How NOT to Respond to a Christian Missionary – part 1

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Chanukah – Isaiah 2:5

Chanukah – Isaiah 2:5

The celebration of Chanukah was instituted after prophecy had already ceased from the community of Israel. The religious leadership of the people established this holiday as an expression of thanksgiving to God that is to last through the generations.

This holiday brings to the forefront the question of the authority of the religious leadership of Israel. Who are they to decide on my behalf? Who are they to dictate my personal relationship with God?

In order to answer these questions we need to understand a basic Scriptural concept. The concept I speak of is the entity called “Israel”. This entity is not just a gathering of individuals. It is a community. A community that stands as one before God from the days of the exodus into the future.

This community is human. We have made mistakes and we will make mistakes but this doesn’t change the fact that we stand in a covenantal relationship with God as a community. It is this entity – Eternal Israel, whom God chose to marry. He tied Himself to this community in a covenantal union and it is this covenant that stands at the heart of this community. As partners to God we seek to dispense our duty as a united community before God.

A group of people cannot be united without leadership. Is the leader perfect? Is the leader infallible? Not necessarily, but without a leader there is no community, only a collection of individuals.

How does Israel choose her leaders?

We choose our leaders based on our understanding of our covenantal responsibilities as a community. These are all spelled out in the Law that God gave to Moses. There are various factors that we consider in our choice of a leader. Does this person excel in the grasp of the myriad of details that make up the Law? Does this person embody an understanding of the spirit of the Law? Is this person dedicated to the Law with the fiery love that the Psalmist displayed towards the Law (Psalm 119:97)? Does this person live with an understanding and a vision of the community’s responsibility throughout the ages as did leaders before them (Joshua 22:24-29; Esther 9:27).

We consider these factors and the leaders rise to the top. These are the ones whom God chose to guide this ship of ours through the dark exile. Throughout history various groups jumped ship and made off in their own vessels; some of those may have been larger than the ship we ride today. But all of those deviants went lost in the sea of assimilation.

Yes; there is room for correction and the community corrects itself from time to time. But the process of correction takes place in the context of a community correcting itself. One cannot insist on calling themselves “Jews” while repudiating the entire concept of an Eternal community. Those who join the community must first submit to the concept of Eternal Israel; they cannot expect to be a part of the covenant on their own terms. Ruth; the quintessential convert, first declared: “Your nation is my nation” before she declared: “Your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16).

Chanukah is the celebration of the light that God entrusted us with. The ultimate goal is described in Isaiah 60:3; when the nations will all walk to our light. Meanwhile we carry that light, a light that is larger and brighter than ourselves, but as God’s bride He entrusted it to us to carry through the darkness and we carry it as a community.

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal


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Jacob’s Vow

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Messiah son of Joseph

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Are We Them?

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Are We Them?

Some of us find ourselves in societies which place much emphasis on human dignity and the rights of the individual. It is so tempting and so convenient to look out from the safety of our respective societies and pass judgment upon those societies and those people who don’t share our values. “Look at them,” we say, “see how their society is so corrupt and so evil, I am not them, we are not them and we will never be them.”

But is this true? Can this be true?

Did you ever watch a pantomime? The actors maneuver their bodies in a way that would convince the audience that they are negotiating with a physical reality when in fact there is nothing there. The actions and the motions of the actors project a reality which is no reality.

Human dignity is real but it is invisible. Even if…

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The Second Commandment – a letter by Concerned Reader

The exile could not possibly be caused by Israel refusing to pray to or pay homage to a son of man, Period! Do you know how I know this clearly and unambiguously?

“You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars–all the heavenly array–do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” (Deuteronomy 4:15-19)

Your gospel texts confirm that I have the right reading of Deuteronomy 4 because when the beast of revelation comes seeking worship as a man claiming to be a god sitting in the temple, your book tells you to ignore such a one at the cost of your very life.

Ergo, you have a double standard, special pleading, and cognitive dissonance that you are applying unconsciously only in the case of the Nazarene.

I say the Bible teaches unilaterally not to pray to or pay homage to anything that looks like a human being.

You would say the same, but you make an exception for Jesus.

However, I do not even see a physical Nazarene anywhere on planet earth at the moment do you?
You say he is in heaven!

Meanwhile, I see images, sects, and pop culture images everywhere!

So, in the here and now, what is it in terms of actual divine service that you are advocating?

