Questions for a Christian – a letter to “D”

Dear D…..

As a Jew – I am in a covenantal relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth. He calls Himself the “God of Israel” and he calls us “My nation”. The most foundational element of my relationship with God demands that I do not submit myself to anyone in the way I submit myself to Him. When God sealed this covenant with us, He made it very clear to us that such an act of submission/worship of any other entity aside from Himself would be the deepest violation of our covenant with Him. He also made it clear to us – how we are to identify Him in worship – and how we are not to identify Him in worship. He did all this before He gave us the first page of Scripture.

Let us stop right there for a minute – after Sinai, and before we read the first page of Scripture.

How would we look at a claim such as the one you present about Yeshua? There is no question we would identify the worship/submission that you are encouraging as the very act that God defined as the deepest violation of our covenantal relationship. There would be no way that we could look at it any differently.

Now let us take the book. But before we open it – let us remember that it was given to us in the context of the covenantal relationship that already tied us to God. It was given to us AFTER God already made clear to us who and how He wants us to worship. Let us now jump ahead to the “ancient of days” mentioned in Daniel 7. Let us note that this passage is not being presented as a teaching on the nature of God (as is Isaiah 40:18) and it is not being presented as a teaching on how we are to direct our worship (as was the revelation at Sinai). This being the case – we understand that the physical description of God is being used as a metaphor to help us understand God’s interaction with mankind that is being presented there. The Scriptures use such metaphors for entities other than God. In Psalm 98:8 – the rivers are described as “clapping their hands”. Am I to assume that the rivers have hands? As clearly as I know that the rivers don’t have literal hands – I know just as clearly that the God that I am bound to in a covenantal relationship has no form.

There is no way I can read Daniel 7 (or Genesis 18, Exodus 24, Isaiah 9) as a directive to go and do what God Himself explicitly and directly taught me not to do.

Let me take this one step further. I am advocating that you read the Jewish Bible in the covenantal context that God placed it. If you would read the book in its proper context – you would never dream of justifying the worship you are advocating. But even if we put the Sinai covenant aside (for argument’s sake) – you still would not see your worship in this book unless you approached it with an affinity for Jesus.

Before Jesus came to the world – no one ever claimed that the Jewish Scriptures advocate worship of a divine Messiah. Even the apostles who lived with Jesus and heard him teach for three years didn’t see this concept in the Jewish Scriptures. They saw Jesus’ death as a contradiction to the belief that he was the Jewish Messiah – not as a confirmation.

So let’s recap – God made it clear who it is that we are to worship. Everyone who read the Scriptures before Jesus came along – had no questions about this matter. So are we to overturn the understanding that God made abundantly clear – on the basis of an interpretation that no-one saw in the text until 1) they had already committed their hearts to Jesus, 2) the facts of Jesus’ suffering and death left them with no choice but to reinterpret the Scriptures in a way that they could still maintain their devotion.

Why is it that of all the texts that you use to justify the worship that you are advocating – not one of them has God put His finger on it and say – here – look here in order to learn how to direct your devotion – not one! Yet when we focus on those texts where the Divine Author clearly pointed and said – here is where I present a teaching on worship – the perception that we were taught at Sinai is only confirmed and reconfirmed?

One more question. Again – the perception we were taught at Sinai would have us identify the worship you are advocating as idolatry. You are arguing that we modify our perception of reality that God taught us at Sinai – on the basis of your interpretation of Scripture. Now there are certain passages in Scripture that are very clear and direct. They teach us to keep the Sabbath, to observe the festivals, and to abstain from certain foods. I don’t see you (and I don’t mean you personally – I am talking about the general attitude of followers of Jesus towards God’s holy Law) taking any of these clear and open commandments seriously. So how can I believe that it is your loyalty and submission to this book that has you advocating the worship that you advocate? How do you expect me to take your argument seriously? It should be obvious to you as it is obvious to me that it is your devotion to Jesus that is producing your interpretation of Scripture and that it is not your interpretation of Scripture that is producing your devotion to Jesus.

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15 Responses to Questions for a Christian – a letter to “D”

  1. LarryB says:

    Who is D????

  2. CP says:

    Yeshua said in John 5:41 ~
    “I DO NOT ACCEPT GLORY FROM HUMAN BEINGS”

    (Please do a little research before writing lengthy accusations)

    • LarryB says:

      The whole quote,
      “39You pore over the Scriptures because you presume that by them you possess eternal life. These are the very words that testify about Me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” The Torah is about Jesus?

