Thomas’ Journey

I was raised like most other North American Jews- in an interfaith (Jewish mother, non-practicing Protestant father) in the suburbs of a large North American city. I was raised with a Jewish identity, went to Hebrew school, and had a bar mitzvah. We went to synagogue on the High Holidays, lit Shabbat candles on Friday night, and so on.

When I went away to university, I started getting involved with the local Jewish association- mostly Israel advocacy, some Jewish programming, and I was also learning more about my Jewish identity through getting involved at the local orthodox synagogue (although I was neither observant nor religious- merely started attending shabbat morning services).

Upon my graduation, I moved back to my home city, and started working. I don’t quite remember when I first came across the ‘messianic jewish’ movement, but I had always known of Jews for Jesus (et al), and one day I came across a messianic website featuring proofs texts of Jesus’ messiahship in the Hebrew Bible, and it caught my attention, so I looked at it, thinking I would get a good chuckle. Rather, I was very bothered- although I knew little about the Hebrew Bible, these arguments seemed compelling! The scriptural verses seemed to prove exactly their point! How was this possible?

To make a (very) long story short, this bothered me day and night. I read articles and watched videos online- there was messianic site after site offering proofs, and yet I had difficulty finding one or two competent Jewish websites offering refutations- I knew there must be some Jewish refutation- but nothing I found online was satisfactory.

The Christian arguments had dozens of verses, plus references to the Talmud and other Jewish works, and the Jewish refutations I found online seemed surprisingly bare-boned, and did not ease my doubts in the slightest.

This reached a fever pitch where, one night laying in bed, I asked myself- what good reason do I have NOT to accept Christianity? What other choice did I have? It was so abundantly clear that whatever Jewish arguments existed, I could not find them.

One morning, I asked G-d to teach me- to show me what He wanted me to do.

I got an answer.

That night, while on campus for an evening classes program I was taking, the guest speaker happened to be (obviously unknown to me) a rabbi from Jews for Judaism. That certainly caught my attention. I actually had met this rabbi once or twice in the past, and I scheduled a meeting with him to discuss what was causing me so much distress, and to finally hear what the Jewish responses were- and whether they were satisfactory.

We reviewed some of the big proof texts, and the major theological issues (repentance & atonement, divinity of messiah, etc.), and it caused me to take a big step back. The refutations he provided me were very clear and straightforward, and I did a lot more reading, and met with the rabbi a few more times, and after a while I felt that I had received a satisfactory answer to my questions. But some doubts persisted, but while I knew that I could not answer many Christian arguments, I was not plagued by the same fears I had before.

It was only later, when I came across Rabbi Blumenthal’s writings (Contra Brown and The Council of My Nation) did it become clear as day to me. Until then, all the arguments I had seen were when the Christian presented Proof Text A, and the Jew attempted to refute it. But when I read Rabbi Blumenthal’s articles, it put everything in a new light. It became clear to me that not only are the ‘messianic prophecies’ not pointing to Jesus, but the Jewish-Christian disagreement goes MUCH deeper: the fundamental teachings of the Hebrew Bible preclude the major theological teachings of Christianity, such as the required belief in the messiah’s divinity, his death as atonement, the nature of G-d, and so on. I also found one argument particularly convincing- that Christianity accepts wholeheartedly the Jewish biblical tradition- that the Jews knew how to identify correct prophets and reject false prophets, and that the Jews accurately kept, passed on, codified and canonized the books of the Hebrew Bible.

And yet, the same Christianity that believes the Jews met G-d at Mt. Sinai and transmitted His message to humanity- do not know how to identify their own messiah and do not know the nature of their own G-d. Once I reflected upon this more, the point made more and more sense- to accept the Jewish bible and reject everything the Jews say about their own bible – seemed to be utterly illogical.

I printed both these articles out, and I read them each dozens and dozens of times. I thought about them, reflected upon them, and argued with myself about the arguments presented in the book, and it knocked out any lingering doubts I had.

Peace had come upon me.

