Facing Scripture 2 – An Open Letter to Charles
It would seem that you are not satisfied with the responses that I wrote in response to your response. You want something more “careful.” I hope the present work satisfies your exacting standards.
You charge that I ignored your first argument in which you argue for the sufficiency of Scripture alone to guide a concerned seeker.
I have written extensively on the subject of your first argument and you have ignored what I have written on the subject. Either way, your first argument is not relevant to the discussion at hand. Even you recognize that God appointed a remnant of living Jews to act as His witnesses and preserve the testimony or else you cannot face Isaiah 43:10. The only difference that divides us is our disagreement over the identity of this remnant. But it is here were you ignore the explicit word of scripture which identifies the community with which He preserves His covenant by the sign of the Sabbath (Exodus 31:15). You also ignore the Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:35) which tells us that this remnant sees Sinai as the bedrock of their covenant with God and see no need to minimize Sinai.
You further accuse me of “sidestepping” the “central question” which you claim is the identity of the messenger that was worshiped at Sinai.
The fact is that no messenger was worshiped at Sinai or anywhere else for that matter. But even according to your distorted interpretation which posits that a messenger was worshiped, it is still completely irrelevant to our discussion. Because when God commands us about future worship He points us away from every messenger and He points us to the testimony of our ancestors (Deuteronomy 4:15,35).
You claim that my accusation against you in which I state that you ignore the Scriptures is mere “hyperbole.” According to you the question is who revealed Himself at Sinai and according to your assessment it is I who is ignoring the “central issue.”
Allow me to remind you what it is that the Scriptures say. The Scripture points to the experience of Israel at Sinai as the bedrock of the covenant, not only for that generation, but for every subsequent generation. The only people who see Sinai as the bedrock of their covenant with God testify that they were taught by their ancestors to worship the One who is above and beyond ALL that inhabit the heaven and earth – He is above EVERY form of finite existence including Jesus. And it is you who completely and utterly ignore the testimony of God’s witnesses that is confirmed by God’s Scripture. I am not engaging in hyperbolic usage of words. It is you who are playing word games in an effort to dodge the words of God.
You claim that Isaac Lichtenstein was the chief rabbi of Hungary. This is a blatant lie according to any stretch of the imagination. Even the Messianic liars couldn’t exalt this unknown fellow beyond claiming that he was a chief rabbi of an unnamed region in the backwaters of the Hungarian countryside. I challenge you to provide a shred of original documentation which would show Isaac Lichtenstein ever held the position of chief rabbi of Hungary.
You challenge me to support my charge that you claimed that six other passages from Scripture contradict Deuteronomy 30:1-10.
The relevant quote from your dissertation is found in the paragraph entitled “Attitudes to the Land, Tragic Predominance of Orthodox Victims of the Shoah.” In the fourth line of that paragraph you write that “other texts reverse the order.” You are creating an artificial conflict between the passages in order to justify your effort to dismiss Moses’ words for the sake of “preserving the Bible’s integrity and consistency.”
You state that: “It is improper to separate genuine repentance from the new heart.”
Your premise is directly contradicted by Scripture. Scripture speaks of a full-hearted repentance BEFORE the divine circumcision of our heart (Deuteronomy 30:2). It is this very passage that you consistently refuse to face.
You charge that I attempt to make a “rhetorical impression” when I state that you devoted one line to explain the passage in question (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). You argue that you have written several pages explaining the difference between the Sinai covenant and the one described in this passage in Deuteronomy, all of this to justify your interpretation of this passage.
It is you Charles who is engaging in creating rhetorical impressions and hyperbole. Yes, you devoted several pages in an attempt to establish the premise that Sinai was a failure and a new covenant will come and provide successful mediation. You didn’t quote one passage from Scripture that states this theory clearly and unambiguously. What you have done is attempted to demonstrate that there are hints and clues for this Christological theology that lurk in the shadows. But you fail to address the direct words of Moses which clearly and unambiguously describe the new covenant. Instead you point to the fact that the covenant is addressed to the nation in the singular and argue on this flimsy basis that it is referring to one man. You don’t explain to your readers how one man can be scattered to the ends of the earth. You don’t tell your readers that the Sinai covenant is also introduced in the singular as is much of Scripture. My statement to the effect that you devote one line to explaining the passage in question is completely justified.
You charge that my failure to see the discontinuity of the Moab covenant from the Sinai covenant governs my interpretation of Deuteronomy 30:10.
My interpretation of Deuteronomy 30:1-10 is governed by the words of Deuteronomy 30:1-10. My challenge to you is that you face those same words and allow them to tell you what Deuteronomy 30:1-10 is saying instead of dictating to the text what it ought to say according to your conjectures.
In response to my point that Deuteronomy 18 speaks of a mediator in the sense of prophet you respond by pointing out that Moses sometimes acted as an intercessor as well.
Indeed he did as did many human prophets and righteous people until this very day. But if you read Deuteronomy 18 you will realize that the Scripture is not talking about that type of mediation. Again, you refuse to allow Scripture to talk.
Throughout your dissertation you claim that the Sinai covenant demanded “perfect” obedience.
How could God demand perfect obedience from human beings who are not capable of presenting perfect obedience? God never demands from people that which they are not capable of producing (Psalm 103:14). And if you understand that when the Torah speaks of observing ALL the Law with ALL your heart then how can you justify your interpretation of Deuteronomy 30:2 which speaks of the same obedience BEFORE the circumcision of the heart. And since you contend that this passage is talking to Jesus can you please explain how Jesus experienced the blessing and the curse and finds himself in ALL of the lands that we were scattered. While you are at it, can you please explain how this is not a complete mockery of the word of God?
Charles; all I am asking you to do is to face the word of God without your Christological conjectures and allow the words to talk for themselves.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal