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Messianic Jews as both victims and victimizers

December 30, 2014

baptizedFor Jewish converts to Christianity the consequence of their embrace of Jesus-worship is being cut off from their people, both for the person who has fallen into the idolatry and for all their progeny as well. I can cite example after example of Jewish converts to Christianity in the last thousand years, infamous, famous and not so well known, who were lost to the Jewish people, just as it was warned by G-d in the Torah. They were totally assimilated into the people whose “god” they strayed after and were erased from Israel.

Secularly raised Jews who converted to Christianity are both victims and victimizers. They are not true apostates from Judaism (one must be a learned Jew to qualify, as some rabbis in Christian Europe did) but rather are victims because they are products of ignorance of Torah and Judaism. They were sold the proverbial “bill of goods” by the countless Christian outreaches to the Jewish people. Even those who later came to learn more about Judaism still see everything through the distorted lens of the New Testament and two thousand years of Christian dogma. They really need our love to draw them back into the fold, but never an acceptance of their decision or especially indifference to it. As it was said by someone – we must pull them in with one hand and push them away with another. I am a good example that all hope is not lost and that a return to the G-d of Israel and His people is possible. I’m not the only one either.

Jewish converts to Christianity (Messianic Jews) are also (well-meaning) victimizers, because being Christian Evangelicals in their essence they seek to spread their faith in a false idol to others, especially their Jewish families and other Jews. I have known many Jews who have converted their children and many of their relatives to Christianity. The dangers for a Jew are very real. Once converted, it’s really hard for a converted Jew to leave Christianity, mostly because of the intense psychological and spiritual pressures of having an allegiance to Jesus, fear of being damned to hell, fear of losing their Christian friends and family. They have cut themselves off from the Jewish world, often for many years, and tend to see the Jewish world, especially religious Jews, in a negative light inherited through the New Testament. While they need our help leaving idolatry, at the same time other Jews need help not to share in the fate of these converts by being caught up in the same ignorance they seek to spread. All Jews need to be educated, both in what Judaism is and what it is not. Again, I speak from experience – I really wish someone reached out to me sooner and taught me the truth about the sin I was committing, but hardly anyone did in all my years in Christianity/Messianic Movement.

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103 Comments leave one →
  1. Remi permalink
    December 30, 2014 1:26 pm

    That really helped me think things through when I started to have doubts about Christianity. All the Jews that ever converted got lost. They married gentiles and finally were not Jew any more. 98% of Jews that believe in Yeshua/Jesus marry gentiles. G-d said that He will keep a remnant. By evangelizing the Jews, xtians actually work against G-d…

  2. December 30, 2014 1:41 pm

    I think that a lot of Jewish Christians/Messianic Jews, when considering their pain at being cut off from the Jewish people because of their worship of Jesus, take great comfort in the words of Paul, who said in Philippians 3:8:

    “Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ

    Christians do not hesitate to ask their Jewish converts to make Paul’s sacrifice, to leave behind their Jewish inheritance and their own people, for the sake of their man-god. It’s all “dung” in comparison to Jesus, after all.

  3. December 30, 2014 5:03 pm

    “By evangelizing the Jews, xtians actually work against G-d…”

    If only they realized that they were doing this! With every Jew they introduce to Jesus as god, savior and “Jewish messiah”, a Christian rips another Jew from His G-d and from his people, cuts him off AND his children, and his children’s children, usually forever, unless that Jew repents and returns (which doesn’t seem to happen often). And it’s not theoretical either – it’s proven in fact.

  4. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 30, 2014 5:11 pm

    Notice that many Jewish converts are usually entirely secular, or even orthoprax (raised orthodox in practice, and environment, but not really believing in G-d.) When you say Christianity works against G-d, I want to ask: How many converts to Judaism come as genuinely interested from among the Christians? Many.

    Rabbis like to judge the Christians as idolaters, but nobody realizes how much actual work these people actually do to spread knowledge of G-d around the world.

  5. December 30, 2014 6:44 pm

    CR, yes, clearly, through both Christianity and Islam many people around the world had gotten to know about the G-d of Israel. In a very corrupted form that misrepresented both Him and his message to a great degree, through introduction of idolatry of worshiping a human being and twisting His words and wishes, but still the values of Judaism have spread far and wide, ironically by those who despised and murdered the very people to whom those ideas and values were entrusted. Although G-d is not about quantity as much as quality (ex. Noah and the flood) , I’m sure that He can use this to accomplish His purposes in the future.

    As far as converts to Judaism coming from Christianity, to my knowledge (as a Russian Jew who is quite familiar with E. O. Christianity) historically or even in our day not many of them have come from Eastern Orthodoxy. Why is that, in your opinion? I have my ideas about that, but what do you think?

  6. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 31, 2014 3:45 am

    I think the Eastern Orthodox Christians are actually far closer to Judaism (solely in terms of historical practice, and emphasis ) ie righteous Deeds are deemed 100% necessary for a person to be “saved,” because saved is a living reality. The Ethiopian orthodox still practice curcumsicion and certain dietary restrictions, They (the Orthodox) haven’t embraced many controversial Catholic views that have gone very far from scripture, and they have a better defined tradition.

    For instance, iconography in Eastern Orthodoxy is strictly defined to be for education only, and any image that is not a flat one is deemed inappropriate. Also, Eastern Orthodoxy is much more collegiate in its organization, (No equivalent to the Pope.) They are also much less dogmatic when it comes to the question of who is “saved,’ because only G-d knows that. This has had a positive impact on eastern Orthodoxy’s views of other religions. Their view of hell is also substantially different than that of western Christianity. Hell is more like Gehinom, than a scene from Dante’s inferno. What I mean is, G-d is absolutely supreme, and so hell is not deemed a separation from G-d, but is a sentence for those who don’t want to be with G-d, being is his presence when they don’t want to be. There is also the doctrine of the energies of G-d, ie essence energies distinction, so that in Orthodoxy their is a greater sense of pluralism, in that all men have access to the “spermitokos logos” seed of reason, and have a measure of the knowledge of G-d open to them. In a way, it’s a very different religion than Catholic and Protestant churches.

    This is not to say that there was no anti semitism in Russia, May one never say such a thing. May nobody think I support replacement theology, even though I believe one may read the Tanakh and find ideas that gave rise to Christianity.

  7. December 31, 2014 8:59 am

    “For instance, iconography in Eastern Orthodoxy is strictly defined to be for education only, and any image that is not a flat one is deemed inappropriate.”

    CR, I must say that icons in Eastern Orthodoxy was one the things that always stood out for me as clearly an idolatrous practice out of sync with Judaism. I think that the flat vs sculpted distinction made by the EOs is pure semantics.

    The “for education only” excuse doesn’t really jive either with reality. The Eastern Orthodox Christians venerate icons, pray to them (or through them), kiss them, bow before them, ascribe to them special powers and miracles, etc. Even G-d the Father and the Holy Spirit are often represented in iconography. This is really no different than the ancient idols. The ancients who venerated or worshiped idols also used them as conduits to the “gods” who they knew lived elsewhere. They also prayed THROUGH the idols to get to the “real gods”.

    “”Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4)

    So, it’s forbidden for worship purposes to create likenesses of anything, even if it resides elsewhere – that is NOT in the idol itself, but in heaven, under earth, in the water. Things like the cherubim on the Ark and in other decorations in the Temple were permitted to be made because angels were not viewed as deities but as servants of G-d and were not worshiped by the Israelites. The cherubim images were not venerated or prayed to, something that Eastern Orthodox do before icons.

  8. December 31, 2014 9:07 am

    THE VENERATION OF ICONS

    To what, in such a manner, do you my Christian bow,
    When you, O my Christian, venerate the icons?
    Before the Living God the Creator, I am bowing down,
    With all my soul, heart and mind, I bow down to Him.
    Mortal am I and, am unable upon Him to gaze,
    Therefore, before His image I bow;
    What, my Christian, do you so fervently reverence,
    When, the icon O my Christian, you kiss?
    Christ the God and Savior, I am kissing,
    The choirs of angels, the saints and the Mother of God.
    Mortal am I and, therefore am unable them to touch,
    But when their images I kiss, my heart is at ease.

    The Prologue of Ohrid

  9. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 31, 2014 9:54 am

    I think that the flat vs sculpted distinction made by the EOs is pure semantics Maybe Gene, however, flat icons were used in Synagogues too in antiquity, Such as at Dura Europos. The orthodox use icons, not as mediators, but as tools for teaching. I do share your aversion to images though Gene, as the vast majority of teachings in both traditions, stressed G-d’s absolute otherness and transcendence.

  10. December 31, 2014 12:23 pm

    ” The orthodox use icons, not as mediators, but as tools for teaching.”

    They are used in worship specifically, during services. They are also used in homes during private worship by probably all Eastern Orthodox. So, obviously, they have evolved way beyond “tools for teaching”, even if they ever have been used as such during the development of Eastern Christianity (as some claim).

    “I do share your aversion to images though Gene”

    I think that since you are a convert to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, you may have brought with you some things that make it difficult for you to wholesale accept the teachings and practices of that religion. It may also be difficult for you to be on the defensive regarding some of the disagreeable things you are seeing (such as veneration of icons). If I had to guess, I would say that you may even (privately) wish that no icons were used at all, but since they are used so extensively, you may feel you have to defend the religion of your choice (because you like other things in it). That’s, of course, quite understandable.

  11. Remi permalink
    December 31, 2014 12:52 pm

    Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and you turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them… Deuteronomy 11:6

    Jesus was not at Horeb (Sinai), then he is another god. The word deceive means it is easy to think you are right. You see everybody else doing it. Nobody persecuted more the Jewish people that xtians and Muslims. Both say they worship the G-d of Israel, but are just plain wrong. Half the truth is still a lie…

  12. December 31, 2014 12:55 pm

    “The word deceive means it is easy to think you are right. ”

    Remi, that’s a very good point!

  13. January 2, 2015 2:29 pm

    I just can’t stand you and other Orthodox Jews who try to keep other Jews from leaving Judaism. Everyone should be free to worship whomever they want. Leave messianics alone.

  14. ברוס permalink
    January 4, 2015 8:12 pm

    How can G-d allow a religion like xtianity to do what’s its done for so long…From anti-Semitism to the enslavement of blacks in the “christian” america…. I’m still trying to get my head around all this.

  15. January 4, 2015 8:21 pm

    Me too. I suppose that we mere humans cannot comprehend the reasons behind G-d’s actions, why He would permit the success of the wicked, or the triumph of lies, His glory freely given to idols and especially the suffering of the innocent and the righteous. However, I suspect that one day, when we finally see the glorious Kingdom of Hashem on earth, G-d will put everything and everyone in their place and things will become far more clear.

  16. Remi permalink
    January 5, 2015 12:09 pm

    To Dan

    Hi Dan, I am not Jewish and I greatly appreciate Gene’s web page. Nobody forces anyone to come to that page. If someone has doubt about Xtianity, he should be able to check both sides of the coin. Fine, if you believe Jesus/Yeshua is the messiah, nobody can convince you of the opposite, but there is people out there that find the information important. There is no anti-missionary, just counter-missionary. Anybody has a right of opinion, we are in a free country and should be able to express our opinion. The Jewish effort to counter missionary is nothing in comparison with the millions of dollars yearly that xtians and messianic spend to share their gospel. There is more deceit in the messianic movement than in judaism. We don’t see Jewish website trying to pretend that they are xtian, just for people to go and see it. We don’t see Jews wearing traditional xtian outfit like messianic do with the Yamulke. We don’t see Jews using the new testament to prove their belief, but you see xtian using the Talmud to prove Jesus. Before you point the finger at counter-missionary website, please check the “Jews”-for-Jesus, “Chosen People” ministry and all the other that pretend that they follow, as per their own word, Our Rabbi, then say that Yeshua is their Great Rabbi. If the Jewish rabbi is their rabbi, they should not believe in Jesus…

  17. ברוס permalink
    January 6, 2015 2:27 pm

    How about just sticking with Yeshua and leaving the Pauline literature open for debate?….. BTW I share just Torah with my co-workers and I love seeing there eyes illuminate when I explain how passages like Deut 25:11-12 or Num 5:11-31 are still relevant today…. People ignorant of Torah don’t realize the messages found in the rituals that aren’t practiced today are still relevant to the 21st century and beyond.

  18. Remi permalink
    January 6, 2015 2:34 pm

    Hi Bruce, how do you know which book is inspired? Can you leave Paul behind? What about James, Peter, John? Can you pick and choose? I am aware that some messianic reject Paul, but how do you know what is to be taken and what is to be left behind? Can you do that with individual verses? I feel that is pick and choose what you want from the scriptures. I have a Jewish neighbour that only believes in Genesis (It’s true actually). Thank you

  19. January 6, 2015 4:16 pm

    Bruce, run, don’t walk, from all this idolatry and everything associated with it, instead of trying to salvage the “good parts”. Don’t turn around to look back.

  20. Remi permalink
    January 6, 2015 4:36 pm

    I agree with Gene and I was there too. You know that without prophecies about Jesus there is no pillar to the faith in Yeshua. Rabbi Skobac is making a good study about the 365 alleged Prophecies about Yeshua. I know that the NT insist that Satan is testing you every time that someone talks against your beliefs. It also say that only those who believe in Yeshua have the Holy Spirit. My wife always talks with friends saying that G-d has to show me the truth, but I think we can read the bible and understand what is written. Look at all the prophecies, read them in context and you will see that Jesus is not there. Honestly, everybody I know is against me, everybody I know is telling me that I will finish in Hell. They are asking me if I am wiser than my pastor. But the truth is, every time I read the Tanakh when I was still believing in Yeshua, I felt that “What if I am wrong” feeling. What if I am breaking the first commandment. Then I rationalized “But what about all the prophecies”, “If Jesus is not true, then there is no atonement”, “I cannot deny Yeshua, he died for my sins”, “it’s the Devil tempting me”, “I have to strengthen my feeble knees and run like Rav Shaul”, “the Jews are legalistic”. But even with all the people saying I am wrong, I do believe that I worship the true G-d of Israel, and at the end, if I am wrong and we are judge for our understanding of G-d, then I will finish in Hell to try to worship the True G-d.

  21. ברוס permalink
    January 6, 2015 6:05 pm

    @Remi I know, I was not clear but what I should have said was anyone trying to see if the NT is “legitimate” should focus solely on the accounts of Yeshua. And see if those stand up against the Tanach. after examination of those then one can move on to the rest of the NT text.

    @Gene You nailed it on the head, in explaining how I’m going through all this at the moment…. Messianic Judaism lacks in depth scholarly material I’m noticing (and you don’t need to be a graduate at “so-in-so” university to be scholarly). This is in comparison to whats found at Koren, Artscroll etc.

    Not to mention the available material in existence in Messianic Judaism requires $40 more to see the chronicles on yeshua.

    Orthodox sect Chabad explains Torah, the mitzvah’s, have tv classes etc.. ALL FOR FREE and they have an in depth analysis on the weekly parasha if you want to examine it, not to mention Chumash w/Rashi for FREE!

    MJ has what??? What??? its so frustrating and telling to some degree how both Judaism’s [Orthodox and Messianic] operate. One group is focused on telling Jews first and then anyone who’s curious about how to have a connection with G-d and experience Him. The other is set on teaching christians the jewish roots of their faith, why not focus on Jews and engage in respectful dialogue in why yeshua is the Mashiach, why focus on christians, why not to the jew first etc.

    I’m not jewish as you know but I would frustrated being jewish if any group or organization said they found the jewish mashiach and decided not to come find me first, but instead decide to target christians, the very group who claims to already have accepted him.

    As I type I’m seeing the irony in all this and why people (jewish people) call messianic judaism a christianity type here in the USA.

    I’m not sure if Messianic Judaism is different in Israel (cause I don’t live their), but here in the USA “scholarship” is lacking and many of the blogs as you mentioned to me before get VERY VERY VERY defensive and or always promote some other Messianic Jewish author so you can buy their material, etc.

    The only blog that seems to be reasonably is Rosh Pina Project, but there focus is on something entirely different then what I described.

  22. Remi permalink
    January 6, 2015 6:10 pm

    At my “messianic” congregation, they areevangelicals with a yamulke. lol

  23. January 6, 2015 6:19 pm

    Just about every major MJ leader I know came from Evangelicalism, most were pastors in churches before they became “rabbis”, and nearly all hold degrees from Christian Bible schools.

  24. ברוס permalink
    January 6, 2015 6:20 pm

    @Remi….. This is the stuff that many see as disrespectful (which it is) and it is in many sense another barrier for judaism (conservative, reform, orthodox) taking those in Messianic Judaism seriously.

  25. ברוס permalink
    January 6, 2015 6:21 pm

    @Gene… And you don’t always need “bible school” to properly expound Torah or in that case explain yeshua as the messiah

  26. January 6, 2015 6:39 pm

    To properly expound Torah I would say that you need a native command of biblical Hebrew and Jewish Torah education. Everything else is amateur hour. To explain Yeshua… one needs to see Torah warnings.

  27. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 6, 2015 11:25 pm

    More than just a Torah education is recommended if you want to be truly objective. A degree in History, Jewish Studies, etc. is a good thing, as religions undergo significant development and change over time.

  28. January 6, 2015 11:55 pm

    CR, being truly objective when it comes to religion is not possible using your suggested methods, precisely because the things you listed often lead to subjective results. However, since Christianity cannot claim to be true while at the same time claiming that the Hebrew Bible is false, and since Christianity is so very dependant on Judaism being so very wrong about things Christianity claims to be true, the burden of proof is not on the Jews but on the Christians (and the Muslims, and the Mormons, and all other groups that derive their legitimacy from the Jewish scriptures) .