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10 Responses to Thomas’ Journey

  1. Jim says:

    Thomas,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Welcome home.

    Jim

  2. ChristianPaul says:

    Peace to you Thomas!

    Messianic Jews, Protestant sects, Mormons, Jehovah witnesses all the more 10000 denominations are the reign of confusion and not the bearer of Christ. They present a message truncated where they lost the power of holy Doctrine. The Orthodox Church is the true bearer of the commandments and the true witness of Christ Resurrection.

    Orthodox Judaism compared to Orthodox Christianity that is a work of truth to do honestly in order to have assurance that you are walking in the will of God. For the will of the Father is that we know his Son and that those who believe in Him have eternal life. You look for a Messiah we say we have found the Messiah not in misconceptions and false witnesses but in truth and spirit to the true worship of the Father Eternal in the Heavens.

    Blessings to you!

    • Jim says:

      C. Paul,

      As so many Christians who have come here before you, you make declarations, but you demonstrate nothing. Merely stating that your belief is the true belief does not make it so. You will not find R’ Blumenthal merely declaring that Christianity is a false system; he demonstrates it.

      Read through the pages here. Read “The Council of my Nation.” Read “Of Whom Speaketh the Prophet.” There are links to them at the top of the page. You will see that he shows that the NT is incompatible with Judaism. The problem is not merely with the Roman Catholic Church and the various Protestant branches. Orthodox Christianity is not compatible with Torah either.

      Having read those, if you wish to rebut them, such a rebuttal cannot be a statement that only those other Christianities are false but yours is true. Such a claim requires evidence. If you cannot offer any, then you have really stated nothing.

      Jim

      • ChristianPaul says:

        Peace to you Jim! The work of truth is the responsibility of each one of us. The fact that I am here testifies that I want to compare Orthodox Judaism and Orthodox Christianity and show like I have stated in my last post that Orthodox Christianity is the accomplishment of Orthodox Judaism of the Second Temple Era. Here is what I wrote:

        It is very important to understand the major differences between the Roman church and her daughters the many Protestant Sects and the Orthodox Church. Romanism is a Prostitute that morphs herself with the wind of the moment. Their belief have some truth for She took it from the Orthodox Church but the Papacy for us Orthodox is anti-Christian and ante-Christ ante in the Greek sense of taking the place of God and promoting as being the supreme spiritual power on this earth. This is false doctrine and highly prideful. The sin of Rome is pride and vain glory substituted herself to the Messiah and changing time and belief to suit pagan Roman emperors.

        The Orthodox Church kept the Divine Liturgy from the beginning and works in Council and Synods the equivalent of the ancient Sanhedrin. Even our Liturgy is based on the Judaism of the Second temple. In all Orthodox churches we have the Holy of holies with the Menorah with seven candles and the Book of Holy Scriptures on the Altar. We have the consecrated bread, the Bread of the Presence on the Altar in the Tabernacle.

        Proof of the Table of Showbread:

        …29″You shall make its dishes and its pans and its jars and its bowls with which to pour drink offerings; you shall make them of pure gold. 30″You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me at all times. (Exodus 25)

        In conclusion the Orthodox Church is the accomplishment of the Second Temple Judaism. We are the keepers of the Temple service in all our churches. We are the keepers of the Orthodox Way the Right Path who brings us to salvation and the exaltation of our beings in the Heavens. We love our brothers Jews and we look forward to discuss with respect our common roots.

        As a seed grows and develops her roots the tree grow to what is different from the appearance of the roots but by the dna we know that the fruits of this tree comes from the roots that we do not see anymore. Ancient Judaism is the root of all Monotheistic Religion and the common trunk is the Messiah where the branches of the multiple churches gives us the many fruits which are the saints.

        Many blessings to you!

        • Jim says:

          C. Paul,

          And where are the elements of the temple service to be kept? Just anywhere? Are they to be kept in my home? At the grocery store? If they are at the local gas station, will that be a fulfillment of scripture?

