Facing Scripture III – An Open Letter to Charles from Jim


I am deeply troubled at the liberties you take when employing scripture. You have attempted to turn Tanach into your puppet in the final paragraph here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/changed-lives-a-letter-from-jim/#comment-17701 . But however hard you try to superimpose the voice of God with your own, God’s voice is stronger. Let us examine your abuse of those scriptures from Tanach that indicate in your opinion that we cannot enter the love of God without entering into communion with the Father and the Son. (Because you are short on time, I will limit myself to discussing the only this egregious abuse of scripture, and not the other two topics as well.)

You have grossly misrepresented Tanach to suit your own purpose. Do you have no respect for God? None of the scriptures from Tanach teaches that one must enter “into communion with… the Son” as you pretend them to do. You take verses that mention a son and impose upon it your own theology.

Examine Prov. 30.4 honestly. The author writes of his ignorance. In that framework, he asks: “Who ascended to heaven and descended? … Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and what is the name of his son, if you know?” This question is rhetorical. But you jump upon the mention of a son to the one who established the earth. What you ignore is that it teaches nothing about entering communion with him. It is too bad that you did not read v. 6: “Do not add to His words, lest He prove to you, and you be found a liar.” Had you taken that to heart, you might not have seized so readily upon a phrase that sounded Christological on the surface but taught none of what you wanted it to teach.

Shall you fare better in Daniel 3.25? I doubt it. Let us see, here we have one who appears to Nebuchadnezzar to be like a son of a god (or a son of the gods). So, in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego a powerful being appears, and you have quickly seized upon the phrase. But you know what it does not say? It does not say anything about having communion with such a being. (By the way, Nebuchadnezzar’s exclamation means nothing that a powerful being, i.e. an angel, has appeared in the fire with the three men.) You have once again seized upon something that sounds vaguely Christological and attached to it meaning that is not in the text.

In fact, the omission of such a being in their profession of faith is glaring in light of your misappropriation of the verse. They tell Nebuchadnezzar: “Behold there is our God whom we worship; He can save us…. And if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not worship your god, neither will we prostrate ourselves to the golden image that you have set up” (v. 17-18). They mention nothing about the son in whom you have placed your faith. Their faith is only in God. The one who appears to the king as one like a son of God is only an agent. Nothing justifies your gross misrepresentation of the text. It does not exist for you to impose your voice upon.

And for the psalm, it does not speak of having with communion with the son either. David writes that God has declared David to be his son. (If this seems far-fetched, consider that God tells David that Solomon will be a son to Him in 2 Sam. 7.14.) And there he says nothing about having communion with the son. David writes: “Serve the Lord (HaShem) with fear, and rejoice with quaking” (v.11) He writes nothing of having communion with the son. But you have reacted to the word “son” as if it meant that something Christological. It clearly says nothing of the sort.

None of the three passages says anything about having communion with the son. But you, hearing them mention a son of a god in one sense or another, stopped listening to the passages at that point. Then you took over and attempted to superimpose them with Christian doctrine. I can hardly believe that you would be so careless and disrespectful of scripture; the precious scripture you to which you ascribe true doctrine and real spiritual experience. And yet, this is precisely what you have been. You have tried to drown the voice of prophets with your own idle musings. You have attempted to paper over the Word of God with the word of man.

Recently, I answered you on “Facing Scripture”. There I pointed out that you had only proven R’ Blumenthal correct through your arguments. You reference Deuteronomy 4, but you ignore that essential teaching that does not fit your theology. “To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him” (Deut. 4.35) and “So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other” (v. 39). There it is stated twice that God is alone: “there is no other”. It says nothing about having communion with the Father and the Son. It teaches against your man-made doctrine.

If you wish to know what God says, you will have to be quiet long enough to let Him speak. You cannot drown out his message with your own and hope to get it right. The liberties you have taken here are nothing short of disgraceful. Surely you do not expect us to listen to you over God.


