Do we have any Jewish people here?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Kathy, Apr 14, 2002.

  1. Kathy

    Kathy
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    Why did the Jewish people reject Jesus as the Messiah as far as you were taught? I'm not looking for a debate, I am just curious.

    Thanks!

    Kathy
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  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    To answer your first question, yes we do have Jewish people here. I am a Jewish Christian. However, Poikilitherm, who is also a member here, is a Jewish person from Canada and follows Judaism. From my discussions with Orthodox Jews, the reasons for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah are as follows:

    1. He did not bring about peace in the world as is evidenced by the continuing deterioration of the situation in Israel, the Middle East and the whole world.

    2. They also have quoted a part of the Old Testament, I think, that basically says that it is against the law of God to sacrifice a human being for the sins of another.

    3. They do not accept the testimony of the Gospels as authoritative. Many Jews are caught up in the teachings of John Shelby Spong who rejects the divinity of Christ and claims to be on a quest for the historical Jesus. The reason this is accepted by the Jews (I think) is because they contend that most of the New Testament was written from a Gentile anti-semitic point of view. Therefore, we could not get a clear picture of who Jesus the Jew was.

    These are the reasons that have been presented to me as remember them. I have gained this knowledge through many conversations with Jewish friends online and in person and from reading some Jewish publications in the Judaica section at Barnes and Noble. If there are some other reasons that I have missed or forgot, or maybe I may have mis-stated some of the reasons, maybe poikilitherm could correct me. In order to facilitate that occurence, I am going to move this thread to the free for all forum so that he may respond. Since this forum is for Christians Only, he would not be allowed to post a response here.

    Joseph Botwinick
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  3. Methodist Militant

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    "Why did the Jewish people reject Jesus as the Messiah as far as you were taught? I'm not looking for a debate, I am just curious."

    From a Christian point of view (which is the best I can do), I will give the following reasons to answer your question:

    #1 It is prophecy. It had to happen.

    #2 The Jewish establishment was jealous of the Messiah, because He was more popular than they were, and He really didn't have to try to be so. They tried finding fault with Him, but since they couldn't, they trumped up false charges (which is also prophecy).
    In Christ,

    Evan

    Mark 16:19
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    This is an exposition by Rabbi David Wolpe on why he rejects Jesus as the Messiah. Although I don't agree with most of what he says, I do think that this probably represents what many Jews do think and would be good to know when speaking to them:

    "1. The primary reason that Jews do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah is that after his arrival and death the world was not redeemed. There is at least as much suffering, pain, and tragedy in the world as there was before Jesus--probably much more. If the Christian answers that the suffering is a result of the world's rejecting Jesus, two related questions arise, which I will take up below: Why did the majority of those who knew him reject him in his own lifetime (as the majority of the world still does today)? And if suffering is a result of rejecting Jesus, why has so much of the suffering historically been inflicted by (and even upon) those who accepted him, that is, Christians?
    2. There is reason to believe Jesus himself was a staunch upholder of the law. That which defined early Christianity, the rejection of Mosaic law, may not have been Jesus' intention at all. As Jesus says, "Think not that I have come to abolish the Torah and the Prophets. I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For I truly say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Torah until all is accomplished. Whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men to do so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5).
    This is not to suggest that Jesus did not differ at certain points with orthodox rabbinic teachings. But the points of contact are closer and more numerous than is usually supposed, and the variations, from a Jewish point of view, far more problematic.
    3. Some of Jesus' teachings seem to Jews either contradictory or simply immoral. This does not negate the possibility that Jesus was a great moral teacher, but he was far from perfect in his moral outlook. The idea that eternal punishment would follow from rejecting Jesus seems downright evil. That someone could live a noble life and not be saved, when another could live a depraved and cruel life and through a true conversion of his heart at the end of life still be saved, is hard to tote up on the moral balance sheet. I am aware that many Christian groups reject this doctrine today, but for centuries it was normative church doctrine.
    The Jesus who said (in Matthew 10:34-37), "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother" is not a Jesus whom I can accept as a moral model. The statement is consistent, however, with the Jesus of Luke 14:26, who says, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
    In addition, the Jesus who withers a fig tree because it did not provide him with fruit when he was hungry seems peevish rather than exemplary (Matthew 21:17-19).
    There are many remarkable and wonderful teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. However, they are the teachings of a human being, not a God, and many of them--including the most morally enlightened--are paralleled in rabbinic literature. One cannot truly understand Jesus without understanding the climate in which he grew up. When one studies the Talmud, the image of Jesus becomes sharper--and still very impressive--but less original.
    Jesus' criticisms of the rabbis of his day are echoed in the literature of the prophets centuries before. When Hosea writes, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" (Hosea 6:6), or Isaiah thunders, "I cannot endure sin coupled with solemn ceremonies (Isaiah 1:13), we are hearing the same themes Jesus so deftly expounded later on.
    4. The idea of the Second Coming seems to have grown out of genuine disappointment. We are told in the Gospels, "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." When Jesus died, true believers had to theologically compensate for the disaster. It remains significant, I believe, that the vast majority of people who knew him did not see Jesus as divine. Unless the entire Jewish population of Jerusalem at the time was either wicked or foolish, they--who knew Jesus far better than we--did not respond to his presumed divinity because he was clearly human.
    5. The history of Christianity is not such as would persuade Jews that Christians are in possession of a superior moral truth. The history is too long and painful to summarize here, but many good books are available that elaborate on what the historian Jules Isaac called "the teaching of contempt." The thousands, even millions, of innocents who lost their lives, their children, their hope, from a refusal to be other than they were make it difficult to see Christianity in its historical garb in anything but a dark, forbidding light.
    The chronicle of Christian anti-Semitism is one of the most gruesome, disheartening chapters of human history. Even the most abominable tragedy, the systematic slaughter of millions in World War II, the Holocaust, cannot be entirely separated from centuries of Christian teachings of the abjectness of the Jew. As the theologian Elieser Berkowitz put it, the Nazis who killed Jews may not have been Christians, but they were all the sons and daughters of Christians.
    6. Although many faiths, including some Roman mystery religions, spoke of a man/god, Judaism sought to keep clear the boundaries between the human and the divine. The blurring was taken to be the sign of betrayal of the tradition.
    7. Jesus did place great emphasis on internal spirituality. This was not because he was more spiritually advanced, but because society was more advanced materially. Moses had to set up a system of courts, of civil and criminal law. Jesus was born in Rome, with the most advanced civil society of the time. He did not need to discuss external rites, either religious or civil. They were taken care of by Roman law and the developed Jewish law. In this sense, Islam bears a closer kinship to Judaism; it, too, is a religion of law, necessitated by Muhammad's melding desert tribes into a religious community, much in the manner of Moses. Hence, as Moses Montefiore said of Jesus, "Public justice is outside his purview."
    8. The idea that one can be saved only through Jesus is contrary to simple compassion and justice. Judaism teaches that "the righteous of all nations have a share in the world to come." Maimonides writes in a letter that there are non-Jews who "bring their souls to perfection." That is the simple truth that all faiths should acknowledge and celebrate. Otherwise, there can be no kinship. As Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote about attempts to convert the Jews: "How can we take seriously a friendship that is conditioned ultimately on the hope and expectation that the Jew will disappear? How would a Christian feel if we Jews were engaged in an effort to bring about the liquidation of Christianity?"
    A related note: There are some today who speak of themselves as "Jews for Jesus." This is nonsense. It makes as much sense as saying "Christians for Muhammad." A Jew who accepts Jesus has cut himself off from the faith community of Jews, and that has been so for 2,000 years. Moreover, that Christians argue with the Jewish community about the legitimacy of "Jews for Jesus" is presumption of a high order. I would not presume to tell Christians who is a Christian and emphatically reject the idea that the Christian community can tell me who qualifies as a Jew.
    Many Jewish thinkers have seen Jesus as they have seen Muhammad, as God's instrument to advance monotheism in the world. Franz Rosenzweig spoke of Judaism as the sun--that is the source--and Christianity as the rays of the sun--that which spreads monotheism to the world. The greatest Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, of the Middle Ages saw Islam and Christianity as the preparation for God's eventual Kingdom.
    Jesus exercises a powerful historical fascination. He was without doubt a profound and enigmatic personality. Nonetheless, he remains for many Jews a man whose wisdom and wit place him among the great teachers of humanity, but neither a messiah nor a god.
    For those who wish to explore this further, there are no end of books addressing the complex, fascinating relations between Christianity and Judaism. A polemical work, which illustrates how Jews answer the various verses in the Torah taken to be referring to Jesus by many Christians, is "You Take Jesus, I'll Take God," by Samuel Levine. A more ecumenical examination is the work of the renowned scholar Jacob Neusner, "A Rabbi Talks With Jesus." For those interested in how the rabbis anticipated Jesus' teachings, one book worth reading is by the Christian scholar Brad Young, "Jesus, the Jewish Theologian."

    Hope this helps to answer your questions.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. tyndale1946

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    I have also heard that the Jewish people were expecting him and that they had the time of his birth almost down to the exact moment. They were loooking for and anticipating his birth because according to the Old Testament it said exactly when he would come. I'm not Jewish and have not read the writings of their esteemed scholars but is this not a fact? Not only that but that the Jewish Women of that time thought that any one of them might be the one to bare the Christ child. Surely according to Herod he wanted to see him as he was waiting for him. We know Herods reasons were to destroy him but the Jews thought that Jesus was the one to deliver them from the oppression of the Roman Empire and the Ceasars! I have read The Complete Works Of Josephus though, how do the Jewish people view his writings?... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    [ April 14, 2002, 11:50 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  6. DanielS25

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    Well the only problem is we don't have a record outside of the Gospels for the alleged massacre at Bethlehem.
     
  7. poikilotherm

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    That was a good answer, Joseph. I'd have to add that I have never read Spong, and in fact don't know anyone who has. Maybe htings are different down where you are, but I can't say that Spong means much to the development of my views. That being said, my thanks for your response, and if you are reading Neusner, good for you. Can I recommend his "Introduction to the Rabbinic Literature"?

    I'd add a couple of further points:

    a)Jesus as G-d. This point of doctrine has so many intrinsic contradictions that it makes no sense to me. Judaism takes a very strong stance against the worshp of anything made, whether it be by human hands, or by supernatural means, or by natural processes. They may be Holy (as the Ark, the Temple, or Torah is Holy) but they are not G-d. One may worship before a manifestation of G-d, but even that manifestation is not G-d. If Jesus was born of woman, he falls into the category of something made. G-d is one, and no dilution of that notion should be entertained.

    b)taking up Christianity would indeed require that my way of understanding G-d would be disrupted. Its important to understand that Judaism isn't simply "Christianity minus Jesus". Christianity explicitly contradicts much of the Oral Torah, which is the basis of much ethical and ritual Jewish culture.

    c) accepting Christianity would be to sanction the synoptic gospels, which frankly calumniate Jewish life. The story of the adulteress being saved from stoning, for instance, makes no sense by Jewish law or tradition.

    [ April 15, 2002, 10:58 AM: Message edited by: poikilotherm ]
     
  8. poikilotherm

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    What is a fact is that messianic interpretationsof scriture are as varired as the leaves on the trees. In the Roman era, there were many messianic speculations. You should recall that Judaism has had other false messiahs, who were supported by prophecy as well.

    I'll know my messiah when I see him. Till then, though he tarry, I will wait.
     
  9. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Poikilitherm,

    Do you know what the scripture is that says that it is against God's law to sacrifice a human for the sins of another? Or is that part of a Non-Old Testament teaching such as the Talmud or other rabbinnic literature? Or did I just imagine that I was told that somewhere in one of my daydrerams... :D

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  10. poikilotherm

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    Well, the issues are a bit coplicated, but off the top of my head it goes like this:

    1. Humans are not kosher animals. Hence their sacrifice to G-d is not permitted Add onto that the prohibitions against human sacrifice to Molech, and the derivation of laws against human sacrifice is straightforward. This is one of the reasons that the human sacrifice mentioned in Chronicles is accompanied by 5 days of mourning every year (this is a longer mourning time than even Tishe b'av) and that the man who sacrifices his daughter is the son of a harlot: it is abundantly clear by his parentage that he cannot be a legitimate priest of G-d (a Cohen cannot marry a prostitute) and the sacrifice is thus not kosher.

