fact, but also understand that today this can apply to anyone in any religion including Christianity. So we all have to be cognizant and careful that we focus on God and not on our own status as did some Pharisees regardless of our religion. In the case of the hypocritical Pharisees they were more interested in their own physical well being and status than the well being of Israel. They failed God’s children, and failed God. It should serve as a lesson to all of us as to what not to do because anyone can fall into the same trap. And that’s another reason we Christians read the NT and take it seriously. Nobody I know hates Pharisees or Jews because of it. They see it as more of a lesson applicable to all.

          • Dina says:

            David, Christians are shockingly insensitive to the Jew hatred that soaks the pages of Christian scripture. They refuse to recognize the effect that these words have had on two millennia of Christian dominance in the Western world.

            Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust. If you want to understand the relationship between Christians and Jews today, David–if you really want to understand and have compassion–you MUST study history. You must study the history of the time period in which Christianity was born from sources other than Christian scripture, as historians of the time period actually recorded history. You must study the history of Christian-Jewish relations following that time period and up to the present day.

            Is the irony of the Jews who revere a book that highlights their own faults rebuked by Christians who revere a book that slanders those same Jews lost on you?

            David, a Christian friend of mine challenged me to read Christian scripture. I have read Matthew and Mark and am currently reading Luke. I am horrified by the anti-Jewish sentiment that runs through the entire narrative–as well as the wild distortions and historical inaccuracies that liberally sprinkle each page (I have studied history, you see). If I were a Christian, I would hide these books from Jews; I wouldn’t want them to see the hateful things said about them; I would be ashamed.

            You should be ashamed.

            I say this with great sorrow, David.

            Peace,
            Dina

          • Jim says:

            David,

            I appreciate that you do not see the NT as hate speech. To many modern Christians, it would not occur to them to hate the Jewish people for the things written therein. In fact, most would be horrified by such a notion. (When I was a Christian, I would have been horrified by such a notion too.) But much of modern Christianity is separated from its history and is horrified by the scope and temporal proximity of the holocaust.

            Let me explain why I call it hate speech. Even if the words addressed to the Pharisees and other groups were accurate–I do not say that they are–they weren’t delivered to those people. The books of the NT are largely directed to non-Jews. And so the image that is painted of the Pharisee to the non-Jew is one horribly skewed. They have no context. They are left with this image of a twisted people who killed either:

            1. God (if you are a Trinitarian), or
            2. Their rightful king (if you are a Trinitarian or not)

            In fact, the NT tells us that the chief priests and Pharisees had put guards at Jesus tomb
            because they feared that his disciples would steal the body and claim he was resurrected. When he was resurrected, the guards ran and told the chief priests what had happened, and they paid off the guards to say that the disciples stole the body (Mt. 27:62-66 and 28:11-15.) From here we see that these men must be totally evil. (If you think back to my answer to you in TYVM, you might realize that this story is absurd. The disciples didn’t even begin announcing the resurrection for another seven weeks.) Here, the chief priests, and presumably the Pharisees, know the truth, but they try to cover it up. See, the story itself is hate speech, because it tells us that the Jew is capable of anything, capable of lying about the resurrection and dooming their own people for self-aggrandizement.

            I made an unfair exchange in that last sentence. At first I’d been talking about Pharisees and priests. In the last sentence, I made it about the Jews. And it is my suspicion that you will call foul. And you are almost right to do so. But then, read through John. Who does John accuse of wanting to kill Jesus: the Jews. It’s not the Pharisees, it’s not the priests, but the Jews. The constant refrain in John is: “the Jews”. They are the ones antagonistic to Jesus. See, the NT doesn’t criticize the Jewish leadership. It is full of invective, both against them and the Jews at large.

            And its not criticism. Not really. Jesus holds them accountable for the blood of Abel. That’s not criticism. That’s antagonism. Imagine if one of my daughters hit the other and took a book from her. And then I “corrected” her by yelling at her that not only is she accountable for that but for hitting the neighbor children, holding her responsible for sibling misbehaviors from other families. This would not be correction. But then, if I published a pamphlet to hand out to other children in the neighborhood, talking about how she assaulted other children, whom she’d never harmed, this would become a crime on my part of enormous proportions.

            That’s the NT. It doesn’t merely offer criticism. It tells lies about the Jewish people. It spreads those lies to other peoples. And then those people, inspired by the NT have found reason to evict, torture, and kill the Jewish people.

            We can’t be surprised at this reaction. When Jesus is crucified, the Jews are portrayed as wanting a robber to be freed rather than an innocent man, the innocent man. Even Pilate can see that Jesus is innocent. He doesn’t want to kill Jesus. But the Jews, they are all for it. That story is the very definition of hate speech. It doesn’t at all offer criticism. It paints a picture of the Jew that is so disfigured.

            I understand it would never occur to you to look at this at hate speech. The NT is peppered with the word “love”. How could it be hateful?

            It is.

            With respect,
            Jim

          • David says:

            Hi Jim and Dina,

            I think you’re just reading into the NT what you want due to misplaced anger. You have to come up with a reason for what you see as injustice and you attribute it to the NT rather than the truth which is that anyone at anytime anywhere can take anything and commit atrocities in the name of whatever. If you actually read the NT you’ll see that it is all about love and forgiveness.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            You wrote: “the truth…is that anyone at anytime anywhere can take anything and commit atrocities in the name of whatever.”

            That is probably true. There are probably wackos out there who are sufficiently delusional to read Mary Poppins and find in it a reason to commit atrocities.

            But it is just plain dishonest to ignore the numerical realities. Millions of people have read Mary Poppins and few if any that I know of have claimed that it inspired them to atrocities. The NT however HAS consistently over the better part of two millenia inspired millions – and not just by way of passive reading, but by way of hearing it preached by it’s clergy, those who supposedly understood its true message – to commit some of the most heinous acts of evil imaginable.

            You may not see it as such, and that is a good thing.

            But to imagine that the historical record is only randomly tied to the NT and no more directly cause by it than might have resulted from same people reading Mary Poppins is just plain silly.

            Peace.

          • Dina says:

            David,

            You further confirm, in your latest comment, your ignorance of the history of Christian-Jewish relations.

            Your attempt to psychoanalyze my reason for making this connection is beyond presumptuous. Misplaced anger? In fact I did not know of the connection between Christian scripture and Christian persecution of Jews until pretty recently. I only began to grasp the ramifications when I began to study the history of Christian-Jewish relations and Christian scripture itself.

            This is why I encourage you to do the same. If I as a Jew did not know this, you as a Christian certainly wouldn’t. Of course, I was aware of the persecutions–few Jews can claim ignorance of that–but I hadn’t appreciated the extent of its relationship to Christian scripture.

            My anger comes as a result of my discoveries and not the other way around. So please don’t judge me based on what you wish were my motives.

            I appeal to your reason, David. For the past two thousand years, Jews never suffered more than they did at the hands of Christians. They suffered quite awfully, but on a much lower scale, at the hands of Muslims.

            The only two religions in the world whose sacred texts condemn the Jewish people are responsible for persecuting the Jewish people. Jews who lived in countries of other religions whose sacred texts said nothing about them were very well off. For example, Jews in India for the better part of two and a half millennia (Jews arrived in India in about 550 BCE) suffered zero instances of anti-Semitism. Guess when they began to leave in droves? When Muslims started to make life uncomfortable for them. But the Hindus were very nice!

            The only Christian country that did not persecute the Jews was the United States of America.

            So what does that tell you, David?

            As I have mentioned many times, I am reading Christian scripture. I have read half the gospels, and for the Pharisees (and in John the Jews in general) I do not see any of the love and forgiveness which you talk about. Instead I see hatred and condemnation.

            I understand that you do not wish to believe that your beloved scripture could have had such an effect on its followers. But if you are intellectually honest, instead of dismissing this as so many Christians do today, do the research. Study the history. Compare the literature of Christians of high stature (the early Church fathers, the Protestant reformers, etc.) and what they said about the Jews to the literature of the hated Pharisees and what they said about the Christians.

            Then tell me whose sacred text had the most positive influence on its adherents and who has taken, throughout history, the superior moral path.

            And then tell me with a straight face that I see a connection between Christian scripture and Jew hatred because of my misplaced anger.

            Peace and blessings, David.

          • David says:

            You seem to want to only focus on historical evidence of crimes committed against your ancestors. You avoid the truth of what your ancestors have done in the name of God. If they had it there way they’d have wiped out all Christians to the last man woman and child. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. And that’s just in regards to Christians. What about all of the other peoples in which the Israelites were successful in exterminating to the last survivor? What about all the sects which sprouted from Judaism which were exterminated?

            Why are you then, knowing your own guilt in similar matters, still living 100s of years in the past and bringing that forward and attributing it to modern day Christians, what a bunch of misguided fools did in the name of what they thought was God, and what they thought God wanted?

            Personally I think it probably had nothing to do their reading of scripture, as the ones doing the killing probably couldn’t even read, and if they could it was doubtful they had access to scripture, and if they did and could read in the language it was written, the hierarchy of the church (much like the hypocritical Pharisees) told them what to think, what it meant, and therefore also what to do in response.

            We Christian don’t sit around dreaming up ways to fuel some inappropriate animosity to modern day Jews who’s ancestors persecuted us. That isn’t even a thought.

            My advice to you all is get over the misguided anger of Christians today for what happened to you in the past.

            And as far as the NT goes it has as much to do with the atrocities your ancestors suffered under misguided Christians of the past as does the OT does with the treatment the first Christians received at the hands of your ancestors.

            If you actually read it, you’d see for yourself. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but to save it. And why did he come to save it? Because God so loved the world that he sent his son that whoever should believe in him should have eternal life. Any words of reproof must be taken in that light, that God wants all to come to him and that none should perish. Some were perishing in there sins; Jesus tried to save them from their sins by informing them what they were doing wrong and what to do right.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            Your last post included some pretty nasty stuff which you will likely be called out on. I’ll leave it to others.

            I’m going to stick to some of your more benign misinformation.

            First of all, no one accused you or any other contemporary Christian of any such actions.

            What we are accusing you of is a denial of history. The are precious few serious Christian historians who deny the link between the NT (especially Matthew’s “Blood Curse”) and Christian anti-semitism, so it’s really puzzling as to why you feel a need to. It’s not a matter of whether you believe the interpretation is correct, it’s simply history. Perhaps this is another casualty of your tendency to over- personalize these posts as is certainly implied by your claim that we are “still living 100s of years in the past and bringing that forward and attributing it to modern day Christians”

            I for one have done nothing of sort in my posts on this topic.

            Now, as for “100s of years in past”…Seriously?…You don’t really want me to get my grandmother on the line do you?

            But let’s not get Granny involved. How about me? Allow me to personalize this for a moment.

            I don’t know how old you are or where you grew up. I am under 50 years old (I’ll leave it at that) and in the east coast urban area where I grew up, even I am old enough to remember being called called a variety of things by local Christian kids including “Dirty Jew”, F—in’ Jew”, “you killed Jesus”, and other lovely stuff. Many of my friends were beaten up in local playgrounds, because their yarmulkes seemed to function as bullseyes on their heads…I’m not talking about the 1800’s, I’m talking about the disco-era. And coincidentally none of us would have dared be outdoors after dark on Halloween because pelting Jewish kids with eggs was a favorite local seasonal celebration…remember we were wearing the bullseye.

            Where did these kids learn those things?

            At the same time I will concede that I still live in the same general area with my own family and my kids have not experienced that. I thank God for that.

            Again, there are some simple truths at play here. Most of contemporary Christianity has come to grips with it and from those realizations comes the more generous spirit my own kids experience.

          • Dina says:

            David, I hope you read Yehuda’s comment because it’s important.

            Yehuda said he would leave it to others to call you out on the nasty stuff. So I will take that up.

            You wrote:

            “You seem to want to only focus on historical evidence of crimes committed against your ancestors. You avoid the truth of what your ancestors have done in the name of God. If they had it there way they’d have wiped out all Christians to the last man woman and child. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. And that’s just in regards to Christians. What about all of the other peoples in which the Israelites were successful in exterminating to the last survivor? What about all the sects which sprouted from Judaism which were exterminated?”

            My ancestors are the Pharisees. What historical evidence can you cite that the Pharisees tried to wipe out all the Christians, down to the last human being? What historical evidence can you cite that the Pharisees exterminated all the sects that sprouted from Judaism?

            If you rely on the book of propaganda you call the New Testament for your information, why do you not read the historical record of other primary sources? Historians of the time period recorded history for posterity, or didn’t you know that?

            How can you ignore the fact that the Talmud, written by Pharisees, in all its 2700 pages contains three passages that can maybe, possibly be construed as negative to Christians, while the writings of the “New Testament,” early church fathers, Protestant reformers, and more spout reams of vicious and venomous attacks on the Jews?

            I’m talking about the writings that still fill your libraries today. Students of your faith study these works with great devotion. I’m talking about Christian scripture. I’m talking about the writings of John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, Tertullian, Martin Luther (you should read his pamphlet on the Jews, charming stuff). If you say these were all misguided Christians, why do so many Christians still take them so seriously today?

            Where are the writings of the Pharisees and other famous rabbinic leaders who said equally vile things about Christians?

            Words incite people to action. Don’t deny it.

            You wrote:

            “Why are you then, knowing your own guilt in similar matters, still living 100s of years in the past…”

            Are you kidding me, David? My great-aunts and great-uncles, my first cousins once removed, who are now ashes in Europe, are hundreds of years in the past? My father was alive during the Holocaust (thank God he got out before it reached his native Hungary), and you can sit there and tell me to “get over” it? What kind of a person are you, David? Where were all the Christians about seventy years ago when their neighbors—their neighbors, David! Imagine that!—were dragged out of their homes in front of their eyes to be shot or taken to concentration camps?

            Do you think a half century of good will toward Jews is enough to wipe out 2000 years of evil? Do you think we can dismiss the “misguided Christians of the past” who dominated Christianity until the 1960s?

            Easy for you to say “get over it.”

            Why are you refusing to confront the elephant in the room, David? Why do you refuse to study history and see for yourself?

            Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

          • ‘If they had it there way they’d have wiped out all Christians to the last man woman and child. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. And that’s just in regards to Christians. What about all of the other peoples in which the Israelites were successful in exterminating to the last survivor? What about all the sects which sprouted from Judaism which were exterminated?’
            Yehuda and Dina, don’t need my help, but these are very serious allegations – put up evidence or retract them now. If you can’t document them you are demonstrating fully just how serious a problem with Jew hatred there is – in you.

          • Dina says:

            Charles, thank you for that. You are a good man.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Yehuda says:

            Charles.

            While we obviously have our differences, I thank you for the candor of your last post calling slander by it’s name.

            Thanks again.

            Y.

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            You wrote:
            …no one accused you or any other contemporary Christian of any such actions. …”

            My response:

            The point has been that the NT scripture is to blame for atrocities past and present. It is not. It’s time to get over it and read the actual words of the NT as I pointed out in my earlier post.

            What do you think of excerpts from these posts? Do the comments seem even handed and fair to you?

            Dina:
            David, Christians are shockingly insensitive to the Jew hatred that soaks the pages of Christian scripture. They refuse to recognize the effect that these words have had on two millennia of Christian dominance in the Western world.

            Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust.

            You guys started this debate 2000 years ago. You tried all kinds of ways to get us to convert to Christianity, some horrible, some not so horrible, some courteous (as in recent times)–then you act all miffed when we respond with “anti-Christian rhetoric.” Sorry, David, that is just pathetic. And it’s also just wrong.

            Derek,

            Your comment disturbs me.

            For 2000 years Christians engaged in the worst kinds of persecution of a helpless people, slaughtering millions over the centuries. When they rebuke the Jewish people for the baseless and vicious charge you repeated from Christian scripture, you know what they sound like?

            Self-righteous hypocrites.

            Well, Larry, it seems Christians can’t stand the taste of their own medicine. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it themselves. That’s why they loved “The Passion of the Christ” (which negatively portrays Jews) and HATE “The Aftermath” (which negatively portrays Christians).

            Yehuda:
            Personally, whenever a christian shows up here simply to preach the “good news” and especially when they do so by using some of the NT’s uglier language, my inclination is usually to respond with something like:

            “Ooooh, can’t you just feel the love?”

            My response:

            Obviously, no love from you Yehuda, but plenty of sarcasm as usual.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            I asserted that no one has accused you of “such actions” by which I would have hoped it was clear from the context of this exchange that I meant No one has accused you of atrocities.

            Your response was to quote some harsh rhetoric from this thread. Sorry that’s not equivalent to us attributing the horrors of the past to present day christians as you alleged we do.

            As for my sarcasm. Guilty as charged.

            These threads generally try to stick to substantive logical issues, and they generally get treated that way. I think I make a reasonable effort to stick to the issues at hand even if I do like to insert my little digs along the way.. We all have tough enough skins for that don’t we? However if someone like Derek comes here preaching the gospel especially the NT stuff about us killing the prophets, then yes, he will get nothing but sarcasm from me.

            If you have anything of substance to respond to the other critiques of your last post from me or the others, let us know. (hmm I guess that sounded a little sarcastic…oh well.)

          • Dina says:

            David, even the Christians and non-Christian gentiles who are following this conversation say that you crossed the line.

            You have two options:

            1. Have the humility to acknowledge that your assessment is incorrect, do a little studying, and then come back and apologize.
            2. Continue talking and demonstrating your ignorance and prejudice.

            I’m rooting for you to choose option number one because I would still like to believe that are a good guy with whom I happen to disagree.

            Good luck!

