In his attempt at establishing Jesus’ messianic credentials and quasi-divine origins, the author of the Gospel of Matthew writes the following about the birth of Jesus:
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:22-23)
Readers of the “Old Testament” will recognize the above quote as being from Isaiah 7. I am not going to get into the mistranslation of the Hebrew word “almah” (young woman) as “virgin”. There’s a perfectly good Hebrew word for virgin, “bethulah”, but that wasn’t used in Isaiah 7. Instead I would like to ask the following questions: Continue reading this post
The Gospel of John is Christianity’s most beloved piece of literature bar none. When introducing someone to their faith for the first time, Christians almost invariably advise the potential convert to read this gospel before they read any other book of the Christian Bible. This is because many Christians believe that this book is the perfect summary of their religion, introducing the all important concept of deity of Jesus (that G-d became a man) and making the reader aware that the spiritual salvation from sins and the eternal life can only be obtained, according to Christianity, through Jesus and him alone.
Imagine this alternate prophetic scenario, which I believe accords far better with the Jewish prophets than the New Testament’s version of the future, where the glorious multinational Church and Jesus are reunited. This is is not a version of future events where Jews belatedly accept and worship the messiah they “murdered” two thousand years ago, and finally join the Church, feeling very sorry for not recognizing Jesus all along. The unfolding events look decidedly different than what the authors of the gospels, Paul and the author of Revelation would have their readers believe. This is my reading of the Jewish prophets. I took some liberties with filling in the blanks.
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For those worshipers of Jesus (either Jewish-born or Gentile) who wish to imagine themselves as part of Israel and Judaism, while embracing core teachings of Christianity, life is often full of cognitive dissonance and spiritual uncertainty. Theirs is an existence where the ever hopeful ambiguity reigns supreme. They wish to tout Jesus’ Jewishness and value of Judaic oriented teaching (as they imagined it to be, wholly filtered, of course, through the New Testament theology), but they find themselves uncomfortably caught between Christian and Jewish worlds. Such a state of being is partly fueled by their imagination and partly by their sincere hope of eventual Jewish-Christian reconciliation (which will, they believe, include full Jewish acceptance of Jesus as G-d and Messiah). In actuality, however, these so called judeophile Christians and Messianic Jews are not anywhere near the Jewish world, as most of them are virtually cut off from the actual Jewish community. Continue reading this post
I have already written about the historic evidence that we have in our possession that the author of one of the New Testament’s most read and beloved books, the Gospel of John, was not a fan of the Jewish people. In fact, he had an extremely negative view of both Jews and their faith and pulled no punches in his literal demonization of them. (Contrast this with a belief of some today, invariably Christians with no direct experience of Judaism, that John’s is the “most Jewish of the gospels.”)
In his book, considered the most “spiritual” of the four gospels, John exalts Jesus to the near total identification with G-d. The author knows full well, however, that devout Jews found such a thing utterly blasphemous, idolatrous and contrary to everything that b0th the Torah and the prophets had taught. John builds upon their supposed reactions to Jesus’ outrageous claims in order to create an image of Jews as being demonically driven. Thus, the Jewish aversion to idolatry is transformed into the worst sin possible in John’s eyes – the rejection of G-d in the flesh. John goes on to construct confrontations Jesus supposedly had with his fellow Jew. These confrontations pivot on the premise that Jews rejected a man with a supposedly obvious divinity, and not merely someone who claimed messiahship, as the synoptic gospels try to convey. Jews should have known that Jesus was divine, a god among men, but they could not submit to him because of their hatred for Jesus and ultimately for Jesus’ Father. Continue reading this post
A Muslim reader emailed me asking, if G-d is really with the Jews today, why was there a Holocaust? G-d did choose Israel in the past, he noted, but this was only because they observed Torah. Since most Jews living today, he reminded me, are no longer so observant, how can Jews be still G-d’s people? I will try to answer these questions in this post.
Why did G-d choose Israel?
The answer to this question can be found in the Torah and it’s very straightforward if unsatisfactory to some. In His reasoning G-d doesn’t even begin justifying His love and choice of the Jewish people by any inherent superiority on their part, nor does He place them above any other people based on their merits. Such love would be conditional and temporal, quickly discarded once the desired quality fades. G-d gives us His true reasons in His Torah: Continue reading this post
What does it mean to be a “completed Jew”?
Most Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians believe that without Jesus an “unbelieving” Jew’s relationship with his or her G-d is severely crippled. Many believe, following the statement supposedly made by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew (11:27) concerning those who didn’t believe in him, that Jews don’t or even can’t know G-d (the Father) at all, until they become Christians. When Jews are asked to accept Jesus, Christians and Messianic Jews mean something quite specific. To become a follower of Jesus a Jew must be willing to embrace that man as his god, lord and savior. He must also be willing to take on the most important task that Jesus assigned to his followers – to “preach the gospel”. To most believers in Jesus this means to spread the faith in Jesus as the savior of mankind to every human being on the planet. A Jewish follower of Jesus must be prepared to share his new-found beliefs with his Jewish family members, neighbors, friends or just passersby on the streets (in case of Jews for Jesus). Most Jews, even secular ones, find worshiping a man as god either abhorrent or delusional. A Jewish believer’s task is to assuage their natural repulsion toward Christianity’s beliefs and its historic treatment of Jews by assuring them that their embrace of Jesus is not only “100% kosher”, it is the absolute fulfillment of all the Jewish longings thousands of years in the making. Continue reading this post