Originally Published in “The Heavenly Abode”
It is not uncommon for judaisers to post anti-Christian messages on Orthodox Newsgroups and Messageboards. Most of these posters are from a Judaised Gentile group called the B’nei Noach or Children of Noah. There is a missionary movement among some Jews to attract non-Jews away from Christianity and into a pro-Jewish “Noachide” religion which supports Judaism. The author of the following article is an Orthodox Christian who was educated in Orthodox Jewish institutions and had a first hand education in Orthodox Judaism. Hopefully this article will clarify what some of the issues are and provide answers that a non-Christian may be able to hear.
I believe it is necessary to refrain from any mention of the New Testament as arguments fromthe New Testament will have no effect on one who does not believe in it. To accept ZC’sarguments, several assumptions have to be made:
- Talmudic Judaism is the form of Judaism that has existed from the the time of mesias hatorah m’har sinai – the granting of the Torah from Mt. Sinai.
- The Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Scripture is the most exact text of this occurrence
- Salvation/Redemption means that the Jews possess the land of Israel, wipe out the race ofAmalek (i.e. anyone who opposes the Jewish right to the land and the Kingly and Priestly rulership of the Jews)and rebuilds the temple to reinstitute the animal sacrifices. The Jewish People are to become the kingsand Priests of the earth and the goiim/B’nei Noach their servants. As stated previously,anyone who opposes this is to be executed according to the Talmud. Those who possess the picture ofthe woman with the child are to be executed for idolatry. So too are Gentiles who study parts of the Torah andTalmud that are not intended for them.
- God desires such a salvation for the world, God is the origin of both Good and Evil, Satan isthe servant of God (still); he is merely a tempter doing God’s bidding. The entire creation was createdsimply for the sake of the Jews and the Torah (see Rashi’s commentary at the beginning of Genesis).
What according to the Ramba”m (it may be Ramba”n, my memory fails me here, in any case both are major commentators in Orthodox Judaism)is the purpose of Judaism? The answer to this question can be found in the commentary to the makom litos (lit. pitfall – a place in the Torah that onewould find contradiction and therefore doubt the authenticity of the Torah) in Exodus wherePharaoh’s magicians successfully turn their rods into serpents. The commentator deals with the inyanei kishsuf orthe matters of magic. We are told that the Egyptians once posessed the true religion of the Goiim (non-Jews). In order for the world to continue, certain ritual/magical practices must be performed and the Egyptians posessed these practices.In otherwords, prior to the transmission of the Torah, this was a form of true religion! However, the Egyptian religion had become perverted and contained many difficult and lenghty rituals which made it necessary for a better form to replace it.Enter the Torah with its 613 commandments. According the the commentator, these commandments are condenced forms of the previousmagic of the Egyptians and thus are effective in maintaining the world. The Jew does not need to understand why certain things arecommanded (i.e. sha’atnez the prohibition of mixing wool and linen), but merely that such rituals are necessary for keepingup the world. In essence, Talmudic Judaism is the true magic. The Orthodox Jew believes that the world’s existence itself dependson his keeping of the commandments, which of course includes animal sacrifice in the temple.
What needs to be discussed is not passages from the New Testament, but whether such an interpretation as described above is the true meaning of the Hebrew Scripture, salvation, redemption and God. If the above is true, then ZionistConspirator is indeed correct. On the other hand, if such ideas are false, one must pray for and pity such a one who believes these things.
Looking at Judaism in history, it is clear that there have been many interpretations and “denominations” of Jewish Faith.In early times, there was the separation of the Judeans and the Israelites. There was the separation of the Samaritans.Later there were Sadducees, Pharasees, Zealots, Essenes and Hellenic Jews to name a few. In other words, Judaism itself has never been a monolithic entity. Even after the destruction of the 2nd Temple, there were divisions. Talmudic Judaism (i.e.Orthodox Judaism) did not really triumph until the middle ages. Even today there exist remnants of the Samaritans and the laterKra’im (Kararites), the latter who rejected the Talmud as inauthentic Judaism. The Pharasees were notable in that they believed inresurrection whereas the Sadducees rejected it. The Sadducees accepted only the Hebrew Bible and not the commentary which latercoalesced into the Mishna and Talmud. Hellenic Jews interpreted the Hebrew Bible as allegory (i.e. Philo Judaeus).Christianity is rooted in Hellenistic Judaism and not Pharasaical or Talmudic Judaism. Early Christian Fathers were never Fundamentalists, havingbeen rooted in the allegorical tradtion to begin with.
From a historical perspective, ideas of the Messiah (Persian shaoshant “The Obedient One”) and the Resurrection (fravashi “renewal”)did not enter Judaism until Jewish contact with the Persians who already believed in such things. The early Persians were also, incidentally, Monotheists. Like the Jews, theyadmitted that supernatural powers – i.e. Moon god, River God – (Hebrew sarim) existed but such powers are not to be worshiped. Like the Jews at times, the Persianseventually degenerated into polytheistic worship. Incidentally Modern Zoroastrians have recovered their older Monotheism and also use a seven light lamp in their temples.
A mention of the canon of the Jewish Bible also needs to be made at this point. At the time of the fall of the 2nd Temple,the most widely used text was actually the Greek Septuagint. The Masoretic text was not even in existence yet. Hebrew is alanguage that is written without vowels. For example vyhi kn would be written, while it would be read “vayahi ken” (and it was so).This, of course, leaves the text open for variant readings and one relies on tradition to determine which is the correct reading.We also know that the script used in a sefer torah or Torah scroll today is not the same Hebrew script used even in thetime of the 2nd Temple. To make a claim the the writing of the letters themselves came down from Mt. Sinai is cannot be supported.The Samaritan script, likely older than the current Hebrew, is very,very different. The Dead Sea Scrolls use a different script.
There are wide variants in older texts of the Hebrew Scriptures and variants between the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text. Which are authentic? The Septuagint, or “The Seventy” was the Greek text of the Hebrew Canon that was commissioned for the GreatLibrary in Alexandria. Tradition relates that 70 Jewish scholars were called upon to translate the Canon and produced 70 identicalGreek translations. Whether or not this is true is not the point. What is important here is that the Septuagint was certainlyaccepted as a bona fide translation. Historically, the Septuagint is older than the Masoretic text. There are significant differencesin many passages relating to the coming Messiah. Accusations that the early Christian writers changed the texts to support their claims cannothold water because these writers were relying on the older text of the Septuagint. If any changes were made, they would have tobe in the Masoretic which was produced after the Common Era and at a time when the rising sect of the Notzrim (Nazarines, i.e. Christians)was gaining strength and was perceived as a threat to the Pharasees.
This divergence between the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text is the real problem with any debate or dialogue betweenOrthodox Jews and Christians. The former rely on the Masoretic and the latter on the Septuagint. It is a proverbial caseof “apples and oranges.” Fundamentalist Christians used the Hebrew (likely Masoretic) KJV translation for the Hebrew Canon.It is not surprising that most arguments of Judaism against Christianity can appear valid when this is relied on. Early Christiansstrictly used the Septuagint, knowing the Masoretic to be a text that wiped out the messianic references found in the Septuagint.
From the disparity of the two versions of the Jewish Canon, one also arrives at differing views of redemption and salvation.In the earlier Septuagint, a clear indication of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit is present. It is clear that only Godcan affect salvation for the Human Race. In both versions, we learn that in redemption a New Law will be given. Also, the psalmistsings: Trust ye not in princes nor in the sons of men in whom there is no salvation. There is, especially in the Greek, a propheticprogression from the materialist redemption (i.e. the possession of the land and kingship over the world) to the universal redemption andtriumph of God. At this point we must ask, is redemption simply the enthronement of the Jewish people (to allow their magical practices) oris redemption a healing of the human condition, which was altered with the proverbial Adam and Eve? Is salvation political or internal?
On a practical level, in order for the Talmudic Salvation to be effective one of two things must occur:
- Free will must be eradicated
- If #1 is not the case, the “peace” must somehow be enforced.
Since free will is essential to Talmudic Judaism, the 2nd option is more likely the case. The Talmudis full of all the executions that must take place for failure to abide by this peace. In reality, the Talmudicredemption appears to be a tyranny by the Jewish race and is not much different than that Nazism. Indeed the evil Hitlerwas simply envious of the Jews and wanted their style of redemption for the Germans!
Since the human condition is not healed, there can be no real redemption for all humanity. Every tyrant believed thathis way would create peace for the world if only his words and ideas were heeded to! What makes the Orthodox Jews any different?!
There is one way for peace – the healing of the human inclination to evil and the healing of the consequences of death.Fear of death is a cause of sinfulness. No magic wand can change this. Peace can be obtained by God’s grace reaching out toMan and Man acting on this grace. Redemption is a person by person process and not something that can be obtained bypolitical rule. The free will response to God’s grace is necessary. God’s redemption healssin and death. If every human would chose this, there would be peace. It comes from within and not from without.
Change of the inner heart is the most difficult task. No one wants to hear it. It is easier to believe that weare saved by rituals and mitzva magic. It is easier to strive for political hegemony and New World Orders.Even when people have heard the truth, they don’t necessarily follow it.
One could say that the historical lesson of the Hebrew Canon is precicesly the above. God was continually reaching out to the Jewish People. He led them out of Egypt, parted the Sea and sprung waterfrom a rock. Still, they built and worshiped a golden calf. God dwelled among them in the tabernacle and temples.Still they brought idols into the temple. Prophets warned them of their sinfulness, still they continued. God loved man andthe Jews so much that He walked in the flesh but He was still ignored. A woman recovers the glory of Mother Eveand is able to conceive without a man (In Orthodox Judaism, parthenogenesis was to be the mode of creation before the fall). Her son submits to that which befalls all men, He submitted to crucifixion – but defeated this evil by rising on the Third Day – a truth that his followers went to their own deaths in testimony to.Man can be renewed and can reject sin and become a remade Adam! Man can reach the lost Garden of Eden having undergone this transformation!Man is healed and Death is defeated! Now this is redemption! We can die to sin and rise to new life.
Alas! This salvation and redemption has been reduced to magic also in later times. Simply say you believe (ignoring the real meaning of the word) in something and voila!You are healed – no change of the inner heart. No continual response to grace. Many who claim in the name of the messiah to be His followers,have simply reverted to the custom of the Jews of old and look for magical solutions.
The Septuagint books missing in the Masoretic Text foretold of the true salvation. Intertestimental literature (i.e. the Bookof Enoch) certainly does tell us that many Jews expected to see the Son of God who sits at the Right hand of the Father. Indeed, this is not a Christian invention. Somehow, I don’t believe that salvation comes with genocide (wiping out the race Amalek) but rather withwiping out the evil of one’s own heart – the internal Amelek that denies God. What makes Orthodox Jewish salvation any differentthan Hitler’s or Napoleon’s or Lenin’s? Something is wrong with the Talmudic picture.
Now let’s say that the Talmudic Jews are right and salvation does mean Jewish hegemony and animal sacrifice.Is such a god worthy of our worship? I think not. Personally I would prefer to have my soul extinguished (the ultimateJewish hell – all others are temporary) rather than serve such a tyranical god. God can be a tyrant in Judaism becausehe authors good and evil alike. The Talmudic Jewish god and the god of John Calvin are very similar and it is not hard to see whysome who follow in these traditions are easy prey for the B’nei Noach. A good life on earth with an end here and now is preferableto eternity under the author of evil. Humanity itself can be greater than this false god. It is precicely the Calvinistic revivalof the false Talmudic god that has been the cause of such irreligion in society. It is the abandonment of real Christianity which has led to society’s decline.Intuitively one knows such a god is not worthy of reverence and worship. Without an alternative, man has fallen into materialism. But most have forgotten the True God revealed by the prophets of the Jewish People and the God that God Himselfrevealed Himself to be – The Lover of Mankind. A God that wishes the healing of our human condition and the peace of all in His Kingdom (not on earth)is the only God worthy of worship. Christianity can only be successful when each and every believer practices it, which has not been the case. The resulthas been the relapse into Talmudic Jewish modes of thinking that require military conquest to get the message across. This is not Christainity but False Judaism. True Christianity isthe continuation of True Judaism. True Judaism is the revelation of God to man and man’s response to this revelation. God reveals what people can understand for the time.
