Heart of a Relationship
Christians contend that Jesus was a manifestation of God. They compare Jesus to the fire of the burning bush that Moses saw at Horeb (Exodus 3:4), to the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21), and to the Angel of the Lord that appears throughout the Jewish Scriptures (Exodus 23:20; Judges 6:12; Isaiah 63:9).
This argument is rooted in a misunderstanding of the relationship that the Jewish people share with God. The relationship between God and Israel includes many activities that are ancillary to the essence of the relationship. The essence of the relationship is God’s love for Israel and Israel’s love and reverence for God. As expressions of His love, God guides His people, He speaks to their prophets, and he protects them from their enemies. As expressions of Israel’s heart for God we offer sacrifices, we build a Temple and we follow His Law. All of these activities are only part of the relationship inasmuch as they express the heart of one party to the other. If you remove the heart from these activities, they remain empty husks.
All of the manifestations of God that are found in Scripture relate to the ancillary aspects of the relationship. God showed His people that He chose Solomon’s Temple with a cloud of glory (1Kings 8:10), God accepted Elijah’s sacrifice with a fire from Heaven (1Kings 18:38), and God spoke to Abraham through the agency of an angel (Genesis 22:15). These have no impact on the essence of our relationship with God; namely, the love of our heart.
When God came to teach His people about the essence of our relationship with Him, they saw no image. God emphasized this point when He reminded His people of this covenantal encounter (Deuteronomy 4:15). The Sinai encounter was the definitive teaching about the heart of our relationship with God. And in this critical context the Scriptures emphasize that there was no manifestation at all.
Christianity’s claim for Jesus is a claim about the essence of the relationship. Christianity demands a love and a reverence for the person portrayed in the pages of the Christian Scriptures. This is not telling us at which location to bring our sacrifices, it is not guiding our travel and it is not merely bringing us a message. This is telling us where to direct our hearts. It is a teaching that attempts to place a finite existence in the essence of our relationship with God. This is idolatry.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
Just another great and articulate article
If what you say is true, surely the Jesus described in the New Testament must be Satan (deceiver) par excellence, not so?
Well, it is worth noting that other than a voice speaking out of a cloud saying, “This is my beloved son”…(not even identified as G-d)…The voice of G-d is completely absent in the NT. Dont you find that odd? There is not one verse in all the NT that says…”G-d said”…xyz…Or YHVH said:…xyz…No introductions of his son…as god…no prophetic utterances…nothing. So what do you say about a “Testament” in which Hashem is silent?
Blasater, that is such a good point. I never thought of it! I’m filing it away for my next arguments. Thanks for raising it.
Thats correct unless one believes J is g-d ?
Larry– I dont think that is a sufficient response. All throughout Tanakh, YHVH directly speaks to the Prophets and Patriarchs. And even Michael Brown has said:
““The idea that the Messiah is divine is an Old Testament concept,” although I do not necessarily believe that idea was self-evident to our people prior to Yeshua’s coming into the world.”
So, How can Hashem be silent in creating the “New Testament” or not participate in the “progressive revelation” of his god-man son? Especially if the idea was not self-evident to the Jewish people?
I think it speaks volumes .
Larry, I’d also like to add here that in Christian scripture when Jesus talks he is not positively identified as God. If the two are interchangeable, it would be fair to expect every so often a “So saith the Lord” or “And God said.”
Jesus never speaks in God’s name but in his own. Can you imagine Moses saying “I say to you”? Or do this and that “for my sake”? The greatest and most humble prophet that ever lived spoke only in the name of Hashem. Even the later and lesser prophets never issued commands or prophecies in their own name.
If Jesus really said what is attributed to him, first-century Jews would have rightly seen him as a megalomaniac.
I actually had a similar reaction as Dina and thought what you said was a great point. I am in no way defending Christianity and believe it to be simply made up. But, since most Christians believe Christ was g-d in the flesh, I thought I’d ask the question and let it be properly addressed by you or someone else more capable than myself.
Sorry about misspelling your name
Yes, many speak of their “relationship” – with a man or to a man; an image of a man, that supposedly, only a very few men (or women) seen or heard, according to very unreliable, contradictory “evidence” or hearsay sources. Not to God, not to Elohim, not to YH-WH, but to something else that was “not-god”. No, to a man! A manifestation is only a “nicer”, more “politically or religiously correct” term for idol; a quintessentially pagan concept used for what Jews would term an idol. A “manifestation” IS a synonym for an idol. It does not matter which manifestation that we prefer, whether it is a gold calf or a statute of a god or goddess or the person or mental image of the god Caesar or the god Jesus, nor does it matter how little or how much we revere or worship them or it or she or he, these manifestations are all one and the same and are all, not God. Doesn’t matter if the “manifestation of the spirit” is in an inanimate object or is within a “living god”, it is idolatry. Doesn’t matter if the manifested spirit “existed” for a short period of time and was revered for a moment or if the idol supposedly once upon a time long, long ago walked among us as an ordinary man for over 30 years (most of those many years as a virtually unknown, inactive, or impotent god?) and was or is revered by people who never heard or saw the idol, but who were or who are willing to accept the unbelievable “words of men”; men who mostly were unknown and who wrote at unknown times and whose words were trashed or added to by other men or women over time.
We have strong evidence (much more than for a Jesus) in words and on film, etc that Bat Man and Superman existed (and still live!), but that in no way should suggest that they were or are satans nor that the authors of those testaments are “deceivers”. These men were not or are not “satan”, since they are dedicated to fighting all manner of sin and crime and are defenders of our freedom; they are “saviors”, gods in the flesh?
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