    • Dina says:

      Jesus also said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the light and no one comes to the Father but through me” and in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”

      (Please don’t assume we’re all ignoramuses.)

  3. CP says:

    Larry & Dina,

    I’m not sure how you see your posts have anything to do with worshiping Jesus or accusing Jesus of requesting the worship which belongs only to the One true G-d?

    I gave you an exact quote refuting the accusation. You respond with interpolations?

    • Dina says:

      CP, I have no idea what you mean. I gave you a bunch of quotes from Christian scripture to prove my point. You decided these are interpolations so you can continue to worship Jesus comfortably. Not my problem.

      It’s a very convenient argument for you, don’t you see. Any time I respond with a problematic quote, you can claim it’s an interpolation. No doubt the “ruach hakodesh” you’re privy to has told you which parts of Christian scripture are reliable and which are not.

      Even if I allow for argument’s sake that these quotes are interpolations, you still have a problem. Making a man, especially a dead man, the focus of your religion is a different type of worship than what was presented at Sinai. Even Moses, the greatest prophet of all, does not receive this kind of veneration. We do not pray to or through him.

    • Jim says:

      CP,

      It is more than a little disconcerting to read your dismissive post, especially in light of your desire to learn. Of course, a desire to learn does not obligate one to agreement, but your answer lacks consideration of the facts. What is most surprising is the misuse you make of John 5:41 to prove that Jesus did not expect or accept worship of himself, which is not to say that he did either or both of those things.

      R’ Blumenthal’s post was to a Christian. Surely you know that Christians do believe that Jesus was God, part of the so-called trinity. His argument, therefore, is valid, because he addresses the sorts of worship Christian missionaries believe is due Jesus. Like another who came before you, you are moving the conversation, which has nothing to do with your view. You address R’ Blumenthal as if he is answering your specific interpretation of the gospels and your particular religious views. As far as I can tell, he is not.

      But perhaps what is most appalling it what you misrepresent the words of Jesus in order to show that he did not accept worship. It is important now that you understand what I am typing and not what you expect me to be typing. I am not arguing that Jesus expected people to worship him. Nor am I arguing that he did not. That question is not actually relevant either to what R’ Blumenthal wrote or what you wrote in response to him. You are misrepresenting the word of John 5:41 in treating it as a denial of worship on the part of Jesus.

      As Larry has pointed out, you have taken that verse out of context. The topic is not even how one should relate to Jesus. The topic is the method by which Jesus attempts to establish his credentials. It should be quite obvious that by not accepting glory from human beings, he does not mean worship, because in v. 44, he says that the Jews accept glory from one another. And he clearly does not mean that they worship on another in some idolatrous manner. Jesus is talking about how he gets his glory from God. That is to say that God has honored Jesus and given him authority.

      This is clear by reading the preceding verses. In v. 34 Jesus says of the testimony of John the Baptist: “Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved.” Then he speaks of his miracles as a witness from God, and claims in v. 37-38: “And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.” And then as Larry points out, Jesus claims that the scriptures testify to Jesus, but the Jews “refuse to come to [Jesus] to have life” (v. 40). It is then that he says that he does not accept glory from human beings.

      He is not talking about worship. He is saying that his authority comes, not from human beings, nor from their testimony, but from God. It is God who gives Jesus glory not human beings. And then, as I mentioned, he goes on to say that they get their glory from one another. He is comparing their glory given by other men to his glory given by God.

      For you to take this passage and imply that it means that Jesus does not treat himself as an object of worship is a terrible misrepresentation. Even if Jesus never did ask for worship, this verse has nothing to do with that. It is not addressing the question of whether or not one should worship Jesus.

      It would have been to your advantage to consider the words of Dina and Larry, as well, and not to dismiss them. Both are pointing out ways in which Jesus certainly had an exalted opinion of himself. Jesus’ teaching that one could only come to God through Jesus is particularly troubling. Even if he did not preach his divinity, he certainly made claims inappropriate for a human being to make. Not giving their words their due consideration only hurts your own quest for truth. I am sure their egos were unbruised, but they deserve greater respect.

      Jim

      • bible819 says:

        Yes, Yeshua Claimed his Name, Power, Words were all the Fathers. But also claimed the flesh counts for nothing. As Christians we Worship the Name, Words, and Power and know its all the Fathers Glory. Just like Jews Worship ( Unseen God) by his Words, Name, and Power.

        At the end of the Day> all you have is a > Name, Words and Power.

        The difference is we believe that Flesh brought death but also brought Life by an innocent Son.

        Thus we Believe Yeshua inherited his Fathers Name, acted through his Fathers power, andby his Word.

        As you see Yeshua Words were not recorded until he had the Spirit of his Father. Then the Fathers Words were recorded. But Yeshua claimed the Father was completing his Work and indeed Speaking!

        For example; The prophets words was never their own words. But, All the Father Words. Most of the time Israel had no idea until after the damage was already done.

        Remember God told Moses to speak to that Rock. But he didn’t but hit the Rock twice. And never entered the Promised Land because he dishonored God.

        (Joshua) took them into the Promised Land.

      • CP says:

        Jim,
        You are right, thank you for correcting me. After reading your post and rereading the blog, I see did unintentionally move the discussion. I guess like everyone else I see things from a particular perspective. From my perspective I see a huge disparity between modern Christianity and what Jesus taught and am weary of seeing it all lumped together, sometimes I see it where it is not, just as you pointed out.

        As for receiving worship compared to glory, I understand your point and agree in the context of the passage this wasn’t ‘excatly’ what was being discussed. However seeing glory as a lessor form of worship I think the verse is still applicable although without the intensity as I first presented it. Since the blog was not about what Yeshua taught but about the beliefs and actions of self described Christians I won’t ask for proof that Jesus taught he was to be worshiped and leave that for another topic.

        As for answering Dina, well, to put it honestly, her constant over generalizations, misquoting my posts, saying I said what I didn’t say, automatic suspicions always of of the worst extremes and her purposeful use of trigger words, well…..just wears me out with no positive results. I don’t mind working through things like for example your last post, it brought me closer to the truth but to spend my time working through generalizations, misquotes and trigger words is counterproductive to searching out the truth. However I will read her posts, if they are honest and fair I will respond.
        Thank you for taking the time to call me out on my mistake, it is much appreciated.

  4. CP says:

    Dina says:
    September 8, 2016 at 10:03 am
    Jesus also said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the light and no one comes to the Father but through me” and in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”

    (Please don’t assume we’re all ignoramuses.)

    Dina,
    Although you may disagree, this is how I view this verse:
    Yeshua lived, taught and was obedient to Torah and Hashem. Even a torture and a terrible death did not sway him from the Torah and Hashem who he called his Father as Israel does.

    So, what is the way, the truth and the life? And why did Yeshua say to follow him?

    Because the way the truth and the life is to follow Torah and to love Hashem as your very own Father with your whole heart, mind and soul even unto death. Yeshua exemplified this therefore he has shown us the way, the truth of the matter and how to have life.

    • Dina says:

      CP, whether what you say about Jesus is true or not, it applies to countless Jews throughout the centuries who suffered a lot more horribly for a more extended period of time. Jesus suffered for a few hours on the cross–and that is horrible, to be sure–but many Jews suffered far more horribly for far greater periods of time and, to use your words, even a torture and a terrible death did not sway them from the Torah and Hashem.

      It is incredibly inspiring to read and hear stories of Jews who endured years of unspeakable torture in the Nazi concentrations camps yet retained a deep faith in and loyalty to Hashem, for example. I do not think I need to show you more examples because, tragically, our history is replete with such.

      So in that regard Jesus is not unique. Furthermore, a person cannot be the way, the truth, and the life. Torah is the way. Jesus is not the Torah. In fact, as Jim has shown you, he mocked it. (And I have shown you this also with his sermon on the mount. By the way, a great book on this topic if you’re interested is The Jewish Sources of The Sermon on the Mount by Gerald Friedlander.)

      You wrote, so what is the way, the truth, and the life? It is to follow Torah and to love Hashem even unto death. And one should follow Jesus because he exemplified this (that is debatable to say the least). But that is not what Jesus said. He said he is the way the way, the truth, and the life–and don’t forget the second half of this verse. He also said that no one comes to the Father but through him.

      I hope you won’t claim the second half is an interpolation🙂.

      Practically speaking, Jesus did not point people to Hashem and Torah, a path the much-reviled Pharisees had already taken, but to himself.

      (Incidentally, we know from the historical record that the caricature he painted of his theological enemies is not accurate, to understate the case. For example, Josephus, himself not a Pharisee but a Roman sympathizer, wrote favorably of the Pharisees, describing them as more democratic than the elite Sadducees and popular among the common people; most of them were poor.)

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