            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina, and Yehuda,

            To Dina,
            I’ve said nothing that should be taken as offensive. I’m simply getting the truth out which in this case counters your false statements that you attribute persecution of Jews including the holocaust to the NT.

            In reality it is just the opposite. It is through the NT that we learn everything that is good from God.

            Some people have misused the NT since it was written. That is not the fault of the NT or God. That is the fault of people.

            To Yehuda,

            You should be more specific next time.

            Do you agree with Dina in the quote of her here?

            “Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust.”

            If any fair minded person were to actually read and study the scriptures from beginning to end they wouldn’t say what Dina just said.

            The vast majority of Christians who actually read and study and try to put into practice the NT have nothing but good feelings towards Jews. Those few that may harbor ill will are so rare that I’ve never met any; but never the less those few that fall in that category can’t with any credibility blame their twisted beliefs on the same NT which I read because I know that would be an unquestionable lie.

            In fact not only is the NT not to blame but I’d say that all the world’s ills could be 100% solved by all of us together studying and following the NT and the lessons commandments of God contained therein. The problem is that we don’t adhere to it enough, not that we read it too much.

            The bottom line is don’t blame a good thing just because of the misguided actions of some.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            You posed some polite questions to me. Let me try to respond

            1) Do you agree with Dina in the quote of her here?

            “Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust.”

            I don’t claim to be a scholar of the topic. But much the same has been said by many competent historians and theologians of all religious persuasions. This is not Dina’s novel idea.

            As an example, Here is something I dug up quickly on the internet from the Zola Levitt missionary site from a Todd Baker, Th.M

            “Matthew 27:25 arguably stands out as one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted passages in all of Holy Scripture. Of the proposed interpretations for Matthew 27:25, the anti-Jewish interpretation is the oldest and most frequently cited in the history of the Church. This view says the Jewish people are permanently guilty and condemned in the eyes of God for their murder of Jesus Christ. As such, the cry of “His blood be upon us” means that the Jewish crowd in Jerusalem admitted full guilt for killing the Lord Jesus Christ and thereby invoked God’s curse upon themselves and their descendants until the end of time. This interpretation first surfaced in the writings of the early church fathers in the second century AD. It became universally accepted by the Middle Ages. The result, among other things, was the slanderous accusation that all Jews were “Christ killers” and “murderers of God.” Sadly, this is still a widespread belief in the Church today.
            The anti-Jewish interpretation of Matthew 27:25 provided a convenient excuse for outright persecution and slaughter of the Chosen People and the unwarranted replacement of Israel in God’s plan with the Church by Replacement Theology. Jewish historian Haim Cohen painfully observes the terrible judgment wrongly made against the Jews because of the prevalence of the anti-Jewish interpretation of Matthew 27:25. He writes:None of the many charges leveled at the Jews… has held so obdurately against them as unassailable proof of guilt and responsibility for the crucifixion as has this exclamation of theirs “His blood be upon us and our children.” (The Trial and Death of Jesus of Nazareth, p. 171) Furthermore, it can be said without fear of exaggeration that the devastation imposed and inflicted on the Jewish people by the Church’s anti-Jewish reading of Matthew 27:25 has shed oceans of Jewish blood issuing into a ceaseless stream of misery and desolation that horribly culminated in Hitler’s Holocaust. In light of this it is extremely important that the true meaning of Matthew 27:25 be obtained so that the Chosen People can be free of the false accusation of “Christ killers” that is constantly imputed to them, resulting in the inevitable persecution and murder of the Jews that follow.”

            Mr. Baker then proceeds to explain why he believes that the anti-Jewish reading of Matthew is completely wrong and why no right thinking Cristian would understand it that way. Note however, that despite insisting – as you do – that it isn’t really anti-semitic, he fully acknowledges that it was understood way that throughout all levels of Christinaity from the church fathers, to clergy, to peasants for centuries and that IT WAS THE JUSTIFICATION FOR PERSECUTING JEWS.

            Did you happen to catch this particular line, which is worth repeating in the context of your question:

            “Furthermore, it can be said WITHOUT FEAR OF EXAGERATION that the devastation imposed and inflicted on the Jewish people BY THE CHURCH’s anti-Jewish reading of Matthew 27:25 has shed oceans of Jewish blood issuing into a ceaseless stream of misery and desolation that horribly CULMINATED IN HITLER”S HOLOCAUST.

            Yes I know it was written by a Jewish historian. Christian historians say much the same.

            You keep insisting that properly understood the NT isn’t anti Jewish, And what Dina and I and many historians keep trying to explain to you is that what you believe it says in the year 2013 is not the issue. The issue is what millions of devout Christians believe it said for 1950 years. And that really is not subject to rational debate. You might also want to read Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll. He’s not Jewish. Again David, it’s about historical facts not what you believe to be correct scriptural exegesis. I really don;t know how to make this distinction any clearer.

            2) Next you asked. “If any fair minded person were to actually read and study the scriptures from beginning to end they wouldn’t say what Dina just said.”

            Again, reread my answer to number 1. And let me add another important point. of distinction. You keep talking the charge that the NT contains anti-semitism as if we were alleging that it contains nothing but anti-semitism. I hope this too is a distinction you can comprehend. No one is denying the message of Christian Charity in the NT. But when a foundational religious text contains even relatively small segments that consistently vilify a well defined group of people who are outsiders to it’s primary audience, you can be pretty sure those people will be persecuted…and again that is the fact of history regardless of how passionately you disagree with the interpretation.

            3) Next you said “The vast majority of Christians who actually read and study and try to put into practice the NT have nothing but good feelings towards Jews. Those few that may harbor ill will are so rare that I’ve never met any;

            As I mentioned, I have.. You will of course claim they were not real christians, but that is an overly self-serving and circular argument.

            4) you continue: “but never the less those few that fall in that category can’t with any credibility blame their twisted beliefs on the same NT which I read because I know that would be an unquestionable lie.”

            Again, you may not think they can base their hatred on it. But they can, and more importantly, they did, and your describing them as “few” is historically insulting. “Few” would be NT scholars pre-1950 who read it and preached it the way you do

            5) Then you said: “In fact not only is the NT not to blame but I’d say that all the world’s ills could be 100% solved by all of us together studying and following the NT and the lessons commandments of God contained therein. The problem is that we don’t adhere to it enough, not that we read it too much.”

            Based on the historical evidence, that’s an experiment I’d just as soon not participate in. (Sorry for the sarcasm).

            6) Lastly, you concluded:, “The bottom line is don’t blame a good thing just because of the misguided actions of some.”

            David, until you kick your denial of history and stop describing the phenomenon as a movement of the “some” or the “few” or only of the “twisted” of other such apologetics and come to grips with the simple historical fact that this phenomenon described the way the NT was read by the overwhelming majority of those who identified themselves as Christians for the last 2000 years. I’m afraid you will not be taken seriously, here by Jew or Gentile.

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            With all of the above you’ve confirmed my point. The major part of your post cites hat it is the twisting and taking out of context and picking a verse here and there to say what ever you want it to say. In the case of persecution of the Jews, which we are discussing, people who already have a predisposition to harbor such ill will towards others different than themselves use it just as people anywhere will use anything to justify their hate based feelings and actions. The Klan also claimed to use it to justify their actions against blacks. Of course we nearly all know now if not before, including most past Klan members, that it was never justified in the name of the NT.

            I noticed also that you sidestepped the question as it relates specifically to the holocaust.

            You can’t have it both ways on the holocaust. If you’re going to blame the holocaust on the NT then you’ll also have to acknowledge the role it played at great risk and sacrifice to those who were instrumental in bringing an end to Hitler. And that’s pretty much true throughout history. You make the point that it has been the cause for the last 1950 years with the exception of the last 50 years.

            Well then Yehuda, perhaps saner NT filled heads such as mine and millions like me which consider and study the entire NT (and OT) and its message of love and forgiveness, truth and grace are finally prevailing over those who look for an excuse to harbor hate and find it where ever they can. AND since now through the efforts of the rest of us who actually read and study it proclaim the truth of the NT, there are less and less people who can get away with using the NT as an excuse for the hate speech and/or actions. But that doesn’t stop them from finding other justification for their hate.

            The human condition has a problem. But the NT is not the source of that problem, it is the solution.

            Cain hated his own brother Able and murdered him, he didn’t need the NT to do it.

            We are all brothers. The lesson of the OT and the NT is not to look at the Jews and say for example in the case of the Golden Calf, I wouldn’t have done such a thing, and say look at the lack of faith o those stiff necked Israelites who were even spoken to directly from God himself and yet they so quickly turn away. We shouldn’t judge the OT because we mistakenly believe that it vilifies the Israelites. The lesson rather is that given the same circumstances being a young nation just beginning to learn of the true God, and then sinking into 400 years of bondage and serving other gods, the outcome of little faith is predictable, and we all would have done exactly the same. We all would have, even though God showed us his glory 10 times, we would have tested him repeatedly as did those Israelites. Many times the Israelites were ready to kill Moses by stoning. That would have been us, you and me. Not now with our present day understanding of past error but back then with our lack of understanding given the same set of circumstances.

            Over time we grow as individuals and as a people of faith and just as people of the earth; and we learn from our own mistakes and that of others. The learning curve is not always a straight line though. As in the case of the NT the rejection and execution of Jesus should not be taken as something surprising and shocking for which only the Jews or the Romans are to blame and mistakenly think that we Christians ourselves (if we were Jewish ourselves living then) would not have participated in it. Given the same circumstances many of us would have done the same as the Jews as I’ve noted before in other posts. Even we, as did those closest to him who did not participate directly in the execution, would have denied him never the less such as Peter. The point is not that we wouldn’t have acted improperly, but that we most certainly would have, and we must forgive those who did just as we would have done ourselves given the same set of circumstances.

            Here’s where you make your fatal error in the debate. You blame the NT itself rather than those who improperly and corruptly misuse the truth and grace of God contained in the NT and the OT too I might add. Hopefully with help from people like you and me, we can continue to voice the truth and educate so that the last 50 years of better understanding (which you acknowledge) of the true meaning of the NT and the OT can continue to expand an flourish. And then no one can legitimately claim and justify they are doing anything resembling ill will in the name of either NT or OT.

          • David, You really need to face up to your past statements on this page. You have laid some appalling charges against the early Jews and you haven’t substantiated them. If you want to retain any credibility at all, withdraw them now. How can you talk about truth and grace, whilst slandering the forebears of those you address? Jew hatred boils down to lies and malice, let us see you eschew the latter by correcting the first, or would you prefer to be convicted of both?

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            In light of Yehuda’s response to your questions, will you review all my comments on this thread and respond to mine?

            You ought to know by now that I did not mean any of these questions as a personal attack on you. My questions result from a careful study of Christian-Jewish relations throughout history and the study of the relationship between Christian anti-Semitism and Christian scripture.

            I asked these questions to provoke you to do your own fair and balanced research so you could reassess your unsubstantiated assertions about Christian anti-Semitism and your (wild and bizarre) accusations of Jewish persecution of Christians and other Jewish sects. I hope you will prove to me that you are the truth seeker you claim to be and that you will earnestly seek the truth about this issue.

            Yehuda recommended James Carroll’s Constantine’s Sword. I would add to that the following:

            The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism by Edward Flannery
            A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson
            The Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity by John G. Gager
            Holy Hatred: Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust by Robert Michael
            Your People, My People by A. Roy Eckardt

            I believe that none of these authors are Jews; three are devout Roman Catholics.

            I further recommend that you read some primary sources to see what major Christian writers and thinkers wrote about the Jews throughout history and then study the effect of those writings on the Christian populations of Europe. In that vein, a good place to start is with Martin Luther’s “Of the Jews and Their Lies.”

            It may interest you to know that the Nazis displayed this odious pamphlet at the Nuremburg rallies and gave a copy to Julius Streicher (editor of the Nazi paper Der Sturmer).

            I hope that your research, should you undertake it, will lead you to a spirit of deeper compassion and understanding of the Jewish people.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            If this post shows up under your post dated 1 November, I think somehow the dates or order of posting of these posts got out of order; I didn’t see your post until I responded to Yehuda’s post. But in rereading my post and your post I think it pretty much applies to yours as well.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            I sidestepped your question about the Holocaust?

            I proceeded to quote at least 2 scholars who agree with Dina, and in case that wasn’t clear enough for you, I’ll make it plain here?

            I fully agree with Dina and the many scholars she was quoting: Without the Christina pre-disposition to Jew-hatred, the Holocaust on the scale it took place would not have been possible and that Christian hew-hatred was largely fueled by AN understanding – which you are entitled to call corrupt, twisted, or whatever other adjective suits you – of the NT.

            Rather than address the historical evidence and what many experts have to say about it, all you continue to do is harp on the fact that YOU see the NT differently.

            Well good for you. And I’m glad you do. But as always this discussion has never been about you but about the history you refuse to address.The closest you’ve come to addressing it is where in your last post you wrote:

            “In the case of persecution of the Jews, which we are discussing, people who already have a predisposition to harbor such ill will towards others different than themselves use it just as people anywhere will use anything to justify their hate based feelings and actions.”

            So tell me David, why, in YOUR opinion have Christians, in particular, more than any other people over vast geographical ranges and over vast periods time harbored so intense a predisposition Jew-hatred that they would attack and massacre Jews wholesale even when the Jewish communities in question were small, impoverished, and completely devoid of any kind of political power or influence than the Christian might have perceived as a threat?

            Why?

            I mentioned in recent posts that your over-personalization of these exchanges in general and your failure to deal honestly with this issue, in particular is costing you credibility even among the non-Jews on the blog. A perusal of recent comments seems to bear that out.

            As I have in other instances, I am leaving this exchange at this point and wholeheartedly inviting any reader to review what you and I have said on the topic and decide for themselves who has been addressing the other and who has been sidestepping the other.

            Peace to you.

          • David says:

            Hi Yehuda,

            You wrote:

            I sidestepped your question about the Holocaust?

            My response:
            Yes, you did. As you originally wrote in your previous post before the most recent:

            “I don’t claim to be a scholar of the topic. But much the same has been said by many competent historians and theologians of all religious persuasions. This is not Dina’s novel idea.”

            You clearly avoided giving an opinion on the matter.

            Just to be clear, are you now saying that I can quote you as agreeing with the following:

            “Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust.”

            Hitler didn’t need or use the NT to believe and do what he did. And his policies can’t be supported by even the most twisted view of the holy teachings of the NT. And to suggest that somehow a prevailing feeling amongst only Christians who followed the NT discriminating against only Jews led to Hitler is ludicrous.
            First of all, it’s a FALSE statement that only NT following Christians have persecuted Jews.
            Most recently the list includes: Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Islamist extremists…
            And the list of countries or states that are actively against Israel include only Islamic countries such as:
            Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt

            Historically we need go no further than the OT to see the “roots” and that many nations have come against Israel; and these are all of course non-Christian before the time of Christ.

            The roots then of hatred of Jews and Israel can’t then be linked to the NT by any fair minded person.

            The reason for the singling out of the NT is that it has become politically acceptable of recent years to denigrate anything dealing with Christianity. It is an obvious attempt to destroy or minimize the influence of Christianity which is based in part on the NT. The logic is that if the NT can be discredited then that will reflect on the entire religion, thus undermining its popularity.

            Secondly you yourself admitted in your post that in the last 50 years Christians (who continue to base their faith on the NT) have stopped persecuting Jews. So if your theory were correct that the NT is to blame, then Christians would still now be persecuting Jews. But the opposite is true. Christians don’t hate Jews and we base our acceptance of Jews and all religions, races, peoples, etc. on the values taught in the NT.

            How do you explain that?

            How can adherence to the same NT, which you claim resulted in the holocaust, also be credited with the current acceptance of all peoples including Jews? The biggest supporters of Jews worldwide are Christians who follow the NT!

            The obvious answer is that hate based speech and actions are not rooted in the NT and NEVER were.

            As I’ve stated, such actions associated with Christians are against the NT not in support of it. Such actions by Christians historically, when traced to the NT can in reality be explained by a twisting of the NT inspired by evil people bent on evil intent.

            Therefore, it is not the NT which is the problem, but as we now know and have proven (and according to you in the last 50 years Christians reading the NT don’t hate Jews, which you admitted in your post so you should agree), is the obvious solution to the problem.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            OK, I lied, that wasn’t my last post.

            1) If I didn’t make myself clear enough for you in my first post, I did in my second post.

            2) I never said that anti-semitism was limited to christians. Please show me one place where I said. (You know it’s really tiresome having to respond to things I never said.). So your litany about islamic anti-semistmn is irrelevant. I haven’t said that the NT is the ONLY basis for anti-semitism, only that it is a A PRIMARY BASIS for CHRISTIAN anti-semitism. What we HAVE said is that CHRISTIAN anti-semitic perseuction is historically unique in it’s scope, brutality, and durability among Christians, a historical fact you continue to avoid addressing. So ask you again David, why was that if it wasn’t the NT. You have yet in all these posts to provide a reasonable answer to that question. Your sinsuations that it was a phenomenon limited to a small “twisted” milieu is insulting.

            2) I never said the NT produced Hitler and his movement. I said the the scope opf his “success” would not have been possible without a European population that was more than happy to turn it’s backs on it at best and actively assist it at worst. And the proof of that my friend is that when even politically small countries like Denmark refuse to cooperate with Hitler’s roundup of Jews do you know what the result was? It was a Danish Jewish population that was largely spared. (And spare me the obvious point that Denmark was a Christina country. The relevant point is how dramatic an exception to rule the were among other christians countries.) That’s right. Relatively minimal shows of resistance to the Nazis were able to measurably thwart teh NAzi roundups. Where was that resistance among all the every-day church going Poles, Italians, French, Hungarians, Slavs, and Ukranians, I mentioned my grandmother earlier. Like I said would you like me to get her on the line to repeat some of things here church-going neighbors said as she and her family were rounded up for the train to Auschwitz? What motivated them David? What. Please dare and answer that question.

