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Three reasons why Jesus’ claimed resurrection became so important to Christianity

February 23, 2015

caravaggio-thomasSome time ago one of the blog readers asked me to opine, as a former Jesus-believer and worshiper, on why I thought resurrection of Jesus became such an important event in Christian theology.

So, here are three reasons why I think Christianity placed such paramount importance on Jesus’ resurrection:

1. It allowed Christians to proclaim Jesus as still very much alive, both as god in the flesh and one who is in communion with G-d the Father. Being now forever alive, although a mortal man during his lifetime, Jesus became a divine figure which could be prayed to and worshiped as a deity. Of course, to the Jewish mind, such a notion was and remains idolatrous. It’s also important to note, however, that with proliferation of venerated (and oft petitioned) departed saints and martyrs within Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, dead holy men who are seen as very much “alive” but only as spirits without bodies, Jesus’ own supposed bodily resurrection vs. a “mere” spiritual ascension doesn’t seem as so important or as practical a distinction for traditional Christians.

That it to say that it is not at all certain that the earliest Christians believed that Jesus was bodily resurrected. The earliest gospel we have in our possession, of Mark, doesn’t end with anyone seeing the resurrected Jesus at all, either in physical body or as a spirit. It seems that few Christians are even aware of this! Later church scribes, no doubt troubled by this glaring omission, added their own (if somewhat bizarre, as some readers note) ending of Jesus’ resurrected appearance as can be seen in all NIV versions.

Other synoptic gospels (Matthew and Luke) have Jesus behaving like a spirit. He appears out of nowhere and not even recognizable. Matthew 28:17 claims that some of those who “saw” the “resurrected” Jesus doubted it was him.

Paul was only seeing visions of “spiritual” Jesus since the physical Jesus had already ascended to the heavens by then according to the New Testmanent. However, this did not prevent Paul from claiming in 1 Corinthians 15 to have “seen Jesus”, just like the Apostles did:

He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.

Since Paul never met the resurrected Jesus “in the flesh” (who by then already ascended to G-d, according to the New Testament), this brings into question how exactly Jesus appeared to the apostles to begin with, as a spirit or as a flesh-and-blood man?!

As already noted, Mark ends abruptly without anyone (at least no one human) seeing Jesus in the flesh after he has risen. Oddly enough, only when we turn to the so called “spiritual” gospel of John (the one that disagrees with the synoptic gospels in most factual and historical details), a work written at the end of the first or even perhaps at the beginning of second century that we see Jesus endowed with a truly physical body that can be touched, complete with wounds from the crucifixion, a body capable of eating food and even preparing breakfast for others! Jesus even tells his disciples that’s he no disembodied ghost!

2. The claimed bodily resurrection of Jesus served to the later Christians as confirmation and approval of his authority from G-d Himself. In the gospels, Jesus’ miraculous exploits served as confirmations that he was indeed from G-d (and not from the other “god”, that is Satan). Jesus specifically told those who questioned his authority to believe him because of his works (John 14:11). We might as well ask the following question: can there be such awesome things as miraculous healing and even resurrection without G-d approving of the person? Well….. according to the Book of Revelation the answer is yes! In Revelation:13:2-3 we see that (the Christian version of) Satan apparently has the power to heal and resuscitate! (I know, I know… it’s just a weird apocalyptic vision, but still…).

3. Resurrection of Jesus is important to Christianity because gives Christians assurance that because Jesus was resurrected from the dead, they too will one day be resurrected by Jesus upon his return. Jesus is referred to in the New Testament as a “firstborn from the dead” (Revelation 1:5). Of course, it’s easy to overlook that Jesus was not “mere man” but “god” and the “fact” that he lives on forever after his death in whatever form is not such a great achievement for a deity – many demigods of ancient religions had achieved this feat. Besides all this, most readers of the Hebrew Bible are already familiar with a few examples of the miraculously resurrected “truly human” dead. This means that even if Jesus was resurrected, he was not a pioneer in this particular area. Prophet Elijah resurrected the son of a widow. A dead man who touched the bones of Elisha also sprung back to life. Some object that their resurrections were not permanent and that they still died later one. However, in the Hebrew Bible we even have some people going up into heaven to be with G-d (long before Jesus supposed ascent to heaven) in way a superior way to Jesus’, that is even without first dying. These men are Enoch and Elijah.

As far as Jews are concerned, the great and permanent Resurrection will only happen at the very End, right before the so called Messianic Age. That Jesus, according to Christianity and without any outside evidence to confirm his resurrection as fact (quite conveniently, only his followers ever saw him alive after his execution!), got there first is meaningless to Jews – what good does it do for those who have been awaiting their turn for thousands of years and will not be resurrected any faster or better? They certainly didn’t need G-d Himself to make Himself into a man, to die and get resurrected just to confirm to them He would one day raise them from the dead. From a Jewish point of view, few things can be as absurd as that.

As for me personally, when I was a Christian/Messianic Jew, of course I fully believed (as is required by Christianity to be a believer in good standing) that Jesus was resurrected in a body. It was important to me for the same reasons I outlined above. After all, I trusted Paul who said in 1 Corinthians 15:19 that if Jesus didn’t get resurrected, the religion that Paul had been propagating was hopeless, so much so that Paul and his converts were “of all men most miserable”. I now see that Paul was right.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. remi4321 permalink
    February 23, 2015 11:39 am

    A SPOKESPERSON for the Vatican has officially announced today that the second coming of Jesus, the only son of the God, may not happen now after all, but urged followers to still continue with their faith, regardless of the news.
    Cardinal Giorgio Salvadore told WWN that this years 1,981st anniversary is to be the Vatican’s last in regards to waiting for the Lord to return to Earth.
    “We just feel Jesus is not coming back by the looks of it.” he said. “It’s been ages like. He’s probably flat out doing other really good things for people somewhere else.”
    Nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus promised his disciples that he would come again in chapter John 14:1-3 of the bible: “There are many homes up where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with Me where I am. If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly”
    The Vatican defended Jesus’ broken promise, claiming “he was probably drinking wine” at the time when he made the comments.
    “Having the ability to turn water into wine had its ups and its downs.” added Cardinal Salvadore. “We all make promises we can’t keep when we’re drunk. Jesus was no different.”
    The church said it will now focus attentions on rebuilding its reputation around the world, but will keep an optimistic mind for the savior’s second coming.

  2. February 23, 2015 11:43 am

    Remi, haha, funny yet still somehow sad.

    Some Christians, like C.S. Lewis, had a more sober and serious look at the reality of Jesus’ failed claims.

  3. marko permalink
    February 23, 2015 10:36 pm

    Remi, you do know that the site you linked is satirical, not actual news…

  4. February 23, 2015 10:40 pm

    I think it’s a rather obvious satire, Marko.

  5. marko permalink
    February 23, 2015 10:54 pm

    Just checking. : )

  6. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 12:08 am

    That Jesus, according to Christianity and without any outside evidence to confirm his resurrection as fact (quite conveniently, only his followers ever saw him alive after his execution!), got there first is meaningless to Jews.

    The only people who actually experienced and documented the Exodus event and G-d speaking at Har Sinai were Jews who already believed in G-d as taught by their ancestor Abraham, so it doesn’t seem like the evidence stacks up either way, because nobody’s faith position has unbiased evidence available from a neutral outside party. No disrespect meant btw Gene. Its just curious that faith claims have to rely on philosophical argument and presupposition, ancestral experience and transmission, etc. when everything else in life is more broadly investigatable.

  7. February 24, 2015 12:26 am

    At the very least the Hebrew Bible (that you already believe as do most Christians, so I don’t have to prove it to you) CLAIMS that the miracles which G-d did in Egypt were witnessed by Jews and Egyptians alike, believers and unbelievers, indeed by millions of people, including all the heads of tribes and all leaders of Jewish people, the millions of others who were still alive when Torah was written down, at least in part. Naturally, the NT writers wouldn’t dare make a similar grandious claims since they could be easily disproven by people still living during the decades after Jesus, so they had to do with Jesus’ immediate circle, who were probably all long dead or killed by Romans for ties to insurrection when the gospels were penned.

    Besides, even the NT doesn’t claim that anyone witnessed the resurrection itself, and Mark, the earliest gospel we have, doesn’t even record evidence of post- resurrection Jesus. And in the rest of the NT we read that some people didn’t even recognize Jesus or believed it was him, according to the NT authors themselves. Very fuzzy “evidence” indeed.

  8. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 1:13 am

    Umm I don’t accept the NT Gene so your point in that regard of their acceptance is moot. Also, you don’t have millions of witnesses, you have one book and one national people that say that “believers and unbelievers witnessed an event.”

    Nothing outside of your bible and faith community tradition corroborates the claim you make about an Exodus, no Egyptian sources independently attest to it, no egyptian rival kingdoms mention it. The bible doesn’t even tell us which Pharoah was the Pharoah when The exodus supposedly happened. We surmise (by tradition) that it was Rameses, but the Torah text itself says absolutely nothing on the matter.

    If the plague of the first born occurred in history, we would definitely expect to know about it, it would be impossible not to. Think about this. 3 million people (as per the rabbinic count of the Israelite population) have left Egypt, and this is after the entire population of Egypt’s first born children, man and beast, had died. The fact that only the bible and the Jewish people make this claim is highly suspect, because it’s as though an event the size of WW1 occurred and only one group attests to it? Very unlikely man.

  9. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 1:18 am

    The New Testament claims that the dead of Jerusalem rose along with Jesus. It likewise claims that the spirit came at Pentecost before thousands of Jewish men from among the diaspora, said jesus fed thousands, etc. it makes claims very nearly equivalent to yours, just on a smaller scale. The difference is that at least the Christians have unaffiliated Roman and Jewwish sources that mention their would be guy as a historical person.

  10. February 24, 2015 10:33 am

    “If the plague of the first born occurred in history, we would definitely expect to know about it, it would be impossible not to.”

    CR, it’s well known to Egyptologists that Egyptians never published ANY of their own defeats that they have suffered. (Actually, Israel probably stands alone in the ancient world in its truthful portrayal of its own defeats, exiles and punishments). Egyptians were also good at manipulating their own previous records. For example, among other things, they have erased their own revolutionary pharaoh, Akhenaten, a man who introduced countless changes into Egypt and built many great structures, from inscriptions and chiseled away all representations of him, all because he introduced a quasi-monotheism into Egypt with his insistence that only the sun-god Ra is to be worshiped above all other gods.

  11. February 24, 2015 10:41 am

    “The difference is that at least the Christians have unaffiliated Roman and Jewwish sources that mention their would be guy as a historical person.”

    I believe that Tacitus is the lone ” unaffiliated Roman” reference to Jesus, written WAY LATER in AD 116 (after most of the NT was already completed), saying that he was crucified by the Pilate and that his followers were all over the Roman world. No Jewish sources mentioned him (except for one line, since proven to be fraud, in much later written Slavic edition of Josephus’ work). And this during the time when written record was commonplace!

  12. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 2:32 pm

    Tacitus, Pliny, and Philo (who mentions John and James, also btw.) The Philo passage has been interpolated by the Church, there Is no doubt there, but the passage is not considered completely fraudulent by scholars. The reason is that There is an Arabic version of Philo that has a non corrupted version of the Jesus passage, that allows us to correct for the obviously Christian biases.

    The point I’m making, is that they have extra biblical literature and historical details outside of their religion’s belief system and faith claims and unaffiliated with it that partially validates (at the least) that their founder existed.

    Think of how easy it would have been to demolish their Christian movement if he hadn’t really lived at all.

    The issue I have is with you implying that you have a better type of evidence. We can’t validate the Tanakh’s claims independent of the national testimony of the Jewish community, so I don’t see the value in pointing out an Achilles heel in Christianity that your position also has in spades. It seems counter productive to me. No Disrespect is intended, just stating the point.

    By way of a concrete example and comparison, let’s look at 2 unique national events experienced by the Jewish people. The Exodus, and the Shoah. (Two arguably very similar events, of very similar scale when you think about it.) if I were a scholar living 3000 years from now in the future, and I was studying the legitimacy of the claims to such horrible national events as a historian, I would look for multiple lines of evidence independent of the testimony of the Jewish community to know for sure that I have the facts straight.

    When it comes to the shoah, we have literary evidence, testimonial evidence, forensic evidence, and international recognition of the event, admitted even by the perpetrators of the event, and recorded in their history unambiguously. (The Germans) Even if all of these many lines of evidence were destroyed somehow, save Jewish testimony, it would still be possible to determine that the Holocaust happened independent of Jewish testimony, because of international historical analysis.

    How? If we look at the history of the western world from the year 70 the year 1948, there is a common theme, with the exception of the Balfour declaration in 1917. The eastern and Western world were overwhelmingly unresponsive, and or indifferent to the idea, that the Jewish people should have independent acess to their homeland. This changed after World War II. But Why? Everybody suffered heavy losses during World War II, especially the Japanese, Why is Israel so different? Because we could infer that a uniquely terrible national tragedy occurred to the Jewish people that could account for the change in international opinion on the issue of Israel and the Jewish people. This would be good evidence even if we didn’t have all the other lines of evidence which we in fact do have.

