Get from under your willow tree
and leave behind your Pharisee
At the RoshPinaProject site, Rey provided the opinions of “what some of the most influential people of the world has had to say about The Man Yeshua who never left the tiny nation of Israel except for short period in Egypt when Herod was tying to take His life.”
Yourphariseefriend (Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal) responded: “When all these historians were praising Jesus’ influence – replacement theology was still in style – hating Jews was still an integral part of Christianity. No man has more blood spilled in his name than Jesus These basic facts mitigate any positive influence he had. In any case – Scripture never tells us to look for the Messiah on the basis of his influence in history.
Yourphariseefriend uses the term “replacement theology”in the sense of Christianity seeking to replace Judaism. This may be the Jewish meaning of the term, but in Christianity it refers to to Christian movements that believe that the “Church” is the new “Israel. Catholics and most Anglicans and Reformed Christians (Calvin, Luther) believe this. But the “Messianics” on this site and myself, as well as a significant number of Christian groups do not see this replacement in the NT. As Paul says in Romans 11:1-4:
“I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
And here is where a Jew gets very hot under the collar; on the issue of grace versus works. “So too, says Paul, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:5-6). With “replacement theology” set to rest, let’s now look at the main thrust of YourPhariseeFriend’s trist against Christianity. He says: “When all these historians were praising Jesus’ influence… hating Jews was still an integral part of Christianity.” YourPhariseeFriend claims that even though they praised Jesus Christ, this didn’t mean that they and the Christian world did not hate Jews. It should be kept in mind that all – except Josephus – of the historians quoted by Rey (above) were either atheists or had rejected Christianity (e.g. Pontius Pilate, Julian the Apostate, Roman Emperor from 361-363 A.D, Ernest Renan, Bonaparte, Goethe, Rousseau, H.G. Wells) as well as all forms of “revealed” religion, including Judaism. As far as we know none of these personalities were anti-Jewish. What I’d like to do is consider some of the views about Jews of some of these non-believing admirers of Jesus Christ, the man (mentioned by Rey):
“And far from being an anti-Semite, Napoleon was good for the Jews of France and, indeed, of all of Europe
[Would] an anti-Semite would ever write:
“I really do not understand the exceptional attitude that people take against the Jews. The Jew is mentally and
physically precocious and he ages and dies sooner than the average European; but in that and in a certain
disingenuousness he is simply on all fours with the short, dark Welsh. He foregathers with those of his own nation
and favors them against the stranger, but so do the Scotch. I see nothing in this curious, dispersed nationality to dread or dislike. He is a remnant and legacy of Medievalism, a sentimentalist, perhaps, but no furtive plotter against progress of things. He was the Medieval Liberal; his persistent existence gave lie to the Catholic pretensions all through the days of their ascendency, and today he gives lie to all our ‘yapping nationalisms’, and sketches in his dispersed sympathies the coming of the world state. Much of his moral tradition will, I hope, never die.” (from “Anticipations”, 1901, the book that Coren quotes to “prove” that Wells was an anti-semite.)
Renan is an interesting case. He is as anti-Judaism as he is anti-Christianity, because he is opposed to any religion/philosophy that smacks of absolutism:
“Christianity has been intolerant, but intolerance is not essentially a Christian fact. It is a Jewish fact in the sense that it was Judaism which first introduced the theory of the absolute in religion … The Pentateuch has thus been in the world the first code of religious terrorism. Judaism has given the example of an immutable dogma armed with the sword.” (The Life of Jesus, 359).
Christians acknowledge – indeed praise God – that the Torah revealed to man an Absolute God. In this post-modern age of relativism, Jews and Christians are in the same boat and need – at least on this point – to row absolutely together.
The history of early Christianity (e.g. Book of Acts) was obviously MOSTLY written by Christians just as MOST of the early history of Judaism was written by Jews. There were, however, also non-Christian and non-Jewish historians of these respective times whom we may compare with the respective Christian and Jewish sources. There also exists the tools of archaeology and historiography (textual criticism), which have both reached a high degree of integrity in recent times.
YourPhariseeFriend says: “No man has more blood spilled in his name than Jesus.” Rey responds:
“Anybody who did not live according to what Yeshua taught was not and is not His disciple!!! He taught Torah! You or nobody can blame Yeshua for the acts of evil, ignorant, and blind people did in His Name. The same was done in The Tanakh by many false prophets,priest, and people but are you going to blame Moshe or any of the true Prophets for that?? These false believers did what they thought to be correct in the name of Moshe and Torah, are you going to blame Moshe or HaShem for such evil? Anyone who claims to be a true follower of another must do what that person thought and did!! But it seems to me that you have never read what Yeshua HaMashiach taught.”