            3) Lastly you keep repeating my own admission about the change in the last 50 years and you’ve asked me to explain that. Here is my explanation (I will at least offer you one although you won’t agree with it. You could at least offer me some answers to my question not just your repeated disagreement)

            First I will assert that the change of the last 50 or so years is primarily an American phenomenon not a worldwide one. European Christians are nowhere near as enlightened on this matter as their America brethren. There are statistics to back this up. I don;t think that this is because they are not reading enough NT.

            Second my belief is that the enlightened attitude of American Christians is largely a by-product of an overall cultural shift in matters of civil rights an egalitarianism. The same cultural shifts that made discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and other matters less fashionable in the US have made antisemitism less fashionable. I don;t think the overall trend is attributable to more people reading the NT. In fact I think contemporary trend toward these liberal ways of thinking probably reflect a less religious America on the whole than at any time in history.

            So that is my explanation for why everyday Americans are less inclined to hate Jews in the last few decades.

            Now please tell me why every day Christians the world over WERE inclined to axiomatically hate Jews for 1,950 years. So much so that they would massacre small Jewish communities who simply had the misfortune to be in their path,

            Tell me why small Jewish Townsfolk all across the European landscape knew to hide indoors over the easter Sunday weekend? (this is well documented in Jewish sources) Tell me why they knew that upon leaving church Easter Sunday morning their non-jewish neighbors were not likely to be inclined toward neighborly charity.

            Tell me something else David, would you be agreeable to at least reading some of the books that Dina and I mentioned in the spirit of open inquiry on this subject? If you can recommend one supporting your explanation of history, I will read, god
            willing read it.

          • Tikvah says:

            This is for DAVID,(NOT YEHUDA…sleecha…)
            David,I think all the posts are going to the wrong person(which is kind of Poetic justice here)

          • Dina says:

            Hi David.

            I have some harsh words for you.

            You made an accusation against the Jews that you have refused to substantiate or to retract. Charles called you out on it twice, and this is the second time I am calling you out on it.

            Here are your ugly words:

            “You avoid the truth of what your ancestors have done in the name of God. If they had it there way they’d have wiped out all Christians to the last man woman and child. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. And that’s just in regards to Christians. What about all of the other peoples in which the Israelites were successful in exterminating to the last survivor? What about all the sects which sprouted from Judaism which were exterminated?”

            What is the historical evidence that my ancestors (the Pharisees) tried to wipe out all the Christians and failed–though “it wasn’t for lack of trying”? What sects that splintered off from Judaism did the Jews exterminate, and what is your evidence for this?

            If you are a real man, David, you will provide the evidence or retract this statement. And if you are a humble man, you will also apologize.

            I hope you will not bring as evidence the commandments in the Bible regarding the conquest of the Land of Canaan. Following GOD’S EXPRESS COMMANDS, the ancient Israelites did wipe out entire communities. This was for a limited time period only and it was done UNDER THE DIRECTIVE OF GOD HIMSELF. Once the conquest was established, the other wars were in self-defense against the regular harassment of neighbors like the Philistines.

            Never, in the history of the Jews, have the Jews persecuted other people for no other reason than that they were, say, Philistines, or Ammonites.

            You pointed to the Hebrew scriptures to show that lots of different peoples persecuted the Jews. Yehuda and I are talking about THE LAST 2000 YEARS. It so happens that in THE LAST 2000 YEARS the only ones persecuting Jews were the ones whose sacred texts condemned them: Christianity and Islam. I think you’ll have a hard time finding other religions, like Hinduism or Buddhism, which engaged in any form of Jew hatred, in THE LAST 2000 YEARS.

            You underscored my point when you brought up Muslim hatred of Jews. Do you think the Koran has nothing to do with it? Really?

            Your argument that the behavior of the followers of Christian scripture for the last 50 years prove the truth of Christian scripture while the behavior of its followers for the previous 1,950 proves nothing is a weak argument.

            A Jew does not find persuasive that the adherents of a particular religion behaved a certain way 98% of the time and a different way 2% of the time, but the 2% of the time are following the true interpretation while the 98% of the time were twisting it.

            Tell me, if Martin Luther wasn’t a real Christian, who was? If Justin Martyr wasn’t a real Christian, who was? If St. Augustine wasn’t a real Christian, who was? If John Chrysostom wasn’t a real Christian who was? Have you read what these people wrote about the Jews? Do you dare deny that their words incited their followers?

            Were there no real Christians until the 1950s?

            Do you find it irrelevant that the only Christian country that never actively persecuted the Jews was the first country to experiment with the separation of church and state?

            Now I ask you, where were all the real Christians during the Holocaust? No one is saying that Hitler or the Nazis were Christians. You put those words in Yehuda’s and my mouth. What we were saying is that protests by Christians would have stopped or at least drastically reduced the effects of Hitler’s Holocaust. I will give an example; if my memory serves me right, this incident is cited in A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson and Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll.

            When news got out of Hitler’s euthanasia program of the mentally ill, physically disabled, and elderly, the Catholic Church organized a massive protest. Hitler immediately halted the program. No similar protest by Christians of any denomination followed the news of Hitler’s Final Solution to the Jewish problem. Only a tiny handful of Christians risked their own lives to save Jewish ones; we honor them and sing their praises till today.

            Did you know that FDR turned back Jewish refugees from American shores and sent them to certain death? He refused to ease immigration quotas even as full knowledge of the events in Europe were made known to him. Ditto for the British turning ships from Palestine back to Europe. Holocaust rescue workers sent detailed maps to the Allies (including the United States) of the trains leading to the concentration camps and the exact locations of gas chambers and crematoria.

            Every day just at Auschwitz, 12,000 prisoners were gassed to death. A few bombs detonated in strategic spots would have slowed down if not completely halted the genocide.

            Not a single bomb was dropped.

            The Christians who ended the war did not initially join in to stop Hitler’s genocide of the Jews. Every country that declared war, including the United States, did so in self-defense.

            After the damage was done, the Allied Powers liberated the camps and helped relocate the Jews. For this we thank them and we are grateful. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that Christian countries joined the war to rescue the Jews from Hitler. They joined the war to save their own skins.

            Everything I have stated is verifiable, historical fact. Just check it out, David.

            I’m going to address your frustration with the scapegoating of Christians today. I agree with you; it’s bad that it’s politically incorrect to denigrate anyone and any religion except for Christians and Christianity. As a Jew, I understand more deeply than you can imagine, and I even share your frustration. But your assuming that I am attacking Christians today in that vein is your misunderstanding of this whole conversation.

            I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against the wonderful modern Christians who, as I have said before, support Israel and are pretty much our only friends in a hostile world. I do worry about attitudes some Christians have that I fear will in the future turn them against us (history has an annoying tendency to repeat itself), but I try to live in the present. As Yehuda has told you many times over, this discussion has never been about you and your fellow Christians today.

            Your telling us to “get over” 1,950 years of unspeakable misery while my own parents’ relatives are ashes in Europe, while I remember my grandmother’s wartime stories hiding out in France after my grandfather escaped deportation, while I know Christians had the power to stop this but didn’t, is not an example of Christian love and compassion.

            I have one word of advice for you, David. Get down on your knees and pray. Pray that God fill you with a spirit of humility and understanding. And when you get up, go and study your history with an open mind.

            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,
            I looked into it as you suggested and you are correct in that the case against the Jews was overstated by me. Although there was persecution by Jews against Christians to the point of death to be sure as you can see from the two references I’ve copied and pasted here. I also left in the later persecutions by the Romans and others for context.

            http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/were-the-early-christians-really-persecuted/

            In Cold Case Christianity, I discuss the evidential value of the martyrdoms of the original eyewitnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus. When evaluating the reliability of these witnesses, their potential bias can be assessed on the basis of their willingness to die rather than recant their testimony. Many skeptics, however, doubt these martyrdoms occurred in the first place. The deaths of the Apostles are recorded by a variety of ancient authors; some of these accounts are, admittedly, more thorough and reliable than others. Critics of Christianity have accused early Christians of inventing these apostolic martyrdom stories. In fact, some skeptics have denied the systemic persecution of early Christians altogether in the first two centuries. Candida Moss, professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame, has written a book, (The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom) challenging the early persecution of Christians (including the Apostles) prior to the 3rd Century. I think her task is daunting, however, given the impressive cumulative case demonstrating the dramatic mistreatment of the earliest Christians:

            The Persecution of the Apostles Was Anticipated by the Gospel Authors
            The New Testament Gospel authors (writing the earliest accounts of the life of Jesus and his followers) described the threat of persecution even while Jesus was alive. They documented Jesus’ repeated warnings to his followers related to persecution (i.e. Matthew 24:9, John 15:18-21, John 16:1-4, Luke 14: 25-33).

            The Persecution of the Apostles Was Described by the Author of Acts
            Luke described the immediate persecution of the disciples following the Ascension of Jesus in his Book of Acts (written in the 1st Century):

            Peter and John were arrested (Acts 4:3 and Acts 5:18),

            Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 6 and 7),

            The believers were persecuted as a group (Acts 8:1),

            Members were pulled from their homes and taken to prison (Acts 8:3),

            King Herod put James (the brother of John) to death and arrested Peter (Acts 12).

            The Persecution of the Apostles Was Described Personally by New Testament Authors
            Paul (writing again the 1st Century) described his consistent persecution (i.e. 2 Corinthians 11:24-28) and Luke corroborated Paul’s suffering:

            In Jerusalem, Paul spoke openly and challenged the Hellenists. They, in turn, tried to kill him (Acts 9:28-30)

            In Antioch, the Jewish leadership encouraged persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and eventually expelled them from the area (Acts 13:48-52)

            In Iconium, both Jews and Gentiles attempted to stone Paul and Barnabas, forcing them to flee to Lystra (Acts 14:5-6)

            The Jewish residents of Lystra convinced the citizenry to stone Paul as well. He nearly died from this stoning but was rescued by the disciples (Acts 19-20)

            Paul and Silas were beaten openly and thrown into prison in Philippi (Acts 16:19-40)

            In Berea, the Thessalonian Jewish believers incited the crowd and forced Paul to flee by sea (Acts 17:13-14)

            Paul was eventually arrested in Caesarea and taken Governor Felix (Acts 24:1). He was ultimately taken to Rome where he was placed in house arrest under guard (Acts 28)

            The Persecution of the Apostles Was Described by the Second Generation of Christian Authors
            The early students of the Apostles described the martyrdom of their teachers in ancient non-Biblical documents. They also described the persecution of other early Christians.

            Clement of Rome (80-140 AD) confirmed Peter “endured not one but many labors, and thus having borne his testimony went to his appointed place of glory” (1 Clement 5:4). Clement also confirmed Paul “had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned” (1 Clement 5:5) and “when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having been found a notable pattern of patient endurance” (1 Clement 5:6). Clement also described “sudden and repeated calamities and reverses which are befalling us” (1 Clement 1:1).

            Ignatius (105-115 AD) described Paul as a martyr (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, Chapter 12). He also described himself as a “a condemned man” and anticipated his martyrdom in Rome, where he would “become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans, Chapter 4). Ignatius also referred to the persecution of the Church in Antioch (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, Chapter 10).

            Polycarp (110-140 AD) described the martyrdom of Paul “and the rest of the Apostles” in addition to the martyrdom of “Ignatius and Zosimus and Rufus” along with “others also who came from among yourselves” (Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians 9:1)

            The Persecution of the Second Generation of Christians Was Described by Subsequent Authors
            Followers of the Church Fathers wrote about the martyrdom of these early Church leaders, claiming they were following the examples of the Apostles.

            Clement was banished from Rome by Emperor Trajan and forced to work in a stone quarry reportedly drowned as a martyr (c. 99AD)

            Ignatius was reportedly martyred in the Roman Colosseum under Emperor Trajan (c. 117AD)

            Polycarp was reportedly martyred (along with six others) by Antoninus Pius (c. 160AD). After refusing to recant his faith, he told his persecutors, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never did me wrong, how then can I blaspheme my king who hath saved me?”

            Justin Martyr was prosecuted (together with his companions) by Junius Rusticus. Justin was ultimately beheaded as a martyr (c. 165AD)

            The Persecution of 1st and 2nd Century Christians Was Described by Ancient Non-Christians
            Early non-Christian sources confirm the persecution accounts of the early Church.

            Tacitus described the persecution of Christians in Rome (c. 64-68AD) within 30 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. “Nero falsely accused and executed with the most exquisite punishments those people called Christians.” According to Tacitus, some Christians “were seized who admitted their faith, and then, using the information they provided, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much for the crime of burning the city, but for hatred of the human race.” These early Christians were brutally executed, “and perishing they were additionally made into sports: they were killed by dogs by having the hides of beasts attached to them, or they were nailed to crosses or set aflame, and, when the daylight passed away, they were used as nighttime lamps.” (Annals)

            Suetonius (69-122AD) also described the persecution of the early Christians. He said Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) “expelled them from Rome,” (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars; Claudius 25) and reported that, under Nero, “punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition” (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars; Nero 16)

            Pliny the Younger (Governor of Pontus / Bithynia) confirmed the persecution of Christians in his letter to Emperor Trajan (c. 112AD). He asked the Emperor “whether pardon is to be granted for repentance, or, if a man has once been a Christian, it does him no good to have ceased to be one; whether the name itself, even without offenses, or only the offenses associated with the name are to be punished.” Pliny told Trajan, “I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed.” Pliny excused those who rejected Christ and proved their allegiance to the Roman gods: “Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ–none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do–these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.” Trajan, in his response to Pliny, confirms the means by which early Christians could avoid persecution: “If they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it, that is, by worshiping our gods, even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance.”

            The Persecution of 1st and 2nd Century Christians Was Described by Ancient Christians
            Early Christian leaders wrote about the ongoing persecution of believers

            Justin Martyr (100-164AD) described the continuous persecution of the Christian community in a letter to Emperor Augustus Caesar. He wrote, “You can kill us, but cannot do us any real harm” (The First Apology of Justin Martyr)

            Tertullian (160-225 AD) described the suffering of the early Christians as he wrote to Roman governors in an attempt to stem the persecution of Christians in his era (Apologeticus)

            Even the most skeptical critics of Christian history typically accept the 3rd and 4th Century records of large scale persecution of Christians under Emperor Decius (c. 250’s AD), Valerian (c. 260’s AD), Diocletian (c. 280’s AD) and Galerius (early 300’s AD). These four emperors persecuted Christians vigorously. Under Valerian alone, many well-known known Christian leaders were martyred, including Cyprian (Bishop of Carthage), Sixtus II (Bishop of Rome) and Saint Lawrence.

            The evidence for the early persecution of Christians is robust, including the 1st Century Biblical record, the 1st and 2nd Century Christian non-Biblical record, and the accounts of ancient 1st and 2nd pagan historians and writers. Like any cumulative case, the strength of this evidence is compounded by the diversity of the sources. Is the early persecution of Christians simply a myth created by Christians to advance the cause of Christianity? Those who propose such a theory must account for the following:

            The records of persecution originate over the entire course of Christian history, from New Testament era to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation of Christian believers

            The records of persecution originate in geographically diverse locations

            The records of persecution originate in culturally diverse Christian communities

            The records of persecution originate from both Biblical and non-Biblical authors

            The records of persecution originate from both Christian and non-Christian authors

            The records of persecution were unopposed by ancient objectors

            While skeptics in our day may deny the ancient Christian claims of martyrdom, the opponents of antiquity were silent. The Christian record remains the one unopposed, dominant voice from antiquity, describing the persecution of ancient Christians and identifying this persecution with their refusal to “[reject] Christ and [prove] their allegiance to the Roman gods.”

            J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity

            Comment or Subscribe to J. Warner’s Daily Email
            – See more at: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/were-the-early-christians-really-persecuted/#sthash.LH4v6dmA.dpuf

            http://www.allaboutfollowingjesus.org/early-christian-persecution-faq.htm

            Those who have believed in the one God of heaven and earth have continually been persecuted by rulers and kings since time began. However, when we speak of early Christian persecution, we are referring to the time following Jesus Christ’s suffering and persecution for His Church – His death on the cross. He paid the price for all of our sins, He was spat upon, beaten beyond recognition, humiliated, and finally nailed to a cross like a hardened criminal until He died. After three days, He rose again and even now, He lives and is the right hand of God the Father where He rules and reigns with Him.

            Stephen was one of the first men to suffered early Christian persecution. He was stoned to death outside the gates for the faithful manner in which he preached the Gospel. After this, a great persecution was raised against all who professed belief in Christ as the Messiah.

            The fate of the Apostles and close disciples followed in succession.
            • James the Great, the elder brother of John the Apostle, was beheaded in A.D. 44.
            • Philip, who served in Upper Asia was scourged in Phrygia, thrown into prison and later crucified (A.D. 54).
            • Matthew the tax collector served the Lord in Parthia and Ethiopia where he was slain with a halberd (a shafted weapon with an axe-like cutting blade and a speared end) in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.
            • James the Less, the brother of the Lord, served the church in Jerusalem and wrote the book of James. He suffered martyrdom at the age of ninety-four by being beaten and stoned by the Jews.
            • Matthias, the man who was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.
            • Andrew, the brother of Peter, preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations and was crucified on a cross at Edessa. The ends of his cross were fixed transversely in the ground, thus the derivation of the term, St. Andrew’s cross.
            • Mark was converted to Christianity by Peter and served as amanuensis (he wrote for Peter). He was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria.
            • Peter, the apostle, was sought by Nero to be put to death. Jerome wrote that Peter was crucified with his head down and his feet up, because he thought himself unworthy to be crucified in the same form and manner as the Lord.
            • Paul was really persecuted several times. He was scourged, stoned, and finally, Nero had him beheaded by a sword.
            • Jude, the brother of James, commonly called Thaddeus, was crucified at Edessa in A.D. 72.
            • Bartholomew preached in several countries and translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India. He was cruelly beaten and then crucified by in patient idolaters.
            • Thomas, doubting Thomas, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India. He excited the rage of the pagan priests and was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.
            • Luke the author of Luke and Acts travelled with Paul through various countries and was suppose to have been hanged on and olive tree by the idolatrous priests of Greece.
            • Simon the Zealot preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even Britain where he was crucified in A.D. 74.
            • John, the Apostle whom Jesus loved, was sent from Ephesus to Rome where he was put into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by a miracle, without injury, but was then banished to the Isle of Patmos and there he wrote the book of Revelation. Nerva, Domitian’s successor, said he was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.
            There are ten primitive persecutions mentioned in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. The first mass persecution occurred under Nero in A.D. 67. He was the sixth emperor of Rome and is remembered as the one who set Rome aflame and then blamed the Christians for the deaths and destruction caused by the fire. He had some Christians sewn up in skins of wild beasts and thrown to the dogs. Some Christians were dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, fixed to axletrees, and set on fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate them. Rather than diminished the spirit of Christianity, this persecution increased the devotion and commitment of Christianity.

            The second persecution happened under Domitian in A.D. 81. Anything bad that happened whether it was famine, pestilence, or earthquakes he blamed the Christians and put them to death. The third primitive persecution occurred under Trajan in A.D. 108. Christians were beaten, beheaded, and devoured by wild beasts. About ten thousand Christians were put to death.

            The fourth persecution took place under Marcus Aurelius Antoninas in A.D. 162 and the fifth persecution is credited to Severus in A.D. 192. Christians were burned at the stake, had hot tar poured on their heads, beheaded, placed in boiling water and ravaged by wild beasts.

            The sixth persecution took place under Maximus in A.D. 235. At this time, numerous Christians were slain without trial and buried indiscriminately in heaps (mass graves), sometimes fifty or sixty cast into a pit together. The seventh persecution happened under Decius in A.D. 249. At this time, the principle person martyred was Fabian, the bishop of Rome, who beheaded on January 20, A.D. 250.

            The eighth persecution occurred under Valerian in A.D. 257. Once again every manner of torture was used to mock those claiming to be Christians and for the entertainment of the rulers and their guests. The ninth persecution occurred under Aurelian in A.D. 274 when Felix, bishop of Rome was martyred.

            The tenth persecution took place under Diocletian in A.D. 303. This was commonly called the Era of the Martyr’s and was occasioned partly by the increasing number and luxury of the Christians The manner of persecutions was carried out with racks, scourges, swords, daggers, crosses, poisons, and famine.

            Information and ideas for this article came from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, 1926 Edition, pages 1-32. For more information on the book and their ongoing ministry, please visit: http://www.persecution.net/.

            Learn More about Christian Persecution!

          • Dina says:

            Good man, David. This is definitely a step in the right direction. You still have a lot of research ahead of you, however.

            I already know, having studied history (as I keep pointing out), that the Romans persecuted the early Christians. That is irrelevant to our discussion. But it’s important for you to know that this petered out with the Roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and the rapid spread of Christianity throughout Europe as a result. At that point, Christians began persecuting Jews, pagans, and heretics (suppressing all dissident groups such as the Ebionites). And they didn’t stop for a long, long time.

            As evidence for early persecution of Christians by Jews, you could only bring sources from Christian scripture, which I insist is a work of propaganda. Paul himself says so in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23: “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means [even lying?] I might save some.” So I would take everything he says and everything the other writers of Christian scripture say with a grain of salt–or two or three.

            It’s telling that historians of the time period failed to mention these persecutions. You were able to provide extra-biblical documentation only for the Roman persecution of Christians. Does this tell you something?

            However, let us say for argument’s sake that some Jews persecuted and even killed a handful of Christian leaders (we’re talking about fewer than twenty people). Is there a moral equivalence here that I’m missing?

            To say that you overstated the case is the understatement of the century.

            I am still waiting for you to provide evidence or retract your statement that the Pharisees exterminated other Jewish schismatic groups.

            Thanks, David. I appreciate your taking this seriously enough to do even this minimal research. I do understand that that takes courage.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            I think Dina is being more charitable here than is warranted. Then again she is nicer than I am.

            Let’s take another moment to remind our readers of your words

            “You avoid the truth of what your ancestors have done in the name of God. If they had it there way they’d have wiped out all Christians to the last man woman and child. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. And that’s just in regards to Christians. What about all of the other peoples in which the Israelites were successful in exterminating to the last survivor? What about all the sects which sprouted from Judaism which were exterminated?”.

            Your response to Dina’s demand for an apology for these slanderous accusations about Jewish history was to cut and paste a litany of early persecution of Christians.

            You described your response as showing that while you “overstated” the case against the Jews, you did show that “there was persecution by Jews against Christians to the point of death to be sure as you can see from the two references I’ve copied and pasted here” You also claimed that he left the lists of persecutions by non-Jews in for “context”.

            Really David? And what precisely was the “context” you were trying to show?

            Let me help our readers see the context.

            If you take David’s litany and paste it into Microsoft Word you get a document 7 pages long. If you then edit to looking for the evidence of anything that might be described as “persecution by Jews against Christians to the point of death”, here is what you get.

            1) Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 6 and 7),
            2) James the Great, the elder brother of John the Apostle, was beheaded in A.D. 44.
            3) Matthew the tax collector served the Lord in Parthia and Ethiopia where he was slain with a halberd (a shafted weapon with an axe-like cutting blade and a speared end) in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.
            4) James the Less, the brother of the Lord, served the church in Jerusalem and wrote the book of James. He suffered martyrdom at the age of ninety-four by being beaten and stoned by the Jews.
            5) Matthias, the man who was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.

            That’s all folks. And I’m not even sure they all apply.

            The only context I can infer from this David, is that you were hoping to obfuscate the paltry list 5 items that might be applicable to your despicable slander with six and a half pages of persecution by non-Jews against christians.

            You “overstated” the case? Understatement indeed.

            Man up David, Apologize for letting a classically anti-semitic slur make its way to from your brain to your keyboard (bypassing all the mental checkpoints along the way that constrain most of us) with no provocation beyond having gotten caught up it a heated blog exchange

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,
            You conveniently say that the fact the Romans persecuted Jews is irrelevant to our discussion. False statement; as you have repeatedly falsely claimed that it is due to the Christian Scriptures that even Hitler, and other non-believers throughout history were at least supported in their persecution of the Jews. There is not one shred of evidence yet you say you are a student of history. Then when I pointed out that you have many more enemies including groups and states such as for example Islamist extremists and Iran, you move the goal post and assert well that’s another religion based also on anti-sematic writings also. Again, no proof of that; you simply make the claim. And what happens then to your claim that it is only Christian scriptures that motivated Hitler? Why couldn’t it have been exclusively Islamist writings if you believe they are anti-Semitic? So, now I bring up the fact that Romans have persecuted Christians and as you well know they were persecuting Jews already before Christ and continued to do so before and after the Christian Scriptures. What are you going to say now Dina? That they were pagans and based their hatred on anti-sematic writings too? HOG WASH!

            You’re just making up your argument as you go along! No proof of anything.

            Along this theme you wrote on several different occasions:
            “My questions result from a careful study of Christian-Jewish relations throughout history and the study of the relationship between Christian anti-Semitism and Christian scripture.
            I’m talking about the writings that still fill your libraries today. Students of your faith study these works with great devotion. I’m talking about Christian scripture….
            If you rely on the book of propaganda you call the New Testament…”

            You attempt to lump all persecution of Jews by anyone anywhere throughout history at the feet of Christians. I’ve proven that’s not the case. Now at least you can admit that other religions were involved, including others such as the Romans.

            Now the next thing to work on is that you are continuing to lump all misguided Christians who wrote or did anything which could be construed as anti-sematic in with the holy NT to discredit the NT and thereby seek to discredit Christianity as a religion.

            Guilt by association is your strategy. I’ve always said that there were many bad Christians over the years (not 2000 years as you claim) who wrote many bad things and not only against Jews by the way but also against other Christian beliefs such as non-Trinitarians for example. So now you can stop linking the two which shouldn’t be linked in the first place. As I’ve explained before, it is the misconstruing of the NT, and not the NT itself. You’ve never proven the NT was to blame. All the evidence you’ve given actually confirms my point to a misconstruing of the NT which I agree with.

            As an example, why did the Jews persecute the Christians? Did they not think that many of them thought that they were following God’s will? Did God not direct Moses to spear to death 3000 Jews at the incident of the Golden Calf? Did Elijah not direct the executions of 450 Jewish priests of Baal? Does not the OT direct that those who turn away and follow other gods and encourage others to do so are to be killed thus sending a message to others?

            And was not then the stage set then for some hypocritical Pharisees and corrupt leaders of the people to misuse the teachings of the OT, to take the law into their own hands to execute their own form of misguided justice even though they had no right, to cause the persecution, many times to the point of death, of the early Christians?

            Should I then blame the writings of the OT for the death 2000+ early Christians at the hands of the Jews?

            As I said when I entered this debate to set the record straight, that you have misplaced anger and misplaced accusations and guilt. We shouldn’t blame the NT any-more than we should blame the OT for the actions of some evil people bent of evil intent perhaps some were ignorant and misguided and some were well knowing what they did was evil. Either way, the OT shouldn’t be blamed any more than should the NT.

            You falsely claim that my references in the previous post to Jewish persecution of Christians came exclusively from Christian sources. False. Read the following which was in my post. The persecutions of Christians is a fact, and that Jews played a part early on is a fact. If you claim to be a student of history then study that.

            From my previous post:

            “The records of persecution originate over the entire course of Christian history, from New Testament era to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation of Christian believers

            The records of persecution originate in geographically diverse locations

            The records of persecution originate in culturally diverse Christian communities

            The records of persecution originate from BOTH BIBLICAL AND NON-BIBLICAL AUTHORS

            The records of persecution originate from BOTH CHRISTIAN AND NON-CHRISTIAN AUTHORS

            THE RECORDS OF PERSECUTION WERE UNOPPOSED BY ANCIENT OBJECTORS”

            You wrote:
            “However, let us say for argument’s sake that some Jews persecuted and even killed a handful of Christian leaders (we’re talking about fewer than twenty people). Is there a moral equivalence here that I’m missing?”

            False statement. Even non-Christian sources report that it was around 2000, some say more. For a small sect such as Christians were, that number percentage wise is a very big number.

            You need go no further than the non-Christian/non-Jewish source of Wikipedia:
            “…Jewish Christianity, initially strengthened despite persecution by Jerusalem Temple officials…”
            “It has been argued that this Jewish Christian sect (3,000 +) was in danger of being wiped out as they were being persecuted.”
            “The early persecution by the Jews is estimated to have a death toll of about 2,000.”
            “A further blow to this Jewish sect was the death of their second leader (their first leader Jesus having been crucified c.30). According to Josephus, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James” met his death after the death of the procurator Porcius Festus, yet before Lucceius Albinus took office — which has thus been dated to 62. The High Priest Ananus ben Ananus took advantage of this lack of imperial oversight to assemble a Sanhedrin (although the correct translation of the Greek ‘synhedion kriton’ is ‘a council of judges’, see Synedrion for the Greek use of the word) who condemned James “on the charge of breaking the law,” then had him executed by stoning. …”

            See that Dina? Take your 20 and multiply by 100. And if the sect numbered at around 3000 or even 10 times that at 30,000, then 2,000 killed at the hands of the Jews is a huge number!

            You wrote:
            “To say that you overstated the case is the understatement of the century.”

            Your comment refers to my post:
            “I looked into it as you suggested and you are correct in that the case against the Jews was overstated by me. Although there was persecution by Jews against Christians to the point of death to be sure as you can see from the two references I’ve copied and pasted here. I also left in the later persecutions by the Romans and others for context.”

            And that was in reference to an earlier post of mine:
            “You seem to want to only focus on historical evidence of crimes committed against your ancestors. You avoid the truth of what your ancestors have done in the name of God. If they had it there way they’d have wiped out all Christians to the last man woman and child. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. And that’s just in regards to Christians. What about all of the other peoples in which the Israelites were successful in exterminating to the last survivor? What about all the sects which sprouted from Judaism which were exterminated?”

            The only parts that were overstated were that which referred to “last man, woman and child.” I don’t know for sure whether they had the “intent” to kill all Christians, but given the numbers involved it seems that may have been the objective. Either that or cause them to recant the name of Jesus. And also the following was an overstatement, “all the sects which sprouted from Judaism which were exterminated.”

            So I don’t see it as the overstatement of the “century.” By the way where are your retractions of all the false statements which you’ve never provided proof of?

            Where’s the retraction of 2000 years (overstatement in number of years) of Christians persecuting Jews? How is it that we were persecuting Jews in the early days when all the evidence says that Jews were persecuting Christians? Do you expect anyone to believe that a small sect was responsible?

            Where’s the credible non-Jewish sources which claim that the NT (and not the misconstruing of it) is to blame for the death of a single Jew?

            As I stated above, should we all then blame the OT for the Christian deaths at the hand of Jews?

          • Dina says:

            David,

            Some points:

            1. I have indeed been rounding off to 2,000 years, but for the sake of truth and precision, I shall amend that. I will subtract 315 (the year Christianity became dominant under Constantine) from 1,950 to arrive at 1,635. This actually weakens your position because it tells us that as soon as Christians obtained power they abused it.

            2. I cannot retract the statement that Hitler and the Nazis used the NT for justification because I never made that statement. Rather than repeat Yehuda’s and my arguments, I recommend that you reread this thread. You are clearly missing something.

            3. A single line in Wikipedia about a 2,000-person death toll, documented by one source, is not enough to convince me, but I am not going to deny it either without more study. Suffice it to say that neither Paul Johnson nor James Carroll found this important information worthy of including in their histories.

            4. You accuse me of not documenting my arguments. I gave you five sources in this comment: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/the-school-of-matthew/#comment-7529. Here’s another one: A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. And another one: http://www.ushmm.org/research/the-center-for-advanced-holocaust-studies/programs-ethics-religion-the-holocaust/articles-and-resources/christian-persecution-of-jews-over-the-centuries

            So that’s seven sources total. Six of them are solid books written by scholars, historians, and journalists. Only one is a website, and it’s not Wikipedia, which is considered an unreliable source by the cognoscenti (though I do use it anyway 🙂 ).

            That you don’t want to check out my sources is your problem, not mine. Don’t blame it on me, sir.

            5. Quote from the Wikipedia page you sent me to (someone is being selective with his facts, methinks):

            At least by the 4th century, the consensus amongst scholars is that persecution of Christians by Jews has been traditionally overstated; according to James Everett Seaver,

            MUCH OF CHRISTIAN HATRED TOWARD THE JEWS WAS BASED ON THE POPULAR MISCONCEPTION… THAT THE JEWS HAD BEEN THE ACTIVE PERSECUTORS OF CHRISTIANS FOR MANY CENTURIES… The… examination of the sources for fourth century Jewish history will show that THE UNIVERSAL, TENACIOUS, AND MALICIOUS JEWISH HATRED OF CHRISTIANITY REFERRED TO BY THE CHURCH FATHERS AND COUNTLESS OTHERS [like our friend David] HAS NO EXISTENCE IN HISTORICAL FACT. The generalizations of patristic writers in support of the accusation have been wrongly interpreted from the fourth century to the present day. That individual Jews hated and reviled the Christians there can be no doubt, but there is no evidence that the Jews as a class hated and persecuted the Christians as a class during the early years of the fourth century. (Emphasis added.)

            You need to pray a little harder for humility and understanding.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Yehuda says:

            Dina,

            I did a little digging online and found the Wikipedia source for the alleged killing of 2,000 Christians by Jews in the days of the early church. The reference is to a booklet called “Characteristics of the Early Church”. It was written in 1899 by a Catholic priest named Rev. John James Burke. The reference in question appears on page 101 in a section subtitled “the external trials of the early church” in a paragraph that reads as follows:

            “The Jews were the first persecutors of the early Christians. Having crucified the Master, they waged a relentless warfare against the disciples. They forbade them to preach, cast them into prison, scourged them, and put them to death. They stoned St. Stephen to death, murdered St. James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, and sent St. Paul in chains to Cesarea. The persecution, during which St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was put to death, occurred in the year after our Lord’s crucifixion During this persecution, it is said about 2,000 Christians were martyred…”

            There you have it…”it is said”

            The booklet contains no footnotes, annotations, or bibliography. (Although it contains several approbations from other Catholic clergy.)

            Make of it what you like, but this 2,000-person death toll has managed to elude even the most dedicated of modern Christian chroniclers of early Christian persecution – and, for some reason, everyone else including the author of the NT passage describing the events.

          • Dina says:

            Yehuda, thanks for the doing the detective work and saving me the bother. I suppose this is why Wikipedia is not considered reliable. I was very suspicious of that statement, having never before encountered such a notion in all my studies.