    2. Sacrifice to G-d to atone for sins is done by the sinner: I can't sacrifice a ram for sins you know you commit. If all Israel sins, then there is a specific ritual for that (Lev 4:13), and it involves a bull, not a human. Similarly, the ceremony of the scapegoat (Lev 16) deals with ritual sins against G-d by all Israel. So an additional sacrifice, not ordained, is the equivalent of Strange Fire (Leveticus 10 1-2)
     
  11. post-it

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    Joseph, that was very well put. Thanks, I enjoyed the read.
     
  12. Kathy

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    Hi Poikilitherm! Thanks so much for taking the time to enlighten us as to Jewish customs, etc., I enjoy learning it! I was wondering also, if I may, do Jews (is it ok to use that term? I don't want to offend you) still sacrifice animals? I hope I don't sound too ignorant. I've been reading the Old Testament more lately, and the stories absolutely fascinate me! I guess that is why I am so interested in learning about the Jewish faith. Are there any books you'd recommend that would peak my interest? Again, thanks for taking the time to respond to someone who may seem a bit ignorant of these matters. [​IMG]

    Josesph, thanks so much for handling this thread and putting it in the right place! Thanks for your reply as well!

    Kathy
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  13. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Kathy,

    I actually know the answer to that question since I asked one of my Jewish friends fro Israel that very same question about a month ago. Since there is no temple anymore, there are no longer any sacrifices. They believe in praying for forgiveness of their sins three times a day.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  14. Clint Kritzer

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    Very enlightening thread. Thanks Joe. Thanks poikilotherm.
     
  15. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Thanks Clint and Happy Anniversary... :D

    And Early Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut to all of our Jewish friends(I believe it is Wednesday).

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  16. poikilotherm

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    I was wondering also, if I may, do Jews (is it ok to use that term? I don't want to offend you) still sacrifice animals?

    Its fine to call Jews Jews. It is not only acceptable, but a compliment, even if some people mean it otherwise ;) No fear. Joseph answered your question quite well: one basis for the substitution of prayer for sacrifice is Hosea 14:2

    I hope I don't sound too ignorant. I've been reading the Old Testament more lately, and the stories absolutely fascinate me! I guess that is why I am so interested in learning about the Jewish faith. Are there any books you'd recommend that would peak my interest? Again, thanks for taking the time to respond to someone who may seem a bit ignorant of these matters. [​IMG]

    No problem. I'd recommend Telushkin's Jewish Literacy as a place to start.

    Josesph, thanks so much for handling this thread and putting it in the right place! Thanks for your reply as well!

    I'd second that thanks. And third it.

    poikilotherm
     
  17. poikilotherm

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    My thanks, Joseph. May he who creates peace in the heavens, give peace to us now.

    I think I've been spending a bit much time here, so I'll bid you all a cheese fondue, and get back to real life for now.

    Toodle-oo
    poikilotherm
     
  18. Kathy

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    Thank you again Poikilotherm. I intend to order that book from the Library tomorrow. I really appreciate your helping me to understand the Jewish faith better, so thank you! I may have more questions for you, if you don't mind, once I've read the book you recommend...I'll keep you "posted" (pun intended! LoL)

    Kathy
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  19. Joseph_Botwinick

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    My thanks, Joseph. May he who creates peace in the heavens, give peace to us now.

    I think I've been spending a bit much time here, so I'll bid you all a cheese fondue, and get back to real life for now.

    Toodle-oo
    poikilotherm
    </font>[/QUOTE]Poikilotherm,

    I hope this doesn't mean you are leaving for good. I do enjoy having you around. I do hope you will come back and visit with us often.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  20. Gina B

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    There's a number of reasons, in my experience.
    1. THEN. The Jews were looking for someone able to hold the priesthood. He wasn't ABLE to be a priest according to the law, because of his birth. He wouldn't even have been considered a Jew because of that. Definitely didn't fit the bill for who they were looking for.
    2. NOW. You mention Christianity to a Jew and who is the first person that comes to mind? Hitler. It's realllly not a good starting point.

    If anyone's interested, I could go on and into more detail, but that's what I've seen so far, according to real people, never read any books on it, so can't say "professional reasons", lol!
    da Gina
     

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