  29. ברוס permalink
    January 7, 2015 8:06 pm

    Michael Brown vs Rabbi Immanuel Schochet

  30. ברוס permalink
    January 7, 2015 8:16 pm

    The Rabbi presents good arguments but he shows a lack of basic textual analysis of the NT he says “Yeshua spoke against the teachings of the Pharisee” but when I looked it up Yeshua said in regards to the Pharisee “Do as they SAY but do not do as they do” which would indicate that the majority of the Rabbi’s at that time taught beautiful and accurate Oral Torah but they somehow didn’t not practice it.

    I’m still listening to the debate…. He’s treading into Paul territory now

  31. ברוס permalink
    January 7, 2015 8:35 pm

    If listened un-biased-ly Michael Brown easily refutes the Rabbi’s claims in the 1st session (which is due to a lack of understanding from the rabbis part)

    Michael Brown mentions very respectfully the proper interpretations in my opinion, looking at it objectionable.

  32. ברוס permalink
    January 7, 2015 8:39 pm

    http://www.afii.org/mjbooks/JZL.NT.Commentary.pdf

    If you can read Rashi Script

  33. January 7, 2015 8:52 pm

    “Michael Brown mentions very respectfully the proper interpretations in my opinion, looking at it objectionable.”

    Strange, I looked at it “objectively” too and found that Brown is absolutely full of it.

    Rabbi is correct – the Jesus of the NT, which is mostly a fictional character that arose in the minds of church scribes who penned in NT – was against Pharisees, both their teachings and practices. He railed against Pharisees all the time. But it wasn’t against any real Pharisees (from which all modern Jews descend) – he STEREOTYPED and caricatured them and elected himself as the full authority and sole “master” and sole “teacher”, while paying lip service to the G-d-given authority of the Jewish leaders and teachers. Again, he didn’t speak of the real Pharisees but broad-brushed the most loved and respected part (according to Josephus and others) of the Jewish people – loved by the Jewish people themselves, who saw Pharisees as defenders against corrupted Rome appointed Sadducean leadership (and indeed, NT even records the “hypocritical” Pharisees coming to warn Jesus about his impending arrest). Later in John, as NT’s anti-Judaism progresses through its books, ALL Jews who didn’t accept Jesus’ claims, and not just the Pharisees Jesus so maligned and denounced in the synoptic gospels, would be broad-brushed as evil and of the devil, without distinction.

  34. ברוס permalink
    January 7, 2015 9:08 pm

    I will say that listening to the Rabbi take the podium again to explain or refute Michael Statements, he makes very valid arguments…Things that you’ve mentioned like “Christians have to prove to people yeshua is the messiah, they cannot reference accurately the Tanach for their answers”

    The rabbi is very compelling…. I’m still watching/listening I have 37min left

  35. ברוס permalink
    January 7, 2015 9:50 pm

    At the 1hr and 15min mark Rabbi Shochet says the crux of this debate is about interpretation (which is true), christianity has many interpretations for the NT.

    The Sages interpret the Tanach based on how to carry out the commands found in the Torah, and in some important aspects explains what the passage is saying.

    That’s a huge difference from have many interpretations. What I mean is how can a christian explain the virgin birth without first understanding the hebrew language of the tanach to build a valid argument based off contextual and historical analysis of what is being described?

    Also the Rabbi is right, being a light to the nations doesn’t mean going out trying to convert people. Its about spreading the Oneness of G-d and how the Torah is for ALL HUMANITY and that the Jews are the chosen priest of people to be commissioned by G-d to spread that. Even Yeshua said they (the jews) are the salt of the world.

    Michael did mention that the Jews didn’t spread the message of G-d to all the nations as G-d wanted them to.

    It’s obvious that without the Tanach Christianity will not be able to survive on just the NT alone, thats an obvious fact.

    Michael Brown did reference the Talmud and Mishnah for his arguments for the NT but not necessarily the Torah. The rabbi never resorted to “church commentary” to explain why yeshua isn’t the messiah.

  36. ברוס permalink
    January 7, 2015 9:59 pm

    Rabbi Shochet makes a valid argument about Muslims and Christianity have made many converts through force/violence, look at Africa/or Spanish countries….. Not to mention Islam believes that Jews and Christians have altered the bible and there’s is authentic.

  37. Remi permalink
    January 8, 2015 3:27 pm

    Bruce,

    Why should you listen to a debate between a Christian apologist who think Jesus is G-d and a Rabbi that does not believe Jesus is the messiah?

    Gene:

    Strange, I looked at it “objectively” too and found that Brown is absolutely full of it.

    It’s the moustache… lol

  38. ברוס permalink
    January 9, 2015 6:02 am

    @Remi — Despite the obvious biased of both sides, there understanding to disprove ones argument becomes the focal point. Mr.Shochet won in my opinion but Mr.Brown did have some interesting arguments as well.

    Mr.Skobac of jews for judaism also is articulate in refuting messianic or christian claims about the Tanach. For instance many in christianity or messianic judaism believe in a “two powers” in heaven notion. G-d vs Satan — they messianics and christians treat satan as a being independent of G-d, which is a foreign concept in judaism. Also you must take into account that the messianics or christians do not read the NT in Greek, or the Jewish Tanach in Hebrew, many rely on english (which cripples there understanding of passages).

    For one to object to a position one must continually examine the “facts” being verbalized. Hellenistic ideas are very subtle and obvious at times, being under learned individuals who have a command of the language helps one in there search for “fact” verification. Also take into account the way they respond which has many faces (i.e: many words but no facts or articulation, many words containing facts and well articulated, articulation but without substance etc.)

    I could go on for days about this topic.

    Hopefully you can tell there are validations to listening to what you mentioned.

    Thanks for the question.

  39. Remi permalink
    January 9, 2015 2:38 pm

    Hi Bruce, you might have heard it before, but how do you explains the writer of Hebrew used Psalm 102, that refers the the L-RD, but he referred it the Son in Hebrews 1:11-12? For me at least, it sounds like the writer of Hebrews thought that Jesus was G-d. Your thoughts?

  40. January 9, 2015 2:45 pm

    Remi, I agree – one can make a good case for support of deification of Jesus in the NT. And one can make a case that Jesus wasn’t viewed as god and didn’t see himself as one. This is not consistent throughout the NT, of course, but that’s because NT itself is not consistent, and many people had their hand in it.

  41. ברוס permalink
    January 9, 2015 3:35 pm

    @Remi — I’m not totally “sold” on new testament theology anymore, thanks to the patience of gene answering questions, and then myself examining the facts found in jew4judaism, and the torah, I now see many holes in the NT.

    Don’t expect me though to be like the many who engage in lashon hara to refute christianity or its claims, but to take more of a respectful and proof text approach (using hebrew) to refute the claims in christianity.

    I’ve noticed greater judaism (orthodox) is higher then that (to resort to lashon hara), it calls for an observance and dedication to HaShem that naturally causes both jew and gentile outside of the faith to reflect on their purpose in life. The order and organizational aspects of orthodoxy is also a reflection of the rich history and its survival throughout the ages.

    Please also note I’m not saying orthodox judaism is perfect nor am I glorifying it over HaShem.

  42. January 9, 2015 3:39 pm

    Lashon hara, in Judaism means something else, Bruce, other than what you seem to think it to be. It actually doesn’t even apply to non-Jews in Halacha, but only between Jews. It doesn’t apply to Jewish apostates from Judaism or Jewish heretics either. It’s not just negative speech about a person either – even positive stuff can be lashon hara. It also doesn’t apply to religions, organizations or ideas.

  43. Remi permalink
    January 9, 2015 3:49 pm

    Bruce, You will find me when you seek me with a true heart. It’s true for me and you. I am still knew in my belief and still try to find the path. I believe in the Tanakh, The most experience I have is with Messianic Judaism, and now I know it does not mean much. As long as I believe that G-d is one (Literary), I do think I am in the good path. It’s good to have doubts and ask questions, May Hashem guides you :)

  44. ברוס permalink
    January 9, 2015 3:57 pm

    כן גן

    I’m aware that even positive remarks can be considered lashon hara. But Tehillim 145: 9 would say otherwise.

    Obviously too you garner more and proper dialogue when we don’t engage in the tactics of hateful or dismissive christians/messianics. Not to mention HaShems name is not blasphemed when we respect ALL life.

  45. ברוס permalink
    January 9, 2015 3:58 pm

    May HaShem bless you this shabbat and the coming week, as well as gene.

  46. January 9, 2015 4:09 pm

    “don’t engage in the tactics of hateful or dismissive christians/messianics. Not to mention HaShems name is not blasphemed when we respect ALL life.”

