A Letter and a Video

It  started when I watched Rabbi Tovia Singer’s video: ”Are Christians Going to Hell ? Rabbi Tovia Singer explores the Toxic Doctrine of the Trinity” around two weeks ago. In all my years of watching , listening and reading articles on polemics against the Trinity , this video troubled me the most. He stated twice that those who know the truth yet still reject it has “no place in the world to come”.

Rabbi Tovia challenged Trinitarians to read Isaiah 41 to 48 to see if Isaiah was really talking about the Trinity in these passages, which I did.
True enough, these passages did not speak of the Trinity at all. The other surprising thing that came to mind  is how G-d , like a loving parent /husband , rebukes Israel as being “blind and deaf”(Chapter 42) , yet comforts her and declare her to be a witness and a light to the nations. This cycle of rebuking and comforting messages continued as I read along these passages.

I was particularly stunned upon coming across this verse:
Isaiah 45: 18-19: “I am the LORD, there is no other.   I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere   in a land of darkness;   I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,   ‘Seek me in vain’.    I, the Lord,speak the truth;    I declare what is right.”
This is because , despite everything that I’ve learnt these few months , the contempt and prejudice that I have towards the Jewish people is still there and it shows in the disbelief that I have when reading these passages with your people in mind instead of Jesus , and also in my previous e-mails to you. This verse , to me , repudiates the claims of the New Testament writers and Church Fathers that your people are in lost/in error –it is we , the Gentiles/Nations/Christians who are in error.
Also, I can’t help but to tie the issue I have with the Trinity and the Jewish people as witnesses to the truth.

I have had doubts on the Trinity and the idolatrous practices of my faith for many years.
Listening  to these and other anti Christian polemics from a Jewish counter missionary is more lethal and “deadly” than listening to it from a Muslim missionary. I have never learnt so much and being  troubled so much in my life.

Perhaps it’s because Christianity started as a sect within Judaism .I have always viewed Christianity as an enhancement to Judaism-sort of like a product enhancement where the core design is not fundamentally changed  -never as a separate religion that Marcion advocated. There should be cohesive storyline from the Jewish Bible to the New Testament.

Another reason is because the message of antisemitism in New Testament really brings the polemics against Christianity to a whole new level for me. The most troubling aspect is seeing Jesus , a Jew from the eyes of fellow Jews-did Jesus uphold the Torah and its teachings or did he came to establish a new religion . I see conflicting messages ,on one hand yes , on the other hand no. Perhaps the most convincing answer is that he did come to establish a new belief-which is what I gather from my readings and following your blog.

I also observed the interactions in the blog-those who revere Jesus (including me) will have contempt for the Jewish people ,irrespective of whether they’re Trinitarian or Unitarian .I see it in Dr Michael Brown’s opening lines ,I see it in CP,I see it in me. One have to choose -it cannot be both.

Rabbi Tovia asked a question-do Christians believe deep down that Jesus is equal to the Father -to me ,the answer is NO. I never have and can never bring myself to equate Jesus with the Father, no matter how much I look up to him.

Yet-there is a tug of war within -to believe Jesus ,the Jew or to believe the Jewish people ?If I hold on to the belief that God is One and that He has no equals ,then I have to believe in the  testimony of the Jewish people.

I was searching for some videos to learn more about the prophecies in Isaiah and came across a very short excerpt by none other than Rabbi Tovia on Isaiah 53 . The opening line -where the nations are astonished really echoes the shock I’m feeling . Looking back ,it seems that  Isaiah 53 is describing my journey as a Gentile of learning and the knowledge and insight I’ve received from the Jewish people -“by his knowledge my servant will justify many”.

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Unanswered: Rabbi Blumenthal Corrects Dr. Brown

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The Real Jewish Messiah

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

The Real Jewish Messiah

Why is this topic so popular? Why does it draw so much attention?

One of the most famous themes of the Jewish Bible is the hope and the promise that a day will yet come when all of mankind will live together in peace and harmony. Isaiah describes this utopian era at the end of the age; “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift sword against nation and they will learn war no more” (Isaiah 2:4). These words give expression to mankind’s deep yearning for peace and harmony. (see also Deuteronomy 4:30, 30:1-10, 32:43, Jeremiah 3:14-18, 16:14,15,19, 23:3-6, 30:3,7-11,16-25, 31:1-39, 32:37-44, 33:6-26, 46:27,28, 50:4,5,19,20, Ezekiel 11:17-20, 20:40-44, 28:25-26, 34:9-16,22-31, 36:6-15,22-38, 37:1-28, 38:1-48:35, Isaiah 1:26,27, 2:2-4, 4:2-6, 10:33-12:6, 24:21-25:9, 30:26, 34:1-35, 40:1-11, 41:10-20, 43:5-10, 44:1-5 49:8-26, 51:11,22-52:12, 54:1-55:5, 56:7, 60:1-63:9, 65:17-25, 66:10-24, Hosea…

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The Real Jewish Messiah – Debate

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

The Real Jewish Messiah: Rabbi Blumenthal Debates Dr. Brown

Over the last year, Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal have engaged in a series of back and forth video presentations on YouTube.
These discussions have led to Dr. Brown and Rabbi Blumenthal to agree to a simultaneous online 3-Part “Virtual Debate.”