    The issue with the Exodus by contrast, is that we lack literally all of the evidence that we do have for the Holocaust. The only evidence we have, is the testimony of the Jewish people. There is no Egyptian source, no source from Egypt’s enemies,no forensic evidence, etc. for an event that is arguably on the same or greater scale in the same historical record. It doesn’t seem plausible to me.

    Gene I truly hope you know that I do not mean offense by this at all, I just want to illustrate the importance of independent verification of things, just like you did in this article. We should never accept claims that we do not have independently verifiable uncolored evidence for.

    Peace and blessings to you

  13. February 24, 2015 2:38 pm

    “We should never accept claims that we do not have independently verifiable uncolored evidence for.”

    CR, does it mean that you don’t believe in Exodus then, I mean, if one follows your statement above to its logical conclusion?

  14. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 3:33 pm

    The way I see it, I don’t believe it happened as recorded (far too implausible) That said, you don’t really need the one Exodus event for validation, meaning, etc. because the same message is alive in the living here and now history of the people. Jesus’ message without christian theology is a Torah true message, the Shoah is an exodus like experience, so you shouldn’t need to hang on one principle like the kuzari, especially when it suffers from the points I raised.

  15. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 3:40 pm

    One common theme I hope you have noticed in all my comments, is that I try to ground what I’m saying in what we can plausibly know for ourselves without relying on a single group’s testimony. It seems like Jews and Christians can do better than trying to obliterate each other, or their resting on philisophical arguments or dogmatic insistences.

  16. February 24, 2015 3:57 pm

    “without relying on a single group’s testimony”

    You make it sound like both groups are alike and on equal footing. But without Jews, CR, without their very existence as a group and without their testimony, your Christian faith is null and void. Jews don’t need Christians or anyone else to validate their faith. Even if you don’t believe in their claims Jews are not about to lose sleep. So, it sounds like you are far more dependent on the veracity of the Jewish witness than you are willing to admit to yourself.

    “It seems like Jews and Christians can do better than trying to obliterate each other, or their resting on philisophical arguments or dogmatic insistences.”

    To Jews, Christianity is another idolatry that will disappear one day in the future, like other idolatries, even if they too lasted a long time and controlled the minds of immense multitudes. There will be no kumbaya between Judaism and any other religion – according to Judaism all false religions will be gone from the face of the earth one day, with only one true faith remaining.

  17. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 4:07 pm

    I don’t believe in Christianity Gene. The point is, you are right, without Jews there would be no christians. That said, when you blow holes in their faith system, to go with your point, it doesn’t leave judaism unscathed from an intellectual standpoint.

    I’m not doubting that Jews have done a great deal for humanity, I’m calling into question grandiose claims that are not able to be independently substantiated or verified. If Jews don’t care about substantiating their own claims, it strikes me as very odd, given what you have written here about Christians not having such verification. I hope that you care whether what you believe is actually true or not, especially since you are asking that of others who read this blog.

  18. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 4:12 pm

    according to Judaism all false religions will be gone from the face of the earth one day, with only one true faith remaining.

    A faith that will have no checks or balances for people to cross examine its own claims the way Judaism cross examines others. What this says to me, is that this line of reasoning is no different than a Christian saying “it’s true because the NT says it’s true.”

  19. February 24, 2015 4:21 pm

    “That said, when you blow holes in their faith system, to go with your point, it doesn’t leave judaism unscathed from an intellectual standpoint.”

    That’s OK with me. The main thrust behind this blog is not to prove Judaism to be true, but to show that Christianity distorts Judaism (as it is, wrong or right) by claiming things on behalf of Judaism that Judaism outright rejects and when it misquotes and distorts the Jewish scriptures within its own Christian scriptures.

    But I think that we again went off on a tangent. As I already noted before – even if I accepted that the events of Christianity happened as the NT portrays them, even if all of the events had millions even billions of reliable witnesses, even if everything in the NT was thoroughly documented by unbiased third party, even if it was videotaped and photographed, I as a Jew would still have to reject Christianity as idolatry and deception, to see it as a test of my loyalty to G-d, because it would be a betrayal of the G-d of Israel to submit to Christianity’s idolatrous claims that worshiping a creature is now OK.