On animal sacrifice: Does God demand blood, even the blood of the Son of God? In Genesis we see that Cain and Abelmade sacrifices. Cain’s vegetarian sacrifice was rejected and Abel’s animal sacrifice was pleasing. Is it that God likes blood?The ancients certainly thought so. Here is the real matter. A person’s god is that or whom one makes most important in life.What you serve is what you worship. In ancient times, wealth was measured by animals. There was no money. The principle of sacrifice is thatone gives something considered important to one who is more important as a way of showing what/who is really important.Today this would be money. Animals were the money of yesteryear. God does not want blood, but our acknowlegement that He is greaterthan our material attachments. Indeed in the Talmudic Age to come, it will be easier to give animals that aren’t worth much anymore than one’smoney. Money and weath must be sacrificed lest we become too dependent on it and make it our god. Where blood comes into the picture, however is in anallegorical sense. Just as the spilling of blood preceeded the giving of the the first law, the spilling of blood is prelude to the second givingof the law. (This is remez , or allegory, and an example of the Talmudic precept of ma’asei avos simon l’banim “the deeds of the fathers are a sign for the children.”).
As for the sacrifice of the Son, this is a free will offering. He did not undergo death because an angry bloodthirsty god demanded it, but because He loved us enough to become Man. Man undergoes death, therefore He had to undergo death in His humanity. This of course changes nothing to the nature of Divinity. Death is the result of sin which was added to humanity on account of Adam. Death was given as a mercy to prevent tyrants from living forever. All humanity shares in the consequence of Adam (but not in his guilt).Sin is healed by healing death – a transforming death that leads to resurrection.He dies because of our sins (The Greek word is gia). This word does not mean “in place of” but rather “because” or “on account of.”Sin and Death are not healed by a continuation of revenge (Talmudic Judaism considers revenge to be a virtue) but rather by puttingan end to revenge. Constant vigilance against anti-Jewish races and the commandments to extinguish them are key in Talmudic Judaism. Revenge only breeds further revenge. No redemption ever arose out of revenge.
One favorite accusation against Christianity is that the work of Jesus was not completed and He will have to return to complete it. Isn’t this “proof” of His”failure?” This accusation only works with a false interpretation of Christianity. The bottom line again is what the nature of salvation is.Some may erroneously believe that Jesus will come again and create a worldly kingdom. If you believe in this, you might as well join the B’nei Noach because this does indeed make Him a “failure.” But this is not the teaching. The second coming is a consummation of the world. The final judgment takes place and THIS world ends.There is a new world and kingdom to come but it is not of this world. Earth is an exile from Paradise. It is a place for us to work out our salvation.Worldly kingdoms do not have a prominent place in Christianity.
In closing, I would like to leave you with a story from the Mikhilta (a Jewish commentary). (quoted from the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s The Infinite Light – Kaplan was a fierce critic of Christianity)
It is written, “And God went before them by day in a pillar of cloud…and by night in a pillar of fire.” (Exodus 13:21). But how is it possible to say this? Is it not written “The whole earth is filled with His glory”? (Isaiah 6:3).
Rabbi Antonios explained this with the following example:
A king once sat in judgment and remained in court until after dark. His children remained in court so that they would be able to accompany him home.
When the king left for his palace, he took a lantern and carried it, lighting the way for his children. His officers and nobles saw this and offered to carry the lantern for the king.
The king told them, “I do not carry the lamp because I lack someone else to carry it. I carry it to show my love for my children.”
Rabbi Antonios explained that the same is true of God. He reveals His glory before His children as an expression of love for them.
Make your own conclusions.
Originally Published in “The Heavenly Abode”