            David, you have failed to make a concerted effort to seek the truth about this issue. Instead, you have attacked my character, imputing motives to me such as “misplaced anger” and falsely accusing of me of making extreme statements without backing them up with a “shred of evidence.” Moreover, you have consistently misrepresented and twisted my arguments.

            At the same time, you slandered the nation of Israel, flinging baseless charges against my ancestors that you could not subsequently support with credible evidence.

            Your rhetoric in this exchange reveals a deep anger and I daresay even an antipathy to religious Jews, the present-day Pharisees.

            You can still redeem yourself by applying yourself to the study of the history of the origins of Christian Jew-hatred and tracing its path through the centuries, discovering the truth, and humbly apologizing for your ugly words.

            May God replace the anger and contempt in your heart with understanding and compassion.

            Peace,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina and Yehuda,

            Through all of this, my primary focus has been the counter argument to the false claims that the NT is the root cause for the persecution of Jews over the last 2000 years.

            And that thought was expressed in the following quote by you Dina,

            “Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust.”

            The only reason for my ancillary arguments (I think there have been 3) has been to show the errors in logic used to support your misconception. Although the primary focus of my rebuttal of your claim has been throughout that it is not the NT itself which is to blame for anything but the people who misread it, and that the quote above is not supported by any fair minded scholars or any fair minded people anywhere who have read the NT in its entirety, or supported by anything which you’ve yet to provide.

            Regarding my 3 ancillary rebuttals to your quote:
            For example my argument regarding the persecution of early Christians at the hands of Jews and Romans was not simply to bring some perspective to the debate in that regard although it does have that aspect; my primary purpose as stated above was focused on the NT and was to demonstrate that just as Christians did not then, and do not now, blame the OT for the attacks suffered in the early days of Christian martyrdom which started in Judea with the Christian leaders and spread from there, neither should Jews today blame the NT for persecutions they suffered later from Christians.

            The ancient world was in many instances very intolerant of accepting others who held to another opinion. And they many times took matters into their own hands. They for example were going to stone Moses on several occasions. We know better than to blame the OT. And you should know better than to blame the NT.
            That was the point there.

            In another ancillary argument of mine, I presented facts that it wasn’t always Christians and therefore much of the persecutions then and later couldn’t have been based on the NT. In the early days it was the Romans before Christianity even existed, during the advent of Christianity while Christians were being persecuted themselves along with Jews, and then after the Romans adopted Christianity into their rule over the empire they continued persecuting Jews. That then proves it had nothing to do with the NT. I also pointed out that there have been others such as state sponsored hate and individual groups which have nothing to do with the NT. You can’t then blame all hate and the resulting events such as the holocaust exclusively on the NT even if the NT were later partly to blame, which it is not.

            So to clarify, that then proves two things, one, that anti-Semitism is not and has never been exclusive to Christianity, and two, that anti-Semitism exits independent of the NT and even existed prior to the NT and continued through the advent of the NT, not because of the NT.

            The other ancillary argument of mine which is related to the above was that the so called 2000 years of Christian persecution or 1950 however you want to count it was an overstatement (which you Dina partially rectified) which unfairly attributed persecutions to the NT before that would have been possible since for part of that time Christians didn’t even exist and then later were themselves being persecuted for several centuries. Yes, historically the persecution of Christians at the hands of Jews has been overstated by me innocently in these posts, as was pointed out, but you Dina also are overstating the persecution of Jews at the hands of Christians and then attributing this to the NT.

            Now to get back on track and address the matter of the debate which is whether or not it is in fact true that:

            “Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust.”

            Of the references you have given to support the above that can be verified on line (which is only one; the others can’t be verified) I checked and sure enough, not only does it not support your false claim but actually supports my counter claim and includes many of the points I have been making.

            I quote from your reference:
            “ANTISEMITISM HAS MANY PARENTS. Scholars of ancient civilizations have revealed the presence of a cultural antipathy towards Jews and their religion in GRECO-ROMAN SOCIETY. There is little question that some of the early Gentile converts to Christianity SHARED IN THIS CULTURAL BIAS. As Gentiles they also were not well acquainted with the internal life of the Jewish community at the time of Jesus. HENCE THEY READ MANY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT TEXTS AS CONDEMNATIONS OF JUDAISM AS SUCH RATHER THAN INTERNAL QUARRELS WHICH WERE COMMONPLACE WITHIN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF THE PERIOD.”

            Where does it say that the NT is the “root” of anti-Semitism? It says just the opposite, that anti-Semitism has “MANY PARENTS.” It says that there was a “CULTURAL BIAS” which was in place in Greco-Roman society of Gentile converts. That then refutes your claim since this bias is not based on the NT. It says that they “READ” many of the New Testament texts as condemnations.” It doesn’t say that the NT itself condemned. That’s what I’ve been saying all along. That people anywhere at any-time can and do justify their negative opinions and actions by any and every means. In this case it was based on the “cultural bias” of the “Greco-Roman society.” So there you have it. They “read” the NT with their cultural bias. And the cultural bias was NOT due to the NT but due to the Greco-Roman society and not just exclusive to Gentile Christians converts but prevalent in the society as anti-Semitism has “MANY PARENTS.”

            I would ask that in the future Dina, preferably you stick to things that can be verified on line or at least copy and paste the passage of your citation in enough context (as I’ve done) so that your claims that scholars support your opinion that, “Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust” can be objectively examined without having to either dig around and find the link or by the book.

            In contrast to you, everything I’ve provided as prove is verifiable on line and I’ve provided either the link or copied the whole section. My Wikipedia citation is an example of my good faith and transparency in that regard. The only reason I went there was so as not to use anything that could be considered biased against Jews and to provide something on line which you could check for yourself. You’ll notice that throughout this entire debate I haven’t cited the NT itself or other sources such as Justin. But since Yehuda, you revealed that the Wikipedia citation has a Christian origin I will withdraw it and the claim based on said article specific to the number of 2000 Christian deaths at the hands of Jews. If your previous NON-online citations (unlike my on line citations) are anything like the single on-line link you gave in your previous post, I can see why you’ve been reluctant to be more forthcoming.

            To date then you’ve provided nothing which I can verify on line that supports your claim that:

            “Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust.”

            Yehuda, Your claim that it was simply a shift in attitudes to enlighten thinking brought on by shifts in society which has led to a cessation or abatement in anti-Semitism supports my point.

            If it was the NT in fact which resulted in anti-Semitism and culminated in the holocaust, then we enlightened Christians today over the last 50 years would be denouncing the NT. Where do you see that? The same NT which we hold to today, which we enlightened Christians believe to be a document of love and forgiveness, is the same NT which ignorant, biased, or dishonest people twisted to support their hate of Jews.

            Yet there is not a single Christian I’ve ever met who holds any ill will towards Jews. And interestingly enough they read the NT, that’s the same NT which you and Dina claim has resulted in unspeakable persecutions and culminated in the holocaust!

            Where’s the proof of that?

          • ‘Yet there is not a single Christian I’ve ever met who holds any ill will towards Jews’.
            David, I’ve never read a more extraordinary statement from you. Either you don’t know many professing Christians, or you’ve never discussed Jewish matters, or you have a very narrow view of Jew hatred. Try wearing a yarmulke for a day, or better still ride you nearest subway with an Israeli flag on your lapel in rush hour, and you may be surprised at what the good, upstanding people of the churches of your town will say to you. In London, I can assure you the latter is likely to insults and potentially violence, esp in the poorer parts of town and sadly very many professing Christians won’t do anything about it, and may even contribute. I agree about the NT, but your lack of insight into the problem and the nature of your argument is problematic.

          • Dina says:

            David,

            I am growing weary of your repeated misrepresentations of my arguments, which I have amplified on and clarified, and which Yehuda has contributed to explaining as well.

            I will summarize my arguments and then provide online sources:

            1. CHRISTIAN persecution of Jews–NOT ALL PERSECUTION OF JEWS–is rooted in Christian scripture. If you like, we can say it was rooted in their interpretation of CS. I don’t care. It’s all the same to me. It’s all the same to the guy being burned alive at the stake. Fact is, the haters, who represented the majority for centuries, justified their hatred with CS (wrongly or rightly). Fact is, statements in John that Jews are children of the devil and Paul’s statement that the Jews killed Jesus and are the enemies of all mankind MADE IT VERY EASY TO JUSTIFY this hatred and persecution. Take your head out of the sand, David.

            2. The pre-Christian pagan groups who persecuted Jews disappeared with the rise of Christianity. Jews in fact fared better under pagan Roman rule than under Christian rule, because while persecutions occurred from time to time, an active and systematic persecution had not been organized.

            3. You continue to “overstate” the case of early persecution of Christians by Jews. There is no moral equivalence. Jews never systematically persecuted another people. Pay attention to the words “systematically persecuted.”

            4. The Holocaust could only have taken place in a climate that was ripe with the increasing Christian anti-Semitism that had pre-existed it for centuries. Your comments show that you do not understand this distinction, so I will leave it to the audience to decide whether you are representing my arguments accurately.

            5. Following is a list of online sources. I am not reluctant to give you sources; stop imputing sinister motives to me. I think the Internet does not provide adequate information for serious study. You need to conduct a proper examination of the issue, my friend, and that requires books. Such a complex subject cannot be covered in a few online articles. You are not serious about this if you continue to rely solely on the Internet for your information.

            Most of the sources below are indeed Jewish; after all, anti-Semitism is a greater concern to Jews than anyone else. You may think a Jewish source is inherently biased; a non-Jewish source can lay equal claim to bias. But the books I cited are (I think with one exception) all by non-Jews. Here you go:

            http://blogs.jpost.com/content/christian-scholar-why-antisemitism-why-holocaust
            http://muse.jhu.edu/books/9780253116741
            http://remember.org/History.root.classical.html
            http://www.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%203880.pdf
            http://jcpa.org/article/the-origins-of-christian-anti-semitism/
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Judaism_in_early_Christianity
            http://www.sandrawilliams.org/ANTI/anti-semitism.html
            http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Early_Church.html
            http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/27646/anti-Semitism
            http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/site/pp.asp?c=gvKVLcMVIuG&b=394841

          • I can’t vouch for all the sources, but these statements are spot on, David. NT expressions are often misused to justify the unjustifiable, even by the unbelieving members of my own family.
            By the way, Dina, I don’t expect ringing endorsement for this, and I recognise that it’s not the way the texts have been used to stir up hatred by rabble rousing clergymen, but we’re all children of disobedience and children of Satan by nature in conventional Christian teaching (and of course i would argue in the Tenach too (Jer.17.10 for example)) – there’s no difference between Jew or Gentile – see Ephes. 2.1-4, if you wish for confirmation.

          • Yehuda says:

            David,

            1) You said:” Through all of this, my primary focus has been the counter argument to the false claims that the NT is the root cause for the persecution of Jews over the last 2000 years.”

            Except that was never the claim. The claim was that CHRISTIAN (why do you have so much trouble seeing that important qualifying word?) anti-semitic persecution for 1600+ years was rooted in the NT. In fact when you proceed to quote Dina three lines later you seem to have noticed that qualifier, you just like to pretend it’s not there.

            2) So you’re only interested in the sources you can verify online. Dina has listed several books by competent sources. Will you or will you not read them, And if your assessment is that anyone whose conclusion disagrees with you is incompetent and biased, then don’t bother.

            You said: To date then you’ve provided nothing which I can verify on line that supports your claim that:“Christian hatred of Jews from the beginning is rooted in Christian scripture and has resulted in the unspeakable persecution of the Jews that finally culminated in the Holocaust.”

            How about this one?

            “A. Roy Eckardt, a pioneer in the field of Jewish-Christian relations, asserted that the foundation of antisemitism and responsibility for the Holocaust LIES ULTIMATELY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. Eckardt insisted that Christian repentance must include a reexamination of basic theological attitudes toward Jews and the New Testament in order to deal effectively with antisemitism.”

            Did you miss that one? Is he an incompetent hack?

            3) As to my argument about the shift in contemporary attitudes, your counterargument is flawed. At best we are left with a chicken and egg problem. It could be as you say that a “better” reading of the NT has resulted in a recanting of old anti-semitism. Or it could be that cultural shifts have biased contemporary readings of the NT. Do you not agree that things can read through different kinds of lenses?

            But this again all misses the real point. The point has NOT been that one cannot read the NT as you do. As you yourself said earlier, people can read things pretty much as they want. The point HAS been “WHAT DOES THE HISTORICAL RECORD SAY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE RAISED ON THIS BOOK?’ I have 1600 years of evidence supporting my belief that even the most literate ardent readers of the NT including popes, bishops, protestant ministers, theologians, and local preachers of all stripes studied and believed themselves to be living by this book and then when they closed the book, they got up and felt comfortable writing and preaching this hatred to their flocks and having it taught to their children to the point where it was the prevailing mindset of all of christian world. If they did not see their hatred as at least consistent with their book, then I ask you again for at least the third time to explain the pervasive brutality by Christians against Jews for all those centuries across time, geography and political circumstances. If you think I have to explain the last 50 years which according to you show the REAL NT, then don’t you have to explain the prior 1600 years and why they are NOT the REAL NT. You have yet to offer an explanation having been asked at least three times. Please read this last paragraph fully (it makes several points) before formulating an answer. If you like I will reduce the challenge to one simply stated question: How could as literate and devoted a Christian as Martin Luther surely knowledgeable about the NT have written the following expressions of love that he no doubt found consistent with the NT: Oh, and you can find all these online.

            “Therefore be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self¬glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and veheming his eyes on them.”
            * * *
            “Moreover, they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch¬thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security.”
            * * *
            Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?
            * * *
            Over and above that we let them get rich on our sweat and blood, while we remain poor and they such the marrow from our bones.
            * * *
            However, we must avoid confirming them in their wanton lying, slandering, cursing, and defaming. Nor dare we make ourselves partners in their devilish ranting and raving by shielding and protecting them, by giving them food, drink, and shelter, or by other neighborly

            I’ll stop there, although Luther didn’t.

            4) You still owe an apology. Baseless accusation of genocidal (to the last women and child) plans and acts by Jews against christians and other sectarians are not mere overstatement. They’re are noxious hate speech. Own up to it.

            Peace.

          • Dina says:

            Charles, I can’t believe that I’m defending David on this, but in fairness to him, the American experience is different from the European one.

            Conspicuously Jewish Americans can expect to appear in public places such as trains and such without harassment. (I assume David is American by his spelling. That’s how I identify you, folks. I can’t hear you talking but I can see you talking.)

            But that’s as much of a defense as I can muster. David should know that one of the reasons I come out here with my armor on and my sword swinging is a result of experiencing a lot of contempt for my beliefs (not for me as a person, thank God) in my interactions with Christians, as well as an insensitive dismissal of what Jews have suffered at Christians hands for the better part of two millennia.

            Your sensitivity and compassion speak well for you.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • You’re being too kind to both of us, but it’s an admirable fault.
            I appreciate things are much better than here, but I’m worried things are changing in the US fast, esp when I read about the BDS movement on US campuses, or the comment pages, or the lousy way Obama has recently treated Israel (why the leak on Syria?). I’m no economist, but the US looks as though it (and the rest of us) is heading for stormy times again, and Jews have always been a common scapegoat for popular frustration, I think it would be wise to keep at least a toehold in Israel for the future. I can’t entirely isolate these judgements from my somewhat unfocused convictions about Israel’s future, but there does appear to be solid, independent ground for them.

          • Dina says:

            Charles, how do you get your comments to appear in the middle of the thread? I need to learn that trick. Thanks for backing me up. That means a lot to me.

            I compared John 8:43-45 to Ephesians 2:1-5. Take a look:

            John: Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!

            Ephesians: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.

            I see a great deal of difference in the use of first-person or second-person point of view and tone between the two passages.

            In the first passage, the speaker uses the second-person point of view to address the group and the singular first-person point of view to separate himself from the group; he is obviously not part of the group he is addressing but is outside that group. The tone is angry and unsympathetic, and the charge of being children of the devil is delivered in clear and unambiguous language.

            In the second passage, the speaker uses the second-person point of view to address the group and the plural first-person point of view to include himself with the group. The tone is gentle, loving, and sympathetic, and the language about the devil much more obscure. We don’t see the speaker saying something like, “We are all children of our father the devil.”

            I guess all I can say is, I wish the vast majority of Christians throughout history had interpreted these passages the way you do, but I can’t say that their interpretation is illogical. I wish I could.

            I checked the Jeremiah reference: “I, Hashem, plumb the feelings and test the innermost thoughts, to give to man according to his ways, the fruit of his deeds.” This verse, it seems to me, teaches us that God, who knows our thoughts, is the one who rewards or punishes us according to our deeds. What’s the connection to your point?

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • Dina says:

            Charles, what you said is absolutely true, especially the part about me being admirably kind, etc., but I must say that despite the troubling direction the US is taking, Jews here do experience in every day life remarkably little anti-Semitism, especially as compared to Europe.

            Truth is, we’re not safe anywhere. I don’t see Israel as being particularly safe, beset by enemies on all sides, with the threat of terrorism and nuclear war hanging over her head.

            It’s frightening to contemplate.

          • To put a comment in the middle of a thread, use the email notification ‘reply’, I’m sure there’s an easier way to do it though. You may not agree with me, but I tentatively suggest Israel will be the safest place of all, on prophetic grounds. Isa 49. to cause to inherit the desolate places and to establish the Land (v.8) missed in my English translation as earth. The again, only the shadow of His wings is safe, even if it leads to the lions’ den.

            The verse in Jer.17 is numbered differently in Hebrew it’s v.9, in English, ‘the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Heb perhaps better as incurable), who can know it?’