Why does one always have to defend the obvious principle that if I’m a heel, it doesn’t follow that my shoemaker is one as well. Does YourPhariseeFriend need reminding that because of their rebellion, God has spilled millions of litres of blood of his own chosen people comparable to the quantity of animal blood spilled on the altars of sacrifice. God decreed the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, a judgement relatively far more terrible than the Shoa (Holocaust). Why far worse? The proportion of the Jews that suffered and were slaughtered at the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and its environs was greater than the proportion of world Jewry who suffered and died during the Shoa. But it’s not only about numbers. People didn’t boil and eat their children in the Shoa as they did at the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem.
4 The tongue of the nursing infant sticks to the roof of its mouth for thirst; the children beg for food, but no one gives to them. 5 Those who once feasted on delicacies perish in the streets; those who were brought up in purple embrace ash heaps. 6 For the chastisement of the daughter of my people has been greater than the punishment of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, and no hands were wrung for her. 7 Her princes were purer than snow, whiter than milk; their bodies were more ruddy than coral, the beauty of their form was like sapphire. 8 Now their face is blacker than soot; they are not recognized in the streets; their skin has shriveled on their bones; it has become as dry as wood. 9 Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field. 10 The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children; they became their food during the destruction of the daughter of my people.
52 “They shall e besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you. 53 And f you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, g in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you. 54 The man who is the most tender and refined among you will h begrudge food to his brother, to i the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left, 55 so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, j in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns. 56 The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter, 57 her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns.
God willed it, yet the Babylonians were still held accountable. Recall the Assyrian destruction of the Northern tribes, which God brought down on his own chosen people, and yet the Assyrians were held responsible for the delight they took in carrying out God’s decree. It is hard to reconcile the sovereign righteous judgement of God and the evil heart and actions of man. If one doesn’t struggle with this paradox on a regular basis, one cannot claim to have any meaningful relationship with Him.
Here is the heart-wrenching view of “Willow” who gave up her Christianity in empathy with “Israel”, the “suffering servant” (She is responding to my quotations from Lamentations and Deuteronomy above)
“Aww, bography, you have touched upon some things that caused my heart much grief in reading them, first as a Christian, and then not so. What mother, such as I am, could ever imagine being so desperate as to consume her own children? What father could ever imagine denying his son a morsel of bread, if so that he might satisfy his own hunger?
“In reading the passages you have presented, please know that I have long since wept over the same, even agonized over the mere thought, in considering the fallibility of man, and so pleaded that G-d not ever allow me, nor any one of mine, to become so desperate that any one of us would so much as consider such things in order to satisfy such as our own hunger! But of course, I would that none would ever become so vile. My own heart has always been bent on seeing to the needs of those around me, prior to looking toward my own. I would hope that God would maintain that within me, no matter how desperate the circumstances. I say these things only to make you aware of how deeply the passages you offered affected me, even so that you know that I am not unfamiliar with them. I would, however ask you if you believe that the disobedience of a servant cancels out his servitude? Is not a servant still a servant regardless of his noncompliance/disobedience? Has not G-d warned His people, those whom He has referred to as His “Servant”, Israel, time and time again, that they would be so sorely punished for their disobedience, and even to the point of being sent off into exile, cut off from the land He promised to them, and even from the living in having been so slaughtered by their enemies? Even in this respect, then, I would have to say that Israel, as the Servant of G-d, has suffered much, for G-d would but bring them into compliance even through their sufferings. If this is not so, how would you explain such as Psalm 44?”
Here is psalm 44:
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil
1 We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. 2 With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish. 3 It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them. 4 You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. 5 Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. 6 I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; 7 but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.8 In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. Selah. 9 But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies. 10 You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us.
11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations. 12 You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale. 13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us. 14 You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us. 15 My disgrace is before me all day long, and my face is covered with shame. 16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge. 17 All this happened to us, though we had not forgotten you or been false to your covenant. 18 Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. 19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals and covered us over with deep darkness. 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?
22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. 24 Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? 25 We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. 26 Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love.
There are two suffering servants. There’s the suffering servant Israel and the Suffering Servant, the Messiah. In “Jewish revisionism revisited I argued that modern rabbinical interpretations are incoherent. Here is the prevalent rabbinic opinion of Isaiah 53: “Isaiah 53 contains a deeply moving narrative which world leaders will cry aloud in the messianic age. The humbled kings of nations (52:15) will confess that Jewish suffering occurred as a direct result of “our own iniquity,” (53:5) i.e., depraved Jew-hatred, rather than, as they previously thought, the stubborn blindness of the Jews.”
Here are a few verses from Isaiah 52 and 53. My substitutions appear in CAPITALS.
“For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.”
“For MY PEOPLE (he) was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of MY PEOPLE, MY PEOPLE were stricken.
THAT makes no sense at all.
If only Willow would not give up on the Suffering Servant. He may not stop her weeping – “blessed are those that mourn” – but it will certainly bring her into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.
Get from under your willow tree
and leave behind your Pharisee