As a Jew – I am in a covenantal relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth. He calls Himself the “God of Israel” and he calls us “My nation”. The most foundational element of my relationship with God demands that I do not submit myself to anyone in the way I submit myself to Him. When God sealed this covenant with us, He made it very clear to us that such an act of submission/worship of any other entity aside from Himself would be the deepest violation of our covenant with Him. He also made it clear to us – how we are to identify Him in worship – and how we are not to identify Him in worship. He did all this before He gave us the first page of Scripture.
Let us stop right there for a minute – after Sinai, and before we read the first page of Scripture.
How would we look at a claim such as the one you present about Yeshua? There is no question we would identify the worship/submission that you are encouraging as the very act that God defined as the deepest violation of our covenantal relationship. There would be no way that we could look at it any differently.
Now let us take the book. But before we open it – let us remember that it was given to us in the context of the covenantal relationship that already tied us to God. It was given to us AFTER God already made clear to us who and how He wants us to worship. Let us now jump ahead to the “ancient of days” mentioned in Daniel 7. Let us note that this passage is not being presented as a teaching on the nature of God (as is Isaiah 40:18) and it is not being presented as a teaching on how we are to direct our worship (as was the revelation at Sinai). This being the case – we understand that the physical description of God is being used as a metaphor to help us understand God’s interaction with mankind that is being presented there. The Scriptures use such metaphors for entities other than God. In Psalm 98:8 – the rivers are described as “clapping their hands”. Am I to assume that the rivers have hands? As clearly as I know that the rivers don’t have literal hands – I know just as clearly that the God that I am bound to in a covenantal relationship has no form.
There is no way I can read Daniel 7 (or Genesis 18, Exodus 24, Isaiah 9) as a directive to go and do what God Himself explicitly and directly taught me not to do.
Let me take this one step further. I am advocating that you read the Jewish Bible in the covenantal context that God placed it. If you would read the book in its proper context – you would never dream of justifying the worship you are advocating. But even if we put the Sinai covenant aside (for argument’s sake) – you still would not see your worship in this book unless you approached it with an affinity for Jesus.
Before Jesus came to the world – no one ever claimed that the Jewish Scriptures advocate worship of a divine Messiah. Even the apostles who lived with Jesus and heard him teach for three years didn’t see this concept in the Jewish Scriptures. They saw Jesus’ death as a contradiction to the belief that he was the Jewish Messiah – not as a confirmation.
So let’s recap – God made it clear who it is that we are to worship. Everyone who read the Scriptures before Jesus came along – had no questions about this matter. So are we to overturn the understanding that God made abundantly clear – on the basis of an interpretation that no-one saw in the text until 1) they had already committed their hearts to Jesus, 2) the facts of Jesus’ suffering and death left them with no choice but to reinterpret the Scriptures in a way that they could still maintain their devotion.
Why is it that of all the texts that you use to justify the worship that you are advocating – not one of them has God put His finger on it and say – here – look here in order to learn how to direct your devotion – not one! Yet when we focus on those texts where the Divine Author clearly pointed and said – here is where I present a teaching on worship – the perception that we were taught at Sinai is only confirmed and reconfirmed?
One more question. Again – the perception we were taught at Sinai would have us identify the worship you are advocating as idolatry. You are arguing that we modify our perception of reality that God taught us at Sinai – on the basis of your interpretation of Scripture. Now there are certain passages in Scripture that are very clear and direct. They teach us to keep the Sabbath, to observe the festivals, and to abstain from certain foods. I don’t see you (and I don’t mean you personally – I am talking about the general attitude of followers of Jesus towards God’s holy Law) taking any of these clear and open commandments seriously. So how can I believe that it is your loyalty and submission to this book that has you advocating the worship that you advocate? How do you expect me to take your argument seriously? It should be obvious to you as it is obvious to me that it is your devotion to Jesus that is producing your interpretation of Scripture and that it is not your interpretation of Scripture that is producing your devotion to Jesus.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal