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Fishers of men: Jesus’s terrible but fitting metaphor for Jewish evangelism

April 25, 2018

In Matthew 4:18-19, it is written that “Jesus, walking by the shores of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon, called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen, and he said unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Luke 5:10 echos this statement, “And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

Most Christians simply read the above passages without giving them a second thought, or even find them inspiring and beautiful. However, to not a few Christians the above metaphor by Jesus appears somewhat undignified, if not outright embarrassing. It certainly casts the act of evangelism in quite a sinister light, when one truly thinks about it. But from a Jewish point of view, when it comes to evangelizing Jews, Jesus’s “fishing for men” is actually a perfect description of the whole process:

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The worst sin a Christian can commit

April 23, 2018

In Christianity, all sins are grievous and are an affront to G-d. Still, one might ask: are there not some sins that are worse than others and certain transgressions more damnable? Should not things like blaspheming G-d or murdering a person be at the top of the list? The answer is no, and a committed Christian is unlikely to commit either of the sins anyway. The most ultimate of sins, in the Christian worldview, is for a person to willfully reject Jesus, thereby “refusing the gift God freely offers us of salvation in Jesus Christ”. Such a sin is an unforgivable offense.

It might come as a surprise, therefore, that there’s one terrible sin that a person, and specifically a Christian may commit, a sin that’s probably more grievous in G-d’s eyes than any other and one that carries most terrible eternal repercussions, both for the transgressor and for his victims. What is this horrible offence? This sin is an act of tempting and leading a Jewish person into idolatry, the worship of a human being, a dead man Jesus, as god – the so called “Jewish evangelism” that turns a Jew into a a Christian or a “Messianic Jew”. Let me explain. Read more…

Quick aliyah update

April 4, 2018

I have not posted to my blog ever since leaving for Israel almost a year and a half ago. So, I wanted to give my readers a quick update.

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Aliyah to Israel – 4 days to go…

October 26, 2016

asI have not posted on my blog for quite a while. That’s because I have been incredibly busy with my family’s aliyah preparations. So many last-minute things to take care of….we are running on fumes, but this is all for good. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are actually doing this. A few decades ago I came to America and although we had our struggles adjusting to the new country, soon enough it became quite comfortable for us. It became known and familiar as we dug our roots ever deeper into its soil. It’s hard to get out of your comfort zone, to step into a very different realm, new country, new language, new culture, new ways of living. Being immigrants is not easy, and starting over again is very hard. I know, I’ve done it once before. However, this new “realm”, the Land of Israel, is our true and only home. That’s where G-d wants every Jew. It has its own comforts, far beyond the material. Hashem has blessed us beyond measure to get us to this very point and next week, G-d willing, we will set our feet (permanently this time) on the holy soil of Eretz Yisrael. My kids are excited, but I doubt they realize the big changes that await them in the “land of the living”. I doubt that I realize it myself. But here we go….

Jesus, a short poem

August 15, 2016

jsfeetBy Gene Shlomovich

To you the nations send their kisses,
But few did contemplate your end.
Exalting mortals to the heavens,
Against Eternal they rebelled.

They croon, “how lovely is our savior!”,
Like us became he, just to die.
Is he not worthy of our worship,
Won’t he be coming from the sky? Read more…

Favorite Jewish professor of Christians and Messianics

April 13, 2016

boyarinChristians and their Messianic coreligionists are always on lookout for the latest “Jewish evidence for validity of Christianity and Jesus”, that is any information that can be gleaned from Jewish sources that they believe can help support their Christian belief system and could be utilized to missionize the Jewish people. Quotes from rabbis, past or present, are especially popular, and few rabbis are as popular these days among Jesus-worshipers as one Daniel Boyarin, a professor who penned a sensationalist book titled “The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ”. This book has become a best seller for Christians and Messianics everywhere, endlessly quoted by them in their books, articles and blogs, with “proofs” contained therein rubbed in Jewish faces and used in Jewish evangelism.

