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Why did G-d choose Israel and doesn’t Holocaust prove that He is no longer with Jews?

March 19, 2014

WallA 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:

“The L-RD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the L-RD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)

So, the reason G-d chose Israel is because He already loved them and has promised their forefathers that He will take care of them. Does it make Jews somehow better than any other people? Not at all and it’s not the reason behind G-d’s love for Israel. After all, one parent’s child is not inherently better than a child of another parent. Your child is no more deserving of love than someone else’ – she is just yours. G-d loves Israel not because He has some grand plan and purpose for Israel (even though He does) or because Israel will proclaim her G-d and His Torah to all nations (which she certainly will). Neither did G-d set His affections on Israel because, as Christianity claims, “Israel was chosen to give birth to Jesus” and “to give nations the Gospel”, a useful tool that can be discarded once the chief purpose has been accomplished. No, these are all conditional reasons. G-d didn’t set His love on Israel because Israel was somehow capable of earning G-d’s love by her performance. Instead, G-d loves Israel because He loves Israel – that’s all there’s to it.

If G-d is with Jews, why did the Holocaust happen? Is He still with them or did He reject them for lack of obedience?

Countless philosophers, theologians and rabbis have wrestled with the immense evil that orchestrated the Holocaust and so far no one seems to have found satisfactory answers. I am not going to purport to out-best them nor claim any special insight, but I will simply relay my current understanding. Humanity, when completely unbound by G-d’s Laws, when unrestrained by fear of Him, when it starts viewing their fellow human beings not as created in G-d’s image but as unprofitable animals, pests to be destroyed, is at its absolute worst. Unshackled from the divine, humanity is driven to satisfy the desires of its lower, animalistic nature. In such a state, human beings have the capacity to do much evil in their rebellion against the Almighty. Since there’s nothing they can do to G-d Himself, evil people can only resort to rejecting, despising and destroying everything that G-d loves and holds dear. This is why, I believe, Jews have suffered so much during the Holocaust and have been an object of hatred everywhere they went and to this very day. Their identification as the people loved and chosen by G-d has made them the perennial target for the worst humanity has to offer.

However, untimely, the enemies of the Jews will not succeed, as much as they may try. Here’s what G-d says about Israel’s future and that of her enemies:

He [G-d] will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. The L-RD your G-d will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. The L-RD your G-d will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you.” (Deuteronomy 30:5-7)

Notice a few things in the prophecy above:

1) G-d will bring Jews back into their own land, the land which their ancestors were given by G-d Himself. The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people by a divine decree. And when G-d wants Jews in the Land, it doesn’t matter how many armies and great nations try to fight to dislodge them – they will all fail. 

The L-RD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit. (Jeremiah 31:3-5)

2) Jews don’t need to be perfect for G-d to be on their side – G-d already loves them as His own people and nothing can ever change it. No doubt, He has disciplined us when we sinned, and He did that many times. However, at the same time, He’s very merciful. He promised that He will not be angry with us forever (Isaiah 57:16). As that Deuteronomy prophecy promised us G-d Himself will “circumcise” the hearts of all Israel after He brings them to the Land. When He does, all Jews will be Torah-observant, to the last one.

3) The enemies of the Jewish people will by no means go unpunished. They will repay for everything they inflicted on Israel while Jews were at their most vulnerable. G-d promises to curse the enemies of the Jewish people – all the evil they once did will befall on all enemies and haters of Israel, turn back on their own heads.  As Deuteronomy 30:7 shows us, G-d has warned that Jews will be hated and persecuted by their enemies. He also comforted His people that such a state of events will no go on forever.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. Pat Irving permalink
    March 19, 2014 1:57 pm

    “Since there’s nothing they can do to G-d Himself, evil people can only resort to rejecting, despising and destroying everything that G-d loves and holds dear.” You are correct in this assessment!

  2. March 20, 2014 12:41 pm

    [Moderator note: hateful Judaism-demonizing comment deleted]

  3. March 20, 2014 2:18 pm

    Dan, the pattern of nastiness that you continue to display toward me, other observant Jews and Judaism in particular does not reflect well on you as a person (or the deity you represent), but it is not original. You should read my post on Pablo Christiani, a medieval convert to Christianity, to see where such attitudes can lead.