  20. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 4:37 pm

    This leaves you in an unavoidable instance of supreme cognitive dissonance Gene. If unbiased data is not considered by you while examining your own dearly held beliefs, and doesn’t matter in your acceptance of the Torah’s claims, how can you then rationally criticize another group that may have doubts after you cast doubt or their belief? To hold your opinion on this question merely requires that one be born into Jewish culture, and be raised with Jewish tradition. Nothing more. It seems very irrational, if only due to the unequal weights you are employing. Compartmentalizing your role in anti missionary work, and divorcing this role from the question of whether Judaism is true or not, is extremely artificial and meaningless. You cannot divorce two such intricately related questions and call yourself intellectually honest. I’m frankly baffled.

  21. February 24, 2015 4:52 pm

    “You cannot divorce two such intricately related questions and call yourself intellectually honest. I’m frankly baffled.”

    CR, the historic evidence (e.g. evidence of king David, or Hebrews, of the first Temple, of previous exiles, and so so much more) that we DO have in our possession is enough to satisfy my desire for certainty and to support my Jewish faith. I am not even talking about the evidence of my people being preserved when most other nations and empires that existed alongside them have been long gone. My ancestors’ respect for preservation and transmission of scripture also gives me some assurance. I trust the witness of my forefathers that the millions of them experienced G-d. It’s still faith and not pure science, but it is informed faith.

    But you are trying to drag me into another “suicide bomb” argument:) This blog is not for agnostics or atheists – I don’t write for them. My faith contradicts your faith – and so I have to choose. Intellectually, I choose monotheism, belief in One G-d, who I believe warned my forefathers to detest as idolatry the worship of deified Jewish man that your faith teaches. Your faith can’t exist without my faith – and that’s quite a predicament (for you). You have three choices (at least) – accept the Jewish point of view, continue in Christianity or become an agnostic.

  22. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 6:39 pm

    Not Christian Gene, I’m not Christian. CR, the historic evidence (e.g. evidence of king David, or Hebrews, of the first Temple, of previous exiles, and so so much more) that we DO have in our possession is enough to satisfy my desire for certainty and to support my Jewish faith. I am not even talking about the evidence of my people being preserved when most other nations and empires that existed alongside them have been long gone.

    Would you mind posting some links to this evidence?

  23. February 24, 2015 7:35 pm

    CR, you are not Eastern Orthodox anymore? Since when? (I will post some links to biblical evidence later).

  24. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 9:41 pm

    Since that discussion with Yehuda. I also realized that even if you could prove every christian doctrine, the commandments still matter more.

  25. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 9:46 pm

    other nations and empires that existed alongside them have been long gone.

    They aren’t gone per se, they have changed politically and socially with time. The Copts still exist (Egyptians who speak Egyptian,) The Greeks are still a nation with a language and culture, the Persians too (Ziroastrians are still around, etc.) Jews are still around and religious, but other cultures don’t have a halachic system.

  26. February 24, 2015 10:23 pm

    “Jews are still around and religious”

    And that’s exactly what I mean by “still around”. Most other nations that were around when Israel became a people are long gone, in one way or another. They have either died out, merged with other cultures and languages (most Egyptians, for example,are thoroughly Arabized, both in culture, language and religion) or adopted foreign religions and cultures (in cases of both Copts and Greeks) and identify with their past only through history not their current life. Also, Zoroastrianism became a historic religion only since 5th century BCE, where as before who knows how it began and now has very few members. Also, no other nations have been dispersed for so long, virtually universally hated and persecuted for so long, and still survived and even thrived.

    “I also realized that even if you could prove every christian doctrine, the commandments still matter more.”

    CR, what is the next step for you? (You certainly don’t need to convert to Judaism and probably shouldn’t). Being a righteous non-Jew alongside the Jewish people – isn’t it what the future will be according to the Jewish prophets? We could sure use more true friends without contrary agendas.

  27. marko permalink
    February 24, 2015 10:38 pm

    So, CR, while you may not confess to be a Christian, who or what is Yeshua to you?

  28. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 10:38 pm

    Yeah Gene, I have nothing against Judaism and Jews practicing it, it’s just very difficult to have faith in any of it given the available information. Historic Disagreements, arguments, wars of extreme violence, etc. and all between peoples who believe in G-d, based on feelings rather than hard verifiable facts. Just sad really.

  29. February 24, 2015 10:49 pm

    CR, I get your frustration. I get frustrated with the mess the world is in too and wonder when will G-d put an end to this self-destructive, hateful insanity. But Jewish people are not about disagreements with others – we just want to be left alone, to practice our faith and live in our land. But others will not leave us alone until they either destroy us, assimilate us or convert us to their faith – all with “good intentions”.

    And that’s why I wish that my fellow Jews who are lost to idolatry come back home like I did – that’s why I write. I don’t know how long I will continue doing this – it has been very stressful on me. I have not written anything, either post or comment, for a year since leaving MJ, until I decided I had to speak up to help others.