But few Christians and Messianics, excited as they are to have found an avid Jewish advocate for Jesus and Christianity, know about Professor Daniel Boyarin and his other views. Perhaps they would have started taking his sensationalist opinions with a grain of salt. Thankfully, an article posted recently on Arutz Sheva news website granted us a closer look. Read more…

Jesus, an acceptable “sacrifice”?

April 5, 2016

is-it-finishedChristianity makes a claim that Jesus was not only “god” in a human body, but also a “sacrificial lamb” whose death atoned for the innumerable sins of billions of people, past, present and future. Although one would be hard-pressed to find support for such an idea in the Hebrew Bible, for hundreds of years Christian theology has taken it for granted that its idea of G-d becoming His own servant and then executing Himself (or rather an “avatar” version of Himself, a deity with human flesh on) to pay for the sins of His creatures is completely in accord with the Jewish scriptures. Not only that, Christians believe this is what G-d intended to do all along. (It’s too bad that Jews can’t seem to find the “obvious” clues in their own scriptures.)

So, was Jesus really sacrificed to rescue all of us from ourselves and to reconcile all “sinners” with G-d? For Christians completely immersed into the Christian worldview it’s preposterous to even consider such a question. How dare?! But to an outside observer, especially one who is familiar with the Hebrew Bible, it obvious that not only was Jesus not sacrificed “according to Biblical regulations”, he wasn’t sacrificed at all.

Jesus was killed the same way all other Jewish criminals and rebels against Rome at the time were killed – by the Romans, using a distinctly Roman method of execution. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were executed by the Romans or killed during Roman military onslaughts. One could say that they were slaughtered “like sheep”, but they were not sacrificed and their deaths paid for nobody’s sins. Besides, as the Bible teaches, each person is responsible for his own sin (Deuteronomy 24:16). Jesus was a messianic pretender, one among many, before him and after him. He wasn’t a sinless person (since there’s no such thing) and in fact, if what NT records about him is true, he was a great sinner because he was a false prophet and teacher who deceived many.

It’s true – there are many good Christians today who want nothing but to help their fellow human beings. I know quite a few myself. They are kind, generous and friendly, and unlike their predecessors, even toward the “unbelieving Jews”. However, it’s equally true that the religion founded on worshiping a Jewish man as if he were god was a catalyst for terrible hatred, suffering and death to millions of Jesus’ own countrymen as well as horrific treatment of the millions of others who were forcibly converted or slaughtered for resisting Christianity.

Some would object by saying that Christianity’s acquisition of political power is what ultimately corrupted the once “pure” message. I get it, perhaps this is so, at least on some level. Yes, religion in the hands of a political power can be a terrible thing. However, even if we were to excuse all of this pain inflicted in the name of Jesus on humanity by claiming that his followers were mere “failed” human beings, we should not forget about Jesus’ own failings that started it all. We should still remember that Jesus’ own teachings (as recorded in the New Testament, faithfully or not) sowed the seeds of hatred for those who rejected him, especially Jews. They sowed a great deal of confusion and division, chiefly among his own followers, which persist to this day. We should also not forget that his prophecies of speedy return in the lifetime of his own followers and even foes who were his contemporaries failed miserably, forever branding him a false prophet in Jewish eyes and in the eyes of those who can judge Jesus objectively. Was he the same sort of “prophet” that we still see in our own day and age when we witness the numerous and invariably Christian “prophets” predicting the end of the world in the lifetime of their own followers? Was Jesus misunderstood and were his original teachings corrupted by later church scribes? We may never know what really happened. What becomes clear, however, is that in Jesus one could hardly find a less acceptable sacrifice to reconcile us with G-d, at least from a Jewish point of view. Which makes me thankful to the G-d of Israel that He is already near to all who call upon Him, to those who do so in truth (Psalm 145:18).