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Facing Scripture 2 – An Open Letter to Charles

Facing Scripture 2 – An Open Letter to Charles

In response to – https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/facing-scripture/#comment-17579

Dear Charles

It would seem that you are not satisfied with the responses that I wrote in response to your response. You want something more “careful.” I hope the present work satisfies your exacting standards.

You charge that I ignored your first argument in which you argue for the sufficiency of Scripture alone to guide a concerned seeker.

I have written extensively on the subject of your first argument and you have ignored what I have written on the subject. Either way, your first argument is not relevant to the discussion at hand. Even you recognize that God appointed a remnant of living Jews to act as His witnesses and preserve the testimony or else you cannot face Isaiah 43:10. The only difference that divides us is our disagreement over the identity of this remnant. But it is here were you ignore the explicit word of scripture which identifies the community with which He preserves His covenant by the sign of the Sabbath (Exodus 31:15). You also ignore the Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:35) which tells us that this remnant sees Sinai as the bedrock of their covenant with God and see no need to minimize Sinai.

You further accuse me of “sidestepping” the “central question” which you claim is the identity of the messenger that was worshiped at Sinai.

The fact is that no messenger was worshiped at Sinai or anywhere else for that matter. But even according to your distorted interpretation which posits that a messenger was worshiped, it is still completely irrelevant to our discussion. Because when God commands us about future worship He points us away from every messenger and He points us to the testimony of our ancestors (Deuteronomy 4:15,35).

You claim that my accusation against you in which I state that you ignore the Scriptures is mere “hyperbole.” According to you the question is who revealed Himself at Sinai and according to your assessment it is I who is ignoring the “central issue.”

Allow me to remind you what it is that the Scriptures say. The Scripture points to the experience of Israel at Sinai as the bedrock of the covenant, not only for that generation, but for every subsequent generation. The only people who see Sinai as the bedrock of their covenant with God testify that they were taught by their ancestors to worship the One who is above and beyond ALL that inhabit the heaven and earth – He is above EVERY form of finite existence including Jesus. And it is you who completely and utterly ignore the testimony of God’s witnesses that is confirmed by God’s Scripture. I am not engaging in hyperbolic usage of words. It is you who are playing word games in an effort to dodge the words of God.

You claim that Isaac Lichtenstein was the chief rabbi of Hungary. This is a blatant lie according to any stretch of the imagination. Even the Messianic liars couldn’t exalt this unknown fellow beyond claiming that he was a chief rabbi of an unnamed region in the backwaters of the Hungarian countryside. I challenge you to provide a shred of original documentation which would show Isaac Lichtenstein ever held the position of chief rabbi of Hungary.

You challenge me to support my charge that you claimed that six other passages from Scripture contradict Deuteronomy 30:1-10.

The relevant quote from your dissertation is found in the paragraph entitled “Attitudes to the Land, Tragic Predominance of Orthodox Victims of the Shoah.” In the fourth line of that paragraph you write that “other texts reverse the order.” You are creating an artificial conflict between the passages in order to justify your effort to dismiss Moses’ words for the sake of “preserving the Bible’s integrity and consistency.”

You state that: “It is improper to separate genuine repentance from the new heart.”

Your premise is directly contradicted by Scripture. Scripture speaks of a full-hearted repentance BEFORE the divine circumcision of our heart (Deuteronomy 30:2). It is this very passage that you consistently refuse to face.

You charge that I attempt to make a “rhetorical impression” when I state that you devoted one line to explain the passage in question (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). You argue that you have written several pages explaining the difference between the Sinai covenant and the one described in this passage in Deuteronomy, all of this to justify your interpretation of this passage.