          Obviously not. These objects were to be kept in the temple. You have made a facsimile of certain objects, but you do not even have the house to which they belong. Therefore, you do not fulfill the temple service, not even a little bit. You might as well say that if I put a crown upon my head I am made automatically a king.

          I know this is harsh, but I must say that this is mere frippery. You think if you adorn your church a certain way it will make it acceptable to worship a man. What you really do is make a mockery of Torah. Torah teaches that God is alone. It teaches that He shares His glory with none, nor will He. It teaches not to worship any form. Do you really think that if you light a menorah in honor of a false god that you have fulfilled the Torah? You have violated it at the deepest level.

          A parable:

          Once there was a man who wished to have relations with a woman other than his wife. He took his wife’s ring, one night, while she slept, and adorned his mistress’s finger with it.

          This is what you have done in taking the accoutrements of the temple. You use them improperly to justify your idolatry. But putting a menorah in your church does not mean that you worship God. Sadly, though you may mean well, you have turned those objects into tools for idolatry rather than devotion to God.

          The fact that you use them outside of the temple should have given you pause. Using those accoutrements in worship of a man is a grave violation, even more significant than the other. I find it incomprehensible that you would think having a menorah would somehow serve to demonstrate that your worship is proper, when a much graver question remains: Should one worship Jesus? Any student of Torah knows that the answer is a resounding “No!” Appealing to your practice as demonstration of its truth is silly and shallow.

          Jim

          • ChristianPaul says:

            Peace in your heart Jim!

            I feel discontent from your part. You are throwing accusation of idolatry on Orthodox Christians that are based on misconceptions. I hope I will be able to show you how your assertions are wrong.

            Your contention revolves around the person of the Messiah being son of Adam in his Humanity denying him his Oneness with God. I will say that you can arrive to that assertion if you deny the Incarnation of the Eternal Son in our Humanity. You pose yourself as a denier of the Incarnation and therefore proclaim yourself as antichrist as defined by John the Apostle in his famous letter:

            Deceptions of the Last Hour

            18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the[c] Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

            20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.[d] 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

            22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1John 2)

            Your arguments repose on prohibitive commandments regarding the form of God which in Orthodoxy we resolved by the Incarnation of God in our Humanity permitting us to become sons of God by the power of His Grace.

            It is evident that the Christian Theology is more developed by the fact that by definition it is the accomplishment of Judaism. In that sense a child can not be expected to comprehend what an adult will. I respect you blockage for it is not given to all to enter in the Religion of the sons of God. I say this with humility and with thanksgiving to our Lord and God Yeshua the Messiah.

            Jim now insulting what is higher in Grace is not good policy. For it is like a child judging is parents or like a student judging his master. Humility gives us the right orders of things and I wish it for you and me and all for without Humility we enter in the realm of illusions and misconceptions based on our own papist mentality where one man can decry an entire Church.

            For me Judaism is a plus for humanity in the walk on this realm of life and as the root of Christianity we must always be grateful for the witnesses of the Torah and the serious and profound lover of truth. Bless may they be now and forever!

            For you Jim you are in between a man without religion and outside the Church or the Assembly of the Jewish People. How sad and lonely that must be? Do you think that is the right path? It might come from your misconception of God being alone. That is a real deformation of the Torah and the true Revelation. God is One not Alone. It is very different. Here some examples:

            1) A father is not alone but One with his family
            2) An husband is not alone but one flesh with his wife
            3) A pregnant woman is not alone but one with her unborn child
            4) A coach is not alone but one with his team
            5) The Messiah is not alone but One with his Father
            6) The Messiah is not alone but One with his Church
            7) The Father is not alone but One with the Son and the Spirit Holy

            You see your conceptions are erroneous because they take a lens of unbelief based on a man reasoning with himself like if a man can comprehend God and heavenly things. That is prideful and vain for only God can reveals himself when He wants like He did with his humble servant Moses who saw the form of God and his Glory.

            Conclusion dear Jim removes the resentment and judgements of the Orthodox Church for that is not the way to engage in dialogue. Instead try to respect the conscience of men of God that have accepted the Grace of the Son to invite us to become sons with Him in the Glory of His Father.

