Idolatry – by Concerned Reader

I often find that well meaning Christians, and well meaning Jews talk past and over each other on the question of idolatry, its proper definition, and whether or not a given person is engaged in the service of idols in their tradition or not.

From the perspective of Judaism Deuteronomy 4 and Deuteronomy 13 clearly emphasize that G-d is not to be likened to or worshipped in any form, nor is the “whole host of heaven” to be worshipped ie G-d’s entourage is not to be served, (even though they work for him) and G-d is to be known to Israel as he revealed himself at Sinai.
In this post, I would like to tackle this whole discussion from another, (and I believe very neglected) angle. Where does the NT and the Christian tradition itself stand (in terms of its own teachings and definitions) concerning these important messages of Duteronomy 4 &13? Does the Christian text contain similar warnings?

1. You saw no form on the day the lord spoke to you at horeb out of the midst of the fire. (Deuternomy 4:15)

Concerning the incorporeal and ineffable nature of G-d that cannot be pictured, wholly grasped, or contained.
-John 4:24, Romans 1:20-26 Luke 24:39 Acts 7:42 Acts 15:20, and many others

(from the tradition)
Tatian the Syrian
“Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible, being himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things” (Address to the Greeks 4 [A.D. 170]).

Athenagoras
“I have sufficiently demonstrated that we are not atheists, since we acknowledge one God, unbegotten, eternal, invisible, incapable of being acted upon, incomprehensible, unbounded, who is known only by understanding and reason, who is encompassed by light and beauty and spirit and indescribable power, by whom all things, through his Word, have been produced and set in order and are kept in existence” (Plea for the Christians 10 [A.D. 177]).

Irenaeus
“Far removed is the Father of all from those things which operate among men, the affections and passions. He is simple, not composed of parts, without structure, altogether like and equal to himself alone. He is all mind, all spirit, all thought, all intelligence, all reason . . . all light, all fountain of every good, and this is the manner in which the religious and the pious are accustomed to speak of God” (Against Heresies 2:13:3 [A.D. 189]).

Clement of Alexandria
“The first substance is everything which subsists by itself, as a stone is called a substance. The second is a substance capable of increase, as a plant grows and decays. The third is animated and sentient substance, as animal, horse. The fourth is animate, sentient, rational substance, as man. Wherefore each one of us is made as consisting of all, having an immaterial soul and a mind, which is the image of God” (Fragment from On Providence [A.D. 200]).

“Being is in God. God is divine being, eternal and without beginning, incorporeal and illimitable, and the cause of what exists. Being is that which wholly subsists. Nature is the truth of things, or the inner reality of them. According to others, it is the production of what has come to existence; and according to others, again, it is the providence of God, causing the being, and the manner of being, in the things which are produced” (ibid.).

“What is God? ‘God,’ as the Lord says, ‘is a spirit.’ Now spirit is properly substance, incorporeal, and uncircumscribed. And that is incorporeal which does not consist of a body, or whose existence is not according to breadth, length, and depth. And that is uncircumscribed which has no place, which is wholly in all, and in each entire, and the same in itself” (ibid.).

“No one can rightly express him wholly. For on account of his greatness he is ranked as the All, and is the Father of the universe. Nor are any parts to be predicated of him. For the One is indivisible; wherefore also it is infinite, not considered with reference to inscrutability, but with reference to its being without dimensions, and not having a limit. And therefore it is without form” (Miscellanies 5:12 [A.D. 208]).

Origen
“Since our mind is in itself unable to behold God as he is, it knows the Father of the universe from the beauty of his works and from the elegance of his creatures. God, therefore, is not to be thought of as being either a body or as existing in a body, but as a simple intellectual being, admitting within himself no addition of any kind” (Fundamental Doctrines 1:1:6 [A.D. 225]).

“John says in the gospel, ‘No one has AT ANY TIME seen God,’ clearly declaring to all who are able to understand, that there is no nature to which God is visible, not as if he were indeed visible by nature, and merely escaped or baffled the view of a frailer creature, but because he is by nature impossible to be seen” (ibid. 1:1:8).

Athanasius
“God, however, being without parts, is Father of the Son without division and without being acted upon. For neither is there an effluence from that which is incorporeal, nor is there anything flowering into him from without, as in the case of men. Being simple in nature, he is Father of one only Son” (Letter on the Council of Nicaea 11 [A.D. 350]).

Didymus the Blind
“God is simple and of an incomposite and spiritual nature, having neither ears nor organs of speech. A solitary essence and illimitable, he is composed of no numbers and parts” (The Holy Spirit 35 [A.D. 362]).

Hilary of Poitiers
“First it must be remembered that God is incorporeal. He does not consist of certain parts and distinct members, making up one body. For we read in the gospel that God is a spirit: invisible, therefore, and an eternal nature, immeasurable and self-sufficient. It is also written that a spirit does not have flesh and bones. For of these the members of a body consist, and of these the substance of God has no need. God, however, who is everywhere and in all things, is all-hearing, all-seeing, all-doing, and all-assisting” (Commentary on the Psalms 129[130]:3 [A.D. 365]).

Basil the Great
“The operations of God are various, but his essence is simple” (Letters 234:1 [A.D. 367]).
Ambrose of Milan
“God is of a simple nature, not conjoined nor composite. Nothing can be added to him. He has in his nature only what is divine, filling up everything, never himself confused with anything, penetrating everything, never himself being penetrated, everywhere complete, and present at the same time in heaven, on earth, and in the farthest reaches of the sea, incomprehensible to the sight” (The Faith 1:16:106 [A.D. 379]).

Evagrius of Pontus
“To those who accuse us of a doctrine of three gods, let it be stated that we confess one God, not in number but in nature. For all that is said to be one numerically is not one absolutely, nor is it simple in nature. It is universally confessed, however, that God is simple and not composite” (Dogmatic Letter on the Trinity 8:2 [A.D. 381]).

Gregory of Nyssa
“But there is neither nor ever shall be such a dogma in the Church of God that would prove the simple and incomposite [God] to be not only manifold and variegated, but even constructed from opposites. The simplicity of the dogmas of the truth proposes God as he is” (Against Eunomius1:1:222 [A.D. 382]).

John Chrysostom
“[Paul] knows [God] in part. But he says, ‘in part,’ not because he knows God’s essence while something else of his essence he does not know; for God is simple. Rather, he says ‘in part’ because he knows that God exists, but what God is in his essence he does not know” (Against the Anomoians 1:5 [A.D. 386]).
“Why does John say, ‘No one has ever seen God’ [John 1:18]? So that you might learn that he is speaking about the perfect comprehension of God and about the precise knowledge of him. For that all those incidents [where people saw a vision of God] were condescensions and that none of those persons saw the pure essence of God is clear enough from the differences of what each did see. For God is simple and non-composite and without shape; but they all saw different shapes” (ibid., 4:3).

Augustine
“In created and changeable things what is not said according to substance can only be said according to accident. . . . In God, however, certainly there is nothing that is said according to accident, because in him there is nothing that is changeable, but neither is everything that is said of him according to substance” (The Trinity 5:5:6 [A.D. 408]).

Cyril of Alexandria
“We are not by nature simple; but the divine nature, perfectly simple and incomposite, has in itself the abundance of all perfection and is in need of nothing” (Dialogues on the Trinity 1 [A.D. 420]).
“The nature of the Godhead, which is simple and not composite, is never to be divided into two” (Treasury of the Holy Trinity 11 [A.D. 424]).
The Christian bible and tradition (as can be seen above) also teaches the incorporeality and ineffibility of G-d. He has no parts, he has no introduction in time, he has not been seen at any time.

Do not Worship the whole host of heaven Deuteronomy 4:19 (physical entities of any shape, the servants of G-d, nor the angels of G-d.)