    This is the reason Bruce that my blog, unlike just about ALL messianic blogs I have come across, doesn’t target or speak of any individual living person, but only about ideas and history. That’s how I always operated this forum. At the same time, by confronting false ideas, especially religious ideas, especially idolatrous ideas and ideas that have caused so much evil, it’s inevitable that one will cause offense. But offense is not the goal of this blog.

    Shabbat shalom to you and Remi.

  47. ברוס permalink
    January 9, 2015 4:12 pm

    Oh yeah I understand….. I wasn’t addressing you Gene, i love your approach to this blog, if i have the time i may consider something similar.

    I wasn’t clear in what I was referring to, so my apologies.

  48. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 10, 2015 9:29 am

    It actually doesn’t even apply to non-Jews in Halacha, but only between Jews. It doesn’t apply to Jewish apostates from Judaism or Jewish heretics either.

    This is the whole problem with Judaism and Christianity, and Islam too. “I disagree with (insert group here) theology, so it’s then ok and meritorious to Hashem for me to speak ill of them, “but not the individuals” and their movement, history, etc. because they are heretics.”

    You have just given the 90 CE Jewish writer of the gospel of John all the ammo he needed to spew his vitriol against his own people in the historical context of that particular text. A Jewish sectarian argument against other Jews, simply called by him thereafter, “the Jews.” We cannot underestimate the fact that Christianity spawned from Judaism, and it’s earliest adherents were either Jews, or G- d fearing Gentiles.

    This kind of logic is deeply flawed, and it’s the traditional willingness among different religions to Bad mouth others that only adds to discord, and turns over time to real violence, etc.

    you do have a high degree of respectful tone on your blog Gene, I wouldn’t say otherwise, but umbrella notions of “the Christians” still sneak in, and it’s not even necisarilly done consciously.

    A person simply can’t say, “hey, there are good Christians, but the whole ideology, history, etc. is utterly worthless and false.” Doing that is just as bad as Christian anti Judaism, and the early Jewish Christians would have spoken lashon hara using the same justification against other Jews that you just gave as to why it’s ok for you, ie when it comes to that prohibition,”it doesn’t apply to the “heretics.”

    Just like indentured servitude, and “separate but equal” were not so oppressive as they seem, right? It’s not slavery, it’s indentured servitude, because that’s soooo different. What do you think leads to violence if not an unbridled disrespectful discussion where there is no intention to be respectful or objective? If I said to you, “hey your wife is just ugly and horrible, FYI not to judge her as an individual, but I’m looking at her history, and she’s just ugly, why would you marry her?” Will you do the proper analysis of the statement and note the distinctions in the judgement that you advocate here? History seems to suggest that this proper contextualization of judgement NEVER occurs.

  49. ברוס permalink
    January 10, 2015 6:36 pm

    CR — Those who degrade other sects are a minority…. All one needs to do is read the Tanach and even the Torah to see that G-d calls respect for all life. And to love all humanity, every human being has a repository of holiness, most of it is buried under the surface. And that repository of holiness comes from G-d. And NO ONE ELSE. :-)

    Let the christian be a christian and let the jew be a jew.

    Shavua Tov CR

  50. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 11, 2015 12:23 am

    Amen indeed. The problem is that in practice groups don’t behave with an ecumenical spirit, even though that view is grounded in the Tanakh, and indeed in the political structure of the text. My biggest problem with the Christians has always been their placing undue emphasis on the physical man, Jesus or allegiance to a particular Church. It is undeniably true than no flesh is to become a mediator through which a person must approach Hashem.

    I don’t agree with proselytizing of Jews, or a dogmatic perspective on truth because there is nothing they don’t already have access to, indeed no idea that couldn’t have emerged from it. Also, I always say, just because absolute truth exists, it doesn’t make me the arbitrator.

    Peace and blessings to you

  51. January 11, 2015 12:47 am

    I would amend rabbi Schochet’s definition of Cult to say: ANY system of practice or ideology that accepts ANY premise without checking it for independently verifiable witness.

  52. January 11, 2015 1:36 am

    I do have some minor problems with Rabbi Schochet’s core arguments. Not a problem with his arguments against proselytism, but against some of his assumptions.

    1st He says that Christianity is solely a blind faith religion. Christianity is actually a unique faith system in that it does not actually require the testimony of the Christian scriptures, Christian tradition, or indeed that of the Christian believers themselves to validate certain of its basic premises as beliefs that a person could reasonably believe based on available evidence.

    1. There was a first century Jew named Jesus.

    2. He died by Crucifixion under Pilate.

    3. His followers made a FAITH CLAIM that he rose from the dead. (This to me means that I find the resurrection claim faith based, and so not fit to be used as unbiased evidence.

    4. This movement indirectly caused the collapse of Greco-Roman polytheism, and brought the notion of one personal providentially active G-d to millions of non Jewish people who did not believe in these notions before.

    These 4 premises are testified to by diverse non Christian, and even hostile sources, including Jewish and Roman sources. This is Chiefly important because these sources have no vested interest in promoting any Christian beliefs, quite the Opposite in fact. These are so to say, objective witnesses.

    Rabbi Schochet says that “some minority of Jews” believed in the unique Christian claims, that the majority rejected. Apparently though, enough Jews believed in these weird ideas to pose a significant challenge to wider tradition and warrant a refutation by Talmudic literature, as the Talmud does not preoccupy itself with refutation of Gentiles, but mainly Jews. If there is anything I know, it’s that the rabbis don’t waste time responding to things that don’t personally affect them. It is also noteworthy that the theological notion of the Logos/Son of the Christians the “second person” as it were, still survives in Judaism (in the form of speculations about the Sar Metatron, whose name is like that of his master.) this figure, ( or it’s early analogue ) survives in inter testimental literature like 1 Enoch, and Pholo, pre Christian sources.

    http://lawrenceschiffman.com/the-lord-is-one-reflections-on-the-history-of-judaism-in-light-of-the-shema-text-from-halbturn-austria/

    http://www.amazon.com/Ben-Sonship-Mysticism-Library-Studies/dp/0826496660

    5. The unique Christian ideas of a dying messiah, who intercedes, and who will return to inaugurate redemption have reemerged in later Jewish messianism (such as Breslov, Chabad, and the views of Abraham Abulafia.)

    In short, there are ideas that do not require Christians, their tradition, their literature, or even their presence to emerge from Judaism. Rabbi Schochet does not bring attention to these things.

  53. January 11, 2015 1:46 am

    You may also find this review helpful. http://lawrenceschiffman.com/Kosher_Jesus.pdf

  54. January 11, 2015 1:58 am

    Also, rabbi Schochet is right, a Jew can never convert to Christianity, but it is a fact that A Jew can invent it.

  55. January 11, 2015 2:57 am

    FYI rabbi Schochet could have made his entire lecture point in a much easier less strenuous way. A simple comparison of the 2 redeemers and views of redemption.

    Fundamentalist Christian definition of redemption

    Mankind is fundamentally unrighteous because Adam messed with eternal perfection, and so he needs a sinless perfect savior who is really G-d himself, because G-d’s justice cannot tolerate sin, and G-d always planned perfection that man couldn’t live up to.

    Jewish view of Moses’ redemption of Israel.

    A prince of Egypt with a speech impediment (Moses, who later found out he was actually Jewish) Didn’t initially want to redeem Israel because he was unsure of himself, and thought the Hebrews or Egyptians would just kill him for being who he was, ie either an Egyptian oppressor, or a guy who killed an Egyptian citizen. G-d says, “hey man, it’s cool, I’ll be there the whole time!”

    The Hebrews went into exile, not because they were bad people per se, but primarily because a famine led them far from home, and they needed food in Egypt, and to rescue their brother who they sort of put into a compromised situation, actually maybe this caused the famine. oops. They over time got too comfortable in Egypt, forgetting the planned promises G-d made to Abraham, until the Egyptians eventually turned on them after Joseph died. They later enslaved them, making them regret their actions.

    G-d had promised Abraham though that he would always bless his many descendants if they simply kept to the memo (ie G-d’s covenant of Circumcision and biblical ethics that he made with Abraham.) G-d only wanted them always to try their best, if they failed, it was ok, because they could recover if they got back on track.

    If Israel messed up, or failed, they would be fine if they just repented. G-d never gives people more than they can handle (Genesis 4:6-7) Ezekiel talked about a man being punished for his own actions. After all, Sin did not end after G- d hit the reset button during the flood, did it? Nope, because humans must freely choose to behave properly. G-d doing everything, accomplishes nothing. Men must do their best.

  56. January 11, 2015 3:09 am

    If you don’t get the point, G-d did not ever expect flawlessness from people. If he had, would he have put everything in just the right place for us to mess it all up? Genesis 3:9 is not G-d saying, hey Adam where are you, it is G-d’s way of offering a chance for Adam to confess his mishap and get right. FYI he passes the buck and makes it far worse. The message? Nobodies perfect, accept G-d, but it’s our purpose to do our best, and take responsibility.