            Blessings!

          • Jim says:

            C. Paul,

            Much of what you have written here is not argument, but more assertion. I understand that it comforts you to think that I am discontented and embittered. This is, however, a figment of your imagination. You may think that I will be cowed by the idea that you and John label me as antichrist. But I am not so cowed. None of the rest of your speculations regarding who I am or how I feel are relevant, nor interest me. I care only to discuss matters of truth.

            So, let us ignore all those meaningless bits of gibberish and examine your claim about God. You say that He is One, but not alone. Perhaps you have never read Torah. “You have been shown in order to know that HaShem, He is the God! There is none beside Him!” (Deut. 4:35.) And four verses later: “You shall know this day and take to your heart that HaShem, He is the God–in heaven above and on the earth below–there is none other.”

            You argue from human relations that God is not alone. But Isaiah writes: “To whom then will you liken God? To what likeness will you compare unto Him?” (40:18.) See also Isaiah 44, where God says that He is the first and last and there is no other God. He asks, “Who then is like Me?” and concludes “No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

            You argue that God is not alone, but He testifies otherwise. Moreover, He set up a nation of witnesses, as you have affirmed. And they testify that He is alone, just as they were commanded. Torah does not support your unfounded claims. The Church has made a man into a god. This is an absurdity. It is also a violation of Torah.

            Jim

          • Saul Goodman says:

            @Christian,

            “God is One not Alone. ”

            You alone are the LORD. Nehemia 9:6

            For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Psalm 86:10

            But the rest of your exemples are really silly.

            “1) A father is not alone but One with his family”

            So that means you are as one with God as Jesus? How many gods does it make? And why don’t you worship yourself?

            “2) An husband is not alone but one flesh with his wife”

            Obviously, this is not litteral. Or maybe hermaphrodites?

            “3) A pregnant woman is not alone but one with her unborn child”

            Since the baby can be killed without killing the mother, it is obvious they are not litteraly one.

            “4) A coach is not alone but one with his team”

            Obviously, when one of his player breaks his leg, the coach does not get his own leg broken.

            “5) The Messiah is not alone but One with his Father”

            And since you claimed that a mother is one with its baby, it means jesus is one with Mary and so Mary is one with the Father. Why isn’t she part of the Trinity?

            “6) The Messiah is not alone but One with his Church”

            So you are also God incarnates?

            “7) The Father is not alone but One with the Son and the Spirit Holy”

            But he isn’t one with his reason? Or with his love? Or his anger? Why aren’t they part of the Trinity?

        • Saul Goodman says:

          Hi Christian,

          You wrote:

          “The Orthodox Church kept the Divine Liturgy from the beginning and works in Council and Synods the equivalent of the ancient Sanhedrin. ”

          Very well. Can you tell me what is an oecumenical council? How is it different than a local council? How is a council accepted as oecumenical?

    • Sharbano says:

      You have yet to prove anything, with your incarnated self, of which Torah speaks against you. In order to espouse your beliefs the contradictions TO those beliefs found in Torah have to be ignored. By any account it is without question what Xtianity has brought to the world is an entirely New form of man’s relationship with G-d. Hence the term used “New” as in covenant and even the name of the books. If something is “New” it is thus different than the old, a change of some sorts. But What does G-d say in this matter. Malachi tells us.

      Behold I send My angel, and he will clear a way before Me. And suddenly, the Lord Whom you seek will come to His Temple. And behold! The angel of the covenant, whom you desire, is coming, says the Lord of Hosts.
      Now who can abide the day of his coming, and who will stand when he appears, for it is like fire that refines and like fullers’ soap.
      And then the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasant to the Lord, as in the days of old and former years.
      For I, the Lord, have not changed; and you, the sons of Jacob, have not reached the end.

      We see here that G-d is the same today as yesterday as in the beginning. If G-d does NOT change then OUR relationship TO G-d cannot change. Therefore, Xtianity is a false religion.

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