            I agree those statements in John were very hard, and the 2nd person is much harsher – when I’ve used them very occasionally of my own countrymen in open air preaching, there have been raised eyebrows! but Brits have very hardened hearts and it takes sledgehammer to wake them up sometimes, and don’t I know it from my own experience? Good night.

          • Dina says:

            I don’t know about that Charles; we don’t have any guarantee from God that Israel at this point has been secured to us. We are still in exile in our own land, as far as I can tell.

            As for the verse in Jeremiah, it would be more accurate to translate it thus: The heart is deceitful above all things and fragile (or weak) etc. which is directly related to the following verse. God who knows the weakness of human nature and our innermost thoughts is the One Who judges us and metes out reward and punishment accordingly. This fits with the Jewish idea that when God judges us he takes our abilities and circumstances into account. So I still don’t see any relationship between this verse and the passage in Ephesians.

            You agree that the language in John is harsh. I would go a step further and say that based on that passage it wasn’t only easy but also logical for Christians in the past to therefore demonize the Jews in their midst. I’m grateful that Christians today don’t see it that way–but like I said in a different comment to David, history has an annoying tendency to repeat itself.

            The pattern in history is patches of good times interspersed with periods of persecution. For example, the Inquisition followed the tolerant era that was the Golden Age of the Jews in Spain. Only sixty-eight years have passed since the Holocaust. That’s not a long enough period for me to sit back complacently and think that Christian persecution of Jews is a thing of the past and that it will stay there.

            But right now things are good, so I try not to think about that. Christians and Jews have a common enemy today, and we must fight that evil, not worry about what may or may not happen in the future.

            Thanks for the e-mail reply tip!

          • Tikvah says:

            Did you guy’s see this? Ireland is putting YELLOW,…
            YES YELLOW,stickers on Boycotted Israeli products!! http://www.bridgesforpeace.com/news/article/ireland-israeli-products-marked-with-yellow-sticker/

          • Dina says:

            Thanks for the alert, Tikvah. I e-mailed a link to the Dennis Prager Show (the only radio show I listen to). I hope they pick it up and report it.

          • Yes, this is how to do it, find the no of the comment put in the URL of the page, then say for comment 7688 for example add the code ?replytocom=7688#respond to insert a comment straight in after the forward slash.
            I was quite wrong about Jer.17.9 numbering in English, sorry. I simply used it as an example of the depth of evil in every human heart. ‘Very sick’ would be a reasonable alternative – and tho it doesn’t use the same term Isa.1.5-6 provides a good exposition. I accept it’s a leap to suggest that we’re all spiritually dead and Satan’s puppets by nature, until the working of God’s holy Spirit begins, but that’s the implication of Ephes.2 and for that matter Ezek.37.1-14. or the extended parable in Ezek.16 esp v.6.
            As to John, yes they are very strong terms used directly of Messiah’s own kinsman, strong enough to make the ears tingle. Were they said with malice or with intention to denigrate? Or was it an attempt to awaken the dead to life? Samuel was given very hard works to awaken Eli – but even they didn’t succeed. Was he malicious? Did he mean his old master ill? These are painful questions given with what wickedness these words have been abused since, and how they have been selectively applied by those they describe even better. Many people accuse open air preachers of lovelessness and of being like the detestable Westboro’ Baptist haters when they preach about sin and call to repentance, but sometimes the most loving thing of all is to warn your friends and neighbours, even when they want to hear it least. Didn’t Jeremiah, Micaiah, Isaiah and Ezekiel and indeed all the prophets have similar experiences, even to death? An old friend once said to me that when you’re telling bad news to people, if they can sense you have a concern and an interest in their best, they will sometime bear very hard news – but not always.

            As to Israel and exile – we’ll see, the exile is already half finished, and the agency of that is curious enough, given no visible Messiah. I am worried about the US, as I have often said to my unbelieving brothers there, I think the US is in a much more dangerous position than Israel is, esp given Hizbollah’s heavy presence in the Southern US as a potential anonymous proxy, but I wouldn’t want to be dogmatic about timings and placings based on what I understand from scripture at the the moment. Must dash.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina and Yehuda,

            “CHRISTIAN persecution of Jews–NOT ALL PERSECUTION OF JEWS–is rooted in Christian scripture. If you like, we can say it was rooted in their interpretation of CS.”

            Yes, I like the change. That makes all the difference in the world to me.

            Thanks.

          • Dina says:

            Is that all you have to say, David?

            I’m disappointed.

          • Dina says:

            David, you latched onto one statement of mine and disregarded everything I’ve said about the culpability of Christian scripture in the 1600-years-plus persecution of the Jews.

            You have refused to face the truth about the past. You have refused to do serious research and honest soul searching.

            Instead, you examined only the evidence that supported your conclusion and engaged in hateful invective against Jim, Yehuda, me, and the Jewish people.

            This shows that you are not interested in the truth but in advancing your own agenda.

            For shame, David.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            I have no argument with you on that part of your posts throughout the debate. I think you are 100% correct in so far that in many instances historically Christians have committed atrocities. And you also raised the issue of anti-Semitic writings historically authored by church leaders. I have no argument with you there either. I think I already stated before, but just to be clear that behavior and thinking is completely unacceptable to me and completely unjustifiable. I don’t agree anyone, Christian or not who acts or thinks like that.

            Where we differed and still differ is the issue of the NT. You believe it to be evil and the root of further evil noted above (not to put words in your mouth but just paraphrasing). And I believe it to be inseparable from the OT, 100% good, God breathed and without fault or error, just as is the OT.

          • Dina says:

            That is exactly where we differ and where you refuse to confront the ramifications of some statements in Christian scripture which directly affected the way Christians viewed and therefore treated the Jews in their midst. I am not letting you off the hook.

            Let me ask you some questions, David.

            Suppose you stumbled on a website that had posted an article about blacks. The article states that blacks are the children of the devil. In another article about Latinos, you read that they are the enemies of all mankind.

            How would you characterize such statements? Are they racist? Neutral? Would you shrug your shoulders and move on to another website? Would you feel outraged?

            Would you assume that fans of this website might be encouraged to harbor negative feelings toward these groups? If these fans then perpetrated acts of violence against blacks and Latinos, would think it fair to blame the articles on this website?

            Just asking.

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            We don’t have to speak in hypotheticals. The KKK as I mentioned in my post persecuted blacks through lynching, bombed Jewish synagogues, and does also actively discriminate against Latinos for example as volunteers on the US/Mexican border.

            The KKK has historically used words from the Holy Bible and corrupt pastors to support its cause and justify its actions. And such websites as you’ve described have and do exist, not just from the Klan.

            We have to distinguish from that which is evil and that which is good or neutral and then used for evil purposes so as not to through-out the baby with the bathwater.

            When a Klansman or anyone else including a pastor for example, misuses the Holy Bible and engages in hate writings and/or hate speech in an effort to intimidate people and encourage persecution of people then that should be condemned by all of us the world over regardless of race or religion.

            When it comes to something which is either inherently neutral or inherently good in nature, we should not make the grave and unholy error of linking good to that which is evil; that’s the very strategy of evil. We also would then, God forbid, run the risk of condemning all that which is good every time someone misused that which is good. We’d then be left with nothing but evil. That’s a horrible thought. Then evil would win.

            This internet which we are using for example is neutral. But it can be used for good and/or evil.

            Should we then label the internet as evil because of Klan websites and others like it?

          • Dina says:

            David, I did ask you a hypothetical question, and it does have value.

            You did not answer the question AT ALL. Either you misunderstood it or you are evading it.

            So I’ll put it to you differently. Suppose you subscribe to The New York Times. You often read articles that charge that white Christian males are the enemies of women and minorities; all they care about is lining their own pockets; they don’t care if children go to bed hungry at night; and worst of all, they are hypocrites who preach about family values but don’t practice them.

            Would you be outraged by this? Would you consider this biased against white Christian men? If a reader of the NYT lobbed a bomb into the home of a white, Christian male pro-life activist, would think it’s fair to blame the media for inciting violence?

            I would like you to please try to put aside everything we’ve discussed thus far and just answer these questions, without comparing them to anything.

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • David says:

            Hi Dina,

            You asked 7 questions in your previous hypothetical to be exact.

            I answered most of them with one response. Here it is:
            “When a Klansman or anyone else including a pastor for example, misuses the Holy Bible and engages in hate writings and/or hate speech in an effort to intimidate people and encourage persecution of people then that should be condemned by all of us the world over regardless of race or religion.”

            Admittedly I skimmed over the nuanced difference or point to your 7th and last question as it was the last of many lost in your shotgun approach which is to just fire a bunch of questions out there and then pick on the one that doesn’t get answered.

            So in response to your 7th question, those who incite others to violence (such as on your “hypothetical” web site) share to some degree in the blame for that violence. But I think you could have figured that out from my earlier response.

            Dina, I didn’t enter this debate with you to just go round and round endlessly answering questions without end or purpose, so that when one debate ends we just continue to whatever and where ever, and on it goes forever where it ends no body knows.

            My purpose was to defend the truth and holiness of the scriptures, primarily the NT against what I believe to be false claims leveled against it. That debate is over since I’m not continuing. I think you did an outstanding job expressing your opinion in the debate.

            So thank you for the debate Dina. And just for the record, I wasn’t attacking YOU, I was rebutting your opinion with one of my own. That’s the nature of a debate when two people disagree. Perhaps we both could have been kinder and gentler to each other in making our points, yes I’ll agree with you there.

          • Dina says:

            David, as usual, when I corner you, you bow out of the debate, using your old excuse that we have exhausted all the arguments. I’m happy to end this debate because this conversation was painful, for obvious reasons.

            Since you’re leaving this conversation, I will take the last word and address it to the audience.

            Obviously, if a type of medium such a newspaper, radio show, or institution labels a group of people such as blacks or Latinos or even white Christian men “the enemies of all mankind,” “children of the devil,” “hypocrites,” and other choice epithets we would say that that medium is racist. If those who follow these media perpetrate acts of violence against such a group, we would fairly accuse the media of inciting violence–even if the media themselves condemn these acts.

            You cannot then say that this doesn’t apply to Jews. You cannot say that it’s racist to call blacks these names, but when Christain scripture labels Jews as such it isn’t racist (which against Jews is called anti-Semitic). Why are the Jews the exception to the rule? Furthermore, it would be hiding your head in the sand to say that such harsh invective does not incite its audience to violence.

            When the Church and her bishops and the famous church fathers wrote venomous attacks against the Jews and preached hatred from their pulpits, they could not then control the violent fury of their audience, even as they weakly condemned the violence.

            David has refused to examine this complex issue and confront the past. He has reacted in the typical way Christians react when confronted with the truth: anger and denial. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen describes this unfortunate tendency in his book Moral Reckoning:

            “Those who speak obvious and plain truths about the anti-Semitism of the European past, including of Catholic officials, often meet ferocious opposition. Given that roughly two billion people in the world today, including most Americans and Europeans, are Christians (with more than one billion Catholics among them), and that the most visible, respected, and powerful religious leader in the world is the leader of the Catholic Church, speaking about Christianity and anti-Semitism, and especially about Christianity and the Holocaust, is too rare. THOSE WHO ARE DEEPLY INVESTED IN DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE–whether they be Germans, Christians, or academics–CAN BECOME ENRAGED when someone exposes the falsehoods of their claims. Their accusations that such people are anti-German or anti-Catholic are no less surreal than if those who stated the obvious truths that widespread racism undergirded American slavery and Jim Crow, and that the enslaving or segregating whites thought blacks to be inferior or dangerous, were branded anti-white” (Part One, my emphasis).

            I wish David would read this book and the others that I recommended on this subject. They are backed by solid research and are eye-opening. Perhaps one day he will. Perhaps he will do some serious soul searching and come back here and apologize.

            I am holding out hope because David has shown in the past that he does indeed possess the qualities of courage and humility.

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • ‘A moral reckoning’ is certainly a powerful and important work and I would also recommend it, although as I recall his sources for his claims about the NT itself were weak. A written reply to the author was unanswered, it’s here.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Charles.

            I have only just started reading A Moral Reckoning, though I’ve read many other books on the same subject. Your letter was written with the wrong audience in mind. Goldhagen is a secular liberal Jew, so your argument on religious grounds would have been meaningless to him.

            Your letter has serious flaws. I will reread it and enumerate them later. But I appreciate the spirit of compassion that permeates your writing.

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Fair comment, and I think I knew this 9 yrs ago, when I wrote, but even secularists can be sensitive to religious arguments. In fact in a different way, don’t you find evolutionary atheists can be the most fervent of religionists – when presented with hard evidence contrary to cherished idols they sometime froth violently! I would as ever be grateful to learn yet more about my flaws. I’m serious, it’s easy and all too common to have blind spots in matters like this.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Charles.

            I read your letter again and here are the points I’d like to make:

            First, you expressed a wish that a similar study would be conducted about Protestant anti-Semitism, an admirable sentiment. I have indeed wondered why Protestants haven’t done the kind of soul searching Catholics have done in this regard (Edward Flannery and James Carroll come to mind).

            One of the points you made is that the harsh language in Christian Scripture against the Jews is also used against the gentiles. I am happy to say that the type of language used against gentiles in Christian scripture (calling them dogs, for instance) has no parallel in Hebrew scripture. Furthermore, the difference between the Jews and gentiles in CS is that the Jews are singled out as a single group while the different types of gentiles are all generalized, and you’ll remember the differences I pointed out in the way the Jews are addressed in John and the way they the gentiles are addressed in Ephesians. Those distinctions are important.

            I’d like to point out that Jesus fails to practice what he preaches. In the Sermon on the Mount, he inveighs against those who engage in name calling–while engaging in name calling himself. He says to pray for those who persecute you and to love your enemies–but he directs a lot of hatred and vindictive language toward the Pharisees; certainly we do not see him praying for them.

            What I explained to David–and I hope you will understand this–is that what CS says about Jews would be called racism if applied to any other group. Imagine if an institution would label blacks “children of the devil” or “brood of vipers.” Why would there be no question in your mind that this is racist speech, but in CS against the Jews it’s not anti-Semitic?

            The argument that the rebuke of the prophets in Tanach is precedent for the hate speech directed at the Jews in CS is specious.

            The Tanach is a communication from God to the Jewish people. When the prophets rebuke the nation of Israel, they include themselves in the rebuke and their goal is to turn us away from idolatry and toward Torah observance. They also offer words of comfort and reassurance and remind us of God’s everlasting love for us, that He will never abandon us no matter how far we stray, that we will indeed return to Torah observance and that God will take us back. We study and revere this book that highlights our shortcomings and that pays scant attention to our virtues simply because the point of this book is to teach us how to live our lives in obedience to God and not to praise us and make us feel good. For example, the book of Judges spans a period of approximately 400 years; most of the book deals with Israel’s rebelliousness, but if you add up the years of peace when Israel was obeying God and the years of rebelliousness, you find that the bad years add up to about 100 years. In other words, Israel was obedient and virtuous 75% of the time, not a bad record! But the Book of Judges doesn’t spend time on that.

            When Christians listen in on this communication, they are listening to a father rebuke his child and draw the wrong conclusions.

            Imagine a father catches his son stealing from his wallet. He tells his son, in his disappointment, “How can I ever trust you again? You stole money from me, your father, who has done nothing but good to you!”

            The neighborhood children are listening outside underneath the open window and conclude that this child is a thief and a liar and is not to be trusted, so they bully him and ostracize him.

            This is what Christians do when they listen in on the rebuke of the loving Father to His firstborn son Israel.

            Another distinction is that the audience reading Christian scripture is reading a “rebuke” (it’s not rebuke; it’s hateful invective, as I’ve shown here and in other comments) to a separate people. And that makes it a whole ‘nother story. Furthermore, John’s Jesus addresses the Jews as an entity separate from himself; he no longer includes himself with this people; and he lumps all Jews together in one group (without the distinctions in the other Gospels of the different Jewish sects at the time).

            And the proof is in the pudding. Compare the behavior of the society that revered a book that highlighted only its own faults to the society that revered a book that highlighted the faults of its theological enemies. Yes, I do think it’s fair to judge a religion by the behavior of the majority of its faithful adherents throughout the majority of its history. Christianity claimed to lead its followers down a superior moral path to Judaism. It failed spectacularly.

            You made three points, and here’s how I respond:

            1. You said that blood sacrifice is necessary for atonement, but the Temple hasn’t been available for us to atone for our sins in exile. This topic has been discussed extensively on this blog, but I’ll make a quick point: during the period between the two Temples, the Jews were exiled to Babylonia. Jesus wasn’t around to atone for their sins. What happened to those folks?

            For further study on Leviticus 17, see the following:

            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/leviticus-1711-and-the-book-of-hebrews/
            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/tsvi-jacobson-on-hebrews-922/

            There’s more, but I’m afraid if I put in too many websites the comment won’t post. If you type Leviticus 17 in the search engine you’ll find more articles.

            2. You mention how evil it is to violate God’s anointed, but you are starting from your conclusion that Jesus is God’s anointed–he isn’t. You wrote that if 65,000 were killed for the murder of one concubine (are you repeating the false charge that the Jews murdered Jesus?), how much more so for the death of God’s anointed, if I understood you correctly.

            If I accept your argument, let me put it to you this way: if 65,000 were killed for the murder of one concubine, what retribution will Christians face for the slaughter of millions of God’s firstborn son Israel throughout the centuries?

            3. I didn’t understand the point of your third point; it seemed to me a statement of faith.

            Finally, you asked where is the evidence that the charges against the Jews in CS are fabricated. Christian scripture is full of fabrications, lies, and distortions. It contradicts the historical record and itself. It is riddled with scriptural errors. I am currently reading CS for the first time (I’m in middle of Luke), and I’m astonished that you don’t see it.

            When I’m finished my studies I can send you my notes, but that will be a long time in coming. I can’t get through it as quickly as I had hoped.

            Thanks for listening,
            Dina

          • Thank you, Dina.
            It’s helpful to survey the chasm of opinion between us, and I appreciate the time you’ve put in to list them. There are some things in what you have written I agree with, and a lot I dissent from. I wish I could explore this properly, but I too am a prisoner of time.
            The overall tenor of the NT is summed up for me by the very first thing that the Messiah said on the cross, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’, he certainly wasn’t referring only to Jews then.
            As to some of the very harsh statements, like John the Baptist’s ‘brood of vipers’, primarily directed at the scribes, or Jehoshua’s description of His opponents as children of the Father of lies – they seem very similar indeed to the reproofs of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Amos or Isaiah, who also faced attacks and death from their own beloved people – need I cite the many texts? They were given by Jewish spokesmen (even if you deny their authority) to Jews as their own family and people. The question is where these statements accurate and what motivated them? As to the prohibition on name calling, if you’re referring to Matt. 5.22, then the primary question is exactly the same, were these charges accurate or not?
            Perhaps one short note may help here. Polycarp was the immediate Gentile associate of John – he owed Jewish John and the Jewish Messiah his soul and his sight. Yet the account of his execution by the Romans for refusing idolatry also hints at the depth of hostility he faced at the hands of Jews as well as Gentiles (martyrdom of Polycarp). I don’t doubt that this account is distorted by later hatred, and the reference to Jewish ‘gods’ shows that beyond all doubt. However it is drawn from eyewitness accounts, is generally credited as being genuine in circumstance, and even if the record is only 25% true, it also hints at just how deep the hostility towards early Gentiles was too. Does that justify one drop of Jewish blood being split, or one word or thought of malice? – absolutely, absolutely not – it is rank disobedience and a terrible disgrace for us. As to the millions of ‘Christians’ who participated in murder and hate – there is no doubt that they and their savageries will be utterly disowned and punished to the uttermost, ‘Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, but do not the things that I say’. Yes, our hands are stained with Jewish blood, and there is very great anger against us – why else are the Gentile churches withering on the vine, losing their salt and embracing corruption in unprecedented ways? Ichabod.

            You have sensitively and becomingly asked forgiveness twice for a very minor jibe at Derek, but we need your forgiveness so, so much more, even for evil things being done and said today falsely in Christ’s name. But words alone cannot prove repentance for the unspeakable crimes of our forebears, and I can well understand a strong doubt that such expressions are genuine without solid evidence.

          • Tikvah says:

            Charles,You are right .The Romans killed him,(who also “knew not what they were doing”)AND He said to His talmudin,”The GENTILES are coming for me”& “no-one TAKES my life,I give it freely”.
            Shalom

          • Dina says:

            Hi Charles.

            I’m not sure I made the distinction clear between the prophets’ rebuke in Tanach and Jesus’s “rebuke” (to me it sounds like hate speech, which is why I use the ironic quotation marks) in Christian scripture.

            It’s very clear in my mind, but I don’t know how to make it clearer. Here is another point that is worthy of consideration.

            The very people that the prophets rebuked so harshly took the books the prophets wrote, canonized them, and to this day revere and study them. This same people rejected the writings of those who followed Jesus (since Jesus, unlike the prophets of old, did not record any of his own teachings).

            This I think is very significant.

            And if you add to that the fact that God appointed Israel to be His witnesses (Isaiah 43:10,12), then the case becomes so much the stronger. You can be sure that if God appoints a witness, that witness will be reliable.

            To be consistent, if you accept the testimony of Israel about the truth of the books of the prophets in Tanach, then you would have to accept their testimony about their rejection of the prophet that they considered false. The other option is to reject all of Tanach and accept only Christian scripture (as per Marcion). But I don’t see how you can have it both ways.

            Of course, in this last paragraph I’m making a new argument. Sorry, my brain keeps going off in a million directions.

          • Tikvah says:

            Wrong.. “These SAME people” DID NOT “reject” the one who said this.ALL…ALL…ALL
            I repeat,ALL those who followed Him WERE JEWS.
            YOU may not think they’re Jews…but Abraham does

          • Tikvah says:

            As a matter of fact,he said,’I came ONLY for the lost sheep of the house of Israel”…O-N-L-Y

          • Dina, when has national Israel itself ever been the marker for truth, if it were wouldn’t Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah all have been excluded from the canon? Baruch only just preserved Jeremiah’s scroll from absolute desecration.

          • Dina says:

            Hi, Charles. The Jewish people canonized the books of Hebrew Scripture, including the prophets, so I have to ask you to clarify what you mean. I’m afraid I don’t understand this comment.

            Thanks,
            Dina

          • The Roman Catholic Church claims it canonised scripture, to which most Protestants say, no God canonised scripture and the church merely recognised it afterward, in some cases there was confusion for some time. Jeremiah’s scroll was firmly rejected from scripture by the official head of Jewry at the time, Jecoiakim, dear and godly Josiah’s son, was it not (Jer.36.23) and the nobles concurred? So do the people really get a vote on this one? I agree long before the first century there was full agreement, but that’s not my point.

          • Dina says:

            Hi Charles.

            I think your point is beside the point, but I will address it anyway. If you read the entire chapter in context, it becomes clear that there were two factions: one rebellious and one loyal to Jeremiah. Furthermore, the wicked king Yehoyakim was punished for his evil deed.

            The point is that the Jewish people accepted the Book of Jeremiah into the canon, along with all the books of Hebrew Scripture, despite the harsh condemnations contained therein. Yet they rejected Christian scripture.

            The significance of this cannot be overstated.

            Yours,
            Dina

        • Jim says:

          David,

          I have a friend with whom I have often spoken about why I left the Church, and why I see the NT as untenable. In almost every conversation, he brings up how Jews are merely legalists who don’t really love God. (In his theology, doing the commands of God is not an expression of love, you see.) He sees their religion as wholly hypocritical, all action but no heart. Is this from his vast interaction with the Jewish people? No. I don’t think he knows one Jew personally. I know he doesn’t know any Torah observant Jews personally.

          Where does he come by this knowledge then? The New Testament. Now, would he advocate killing Jews or burning their Torahs? No. Would he look for them to be pushed out of America? No. But it’s hard to say he doesn’t loathe them. For him, there is almost no crime worse than being legalistic. And it comes out when you talk to him. There is a disgust with the people who, in his opinion, do not love God and obsess over niggling details. That’s the power of the NT. He has an opinion about people he doesn’t know. And he judges their sincerity, having never observed their behavior.

          This leads to a further error, as well. He is unlikely to listen to the substance of an argument. Instead, he attributes motive to the arguer. He is able to write off their opinion without considering their merits. “You only think that because of motivation x or emotion y.” But he doesn’t address the actual points of the argument. He doesn’t even have to listen to the other person as if they too are a person with an intellect. He can write them off ahead of time. This is a deep error that obscures the truth.

          He constantly judges the “heart condition” (his words) of the Jew. He doesn’t have to take their ideas seriously. He already knows their wrong, because he knows what they are like deep down inside. This makes me very sad for him, honestly. Not so much angry as sad. Because he never really confronts an opposing opinion. He avoids them by writing off other people. And that does us no good. By refusing to take others seriously, we cannot test our own ideas. We cannot rid ourselves of what is false, nor refine partially true.

          Jim

          • LarryB says:

            @ Dina- This is the first time in my entire life that I have ever heard that the Jews tried to wipe out every. Man woman and child that were Christians. Was this a fruedian slip of David’s. I think this way of discussing our beliefs eventually will get at the truth of what people believe.

          • Dina says:

            Yes, you are definitely right about that. The more we discuss these issues, the more clarity we gain.

      • Yehuda says:

        David,

        Just to give you a another Christian source on the topic, consider this from Wikipedia:

        “A. Roy Eckardt, a pioneer in the field of Jewish-Christian relations, asserted that the foundation of antisemitism and responsibility for the Holocaust LIES ULTIMATELY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. Eckardt insisted that Christian repentance must include a reexamination of basic theological attitudes toward Jews and the New Testament in order to deal effectively with antisemitism.”

        Sounds alot like Dina doesn’t it.

  18. Charles Soper
    Judaism affirms that God made Himself known within His creation as I explain in this article – https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/supplement-to-responding-to-an-atheist/
    This has nothing to do with the Greek model in which God has no connection to earth. What we do believe is that every aspect of creation owes its very existence to God and that making one aspect of creation a target of worship (as does Christianity) is a violation of the relationship that God shares with His creation – and this is the underlying theme of every verse in Scripture

    • I accept and agree with the distinction, but is not the essence of syncretism is find a bridge between two separated positions, however improper? Ghazali himself was in many ways a major and trenchant opponent of neo-Platonism, having taught it for years, he found much to criticise in radical divine simplicity, but he too seems to have found it impossible to escape the depersonalising consequences of its major axioms. Perhaps this accounts for his breakdown into Sufi mysticism. As you know, Ghazali and many of the more committed Islamic philosophers, Ibn Sina, al-Farabi, and perhaps al-Kindi are reported to have had a deep impression on the Rambam. I don’t profess expertise here, but I do think there is a serious problem.

    • Tsvi Jacobson says:

      Charles the greek model …..no connection to earth????
      I thought the greek gods were busy having intercourse with maidens on earth
      That seems to speak of connection. Oh Philosophy how many lives you
      have destroyed
      Tsvi

  19. Derek says:

    Dina,

    Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Cor. 20-25)

    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1Cor.10-14)

    Dina, I used to be just like you…full of my own human knowledge and pride. But then on that glorious night, after months of studying the Tanakh, HE baptized me with the Holy Spirit. I didn’t even know at the time what the Holy Spirit was. My body was filled with this Holy, pure, precious warm love. That feeling has been with me ever since. He transformed me. He healed me of two medical conditions, took me to the Cross, wouldn’t let me rest until I gave His word to a dear friend and my family. Oh Dina, I pray that you come to know Him. And when you do, you will be telling everyone you know that Yeshua is the Messiah. And this is how the God of Israel came to be known throughout the world!!

    • Dina says:

      Derek, I posted a response to you in the wrong place; here it is again.

      Are you saying that you do not wish to engage with me in a reasoned debate? A direct answer would be helpful to me. Thanks!

      Peace and blessings,
      Dina

      • Derek says:

        Hi Dina,

        Do you believe HaShem parted the sea when Moses stretched out his hand?

        • Dina says:

          Hi Derek.

          The answer to your question is “yes.”

          That is called a direct answer. I like directness, and I like clarity and honesty and straightforwardness. Will you honor that and give me a direct answer as well?

          I asked you if you wish to engage with me in a reasoned debate. Is your answer yes or no?

          Answering me directly means responding with a “yes” or a “no.” I will be happy to hear whatever else you wish to say. But I will be even happier if you first answer my question.

          Peace,
          Dina

          • Derek says:

            And do you believe this:

            “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” (Daniel 9: 24-27)

          • Dina says:

            Hi Derek,

            Do you believe the following Scriptures:

            Numbers 19:23; Deuteronomy 4:12,15, 29-35; Ibid. 30:1, 31:21; Jeremiah 31:35; Isaiah 59:21; 2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10; Isaiah 11:1-10; Jeremiah: 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-17; Ezekiel 34:23-30, 37:24-28; Deuteronomy 30:3-4; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 43:5-6; Isaiah 49:12, 18, 22; Isaiah 60:4; Isaiah 66:20; Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 31:7; Jeremiah 32:37; Ezekiel 11:17; Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 34:13; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 37:21; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 33:18; Ezekiel 37:26-28; Ezekiel 43:7; Ezekiel 44:15:-16; Micah 4:1; Deuteronomy 30:10; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 37:24; Ezekiel 44:23-24; Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 65:25; Jeremiah 33:9, 16; Ezekiel 34:25, 28; Ezekiel 37:26; Hosea 2:20; Psalm 72:3; Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 54:13; Isaiah 66:18, 19, 23; Jeremiah 3:17; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 38:23; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 8:20-23; Zechariah: 14:16; Deuteronomy 30:7; Isaiah 17:12-14; Isaiah 25:1-8; Isaiah 30:26; Isaiah 30:28; Isaiah 34:1-35:10; Isaiah 40:1-11; Isaiah 49:8-13; Isaiah 52:7-10; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zephaniah 3:8-20; Zechariah 8:23; Psalm 9; Deuteronomy 13:4-6; 18:21-22

            I gotta tell ya, Derek, this is the strangest debate I have ever engaged in.

            Looking forward to your reply,
            Dina

          • Derek says:

            (no reply button in under your last post, so posting here) Yes I do. all of it! every verse..every word!

            In regards to Daniel 9, it clearly say’s the Messiah had to come before the destruction of the second temple. What say you?

            Do you believe that God gave Moses an oral Torah?

          • Dina says:

            Derek,

            Not so fast, brother!

            I will be happy to discuss Daniel 9 with you and show you where your translation is incorrect and where your math is faulty. But before we get to that, I want to make sure you fully understand what you agreed you believe in.

            I brought Scriptural evidence for the following beliefs:

            1. God is not a man, nor does He have a physical form or likeness.
            2. The nature of God’s covenant with the nation of Israel is eternally binding, we are bound by it even outside Israel and in exile, God will never abandon us no matter how far we stray.
            3. The Messiah will be a direct descendant of David through his son Solomon who will reign in Israel. (This cannot apply to Jesus who supposedly had no human father; tribal affiliation passes through the biological father–see Numbers 1).
            4. During his reign, the following conditions will have been met: ingathering of the Jewish exiles, rebuilding of the Third Temple, national resurgence of Torah observance, universal peace, universal knowledge of God, punishment of the persecutors of the Jews, and vindication of the Jews in the eyes of all the nations. (Jesus not only did not reign as King of the Jews, he failed to bring about all these conditions. It would have been silly for him to rebuild the Third Temple, being that the Second Temple wasn’t destroyed until decades after his death.)
            5. Two ways to identify a false prophet–and Jesus qualifies as a false prophet on both counts.

            Are you saying you agree with all these statements? Remember, I brought strong support from Tanach for all of them.

            If you do not agree with these statements, bring me equally clear citations from Tanach that openly refute these ideas.

            Show me verses that teach clearly the following (no hints, just open teachings):

            1. God will manifest in human form and we are to worship this human (hints such as Jacob wrestling with the angel won’t cut it; I’m looking for something that parallels the statement that “God is not a man”–something like “God is a man.”)
            2. The nature of the Mosaic law is temporary.
            3. The Messiah does not need to be descended from David through his father’s side; nor will he necessarily rule as king.
            4. Therefore, all the conditions in number four above do not have to met.
            5. A true prophet can indeed encourage a type of worship that our fathers did not experience. A true prophet can indeed prophesy that which shall not come to pass (Luke 9:27).

            When we have finished discussing this, we can turn our attention to Daniel 9. You will notice that I did not answer your original question about Daniel 9–because you provided a mistranslated passage.

            Please realize that if you stay with me throughout this dialogue (and I hope you do), that it will be a long, long time before we even touch on the topic of the Oral Torah. In fact, one of us will likely have persuaded the other on the strength of Hebrew scripture alone long before we reach that discussion

            Peace and blessings,
            Dina

          • Derek says:

            God didn’t make it that complicated Dina. If it were, not many would know Him. He didn’t come to save the ones full of their own knowledge snd rightousness . He’s very easy to understand.

            We are all sinners and are in need of a Saviour. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Your rabbis are leading you away from the divine truth.

            In the book of Acts we read: there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

            All your good living, your Torah study, your synagogue attendance, your charitable giving cannot do it. You may be the finest most kind woman in all your synagogue, but it cannot do it. Only Yeshua…alone saves.

            It is by God’s grace through faith you are saved. He took all your sins upon Him to the Cross…and paid your penalty. It’s a free gift. All you have to do is unwrap it. And when you do, you will be telling everyone you that Yeshua is the Messiah. And this is how the God of Israel came to be known throughout the world.

            Dina God is so amazing. He lives within me.I love Him so much. I pray that you come to know Him. I’ll never go back to being in death. When I was in darkness…I didn’t know I was in death…until he brought me into the light..and the light is life.

            On a glorious night of last December, after I believed. I was immediately transformed. Even regular TV shows were offensive. Haven’t watched them since. i stopped smoking…stopped looking at porn. My skin boils…for which I had suffered from since my late teens…went away. I also suffered from a painful stomach condition since my early teens. It’s gone.. i can eat anything now. One of my trigger foods was red meat. Oh boy would I pay the price when i had it. After nearly 30 years of suffering…it went away. I’ve been eating red meat ever since…no problems. had a burger last night! And then I read the New Testament…wow…so wow. It was like I had already read it!!

            You see Dina…I know it’s real. I know Yeshua is the Messiah. He sent me into my community to give His word. And I didn’t want to do it. But I couldn’t stop praising the Lord because the Holy Spirit was strong upon me. And pretty soon I was telling everyone.. People thought I was nuts..haha.

            The first week, I was at work…and I was grieving my old self. It was like who am I, and who was that guy before. He was calling me back…come back Derek..this is nuts…shake it off and go have a drink at the bar. But thankfully, the Spirit of God was strong upon me…and on in Messiah I went.

            Yeshua paid off my sin debt…I can’t love Him enough. He paid yours too!!

