A Letter and a Video

It  started when I watched Rabbi Tovia Singer’s video: ”Are Christians Going to Hell ? Rabbi Tovia Singer explores the Toxic Doctrine of the Trinity” around two weeks ago. In all my years of watching , listening and reading articles on polemics against the Trinity , this video troubled me the most. He stated twice that those who know the truth yet still reject it has “no place in the world to come”.

Rabbi Tovia challenged Trinitarians to read Isaiah 41 to 48 to see if Isaiah was really talking about the Trinity in these passages, which I did.
True enough, these passages did not speak of the Trinity at all. The other surprising thing that came to mind  is how G-d , like a loving parent /husband , rebukes Israel as being “blind and deaf”(Chapter 42) , yet comforts her and declare her to be a witness and a light to the nations. This cycle of rebuking and comforting messages continued as I read along these passages.

I was particularly stunned upon coming across this verse:
Isaiah 45: 18-19: “I am the LORD, there is no other.   I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere   in a land of darkness;   I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,   ‘Seek me in vain’.    I, the Lord,speak the truth;    I declare what is right.”
This is because , despite everything that I’ve learnt these few months , the contempt and prejudice that I have towards the Jewish people is still there and it shows in the disbelief that I have when reading these passages with your people in mind instead of Jesus , and also in my previous e-mails to you. This verse , to me , repudiates the claims of the New Testament writers and Church Fathers that your people are in lost/in error –it is we , the Gentiles/Nations/Christians who are in error.
Also, I can’t help but to tie the issue I have with the Trinity and the Jewish people as witnesses to the truth.

I have had doubts on the Trinity and the idolatrous practices of my faith for many years.
Listening  to these and other anti Christian polemics from a Jewish counter missionary is more lethal and “deadly” than listening to it from a Muslim missionary. I have never learnt so much and being  troubled so much in my life.

Perhaps it’s because Christianity started as a sect within Judaism .I have always viewed Christianity as an enhancement to Judaism-sort of like a product enhancement where the core design is not fundamentally changed  -never as a separate religion that Marcion advocated. There should be cohesive storyline from the Jewish Bible to the New Testament.

Another reason is because the message of antisemitism in New Testament really brings the polemics against Christianity to a whole new level for me. The most troubling aspect is seeing Jesus , a Jew from the eyes of fellow Jews-did Jesus uphold the Torah and its teachings or did he came to establish a new religion . I see conflicting messages ,on one hand yes , on the other hand no. Perhaps the most convincing answer is that he did come to establish a new belief-which is what I gather from my readings and following your blog.

I also observed the interactions in the blog-those who revere Jesus (including me) will have contempt for the Jewish people ,irrespective of whether they’re Trinitarian or Unitarian .I see it in Dr Michael Brown’s opening lines ,I see it in CP,I see it in me. One have to choose -it cannot be both.

Rabbi Tovia asked a question-do Christians believe deep down that Jesus is equal to the Father -to me ,the answer is NO. I never have and can never bring myself to equate Jesus with the Father, no matter how much I look up to him.

Yet-there is a tug of war within -to believe Jesus ,the Jew or to believe the Jewish people ?If I hold on to the belief that God is One and that He has no equals ,then I have to believe in the  testimony of the Jewish people.

I was searching for some videos to learn more about the prophecies in Isaiah and came across a very short excerpt by none other than Rabbi Tovia on Isaiah 53 . The opening line -where the nations are astonished really echoes the shock I’m feeling . Looking back ,it seems that  Isaiah 53 is describing my journey as a Gentile of learning and the knowledge and insight I’ve received from the Jewish people -“by his knowledge my servant will justify many”.

If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=FEAQ55Y7MR3E6

Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.

Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to A Letter and a Video

  1. tildeb says:

    I’m a little confused. Is this post really a letter to you or your current thinking?

  2. Concerned Reader says:

    “Do they (trinitarians) really believe Jesus is equal to the father?” In short, no because Jesus is always viewed as subject to hashem’s will as an obiedient son who will hand the kingdom over to hashem.

    I would really like to answer rabbi Singer’s question to the best of my knowledge of trinitarian doctrine. Though I was not raised with it, I know it moderately.

    I think we should 1st define what ideas orthodox Christians were opposed to, because this is essential to understanding why such a confusing doctrine exists at all.

    1. Many Christians like the Ebionites viewed Jesus as a plain human being. That said, some of these same people believed he did miracles and rose from the dead, but When he rose, he was given the title Son of god.

    In the Roman empire Caesar was also called son of a god, (being the son of the previously deified emperor.) If a Christian called Jesus Son of god, but he meant it in the way or sense that a Roman would speak about a deified emperor, the Church called that idolatry and heresy and wanted Christians to avoid that.

    2. Some second temple texts treated righteous people like Enoch, Jacob, and Moses, as men who had been transformed into angels, who had served as mouthpieces to their generation. In certain texts, an angel might speak hashem’s words like a megaphone or sock puppet, where it isnt clear whether it is hashem or an angel speaking. (See Philo’s doctrine of the logos) Some Christians viewed Jesus as the “angel of great council,” an idea that is roughly akin to the notion of the angel Metatron in later Jewish tradition. The Rabbis, as well as the Church had to deal with the problem of people worshiping angels. Some Christians worshiped Jesus as an angel, and the traditional Church regards that as Idolatry.

    A third group called gnostics believed that Jesus represented a second deity altogether who was meant to free us from the deity of the Tanakh. They believed Jesus was the only deity in his own right. These people repudiated hashem and the Torah, and regarded both as deminic. THE CHURCH LIKEWISE DECLARES THIS IDOLATRY.

    As rabbi Singer said, there have always been Christian sects. So, the trinity was an attempt by Christian theologians to reconcile so many differing opinions. You werent allowed to worship Jesus as a human, as an angel, or as a second G-d. So the trinity tried to explain a paradox.

    They came up with the idea that there was only one infinite thing/being called G-d. But G-d could manifest in 3 persons. The word “person” is not ever meant to be understood literally as in 3 bodies, but philisophically, in terms of personality or intelligable attributes.

    For example, G-d in the Tanakh is described as “I will be that I will be,” and as the one who humans cannot ever see and live. The NT even likewise says “no man has seen G-d at any time.” This description is what Christians call the “person” of the father. The “person” of the father is roughly analogous to Ein Sof in Kabbalah. Why is it called a distinct person? Because it is a mutually exclusive description of G-d’s attributes as unseen, and ineffible.

    At the same time that scripture says G-d is never seen, it says that through wisdom he makes himself known/is percieved. Every time a prophet “sees” G-d in a vision, he is percieving the divine wisdom, which Christians call the logos/son. When Ezekiel, Isaiah, Moses, or the people Israel etc. Describe “seeing” G-d, Christians understand that prophetic vision as being of the “son.” A vision of the Son, called a beatific vision is the maximum level that a human can percieve of G-d. The New Testament calls the “son” the “reflection” of the father. It is considered a “second person” because it again is a mutually exclusive description of divine attributes. G-d exists as “father” (who cannot ever be seen,) and as “son” the vision of G-d that the prophets “see.”

    The “holy spirit” is roughly equivalent to the spirit of prophecy, ie it is how G-d interacts via visions, his manifestation in the Temple, and the miracles in the world.

    In trinitarian terms therefore, there is only one G-d, and one will of G-d. “Persons” denotes description of Mutually exclusive attributes. G-d is unseen and beyond all (father) perceptible via human visions (son) and interacts with the world (spirit.)

    These are mutually exclusive descriptions, so they are called distinct “persons.” IE there is only a 3 because there are 3 mutually exclusive descriptions.

    So, why is Jesus called god incarnate? Because, to a Christian, Jesus’ words, deeds, sayings, personality, and the actions/tale of his life and death and ressurection typify the wisdom of G-d (logos) in their belief. Because they believe him to be the ressurected messiah, they believe he is what Adam Ha Rishon should have been, ie a person whose will was totally subsurvient to G-d, who could literally “sense” G-dliness in everything as if G-d was not concealed from him at all. They call him the heavenly Adam, also the second Adam. IE what Jews would call Adam Kadmon Christians call Logos, son, Jesus, wisdom, etc.

    Incarnation in Christian theology does not mean that G-d is corporeal. G-d is a spirit joined to a human nature. IE the disciples allegedly believed that when they were interacting with Jesus, it was as though they were interacting with something like the burning bush.

    Just as the bush was not physically G-d, but the voice emanating from it was G-d’sb eternal voice, Jesus was not physically G-d but his voice was G-d’s eternal voice. Ideally, you would never focus on the bush itself as being anything special, merely on the message emanating from it. Maintaining the distinction between the bush and the voice, or in Jesus’ case, his body and the logos is what Christians call the hypostatic union.

    A trinitarian is only considered orthodox if he keeps all those distinctions in mind.

    FYI I know that none of this makes sense, that is why it is called the mystery of the trinity. If you are confused, welcome to Christology.

    • Eleazar says:

      CR, your long post is pretty much limited to what less than 1% of Christians know , or care, about the trinity. There is Christian orthodoxy that applies to 90% of professed Christians, and this orthodoxy requires belief in Jesus as uncreated, fully God, fully equal with the Father IN EVERY WAY. Anything else is considered heresy and defines a movement as a non-Christian cult. Even denominations that began as Unitarian (WWCoG, SDA, Etc)switched over time and made belief in the trinity, as defined by the Athanasian Creed, a test of fellowship and a tenet of true Christian faith.

      To accept other sect’s views as representing Christianity is to give the extreme recent minority equal voice with the vast historical majority. That is why I say that most “Christians” who come here to debate are not even Christians, but belong to off-shoot sects who deny the basic doctrines of the Christian faith.

      Your post WAY overthinks the issue. The trinity is a theological and apologetic NECESSITY for Christianity. If Jesus is not “fully God”, then Christians have only a human sacrifice, making it a pagan religion. If Jesus is not “fully God” then there is no authority for his changing of the law or his putting his own views on equal or greater standing with Torah. If Jesus was not “fully God” then his deceitful words and violent actions were those of a sinner in need of repentance, not a divine being who is above and defines the law according to his own will. If Jesus was not “fully God” Sunday sunrise worship and Easter observance are the height of blasphemy and idolatry. In other words, if Jesus is not “fully God” and fully equal with the Father, then Christianity is not only false, but completely idolatrous. People like CP will eventually come to this understanding as I did.

      The church knows all of this, and THAT is why the trinity doctrine exists. It was not formulated to bind the ties and heal the wounds of various christological opinions.On the contrary, Rome went to war over this doctrine with Arians, including Constantine’s own brother. ABSOLUTE equality ( “Like-substance” VS “same substance”, “Eternal generation vs literally begotten”) were the ONLY issues they warred over. The trinity was formulated because without it, Jesus and Christianity have nothing to offer that paganism was not already offering for thousands of years.
      I have personal emails from PhD theologians who admit just that, and stop trying to justify the trinity on a Biblical basis, but on a religiously philosophical and apologetic necessity basis ( that is, once the biblical arguments have been exhausted and refuted).

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Your post WAY overthinks the issue. The trinity is a theological and apologetic NECESSITY for Christianity. If Jesus is not “fully God”, then Christians have only a human sacrifice, making it a pagan religion.

        My post is not over thinking it, its drscribing what I know from orthodox Christian sources.

        • LarryB says:

          CR
          Other than college education, what is your real life experience with the things you and Eleazar are discussing. His real life experience, thought he has vastly more that me, matches with what I know. I enjoy what you write but always end up agreeing with him because it matches my experiences. And please, I’m not saying a college back ground isn’t important.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        When you say “same substance” you are talking about the essence of G-d, not Jesus’ role relating to the father.

        What does every trinitarian learn? The father is not the son, the son is not the father.” If the Church believed that Jesus was “one with G-d in every way,” as you say, then oneness pentacostals, monarchians, and monophysites would not be considered heretics by every orthodox and Catholic Church.

        Unity with G-d “in every way” refers to the Christian belief that there is only one divine essence/being. The persons however have clearly defined distinct roles with functional subordination in mind in each.

        Just stating that “I’m over thinking” is not true. You can find literally everything I said in orthodox sources.

        • Eleazar says:

          Can you please show where I said ““one with G-d in every way,” ? I said equal to the Father in every way ( I should have added “by nature”). Yes, Modalists are considered heretics, but only because they believe Jesus and the Father are the same person, not because they believe Jesus was fully equal to the Father. Trinitarianism DOES teach that Jesus is not the Father, who is not the HS,etc., but as you mentioned, they DO believe they are “ONE IN BEING” (Nicene Creed), not separate beings ( tritheism- true Arianism, LDS, 1890s-1980s SDA, some early Protestantism).

          The reason I said you are overthinking is because “ONE IN BEING” trinitarianism is the standard by which one’s Christian faith has been judged from 325 CE to present day, and the various offshoots are not considered Christians in the proper sense, but heretics. Its like discussing the Presidential election and devoting as much of the discussion to Jill Stein’s political views and policies as to Hillary Clinton’s or Donald Trump’s.

          Here is the truth of the matter: If one does not pray to Jesus as a completely co-equal divine entity who is “ONE IN BEING” with the Father. If one thinks “God and Jesus” are two different entities or that Jesus is BY NATURE subordinate or inferior in ANY WAY to the Father ( Jesus’ TEMPORARY subordination according to trinitarianism was a willing, chosen, subordination ONLY for the purpose of incarnation, not by nature), then one is NOT trinitarian and is NOT a Christian, but a cultist. And that covers over 90% of professed believers’ denominations.

          • “Yes, Modalists are considered heretics, but only because they believe Jesus and the Father are the same person, not because they believe Jesus was fully equal to the Father”

            they believe the same person exists in 3 different ways
            trinitarian polytheists believe that each person is fully conscious of the other and each has ROLES the other does not. the “make up” that makes the father, the father, IS NOT the “make up” which makes, the son, the son. the father has no ACCESS to the thing which makes the son, the son, otherwise the father would be the son.
            yhwh = shared thing
            each person is a SINGULAR CONSCIOUS echad

            living inside a “one being”

            yes, trinitarian polythiests worship their god aS A company

          • “If one does not pray to Jesus as a completely co-equal divine entity who is “ONE IN BEING” with the Father. If one thinks “God and Jesus” are two different entities or that Jesus is BY NATURE subordinate or inferior in ANY WAY to the Father ( Jesus’ TEMPORARY subordination according to trinitarianism was a willing, chosen, subordination ONLY for the purpose of incarnation, not by nature), then one is NOT trinitarian and is NOT a Christian, but a cultist. And that covers over 90% of professed believers’ denominations.”

            it (each person) is FULLY conscious and HAS FULL ACCESS to the “one divine being”

            please tell me on what earth this is NOT POLYTHIESTIC language.

            “yhwh” is just a WHAT which is shared thing .

        • cr , i have a few questions for you.

          are things which are different MORE than one?
          do you see different things as ONE thing?
          how is the SELF of god fully father, son and ghost? but this would be MODALISTIC thinking, trinitarians BELIEVE in 3 SEPARATE selves.

    • “The word “person” is not ever meant to be understood literally as in 3 bodies, but philisophically, in terms of personality or intelligable attributes.”

      is the father fully conscious of the son and knows that what makes him up is distinct and different from makes up the son ?

      is the son “intelligible attributes”
      are each persons in the trinity attributes ?

      did intelligible attributes become non-intelligable attributes in the incarnation?

    • in trinity do each persons talk to each other and do action verbs for the other ?
      for example
      jesus says that he is commanded on what to say and what to do
      my question is

      how is one divine being producing conscious beings which get commanded and command?

    • “Incarnation in Christian theology does not mean that G-d is corporeal. G-d is a spirit joined to a human nature. IE the disciples allegedly believed that when they were interacting with Jesus, it was as though they were interacting with something like the burning bush.”

      is jesus “joined flesh”
      and not “god on earth” ?

      so “the logos” did not become united with “jesus the flesh” ?
      did the invisible logos BECOME anything ?
      did the invisible logos FORM out of its invisible NATURE anything?

  3. Theophilus says:

    Totally understandable to be concerned. To come to better understanding, maybe read Genesis and Revelation a few times, but more importantly, pray to Abba for Truth.

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    –John 14:16

    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
    — Matthew 28: 18-20

    “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father
    will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring
    to your remembrance all the things that I have said unto you.”
    —John 14:25-26

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

    6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

    9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
    –John 1: 1-14 (John1:14 …”And the Word was made flesh” is the key verse because in John 1:1, it says the Word was God.)

    In Salvation:
    1. We are justified in Christ Jesus, who died on the cross
    to deliver us from the penalty of sin.
    2. We are being sanctified by cultivating the fruit of the
    indwelling Holy Spirit to deliver us from the power of sin.
    3. We will be glorified by our Father, who will replace
    our mortal, fleshly, corruptible body with immortal, incorruptible
    holiness and deliver us from the presence of sin.

    Blessings!

    • Eleazar says:

      ” To come to better understanding, maybe read Genesis and Revelation a few times.”

      Why don’t you start by telling us why we should accept the New Testament as God’s word? Quoting the NT to a Jew is like quoting the Book of Mormon to a Catholic or quoting The Great Controversy to a Presbyterian.

      “…but more importantly, pray to Abba for Truth.”

      So since millions of Christians pray for truth daily and they all get a different answer, how are we to know if we are receiving a true answer if we pray for this truth? What if I pray for truth and God tells me Jesus was a false prophet and Christianity is evil?

      • Theophilus says:

        Clearly that answer is non-scriptural, so you probably aren’t hearing God’s voice but another voice.

        The problem can be that of hearing some other voice… or a problem of interpretation, which goes back to not hearing God’s voice. Circular, I know, but when you hear God’s voice and test it — it is always scriptural and things fall into place in an incredible way.

        I think the problem may be more fundamental — based on the example that you have used. Unless you believe in the veracity of the entire bible, it’s difficult to having a start point of meaningful discussion. When you read the old testament, Christ Jesus is foretold throughout. There is a great revival occuring among Messianic Jews who have found Jesus Christ in the old testament. I’m sure you’ve read Isaiah 50:6, all of Isaiah 53, Psalm 22:16-18, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Zechariah 9:9 etc…

        By the way – I am a sabbath keeping, feast observant Christian who is not a 7th day adventist. Why? Because it’s entirely scriptural. The corporate church is seriously compromised, but the Body of Christ, as well as Messianic Jews, are seeking and finding truth.

        Blessings to you…be patient and wait for the Lord. He will reveal truth if you submit yourself — your will to Him. It’s a process. It requires faith and love.

        • Eleazar says:

          “The problem can be that of hearing some other voice… or a problem of interpretation, which goes back to not hearing God’s voice. Circular, I know, but when you hear God’s voice and test it — it is always scriptural and things fall into place in an incredible way.”

          Correct, it is circular. To you, the ONLY people who understand the Bible and hear God’s voice clearly will be those who already agree with you. In other words, we could show you exactly where you err in your understanding of scripture and it would not matter “because we don’t have the holy spirit”. Or I could tell you that God spoke to me and said the trinity is false and you would say “but the New Testament says”. I could both show the scriptures AND tell you I heard God and you would still insist I am wrong “because the devil is controlling” me.

          You mentioned the messianics. Glad you brought that up. Are you aware that a great many messianics are anti-trinitarian? Therefore we can consider them a wash in this discussion, since we agree that only trinitarians are real Christians. And ONLY trinitarians hear God’s voice and understand the Bible. Answer me this. Do Sunday-keepers , the vast majority of Christians, hear God’s voice? Or does He ignore their prayers and leave them in their state of lawlessness on purpose?

          • Theophilus says:

            I’m not quite clear on the concerns that you have because I’m not sure where you stand. Maybe you can bullet point what you do believe, so there is a start point for meaningful discussion. Our roles, however, are not to convince each other, but to plant seeds for further growth and understanding — in patience, love, kindness.

            Do you have specific doctrinal issues? The trinity is a common one for many people, Christians and non-Christians alike.

            If we go back to all that Jesus taught and we are obedient to the Lord, the doctrinal issues cannot stop us from respecting and loving each other.

            In faith…

    • Jim says:

      Theophilus,

      You write that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin. I am afraid that this teaching is inconsonant with Torah. No one need die for your or my sin. Indeed, no one can, not Jesus and not anyone else. God’s mercy is much greater than this, not demanding the death of the innocent on behalf of the guilty.

      If it is not too presumptuous, I would invite you to study Ezekiel chapters 18 and 33. Ezekiel emphasizes: “The person who sins shall die” (18:20). This is in contrast to the idea that someone dies due to the sin of another.

      Ezekiel also writes that the sinner need not die:

      “But if the wicked turn away from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die. None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done that shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:21-23).

      Note that the sinner is not delivered by the death of another substituted for his own death. If God does not desire the death of the wicked, how much less does he desire the death of the righteous? The wicked is delivered by abandoning his previous ways and doing rightly.

      I know, of course, that what I have written here is not in accord with the New Testament. But then, the NT, in affirming the truth of Tanach, must align with Tanach, and on this point and others it does not. The NT has invented a system of atonement at odds with that of Tanach. Jesus did not need to die for you. All you ever needed to do was repent and observe whatever parts of God’s Torah apply to you.

      Jim

      • Theophilus says:

        How do you reconcile and explain the animal sacrifices in the OT?

        How do you reconcile the many verses in the OT that foretell the coming of Messiah – Christ Jesus — please see my response on another comment re: the same post

        By the way, like I said, I am a sabbath keeping, feast observant Christian (not a 7th day adventist) because it is entirely scriptural. I cannot deny that the corporate church, originating with the RCC is compromised.

        I believe that the entire bible is the inerrant Word of God. The new testament was written by Jewish men and Jesus Christ was Jewish.

        Shalom and Blessings to you….

        • Eleazar says:

          Did you USED to be a 7th Day Adventist? Or WWCoG? Who do you fellowship with? Where do you attend church?

          • Theophilus says:

            I was never a 7th day adventist. I was originally a non-practicing Catholic and I was “born again” in later life and became baptized in water and the Holy Spirit. The entire bible (OT and NT) directs my belief – not man’s doctrine or corporate churches. Once I started reading and studying all of the bible, I had to change many “Christian” ways…now I keep the sabbath, because nowhere in the NT did the Lord say, don’t commit adultery or fornicate or worship idols, but you can go ahead and drop the sabbath. Nope. The sabbath is a holy, blessed, sanctified day of rest that God takes pretty seriously.

            I am also feast obedient and I don’t recognize the pagan holidays of Easter and Christmas — they’re not anywhere in the bible!! I believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that he will come back — and quite soon too.

            Blessings to you!

          • bible819 says:

            Hello My brother in Christ (Theophilus),
            How do you Read this Passage of the (Bible)
            Numbers 11:25
            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.
            God and his Spirit Are (1) correct?

            Apparently God can come (down) and (Grab) his Spirit and put it on multiple (70)people.

        • “How do you reconcile and explain the animal sacrifices in the OT?”

          1. where does ot say that god needs jesus as a sacrificed item before he forgives sins ? where does god say that he will create himself as fully human and then get himself ripped open for the forgiveness of sins?

          where does god say that the wounds on an animal = healing ?

          • Theophilus says:

            Read Isaiah. 9:6; 53; Col2:9; 2 Cor. 5:19, 1 Tim. 3:16; Hebrew 1:3; Phi. 2:2-8;
            It’s everywhere in the OT and new. But you must read your bible… seek truth in honesty…and humble yourself. Blessings to you.

        • Jim says:

          Theophilus,

          I am a bit busy right now, so I am going to refer you to an article by Rabbi Blumenthal from this blog. The article discusses sacrifices and repentance:https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/the-temple-sacrifices/

          Jim

          • bible819 says:

            Jim,

            What did the Lamb (do) to be Sacrificed when the Temple was available?

            Answer is nothing.

            What did the Animal do when Abraham sacrificed it to God in replace of his Son?

            Isaac did nothing, nor did the animal that was caught in the bush.

            The Animal was blameless. The blood accounted for something

            What did the blood account for?

            What did the Animal do to be Sacrificed?

            But if his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering from the turtledoves or from young pigeons. 15‘The priest shall bring it to the altar, and wring off its head and offer it up in smoke on the altar; and its blood is to be drained out on the side of the altar. 16‘He shall also take away its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar eastward, to the place of the ashes. 17‘>>>>>>>Then he shall tear it by its wings, but shall not sever it. And the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar on the wood which is on the fire; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.

            Make atonement, for ugly SIN.

            Yeshua is Lord.

      • RT says:

        “How do you reconcile the many verses in the OT that foretell the coming of Messiah – Christ Jesus”

        Theophilus, if you would be less vague on this statement and actually point out one by one the verses you believe Jesus fulfilled, we can easily show you that they NONE can really be about Jesus. Jesus fulfilled no prophecies in the old testament. By staying vague, you guard yourself with the illusion that Jesus/Yeshua was the messiah… and can keep on worshiping that false messiah…

  4. Jim says:

    To the author of this letter,

    Thank you for sharing with us something so personal, especially something so difficult to face. It is not easy to admit that one has been in error. It is even more difficult to admit that one has maltreated those that disagree with him. It is harder still to acknowledge that publicly. I appreciate very much what you have written here and admire you for writing it.

    Please he heartened to know that you are not alone in discovering that the New Testament has misrepresented Tanach and the Jewish people. May your pursuit of the truth continue to be fruitful.

    Jim

  5. Dina says:

    Following.

  6. Concerned Reader says:

    “Jesus’ TEMPORARY subordination according to trinitarianism was a willing, chosen, subordination ONLY for the purpose of incarnation, not by nature),”

    But does the NT say anywhere that the son supercedes the father? That he seeks his own glory? No.

    The New Testament even gives you the picture of the antithesis of Jesus in the anti Christ tradition. Jesus is eternally described as being the picture of following G-d’s will while the anti Christ overshadows and uproots the father.

    In short, both Christians and Jews have a similar nightmare scenario of a rebellious being that seeks to replace G-d. Its called Armilus in Jewish tradition, anti christ in Christian tradition.

    So, whatever Jesus’ co equality means (in trinitarian terms,) its crystal clear in the theology what it DOES NOT mean.

    But that willing submission (to the Christian) has always been the will of G-d from everlasting. IE that you say the son willingly submits to the father is an always true reality. What makes the son the son is that he is begotten, that he is the reflection of the will of the father.

    To speak of co equal in trinitarian terms is the way you ensure (as a Christian) that you are not breaking G-d into parts. Its how they try to keep their book consistent. Co equal is not spoken in terms of role. It says plain as day in the NT that the Son does not know the hour (even if this is only a willing ignorance, and not by nature,) it shows that Jesus’ role (even in eternity) is to love and obey the will of the father.)

    Even if you got trinitarians to abandon the New Testament text, some of them might still see G-d in a compound unity way based simply on ambiguous Torah texts.

    If you read “G-d rained down fire from G-d out of heaven,” is it kosher to say that one of those things which the title G-d is applied to is a created angelic messanger?

  7. Concerned Reader says:

    Yes, Modalists are considered heretics, but only because they believe Jesus and the Father are the same person, not because they believe Jesus was fully equal to the Father. 

    You are missing the point of what “fully equal” means and in what context, vs what it does not mean.

    Why does the oneness doctrine scare trinitarians? Because if you believe oneness modalism, it would mean you believe the father (in the mode of the son) died.

    Scripture shows the father cant die. IE Jesus being begotten eternally, (being with the father,) coming into the world, etc. means he has mutually exclusive attributes.

    This means “equality with G-d” in trinitarian terms cant mean an equality that tgreatens G-d’s sovreignty or uniqueness. This is why sone modern trinitarians have opted to say “manifestations” instead of persons.

    • bible819 says:

      Numbers 11:25
      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.
      God and his Spirit Are (1) correct?
      Apparently God can come (down) and (Grab) his Spirit and put it on multiple (70)people.

      • Eleazar says:

        What version of the Bible are you quoting, bibs?

        • Concerned Reader says:

          Even Chabad’s translation has the gist of G-d coming down, and placing his spirit.

          The Tanakh all by itself speaks about Hashem, the spirit of Hashem, and the messanger that bears G-d’s name.

          For instance, why is there an angel within the burning bush, but only G-d is speaking? Why does Tabakh say G-d rained down fire from G-d out of heaven? The verses dont need to be written that way Eliazer.

          We can say all day long that the trinity makes no sense, (and I already plainly stated that it doesnt, and Christians themselves call it a mystery.) Rabbi Singer asked if they actually believed J was equal, the answer in many ways is no.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            The real issue as I see it is that this kind of ambiguity existed before Christianity existed. The word trinity was the Christian attempt to rationalize that ambiguity, and failed largely.

            I do not believe Christians are saying. “Hey, i want to idolize Jesus and be a sinner.” They are trying to understand ambiguities in their own books.

          • Eleazar says:

            “I do not believe Christians are saying. “Hey, i want to idolize Jesus and be a sinner.”

            Another non-sequitur.
            Actually, they are saying “I DO worship Jesus and that what makes me righteous!”

            “They are trying to understand ambiguities in their own books.”

            No, they aren’t. They are trying to figure out to make EVERY verse and sentence “point to Jesus”. They are trying to figure out how to grow their churches and convert people. They are trying to figure out how to put as many butts in the pews as possible. All of which goes back to my “two points” regarding all Christian action and doctrine.

            You see, I fought the “trinity war” within Christianity first hand. I’m a “wounded warrior” of that war. I did not just read books and websites. I studied for years, spoke personally with dozens of Christian leaders on this issue . Easily, the vast majority of theologians and seminary professors have no interest in doing anything but defending the doctrine with the same tired proof texts and philosophical rhetoric. They have zero interest in “solving ambiguities” other than to put on their “Jesus glasses” ( their term, not mine) and read him into the text as God.

      • Eleazar says:

        You see, friend, what you are reading is a very loose English interpretation done by someone who believes like you do, for the purpose of propagating the trinitarian doctrine. Here is what that text REALLY says:

        כהוַיֵּרֶד יְהֹוָה | בֶּעָנָן וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלָיו וַיָּאצֶל מִן הָרוּחַ אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו וַיִּתֵּן עַל שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ הַזְּקֵנִים וַיְהִי כְּנוֹחַ עֲלֵיהֶם הָרוּחַ וַיִּתְנַבְּאוּ וְלֹא יָסָפוּ

        Now, do you see God’s spirit being spoken of using personal pronouns in this text?

        Here is how the Artscroll Stone Chumash translates it:

        “The Lord descended in a cloud and spoke to him, and He increased some of the spirit that was on him and bestowed it on the seventy elders. And when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, but they did not continue.”

        • Concerned Reader says:

          I have a stone Tanakh too Eleazer. I do not believe in a divine messiah, or more than one manifestation of deity, but I do see the ambiguities in scripture that lead to it being believed. History has played those interpretations out without Christianity.

          You can admit the Christian Bible is utter BS, and the concept of the conduit united with G-d still doesnt go away.

          I see in Jewish history other people who have gone down the same Jesus god incarnate path.

          Shabbatai Tzvi
          Jacob Frank
          Eva Frank
          Rebbe Nachman
          Rebbe Schneerson

          We also have the Christian anti Christ tradition (where the 1st century authors are indirectly telling us something profound.)

          The New Testament authors knew full well that Jesus wasnt going to be the last Jewish teacher to be called Son of G-d, or viewed as somehow divine.

          Why else would they tell Christians to avoid people who make similar claims?

          We can say all day long that it makes no sense, but its biblical ambiguities that create this issue. It was a problem before the Notzrim, its still a problem now.

          On a strictly empirical level the notion of son of god is not a Christian invention, its something they inherited.

          • Eleazar says:

            We’ve been down this road with you many times. You may see these “ambiguities” that might allow for someone to go off the path of truth. Okay, but that is NOT what happened with Christianity, especially in the modern age. There are enough straight-up unmistakable texts that there is no need to dwell on fuzzy ones or be confused by them. So much so that Christians knowingly take texts out of context, or like Bib’s translation, actually purposely mistranslate with personal pronouns to make God’s spirit into its own third person. ON PURPOSE, CR, even though the Hebrew does not support such a translation!

            Again, I spent years talking about these issues with Christian leaders. They are seldom intellectually honest. Almost none would EVER accept a translation or interpretation that damages their theology or discredits Christianity in any way.

    • Eleazar says:

      So you just said what you think “fully equal” DOESN’T MEAN. Now tell me what you think it DOES mean!

      Please show me the scripture that says “the Father cannot die” ( just as I never said, “Fully one with God”, like you said I did). You are saying that trinitarians believe one person of the trinity can die, but one cannot. But they are ONE IN BEING according to the Creed they believe.

      “This is why some modern trinitarians have opted to say “manifestations” instead of persons.”

      But that is modalism, even using the same word.

      “This means “equality with G-d” in trinitarian terms cant mean an equality that tgreatens G-d’s sovreignty or uniqueness.”

      Non-sequitur. Or if you prefer, “duh”. But that is not the issue. Trinitarians paint themselves into a corner every time because no matter what track they take it ends in a bad, self-contradicting place for them. “Jesus can’t be this because then…”, ” but Jesus MUST be this, otherwise”, “but the trinity HAS to be this because”, “but the trinity can’t be this, otherwise”, etc.

      They can chase their tail all day for all I care. None of that changes the reality of
      day-to-day worship within Christian orthodoxy. This worship insists that :

      1-Jesus is fully God and fully equal to the Father.
      2- He is fully eternal, and there was never a time when he did not exist.
      3- Jesus created the heavens and the earth.
      4- Jesus is the center of Christian worship as the One God spoken of in scripture.
      5- God (preincarnate) became a man and died as a complete and full deity. Otherwise they only have a human sacrifice.

      When Tanakh says “See that I am He and besides me there is no Savior”, Christians believe this is the preincarnate JESUS TALKING about HIMSELF! They have no choice! Texts like that one are why the trinity doctrine was formulated. Without the trinity doctrine, Jesus as mankind’s savior was a non-starter from a biblical stand point because ONLY GOD is the Savior. Therefore Jesus must be God! Every doctrine, interpretation, teaching and form of Christianity serves at least one of only two purposes:

      1- Propagates acceptance of Christianity ALONE as a religion of vital, eternal, importance.
      2- It supports Christianity’s claims about itself and about Jesus.

      • bible819 says:

        Numbers 11:25
        Break it down for me.
        Did God come down?
        Did he distribute his spirit to the elders?
        How much of Gods Spirit was on Moses?

        Try to stay within the Scripture.

  8. Concerned Reader says:

    So they are guilty then. Death penalty as per noachide law. Why even ask the question if their explanations dont matter?

    You allege that they just believe it without basis. How did the orthodox Jewish groups who lack Christian bias and assumptions, who had antibodies against Christian ideas come to the same conclusuons?

    • Eleazar says:

      “So they are guilty then. Death penalty as per noachide law.”

      I agree with Rav Singer. Many have no clue what they believe about the trinity, as only a handful of Christians can even hold an intelligent conversation on the topic. They know it is a cardinal tenet, so they profess it. But in reality they have no clue, and frankly DO NOT WANT TO KNOW!

      As for death penalty, I am of the opinion that in the messianic age there will be universal knowledge of God, and the ignorant ( by design of the church) will understand truthfully.

      “How did the orthodox Jewish groups who lack Christian bias and assumptions, who had antibodies against Christian ideas come to the same conclusions?”

      Different points of view, different theological origins…. different everything. Tanakhian ambiguity may indeed have led certain people to different conclusions, re, godhead. But Christianity came to their position not on Tanakh’s rare textual ambiguity but by theological necessity. The difference is that Christianity used Tanakh as “proof texts” to support the theory they invented. Very few would ever read Tanakh and come to a conclusion that God is a trinity, that Messiah is God himself…or that Jesus fulfilled a single text. One must be a Christian and THEN read him into the text because one has to. Read your Christian history and look at the chronological evolution of christology/trinitarianism.

      Your opinion is that certain ambiguous Tanakhian texts led to trinitarianism and a deified Jesus. I am of the opinion that semi- ambiguousTanakhian texts ( lifted out of context) was taken advantage of, and used as a tool to support a theory not based in any way on Tanakh, but in theological apologetic necessity.

      But here is my question to you, CR. Did Christians come up with the idea of a virgin birth because they read Isaiah 7:14 and concluded the Messiah MUST be virgin born, therefore Jesus had to be as well? Was it the “ambiguity” of Isaiah 7 that caused them to teach Jesus was virgin born? I mean, was there not sufficient context to remove that ambiguity one way or the other. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

  9. Concerned Reader says:

    We’ve been down this road with you many times. You may see these “ambiguities” that might allow for someone to go off the path of truth. Okay, but that is NOT what happened with Christianity, especially in the modern age. 

    Again, why post a video where the question is asked when you have made up your mind that their explanations dont matter?

    Havent you noticed that the rabbinic explanations dont solve these ambiguous issues any better?

    The Tanakh itself has Solomon ask how Hashem can be said to dwell in the temple, and yet fill the whole universe.

    Its not a logical problem Christians created.

    When the rabbis claim that the angel who bears G-d’s name is just a creature appointed ti be an agent, they havent actually solved the clear problem of a creature being called G-d in that case, any better than a trinitarian or a modalist. They have merely removed the problem 1 step.

    If G-d can make a created angel into his sock puppet for the day (as happens several times in Tanakh, like in the burning bush) this is just the same problem explained differently.

    The Parables of Enoch claimed that the angel in the Torah/the son of man was the messiah. That is a pre Christian Jewish text written in Ethiopic.

    The rabbis thenselves admitted that some people struggled with two powers belief. Its not Christian spin when Christians arent in existence yet.

    • in other words you are saying that one god split himself into many lesser beings . in reality you don’t believe that tanakh supports pure monotheism .

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Heathcliff, the Bible itself shows that Israelites were confused on exactly how G-d’s oneness was to be understood, that pure monotheism was gradual.

        If it was so blatantly obvious, you wouldnt need hundreds of years of prophets to explain it to folks would you?

        Sure, the Torah says clearly that Baal (son of Canaanite deity El btw, El is a name of hashem) is not a partener with G-d.

        At the same time however, the angel, the one like a son of man, (corporate Israel ) and the messianic redeemer, are all described as intimately connected with hashem “somehow.”

        Look closely at Daniel 3 (Nebuchanezzar wants all nations to serve his statue, which is bad.)

        and then please notice how Daniel 7 used simmilar language to Daniel 3 (all nations and tongues will serve,) to contrast.

        What was wrongly directed at the Babylonian statue will be correctly directed towards Daniel 7’s corporation of holy ones.

        Even the Talmud speaks of the messianic age as the time when the veil of concealment of G-d’s presence will be removed.

        I reccomend that you read Benjamin Sommer’s book, The Bodies of god and the world of ancient Israel.

        • tildeb says:

          Just to muddy the waters, there are several gods in the OT, not to mention YHWH’s wife Asherah. So which one is the ‘mono’? Also, why the commandment not to worship any other gods if there is only one? And which of the OT gods is making this particular demand? Are we sure it’s the right one? How do we know? Oh, right… faith.

          • Tildeb If you know what we will answer to all your questions why do you ask them to us? You seem to be having a nice conversation with us all by yourself.

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • tildeb says:

            The questions are simply rhetorical and probably have as many answers as there are people who think about them. The point is to not forget that there are such legitimate questions and that there are no definitive answers independent of a faith-based belief.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          Heathcliff, I think the Bible teaches monitheism clearly, but it may not be as pure a notion as it is in later texts.

          • when i am talking about monotheism , i am referring to the belief that no other person, mind, consciousness can have ACCESS to all the powers attributed to the 1 WHO who says :

            ” i am GOD, there is no other beside me”

            but it seems like you believe that other CONSCIOUSNESSES do have FULL access to
            what this 1 WHO has .

            i am of the opinion that orthodox judaism identify GOD as 1 singular WHO.

  10. Eleazar says:

    By definition, Tildeb, you can only post off topic on these boards, since not a single thread is intended as a debate between theism and antitheism, which is your only subject.

    Fanatic: Someone with only one subject, and refuses to change the subject.

  11. CP says:

    Dear OP.
    I noticed you referenced me in your Blog post;

    -“I also observed the interactions in the blog-those who revere Jesus (including me) will have contempt for the Jewish people ,irrespective of whether they’re Trinitarian or Unitarian .I see it in Dr Michael Brown’s opening lines ,I see it in CP,I see it in me. One have to choose -it cannot be both.”-

    I do not blame you for your perspective on me, how can I? – it is your perspective. Your overall article appears as an honest sharing from your heart as you deal with difficult issues, many issues which I have and do systematize with having dealt with them first hand. therefore I understand.

    What I don’t understand is why you’d think I have “contempt for the Jewish people”? I am utterly bewildered as why you think this and am very curious to WHY you think this. Is it because what others have said about me or is it what I have said? I do try to sort out the big picture, but am not allowed to discuss the difficult Torah truths without the “anti-Semite” card being drawn. For example when a Jew blames Christians for their suffering, and I paraphrase D’varim 28:37, not to exonerate Christians but to identify where the root blame really lay (a condition of a broken Covenant – yet I believe there is a renewed Covenant through Yeshua) – then all hell breaks loose, I’m attacked, then asked to leave.

    I live in the Central Californian foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Jews here are as scarce as frog feathers, yet I make every effort to be around Jewish people, attending shul, synagogue membership and posting here. My mother maiden name is 100% a Jew from Germany and has been diagnosed with a medical condition found only among Jews. My Father conveyed to me as a boy was teased by the other boys on his street for being Jewish, his mother (my grandmother) coming straight from Little Jerusalem in Poland. Though I am not considered ”halachically” Jewish by Jews, therefore never fully accepted and even worse in their eyes; their cause for rejection; I claim Yeshua as my Rabbe, I have to be reminded time and time again; what matters is what Hashem thinks. However to be honest – it still hurts.

    I don’t have “contempt for the Jewish people”. What I do have contempt for is anti-Christian Jews and anti-Semitic Christians who continually drive needless wedges between people; they let the dead continually pull at their shirt sleeves rather than getting on with life and making the world a better place. I am considered the enemy by both Jews and Christians. Be prepared OP, this is the no mans land you are headed into. Christians will accept nothing less that full acceptance of the Nicene Creed, Jews will accept nothing less than a complete 100% denial of Yeshua. If you desire the Truth and if the Truth lay between these two extremes you will be rejected by all but a small remnant. You will have little fellowship, little brotherhood – you will have “no place to lay your head”.
    ______________________________________________

    Eleazar;
    -“In other words, if Jesus is not “fully God” and fully equal with the Father, then Christianity is not only false, but completely idolatrous. People like CP will eventually come to this understanding as I did.”-

    Jesus is not “fully God” and fully not equal with the Father; this only calls into question systematic theology derived from the NT, admittedly to which the majority of Christians adhere to because this is what they’ve been taught. The problem is trying to halachically hold Gentiles to the same standard as Jews when they weren’t at Sinai/Horeb to receive the same revelation of Hashem, nor are under the same Covenant. Do you spank a new born child for not walking? Do you punish your dog because he doesn’t get up early and make you coffee? Christians are just arrogantly confused – a difficult combination requiring love, acceptance and patience.

    I believe Yeshua was a Second Temple Pharisaic Rabbi with some Essene leanings who 40 years before the end of the Second Temple came calling for repentance. Because of his rejection and obedience unto death was exalted by Hashem to be the returning Davidic Messiah – a view completely compatible with Judaism.

    __________________________________

    Theophilus:

    “I know, but when you hear God’s voice and test it — it is always scriptural and things fall into place in an incredible way.”

    Okay brother here ya go, and even better in Yeshua’s own words!
    Matthew 11:27
    “….no one knows the Son except the Father …..”

    nuff said! case closed!

    Yet everyone still wants to argue about what they think the Son is. If this was so dang important then it would of been stated clearly. Yet as you can see above it IS clearly stated: -‘ it is not for us to know’ – therefore not important to us. Then why the big discussion, debates, arguments, murders over this point? Mans evil inclination or Satan, take your pick, it’s a red herring to distract people from following Yeshua’s Torah teachings. Yeshua said; “You call me lord, lord but do not do what I say”. Following Yeshua is not about Creeds, it about “doing”- following Torah as Yeshua did; from the heart with the help of the promised Spirit.

    _______________________________________

    Concerned Reader,

    Thank you for the objective accurate information you share here, I for one always enjoy reading your comments.

    ___________________________________

    R’B,
    I’ll be emailing soon, not sure what to write yet. I do enjoy your Blog very much, I do hope you allow me to stay. However, I do need to cut down on my computer time.

    • Alan says:

      This is Rabbi B’s blog but if it were up to me you would have to sincerely apologize for your tremendously hurtful (and, what appeared to many of us, anti-Jewish) words before I would let you back.

  12. Alan says:

    “Are Christians going to hell?”

    Who said Christians are going to hell? R’ Singer said sarcastically that if Christians say Jews are going to hell than Christians are also going to hell. He was not being serious.

    • KAVI says:

      Alan,
      Yes, perhaps R’Singer was being sarcastic in this particular video…

      However, in Tovia’s debate with Dr. Brown, he frankly and adamantly insists that a anyone who believes Yeshua is G-d “goes to the eternal fires of hell…”

      The Singer/Brown debate is on youtube and Tovia’s comments on this particular subject run from 33:27 to about 36:30

      _____________________________

      • Alan says:

        I would write to him and ask him for a source for this. I’ve never heard him say this before – that there is “eternal fires of hell” for believing in idolatry. I am not paying attention to this statement. I don’t think he should have said this.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          Alan I think the confusion is in the fact that there are some sources that describe gehinom, or even the Shekinah as annihilating the wicked (in a sense an eternal punishment.)

          In other words the sources dont say you will burn conciously forever, but be punished forever ie with ceasing to exist.

          Im pretty sure that Daniel mentions eternal pubishment though.

          • Alan says:

            As far as I know according to legitimate Torah traditions the inflicting of painful punishments in the afterlife is temporary, notwithstanding the couple of verses in Tanach that say that some very wicked people will be in pain or shamed eternally. I think the traditional understanding of eternal punishment is that one loses eternal reward either completely or partially, not that one is tortured forever. My understanding is that complete loss of reward is mostly reserved for murderers.

          • RT says:

            I think that the meaning of the Aramaic word (abhorrence) is uncertain. And it does not talks about hell or fire.

            And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awaken-these for eternal life, and those for disgrace, for eternal abhorrence.

            ב.וְרַבִּים מִיְּשֵׁנֵי אַדְמַת עָפָר יָקִיצוּ אֵלֶּה לְחַיֵּי עוֹלָם וְאֵלֶּה לַחֲרָפוֹת לְדִרְאוֹן עוֹלָם

          • Alan says:

            RT,
            The word means shame.

          • RT says:

            And what would that mean? Could it mean that they will be ashamed of their previous behavior for eternity?

          • Alan says:

            That’s the literal meaning of the verse. My understanding of the traditional rabbinic literature on this subject is that after death, the super wicked will receive painful punishments for a temporary period of time and then they will be extinguished from existence, no shame, no nothing forevermore. The wicked that won’t be extinguished will also receive temporary punishment (even the righteous may need to receive punishment temporarily) – will these souls carry some kind of shame for eternity when they realize how much better they could have been but there’s nothing to do about it anymore? According to what I’ve read of the traditional literature, possibly yes. But nobody knows for sure.

          • Alan says:

            The verse can also mean that even though they won’t feel any more shame since they have been deleted from existence, other people who are alive will remember them with shame and disgrace – their memories will be for shame and disgrace forever in the minds of the living.

          • Alan says:

            And even though painful punishments are temporary, depending on the degree of the wickedness of the person, “temporary” could be for a long long long long time.

          • Dina says:

            Folks, there is a reason why the Hebrew Bible is so reticent on the afterlife and eternal reward and punishment.

            We’re supposed to focus on what God wants from us in the here and now. The obsession with heaven and hell is a Christian obsession, not a Jewish one–yet unfortunately one that sometimes seeps into the Jewish consciousness, hence Rabbi Singer’s mention of it.

          • Alan says:

            A person’s love and awe of G-d and his/her developing a natural love of doing good and despising wrong can’t be based mainly on fear of punishment in this world or after death. A person’s fear of punishment in this world or the next, if used in moderation, can be helpful but if one constantly dwells on it, it can take the vitality and joy out of life and impede one’s moral, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development. Judaism wants us to use fear of punishment in moderation. But it wants us to be motivated by joy much more than by fear of punishment because one of the main goals of Judaism is that we grow into people who love doing good not just because we’re commanded to do it because it’s the healthy natural state of one who is created in the image of G-d. How can we develop the image of G-d within us primarily from a place of fear and being forced? We can’t. Nevertheless, joy with no fear at all will also not get us to our goal in this complicated world we live in.

  13. Concerned Reader says:

    I honestly think Rabbi Singer is using the rhetoric and Charismatic flair in his message that sounds a lot like a preacher because it resonates with Christians, but he doesnt actually “believe” in hell the way a Christian thinks of it.

    Tovia speaks that way because its effective. I personally like Rabbi B’s and Rabbi Skobac’s approaches better.

  14. Concerned Reader says:

    I enjoy the here is my point in writing, take it or leave it approach.

    I dont mean any distespect to rabbi singer. I have enjoyed much of his material.

  15. Alan says:

    For the author of this very sensitive and inspiring article, here is a quote from the Rabbi Saks video that Rabbi B just posted:

    “For though we have loved humanity, we have never stopped wrestling with it, challenging the idols of every age.”

    I think this thought could help you move past the contempt that you feel towards the Jewish people. The contempt is normal and understandable. Even Jews have to struggle with contempt for fellow Jews with whom they have serious disagreements in theology and politics. So you shouldn’t feel so guilty about the contempt. But I hope you eventually grow beyond. it. Maybe this thought of Rabbi Saks can help.

  16. Jim says:

    Recently, a devotee of Jesus wondered how anyone could consider him to bear any contempt for the Jewish people. It astounded him that he could be perceived this way. Most Christians would likewise be shocked to find that someone believed them to be contemptuous of the Jewish people. They would protest that not only do they not hold the Jewish people in contempt, they love them and acknowledge that the Jewish people are special to HaShem. They would find it grievous to be thought to hold the Jewish people in contempt. This comment will not be a comprehensive study on the ways in which the Christian holds the Jew in contempt but will focus on one source of that contempt. The Gospel of Matthew, a book held quite dear to many Christians, is one source of contempt for the Jewish people.

    One need not be a particularly astute reader to see that the Jewish people are contrasted in their denial of the Messiah with the non-Jewish world that recognizes the Messiah and desire him. This is seen as early as the second chapter of the gospel. Astrologers from the east come seeking the “King of the Jews,” the newly born Jesus, to pay him homage. The reaction of these men is contrasted with the reaction of the Jewish people to the news that the Messiah has been born. Herod, not a Jew himself, is understandably upset by the news that a true Jewish king has been born. But Matthew writes that all Jerusalem was frightened as well (v. 4). The Jewish people do not, according to Matthew, desire their Messiah. They would rather remain under the rule of a foreign oppressor. (This is echoed in John at the end of Jesus’ life, when the Jews will not acknowledge Jesus as their king, but yell out to Pilate that they have no king but Caesar [Jn. 19:13-16].)

    One of the striking features of Matthew is the way non-Jews so readily take to Jesus and the means whereby they come to know of Jesus. In the case of the astrologers, the men have employed a means forbidden to Jew and non-Jew alike in order to learn of the Messiah. The Jews on the other hand have the Torah and the Prophets. However, they do not know that the Messiah is about to be born. Nor do they desire him.

    Similarly, Pilate’s wife is troubled by dreams of Jesus, sending word to her husband to have “nothing to do with that innocent man” (Matt. 27:20). The non-Jewish wife of an oppressor is enlightened about a man she never met. Even Pilate is reluctant to kill Jesus, without prophecy. But just as the Jews of Jerusalem preferred to remain under the rulership of Herod than be ruled by their own true king, so do they prefer to have a guilty man released on Passover than the innocent Jesus. It is Pilate, a man not known for his concern for justice, who wishes to release Jesus. He only kills Jesus to avoid a riot. He washes his hands of the evil deed, absolving himself of all responsibility. The Jews, in Matthew’s gospel, take the opposite position. Blood-maddened, murderous, they accept guilt upon themselves and not only themselves, but subsequent generations as well.

    The Gospel of Matthew’s treatment of the Jewish people echoes the notion put forward by Paul that the Jewish people read the Torah with a veil over their hearts (2 Cor. 3:14-16). Though the Messiah promised to the Jewish people through the Jewish prophets walks in their midst, they cannot recognize him. Matthew offers up “proofs” that Jesus is the Messiah, like the prophecy of the virgin birth. (These supposed proofs are no proofs at all, of course, but abuses of scripture.) While the Jews miss the prophecies being fulfilled around them, the non-Jew recognizes Jesus’ innocence and purity; they are impressed with his goodness. The Jew does not honor their Messiah, but the astrologer not only knows of his coming but honors him as a king.

    The idea that the Jewish people do not understand their own scriptures continues today. When the missionary defends the abuse of scripture, he cannot argue straightforwardly. The scriptures from which he quotes do not allow that. The so-called prophecy of a virgin birth requires many contortions to read Jesus into Isaiah 7:14, for example. A straightforward reading places the prophecy hundreds of years before Jesus. But the missionary must explain away the straightforward explanations of those prophecies when the Jew puts them forward. Because he cannot appeal to the substance of the scripture, he must assert that the Jew does not understand the scripture. This is to say that the people to whom God entrusted Torah and the Prophets did not know its meaning.

    The idea of a basic Jewish blindness carries beyond the Jewish understanding of Tanach. It goes also to rabbinic literature. The missionary now regularly abuses the words of the rabbis. Where it is clear that the rabbis did not mean what the missionary would have them to mean, the missionary can assert that the Jew knew part of the picture but not the whole thing. This gives the missionary carte blanche to employ the words of the rabbis in the way most favorable to the missionary’s theology. It is a game of “Heads-I-win, Tails-you-lose.” By redefinition and cherry-picking, the missionary imposes his interpretations on the sages’ words, just as he does with Tanach. The Jew who is part of the rabbinic tradition, of course, is assumed not to understand it. But the Christian who has not been a part of that tradition, who does not understand the context or even the terminology employed, is the superior interpreter of the rabbis’ words. This is contempt for the Jewish people.

    The Gospel of Matthew has done much to bring contempt of the Jewish people to the Christian world. It portrayed a people that desired an oppressor foreigner as king rather than their own promised Messiah. It portrayed a people unimpressed with the goodness of Jesus, while a terribly unjust and oppressive man was moved by Jesus’ goodness. And it portrayed a people who were blind to the fulfillment of prophecy all around them. This last furthered the contempt by making the Jewish people incompetent to understand Tanach, effectively permitting the Christian to close his ears to the Jewish voice. In the modern missionary movement, the assumption of Jewish incompetence and blindness has been extended to the teaching of the rabbis as well. This has created an inequality in the conversation between the Jew and the Christian, where the Christian demands to be heard but does not believe that he need listen to the blinded Jew. Love for the Jewish people would be better shown by not assuming the worst in them rather than the expression of mere sentimentality.

    Jim

    • Alan says:

      Thank you, Jim!
      The person who wrote https://judaismresources.net/2017/05/21/a-letter-and-a-video/ should know that we admire them very much for being open about their negative feelings and for actually grappling with it. Admitting it and struggling with it are very precious things. I hope and pray that they will be successful in slowly but surely overcoming it.

      • Jim says:

        Agreed, Alan.

        It is difficult to recognize a flaw in ourselves and more difficult still to openly admit our errors and wrongdoing. I admire the author very much.

        I would like Christians to know that it is not entirely their fault that they have struck up this attitude toward the Jewish people. They have been fed it, sometimes from childhood, in sources they believed to be holy. It is only natural that they should be so disdainful of the Jewish people.

        But they need not remain that way. If they can be honest about what Tanach teaches, they will see that the NT has given a false understanding about God, about the Messiah, about Torah, and about the Jewish people. They can come to truly love the Jewish people when they understand that the NT has inculcated them with this contempt in order to silence the Jewish voice, because the Jewish voice maintained, as God’s witness, a message contrary to the Church and the NT. They can be truly grateful to the Jewish people when they realize that the Jewish people have preserved the teaching of HaShem for thousands of years and under the most trying of circumstances often enough. They will love them as brothers and honor them as teachers when they stop shutting out the testimony of God’s witness.

        Jim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s