Test of Love
“Do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. It is the Lord your God you should follow, and it is He that you should fear, it is His commandments that you should guard, and it is to His voice that you should listen and it is Him that you should serve and it is to Him that you should cleave” (Deuteronomy 13:4,5).
The Scriptures speak of the false prophet who performs miracles. We are commanded to disobey the false prophet. We are told to ignore the miracles produced by the false prophet. Those miracles are just a test; a test to see if we truly love God with all our hearts.
Why is this situation considered a test of love? Many false prophets lead people astray with confusion. They claimed that the worship that they are advocating is somehow worship of the One God of Israel (Exodus 32:4; 1Kings 12:28). It seems that the quality that would give us the strength to see through the claims of the false prophet would be clarity of mind. Clear knowledge that is solidly rooted in the theology of the Torah should help us overcome the persuasions of the dreamer of dreams. Why is the test of the false prophet considered a test of love?
For someone who loves, the answer to this question is obvious. If someone is presently experiencing God’s embrace in every breath and in every heartbeat they are not missing anything. If someone finds everything in God then the false prophet has nothing to offer. And everything is in God. God is the One we follow and there is nothing lacking in the journey that follows God. God is the One we fear and that awe and reverence is all-encompassing. His commandments are complete and perfect and His voice is everything we need to hear. We find all of life and love in His service and there can be nothing lacking in His embrace.
The false prophet and his emissaries have no one to talk to with the lover of God. It is for this reason that most Jews don’t open the door when Christian missionaries come knocking.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
The only way to destroy the influence of the false prophet is
by Knowledge of Torah. It alone has the remedy
After reading this, It may indeed be fair for you to say that G-d would offer this test of love by false prophets (presumably by the hands of Jesus of Nazareth and Muhammad, whom G-d gave some sort of power? to test you with,) to those Jews who accepted the terms of his covenant in person, but what about all the otherwise ignorant polytheistic non Jews who actually had a taste of genuine redemptive knowledge (learning about monotheism from these men, and their movements?) You are not merely saying with this article that G-d tests Israel with falsehood for love’s sake, but that he apparently doesn’t really care about what happens to the unwitting guinea pig Gentiles who didn’t know the Bible’s one only G-d from a brown paper bag.
God appointed the Jewish people to be His kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6) and His witnesses (Isaiah 43:10), so the Gentiles are supposed to listen to the testimony of the Jewish people.
The vast majority of Gentiles have never even met religious Jews, let alone heard about G-d through them, or learned from them.
Gentiles (in their own lands) did not learn redemptive knowledge from Jesus. Nor did Jesus go into their lands and test them with his miracles. They believed without having seen one. Food for thought.
I’m sure the peoples of the New World really appreciated the redemption the church brought to their lands.
Very good point Sharbano, very true.
I said that Jim, I said they heard through “there movements.”
God cares about the gentiles and that is why He appointed a witness nation. The fact that Christianity usurped the message of the Jewish people to serve their own idolatrous purposes isn’t God’s fault. Many Gentile saw through the lies of Christianity and continue to do so today. In any case, for most gentile nations, Christianity was not much of an improvement. Europe would not have been guilty of the holocaust had they remained pagan.
Christian anti-Semitism was far more intense and vicious than anything in the pagan world (see John Gager’s book on the origins of Christian anti-Semitism). It was also a good deal worse than Muslim anti-Semitism (although the Muslims are trying to make up for that now). There is just no getting around these facts.
In pagan antiquity, anti-Semitic attacks were scattered and sporadic. With the rise of Christianity, anti-Semitism became systematic and institutionalized.
Con, you keep going on about this “redemptive experience,” but this “redemptive experience” wreaked devastation on the Jews for nearly 2000 years.
You must not think anti-Semitism is very terrible, because you believe that people who are infected with it are capable of moral and theological reasoning.
That’s quite an inflammatory statement about the Shoah indeed rabbi, and I don’t think we can speculate on what might have been without presumption. The Nazis were not religious people. To say that hitler was faithfully influenced by the Christian ethic is wrong in every sense. (He much like every political leader, including Americas founders) used cherry picked religious language for political purposes, and changed things to suit their needs. Ever heard of Jefferson’s bible? To say that without Christianity the Shoah wouldn’t have happened (though I truly with you wish it hadn’t happened,) is your speculative opinion, that you are entitled to, though I respectfully disagree.
What you are saying here about Christianity being a driving impetus for the Shoah, that wouldn’t have occurred if the church didn’t exist, is overstated, just like it is overstated and over simplified rhetoric when so many people look at The Israeli Palestinian conflict and blame its occurrence on all “clear” Jewish religious sensibilities. It is entirely pigheaded to blame Judaism and all Jews for what’s going on in Israel, just as this accusation is unfair to level on Christians and Christianity.
The vast majority of everyday people during WW2 were good people, placed at the mercy of a politically socially radicalized minority, that Made them behave irrationally, and immorally despite better judgement, similar to the situation we are seeing in the Islamic world today, notably in Iraq. We see the phenomenon of dehumanization that always happens every time, regardless of content.
This is a perfect example
To criticize inaction by the majority of the people is fine, to criticize the barbarism and evil of Nazi ideology, commendable. To decry Christian anti Judaism, also very commendable.
I accept and share those criticisms with you. To go to the extreme however that says, without the Church the climate would have been different, is pure speculation. If Christians were so bloodthirsty, why didn’t the Shoah happen much earlier when Christians had way more power over your lives? What was stopping the bloodthirsty idol worshippers? It’s true that there were Pogroms, it’s true there were the crusades, and the inquisition. These are Christian hate crimes against humanity, true enough. It overlooks some very important details however, to say what you are saying.
Judaism historically in Christian Europe was the only other religious tradition tolerated by the catholic Church. Paganism, wiped out, or it’s adherents forcefully converted. Heretical Christians, burned, exterminated, (bogamils, Manichaeans, etc. ) Judaism alone was tolerated, as Judaism was deemed a testimony to the truth of the scripture.
This is not me excusing this behavior at all, G-d forbid, but is me offering my recognition that any man has the potential to distort, misuse, and obliterate his conscience, despite knowing better when it suits him.
I think you made his point. “they cherry-picked religious language”. This has been the testament of history. Those words have been used by many. As mentioned before, the word Pharisee makes it into newspapers as a denigration. Where is such denigration found.
Dina, I’m not trying to get around anything! I am questioning the validity of the typecasting, blaming, and vilification of an entire evolving historical tradition, that is taking place here. The logic here is saying that Christianity did great evil in the ANCIENT and MEDIEVAL periods, so it’s obviously responsible for the climate of the most heinous crime of this modern world’s history. This is dreadfully simplifying what has happened in history. Christians burned books, heretics, engaged in coercion, desperately evil things! I’m not denying that. Did you know however that the rabbis also relied on Church authorities to suppress the dissemination of Rambam’s writings, and also what they deemed heretical messianism? The rabbis didn’t mind the evil Church when it could work for them, to suppress its own heretics!
The point here, is that humans are capable of great evil, no matter their religion and alignment.