Dr. Brown and Rabbi Blumenthal will each release their own first 20-minute YouTube video on “The Real Jewish Messiah” at noon on May 15 2017.

At noon on June 19 2017  they will release a simultaneous “Rebuttal” of each other’s “Real Jewish Messiah” and at noon on July 24 2017, they will similarly post their 20-minute response to each other’s rebuttals.

If the viewing audience enjoys this unique debate approach, Dr. Brown and Rabbi Blumenthal may consider doing other Virtual Debates on the issues that stand between them.

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Forms of Communication

Forms of Communication

There are different methods that can be used to communicate ideas from person to another. Some of these modes of communication are more effective than others. Some forms of communication are more prone to error and failure than are other forms.

Speech is one mode of communication. The written word is another, similar, form of communication. A living demonstration of the concept that is being conveyed is yet another form of communication.

These forms of communication can be further subdivided and categorized in varying measures of efficiency. A direct statement is a more effective way of communicating than is a subtle hint. A statement worded in the format of a command packs a more powerful punch than does a narrative.

One who communicates through the written word has several tools at his or her disposal to empower the communication and to make it more effective and less error-prone. Repetition of the same concept several times and with different words is one method that an author can use to accentuate and to clarify a communication. Another literary technique that an author may use to highlight a particular concept is by having the storyline build up towards the intended message.

We can imagine that a wise communicator will carefully consider his or her options as to which form of communication to use and which level of effectiveness to choose for the intended delivery of a message.

Now, both Jews and Trinitarian Christians see themselves as recipients of conflicting messages from the same God. According to the Jewish people, directing veneration towards one who walked God’s earth and breathed His air is the deepest violation of our relationship with God. Trinitarian Christians counter with the claim that a relationship with God demands veneration of one who lived and breathed as we do.

It is obvious that these claims are mutually exclusive. Only one of these belief systems can be right. In other words – at least one of these two groups of people have misunderstood God’s message. There HAD to be some failure in communication between God and one of these two groups.

Let us examine each group’s respective claim that they are the intended recipients of an accurate message from God.

I will begin with the Christian. The Christian points to the Jewish Bible and contends that it is through this book that God communicates to mankind that when one comes along and claims to be an incarnation of the divine; that he is to be heeded and to be worshiped. No, not exactly anyone, but one who fulfills certain ambiguous prophecies.

Let us step back and gauge the method of communication that was used and its relative effectiveness together with its tendency for error.

Here we have a book that contains about 30,000 verses. Not one of the passages that the Christian points to as a support for this doctrine is presented as a direct teaching on the correct method of worship. Not one of the passages that the Christian points to as a support for this doctrine is presented as a command. Even according to the Christian interpretation, the doctrine of the trinity is not spelled out anywhere in the Scriptures in a clear and comprehensive manner. It must be pieced together from bits and pieces from all over the Scriptures.

How much room is there for error? Is this the way God communicates something that is important to Him?

Let us now turn to the Jewish claim. According to the Jewish people, God utilized several forms of communication in order to impart the foundational truth of Judaism – that there is but One God and that all worship should be directed to Him and that no worship be directed to any inhabitant of the earth.

God spoke directly to the nation. He introduced Himself to them and warned them against worshiping any other entity. This teaching was presented directly and in the form of a command. This commandment was accompanied by a live demonstration as described in Deuteronomy 4:36. God also utilized the written word to communicate this message. Throughout the Bible God repeats and emphasizes that we are not to worship anyone aside from the God that we know from the exodus experience. God used every literary tool to highlight this teaching. These passages are direct. They are comprehensive. They are presented as the climax of the exodus story (Exodus 20:2) and as the core of our covenant with God (Deuteronomy 4:31-35). This concept is presented as the climax of all history (Isaiah 40:5-8, Zechariah 14:9) and the preservation of this truth is presented as Israel’s calling before God (Isaiah 43:10).

How do these two claims compare? The Jewish claim relies on the most direct and effective methods of communication while the Christian claim leans on the decoding of a complicated, indirect message from a lengthy series of books. Is there a comparison?