  4. March 20, 2014 2:30 pm

    I guess the truth hurts, isn’t it?

    Most Messianic Jews including many leaders are not halachically Jewish, so why are you trying to save them? Here, in me, you have a genuine Jew just like you, wouldn’t you try your outmost to “bring me back to the fold?”

  5. March 20, 2014 2:50 pm

    “Most Messianic Jews including many leaders are not halachically Jewish, so why are you trying to save them?”

    I am not into “saving” business. My message on this blog is simple – ALL people should worship G-d and Him alone, no matter their ethnicity or halachic status.

    “wouldn’t you try your outmost to “bring me back to the fold?”

    I am not some missionary, Dan, to drag you where you don’t want to be. Besides, you already know full well that the Torah teaches that worshiping any creature and calling a mortal man “god” is idolatry. If that alone doesn’t make you stop and think, what else can I tell you to convince you? (of course, you can still read my blog if you need some further information)

  6. March 21, 2014 2:07 pm

    “I remember a time, a long time, that it did not make you stop and think….And now you changed on a dime…What guarantee do I have that you will not flip flop again?”

    That’s because like you, I immersed myself in Christianity and there was no-one to show me how wrong I was. I had to seek out the truth to find out on my own, the painful way. There’s always repentance.

    But, let’s talk about you!

    Dan, a long time ago, you were a secular Jew (like most Israelis) and didn’t yet believe in the man-god of the Gentiles, Jesus. Then, because you could not care less about either your G-d or Judaism of your forefathers, you were influenced by some Christians and changed on a dime and became a Christian yourself. What guarantee do I have that you will not flip flop again? I hope that you won’t become a “secular Jew” you once were, but instead, drop the idolatry and become a Jew who is faithful to the G-d of Israel.

  7. March 21, 2014 2:41 pm

    Not good enough Gene. You weren’t an Orthodox in the USSR, were you?

    No Christian told me about Yeshua, my wife did and she is a Jewess just like your wife is. I admit though that I did no consult educated mavenes like you, I just talked to some Orthodox Rabbis, and when they did not have answers to my questions (unlike you, great guru), I had my answers.

    The different between you and me:

    I was once blind and now I see.

    You are once blind and then you saw and now you are blind again.

    How sad….

  8. March 21, 2014 2:57 pm

    “You are once blind and then you saw and now you are blind again.”

    Dan, you are parroting Paul and every anti-Jew on this planet with your claim that Jews are “blind”. You believe, instead, that their historical persecutors and worshipers of a human being are the seeings ones. The thing is, Paul is not an authority for me – he’s nothing to me. He was an evil smooth-talking imposter who deceived millions to worship a creature, perverted and nullified G-d’s Torah.

    Your answer “it must be Jesus!” came out of thin air. Being a secular Jew, you already had a chip on your shoulder against Judaism and observant Jews, but little knowledge of either. What did you know about “messiah” or “trinity”? To you, Jewish suffering was evidence of them being wrong and Western Christian success was evidence of G-d’s supposed favor. Rabbis and observant Jews were to you backward relics of the past. You amplified Jewish sins (real or imagined) and minimized their faithfulness to the G-d of Israel and Torah in the face ridicule, hatred, brutal persecution and murder at the hands of those who professed the man-god you embraced.

    It’s not too late for you to repent, Dan. As for me, the Book of Hebrews says that’s impossible for me to go back, having rejected Jesus after having “tasted his goodness”. I would be “crucifying him again” and I certainly wouldn’t want to cause Jesus any more trouble! Looks like it will be either the Kingdom of G-d or the Christian hell of never ever-ever-ever ending torture for me (along-side millions of my fellow Jews).

  9. March 21, 2014 3:09 pm

    Gene, I will answer after Shabbat. Just one thing, I am proud to be a Jew. I am not so proud what they did with Judaism….

    Shabbat Shalom.

  10. March 21, 2014 3:18 pm

    “They” is what all Jews who have rejected Christianity are to you. Read my last post about the Gospel of John, where the author had a very similar problem.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  11. March 22, 2014 6:36 pm

    Orthodox Judaism put halacha above the word of God. I am not Orthodox therefore when I talk about them I say “they.”

    Reform Judaism ordains gay rabbis and perform same sex marriages. I am not reform. when I talk about them I use “they.”

    Conservative Judaism did not make up their mind where they want to be. I am not Conservative so I use “they” when I talk to them.

    Lubavitch believe in the “rebbe” as Messiah. I am not Lubavitch so when I talk about them I use “they.”

    My son in an his family live in Israel. When my wife and me talk about them we use “They.” Does this mean that he is not my son anymore?

    Common Gene, you can do better than that….

  12. March 22, 2014 8:45 pm

    “I am not [a Jew who doesn’t believe in Jesus] therefore when I talk about them [those Jews] I say “they.”

    Dan, you made my point. Just like the writer who wrote the book of John, all Jews who reject Jesus-idolatry are “they” to you.

    I don’t subscribe to liberal American Jewish movements so you don’t have to recite their faults to me. They are very recent arrivals in long Jewish history. Thinking of the rebbe (or anyone else) as messiah (G-d’s anointed) is only “sin” when one believes that Jesus already filled this role. The real sin is not in considering this or that person as “messiah”, but in calling a human being “god” and worshiping him.

    You have put the New Testament (itself an oral tradition, written in Greek, edited and canonized by the Roman Church) and the words of some guy named Paul ABOVE Torah and the Prophets, you read all the holy Jewish books backwards through the NT lens, and you are calling out Orthodox Jews for placing importance on the Oral Torah? I call this hypocrisy!

  13. March 22, 2014 10:44 pm

    Gene, I think you are describing your former self, but you are not describing me. And how funny it is that the “liberal American” Jewish movement grew up to become the majority of Jews in the world. So much for your argument.

    I will reply about Paul on the post you wrote.

  14. March 22, 2014 11:08 pm

    Just found out that the comments on Paul’s post are closed, so I will answer here.

    Gene, you came to this conclusion of Paul all by your pretty self? This material is out there for years, you did not reveal any news here. It was out there when you were a full fledged supporter of Paul. Make me think that someone else put you up for this.

    Here is the thing, you are right by saying that when the conversation turns to Torah Christians right away are running to Paul and leave Yeshua in the background. In the opening of almost all his Epistles Paul declares himself “the Apostle of Yeshua the Messiah.” How could he write this and teach contrary to his Master? Didn’t Yeshua teach Matt. 5:17-20?

    So, either Paul intended to continue the line of teaching of his Master without contradicting it, or he invented his own theology in opposition to Yeshua? If it is the second choice, then we should tear all Paul’s Epistles out of the Bible because they are the words of a traitor. To think that is just pure illogical, (and I like to believe that you have a little logic left…), His Epistles were circulating among the communities of believers at the same time the Gospels were being composed and received, or even earlier. It is illogical to believe that came in because of Yeshua will believe and received Paul’s teaching if he were to teach contrary to the teaching of Yeshua, they would have thrown him out pretty quick…Use you common-sense….

  15. March 22, 2014 11:20 pm

    Being a majority doesn’t make something right. You joined a majority – 2 billion other Jesus worshippers.

  16. March 22, 2014 11:42 pm

    ” If it is the second choice, then we should tear all Paul’s Epistles out of the Bible because they are the words of a traitor. To think that is just pure illogical”

    It’s not illogical at all. His own writings speak the loudest, however.

    But, let’s look at the book of Acts (written by Paul supporter to whitewash him and probably should be called the Acts of Paul). It records suspicion from the Jerusalem church about Paul’s teaching against Torah in the Diaspora (which his own letters confirm). It says in there that James made him go the the Temple and sponsor nazarites to prove that he wasn’t a heretic. Paul answers nothing to James in his defense, he just goes through the motions to make a point. Nobody from the Jerusalem church came to his defense when he was arrested in the Temple, even thought we know from other sources that James was respected by Jews. Paul was left all alone, appealing instead to the Romans to save him from the Jews!

    However, we have other evidence. We have historical evidence that groups of Jewish Christians considered Paul a heretic and a perverter of Torah, and even not Jewish at all!

    Church father Epiphanius writes about a Jewish Christian (Ebionites) view of Paul as follows:

    ‘They declare that he was a Greek….He went up to Jerusalem, they say, and when he had spent some time there, he was seized with a passion to marry the daughter of the priest. For this reason he became a proselyte [through the Sadducee movement, hence his working for the Temple police – even thought he later claimed to be a Pharisee!] and was circumcised. Then, when he failed to get the girl, he flew into a rage and wrote against circumcision and against the Sabbath and the Law’ (Epiphanius, Panarion, 30.16-9)

    The only people who wouldn’t suspect Paul of heresy against Judaism and contradicting Jesus on Torah observance were the people who were Paul’s followers and who couldn’t care less about either – Gentiles! This was his audience. Not only that, Paul’s writings are the earliest Christians writings we have – the gospels, other New Testament books and letters came many decades later.

  17. March 22, 2014 11:44 pm

    Who decides who is right, you? On what authority?

  18. March 22, 2014 11:52 pm

    Common Gene, are these you evidence? According to you, the the Pharisees are all liars because the Saduccies did not like them . Big fat evidence you have, not to mention the argument from silence you give when no one came to Paul’s help. Wake up, you are better than that….

  19. March 22, 2014 11:58 pm

    “Who decides who is right, you? On what authority?”

    Dan, according to you – no one is right, expect perhaps for Tim Hegg (a Gentile One-Law teacher).

    You look at Judaism and you point out the many problems within it, and you reject it because of various issues you see. (However, if we look honestly, I think that, morally speaking, Jews have been on a much higher ground than any other religious groups). However, I look at Judaism more than just at surface level. Jews did not bow down to worship a human being as G-d. They did not join the billions in idolatry. They were not the persecutors and murderers – Jesus followers were! For most of the last two thousand years Jews observed the Torah faithfully, while almost constantly under attack – yet many remained faithful! Until the modern era, most Jews observed Torah and you know it. In our times, many Jews were enticed by modernity, being citizens of the Gentile world or driven from Judaism by persecution, discrimination and just plain assimilation.

  20. March 23, 2014 12:01 am

    “According to you, the the Pharisees are all liars because the Saduccies did not like them .”

    Heh?

    “Big fat evidence you have, not to mention the argument from silence you give when no one came to Paul’s help. Wake up, you are better than that….”

    Yes, I CAN do better. However, Dan, whatever. Believe what you want, worship a human being, it is your choice. As for me, I chose G-d and Him alone and rejected “the Lord” (Baal) the nations worship.

  21. March 23, 2014 6:36 am

    Thanks for the history lesson. What does it have to do with you changing your beliefs? You and me are born Jews and we will die Jews. Just look at the mess the Orthodox are doing with giur (conversion), why do you want to belong to a separatist group like that? And you know as well as I do that they elevate the Rabbis halacha above God’s word. What are the Lubavitch do? Do they worship an animal or a human being?

  22. March 23, 2014 6:38 am

    ” As for me, I chose G-d and Him alone and rejected “the Lord” (Baal) the nations worship.”

    Until someone will come, entice you and you will change your mind again, Hindu maybe?

  23. March 23, 2014 7:52 am

    “You and me are born Jews and we will die Jews.”

    Dan, you separated yourself from ALL Jews, even the Messianic (Christian) ones! You may die a Jew (in an ethnic sense, which is no great accomplishment), but that’s all you’ll do for the people you left behind. Your idolatry has cut you off. I, on the other hand, want to live as a Jew.

    While there’s still breath in your nostrils, it’s not too late for you to do teshuvah, leave behind avodah zarah and rejoin your people.

  24. March 23, 2014 7:55 am

    “Until someone will come, entice you and you will change your mind again, Hindu maybe?”

    Are you comparing a Jew returning to the G-d of Israel to embracing some pagan deity??!

  25. March 23, 2014 7:36 pm

    Dan, do you want to continue worshiping a false man-god of the nations and hate Judaism and demonize Jews who refuse to partake in your idolatry? Go right ahead, but I will not follow you there.

    “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the L-RD is G-d, follow him; but if Baal is G-d, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21)

  26. Concerned Reader permalink
    May 17, 2014 10:47 pm

    Gene, you have strongly implied that Paul, and the entire gentile Christian movement changed the entirety of Jesus’ message. What were James and Peter doing while Paul was carrying out the nefarious plan to uproot the Torah from Israel, sitting on their hands? If we are honest with the sources, we have to ask a question. Which sources gemerally provide us with a more halachically consistent Jesus, a Jesus who supports the authority of the rabbis, etc.? Obviously its the synoptic gospels of Mark, Mathew, and Luke-Acts. The kicker with this, is that these sources are recognized by all scholars as the product of a Pauline Church! All the information we get about yeshua’s arguments over halacha come from sources closer in time and writing style to a Pauline, largely gentile church, the synoptic gospels. Couple this with the consistent presence of ethics for G-d Fearing gentiles being present in the Pauline epistles, didache, didascalia, polycarp, Clement, etc. and this argument for a hostile takeover, becomes slightly less likely. It is more likely, that a halachcially robust approach to Christianity, dwindled over many decades. Even in Chrysostom’s time, Christians were attending Synagogue, and the man had to use all the rhetoric at his disposal to convince these Christians to stop. Again, these one to one solutions to Christian origins just don’t hold water very well. There is too much diversity, and too much data, to roundly cast Paul as an evil bastard who changed everything. A politicized Church? Definitely! Paul? Probably not.

  27. May 18, 2014 12:52 am

    “What were James and Peter doing while Paul was carrying out the nefarious plan to uproot the Torah from Israel, sitting on their hands? If we are honest with the sources, we have to ask a question.”

    Concerned Reader, a quick look at the New Testament will show that both James and Peter, and really pretty much all of the early Jewish wing of the Christian movement, were written out of the narrative by the Pauline faction. If one thinks about it, it’s really quite amazing how underrepresented the twelve (or whatever the actual number may have been) original Jewish disciples of Jesus are, apart from them looking like bumbling clueless idiots who could never understand or get anything right in the synoptic gospels. Even the NT letters that we have as supposedly from James and Peter are, according to most modern scholars, pseudonymous creations.

    “All the information we get about yeshua’s arguments over halacha come from sources closer in time and writing style to a Pauline, largely gentile church, the synoptic gospels. ”

    Actually, it’s not quite so simple. The three synoptic gospels show multiples layers of later redaction, probably accounting for much of the anti-Judaism in Matthew. All the synoptic are based on the single source – Mark (and perhaps the theoretical Q source), each one adding its own embellishments. One also has to keep in mind that the budding Christianity saw Judaism as the foundation on which to build its own religion, since the Jewish biblical heritage added a measure of prestige in a pagan world that didn’t look kindly on new cults without ancient pedigrees. Hence the showcase of Jesus’ Judaism (not all of it accurate!) in the gospels. Gospel of John, for example, written close to the end of the first century if not even later, while quite un-Jewish and anti-Jewish and reeks of early Gnosticism, at the same time shows far more awareness of the Jewish laws surrounding the judicial process and puts forth a far more plausible day of Jesus’ execution.

    “There is too much diversity, and too much data, to roundly cast Paul as an evil bastard who changed everything. A politicized Church? Definitely! Paul? Probably not.”

    The fact is, Paul was expecting the end of history and speedy return of Jesus. His expectations never materialized. Was Paul an “evil bastard”? As with many modern day TV evangelists, as someone once noted, his modus operandi was probably a mix of sincerity and charlatanry. The results of his mission are well known to us.

  28. Concerned Reader permalink
    May 18, 2014 3:12 pm

    Gene, relying on scholarly reconstructions, Q, and the hypotheses of many scholars, for the “real Jesus” is a good thing, but that wasn’t my point. My point was, that if gentile editors had the pure intent to rip Judaism out of the NT, they failed miserably, not only to use Judaism strategically for nefarious proselytizing purpose, but to rid the texts of earlier layers in a meaningful way.If that had been the intent, why didn’t Marion win out? Why have James in the canon at all? Pagans had toleration for Judaism, but they heaped ridicule on it as well. Also, part of the reason that John is so anti Semitic, likely also has to do with the fact that Christians COULDN’T use Judaism for prestige. Notice, that as you said, the disciples in the text appear confused, lost, unable to grasp, etc. just like the text portrays Jews. As I’ve said before, “Jews” in Christian literature are often a rhetorical literary device, reflecting the Christian community more, than any real Judaism existing outside of it. This is also the gospel in which Judas figures most fully. The text tells us of the turbulence in a newly forming faith, internally and externally. Judaism was a legally protected religion, Christianity was not. The Romans saw no difference between the two, but Christians weren’t deemed ancestral cult, and so were open to punishment. Off course there is later redaction by anti Semitic scribes, hundreds of years later, but to say that the movement lost all cohesion with the original group and message just seems wildly speculative, if we are really able to use the only sources we have, the NT. You wrote “hence the showcase of Jesus’ Judaism, not all of it accurate.” Accurate by diverse second temple standards? Rabbinic? We have great diversity in the inter-testimental period. All we can see, is that the ethical core of the NT, is thoroughly Jewish, and that later (in fact most) later manuals of Christian discipline, follow the model set down by it. You seem to have read Hyaam Macoby a lot?

  29. May 18, 2014 3:52 pm

    Never did get my hands on Maccoby’s books, but was going to check my local library.

    “Also, part of the reason that John is so anti Semitic, likely also has to do with the fact that Christians COULDN’T use Judaism for prestige.”

    Christians DID indeed use Judaism for prestige, just as the modern Christians to this day imagine Israel as the proto-church and themselves as its spiritual descendants, while holding Judaism in contempt. Then as now Christians didn’t identify with the contemporary Judaism directly but with the supposedly “pure” Judaism of Abraham, Moses and David etc. This enabled Christians to portray contemporary Jews as having failed the mission, and Christians themselves as the rightful inheritors of all the promises through Jesus, picking up from the accursed Jews who, to quote Paul or his redactor, “murdered the Lord”.

  30. Concerned Reader permalink
    May 18, 2014 8:55 pm

    You won’t find anything that conflicts with your views in his books, I promise. :) What you see as the Christian use of Judaism, is a strong emphasis on monotheism, and the ethics of god fearers.bIf you have more examples, please cite them. If we think Christians used Judaism beyond this to make themselves “look good” we need to look at Celsus a bit closer. He was a pagan who mocked Judaism and Christianity, but who used Jewish polemic against Christianity to undue Christian claims. If anything, being too close to Judaism in a roman audience would have been problematic for the church, helpful if they could have had imperial protection, but not for making converts. This is the enigma of the relationship between Jews and Christians.

  31. May 19, 2014 8:45 am

    “What you see as the Christian use of Judaism, is a strong emphasis on monotheism, and the ethics of god fearers.bIf you have more examples, please cite them. If we think Christians used Judaism beyond this to make themselves “look good” we need to look at Celsus a bit closer.”

    Concerned Reader… first of all, while its true that Judaism always had its pagan/Hellenic critics, it was still respected in many Roman circles. We know of quite a few cases of Roman aristocrats, including some of those in the upper echelons of Rome’s power, who were either sympathetic to Judaism or converted to it. G-d fearers was a well-attested phenomenon as well. So, to say that Christians always found their “Jewish roots” as “problematic” is not entirely correct. More likely they found their Judaism connection a liability after the Jewish-Roman wars and Jewish revolts, and sought to distance themselves from Jews. The record of Christian persecution by the Romans, reaching its climax with Nero, is also spotty and at times exaggerated by later Church hagiographers. Again, as I already noted, the early Church ONLY wanted continuity with the ancient Israelite religion of Abraham and the prophets and NOT with contemporary Judaism/Jews, from whom they indeed wanted to distance themselves.

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