It is you Charles who is engaging in creating rhetorical impressions and hyperbole. Yes, you devoted several pages in an attempt to establish the premise that Sinai was a failure and a new covenant will come and provide successful mediation. You didn’t quote one passage from Scripture that states this theory clearly and unambiguously. What you have done is attempted to demonstrate that there are hints and clues for this Christological theology that lurk in the shadows. But you fail to address the direct words of Moses which clearly and unambiguously describe the new covenant. Instead you point to the fact that the covenant is addressed to the nation in the singular and argue on this flimsy basis that it is referring to one man. You don’t explain to your readers how one man can be scattered to the ends of the earth. You don’t tell your readers that the Sinai covenant is also introduced in the singular as is much of Scripture. My statement to the effect that you devote one line to explaining the passage in question is completely justified.

You charge that my failure to see the discontinuity of the Moab covenant from the Sinai covenant governs my interpretation of Deuteronomy 30:10.

My interpretation of Deuteronomy 30:1-10 is governed by the words of Deuteronomy 30:1-10. My challenge to you is that you face those same words and allow them to tell you what Deuteronomy 30:1-10 is saying instead of dictating to the text what it ought to say according to your conjectures.

In response to my point that Deuteronomy 18 speaks of a mediator in the sense of prophet you respond by pointing out that Moses sometimes acted as an intercessor as well.

Indeed he did as did many human prophets and righteous people until this very day. But if you read Deuteronomy 18 you will realize that the Scripture is not talking about that type of mediation. Again, you refuse to allow Scripture to talk.

Throughout your dissertation you claim that the Sinai covenant demanded “perfect” obedience.

How could God demand perfect obedience from human beings who are not capable of presenting perfect obedience? God never demands from people that which they are not capable of producing (Psalm 103:14). And if you understand that when the Torah speaks of observing ALL the Law with ALL your heart then how can you justify your interpretation of Deuteronomy 30:2 which speaks of the same obedience BEFORE the circumcision of the heart. And since you contend that this passage is talking to Jesus can you please explain how Jesus experienced the blessing and the curse and finds himself in ALL of the lands that we were scattered. While you are at it, can you please explain how this is not a complete mockery of the word of God?

Charles; all I am asking you to do is to face the word of God without your Christological conjectures and allow the words to talk for themselves.

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Judge Not

Judge Not

Christianity claims to be the only path to salvation before God. Many individual Christian denominations take this claim one step further with the assertion that this path leads exclusively through membership in their particular church.

This claim is not unique to Christianity. Many religions lay claim to exclusive possession of the way to eternal reward. What is different about Christianity is that its claim is refuted through its own accusation against Judaism. Christianity’s claim to exclusivity is internally inconsistent and self-contradictory – in a word: hypocritical.

You see, Christianity acknowledges that before the advent of Jesus, the Jewish people enjoyed a unique relationship with God. Judaism does not claim that the path to God is limited to membership in the Jewish community. According to Judaism, any human being who acknowledges his or her debt to the Creator, and lives a life in line with the conscience that God planted into our hearts, will be rewarded by God. But Judaism does claim that the Jewish people stand in a special relationship with God as a chosen nation.

Christianity contends that the Jewish people forfeited this singular standing before God. I will allow Matthew’s Jesus to present the position of the Church.

“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:33-43)

The meaning of the parable is obvious. The owner of the vineyard is God, the husbandman is the Jewish people, the son is Jesus, and the “nation bringing fruits thereof” is the Christian Church. According to Matthew’s Jesus, killing the “son” warranted that the kingdom of God be taken from the Jews.

Let us now see how Christianity fares according to the judgment it pronounced against Judaism.

We will note that there are many extenuating factors that mitigate the alleged guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus;

Even according to the biased narrative of the Christian Scriptures, it was not the Jews who killed Jesus, it was the Romans.

The number of Jews that could have been involved in his death had to be minuscule. The majority of Jews that were alive then could not all have been in that place at that one point in time.

Even those Jews who might have been involved in his death could not be considered representatives of Judaism as a belief system. The core texts of Judaism do not preach hatred against Jesus. On the contrary, the Jewish Scriptures that were venerated by the Jewish people of the time, devote more space to the castigation of the Jewish nation than they do in criticism of her enemies.