  57. ברוס permalink
    January 11, 2015 8:13 am

    @CR — I agree Rabbi Schochet could have simplified his explanation with many less words. Though given the venue and time in which this took place he may have felt the need to make sure any “vague” explanations were not misread from the audience, so an exhaustive “lecture” or explanation was necessary.

    I’m not sure if you fall into the Christian camp or Judaism camp or neither…. But here is what christianity stands on in this order:

    1.) Jesus/Yeshua (For the aspect of sin atonement)
    2.) Trinity (G-d is 3 concepts)
    3.) Saving others (“Blind” Jews and secular people [non-believers in Jesus], so they can live a christian life, which is up to the individual to decide)

    Let me also point out that Christianity & Islam texts are riddled with holes without Judaism… If you take away the Tanach from the christians bible they have what? If you take away the Torah and Tehillim from the quran muslims have what?

    Both of these faith systems rely on the Tanach (especially christianity).

    Lets focus on christianity….

    Christianity says to be “saved from hell you need to accept jesus as your lord and savior (i.e: Their version of Messiah)” Why does humanity need salvation, because of sin, and we humanity will never be accepted by G-d if he sees us with the stain of sin. Correct? All these teachings to my knowledge are based on the New Testament. Correct?

    Christianity says this but, does the Tanach say this? Does the Torah show this?

    Let us take your great example of Genesis 3:9, which says: ויקרא ה׳ אלהים אל האדם ויאמר וימר לו איכה

    G-d addressed His call to man/adam and not to chavah or at this time her name was isha (woman). Why address Adam because Adam was the one entrusted the the commandment first.

    Now as you quote “Where art thou?” or “Where are you?”, I will add you are correct in your thinking that G-d did not expect humans to be flawless (perfect). Indeed the concept of repentance was a prerequisite to Man’s existence, because he could not have survived without it. Adam & Chavah repented. So did the subsequent sinners of Cain and Lemech. This, too, is one of the major lessons of the story of Genesis. Man may sin, but he can come back, and G-d allows him the opportunity to do so.

    The concept of overcoming sin (transgressing HaShems commands) is shown here and the remedy for sin is turning back to G-d and obeying them (step by step) No one teaches or should I say should teach in Judaism that you have to go all out and not take your time in climbing the ladder to HaShem. http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1480738/jewish/Judaism-is-Getting-Burdensome.htm

    (Source http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0528.htm) Moses says in Deuteronomy 28:45-47: And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee. And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever; because thou didst not serve the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart , by reason of the abundance of all things;

    Do you see that? With Joy and Happiness the Jewish people are to serve HaShem and by there joy all of humanity will desire to serve HaShem. Hence why the Jewish people are the light unto the nations.

    As David said in Psalms 51:18-19: For you desire no offering, else I would give it, A burnt offering You do not favor; the offerings of G-d are a broken spirit, A heart broken and crushed O G-d, you will despise not …. Once the Jewish people as a majority approach G-d with a broken spirit, and crushed heart, which will turn into happiness and joy then will the temple be rebuilt then will the divine presence descend and stay permanently this time.

    Judaism is about Joy and Happiness for G-d and his commandments! Then G-d will forgive there sin.

    The Tanach mentions NO ONE ELSE has this capability but HaShem.

  58. ברוס permalink
    January 11, 2015 8:14 am

    The PDF you provide, shows that christianity has taken a jewish rabbi and attempted to exalt and magnify him above G-d.

  59. ברוס permalink
    January 11, 2015 8:30 am

    Christianity as a whole does NOT know how to work the commandments of G-d…..

    Christianity has no, family purity laws, laws on money, laws on love and peace and how to work within all that etc etc etc…

    The video starts at 12:00min mark but I encourage you to watch the whole 16min…. These are random people in Israel asked “Who is Jesus to them” the 12:06min mark man gives a good analysis in my opinion about christianity. http://youtu.be/UCUxTFt8pB0?t=12m

  60. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 11, 2015 11:09 am

    Yeah, I’ve seen that video. It’s a good one. I agree that Jesus has been way too wrapped in theology, and that Christians (by and large) lack the tools. They do have many manuals of discipline which reflect many practical laws, like the Didache. but my point was, some Jews could have believed this stuff at one time in the past, and some did. We know this because similar ideas still exist, and have emerged from Judaism.

    There is much rhetoric that suggests that everything was later gentile innovation, or borne out of hostility, but many positive views too. I view many distinctive Christian doctrines as rooted in biblical ideas, but being spread to non biblical cultures, in forms that they could grasp, who couldn’t grasp certain ideas as is. So, for instance, the trinity explains to polytheists how it is that a deity can be wholly other than anything, and yet be said to be personal, and invested in human affairs. If you read polytheistic polemic against monotheism, they often just don’t see how the attributes G-d has in scripture make any sense, unless you say, G-d doesn’t exist. In other words, an omnipotent deity makes no sense in polytheistic world views, just as creation out of nothing makes no sense to them.

  61. January 11, 2015 8:49 pm

    CR, you’ve stated on numerous occasions that no religion has the whole truth. Do you believe that Judaism is an equal partner with its so called “daughter” religions, like Christianity (in all its forms) and Islam (in all its forms), or is there something special and unique about Judaism that separates it from all the others?

  62. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 11, 2015 9:42 pm

    There is a lot that is unique and beautiful about Judaism, that seperates it from other traditions, but I don’t think its down to just one thing like the emphasis on national revelation that tradition emphasizes. Some of the very unique special things.

    1. Halacha: Far from a mere system of law, Halacha incorporates ethics, philosophy, and an inbuilt diversity that preserves the community, while at the same time allowing for a mature pluralistic universal tendency. ( many schools of thought, room for inclusion of Gentiles, AS GENTILES, and ( in theory at least) room for the tradition to breathe with change over time.

    2. The sibling religions: Judaism has undeniably impacted the world through the birth of its siblings’ although the merit doesn’t exclusively belong to Judaism alone, Christianity and Islam. Though Christianity has distinctive ideas from the perspective of Judaism, there is a clear historical link that cannot reasonably be ignored in the present time. Without Judaism, Western civilization would be far far different. It’s important though that a very persistent Torah idea is that G- d is not confined to any one culture. Islam was largely responsible for preserving the great works of Greek Philosophy and renewing the traditions of commentary on these texts, as well as being a friend to Jews in years like 1492, and the rest of the Middle Ages.

    3. Judaism is often credited with giving the world monotheism, but it seems to me that this is simplistic, not wrong, but giving misleading emphasis. Judaism’s gift was far greater than postulating a monistic source for everything. Hashem in the Bible is The Deity par excellence, the totality, but unlike every other culture and deity, (even other monotheistic cultures and cults like that of ancient egypt’s Aten cult,) G-d is deemed in Judaism to have a vested interest in the moral development of the human being, is ABOVE NATURE and he values all life that he has created without respect of persons and rank. His injunctions are also unimpeachable because, the knowledge of him is accessible to all people, and the comprehension of him,is to “see him.” This is in principle, the purpose of Torah, to dispel any notion of caste or hierarchy, beyond what belongs exclusively to G-d. Scripture inverted the typical polytheist paradigm to show its errors. Polytheistic cultures commonly assumed the supreme value and hierarchical authority of the kings and the priests in a chaotic natural order. Pharoah, Caesar, Nebuchadnezzar, and their priests, Kim Jung Un, The Khans, etc. all cemented the ideas of the pecking order, the caste, the natural order of things, that they alone are not subject to. Order that only applies to some is no order. G-d’s kings by contrast are not king by rank, or birth, but by merit of their faithfulness. His priests, the kohanim are even forbidden a share of the land, delegated to the other tribes of Israel, so that the landed aristocratic theocracy of other nations is avoided, and with that, the great evils that result from such.

  63. January 11, 2015 9:50 pm

    Yes, Judaism is an equal partner, not only by virtue of its antiquity, but by virtue of the extensive role it plays in history. The central element that Christianity misses as awesome in Judaism is the value and duty of practical Halacha for Jews, that even their founder testifies to.

  64. January 11, 2015 9:57 pm

    Also Gene, it’s not a question of possessing the truth, or even of the truth’s existence, it’s a matter of our constantly laying hold of it for power, gain, and the “RIGHT” Just because we know Hashem, it does not make us his sole hand of authority. The error that all religions make is that they play G- d, rather than letting G-d act on his own. It’s not our job to police, to bash, to convert. G-d has us act by our example.

  65. January 12, 2015 11:51 am

    CR, what is the traditional Eastern Orthodox eschatology, do you subscribe to it, and where does Israel fit into it, if it does at all?