          • Dina says:

            Dear Derek,

            What is complicated in my arguments? They are so simple, so clear, a ten-year-old can grasp them.

            The Torah presents teachings that are so crystal clear that it’s impossible for me to see how you fail to note the contradictions between the Torah and Christian theology.

            For example, the Torah teaches beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is one and not three, that there is no savior beside Him, that He is not a man, that He has no physical form or likeness, that the sin of idolatry is the gravest sin of all.

            Read these Scriptures which support what I say. Can you contemplate these and not shudder, you who worship a deity other than God?

            Deuteronomy 4:35,39; Deuteronomy 6:4; Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 43:10:11; Isaiah 44:6; Hosea 13:4; Isaiah 46:9; Isaiah 45: 5,6,18; Exodus 33:20; Psalms 146:3; Ezekiel 28:9,10; Nehemiah 9:6; 1 Chronicles 17:20; Isaiah 45:20-22; 1 Samuel 16:29; Numbers 23:19; Exodus 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 4:12-16,23-24; Deuteronomy 7: 25; Exodus 34:14; Jeremiah 25:6-7; Deuteronomy 31:16-18

            God went to an awful lot of trouble to teach us about His nature and whom to worship–and whom not to worship. Which means we should take this very, very seriously.

            So seriously, that your own spiritual experience is simply not enough evidence for me to accept your theology. I need a higher standard of evidence than that. A standard at least as high as the one I presented to you.

            My previous argument was equally clear and simple. Based on Scriptural evidence, Jesus could not have been the Messiah. I propose that you see this as a complicated argument because you cannot use the same Tanach to refute it. I have now presented evidence that Jesus is not God.

            Stop dodging, Derek. The fate of our souls hang in the balance. In the spirit of truth I beg you to at least try to mount a vigorous defense of your beliefs. If you cannot, then you have no choice but to consider that you may have made a mistake.

            Finally, you have no monopoly on love of God. I love God, too. I worship Him and Him alone. I feel blessed in His love and grace and mercy. He has filled my life with so much goodness.

            Do you really think you can convince me to switch over to your side because you can now eat red meat? Are you serious?

            And guess what, Derek? I don’t watch TV, smoke, or view porn. I have led a rich, fulfilling, and wonderful life. But even if I were the most miserable human being on the planet, I would try to do God’s will. I would do it because it’s right, not because it makes me feel good.

            Frankly, it’s a waste of time to compare our spiritual experiences. You think we can win according to who has had the cooler spiritual experience? You think we can one-up each other with the more dramatic faith healing? No, Derek. Let’s stay within the bounds of rational debate.

            Refute my arguments, if you can.

            Love,
            Dina

        • Tikvah says:

          Yes,…why? He alo killed the firstborn,not an “angel of death”.Speaking of Moses,Historian, Diaodorus says that the reason antiochas epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the temple alter (chanukah)is because there was a” picture” of Moses there. http://theorthodoxlife.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/ancient-jewish-icons/

    • Yedidiah says:

      “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified”. Crucifixion is a sign and to pagans it was wisdom. The vast majority of Jews were not fooled by a false prophet’s signs (Jesus’ many signs) since they lived by every word of God (which Jesus did not and Paul did not since they came to destroy the Law, which is the Word of God). Paul’s worldly wisdom did fool many non-Jews, precisely because it was the “wisdom” or Logos of the world (the philosophy of the Greek Plato and gnostics as we see also spelled out in John chapter 1 (logos = word = roman & Greek philosophy = Iesous or “Yehoshua” or “Jesus”.). Your experiences mentioned above are similar to those of the “Holy Spirit” experienced by many of faiths, including satan worshippers, by Hindus or Buddhists (Krishna = Christ?), by “pagan spiritualists and healers”, witch doctor healers, mescal users, etc. So your experience is not unique and Jews can have that experience without Jesus. But there is more to life and more to God than what you have experienced with your “human wisdom” which is not all foolishness. And God, who loves wisdom, does not only want to save a few fools as your quote from a “letter” to the Corinthian Greeks suggests.

  20. Pingback: Spiritual Responsibility | 1000 Verses

  21. Derek says:

    No Dina, I did not make a mistake. It’s nothing I did…I just read and He revealed His truth to me. Not one verse makes me shudder. God is a unity of three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Hence echad!

    But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.(1 Cor 1: 27-29)

    Many Orthodox Jews and Rabbis have come to faith in Jesus. One of my good friends was Orthodox. More are coming everyday. Some are awaiting the resurrection of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

    At this moment God commands all men to repent and believe that today is the day of salvation, that you are to flee from the wrath to come, to flee from the law of Moses that condemns you into the city of refuge, who is Jesus Christ our LORD.
    Run to Him
    Repentance is simply giving up, to stop fighting against God and to stop attempting to gain your own salvation through your own works; to literally give up and fall upon Christ.
    That is salvation!
    So that you say, nothing in my hands I bring simply to the cross I cling. (P Washer)
    IT’S TIME TO GIVE UP ON SELF. Yeshua Ha’Mashiach…run to Him!

    • Dina says:

      Dear Derek, don’t dodge Dina’s demands.

      Sorry, I do like alliteration, and that’s a pretty good one, no?

      On a more serious note, Derek, I see that we are having a communication problem. We are talking AT each other rather than TO each other. This results from our different expectations for this debate. You want to make your case on emotional grounds while I want to make my case on rational grounds.

      Therefore, you keep presenting emotional arguments and I keep presenting rational ones–and we are not responding to each other.

      In order to have a fruitful discussion, we need to set some ground rules. What do you propose?

      Thanks,
      Dina

    • Tsvi Jacobson says:

      Derek (you are not the way) Derek repentance is for us all. You are following a false Messiah. A three headed god who isn’t Our fathers didn’t believe in one, and that is because this was not revealed in the only book given to the Jew. So you better be right or you will not flee from the wrath to come
      Tsvi

    • Yedidiah says:

      Why would God want to shame the wise? God prefers fools & heathens? I know that scam artists prefer fools and those who are not wise. So is God a scam artist as you seem to think? God gave the Law to Moses to destroy human souls? Sounds more like satan. Or, was it some NT authors and editors who preferred fools that fall prey to foolish things and propaganda? Satan may like fools. And satan may hate Laws that God gave, but it is too hard to believe God hates the Laws to Moses and supposedly to Jesus and you. No messiah from God would be sent to save us from God! So God condemns us and Jesus wants to save us from God?

  22. Uber-Christian says:

    This critique seems to lack the ability to acknowledge that Christianity too has its textual traditions and methodology ,

    Kalam philosophy is not a method normally used to evaluate a new testament text ,

    Perhaps if evidence from an internal source was used ,Usually the first textual method required to honestly evaluate the text ., The conclusion would not be what appears to be a karaite cosmological understanding ,

    I realize that this critique claims to come from the point of Rabbinical Judaism,

    While in the past this approach has worked to defend against Karaite polemics

    Using kalam- philosophy to evaluate a text is not arguing from internal evidence- as this article claims ,

    Karaite-polemics work on Karaite’s not Christians who are fully aware of there own sacred traditions,

    • Uber-Christian
      Christianity started inside of Judaism – ignorant Judaism, but Judaism. They only “developed” their own way of “reading Scripture” because they needed to cover their mistakes. You could “develop” a method of reading Rabbinic writings which will make Shapira look like a scholar. I imagine if you work on it you will find an uncanny similarity to the Christian method of reading Scripture.

      • Uber-Christian says:

        Thanks for your reply Y P F, Your premise is based on a textual criticism objection,

        The objection you gave is not demonstrated through any textual or scribal method, It is demonstrated using a particular philosophic principle that early and modern Christianity does not embrace .

        It is how you [Y P F] view the text, it is not the intent of the actual work itself, If you claim to have internal evidence and then fail to produce it ,the only assumption can be- is that a claim to a particular type of philosophy is the objection.

        Hopefully this add’s clarity to my objection

        • Uber-Christian
          The book of Matthew is a book that reads the Jewish Scripture. I don’t care what methods Matthew was using – I need to read the Jewish Scripture as they were meant to be read and match that with Matthew’s conclusions.
          They don’t.
          The same thing applies to Shapira. I don’t care what method he is using – but he is reading rabbinic texts. All I need to do is read these texts the way they were meant to be read (and some of the authors he quotes are alive today, together with many of the personal disciples – so don’t tell me that the method of reading the texts is up for grabs) and see if they match – again – they don’t.
          By the way – which method of philosophy, textual analysis, or science will get you to mistranslate a word?

          • Uber-Christian says:

            Thanks for your reply Y P F

            You wrote ‘;The book of Matthew is a book that reads the Jewish Scripture. I don’t care what methods Matthew was using :’

            > : Apparently you do care- because one of these ‘methods’ is citing as source the ‘Jewish’ scriptures.

            Conclusion
            So we have established the fact Mathew has a truth claim associated wiith ‘The Jewish scriptures’ : as you term his source/

            You wrote ‘I need to read the Jewish Scripture as they were meant to be read and match that with Matthew’s conclusions.

            >Another method used to maintain your claim –

            Conclusion

            You used a Masoretic text and used unnamed ‘Jewish’ methods to evaluate a Greek text, written 500 years before your codified MT text.

            And you arrived at the conclusion Mathew was not properly quoting a ‘Hebrew text/

            The fair method to evaluate a text is to evaluate it using a body of texts that are contemporary with that text- The targum texts are contemporary with new-testament texts

            You wrote ‘ The same thing applies to Shapira. I don’t care what method he is using – but he is reading rabbinic texts. All I need to do is read these texts the way they were meant to be read (and some of the authors he quotes are alive today, together with many of the personal disciples

            ‘> I am not concerned with whatever rabbinical methods ,You claim Mr Shapira is mis-using ,

            I am not sure why you claim to have proven this point of his mis-use of rabbinical methods- because you have failed to demonstrate this claim also , Regardless I am not defending whatever method he may have misapplied/

            You wrote ‘ – so don’t tell me that the method of reading the texts is up for grabs) and see if they match – again – they don’t.

            > I am fairly sure I did not mention a method is ‘up for grabs’ . I asked you to demonstrate your claims without using a philosophic method ;

            You wrote’ By the way – which method of philosophy, textual analysis, or science will get you to mistranslate a word?

            < Your claim is Mathew is a 'mis-transliteration' not ' mistranslated' , Hence my confusion as to which methods allowed for this claim . Apparently your claim is entirely based on your philosophical view

            Thanks

            ,

  23. Dina says:

    Hi Charles.

    I’ve been reflecting on the tone of my earlier exchanges with you, and I realize that I owe you an apology.

    I let myself get carried away by my emotional reaction to your arguments and used such angry and mocking words as “egg on your face” and “disgusting.” You have been nothing but respectful throughout our dialogue and even in response to my most insulting comments. You did not deserve this, it was wrong of me, and I’m sorry.

    As far as the other stuff, I’m still working on reading all the files you linked to your comment. I confess that many of these arguments are more sophisticated than my wee brain can handle (I mean it). It will take me time to sort it all out. Keep checking back; I hope to have something in the next week or two.

    Humbly,
    Dina

    • Dina, I am the snail not you. I’m also fairly used to taking much worse flack, as I guess are you & your co-workers, so no need to apologise. There’s no hurry, better get it right than rush it. I’ve no doubt your colleagues will help produce effective counterarguments too, but don’t expect me not to reply….BW

  24. Uber-Christian
    You say that my “Jewish methods” of reading the Jewish Scripture are “unnamed” – you send me to the Targums as contemporaries of the Christian Scripture and direct me to educate myself on the Targum’s method of reading Scripture.
    Know ye that the Targum’s methods of reading Scripture are all alive and well today. Jewish students throughout the word apply those same methods – and Matthew fails dismally according to any application of Jewish Scripture – except perhaps the methods born and bred in Christian universities AFTER the fact of Matthew’s mistakes.
    Remember – the Jewish Scripture is God’s communication to the Jewish people – we are His target audience – the correct understanding resides in our community.
    You also charge that the Masoretic text was “codified” 500 years after the advent of Christianity. There is no question that some consolidation took place at the time that you mention and even later – but all archeological evidence tells us that the general Masoretic text was by far the predominant text long before the advent of Christianity.
    Furthermore you claim that I failed to provide evidence that Shapira misapplied the Rabbinic texts.
    Well – if someone can vehemently jump up and down and insist that a given word means one thing – and then go and contradict himself a few pages down the road without even bothering to explain himself – and that means nothing to you – then I can understand why you respect the book of Matthew.

  25. Uber-Christian says:

    Y P F,
    You wrote’ You say that my “Jewish methods” of reading the Jewish Scripture are “unnamed” – you send me to the Targums as contemporaries of the Christian Scripture and direct me to educate myself on the Targum’s method of reading Scripture.

    <I never suggested you educate yourself on the targums,, I assumed you were well versed in the methods used to interpret them. I suggested them as a fair text to evaluate the new-testament ,, You at that point would either agree or disagree to that method,

    You wrote' Know ye that the Targum’s methods of reading Scripture are all alive and well today. Jewish students throughout the word apply those same methods – and Matthew fails dismally according to any application of Jewish Scripture – except perhaps the methods born and bred in Christian universities AFTER the fact of Matthew’s mistakes.

    <Which targum do you consider ' Jewish scripture' ?

    You wrote' Remember – the Jewish Scripture is God’s communication to the Jewish people – we are His target audience – the correct understanding resides in our community

    < That's great?

    You wrote' You also charge that the Masoretic text was “codified” 500 years after the advent of Christianity. There is no question that some consolidation took place at the time that you mention and even later – but all archeological evidence tells us that the general Masoretic text was by far the predominant text long before the advent of Christianity.

    < Of course the entire tanack was known and used before the advent of Christianity- The three-fold division is even mentioned in the new-testament. The point is which body of texts were contemporary with the writing of the new-testament . It would have been the targums/

    You wrote 'Furthermore you claim that I failed to provide evidence that Shapira misapplied the Rabbinic texts.
    Well – if someone can vehemently jump up and down and insist that a given word means one thing – and then go and contradict himself a few pages down the road without even bothering to explain himself – and that means nothing to you – then I can understand why you respect the book of Matthew.

    < Mr Shapira methods seem to be a secret known to himself- and apparently yours are also, that's the point – Using negation philosophic constructs to disprove a underlying philosophy in an authors work- is not textual criticism and it's not a textual critical review, It''s you being offended for obvious reasons.

    I had hoped you could reply using methods that demonstrated your claims in your review , Instead I am treated to how offended you are – ok you're offended,

    It seems neither you nor shapira can put in writing your claims of flawed-interpretation.

  26. Uber-Christian
    I don’t consider any Targum Jewish Scripture – but I concur with you that we can see in the Targum’s how the Jews read Scripture 2000 years ago. Based on the various Targums we can see that there were different ways of reading Scripture. Using any of those methods – Matthew fails.
    I have demonstrated why Shapira’s work should not be taken seriously. If you have a problem with the fact that I don’t label my technique with a title – fine. You could have him

    • Uber-Christian says:

      Y P F,
      Thanks- that was my only point , After reading the comments on this blog, I started reading return of the kosher pig and watched a you tube with his quoting of the Rambam, The only comment I have now, the introduction and forward seems to be a testimony ,

      thanks

  27. Uber-Christian
    It seems that you enjoy labeling (- his introduction is a “testimony”). If this method (of “labeling”) helps you find the truth – then use it to help you sort through the confusion. Every person needs to use what works for them.

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  29. Tsvi Jacobson says:

    Oy I want to thank Mr. Shapira and those who support him for the headache I now have. As a former Messianic I want to say one important thing. Without going to Talmud, or Midrash the very simplicity of our Tanach and its prophecies leave one with these important points
    1. Everything that the Nazarene allegedly fulfilled is invisible to the naked eye. He died for my sins??? Isaiah 53??. You mean of course because the New Testament says so…Sorry that is like a person giving evidence to a judge that cannot be verified. The prophecies about our Moshiach have nothing to do with invisible fulfillment but actual fulfillment.
    2. Look at our Tanach….Jezebel…King Ahab…..The prophet says exactly what will happen and it is witnessed by all. That friends is Prophecy originating with Hashem. NO INVISIBLE FULFILLMENTS that cannot be verified.
    3. The real issue with Mr. Shapira and others I once spent years with is simply this. The Nazarene and faith in him made us feel good. We had experiences…. Well remember this
    Deuteronomy 13 …Hashem says that it is he who sent the deception to any going after other gods that our fathers never knew (like J. the Nazarene) So be deceived if you want to be…..We will continue to speak and hope and pray for you to return to us as we really do love you. Remember Psalm 147:19,20 It is Israel alone that was given the revelation of God…The nations no! They cannot understand it….No matter how sweet the missionary is He learned all this from a Goy Gadol and it is erroneous.
    Your bro Tsvi Jacobson

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  36. http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/comments-on-school-x-and-y.html
    This article here is not a defence of Shapira just to clarify, it’s just an examination of the prologue of the School of Matthew and nothing else.

  37. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you are a
    great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will
    come back down the road. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great posts, have a nice afternoon!

  38. As promised, please see the link to a skeletal critique of some key flaws in the Elephant and the Suit. It is terse and I’ve had little time to enlarge on points that should be explained more fully.
    I have very little time to read responses, let alone reply to them – but will endeavour to do so.
    I have briefly read the response to the Zelophehad article, but made no material change as yet.

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  41. prosistency says:

    Reblogged this on prosistency and commented:
    A thorough critique of “Return of the Kosher Pig” by Itzhak Shapira, which demonstrates the ineffective reasoning of Messianics.

  42. Pingback: A Polar Bear in the Desert | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources

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