Romans 1:20-26 Acts 7:42 Revelation 19:9-10 Revelation 22:8-9 Collosians 2:18 (pay special special attention to Acts 14:11-15, because the gentiles therein want to worship Paul as a god in human form, read his reaction.)

Given all the above information, Christians should not be at all surprised at the Jewish interpretation of proper divine service, or the Jewish reaction to common christian services, because your own texts and your own teachers teach you the clear warnings that the Jewish people are trying to teach you, and your teachers reacted similarly when they saw deviation.

The problem is, your incarnational devotion to Jesus, his cross, and his blood, often crosses this clearly defined line of proper behavior. Even the institutional Church itself admited throughout its doctrine in the Church councils and history that the idolatry line is crossed in your worship of Jesus, if you do some of the following:

1. If you act with worshipful devotion, or do homage to Jesus of Nazareth believing him to be only a mortal human teacher, you are guilty of idolatry. (arianism)

2. If you believe in “Jesus only” to the exclusion of the father and his commandments, you are likewise guilty of idolatry. (oneness pentacostalism/modalism, and gnosticism)

3. If you worship as divine any other being who claims he is Jesus, or claims he is like Jesus, (and even if this person is cured from a deadly wound,) the Church also says you are guilty of idolatry. (revelation 13)

4. If you believe the trinity to be a corporeal reality, you are likewise deemed an idolater by the orthodox and guilty of tritheism. (Mormonism.)

In what sense then would there supposedly be a meaningful incarnation? The logos (speech/word) of G-d was allegedly revealed in Jesus. Dear Christian friends, you do not need a cross, a communion wafer, a 2,000 year old man’s blood, a Church building, or an organization, in order to embrace the ethical logion (words) of Jesus.

If Jesus’ word is the word of G-d, then his actual teaching should matter to you far more than the trinitarian or incarnational theological formulae about his alleged nature. EVEN THE CHURCH KNOWS ITS A SLIPPERY SLOPE.

Also if the word of G-d is in Jesus, this word shouldn’t contradict G-d’s already clealry stated instructions from the Torah. Look at common Christian devotions to Jesus, and tell me with a straight face that you blame the Jewish people for levelling an idolatry charge.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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117 Responses to Idolatry – by Concerned Reader

  1. Concerned Reader
    Thanks for this post – in light of the words of these Christian teachers – all of whom lived centuries before Maimonides, the missionary accusation (or people like Daniel Boyarin) that Maimonides taught an incorporeal God based on Greek philosophy is simply laughable

    • Concerned Reader says:

      Yes, rabbi, it is laughable indeed. Many don’t know that Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica recognizes his indebtedness to Maimonides, and mentions it. I think sometimes Christians and Jews argue so much about the differences between faiths, that we forget that there is indeed a lot of common ground, if only we look. Given the early Church’s reliance on Philo of Alexandria, believing that G-d is incorporeal doesn’t surprise me that much. The only corporealist I am aware of was Terullian, and he believed such because of the clear dangers that philosophy posed to doctrines of divine providence, in reaction to denials of G-d’s activity in the world, etc.

      This knowledge of my tradition is what made it extremely hard to accept the charge of idolatry in the first place. All the same kind of warnings are right there in the Christian Bible saying, “don’t exchange the glory of G-d for that of mortal men,” “G-d has not been seen at any time, etc.”

  2. Fred says:

    The thing is, though, CR, that while these quotes definitely speak of God as incorporeal, they do not address the nature of Jesus in the eyes of the same commentators. These same commentators would, in the whole body of their work, attest that Jesus is God and had an incorporeal nature as the pre-existent, self-existent “son” before the incarnation. Even Arius did not contest the deity of Jesus, with the whole Arian/Athanasian controversy based on the use of a single word (Homoiousios vs Homoousios: same substance vs like substance). Then if we include the Holy Spirit as a person, then the substance of the Father is again changed, since in the trinity the Father is not the holy spirit, but a separate “hypostasis” from the holy spirit ( yes, that came later, but it is Christian orthodoxy). What then IS the Father in these teachings? I know that more and more in the contemporary Christian movements, the Father is increasingly irrelevant and seldom even spoken of in the pulpit. Churches now pray directly to Jesus and even pray directly to the holy spirit. And this is the logical conclusion, since in the trinity the Father is actually the least involved in the daily existence and subsistence of the church. Jesus provides the forgiveness, atonement and the “love”, the holy spirit is the active force ( even though a person) in the life of the Christian. The Father logically has no active role and is little more than a “silent partner”.

    The more I learn of Judaism, the more I believe the common ground you speak of exists on only the most superficial semantic level. When one gets down to precisely defining the theological/doctrinal terms, Judaism and Christianity have [almost] nothing in common, especially since anyone who denies the “full deity” of Jesus is considered a heretic/cultist and not even a Christian.

  3. Concerned Reader says:

    Fred, I realize full well what you mean. I see the disturbing issue that the father is treated by Christians as less and less relevant, believe me. My point was, the same warnings that we find are crystal clear in the Torah are directly correlated in the Christian text, all their mythologizing of Jesus notwithstanding. Walking contradiction. Even if I held to the trinitarian formulae as true, I wouldn’t agree with modern (or many ancient) Christian views, that’s the point I was making.

    Most Christians talk about the trinity without having the slightest bit of background knowledge of what it meant to those who came up with it.

    Its true that Jesus is deemed more relevant, (how scary that is,) but the Church always has to fly in the face of the most clearly expressed ethical teachings, and the warnings, even those in their own books to maintain that devotion, that was the point I was making.

    I have little doubt that revelation 13 is one reason (among many) why that book’s canonical status was initially in doubt among the orthodox. After all, It explicitly warns people not to look at a human individual as a deity, even if he’s healed from death.

    The texts provide several Torah warnings, (but the Christians make exceptions for Jesus,) that’s the sad irony of it all.

    For instance, you mentioned this, “Jesus is God and had an incorporeal nature as the pre-existent, self-existent “son” before the incarnation.

    (contrast that incorporeal nature with the temporal earthly human nature that all the Christians say began to exist 2,000 years ago.)

    Two natures, one personality. The term “persons” never signifies corporeality in the literature of the Church fathers, never signifies anything but rational relations in a philosophical sense. “Sight” or “seeing” of the “persons” or of J’s “divinity” always signifies beatific visions, prophetic insight, or intellectual perception in the literature, never plain physical eyesight of physical entities. (Mathew 16:17) You only ever “see” G-d, in the minds eye, based on the knowledge of the things that are made, or if you have a pure heart. (Mathew 5:8 Romans 1:20) The text itself makes that distinction internally, and Christians don’t notice.

    The hypostatic union (which theoretically exists in order to maintain these very important distinctions of definition) is ignored and or glossed over by most Christians.

    My point was, yes, they are interested in the earthly human, but If they actually followed their own doctrine through as it was intended, you wouldn’t ever honor the earthly Jesus, or his blood, etc. as much as you should honor his teachings, which are really the only meaningful reflection of the intended meaning and sense signified by the words logos and prosopon/person.

    By this I mean, even within Christian theology and literature itself, the term “persons” (in relation to the trinity) is not ever meant to be taken anthropomorphically, but signifies an individual substance of a rational nature, not human bodies or human minds.

    The terms have specific meanings that are rooted in philosophy that most Christians don’t understand, know, or care about. The theoretical point of the teaching (as you know) is that G-d is personal, he’s not a platonic monad, a demiurge, not an emanation, not a creature, etc. The term “persons” exists to remind that G-d is personal, he’s not abstract.

    Even Arius did not contest the deity of Jesus, with the whole Arian/Athanasian controversy based on the use of a single word (Homoiousios vs Homoousios: same substance vs like substance).”

    (Homoiousios vs Homoousios) are terms though that signify huge differences, and that’s the point. To the orthodox, If you viewed Jesus as a created 1st born of creation who was “like” his father,” and invested with his power, you might have antecedents in angelic speculations for that theological construct, but from an orthodox Christian view, you’d be guilty of idolatry because you believe a creature can be called god and act with his authority.