Christian services.

You would love people to go to a Church on Sunday, or Saturday and look at a wooden image of a man on a cross, and hear the stories, hoping that they be reminded and associate this image and various prophetic texts with Yeshua who died 2,000 years ago.

The verses I gave you just above would completely contradict this kind of religious service in form if not functionally as foreign to the covenant.

You never met Jesus, neither did I, we only heard the stories from pastors and family. Based on these stories, we went to Church, where we saw crosses or Crucifixes, and they said “Jesus died for you” pointing to that image!

Imagine if instead of a golden calf, Israel had made a golden Moses.

Based off of their memories of him, they teach the people.

Imagine that while Moses is on the mountain, the people of Israel are telling stories of his mighty works and setting up communities. People go to large temples and gaze at the Golden Moses behind the pulpit and they are healed from all matter of diseases. They sing songs about Moses, they celebrate his birth, his miraculous escape from Egyot, and they await the day he will return.

Now, imagine that he is on the mountain for 1,000 years. Everyone who knew him while he was on earth has died. Are you telling me that he would recognize a damn thing when he comes down with the tablets of the law?

I submit to you, that this is the only kind of service you could ever be advocating for concerning Jesus, because that kind of service is all the gospels have to offer.

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Invisible Proof – a Letter by Jim

I thought I should draw attention to a point that has been stated many
times, but perhaps could bear repeating. When you write that the
Christian messiah rules in heaven, so that he fulfills the passage in
Jeremiah from which you quoted, it should be noted that this is a claim
without any evidence, fitting within the pattern of general Christian
proofs which are invisible. If Jesus rules in a heavenly realm, none of
us can know that. Yet, the passage does contain elements that would be
visible if they had been fulfilled. Jeremiah writes of a time of peace,
a time when Judah will be saved and when Jerusalem would be secure
(Jeremiah 33:16). If these things had happened in the time of Jesus,
they would have been observed and known. However, the opposite happened.
Shortly after the coming of the Christian messiah, no one could say that
Judah had been saved or that Jerusalem dwelt in security. Instead, great
tragedy befell them.

One observes then, that the Christian claims lack credibility, because
any element of a prophecy that could be tested, Jesus is supposed to
have fulfilled in secret. Any elements that would be known publicly, he
did not fulfill. While Christians claim that Jesus fulfilled many
prophecies, these fulfillments must be taken on faith, for they are
private events of which virtually no one had any knowledge. One must be
highly dubious of the claims to fulfilled prophecy that happen in secret.

Let me ask you, honestly, would you accept similar proofs from any other
claimant to the title of Messiah or even Prophet? Let us say a man
arises, claiming to the Jesus returned, and he submits as proof to you
that he just descended from the clouds, privately, in an event witnessed
by few or no one, would you not be right to doubt his claims? Of course
you would be. And, if he claimed that he had been at the right hand of
the Father for the past two millenia, would you accept the mere claim?
Would you pledge him fealty? Would you do his bidding? If not, then on
what grounds do you expect others to behave any differently?

The fulfillment of prophecy in private is not proof of anything, by
nature of the proof being unknown. The missionary claim that Jesus
fulfilled oh-so-many prophecies is baseless, because even if a great
many of those prophecies were not misrepresentations by the Church, they
were fulfilled privately and cannot serve to verify his claims. For
example, he was supposed to have been born in Bethlehem in fulfillment
of messianic prophecy, yet his birth in Bethlehem was a private event,
unknown to the populace. (See John 7:42.) Allowing that Jesus may
actually have been born in Bethlehem—and ignoring questions of Christian
misinterpretation of Micah—this cannot be used as a piece of evidence in
support of the Church’s claim that he is the messiah, because the event
was unknown. His resurrection falls in the same category. It cannot be
used to establish the legitimacy of his prophecy, because it was not
fulfilled publicly. It is an untestable claim.

One must find it highly suspicious that observable prophecies, such as
the security of Jerusalem, were not fulfilled in Jesus’ time, while he
fulfilled all kinds of unobservable prophecies, like sitting on a
spiritual throne far from the eyes of men. All the qualities of the
messiah that one could observe, he does not have. He has only certain
qualities that cannot be observed, that must be accepted on faith—and
under threat of Hellfire everlasting! Of course, the Church tells us
that he will fulfill those publicly observable items later, but then,
that too is nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim, no less dubious.

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