The hateful and sinister motivations attributed by Matthew’s Jesus to the Jewish people (- “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.”) is contradicted by John. According to Matthew, the Jews recognize that Jesus is “the heir” and their motivation for killing him was to “seize on his inheritance”. According to John the Jews were motivated to move against Jesus because they considered him a blasphemer (John 10:33), and feared that his activities will provoke the Romans to take action against the larger community (John 11:48).

Even the Christians, who accept Jesus’ claims, must acknowledge there was no way that the Jews could have known, before the alleged resurrection, that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Matthew’s Jesus declares that the generation will be given no sign except for his pending resurrection (Matthew 16:4). Thus before his alleged resurrection, the people had no way of clearly and conclusively verifying his claims. (It is in place to note that according to the Jewish Bible, no miracle, not even a resurrection, can justify Jesus’ claims for divinity – Deuteronomy 13:2-6.)

Still and all, despite all of these mitigating factors, Christianity asserts that the Jewish people have had “the kingdom of God” taken from them because they killed someone who claimed to be God’s son.

Let us now see how Christianity has dealt with the one who is explicitly identified by the Jewish Bible as God’s firstborn son. The Jewish Scriptures repeatedly and openly declare that the Jewish people are God’s children, His firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, Deuteronomy 14:1, Jeremiah 31:8).

How did the Church treat God’s firstborn son?

A cursory glance at Church history reveals that the Church poisoned the minds of mankind against the Jewish people. They oppressed, tortured and killed millions of Jews from the days of Constantine until the holocaust.

None of the extenuating factors that mitigate the guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus apply to the guilt of Christendom in the persecution of the Jew.

It was the Christians and the Church themselves who persecuted and killed countless Jews.

The number of Christians involved in these crimes reach the millions over the centuries.

The core texts of Christianity preach this very hatred of God’s firstborn son, and the greatest scholars in Church history understood the texts to mean precisely what they say – that the Jews are no less than the children of the devil.

The motive that the Church had to persecute the Jews is obvious to every student of history. The Church was attempting to seize the inheritance of the Jewish people. They wanted the blessings that God had promised to the Jewish people, and the fact that the Jews were still claiming those blessings, and the fact that their claim is more credible than the claim of the Church, was a thorn in their side.

The Church was in possession of all of the evidence that is necessary to prove that the Jewish people are truly God’s son; namely the Jewish Bible.

So, if the Jewish people had “the kingdom of God taken from them” because of the death of Jesus, what happens to the Church for the death of millions of Jews?

Oh, I forgot the excuses. “Those weren’t real Christians, those murderers cannot be considered true representatives of the Church, “real Christians” helped and saved Jews etc.”

All of these excuses, and more are applicable to the Jewish people in relation to the death of Jesus. But Matthew’s Jesus brushes all of these excuses aside and passes his harsh judgment against the Jewish people of all generations. If these excuses are not accepted by Matthew’s Jesus, they cannot work for the Church.

According to the Church’s own judgment, they cannot be the exclusive masters of the “kingdom of God”. If a one time act took the kingdom away from the entirety of the Jewish people, then 2000 years of widespread persecution should have done the same for the Church.

The judgment that Matthew’s Jesus pronounces against the Jewish people condemns the Christian Church and effectively nullifies her theological claims.

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“Changed Lives” – A Letter from Jim

Dear …

I understand that your life may have changed in remarkable ways since you came to believe in Jesus. But I am not sure why you think this amounts to proof of anything. Many people put their faith in untrue systems and have big changes in their life. Many Mormons, for example, find that their lives are much improved by their newfound religious faith. Also, like Christians, they believe that a personal experience has verified for them the verity of their faith—they appeal to burning in the bosom.

And of course this is not limited to Mormons. Muslims have big life changes. So do Hindus and Buddhists. Even New Agers can have significant life improvements through their faith in the power of crystals, body energies, and other forces of the imagination.

I hardly think you hold them all to be true, because of the improvements in their lives.