  66. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 12, 2015 8:39 pm

    The eastern Church is still very pervaded by replacement theology, but it’s mostly because it regards the truth “Catholic” ie as universal, not a matter of national aspiration, and off course, doesn’t have exposure to other traditions. (All religions suffer from this same problem to some degree, by virtue of belief) (I don’t subscribe to replacement theology at all,) but unlike the western Churches, the eastern Churches preserve VERY very important ecclesiological and eschatological notions that the Roman Church, and Protestant Churches have lost sight of for various mostly secular driven reasons.

    The most important distinction between the east and west is the whole approach to what “salvation” even means. Salvation, is not a static state of certainty in the east, but is a dynamic one, that involves moral actions of people. if you live the life of Christ and the Church, you may well be “saved.” Living the life of the Church is regarded as sacramental living, but sacramental life is directly tied to moral life,
    1 Corinthians 11:29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. Christians are required to keep various moral, and ritual norms, ( Acts 15, the epistles, the didache, didascalia, etc.) Such a person who did not “discern the body ” was Simon the magician, who tried to buy the blessing of the apostles.

    Simon is the perfect example of the religious Christian who plays the part, and says the words, but doesn’t discern how one ought to follow. It’s also very important to note that in classical Christianity, there was NO SUCH THING AS ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED. If you are in the fold not discerning the gift of grace, odds are, you don’t have it.

    If you are “outside the Church,” the Church teaches along with Paul, (Romans 2:14) Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.

    The Church teaches that all peoples (Christians and non Christians,) are made in G-d’s image and governed by what s called the Spermitokos Logos, (seed of Reason,) and that, because of this, some central truths about G-d are found in all religions, all nations, of whom they believe Christ is the fullness.

    If it were not so that G-d worked through all nations, and taught all peoples the truth of him in their societies, he could not truly be said to righteously judge humanity. For instance, There are many people in the world who have never even heard of Judaism, or Christianity. Orthodox believe that G-d has given everyone the measure of the knowledge of him, with no respect of persons so that all may know him.

    http://stgeorgegreenville.org/OurFaith/Articles/Paradise&Hell%20-Mellitos.pdf Here is the orthodox view of “hell.” Notice that it is non dualistic, and G-d is master in both heaven and hell. Satan, evil angels, wars in heaven, etc. follow a model that is far more similar to the accounts found in 1 Enoch, and certain of the Midrashim. Ie some of the angels chose to rebel, (Azazel) and G-d afterward, chose to place them in the station of tempting people.

    The ideas of Augustine that we somehow share in the guilt of Adam’s sin are excluded in Eastern Orthodox theology. Man is believed to have an inclination to sin, but a person is guilty for his own sins. That said, ALL HUMANS DIE as a result of Adam’s transgression, (whether righteous or wicked.) It is in this sense that humans have the consequence of “original sin.”

    Atonement is also treated very differently in Eastern Orthodoxy. Unlike anselm’s preoccupation with wrath and blood as appeasement , the eastern church emphasizes Christus Victor. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christus_Victor

    The power of “satan” was only to tempt to sin, which leads people captive to death. Christ’s victory was purportedly in loosening the power of death. In the Christus victor model of the atonement, your response to Jesus’ life in faith is more important than a tacit acceptance of some blood vaccine. In other words, in the west, Jesus and salvation are treated as a matter of intellectual assent, while in the east, it’s a lived out liturgical reality. A person is not “saved” if they are not Christ like.

  67. Remi permalink
    January 13, 2015 11:45 am

    Dear concern reader, so why did Jesus died as an atonement for sins if you have to keep up with the sacrament and everything else? Isn’t the new-testament states “For we are saved by grace through faith, and it is NOT by work, lest you boast”. It contradict the very nature of the new-testament. I had to reject the new testament because of the idolatry of worshipping a man as a god, but the doctrine of salvation by grace alone is definitively in the new testament if you believe it.

  68. ברוס permalink
    January 13, 2015 1:01 pm

    @Remi — Generally the book of hebrews [chapter 9] is used as an argument from anyone who “believes” in yeshua that by his [yeshua’s] blood, our sin is atoned for [meaning all humanity]. This message sounds nice to the unlearned but once you examine and see for yourself the book of hebrews, as well as the validity of the NT has no root in the Tanach. ZERO

    G-d has NEVER cared about sacrifices if they weren’t done with out first repenting [teshuvah] of your sins, and confession of sins. Sacrifices had no remedy for atoning for ones sins. G-d wanted repentance and changing of the ways of the sinner before sacrifices being brought. [Goes for Jew and gentile]. Here are some scripture from the Hebrew bible that support this [Please look these up yourself and read it]:

    Proverbs 15:8; 21:3
    Isaiah 1:11 & 16
    Amos 5:22-24
    Micah 6:6-8
    Psalm 51:15-17
    Jeremiah 7:3-7
    1st Samuel 15:22
    Hosea 6:6

    Daniel 4:24 (G-d shows here that Gentiles or Nations can be forgiven immediately if they change there ways and follow HaShem.) Jonah 3:7-10 is another example of how HUMANITY was created by G-d to repent and follow Him. Needing no Messiah or Sacrifices to do so.

    Ezekiel 18:21-23 shows that even the wicked can be forgiven if they repent, and G-d says they will live if they choose to turn to Him (G-d). Ezekiel 33:10-11. Isaiah 55:6-7.

    Study the Tanach & more importantly get out and LIVE it, continue in or begin to learn hebrew, seek to empower those who have a question, most of christianity’s arguments come from english translations (which have heavy inaccuracy) they don’t present there arguments from greek or hebrew, so by you empowering your self in the language of hebrew you’ve already have drawn closer to HaShem, and as you live it out, you become a living presence of G-d.

    Christianity and Islam both believe yeshua is returning thats 3.7billion people who believe this man is coming back in some way or fashion but somehow the Jewish people are blind? When both of christianity and islam have had to borrow from the Hebrew bible to invent there religions.

    As Gene told me…… Run away from the idolatry, don’t walk. Stay empowered friend, don’t be intimidated by the majorities defensiveness and judgementalism of the others, G-d loves them to and will awaken them of there error soon enough (Jeremiah 16:19), but we have been awaken early so we can live for HaShem unhindered in the mission he has for us.

    Study Torah and then LIVE it!!! Its a joy its fun, its enriching and is incomparable!!

    The Joy HaShem brings to those who seek Him.

  69. January 13, 2015 1:08 pm

    Bruce, I think Remi is quite well on the right path. It is inspiring to see former Christians who left their worship of man despite facing great psychological and social pressures, yet have not traded their Christianity for indifference, agnosticism or atheism, but have clung to the G-d of Israel even stronger.

  70. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 13, 2015 1:16 pm

    but the doctrine of salvation by grace alone is definitively in the new testament if you believe
    it.

    Remi

    In context Paul is not saying grace without deeds, but without works. Works means in the context, community affiliation. The whole argument was whether Gentiles needed conversion to Judaism. The whole history of classical Christianity (apart from Protestantism) knows that deeds are necessary to be saved, because faith without works is dead being alone.

    See this site. Protestants do not read the totality of scripture, and they give no ear to the received tradition of the Churches.

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/assurance-of-salvation

  71. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 13, 2015 1:17 pm

    G-d has NEVER cared about sacrifices if they weren’t done with out first repenting [teshuvah] of your sins, and confession of sins. Sacrifices had no remedy for atoning for ones sins. G-d wanted repentance and changing of the ways of the sinner before sacrifices being brought. [

    Amen

  72. Remi permalink
    January 13, 2015 1:26 pm

    Concern reader

    As per Non-testament belief, the whole point of Jesus’ sacrifice was to atone for sin once for all. Romans 1 is clear (even if it twist the Tanakh), Paul said that we cannot keep the law, and for those who tried, Jesus serves them nothing. As per non-testament, The holy spirit indwells the new believer in Jesus, and allows them to keep Jesus commandment (Some say torah). They (the believer in Jesus) are New creatures, born again, dead to the flesh.

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, [a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    I have seen to many xtians to see that none have the holy spirit as per what the new testament said. Everybody disagree with doctrines, and talks against one another etc. That was actually for me, one of many reason why I had to throw the non-testament. Where are the miracles, where are the people who walk in unity and strive not to sin?

    I am still looking for them :)

  73. January 13, 2015 1:31 pm

    I think that CR, coming from Eastern Orthodoxy, introduces some interpretations that are in variance with those espoused by Protestant Evangelicalism, a sect of Christianity from which the majority if not all of messianics hail. Most messianics can’t relate to Eastern Orthodoxy, which has been, for the most part, confined to Greece and some of the Slavic nations (along with a relatively small recent diaspora in the West). Combining EO theology with his own decidedly unorthodox take on most things allows CR to thwart being pin down or be seen as being committed to any specific doctrine:)

  74. ברוס permalink
    January 13, 2015 1:38 pm

    Correct Gene :-) and @Remi, view my comment as encouragement to you brother!