  30. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 24, 2015 10:55 pm

    Marko, Yeshua was a good 1st century rabbi who after his death got enveloped into some of the then current speculative theological ideas and concepts present in his time, such as the Logos, to such an extent that he was declared to be G-d very early afterwards by his students who said they saw him alive.

    In short, the big problem is that Jesus’ person became far more important to christians than did his message of repentance. Certain ideas of a warrior messiah or prophet who dies at the hands of Israel’s enemies may likely sit as a close Jewish relative to the Christian idea about a dying and resurrected redeemer. I don’t doubt that Christianity has had an impact on the world, but all of the scriptures (even the NT) show that the commandments taught by Moses are more important for people to follow (for Jews) than theology or miracles when it comes to knowing the biblical “truth.” Gentiles are taught to observe the basics (Acts 15)

    All this information to me casts doubt on much of what is deemed central to faith because faith cannot be independently verified like anything else in our lives. I respect people’s right to worship, and I wish them well, but it’s tough for me to buy it anymore.

  31. marko permalink
    February 24, 2015 11:00 pm

    CR, thanks for your honesty.

  32. marko permalink
    February 24, 2015 11:54 pm

    CR, while you see Yeshua as a 2nd temple Rabbi, a preacher of repentance who was misrepresented by later followers (I’m not speaking of his immediate followers who declared him to have resurrected shortly after his death), do you consider that he was sent by G-d to the people of Israel of that time?

  33. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 25, 2015 12:52 am

    Marko, Whether Jesus was from G-d or not is actually a partially irrelevant question, (no offense is meant at all by this, let me explain.)

    The bible that Israel had in Jesus’ day says very clearly that Tanakh already contains all the information that Jews need already in it to know and learn to please G-d. Remember tge disciples had no New Testament at all who pile Jesus lived. The onlybthingbthey had was Torah.

    Consider also what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:17 “What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.”

    Paul notes that the promises that all nations will be blessed in Abraham cannot be abrogated by Moses’ covenant, so that means (by logical extension) that the unique promises made to the Jewish people at Sinai, and their unique role as a nation cannot be changed, altered, or abrogated by Jesus’ coming.

    Judaism in Jesus’ day (and today) taught that while Jews are forever duty bound to observe the law of Moses, G-d makes provision for people of all nations, gentiles that jews back then called G-d fearers, or Noachides as they are known today.

    So Marko, even if Jesus was in theory the messiah of scripture, this to Jews, would not actually change the established biblical rules. Kosher, purity laws, laws against idolatry, murder, etc. (Judaism as practiced today) would still continue as is, with the only real change being that gentiles would believe in G-d instead of idols, and live in peace with the Jews.

    The Church has created a different kind of religion, a foreign idea and an “us and them” “saved and lost” wall of separation between themselves and others, inclouding Jews.

    Jesus’ person and blood becomes a sort of vaccine in Christianity without which atonment cannot happen. If you don’t have him, the Church sees you as lost.

    This is not the messianic ideal taught in the Hebrew Bible, or even a dispensation known by the Hebrew prophets. Think of all the non Jews in Tanakh like Rahab, Naaman, and others who were definitely not members of the Mosaic covenant with Israel, not circumcised, not Jews, but who were people G-d loved. G-d forgave Israel for transgressions (and the gentiles too) when there was no temple, no blood available, (such as the case with the people of Nineveh.) Even if we say that blood is required, blood never guaranteed anyone’s salvation, it only served as a vehicle for repentance. If you live ungodly, you do not see the kingdom of G-d. (1 Corinthians 6:9) Consider that Paul is writing to baptized believers when he issues these warnings. Faith alone is a Protestant innovation on classical church teaching.

    In other words, even if Jesus was the messiah, his message (the Torah) has been abandoned by the Church in favor of allegiance to his person and cross. Note that Jesus never says “hey jewish people, stop observing the law of Moses.” He never says it. What the disciples said was, “gentiles do not need to become Jews for G-d to love them.” The Church has been wrong to try and make Jews into Christians.

    No offense meant Marko, just trying to explain. Judaism says “the death of the righteous atones,” but it is not the death of the person itself that atones, it is the response to the death (repentance and reflection) in light of it that atones. So, in a way, Jesus himself becomes unimportantm when his message is put first.

  34. Concerned Reader permalink
    February 25, 2015 12:54 am

    Marko “sorry spell check”

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