    Yes, Jesus is said to have an incorporeal divine nature. A nature that has no body, cannot ever be pictured, etc. This is partly what I was talking about. If Christians carried their own doctrines through logically, they would have no real need of venerating the flesh of Jesus as much as they do. I realize that’s what they do anyway, but its a fact that their texts and even their tradition are constantly battling this contradiction, that was my point.

    Christianity is a form of idolatry that destroys its own purposes and core premises. It tells you on one hand “venerate Jesus,’ with ignored provisos, but then says “DON”T VENERATE HUMAN PEOPLE.” Its got to battle that contradiction, even on the doctrinal level, that was my point.

  4. Fred says:

    Point taken and well put. I tried for years to show my Christian colleagues that the NT , and Jesus himself, denied this deity they insisted was part of the faith from the beginning. The big problem was that while the NT, not to mention the “OT”, was chock full of texts that denied such a doctrine, they would take a few here and there, such as John1:1, and build on that. There can be no doubt that the “deity of Jesus” ( to at least some degree) was one of the themes of John and that is the reason why missionaries and pastors often insist that new [Gentile] believers start with John in their biblical studies.
    The biggest problem with a non-deity Jesus for Christianity, however, is that the historical Jesus has nothing to offer in terms of a religion outside of Rabbinical Judaism/Bnei Noach.
    I believe Jesus was a follower or even possibly a student of Hillel, as hinted at in his own teachings. A charismatic repeater of Hillel’s basic message could indeed develop a following, and possibly even find fault with overly rigid rabbis and priests, but would not think to start a new religion. If Hillel didn’t, why would his students?

    But without the Roman mythos Jesus and the doctrines of Paul, Christianity has nothing to offer. As stated by the Roman Church, the trinity is the entire foundation upon which Christianity was built.

    • Concerned Reader says:

      I wouldn’t exactly call the Christian theology Roman, as the theology thoroughly predates imperial Christianity by a long shot. I would say that its more likely that there were second temple mystical notions run Amok in this theology, and that this is where the Christians got hung up. Trinitarianism is just a later convoluted attempt to reconcile all the difficulties.

      There is a reason that the Tanakh says that the secret things are for hashem. We see even in Judaism of today people who focus on mystical speculations about sefirot, partzufim, etc. (to the point that sometimes their intention in prayers are directed at certain “emanations.”) Further, we have seen rabbis other than Jesus get deified. I think the best thing for dialogue is to just be honest about it. I don’t hate the Christians, and I don’t blame them for believing what they believe. From their vantage point it all seems plausible, because it is replicated in Judaism itself. They examine the question historically/theologically, not halachically, so is it any wonder they believe the way they do?

      I mean, in the Talmud we have all the signs of this behavior. Several warnings against prayers to Michael and Gabriel, warnings to avoid a heresy of “two powers,” we have within Judaism itself the angel/shaliach that acts on G-d’s behalf, doctrines of prophecy and emanation etc. If you were not reading the Bible from Judaism’s point of view, it is very easy to come to Christian conclusions.

      Like I said though, the NT itself contains the same warnings that the rabbis teach, so its interesting.

      • robert2016 says:

        cr, in christian theology is god possessing a body or is he becoming a body?

        there is an invisible god who is infinite and is not measurable.
        so does this invisible god become visible by becoming created?
        what in this invisible becomes weak ? does his invisibleness change?
        if christians argue that god does not change and neither does time and location effect him like it does human beings, then did god in their beliefs really become created/man?

  5. CP says:

    R’B,
    In the above blog you’ve done an awesome job of showcasing where Christianity goes astray, I thank you for a job well done. Respectfully I’d like to point out it only showcases the excesses on one side of the coin; an over exultation of Jesus by Christians. What about the other side of the coin?; a total lack of Jewish respect for Yeshua.. What did he do to deserve being cut off from his people?

    Yeshua came calling for repentance and warning of judgement. The religious leaders of his day didn’t listen and this is some how his fault?

    Don’t see him as Messiah, okay. Reject the idea of a suffering Messiah, okay. These things I don’t agree with but at least I understand them. But to not respect Yeshua for doing the same as Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah is to disrespect a righteous devoted observant brother who gave his life in the service of Israel and then to declare him cut off and irrelevant is simply unfathomable!

    • CP Please give credit where credit is due – it was Concerned Reader who wrote this educational and informative article. So your problem is that we lack respect for a leader who laid down his life to teach a message of repentance and loyalty to God. Do you know how many such leaders our nation had? Do you respect any of them? Do you care to find out about their careers? These were people who taught a message of repentance and turning back to God and somehow they managed to make sure that their message didn’t get confused and exalt them instead of God – so do you respect these people? If we would believe that Jesus did what you claim he did we would respect him for being a righteous teacher. But the available evidence that we have tells us that he taught self-exaltation and repentance was the excuse, the justification to exalt him. He exploited the message of repentance for his own self-aggrandizement. I suggest you read Kosher Reality.

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

    • CP says:

      Concerned Reader & R’B,
      I sincerely apologize for an honest mistake; I didn’t reader the title, just the article which I thought was very good. I was kinda surprised that R’B was so familiar with early Christian writings, lol, it all makes sense now.
      Sport for the mistake, excellent article!

      • CP says:

        Sorry for the typos; typing on my phone without glasses and predictive text; a recipe for disaster, just glad it didn’t spell anything really offensive!

    • Dina says:

      CP, I’m addressing you directly once and, I hope, for all. Your inability to empathize with the Jewish position and your contempt for Jews make dialogue with you futile. Talking to you is like talking to a wall, as shown by your repeating assertions and questions, ignoring months of hours of writing.

      You know what is truly unfathomable? That you expect us to believe your testimony over that of our own flesh and blood. Our own ancestors, who supposedly actually encountered Jesus, testified that he was a false prophet and a false messiah. To assume that we would reject the testimony of our own people who met and spoke with the man in favor of yours, coming 2000 years later trying to “rediscover” Jesus, is unfathomable.

      Lest you say that we should indeed reject their testimony because they were corrupt, I will tell you this:

      God laid out what punishments we could expect in exile as a result of our disobedience. Tanach is replete with examples. But one punishment that God did not mete out is the punishment of having to seek truth from the gentiles and learning from the gentiles who God’s prophets are.

      Good bye and good luck!

      • LarryB says:

        Dina
        “But one punishment that God did not mete out is the punishment of having to seek truth from the gentiles and learning from the gentiles who God’s prophets are.”
        I laughed out loud, that’s funny……………..

      • CP says:

        “That you expect us to believe your testimony over that of our own flesh and blood. ”

        Dina, I don’t think I’ve ever asked you to accept my testimony about anything. All I’ve asked for is good honest discussion.

        “Our own ancestors, who supposedly actually encountered Jesus, testified that he was a false prophet and a false messiah. ”

        Dina, you’re cherry picking which ancestors to believe. There were many who believed Yeshua; Priests, Pharisees, and a multitude.

        “But one punishment that God did not mete out is the punishment of having to seek truth from the gentiles and learning from the gentiles who God’s prophets are.”

        Dina, nobody is asking you to learn from Gentiles.

        • Dina says:

          CP, for the last time, since you are listening with your fingers in your ears:

          The Jews I am picking are my ancestors. The only Jews who survived the encounter with Jesus went on to produce the next generations of Jews. I am picking the Jews from whom I am descended. I am not a descendant of anyone who believed in Jesus. That’s not cherry picking.

          Everyone today who knows about Jesus has learned about him from gentiles, not Jews–or from Jews who learned about him from gentiles. So to lecture Jews on respecting Jesus is, yes, expecting Jews to take their theological lessons from gentiles.