So how does this happen? How do all of these people change their lives through the power of belief? I argue that what happens is a placebo effect, which is one reason the same faith will “work” for one and not for another. It is not that they are equally credible; they cannot all be true with their conflicting claims. Rather, like a sugar pill which alleviates pain because of a person’s certitude that he is taking a pain reliever, one, who previously felt himself helpless before his appetites, when he believes he has found spiritual help, is often able to overcome his appetites and change his life for the better.

An interesting documentary, called Kumare’, illustrates this point. The filmmaker wanted to show that religion is a sham, and that people are able to improve their own lives. He posed as a guru, growing his hair and beard, adopting an accent, and teaching yoga. People believed that he was a “holy man” and began to come to him for spiritual enlightenment. They hoped he could help them improve their lives. He taught them a meditation techniques where they passed a blue energy from one to the other, an object of the imagination that he invented. And, they believed that they actually were passing along this blue energy. And he told them they had the power to change.

As time went on, he got a core following. They really believed in him. They believed his spiritual teachings brought them enlightenment and changed their lives. But it was all made up. The point was that they had the power to change themselves the entire time. When he finally revealed the truth to them, a few were angry and left. Most were fascinated. But the point is, he invented a “spirituality” that seemed to improve one’s life. However, it was not true. The blue light was a fiction. They only imagined this spiritual energy.

But it appeared to be real to them. They were searching for something and they found it. Unfortunately, they were not searching for truth; so they did not find that. And the enlightenment they found turned out to be a product of their fruitful imaginations. They had attached themselves to fantasy.

Torah does not bring one to fantasy. It empowers the person through expectation, not through imagination. HaShem tells Cain that he can overcome sin. He does not need special intervention to live a good life. The Torah also commands the Jewish people to circumcise their hearts. I believe this means that one should bring his desires in line with the correct path. He should not fantasize about things that are inappropriate and degrading to the human being. He should not wish that he could violate the Torah. He must constantly bring his desires in line with the Torah, with the teachings of His Creator and Master.

Unfortunately, people sometimes feel powerless before their own desires. They desire a shortcut to happiness and personal improvement. They desire to be rescued from themselves. And when this happens, they are more easily influenced to embrace false religions. And, when they feel that the religion has given them the easy answer they desire, they become convinced of its verity. However, they are mistaken. They have not submitted themselves to Truth.

Christianity, in its many guises, has relieved man of personal responsibility. It has denied the value of man, that he can choose the good and refuse the evil. Torah tells us that the Law is not too hard to keep. And if we falter, it beckons us to return to God and His Torah.

Christianity offers an excuse to the sinner. It lies to him, convincing him that he could never have kept the Torah. It enforces his feeling of powerlessness, and tells him that it is all right. Someone has taken care of things for him. To this individual, he feels indebted and devotes himself to him. But this error is tremendous. The Torah was never beyond his reach, and the excuse offered to him by the followers of Jesus only convinces him of the futility of following God.

It is no proof of religious truth that it has changed your life. Many lives have been changed by religions you hold to be false. You do not hold them all equally true. The Truth will not be found by abandoning oneself to a sense of hopelessness or the search for easy answers. The Truth requires investigation and thought. Your life may very well be better, and I am glad for you that it is. But that does not make Christianity true, any more than Mormonism is true.


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Facing Scripture

Originally posted on 1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources:

Facing Scripture

In the spring of 2010 I wrote a booklet entitled “The Elephant and the Suit” https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/the-elephant-and-the-suit/ . This work is a critique of Dr. Michael Brown’s five volume series in which he attempts to argue for the alleged Messiah-ship of Jesus. Dr. Brown has not responded to my arguments despite his assurances to do so. In light of the silence of Dr. Brown, a different follower of Jesus, Charles Soper, took up his pen to respond to some of my arguments http://strateias.org/ProBrown.pdf . In a 12 page essay, Soper attempts to invalidate two of the arguments that I presented in The Elephant and the Suit.