But, the Christian responds, there is no contradiction between these two claims. The Christian contends that Jesus is “one and the same” with the God of Israel.

My question to the Christian is: How did you come into possession of this earth-shattering knowledge? How do you know that a man who lived and died is “one and the same” with the God of Israel?

The Christian’s response? – “I got this information from the Bible”. How did the Author of the Bible communicate this information to you? Was it direct? Was it comprehensive? Is it highlighted in anyway? What is the room for error in this method of communication?

To illustrate the absurdity of the Christian claim I present the following parable.

You are brought into a room. Not just any room, but the room from which the nuclear ICBM missiles are launched in case of war. You are told – See the buttons on that wall? DON’T PRESS ANY BUTTON!!!! You are presented a book of instructions. Throughout the book you find the words; “DON’T PRESS ANY BUTTON” repeated again and again. The general in charge of the facility takes you on a tour of the wiring panels behind the buttons and you are given to understand the serious consequences that will result with the pressing of any one of the buttons.

Then one of your fellow soldiers takes the instruction booklet and tries to demonstrate to you that the general in charge of the facility actually wants you to press one of the buttons and that if you don’t, you will be dishonorably discharged from the army. The basis of his claim is that he has found some inferences throughout the instruction book which seem to indicate that one of the buttons is wired differently than the rest of them.

Would you consider this claim with any level of seriousness? If the general wanted you to press a button, he could have made it so much clearer. Why would he so strongly emphasize the seriousness of NOT pressing any buttons? The whole story doesn’t begin to make sense.

In case you didn’t get the meaning of the parable – here it is. God told Israel – DON’T WORSHIP ANY ENTITY ASIDE FROM ME. He repeated this message and emphasized it in so many ways. Now the Christian theologian comes along and wants you to believe that God really does want you to worship an entity that you see as separate from God on the basis of the theologian’s inferences from the very book which emphasizes the prohibition against idolatry.

The claim doesn’t make sense. The communication of the one message is loud, clear and commanding while the communication of the other is so vague, disjointed and prone to error.

If you were the soldier in that room filled with buttons – what would you do?

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By The Rivers of Babylon, USA, and Beyond – Tzvi Jacobson

By The Rivers of Babylon, USA, and Beyond

Back when our forefathers were exiled in Babylon we read in Psalm 137 3,4 they were asked to sing the songs of Zion.

There is something about Jewish music that stirs the innermost soul of man. Thus there in Babylon even those who exiled  The Jewish people asked us to Sing the joyous songs of Zion for them. We answered them: How shall we sing the songs of The L-rd in a foreign land

Today many who call themselves Messianic Jews are not asking the question How can we? They have become so alienated from the question that they gladly sing the songs of Zion. But notice, the captors asked for Zions songs and the Jewish people answered rightly;  How can we sing the songs of The L-rd  (Hashem) in a pagan land.

You see the Psalm begins with Israel crying by the rivers of Babylon. Crying for what?  Verse1 gives us the answer: When we remembered Zion.

They couldn’t sing. Yet our estranged Messianic brothers are singing them even joyfully and sadly for the observant Jewish community. They are singing them to a foreign god which neither we nor our fathers knew… So very sad.

Yet Hashem is not one to whom chess is a strange game.  I would say he is the Master Chessman. For these our estranged brethren as they have been singing the songs of Zion an awakening begins to happen within. The song which one never knew or had only a very faint memory of begins to churn in the very soul of this one and he or she begins to investigate and finds out that they must begin to seek out “What does the L-rd require of me”.

He begins to honor Shabbat in a small way, He begins to stop eating forbidden meats.  He happens into a joyous shabbas by invitation of a concerned Jew.  As he dances and sings with the community he finds out He is Singing the Songs of the L-rd no longer in a strange land to a strange god but rather among G-d’s people with whom he weeps through to a genuine Teshuvah.  Yes my friends it happens.  I truly know it happens

Tsvi Jacobson

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Freedom

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Freedom

“There is no free man but one who busies himself with the study of Torah” (Avot 6:2)

Freedom means not being tied down by the boundaries and limitations that tend to limit us. There are different types of freedom. An acrobat is someone who has developed and cultivated a certain freedom of his or her physical body. A skilled acrobat is not limited by the forces that limit the rest of us. A musician is another person who cultivated freedom. An accomplished musician can express themselves with an instrument in ways that the rest of us cannot. The same applies to a race-car driver, a stunt pilot, and to so many other skills that people develop.

Each of these people develops a specific freedom. And in order to develop any freedom one needs to limit themselves. The skilled acrobat, musician, and mathematician all need to spend many long hours…

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