          You asked for a good honest discussion (a bit rich coming from you). I gave you a good honest answer. My great-great-and-so-on grandparents who actually met Jesus decided he wasn’t the righteous man you–who never met him or spoke to him but were born thousands of years later–claim he is. I believe them over you. That’s my answer, end of story.

          • CP says:

            Dina,
            It is cherry picking; you choose ‘Your’ ancestors. I don’t have a problem with that; it’s your choice. However I will ask; if God thought continuous human oral tradition passed from parent to child would preserve the truth uncorrupted, then why did God have Moses write it down? And why have these Texts been preserved?

            Your position begs the question; Where would you look for truth had your great grand parents converted to Christianity?

            You’d (hopefully) be doing the same as me; rather than simply taking your ancestors word for it you’d be prayerfully searching the oldest documents of both Judaism and Christianity trying your best to know the truth.

          • Dina says:

            Really? I didn’t know you could choose your ancestors. Wow, you really will say anything to get away from simple facts. The only sect to survive Second Temple Judaism was the Pharisees, and every single Jew alive today is their descendant. This historical fact is not in dispute.

            So, yes, I believe my ancestors. Hashem told us how to preserve the Torah in the Torah. I’ve pointed out this to you and cited numerous scriptural references on this very point–but you don’t pay attention. For someone who came here to learn, you are a poor student.

            Your personal search for truth is irrelevant to this particular discussion. You’re picking on traditional Jews for dissing Jesus. That’s what I’m responding to.

            We don’t respect Jesus as a righteous leader of the Jewish people because our own flesh-and-blood ancestors who encountered him told us not to. They were there. You weren’t. And there isn’t anyone alive today whose ancestors met Jesus and believed in him and who passed on an opposing tradition.

          • CP says:

            Dina,
            If your ancestors are like mine or most people; some were good, some were bad, none were perfect and all made mistakes, it may to be unwise to rely on just one generation’s opinion passed down. Since they are human like you and I then we should be able look at the evidence we have and make a decision just like they did.

            If you don’t mind a straightforward question; If Yeshua is the son of man spoken of by Daniel, what did he say or do that requires you reject him?

          • cflat7 says:

            Pardon my butting in again: CP, if Jesus is not the son of man spoken of by Daniel, what did he say or do that requires you to not reject him? And please explain what you mean by rejecting him.

          • CP says:

            cflat7,
            Feel free to butt in; you’re always welcome!

            If Yeshua is not the one spoken of in Daniel 7 then obviously he was mistaken. He wouldn’t be the first or last to be mistaken, as you well know; many have claimed Messiahship, they are still accepted as righteous Jews. Although there are those who have done things worthy to be cut off from Israel, such as converting to Islam and they were cut off, but I don’t see Yeshua doing any such things worthy of expulsion from the Jewish race.

            It is ‘understandable’ to reject Yeshua as Messiah, but to cut him off from Israel for calling for repentance and challenging a corrupted system meant to represent God, is…. well….continued non-repentance.

          • Dina says:

            That’s what you say he did; that’s not what my ancestors say he did. I would rather rely on them, imperfect as they may or may not have been, than listen to people who never knew him.

            I already spent months and months of hours and hours explaining exactly why Jews reject Jesus and what Jesus taught (or the teachings that were attributed to him) that was problematic. The fact that you still don’t know the answer to this question means that you are not listening. I don’t see the point of repeating myself. It’s like talking to a wall. You lack the empathy, understanding, open heart, and open mind to hear Jews out with respect and compassion.

          • Dina says:

            Why didn’t you respond to Rabbi B.’s very strong argument to you?

          • CP says:

            Dina,
            Forgive me for being stubborn, hard headed and skeptical. Would you please in just a few sentences say what Yeshua did to deserve expulsion from the Jewish race. I know R’B has answered, I’ve read it and letting it sink in before answering. However you seem extremely adamant, so I was curious as to your personal reasons for disowning Yeshua.

          • Dina says:

            I don’t care if you’re stubborn, hard-headed (-hearted?), and skeptical. Believe what you want. I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I spent several months explaining the Jewish position to you. You don’t have to agree, but if you lack the ability to understand and empathize with a different point of view, then you failed before you even started.

            I went through all of this with you several times. You didn’t hear me the first many times. You won’t hear me again. I’m not wasting any more time. I only engaged for so long for the sake of the audience. I’m pretty sure they got the message by now, even if you didn’t. So good bye and have a nice life!

  6. Dina says:

    Following.

  7. Concerned Reader says:

    1st off CP, you should address the Questions at me, (I wrote this article as the title says)

    I wrote this to respond to the Christian charge that Maimonides somehow changed how Judaism views G-d to exclude incarnation.

    Christians accuse Maimonides of saying that G-d is incorporeal, and of saying he cannot take a form. They say this cane from Greece and not Tanakh

    I show in the article that Christianity’s own theologians themselves understood G-d to be as Maimonides described.

    This argument does address excesses in Christianity. That said, the thing you dont realize is that even though you say Jesus is only an agent, (and not G-d) it hasnt changed the fact that you see him as a necessary aspect for soneone in their walk.

    You still make Jesus into Nehushtan (the idolized brass serpent.)

    You still inadvertently break Deuteronomy 4 (the prohibition of worshiping the whole host of heaven,) because your theology of atonment through this agent makes you see others who dont believe as lacking in their existing relationship with G-d.

    Christian excess is more than enough justification for Jews rejecting the gospels and Jesus.

    As I have told you, your error lies in treating your historical reconstruction of Jesus as if it were gospel truth (as if that was what the authors intended all along, a fact you cannot check or know.)

    Thus, this reconstruction is yours alone, leaning on your own understanding. A person can be trying to worship G-d and still be guilty of idolatry.

  8. Alan says:

    Exodus 32 (the parsha that was read today in shul) –

    1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him: ‘Up, make us a god who shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.’

    They panicked without Moses and built the Golden Calf as his replacement. According to the halacha it is permitted to make images of animals as long as they are not meant to be worshiped. Only a small number of the people worshiped the calf (about 3000). But it seems that the people in general needed the calf – not to worship – but as a replacement intermediary for Moses (an intermediary that is not worshiped). After all the miracles Hashem showed them (the 10 plagues, the splitting of the sea, the manna, the revelation at Mt. Sinai), why weren’t they able to trust that no intermediary was required for Hashem to continue to take care of them and for them to have a successful relationship with Hashem? And what was incorrect in their understanding of Moses that led them to think that without Moses it was impossible to have a successful relationship with Hashem?

    • CP says:

      It is my understanding the golden calf was considered by those who made it, a representation of Hashem rather than a foreign God.. The fact they painicked without Moses indicates Moses was their connection (intermediary) with Hashem (contrary to what is taught).

      “After all the miracles Hashem showed them (the 10 plagues, the splitting of the sea, the manna, the revelation at Mt. Sinai), why weren’t they able to trust that no intermediary was required for Hashem to continue to take care of them and for them to have a successful relationship with Hashem?”
      — Perhaps because all of the above events were orchestrated with an intermediary? —-

      “And what was incorrect in their understanding of Moses that led them to think that without Moses it was impossible to have a successful relationship with Hashem?”
      — Fear? They said they didn’t want to hear God’s voice for themselves and asked for a mediator. —-

      • Alan says:

        I believe the golden calf was supposed to be a representation of Moses. As Aaron told Moses in verse 23 – “So they said unto me: Make us a god/power/leader, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.”

        How it works that a golden calf can be a substitute for Moses, I don’t know. If Aaron and the people had made it as an idol, I believe they also would have been killed for the sin of idolatry. But only 3000 were killed. It does say that Hashem “plagued” the people at the end of the story. I’m not sure if it necessarily means they died.

        Maybe you’re right that they had too great a fear of having a direct relationship with Hashem and they thought they needed an intermediary. Not an intermediary that is worshiped, but one that they can hide behind and do everything for them.