Hi Concerned Reader,
What is the commonly argued reason for why the Nazis picked on and hated the Jews? The popular argument is that Germany was suffering and when times are hard they look for a scapegoat. So why did the Jews succeed so much as serving as a useful scapegoat? Had Hitler blamed all of Germany’s and the world’s problems on the Midgets, who are also a vulnerable minority, I don’t think many people would have taken his claims about them very seriously. The reason is, that people do not hate Midgets. There is nothing underlying peoples views or perceptions of Midgets that would make them a good candidate for a scapegoat that would be responsible for he accusations that the Nazis made against the Jews. The Jews were successful, because people in spite of their modern thinking under the surface, found Jews suspicious, either accusing them of dual loyalties, or remaining age old prejudices from the Church and what it taught about the Jews in the Middle Ages of being blinded by the devil, guilty of Deicide, or colluding with Devil. Blood libels, poisoning wells…
The intensity of the demonisation of the Jews began with the Church. There were anti-Jewish policies towards the Jews prior to Christianity, but not with the level of intensity and demonization. The Church did not kill all the Jews, because it did not have a policy of eliminating the Jews through killing them, it believed that they should suffer as punishment, but believed that they could be redeemed through embracing Christianity. The demonisation of the Jews was necessary for the Church, because there was a question that always bothered the Christians and still does. If Jesus was the Jews Messiah, the Messiah is a biblical concept, prior to Jesus arriving, the people who were experts in the Torah were the Jews, and the non-Jews were pagans, who knew nothing of the Torah. So surely the Jews would be the first people to accept him. But they didn’t, the people who accepted Jesus were the least knowledgeable Jews and non-Jews, not the sages of his generation… there is and then continued throughout the centuries to be a unanimous ‘No’ by the Jews to the claims of Christianity.
The very existence of unconverted Jews, raised doubts among Christians about the truth of what they believe in. So they had to try to explain this, and so they came up with explanations like they were blinded by the devil, and so they can’t see the truth even though it is staring them in the eyes, so Christians may help them remove those scales from their eyes… Or worse that the Jews are the devil, that they know that Jesus is the Messiah but deny it anyway. Hence where the claim of desecrating the host came from. That Jews broke into Churches, to steal the communion wafers in order to poke and destroy them, as if they were trying to kill Jesus again… The Church feels and continue to feel that converting a Jew to their beliefs are more of an achievement than to convert non-Jews, partly because their scriptures teach ‘to the Jew first’ but also because to them it provides greater credibility to their beliefs, they are more trying to convince themselves. This is where you had the disputations, and attempts to convert the Jews through persuastion. Today missionaries continue to assume that the reason the Jews dont accept Jesus is due to anti-semitism and Christian persecution, and if they simply love Jews then they will open their hearts to Jesus. Even Martin Luther had this belief and the Jews still did not accept it, this then lead to Luther being extremely anti-Semitic towards the Jews. The prospect that the Jews might not be accepting Jesus because he wasnt the Messiah and the Church is wrong is a very difficult thing for them to come to terms with and accept.
Christian’s realised that when their congregants did go and speak to Jews and learn about the Torah even in the early Church, they would leave the Church, and become Jews or Noahides. Before the rise of Christianity, there was a huge interested and draw towards Judaism by non-Jews. The biggest obstacles for their conversion was Circumcision and having to keep the Commandments of the Torah. So they became God Fearers, or Noahides. Jim wrote a brilliant peice on Noahide worship… I recommend it. The appeal of Christianity and Islam over the concept of accepting the Torahs path for the righteous gentile is that they are looking for some sort of privilage, to claim that they are Chosen by God. It is a trait of jealousy, and thinking that they are somehow inferior because they are not Jewish. But that is not the case. The Christian and Muslim message says the Jews were once chosen, but now they are not, you can now be chosen and they not for not accepting Jesus or Mohammed. Christians often try to justify this through the Christian idea of them being grafted into the covenant through Christ, as that being their means of being redeemed and having a relationship with God. When in fact the Torah has its own program for them, and it doesn’t involve accepting Jesus or Christianity.
The hatreds and the suspicions of the Jews that the Church had instilled in Europeans still remained even during the enlightenment period. The focus just moved from claiming that the Jews were an inferior religious group to an inferior racial group. The Nazis did not believe it was enough for Jews to be eliminated through conversion, he believed that because Jewishness was racial, the only answer was through killing them. But the Church and the Nazis both shared the objective of eliminating Judaism and the Jews.
Hitler was a Christian. “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a
fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. . . Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. . . . I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for (my fellow Christians), if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those (Jews) by whom today this poor people
are plundered and exposed.” [Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich].
“The anti-Semitism of the new movement (Christian Social movement) was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge.” [Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3].
“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.” [Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936].
There are many more. . . CR — even many Christian theologians admit that the Holocaust is a result of Christian antisemitism. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on the topic.
The Christian bible calls Jews the children of the devil — and many Christians have taken those accusations to heart. Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown. In 694 Council of Toledo enslaved Jews, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. In 1010 The Bishop of Limoges (France) had the cities’ Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. . . there were the Crusades, the Inquisition. Protestants have been responsible, too. Read Martin Luther’s “On the Jews and Their Lies.”
Don’t forget, over 80 expulsions in less than 2000 years. Con, you say they tolerated Judaism more than other religions because they wiped out paganism. Ha! The fact of Judaism’s survival has NOTHING to do with Christian tolerance. Our survival is a sheer miracle.
Con, there you go again, dismissing my argument by telling me I’m simplifying matters. You reveal your own shocking ignorance of history. Historians agree that without the climate of anti-Semitism nurtured for centuries by the Church, the Holocaust could never have taken place, the ideology of the Hitler and the Nazis notwithstanding.
Have you actually read a book on the subject? I have read many. Here are some that I recommend. Read them, and then come back and tell Rabbi B. with a straight face how very wrong he is.
A Moral Reckoning by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Holy Hatred by Robert Michael
The Anguish of the Jews by Edward Flannery
The Origins of anti-Semitism by John Gager
Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll
Only one of these authors is Jewish, so you would expect more objective writing by outsiders.
It’s hard to take seriously someone who is comfortable accepting the moral authority of Jew haters like John Chrysostom, whose influence cost millions of Jewish lives over the centuries.
And if I sound angry, Con, it’s because I am. I am outraged when Christians attempt to whitewash their black history instead of confronting it head on.
And by the way, Jew hatred isn’t the only evil in Christian history. The way Christians treated each other is beyond belief. All the blood that was shed in internecine wars. The witch trials. Applying the death penalty for petty crimes. Applying the death penalty without evidence. The exploitation of the poor by the nobility. The list of atrocities is endless.
Christianity claimed to lead its followers down a path morally superior to Judaism. It failed spectacularly.
Disclaimer: Throughout history there were lights in the darkness. Righteous gentiles appeared on the scene from time to time who showed favor to the Jews, who offered them protection, or who rescued them from trouble or death. Unfortunately, they were vastly outnumbered.
Dina, I’ve read Constantine’s sword. When have I denied Christian crimes? I’m saying that you are wrong to damn an entire multifaceted religion, I’m not denying anything.
You have denied the worst one, the Christian connection to the Holocaust.
Dina, Here is an excerpt from Dabru Emet (my comments are in parenthesis)
Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon. Without the long history of Christian anti-Judaism and Christian violence against Jews, Nazi ideology could not have taken hold nor could it have been carried out. Too many Christians participated in, or were sympathetic to, Nazi atrocities against Jews. Other Christians did not protest sufficiently against these atrocities.
(I agree that Christian anti Judaism is wrong and evil, that it should not have been perpetuated (as you should all be aware from my previous comments.) Also I agree that too many Christians were complacent and didn’t align with their values. I only have one caveat with the above statement, and that is the following: “Nazi ideology could not have taken hold nor could it have been carried out.” This is an assumption that cannot be fully known, therefore it is unfitting in my opinion to lay the whole weight of this evil holocoust exclusively on Christians and their religion as a whole. Good Christians also died in the Shoah,including 3 million ethnic poles, and also Jehova’s witnesses. That is all I’m saying! I’m not denying Christian evils past or present! Humans are sinful, genocide is occurring right now in Darfur, in fact, and the international community is aware of it, and nothing has been done. Does this mean that we are all evil or culpable? I would say we have to do something, but it is too problematic to say “it never would have happened if.” Look at ISIS? Man is sinful, it is empirically certain! It doesn’t excuse inaction, but we can’t generalize about millions of people, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or otherwise.)
But Nazism itself was not an inevitable outcome of Christianity. If the Nazi extermination of the Jews had been fully successful, it would have turned its murderous rage more directly to Christians. We recognize with gratitude those Christians who risked or sacrificed their lives to save Jews during the Nazi regime. With that in mind, we encourage the continuation of recent efforts in Christian theology to repudiate unequivocally contempt of Judaism and the Jewish people. We applaud those Christians who reject this teaching of contempt, and we do not blame them for the sins committed by their ancestors.
What is happening in Darfur is different because it is far away and outside our consciousness. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something about it, but what happened in Europe is that Christians stood idly by or actively participated as their neighbors–their neighbors, Con!–were dragged out of their homes to be killed.
It’s weird that historians who study the subject come to the same conclusion–that without centuries of conditioned Christian anti-Semitism the Holocaust would not have happened. Isn’t it?
Others on this blog gave you more proof of that.
You are whitewashing history to downplay Christian culpability, and that’s unacceptable.
If I may briefly comment: I think we must keep in mind the context of the comments here. An argument is being made that Christians were redeemed from paganism. (Echoes of “You shall know them by their fruit”.) When someone points to the great good of Christianity, that polytheism is left behind, he cannot cherry pick his facts. Christianity is not an unmitigated good. It has also led to persecution of the Jews and even persecution of other Christian sects. This evil is not just against the Jews, but is an evil for the Christian themselves. The violence and hatred they have perpetrated throughout history has been bad for Christians. True, polytheism was bad for them. So has been factionalism and Jew-hatred.
There is no point in arguing that not all Christians have persecuted others. According to you, the Church has a redemption experience of being pulled out of polytheism. That applies across the board the way you present it. Therefore, the Church across the board must be looked at in regard to hatred and violence. And we can see that the Church has not been redeemed from those things. In fact, their history of hatred and violence has led them to one of the worst crimes in human history–the Holocaust. This great evil is something from which the Church has not had a redemption experience.
If one looks at the fruit of the Christian tree, one does not see only good. One sees horrible evils from which they were not delivered by the teachings of the Church. In fact, the teachings of the Church seem to have propagated those evils. If one is going to constantly appeal to the good of adopting monotheism, he cannot at the same time ignore that the Church has still suffered immeasurable harm from its doctrines. It has not been redeemed from a history of violence and hatred.
I’ll respond soon Jim, I have many of you asking me for answers to various complicated questions.
Best concerned Reader
Understood. I still owe you several answers as well.
Hitler: “I have been attacked because of my handling of the Jewish question. The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc., because it recognized the Jews for what they were. . . I am thereby doing Christianity a great service. . .”
The Nazis used Martin Luther’s book, “On the Jews and Their Lies” (1543), to claim a moral righteousness for their ideology. Luther even went so far as to advocate the murder of those Jews who refused to convert to Christianity, writing that “we are at fault in not slaying them.”
Archbishop Robert Runcie: “Without centuries of Christian antisemitism, Hitler’s passionate hatred would never have been so fervently echoed…because for centuries Christians have held Jews collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. On Good Friday Jews, have in times past, cowered behind locked doors with fear of a Christian mob seeking ‘revenge’ for deicide. Without the poisoning of Christian minds through the centuries, the Holocaust is unthinkable.”
The Deutsche Christen were, for the most part, a “group of fanatically Nazi Protestants.”
According to American historian Lucy Dawidowicz, antisemitism has a long history within Christianity. The line of “antisemitic descent” from Luther, the author of On the Jews and Their Lies, to Hitler is “easy to draw.” In her The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, she contends that Luther and Hitler were obsessed by the “demonologized universe” inhabited by Jews. Dawidowicz writes that the similarities between Luther’s anti-Jewish writings and modern antisemitism are no coincidence, because they derived from a common history of Judenhass.