The first of my arguments that Soper addresses is based on Deuteronomy 4:35. In that passage God points to the knowledge that He imparted to the Jewish people as a sign that His covenant with them still stands. These words are addressed to…

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Devotion and Rationalizations – Excerpt from Kosher Reality

Devotion and Rationalizations

The Jewish attitude toward those who promote devotion to Jesus is no different than their attitude toward those who promote devotion to the sun. All of the qualities that one may believe that Jesus possesses cannot justify devotion to him. Jesus’ supposed unparalleled popularity, his alleged ability to transform lives, his reputed courage in taking on a corrupt religious establishment and his professed humility would all be gifts granted to him by the One Creator of all (had he possessed any of these).

In the context of devotion the only quality that is relevant to the discussion is the quality of Creator. The Jews were worshipping the Creator long before Jesus was born. Jesus brought nothing new to the table in terms of Creator and there is nothing new that anyone can bring to the table in terms of Creator. God is the One Creator; He always was and He always will be and this simple truth can never change or be adjusted.

Where the Christian differs from some of the more crude pagans is not in the realm of devotion. The devotion that the followers of Jesus promote is no different than the devotion promoted by the worshipers of the sun. In both cases we are being encouraged to direct devotion toward a finite existence. Christianity separates itself from some of the pagan cults by the various rationalizations that it presents to justify devotion to Jesus, but not in the devotion itself.

Let us examine some of these rationalizations.

#1 – Christians contend that the devotion that they are encouraging is not the idolatry prohibited by Scripture because they do not worship Jesus’ physical body.

This argument is rooted in the false assumption that idolatry is limited to the worship of a physical body. I think that most Christians would recognize that worship of the spirit that animates an animal, the spirit of a person or an angel would all be considered idolatry. In fact most of those cultures that practiced obeisance to statues were not directing their devotion to the physical statue, but rather their hearts were directed toward the spirit that the statue represented.

God is the creator of both spirit and flesh (Zechariah 12:1). Both of these belong to God and to Him alone. Every body and every spirit and soul are completely subject to the One Creator of all. To give to any subject the devotion that belongs to the Master is idolatry.

# 2 – Christians contend that the spirit that inhabited the body of Jesus was “one and the same” as the God of Israel therefore worship of Jesus is not worship of “another god” prohibited by the Jewish Bible.

This argument is rooted in a misunderstanding of the term; “one and the same,” or in a misunderstanding of our relationship with God, or both.

We can say that two seemingly different entities are one and the same when they share the same elemental properties despite their seeming differences. Water and ice can be said to be one and the same because they both share the elemental ingredients of H2O. A person who appears in two different costumes can be said to be one and the same because the disguises do not define the essence of the person.

Certain things can never be “one and the same” simply because they describe two opposite elements of existence. Light and dark, hot and cold, holy and profane, good and bad can never be “one and the same” unless we are speaking of these qualities in relative terms (such as a room which can be considered both light and dark if it only partially illuminated). But when we speak of these concepts in absolute terms then they can never be “one and the same.”

When we focus on worship the critical terms are; Absolute Giver and the beneficiaries of His benevolence. These are two opposites that can never be “one and the same.”

When people saw Jesus as he walked the earth, or when thy find him in the pages of the Christian Scriptures they might identify him as a righteous person, a humble person, a wise person or a holy person. But they do not see Absolute Master, Creator of all, Source of all existence and the Ultimate Giver. All righteousness, holiness, wisdom, humility and self-sacrifice that abide in a human soul can only be gifts from the Source of all goodness. These qualities can only turn the person into a greater beneficiary of God’s benevolence; they can never turn him into Master.

The only way one can say that any given person is “one and the same” as God is if they do not understand the term; “one and the same,” of if they do not recognize that our worship of God is predicated on the fact that He is the Ultimate Giver and that anything that a finite existence possesses can only be a gift from God.