        • CP says:

          Just a thought;
          50 days earlier they were life long slaves, since then Moses had led them. This is the first time in their lives they’ve been all alone, all by themselves with no one to tell them what to do. They were willing to trade their freedom for security – althought Solomon hadn’t said it yet – ‘There’s nothing new under the sun’.

    • Alan says:

      And how could the people buy that a golden calf would be an adequate substitute for Moses? They didn’t ask for a particular kind of intermediary. It seems that either Aaron decided to make a calf or that all Aaron did was throw the gold into the fire and the calf came out to everyone’s surprise.

      • CP says:

        “Aaron did was throw the gold into the fire and the calf came out to everyone’s surprise.”

        — That’s about equivalent to; “I didn’t eat the last cookie, it just accidentally fell into my mouth. —-

  9. Jamo77 says:

    Concerned Reader,

    I hope I have posted this in the correct area.

    If someone said Deuteronomy 4 is actually G-d saying not to guess His form as they hadn’t seen Him yet, opposed to never worshipping form for all time how would you respond to that?

    • Jamo77 Deuteronomy 4 is the defining event for Israel’s marriage to God unto the last generations – read verse 30 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

    • Concerned Reader says:

      Jamo 77, even if we read the verse as you suggest we might (ie that G-d may actually have a form that he hasn’t revealed yet,) it wouldn’t alter the fundamental thrust or warnings of the passages, or the purpose.

      You are told not to acknowledge G-d for worship in any shape, or via the whole host of heaven, ie G-d’s entourage, because to do so makes people behave corruptly towards G-d, and towards other people without cause.

      The fact that the Israelites worshipped the serpent of brass that Moses had made by G-d’s decree, and that it then had to be destroyed, illustrates this problem with G-d having a hypothetical form that people acknowledge.

      The serpent of brass was something G-d commanded to be built, and commanded to be gazed at, and it seems that G-d’s spirit even rested on the brass serpent.

      Do you think that the Israelites who worshipped the brass serpent as the god they named Nehushtan thought they were actually guilty of idolatry?

      They could say, “its not an idol because it has the spirit of the G-d who redeemed us from slavery within it, and Moses homself made it.”

      The object became an idol precisely because Israel saw the brass snake as worthy to recieve worship in its own right, and used the same object to look down on other Jews who didnt acknowledge it.

      The worshipers of Nehushtan probably claimed, “you don’t love G-d as much as we do if you dont worship the Nehushtan, the serpent Moses made.”

      G-d gave the laws of the Torah as a marriage contract with Israel, and as the heritage of every single Jew in the nation, precisely so that a Jew does not need to rely on a go between, whether that be a person, a shrine, or any miraculous manifestation. Every Jew has the potential to be a Torah teacher, to have access to the same knowledge that even the high priest has. Even a non Jew can teach the commands that are directly relevant to their walk. No Jew is beholden to another Jew’s opinion, which is one teason why so many opinions exist.

      Lets take Christianity as an example. I personally do not have any grudge against Jesus as a teacher, but Christianity’s prayer and adoration of Jesus constitutes idolatry (literally foreign service,) because he (like the serpent of brass) has become an image that men use to make rifts between man and man, and between man and G-d.

      For example, if you are not an eastern orthodox Christian, their Church regards you as lost. If you are not a member of the Catholic Church, they regard you as lost. Not a reformed Calvinist or a Lutheran? Too bad, you are likely lost.

      The Torah’s commands exist so that we are all given the same potential to serve G-d and neighbor. If G-d has a physical form, or even a favorite high place, it could jeapordize G-d’s own sovreignty, and cloud and obscure the love G-d has for everything he has made.

      When G-d is given a form, humans tend to form clubs that say “if you are not a member, G-d hates you. I dont think that is a Torah message, nor do I think the Nazarene intended that.

    • Alan says:

      Jamo77,
      This was not a temporary covenant, but an eternal covenant – it applied at Mt. Sinai, in the desert, in the Land of Israel, outside the Land, and for all times –

      12 And the LORD spoke unto you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of words, but ye saw no form; only a voice. 13 And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even the ten words; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone. 14 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. 15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves–for ye saw no manner of form on the day that the LORD spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire– 16 lest ye deal corruptly, and make you a graven image, even the form of any figure,THE LIKENESS OF MALE OF FEMALE 17 the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the heaven, 18 the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth; 19 and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of heaven, thou be drawn away and worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath allotted unto all the peoples under the whole heaven. 20 But you hath the LORD taken and brought forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be unto Him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day….23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, EVEN THE LIKENESS OF ANY THING which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.

      25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and YOU SHALL HAVE BEEN LONG IN THE LAND, and shall deal corruptly, and make a graven image, EVEN THE FORM OF ANY THING, and shall do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke Him; 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over the Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. 27 And the LORD shall scatter you among the peoples, and ye shall be left few in number among the nations, whither the LORD shall lead you away. 28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But from thence ye will seek the LORD thy God; and thou shalt find Him, if thou search after Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. 30 In thy distress, when all these things are come upon thee, IN THE END OF DAYS, thou wilt return to the LORD thy God, and hearken unto His voice; 31 for the LORD thy God is a merciful God; He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, NOR FORGET THE COVENANT OF THY FATHERS which He swore unto them.

      • RT says:

        What would you say to someone who say that Deut 4 is not against worshipping a man, but against the practice of making idols?

        • Alan says:

          Exodus 20:2
          I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods on my face (or before me).

          • RT says:

            1) The believer believes in a trinity and they will tell you that Jesus is HaShem. Then, you might say that G-d did not show any form at Sinai and show them Deut 4, but they will say that it does not say necessary that G-d cannot take the form of a man and Deut 4 does not say we should not worship G-d who would become a man. I know it is obvious for you and me, but they will (and did in the past) tell me that Deut 4 is about graven image.

            2) The believer does not believe Jesus is G-d. Would the believer necessary commit idolatry if he does not worship Jesus? I would say so and Exodus 20:2 would apply.

          • Alan says:

            1. Show them verses where it says that God is not a man (there are at least 3 of these verses).
            2. I would say he does not commit idol worship since he only worships Hashem.

          • Alan says:

            Deut. 4:35 Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the LORD, He is God; there is none else beside Him.

            Deut. 4:39 know this day, and lay it to thy heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else.

            So we have been told that we saw no form and we have been told not to worship another god, so if another god has form it can’t be Hashem. Or if this form says he is Hashem, then we know he is lying.

          • Alan says:

            RT,

            Deut 4:10 the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me: ‘Assemble Me the people, and I will make them hear My words that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.’

            The Torah is telling us here and in all of Deut. 4 that when Hashem revealed Himself to the people at Sinai when they heard the 10 Statements (aka the 10 commandments) Hashem told the people what they should and shouldn’t be thinking about Him when they worship and serve Him. Because He didn’t associate any images or forms with Himself at Sinai but only made them hear his “words that they may learn to fear Me.” – He was teaching them to never have any images or forms in mind when worshiping and praying to Him. In other words, the object of our devotion must never be associated with any form, physical or spiritual.

            If you have any questions, please ask!

          • RT says:

            2) I would say that he commits idolatry even if he does not worship Jesus. Jesus is still their lord, savior, redeemer, etc. and you have to pray (and put Jesus in the face of HaShem) and acknowledge him as such. I would say it is actually worst, because in the first place, they still think it is HaShem, when on the second case, they put a foreign god in the same real as HaShem.

          • Alan says:

            Oh, I didn’t understand your question. Now I do. Yes, praying to another power is not a good thing. But I’d have to let Rabbi B tell us what the status of this action is.

          • RT says:

            Thanks Alan, It is not that I don’t understand the text. What I don’t understand is how come I am the only one that seem to see it that clearly! I have been asked to reconsider my belief in Jesus and to soften my heart by some love ones. I just can’t! Unless I can understand why I should ignore Deuteronomy 4 and Exodus 20. I do not understand why Christians cannot see the text plainly. We should not be going around and see individual prophecies and bogus text in the NT. Right here, it is written clear and legibly, why are we the only one who see it. What does Paul Summer et al. do when they read those obvious verses? Just ignore it? It drives me nuts!

          • Alan says:

            RT,
            I really don’t have an explanation.
            I heard the following: ask them where is God? If they say “in my heart” then ask them if He is also in the heart of the devil. You want to get them to realize that God is everywhere. Ask them what’s in Jesus’ empty tomb? If they say nothing then tell them the God they should worship is everywhere even in the tomb. You want to get them to realize that they should not worship a finite part of creation, which is idolatry, but to only worship the God who is infinite.

          • bible819 says:

            Alan,
            Ask yourself:
            Why God came down to put his Spirit on the elders in Numbers.
            Why Moses never entered the promised land?
            Why Solomon, fell away from God.
            Why God made a promise to David and kept it after Israel fell off. His Kingdom what an everlasting kingdom.
            Is that everlasting kingdom finite or not?
            How is the Messiah a man supposed to have an everlasting Kingdom?
            Let me Answer them:

            1.God put his spirit on the elders because they (had no understanding).
            2. Moses had a lack of faith and didn’t speak to the Rock
            3.Solomon fell away because every nation around him didn’t have the Law of God.
            4.David saw Jesus in heaven at the Fathers right hand which is the everlasting kingdom.
            5.God Spirit, it is a spiritual everlasting Kingdom.
            6.The Messiah must be raised from the Dead, to have an everlasting kingdom
            7. Yeshua is the Stone you builders rejected that is Cornerstone.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          RT, it says not to make graven images, but also tells you not to serve or bow to the whole host of heaven.

          So, for example, it is improper to worship the angel that is called “the captain of the lord’s host,” because he is a member of G-d’s entourage, a member of the host.

          So, the Torah is basically saying that “if you believe G-d has a partener, ignore alleged parteners and only focus on and serve the father.”

          So, as you can read, Deiteronomy 4 is about more than a prohibition against making images.

          Its also a strong warning against giving power or prayer to any entity besides the father.

          Deuteronomy 4 is crystal freaking clear.

          Many Christians get confused by the likes of Philo of Alexandria and his logos doctrine, but Philo hinself said that only the imperfect would worship the logos, because it is a power of G-d. A servant.

          The Christian scripture even states of Jesus that his job is to hand the kingdom to the father so that G-d will be all in all. IE you have to strain even the Chrisatian texts themselves to think that the goal was praying to a messiah figure.

          Even Jews like Philo of Alexandria who developed the logos doctrine never imagined that it would be proper to pray to anyone but the father.

          As i have said, I dont blame Christians for their beliefs. I know that Judaism has produced trends like that before, but the text is clear that G-d should be the only one who is worshipped.

  10. Jamo77 says:

    ” What I don’t understand is how come I am the only one that seem to see it that clearly! I have been asked to reconsider my belief in Jesus and to soften my heart by some love ones. I just can’t! Unless I can understand why I should ignore Deuteronomy 4 and Exodus 20. I do not understand why Christians cannot see the text plainly. ”

    I am in a similar boat having left the Catholic faith. Concerned Reader having come from Orthodox church will understand the importance of Tradition. One of the things that struck me is we had our tradition but the Jews tradition had them understanding their own scriptures a certain way, God’s requirement of worship as well as their messianic expectations – all based on a plain and obvious interpretation of their own scriptures. A question becomes why would my tradition be right when the original people had been so misguided in their own tradition. For people to be sentenced to Hell for all eternity based on a types, shadows, mystical and hidden interpretation would contradict the love of God. Jesus simply isn’t in the Tanakh.

    • Concerned Reader says:

      “For people to be sentenced to Hell for all eternity based on a types, shadows, mystical and hidden interpretation would contradict the love of God.”

      Very True. Consider the fact that G-d comanded the Torah to be read to men, women, AND EVEN CHILDREN.

      If deep theological secrets, types, and shadows were G-d’s standard, why would G-d think children vould grasp scripture’s message.

      3/4 of Christians with some theological learning do not really even understand trinitarian doctrines, distinctions, etc. I didnt even really understand it until I got a degree in relevant subject matter.

      How could a just G-d (who wants even the youth to learn his cocommandments) expect you to know such deep theologu

      • bible819 says:

        The Man without the Spirit doesn’t understand.
        Moses said best:

        But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

        If you understand this passage: you could put together as to why Moses needed help.

        • Alan says:

          Bible819,
          How do you understand “I am God and not a man” in Hoshea 11:9? –
          I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in fury.

          • bible819 says:

            Alan,
            Why did Moses ask God to put his spirit on the Elders?
            Did God come down?

          • bible819 says:

            Alan,
            Another Example
            The man without the Spirt-
            “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

      • Jamo77 says:

        I think why some Christians are so adamant that Jesus is the messiah is because his threats of eternal damnation for anyone who doesn’t believe in him so strong and there doesn’t seem middle ground for any confusion. Hence it must be totally obvious he is the messiah. I rarely see them say yes it is a tricky scenario. Saying that most Christians have little idea of the Jewish beliefs around the messiah and why they don’t accept Jesus. I know the Catholics release books, cds etc on refuting everything except for Judaism. There is dynamic silence surrounding the Jewish case like they don’t want any attention brought to it.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          Their silence is infinitely prefferable to what Catholics used to put Jews through.

          People like Bible819 above want Jews to say things like

          1. G-d can impart his spirit to a group of people.
          2. G-d can take on human form
          3. G-d doesnt desire human righteousness
          4. G-d sent Jesus to die for the sins of others.

          While these ideas may be possible in Torah, (for sake of argument,) the implications of such ideas as understood by Christianity are antithetical to the Torah outlook.

          Christian tradition itself recognized what a slippery slope beliefs like these rested on. Ancient Christians unserstood the evils such beliefs could bring. They knew of the dangers via a tradition they called antichrist.

          Ancient Christians knew that in ancient times, Caesar himself was called the son of a god, (because Caesar was the son of the deified previous emperor.)

          Ancient Christians knew that in amcient Rome, pagans sacrificed to the emperor in part, to thank him for the Pax Romana, ie Roman peace. Ancient Romans thanked Caesar because his grace brought them all their daily sustenance. Quite literally, some Romans would only have food if the state threw a festival via Caesar.

          Ancient Christians knew that Caesar was called Pontifex Maximus, and that he was entrusted with the spiritual wellfare of the Roman people.

          Ancient Christians called Caesar the Anti Christ, and for good reason. NO HUMAN BEING, NO SON OF MAN SHOULD BE WORSHIPPED AS DIVINE.

          ANCIENT CHRISTIANS KNEW THE DANGERSVOF CALLING A MAN DIVINE, BUT THEY MADE EXCUSES FOR WHY IT WAS OK FOR JESUS.

          They chanted “man does not live by bread alone, but hy every word that proceeds from the mouth of G-d…EVERY WORD EXCEPT ISRAEL’S COMMANDMENTS.

          When confronted by Shabbatai Tzvi (another Jew who was declared G-d incarnate by his students,) the Christians admonished his followers saying,

          “This man’s alleged miracles prove nothing. Even demons do miracles.”

          They said, “Even if Shabbatai Tzvi rose from death we would not follow, because false messiahs can do miracles, leading astray even the elect.”

          Revelation chapter 13 highlights the kind of claims the Christian anti Christ figure makes.

          1. He is a human who wants the world to see him as G-d and he forces them to serve him.

          2. He does miracles which Christians (in this case only) say does not count for evidence.

          3. The anti Christ is healed from a deadly wound which Christians call deception.

          When Christians were confronted with Shabbatai Tzvi, Jacob Frank, Eva Frank, Rebbe Nachman, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and when some crazy students in these movements called these people Christ, or “G-d in a body,” The Church cried “you are decieved! NO MAN CAN BE G-D!”