    CR— Is he [yeshua] your sin atonement? yay or nay

  75. Remi permalink
    January 13, 2015 1:58 pm

    Amen Bruce. Nice bible verses. They are clear and unambiguous, comprehensive, direct and straightforward and consistent in doctrine :)

    http://jewsforjudaism.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Contra-Brown.pdf

  76. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 13, 2015 2:04 pm

    You all do realize that orthodox and Catholic Christianity are significantly older than the Protestant denominations right? That these Churches codified Christian texts? Also, Christianity has never been homogeneous any more than Judaism has been. I don’t get “pinned down” because while I appreciate different denominational approaches, they and their politics do not rule history, nor my faith.

  77. January 13, 2015 2:09 pm

    CR— Is he [yeshua] your sin atonement? yay or nay

    Even if he is the atonement, if you don’t follow his example, his sacrifice is as ineffectual as any sacrifice in Tanakh without Teshuvah. Notice that the NT says, “ALL WILL RISE, some to everlasting life, some to death. Some will RISE to death, but ALL WILL RISE.

  78. ברוס permalink
    January 13, 2015 2:11 pm

    Thanks for the link Remi…

    Okay CR setting aside the orthodox christianity and catholic christianity…. What do you find authoritative from G-d:

    The Tanach?

    or

    The Tanach & NT?

    If thats not simple enough heres a simpler question, is yeshua relevant to your walk with the G-d of Israel? yay or nay

    Sincere minds want to know. :-)

  79. Remi permalink
    January 13, 2015 2:14 pm

    Dear Concerned Reader.

    I don’t think anybody hear is here to convince you the Protestant are right as I think nobody believes the non-testament. The real question you have to ask yourself is “Was Jesus G-d?” Is worshipping Jesus Idolatry? Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them Deut 11:16 Was Jesus at Mount Sinai? Deut 4

    Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” 11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 And the Lord directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.
    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, 16 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, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.

    Are you braking the first commandment with status, cross, pictures of saints and Mary and Jesus worship?

    If you arrive at the conclusion that you are worshipping the true god, then it’s ok, But we will have warned you (Ezekiel 3:18) that according to the Tanakh, you are not.

  80. ברוס permalink
    January 13, 2015 2:28 pm

    I second Remi…. Judaism as a faith and living before G-d, has NEVER called His followers (Jews or B’nei Noach) to convince people or “save” them or any practices which are common in any-type of christian theology.

    I’m just seriously curious to your position.

    I won’t hesitate to say I came out of christianity (messianic judaism) and AM proud to say I follow the G-d of Israel as HE [G-d] has said to follow Him, not what I thought was right or logical in my own eyes but what HIS Torah said.

    I’m blessed to have came across Gene and his patiences in answering my questions and causing me to examine myself with regards to the NT. And also I’m blessed for my Jewish friend in MT who left MJ 2 years ago after seeing what The Tanach had to say about these christian concepts.

    I’m genuinely curious about your position with yeshua (no judgement or ridicule attached). Is he [yeshua] your guy or your extra guy with G-d leading the way? or does he have no relevancy to you?

    :-)

  81. January 13, 2015 5:00 pm

    I’m of the position that the Torah is for the Jewish people, and also for anyone else who chooses it, and also that Jesus and his earliest students observed it. This is verifiable from history and cannot be ignored by rational people. That being the case, there is nothing that Jews can’t get from Judaism. Stay Jewish, there is goodness and blessing in Judaism.

    That said, the impact of Jesus on western civilization, spreading the knowledge of scripture, and his movement leading to the downfall of European polytheism, cannot be ignored by anyone as a genuine redemptive experience for non Jews. Jesus may be nothing to Jews, but he did a great deal for Gentiles, and that’s not nothing. Gentile Christians have the experience of knowing that they no longer worship Zeus, Krishna, Dagon, Tammuz, etc. they may pray in Jesus’ name, but as the Meiri said, “the Christians are of those constrained by the matters of religion.” In Meiri’s view, (and in mine) it is disingenuous to try and draw parallels between ancient polytheisms and Christianity, or Judaism. Any similarity that exists with polytheism is only skin deep. I say this having studied comparative religions in college and getting my degree in it.

    Even in mainstream trinitarian Christianity (where Jesus is seen as G-d,) this does not mean in the context of the church tradition that Hashem is limited to Jesus, or Christianity. In other words, Jesus’ “deity” does not mean “only Jesus.”

    Mainstream Jewish beliefs such as

    1. Divine incorporeality
    2. Divine unity
    3. The reality of G-d’s revealed will and purpose for humans,

    Are all maintained by traditional Christianity and patristics, despite distinctive doctrines like the trinity and incarnation, or the virgin birth.

    Apparently Distinctive Christian beliefs in the “Son of G-d,” a dying redeemer, a return, or atonement through righteous suffering are not really foreign to historic Judaism, as we know from reading Philo, the Targums, the DSS, and from seeing certain notions found throughout Jewish philosophy (Rambam’s active intellect,) and the Sar Ha Panim (Metatron, whose name is like that of his master.) We know that certain more modern sects like Chabad, in messianism (rightly or wrongly) have (while Jewish and observant) held to what appears certain “Christian” ideas.

    Basically, I am of the view that given the available historical information, it is not implausible that authentic Judaism in the time of Jesus could have created a Christian like theology or faith system. It is a product of its context. Ideas like those of a messiah who dies, a figure who comes back ie (resurrection of David, Moses, the coming of Elijah, etc.) all illustrate a profound historical connection.

    What this means, is that I don’t have to argue with your perspective, and I can understand their perspective. There is historic basis for both positions, that we can see relatively objectively.

  82. Remi permalink
    January 13, 2015 5:17 pm

    Dear concern reader, it is either or, not both. Jesus said “I am the (only) way, the (only) truth and the (only) life”. So if the non-testament is true, everybody have to bow before Jesus and everybody will bow down to him. Jesus will send everybody that does not believe in him in Hell, that includes all the Jews that follow torah (Because they follow their father the devil), your mother, brother and children that have not accepted him. If Judaism is right, Xtianity worship a creature, not the Creator. Throughout the scripture, there is no middle ground. I do think that Jesus was a Torah observant jew, that his follower were jewish and some of his teaching come from Judaism. Now, something went wrong in the way and pagan doctrines went and mixed with the early follower of Jesus. They had to explain why the messiah died. So, they invented the Virgin birth, The Logos (Word) (See John 1:1 and Philo), the Trinity, Man-god, human sin atonement, the resurrection, and Dualism (Evil against good), which are all pagan. But the non-testament came from judaism in the first place.

  83. Remi permalink
    January 13, 2015 5:25 pm

    For the trinity, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentinus_%28Gnostic%29#Trinity
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_deity
    For the Logos of John 1:1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo
    Virgin birth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_births
    Dying-and rising god: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying-and-rising_god

    Please let me know, maybe I missed some more paganism in xtianity

  84. Remi permalink
    January 13, 2015 5:29 pm

    Oh I forgot, the Egyptians worshipped lambs. So when the L-rd asked to sacrifice a lamb on the first passover, He was asking the Israelites to actually kill one Egyptian god. Now Jesus is called the Passover lamb who takes the sin of the world. But male lamb is never used as a sin sacrifice, only the female. So actually the Lamb (Jesus) worship is also pagan.

  85. ברוס permalink
    January 13, 2015 6:19 pm

    Cool CR sounds like your some type of universalist, you have your own unique way of associating with multiple cultures, beliefs, etc… Without being tied or committed to one in particular. Your the unbiased / in-between individual, since your only aligence is to yourself and your idea of G-d.

    That’s the reason you give exhaustive answers to basic yes or no questions. Because you’ve developed a ideology that can’t be so simply defined. Which equates to an inability to say yes or no.

    Your involvement in blogs of this nature is for the pure reason of discovering new view points, different aspects of “religion” that can infuse your practice of Psudo, Eastern, Judaic, Christian, Messianic, Hellenistic, Zen pure view of life.

    Questions like mine, don’t appear relevant to you because that forces what you’ve developed to be defined.

    Am I reading you correctly?

    Anyway , The G-d of Israel is able to use all types to further His plan.

    Keeping having fun on your journey.

  86. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 14, 2015 4:24 am

    Remi, did you even read the wiki link you posted for the article on dying and rising gods? Here is an excerpt.

    Scholarly Criticism

    The very existence of the category “dying-and-rising-god” was debated throughout the 20th century, most modern scholars questioning the soundness of the category.[2] [17] At the end of the 20th century the overall scholarly consensus had emerged against the soundness of the reasoning used to suggest the category.

    In plain English, it says, the people who study comparative mythology all their lives in the field, these various religions, find the parallels you and others suggest linking Christianity to polytheism to be pretty inaccurate.