# 3 – Christians contend that Jesus is a “doorway” through which people come to God. As such, they see Jesus as inseparable from God.

This argument is rooted in the false assumption that God is inaccessible; it is rooted in a misunderstanding of the word “doorway” and in a misunderstanding of the word “inseparable.”

God is accessible to all who seek Him in sincerity (Psalm 145:18). All of the holy men and women who walked the earth before Jesus experienced a closeness to God without ever hearing of Jesus. Many saintly people experienced intimacy with God since the time of Jesus without having devoted themselves to Jesus. The claim that no one comes to the Father but through Jesus is demonstrably false.

To say that Jesus is inseparable from God is also patently false. Many people worship God and do not worship Jesus. Others, such as Unitarians, worship Jesus as a human being and not as a god. The fact that many Christians chose to fuse these two entities together in their minds does not make them inseparable. In fact, many Christians who have studied the matter recognized that their worship was misplaced and abandoned Jesus and remained with God. God and Jesus are certainly separable from one another.

The point of a doorway is that it provides a space through which one can access the area beyond. A doorway facilitates your approach to your ultimate goal. A doorway that demands to be carried with you wherever you go is no doorway; it is a distraction from the destination. No Christian denomination ever advocated that after an initial encounter with Jesus, one can forget about Jesus and get on with developing a relationship with God. Devotion to Jesus is a doorway to Jesus, not to God.

#4 – Christians contend that Jesus was a manifestation of God. They compare Jesus to the fire of the burning bush that Moses saw at Horeb (Exodus 3:4), to the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21), and to the Angel of the Lord that appears throughout the Jewish Scriptures (Exodus 23:20; Judges 6:12; Isaiah 63:9).

This argument is rooted in a misunderstanding of the relationship that the Jewish people share with God. The relationship between God and Israel includes many activities that are ancillary to the essence of the relationship. The essence of the relationship is God’s love for Israel and Israel’s love and reverence for God. As expressions of His love, God guides His people, He speaks to their prophets, and he protects them from their enemies. As expressions of Israel’s heart for God we offer sacrifices, we build a Temple and we follow His Law. All of these activities are only part of the relationship inasmuch as they express the heart of one party toward the other. If you remove the heart from these activities, they remain empty husks.

All of the manifestations of God that are found in Scripture relate to the ancillary aspects of the relationship. God showed His people that He chose Solomon’s Temple with a cloud of glory (1Kings 8:10), God accepted Elijah’s sacrifice with a fire from Heaven (1Kings 18:38), and God spoke to Abraham through the agency of an angel (Genesis 22:15). These have no impact on the essence of our relationship with God; namely, the love of our heart.

When God came to teach His people about the essence of our relationship with Him, they saw no image. God emphasized this point when He reminded His people of this covenantal encounter (Deuteronomy 4:15). The Sinai encounter was the definitive teaching about the heart of our relationship with God. And in this critical context the Scriptures emphasize that there was no manifestation at all.

Christianity’s claim for Jesus is a claim about the essence of the relationship. Christianity demands a love and a reverence for the person portrayed in the pages of the Christian Scriptures. This is not telling us at which location to bring our sacrifices, it is not guiding our travel and it is not merely bringing us a message. This is telling us where to direct our hearts. It is a teaching that attempts to place a finite existence into the essence of our relationship with God. This is idolatry.

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Motivations – Jeremiah 2:11

Originally posted on 1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources:

Motivations – Jeremiah 2:11

From the very inception of Christianity, Christians found it necessary to engage in the psychoanalysis of those who reject their claims. John’s Jesus gets the ball rolling in chapter 3 verses 19 thru 21 “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For everyone that does evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest his works be reproved. But he that does truth comes to the light so that his works may be made manifest that they have been wrought by God.”

John’s Jesus outdoes himself a few chapters later (8:44) where he explains that the Jews are children of the devil and it is this inherited evil nature that prevents them from loving the child of God (i.e. himself).

Throughout history, Christians…

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