          While the Church would call anyone from Nero Caesar to Shabbatai Tzvi a charlatan for claiming to be a miracle working god man,

          THEY ALWAYS MAKE EXCEPTIONS FOR JESUS, EVEN WHEN THEY CLAIM IN EVERY OTHER CASE THIS IS IDOLATRY!

          NEVER DO CHRISTIANS HEAR THEIR JEWISH BRETHREN WHEN THEY SCREAM:

          THESE BELIEFS ARE NEVER CONSISTENT WITH TORAH. NOT FOR SHABBATAI TZVI, NOT FOR THE REBBE, AND NOT FOR JESUS EITHER!

          IF G-d became flesh and imparted his spirit to a select group of followers, IT BREEDS A SITUATION WHERE DEUTERONOMY 4 AND 13 ARE VIOLATED IN ALL INSTANCES IT IS ALLEGED TO OCCUR.

          The Christian Bible allows for Jesus what it (and Torah) disallows FOR EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON.

          WHEN THE GENTILES TRIED TO WORSHIP PAUL AS A god IN FLESH,

          HE TORE HIS GARMENT. A JEW TEARS HIS CLOTHES FOR MOURNING AND BLASPHEMY.

          DECLARING A BEING OF FLESH DIVINE, A MEMBER OF THE HOST DIVINE, IS BLASPHEMY.

          BOTH BOOKS SAY IT LOUD AND CLEAR.

          • Dina says:

            Wow, Connie!

          • Jamo77 says:

            Thanks CR your and many other peoples writings on here healing for me.

            Interesting what you say as I have given significant thought the past few months how there are many similarities between Jesus and the Antichrist. In Christian bible and tradition the Antichrist will perform signs and wonders likely miracles as you point out, he will also be irresistible. According to the early church fathers he will have eloquence and power and it is possible Jesus had this, corroborated by the gospel if true in the part that talks about the seemingly unique authority he spoke with. People are drawn in by some of the beauty of Jesus’ words in the NT and some may find this hard but I was personally drawn in by the how the Church would speak about things such as the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person, and was almost a lone fighter against the plague of modern day abortion. This is what Rabbi B talks about Truth being hijacked by the church. Likewise Catholics will say the Antichrist won’t be someone who will have horns on his head but will come across incredibly well and will be seducing by his words.

            Anyhow due to the charisma of the Antichrist Christians believe people will be tempted to go worship him and turn away from whom they consider G-d whereas as far as my mind can decipher they are unwittingly in that exact scenario. I look at the Catholic church and how apparitions that involved miracles such as Fatima and Akita feed fervent devotion to the “Queen of Heaven” I have seen and participated firsthand in this. Yet we had little idea of Deuteronomy 13 and even if we did we would give little thought to it on a wider scale and what it really meant, miracles can be terribly deceiving for the biblical illiterate. Given the amount of confusion that can be generated by miraculous phenomena and powerful personalities it is a gift from G-d to have some clear markers to recognise true prophets and even the messiah himself.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Jamo 77 there were once Jewish followers of Jesus called Ebionites who viewed Jesus as a mortal man, born of two hunan parents.

            These people did not view him as divine, and they observed Jewish laws. The Church had them obliterated for being heretics. It makes you wonder doesn’t it?

          • RT says:

            CR, not only Ebionites. Catholics tried to get rid of everyone that did not agree with them. Think about the Huguenots. Or the Anglican persecution of Catholics and vice-versa. Or we can talk about the persecution of the Anabaptist… Anybody that did not agree with you was “from the Devil” and it was good enough to persecute him (for his own sake of repentance and avoiding hell)..

  11. Jamo77 says:

    Thank you all for your replies to my post.

    • bible819 says:

      Jamo77

      God is in heaven and his Spirit is here on earth. His word creates nothing into something.

      3 Forces that work as 1.

      Why does God need Prophets(flesh) to speak his word to sanctify Israel?

  12. Alan says:

    Bible819,
    If one is a human one, then one is fallible and even sins sometimes. And this is precisly what makes us so lovable to Hashem. Only Hashem is infallible and sinless. On some level, He must envy mankind for our imperfectness. A perfect infallible “man” cannot be loved by Hashem. By definition such a “man” is not a human being. If your god is 100 percent man as well as 100 god, He is not very lovable. But the Torah says that if someone is a real Man then by definition he is not also God.

    • bible819 says:

      Alan,

      You avoided the questions asked.I don’t fault you though.
      * Christians know We have the Holy Spirit that was on David, paid by Davids Seed.
      * If the elders had no understanding, and only Moses had it:
      Do you have the Holy Spirit Alan?

      • Alan says:

        I answered your questions the way I thought they should be answered.

        I have Hashem close to me whenever I call to Him sincerely. I have the Holy shabbos. I have the Holy tongue. I have the Holy covenant. And Hashem’s holy presence rests on my people. I especially feel it and see it on the Holy days.

        • bible819 says:

          Alan, so then you are a prophet that Moses requested at Kibroth Hattaavah?

          Christian know we have the Spirit that Moses request at Kibroth Hattaavah.

          • Alan says:

            Bible819,
            It doesn’t bother me that you believe you have the holy spirit as long as you don’t try to force your belief on me.

          • Dina says:

            Alan, the best Bibs can do with his belief that Christians have the holy spirit and Jews don’t is rely on his own assertions. He cannot prove it. Therefore, this business of the holy spirit is neither here nor there.

            The sad thing is, though, that this belief prevents him from taking Jews’ arguments seriously. Why seriously consider the arguments of those who lack the holy spirit when he is filled with it and knows the truth? (And he believes he is a prophet to boot!)

          • bible819 says:

            Alan,
            Do you believe the Everlasting Kingdom to be finite or nonfinite?

          • Alan says:

            Bible819,
            I am really uncomfortable having these conversations because I you make me feel that you are only on this blog to try to convert me and not to try to understand the Jewish perspective the least bit. This is how you make me feel.

          • Dina says:

            Alan, OF COURSE that is the reason he is here. He is only interested in preaching and doesn’t listen to a word anyone says (I mean really listen, with an open heart and mind, with compassion and understanding). Rather like Paul Summers. And a lot of others. Deep, deep sigh.

          • Alan says:

            Thanks Dina. It’s great to see you back! I have also been missing Jim.

          • Dina says:

            Thank you, Alan! I have been wildly busy the last couple of weeks.

          • Alan says:

            May Hashem bless you and your family with much nachas and success.

          • Dina says:

            Thank you and same to you! 🙂

          • bible819 says:

            Dina,
            Do you have the Holy Spirt that Moses requested at Kibroth Hattaavah?

          • Dina says:

            I have to look up the relevant text, but I consider that a personal question. I also think it is the height of arrogance to proclaim to all and sundry that you are filled with the holy spirit. What happened to “walk humbly with God”? Furthermore, it has zero relevance to the quest of truth seeking.

            Nowhere does the Torah say that to discover the truth one must be filled with the holy spirit.

            Christians don’t have a monopoly on God, nor do they have a monopoly on the truth. In more ways than one.

          • bible819 says:

            Dina,

            The Holy Spirit is the 1st thing we are promised for Faith in Yeshua, (Baptism of the Holy Spirit). Not the water on the body but also a clear conscious towards God

            Yeshua said, The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you

            Do you disagree that the Holy Spirt teaches and reminds you of everything God tells you?

            Besides Moses Defined those with the Holy Spirit As Prophets.No arrogance.
            God is Spirit.

          • Dina says:

            I don’t like talking to you because you preach and don’t listen, so I am responding for the sake of the audience. I will keep this up for as long as I can stomach it.

            It is one thing for Moses to call someone a prophet. It is quite another for you to claim that title for yourself. It is an assertion you cannot prove, nor is it relevant. If you claim to be a prophet but you contradict the Torah (worshiping a man as God, for instance), then you are a false prophet as per Deuteronomy 13. Also, per Deuteronomy 18, I cannot take your word for it but must ask you for a sign. If that sign does not come to pass, then you will be proved a false prophet. So, what sign will you give me, prophet claimant?

            God gave us the Torah to teach us and remind us of what God wants from us. We need nothing more than that. Do you disagree? If so, show me the verses from the Torah that say that only prophets can serve God.

          • bible819 says:

            Dina,
            You failed to read Numbers to receive guidance from what I said.
            Read Numbers, as you said you would.

          • Dina says:

            Bibs, you failed to respond to my arguments altogether. I don’t receive guidance from you. Where did you ever get the idea that it’s your job to be my guide?

            I have not had time this week to examine the relevant text. However, it bears no relevance to the quest for truth, as I argued previously.

          • bible819 says:

            Dina,
            The only Truth is the Word of God.

          • Dina says:

            Then maybe you should study God’s words.

          • Dina says:

            Instead of preaching to us. You might find it instructive.

          • bible819 says:

            Dina,
            Provide Scripture.

          • Dina says:

            Bibs, get out your Bible and start reading from Genesis until the last book of the Hebrew Bible. It’s the word of God. You might find it edifying.

  13. Jamo77 says:

    bible819 

    “Jamo77

    God is in heaven and his Spirit is here on earth. His word creates nothing into something.

    3 Forces that work as 1.

    Why does God need Prophets(flesh) to speak his word to sanctify Israel?”

    Bible819 I hope I understand the context of your question.

    There needs to be clarity. If there is a triune God and if he was going to become flesh then that should be a repeated theme throughout the Hebrew bible just like the warnings and punishments for idolatry and also in light of that. Also given the gravity of eternal Hell for those who don’t believe. The difficulty with praying for the “spirit” is that many earnestly do but come to very different conclusions/beliefs from one another.

    At one stage I was part of Anthroposophical spirituality – the leader a brilliant but out there guy by the name of Rudolf Steiner gave techniques for people to know spiritual worlds. Theoretically everyone who earnestly practises these techniques should come to know the same stuff – however once he died there was later on so much disagreement amongst members of that movement on a variety of issues. I see a similar thing with Christianity and those who pray for the spirit. The Catholic Church somewhat more successful with its dogmas and magisterium which has kept a straight jacket on things and somewhat prevents things moving away in different directions.

    • bible819 says:

      Jamo77

      “There needs to be clarity. If there is a triune God and if he was going to become flesh then that should be a repeated theme throughout the Hebrew bible just like the warnings and punishments for idolatry and also in light of that.”

      Based on your reading of the Old Testament:
      Is God in Heaven but his Spirit is here on earth?
      Evidence:
      “Then I will (come down) and speak with you there, and (I will take of the Spirit who is upon you), and will (put)Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you,
      Evidence:
      Then the (LORD came down in the cloud) and spoke to him; and (He took of the Spirit who was upon him) and (placed Him upon the seventy elders). And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.
      Based on Evidence:
      God lives in heaven
      but His spirit lives here on earth.
      To distribute His Spirit he must come down and put it on people.
      Do you Agree?
      Try to stay within the scripture. I will not give you my opinions.

  14. Eleazar says:

    Nowhere does the Jewish Bible ever refer to God’s spirit as a separate person from God. Everywhere Bibs referred to God;s spirit using “he” or “:him”, Bibs is making it up. Even 99% of the Christian translations use “it”, not a personal pronoun. His claim to be using the
    “NIV backed with the JPS” is a flat bald-faced lie.

    JPS Tanakh 1917
    And the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and put it upon the seventy elders; and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, but they did so no more.

    New International Version
    Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied–but did not do so again.

    JPS Tanakh 1917
    And I will come down and speak with thee there; and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.

    New Living Translation
    I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.

    Bibs made up his own translation using personal pronouns for the spirit of God. He should be ashamed of himself.

    • Eleazar says:

      Excuse me, I put the NLT, not the NIV version. Here is the NIV. Still no difference.

      New International Version
      I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put IT on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

      • Alan says:

        Also notice that the Jewish translations do not capitalize “spirit” like the Christian versions do. This ru’ah (spirit) is not God.

    • bible819 says:

      1.And the LORD came down in the cloud,-Then the LORD came down in the cloud
      2. he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him(Moses)- I will take of the spirit which is upon thee,

      Eleazar, thanks for the scripture.
      1.God does come down,
      2.takes the spirit that is on Moses, and puts it on the elders.

      1.God in heaven
      2.Spirit on earth on Moses.
      You are blind.

      • bible819 says:

        When God Speaks to Moses and when God goes up: does the Spirit of God Leave Moses?
        NO.
        But God does go up.

        • Alan says:

          “God going up” is a metaphor for concealment. He is always everywhere. It’s a spirit from God or a Godly spirit in the sense that it reveals Godliness.

      • Eleazar says:

        I’m a Jew, you’re a Christian, so I must be blind. That is the only argument you have.

        Even Christians believe God is omnipresent. That is considered one of the qualities of absolute deity.

  15. bible819 says:

    Point being:
    God Can come down to earth where his Spirit resides.
    He can distribute his Spirit to others.
    God and His Spirit Live in two different places.
    1Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

    • Alan says:

      God is omnipresent and omniscient. When it says “He comes down” or “goes up” these are metaphors. Physical space and time do not apply to God. The spirit is not God. It is the spirit/ power of prophecy – to be able to be a prophet one needs a different mindset or spirit-set. You’re not listening to me anyway. I am wasting my time.

    • Dina says:

      Bibs, you want to talk about spirit? Here’s some Scripture for you ponder:

      Isaiah 59:21:

      “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My spirit, which is upon you and My words that I have placed in your mouth, shall not move from your mouth or from the mouth of your seed and from the mouth of your seed’s seed,” said the Lord, “from now and to eternity.”

      God promises in this verse that His spirit and His word will be with us forever.

      Who’s blind now?

    • LarryB says:

      You wrote
      “11 Do not cast me from your presence
      or take your Holy Spirit from me.”
      Let’s add some more
      12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
      and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
      13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
      so that sinners will turn back to you.
      Bible 819
      I wonder If the authors of psalms would teach you jesus is God? Or would they tell you that’s idolatry.

      • Alan says:

        Larry,

        Psalm 146 –

        3 Put not your trust in benefactors, nor in a son of man because he has no saving power.

        • LarryB says:

          Alan
          And what was jesus favorite designation of himself? “Son of man”.

        • Alan says:

          I just want to correct my translation. There is no word “nor” in the verse. The verse should be –

          3 Put not your trust in benefactors, in a son of man because he has no saving power.

    • KAVI says:

      Bible819,
      I think you are stretching the P’shat meaning well beyond what G-d intended– an Echad G-d does not “live” in two different places.

      Although it may seem from mankind’s perspective that G-d “visits” and “leaves” us in all sorts of diverse manners– from G-d’s perspective, nothing is hidden from His eyes nor can anyone flee from His presence.
      ____________________________

  16. Concerned Reader says:

    Bible819, I already provided a thorough answer for you on this entire question of whether or not G-d can come down, or bestow his spirit. I even used your terms, and citations from Christianity’s own scripture to show you why (even if G-d could come down or bestow a spirit,) it does not change the way Israel is told to serve G-d.

    Now either you can’t read, won’t respond to us, or we are all blind and you worship your deity of one .

    I personally don’t care if you have the Christian holy spirit, because that spirit is proven through the history of every Church not to produce the effects it claims to produce. Sorry buddy, them’s just historical facts.

    You yourself already admitted that every mainline Christian group has heretical views, IE they are not lead by the spirit of truth.

    Your book claims that the commandments are what defines what sin is. Ergo, if Jews are saying no to you based on the commands G-d gave them, that should at least give you pause.

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