CR, I agree that there are many good Christians. No one here is blaming good people for the evils of others. We’re simply saying that today there would be 2 billion or so Jews on this earth instead of 14 million if it weren’t for the 2000 years of “Christian love.”
Zev, I read a book by a young Aryan looking Jewess managed to stay out of the death camps because she didn’t “look” Jewish. The book is amazing as so many of them are but one part in particular called out to me. She is passing as a Christian and has to listen to constant anti-Jewish slurs and agree with them since she is supposed to be one of them. If she is too sympathetic they will think she is a Jew or Jew sympathizer.
One Christmas eve the people she is renting from throw her out — there is a curfew if she is found outside she could be shot, but they throw her out any way. She writes:
“Confused, angry, but not daring to protest I put on my coat and hat and left the apartment. I considered my prospects. Where was I to go now? How could I possible find another bed at this time of night, especially on Christmas Eve? I didn’t dare even look for one. It was past eight o’clock and to be caught on the street after curfew with nowhere to go was a death sentence. Everyone in Poland had a home or a family to go to on Christmas. Who didn’t have homes? Only Jews.
. .. The courtyard was dark. Still, the spirit of Christmas permeated the frosty evening. As I looked up, I could see Christmas candles burning in every apartment window. There were the beautifully decorated creches and Christmas trees adorning every home. In the distance I heard church bells ringing and the faint sound of choirs singing Christmas carols: “Peace on earth, good will towards men.” But not for Jews, I thought.
As I stood in that dark, empty courtyard, a hunted animal wondering where to hide, a heavy, wet snow began to fall. Soon my hat and coat were soaked, the damp cold penetrating to my very bones. Shivering in the darkness as church bells rang out all over the city, I thought about Christian love, Christian charity. I thought of Joseph, Mary and the Infant Jesus. What if those three Jews had come to Krakow on the train that night looking for shelter? Would all those Masses, bells, carols, trees, and candles do them any good?
The best they could hope for was to be thrown out into the snow like I was. More likely those holy hypocrites filling the churches would turn them over to the Germans. That night all over Poland, there were Jews like me, desperately seeking shelter. But the inn was full. The well of human kindness was empty. Every door was slammed in our faces. And all the while the church bells rang. . .
I survived that night all right. I didn’t get sick.. But to this day I can’t abide the sound of church bells.”
Those Poles filling the churches thought they were good Christians. They went to church. They sang Christmas songs. They knew what was going on — the Germans knew what was going on. If they were all so “innocent” then why was Rose Zar so terrified?
Do a little internet research on Holocaust survivors. Read their stories. Read a few books, like Rose Zar’s “Mouth of the Wolf.” It is naive to think that a few Nazis killed 12 million people and know “average” person knew. They knew — and more than knowing, many were eager assistants.
After the war ended many Jews were murdered. That isn’t talked about much — but it didn’t end with the death of Hitler — just the death camps, not the deaths. . .
Many were murdered when they tried to go back home and found their homes occupied. This line jumped out at me:
“I thought of Joseph, Mary and the Infant Jesus. What if those three Jews had come to Krakow on the train that night looking for shelter?”
Those Christians never thought of their holy family as having Jewish roots. Only recently do Christians talk about and acknowledge the Jewishness of Jesus.
Dina, Your last sentence is a disaster. Where did you get that from? For 2000 years , who do you think they took Jesus as…. ????
Most Christians for most of history rarely considered Jesus’s Jewish roots. That’s simply a historical fact. Modern Christians focus on that much more today.
Dina, Internet writers put lots of ‘stuff’ for us to read. I don’t know how long your ‘ modern’ term of Christianity reaches back in time. I am sure my grandparents and their parents were fully aware of him being a Jew and that is how I found it from them. What people knew 300 years ago it is hard to tell unless you have documents but as long Christianity ‘exists’ it simply wasn’t a secret that Jesus was a Jew.
Eric, here are a couple of links to show that I’m not as crazy as you think:
Eric, here are more links:
In the following two links, the last paragraph of each contains the main point (in my opinion):
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