    Everything that I’ve said is backed up by sources Remi. The fact that you insert “only” into Jesus’ statements shows you already have a bias. It does not say only in the book does it?You say I am some kind of universalist. Do you know what the word Catholic means? It’s from the Greek Katholikos, and it literally does mean universal. Imagine that? ;)

  87. January 14, 2015 9:01 am

    CR, in that Wikipedia article, when you look under the Talk and Edit history tabs, it becomes obvious that the statements made in that article defending the supposed “lack of consensus” came from indignant Christian volunteer editors who were trying to “balance” the article. Such is Wikipedia:)

  88. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 14, 2015 9:57 pm

    indignant Christian volunteer editors

    Lol Give me a break Gene. Are you serious? The problem with your little theory there is that there indeed is a vast number of scholars that know zeitgeist like claims are 100% Bogus. And why? They rely on people who have actually read the old myths, dug in the dirt, and have studied.

    It’s funny how quickly people fly to conspiracy theories to explain away evidence they don’t like. BTW the wikipedia isn’t the best source of information, but this article has what? Actual Citations.

  89. January 15, 2015 9:20 am

    “It’s funny how quickly people fly to conspiracy theories to explain away evidence they don’t like.”

    CR, I think that the New Testament is filled with “conspiracy theories” against the Jewish people, don’t you?

  90. Remi permalink
    January 15, 2015 11:54 am

    Dear concern reader. It’s true that I have not read the wikipedia link before I sent it. Nevertheless, I checked the link and check the story of each and every god on britannica a few months ago. You can see that a god dying and coming back in a way or another is not uncommon in the pagan world. You may just do the exercise yourself and read the story of each and every god. The story is a bit different than Jesus, but you will see some similarity as well.
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/47227/Baal
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/582039/Tammuz

  91. Concerned Reader permalink
    January 15, 2015 12:24 pm

    Remi, the problem with drawing those kinds of parallels is that they ignore a lot of detail, and those kind of parallels can be drawn between Judaism and polytheism too. Similarities like that are skin deep.

  92. Remi permalink
    January 15, 2015 12:31 pm

    Dear concern reader, there is only one truth. I arrived at the conclusion that only the Tanakh was inspired, you may arrived at another conclusion. I did believe in the NT, but not any more. Each has to worship the Creator of the universe with a true heart and seek the scriptures to know the truth. Could you please point out where in the Tanakh there is paganism? I don’t see it.

  93. January 15, 2015 12:43 pm

    “those kind of parallels can be drawn between Judaism and polytheism too. Similarities like that are skin deep.”

    CR, there may be similarities that are indeed skin deep (and they are not even worth pointing out , e.g. pagans had priests and Judaism had priests), and then there are SIMILARITIES that go much, much deeper, far more profound and far more startling, to the point that they make one go “ummm”. Such is the case with Christianity with its conceived-by-god virgin-born demigod savior tri-headed dying and resurrecting blood-drinking-to-become-one-with lamb-worshiping man-sacrificing religion.

  94. Yehuda Yisrael permalink
    February 2, 2015 4:18 pm

    Hey Bruce, did you ever watch my debate with Dr. Michael Brown? I had the opportunity to meet him and ask him a few questions after his speech at Ohio State. I think you’ll find it very interesting!

    Shalom and G-d bless!

  95. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 3, 2015 2:30 pm

    Hebrews too says ALMOST ALWAYS without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness also Yehuda. Life for a life is in the Tanakh Yehuda, anyone can see it. How do you make sense of theodicy (the problem of evil) if there is no atoning aspect to death?

  96. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 3, 2015 2:34 pm

    “through his death and not his blood.” ? The life of the soul is in the blood, according to scripture Yehuda. You can’t compartmentalize blood and death in the case of the city of refuge.

  97. February 3, 2015 2:53 pm

    “Hebrews too says ALMOST ALWAYS without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”

    CR, no, it doesn’t say it this way. Here’s what it does say:

    1. “under the law almost everything is purified with blood” – the “almost always” part appears to refer only to other things under the law, considering that some things, including things that are not sins, can be purified by fire or water, etc.

    But now the author drags in the man-god sacrifice into the picture:

    2. “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” – the absolute part – SINS are no forgiven without blood, period, according to the anonymous church scribe who penned Hebrews, not “almost always”. Which is, of course, patent nonsense, as you yourself know quite well.

  98. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 3, 2015 4:00 pm

    Then why don’t all Christians read the book that way Gene? You are reading into the text Augustine’s view of substitutionary atonment, because you were exposed to evangelical fundamentalism. You are compartmentalizing the verses, reading Hebrews on its own, without the rest of the NT. Look at what else Hebrews says about how Christians can lose salvation. There is more than one way to read the text.

  99. February 3, 2015 4:10 pm

    CR, you are assuming textual and inspired consistency in the Christian bible, even in the face of blatant (and important) contradictory ideas – I do not. The verse you reworded doesn’t say what you think it should say in order to make the words consistent with some other notion elsewhere in the NT, much less with the Hebrew Bible.

  100. February 3, 2015 4:49 pm

    “Then why don’t all Christians read the book that way Gene?”

    CR, that’s a good question for Christians of various denominations to discuss among themselves, but really not very important to a Jewish person. Besides, most Jews who convert to Christianity are in Evangelicalism/Messianic-Judaism, and it’s more important to me (for the purposes of this blog) to be aware how that part of Christianity operates. That’s why I don’t make too many posts about Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy (unless they have to do with past) – they no longer actively missionize among Jews and very few Jews today find these groups appealing.

  101. Yehuda Yisrael permalink
    February 3, 2015 7:33 pm

    Concerned Reader,

    I’d be quite “concerned” if I were you, considering the fact that if your interpretation of Hebrews 9:22 is what the author originally intended, then jesus essentially died in vain…

    See, it is quite evident to most christians that if jesus’s blood is not the ONLY legitimate means of true atonement, then jesus died in vain! Dr. Brown recognizes this, and this is why he refused to back down after I called him out on the falsehood of Hebrews 9:22. He knew that if he tried to make exceptions for other means of atonement outside of his supposed atoning “jesus blood,” (such as Daniel’s prayers during the first exile) he would essentially be admitting that jesus is not “the only way to the father,” as your NT so brazenly (and falsely) claims…

    So if you are going to concede that blood sacrifice/death is NOT THE ONLY means of atonement, then what need do we have for jesus?

    We have no need for jesus, CR…No need at all…

  102. ברוס permalink
    February 3, 2015 9:37 pm

    Hey Yehudah! Yes I’ve listened to some of your discussion with brown. Keep it up bro!

    This christian like many messianic’s are really aren’t as skilled as they think they are.

    I’ve learned as you have, that if we know hebrew and study Torah diligently, we can easily dispel xtians ideas about our Bible. These guys prey on emotional victims and unlearned people to convince them that yoshke is the “messiah”.

    xtians and mooslims need to see some basic logic.

    1.) There “holy” text can’t survive without the Jewish bible [especially christians]. Mooslims have the 4 gospels and our Torah but they have the audacity to say there’s is the right version and not us. I just got done explaining to one of them that Deut 18:18 isn’t about moohammed and Shir HaSharim 5:16 isn’t “hinting” or “secretly revealing” the name of moohammed in hebrew. smh lol it’s crazy how 3.3billion people think yoshke is coming back.

    2.) Jews have been surviving without Yoshke/mooohamed and will continue to do so because HaShem is our strength and our savior.

    Both of those religions are similar, they’re religions started by prophets and ask there followers to follow them till death.

    Also its sad that Mr.Brown is doing a straw mans game of “Melech-tzadiq” to prove their god and savior….. They need the jewish bible. but the jewish bible does’t need them. Thats a proven verifiable fact! No “type” and “shadow” there. lol

    Shalom bro

    P.S. If you sense frustration, I’m just tired of the deception and moooslims and xtians thinking they got it right. Nothing directed towards you.

    Also other messianics need to leave chabad alone, if anyone is around chabad they don’t flaunt the rebbe around if at all and not in the sense of xtians claims.

    As gene told me, they need to resort and distort a 18th century movement to “prove” its a jewish concept,

  103. remi4321 permalink
    February 4, 2015 11:43 am

    Amen Bruce. When I came out of the closet (that I did not believe in Yeshua) at my congregation, the first preaching actually call all those that don’t believe in Yeshua “Stupid”. It is all manipulation. You’ll go to hell if you don’t believe in Jesus. Jesus loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. All you need is a simple prayer and all your sins will be forgiven and you will not finish in hell. You are soooo stupid to refuse Yeshua. He died for your sins, you’ll finish in hell… And it goes on and on all the time. They always use the same 10 or so prophecies to prove Jesus. Psalm 2, 22, 110, Daniel 9, Isaiah 53, Micah 5:2, and a few more that they repeat interchangeably to prove their point. They have just enough for it not to look like an old broken record.

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