Not by your Righteousness

Not by your Righteousness

One of the central teachings of Protestant Christianity is that no man is justified through their own good deeds (Romans 3:20). At first glance it would seem that this sentiment expressed by Paul is an echo of Elihu’s declaration in the book of Job (35:7): “If you were righteous, what have you given Him, or what has He taken from your hand?” However, when we get beyond the superficial similarity, it becomes obvious that these two concepts are actually polar opposites.

Elihu is giving expression to the central theme of the Jewish Scriptures: that God alone is the absolute sovereign. As beings that were created by God, who are constantly sustained by God and who can only operate in the arena provided by God, we can never give to God that which does not already belong to Him. If a man were to live a perfectly righteous life, and die a martyr’s death for the glory of God, this man would still not have given God anything that he didn’t owe to God. David articulated the same concept: “For everything is from You and from Your hand we have given to You” (1Chronicles 29:14).

Judaism recognizes that God can owe man nothing. The fact that God allows us to serve Him and to follow His commandments is the greatest privilege that God granted to His creations. The fact that God counts our deeds for righteousness (Deuteronomy 6:25) is the ultimate expression of God’s benevolence and kindness towards His people. Elihu and David are encouraging us to trust in the loving-kindness of God – because outside of God’s kindness – nothing exists.

Paul does not encourage his audience to throw their trust upon the all-encompassing kindness of God. Paul encourages his listeners to rely on the righteousness that was manifest in a body of flesh and blood – the alleged righteousness of Jesus (Romans 5:19). Paul attempts to convince his audience that good deeds preformed by a physical body that was created by God, that was constantly sustained by God and that operated in an arena provided by God, could somehow purchase God’s favor.

Elihu already taught us that this teaching is essentially a denial of God’s absolute sovereignty. By definition, the Creator of all can owe His creations nothing.

If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=FEAQ55Y7MR3E6

Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.

Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to a Closed Mind – by Jim

Bible 819 has been commenting on this blog for a while now. He/She has not engaged in dialogue, but has been preaching with his/her ears closed. Here is one of Jim’s enlightening responses to this closed-minded commenter.  

Bible819,

You present us with an interesting choice. You say that one cannot trust the judgment of the Jewish people. You claim that they have been unfaithful to their mission. You claim that they are no longer the witnesses of God upon the face of the earth. But of course I know that these claims do not originate with you. Of course not; they originate with the Church. And against the claims of the Church, we have the appointment of the Jewish people by God. So now we must consider the claims of these two parties, that of the Church and that of God.

According to the Church, the Jewish people rejected the prophets, as if universally. This claim is obviously exaggerated, because it was those same Jewish people who preserved the words of the Prophets. In fact, there were extended periods of faithfulness among the Jewish people to God. This is evident by reading Kings and Chronicles. While it is true that some of the Jewish people, at times even the majority perhaps, turned away from HaShem and His Torah, always some have remained faithful to Him and preserved His Message.

The exaggerated claim of the Church is necessary, of course, to establish its own authority (having been granted none by God). It is incredible, however, that the Church would so readily cast aspersions upon the Jewish people for failing to live up to the Torah. First, inasmuch as the Church considers it an impossible task to keep the Law of God, they have no business condemning those who failed to do it. One cannot be condemned for failing to do the impossible. Second, the Church is guilty of great crimes itself. What a bloody history the Church has! From nearly the beginning it was a schismatic body. The members of one sect resent the existence of another sect and they are at war. And we cannot overlook their massive oppression of the Jewish people. It is bad enough the way the Church has maligned the Jewish people, but they have done far worse: expelling them from their homes, burning their Torah scrolls, and at times even killing them. Those that live in stained-glass cathedrals…

Considering the fragmentation in the Church it is astounding how they will brag about their numbers. Even though many sects do not consider many others actual Christians, still they will claim their numbers to bolster their position. So many protestants revile the Catholic Church as antichrist, but that does not mean the numbers of the Catholic Church cannot be used to establish the authority of the Church. No, for that they count. Surely these inflated numbers cannot be proof of anything.

The Muslims are not far behind the Christians number wise. When they surpass the Church (if they do) will that mean that Islam is the true religion? Will their judgment then be supreme? Will the Church turn to them and say that Islam must be fulfilling the prophecy that the knowledge of God will fill the earth? Doubtful, which means that numbers do not indicate anything.

And in fact, the claim that the Church has spread the knowledge of God is rather specious. Certainly, much of the world is Christian. And yet, horrible acts of violence and robbery continue unabated, and on a terrific scale. The Christian ‘King of Peace’ has not ushered in peace; rather wars have continued and have been raged in his name. The last decade saw millions killed in horrific ways as the number of Christian continues to grow. It is clear that the Church has not brought the knowledge of God to the world.

Certainly Jesus did not. One of the strangest claims that Christians make is that Jesus was a light to the gentiles, bringing to them the knowledge of God. Actually Jesus largely avoided gentiles. According to the NT, he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. He did not come for the gentiles. Others, later, in his name, taught something nominally connected to the God of Israel. But that understanding was distorted. The authors of the NT frequently, nearly always, misrepresented the teachings of Torah and the Prophets. They gave the gentiles a bad understanding of God and turned their attention to a man rather than God. Still, if one were to hold that the Church was teaching truth, it would be Paul who served as a light to the gentiles, not Jesus. Paul, according to the NT, spent much more time instructing the gentile world than Jesus did and in many more places.

But in the end, the real question is only who did God entrust with the truth? The scriptures the Church holds to be true tell us that it was the Jewish people. As much as the Church might like to usurp that authority, they cannot remove what God gave to another people. God made the Jews his witnesses. This can be seen in Deuteronomy, especially chapter 4. The last half of Isaiah is also full of it. God appointed the Jewish people to tell people about God.

And he never replaced them. Look in the prophetic books you reference. Zechariah writes that 10 non-Jews will grasp the hem of the Jew, looking to learn about God from them. Some of us are asking for their wisdom and knowledge already. Isaiah says that the law will come from Jerusalem. People are going to come to the temple in Jerusalem, and it will be a house of prayer for many nations. It is clear from the prophets that the Jewish people have not lost their mission. And though many have failed at it, thankfully we have people like our Pharisee Friend to keep the knowledge of God alive in the world. For this we must surely be grateful. Had it been left up to the Church, that light would have been extinguished before now.

The Church can make for itself whatever claims it wishes. But I am not fooled, and neither should you be. The Church has no authority to set itself up as the Witness. The One with that authority set up the Jewish people. To establish itself, the Church ignores the beam in its own eye and draws everyone’s attention to the speck in the eye of the Jewish people. It makes grandiose claims about its own enlightening of the world, even as they are great perpetrators of violence and as we have seen horrible acts of violence grow. But even if the Jewish people were entirely wicked and the Church entirely good, it would be presumptuous of the Church to usurp the mission of the Jewish people. God appointed His witnesses. Let us listen to what they have to say.

Jim

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Deuteronomy 17:3 and the Bedrock of Existence

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Deuteronomy 17:3 and the Bedrock of Existence

Throughout the Scriptures, God warns us against idolatry. The fact that Scripture repeats these warnings again and again leaves us with no doubt that idolatry is the most grievous sin towards God imaginable.

What is idolatry? How do the Scriptures define this sin?

In Deuteronomy 17:3, the worship of idols is described as “that which I have not commanded”. The same concept appears in Exodus 32:8, Deuteronomy 4:23 and Deuteronomy 13:6.

The concept is simple. God commanded us to worship Him and Him alone. Any worship that God did not command us, is by definition, idolatry.

Most of the commandments of the Torah were relayed to the people of Israel through the medium of Moses (Deuteronomy 4:14). The commandment against idolatry is different. When it comes to this critical commandment, God did not rely on the agency of Moses to impart this law…

View original post 400 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Response to Line of Fire 11

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Response to Line of Fire 11

In his February 7 2013 radio show Dr. Brown takes issue with a presentation by Julius Ciss; Director of the Canadian branch of Jews for Judaism.

Julius’s presentation is simple and straightforward. He explains that the reason that Jews cannot accept Jesus as the Messiah is because he did not fulfill the requirements of the Messiah as described by the prophets. The prophets spoke of the ingathering of the Jewish exile back to the land of Israel where the Messiah will reign over a united Israel in their ancient homeland. The prophets spoke of a rebuilt Temple during the reign of the Messiah. The prophets spoke of an era of universal peace in the times of the Messiah. The prophets speak of Israel observing the Law of Moses in the Messianic era. The prophets described the Messianic era as a time when all the…

View original post 1,681 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Totality of Scripture

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

The Totality of Scripture

Judaism and Christianity are two different belief systems. They differ from each other on foundational issues such as the identity of God and atonement from sin. Yet these two disparate belief systems point to the same Jewish Bible as a fundamental element of their respective faiths. The doctrines of Judaism and Christianity are diametrical opposites, yet the proponents of both sides of the argument find encouragement in the pages of the same book.

It is obvious that only one of these belief systems can be reading the book correctly. The adherents of one faith are following the true intent of the Divine Author, while the adherents of the other faith must be misusing the book.

There are two methods we can use to determine which of these two belief systems is following the true intent of the Author. We can either focus on the details, or…

View original post 1,688 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Red Flags

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Red Flags

 

The Christian missionary is in essence encouraging a transaction. He is asking you to give the devotion of your heart to Jesus and in return he is promising you a service in the after-life – “eternal salvation”.

When someone encourages you to commit yourself to a transaction, you look out for “red flags” – warning signs that something may be amiss with the transaction that is being offered. The purpose of this article is to help you see the red flags inherent in the missionary presentation.

Christian missionaries claim that Jesus entered the world to reverse the effects of Adam’s sin (Romans5:19). The missionary contends that when Adam sinned, all of mankind was condemned to eternal hell and those who direct their devotion to Jesus are saved from this punishment.

Here is the red flag. If you read the Bible (Genesis 3:1-24), you will not find the…

View original post 582 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Defeatist Propaganda

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Defeatist Propaganda

 

One of the methods that can be used to overcome an opposing force is to sow seeds of despair and hopelessness in the hearts of those who would otherwise fight. If the invader can discourage and demoralize the defending army and convince them that their fight is doomed to fail then the invader will probably win.

The same defeatist propaganda can be used to encourage someone to enter into an adulterous relationship. If the seducer can convince the victim that their spouse is a demanding perfectionist and that they can never be perfect enough for him or her then the victim is that much more likely to fall into the trap of a destructive relationship.

The masters of persuasion have employed this tool of defeatist propaganda in their effort to discourage a direct relationship with God and to encourage a destructive relationship with Jesus. Paul argues that…

View original post 650 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment