Fire, Offerings and Passover

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Fire, Offerings and Passover

There is no Hebrew counter-part for the English word: “sacrifice”. The terms that the Bible uses to describe the sacrifices in the Temple are: “olah” – a word that represents the burning of the offering with an emphasis of the smoke that rises from the fire; “zevach” – a word that denotes the slaughtering of the offering and its subsequent consumption by the worshipers; “mincha” – a gift; and the word: “korban” – which also means “gift”, with the additional connotation of closeness. The underlying concept of the Biblical offering seems to be the offering of something to God.

It is actually impossible to “give” anything to God. In the Psalms (50:12) God declares: “If I were hungry I would not tell you for mine is the world and all that fills it”. When preparing the materials for the construction of the Temple, David acknowledged: “O…

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Unanswered: Rabbi Blumenthal Corrects Dr. Brown

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Genesis 3:15

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Genesis 3:15

The Christian sees deep significance in the words: “her seed” referring to Eve. The argument of the missionary is that since we only have reference to the “seed of the woman” and no mention is made of the seed of a man so we have a prophetic announcement of a “virgin birth”.

This argument fails for several reasons. According to this line of reasoning; every time that the Scriptures address an individual concerning their progeny using the term: “your seed” we ought to conclude that we are talking of a virgin birth (in those situations where a female is being addressed such as Genesis 16:10) or of a birth that is achieved through a male without a female (where a male is being addressed such as in Genesis 3:15 – the serpent). If this were true then we would have many virgin births announced in the Bible.

Furthermore…

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Not to Bow

Not to Bow

 

“And all the servants of the King that were in the gate of the King kneeled and bowed to Haman but Mordechai would not kneel nor would he bow” (Esther 3:2)

Mordechai’s refusal to bow infuriated Haman. It infuriated him to the degree that he was moved to destroy all of Mordechai’s people.

It seems that the Jewish refusal to bow does not sit well with God’s enemies. These people see the Jewish refusal to bow as legalistic, arrogant, and self-centered. Why can’t you be like everyone else? Everyone else is inspired by the wealth of Haman, by the power of Caesar or by the mystery of Jesus. Why does the Jew have to stand apart?

This is the question that fueled the fires of hate for generations. This question was in the mind of the Crusaders, the Inquisitors and the propagandists who inspired their crimes. They see the Jewish refusal to bend to the allures of finite existence as a smug disdain for the rest of humanity. Everyone else sees the reason that we need to bend and kneel to Jesus, why can’t the Jew just join us?

But nothing could be further from the truth. The Jews refusal to bend is not rooted in a disdain for humanity, it is rooted in a deep belief in humanity. You see the Jew believes that no human should bend to the beauty, the wealth, the mystery, the righteousness or the power that is contained in finite existence. The Jew believes that humans have a greater calling than submitting themselves to servants. The Jew looks forward to the day when all of mankind will bend to the One Creator of all (Isaiah 2:17).

While God’s absolute sovereignty is hidden from the hearts of men the Jew is called to be God’s witness (Isaiah 43:10). It is our duty toward God and man not to kneel and not to bow. It is our duty to testify that every last man woman and child can approach the Father without the services of another subject of God. Our testimony is that the happiness of man will be found when we recognize that we are all recipients of God’s love and that our deepest joy is to acknowledge this simple truth with every breath of life.

The Jew’s refusal to bow is not a reflection of arrogance or disdain; it is a reflection of love and reverence. It is an invitation to see every facet of finite existence as a recipient of God’s love. And it is a declaration of God’s absolute mastery over all.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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Idolatry – by Concerned Reader

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

I often find that well meaning Christians, and well meaning Jews talk past and over each other on the question of idolatry, its proper definition, and whether or not a given person is engaged in the service of idols in their tradition or not.

From the perspective of Judaism Deuteronomy 4 and Deuteronomy 13 clearly emphasize that G-d is not to be likened to or worshipped in any form, nor is the “whole host of heaven” to be worshipped ie G-d’s entourage is not to be served, (even though they work for him) and G-d is to be known to Israel as he revealed himself at Sinai.
In this post, I would like to tackle this whole discussion from another, (and I believe very neglected) angle. Where does the NT and the Christian tradition itself stand (in terms of its own teachings and definitions) concerning these important messages of Duteronomy…

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Incarnation and Definition of Marriage

Incarnation and Definition of Marriage

Reverend Smith’s gaze shifted from Mary to Jane and back to Mary again. The Pastor broke the long silence: “What! You want to get married in MY church?! Don’t you know where I stand on the issue of same-sex marriage?”

Mary looked the Pastor in the eye: “This is not a “same sex marriage” – don’t you know that Jane is an incarnation of a man. She is one hundred percent man and one hundred percent woman. I fully expect you to sanction our marriage.”

Reverend Smith looked at Mary. It was Mary who broke the silence this time: “What’s the matter? You don’t believe in the incarnation?”

“I have four problems with your incarnation claim” said the Pastor. “Number one; there is no such thing as an incarnation. The Bible speaks of male and female as if it is self-understood that these are two separate entities. The usage of the language in the Bible doesn’t allow us to assume that these two terms (male, female) are interchangeable in any way.

Number two; even if I were to grant that such a thing was possible, how would you, Mary, know that this is true about Jane?”

At this point Mary interrupted the Pastor’s little lecture: “What do you mean: “how do I know”? – I have many proofs that Jane is the incarnation of a man. You didn’t even listen to me and you are already discrediting my theory.”

Reverend Smith continued: “Mary, your comment brings me to my third point. You didn’t SEE Jane as an incarnation of a man, it is something you believe you have proof for. Let me ask you this: What came first? Was it your devotion to Jane or was it your theory? Did you first begin a relationship with Jane and the come up with your theory? Or was it the other way round – that you first “discovered” that Jane was an incarnation of a man and only then did you enter into a relationship with her?”

It was Mary’s turn to remain silent.

The Reverend continued: “My fourth problem with your theory is that even if Jane was, in some mysterious way, an incarnation of a man, but presently all you see is a woman. Your relationship with her is still a relationship between two women. I can never condone, let alone bless, such a relationship as a marriage.”

Some Facts:

The One TO whom all worship is due and the ones FROM whom worship is due are distinct and separate throughout the Bible. At no point in the Scriptures is there any indication that these two are interchangeable.

The disciples of Jesus never SAW that Jesus was an incarnation of the Divine – it was a theory they “discovered”.

The followers of Jesus only came up with this theory AFTER they were already fully devoted to him.

After everything is said and done, the Jesus that the Christian reads about in the Christian Scriptures has all of the characteristics of a created being. When a relationship is formed with the character described in the book, no matter what theory is appended to the character, the relationship remains a relationship between two created beings.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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Deadly Parable – excerpt from Supplement

Then Brown goes on to one of the most staggering arguments in this five volume series (and there are no shortage of these): “Or consider this parable of Jesus, one that proved to be incredibly prophetic just forty years after his death and resurrection:

 

“Listen to another parable: there was a landowner who planted a vineyard, he put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent more servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all , he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son’ he said.

 

But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir, Come, let’s kill him and take away the inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

 

Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?

 

“He will bring those wretches to an evil end” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at the harvest time.”

 

Jesus said to them, “have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

 

Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” (Matt. 21:33-44)

 

Do you understand his words? 

 

This is a teaching of Jesus that Brown is proudly holding up as an example of Jesus’ amazing ethical and spiritual insight with no parallel in the rabbinic writings.

 

Indeed. You will not find a parallel to this in any of the rabbinic writings, and for good reason. This evil parable of Jesus is a blood-soaked stain on the history of Christianity.

 

What is the point of the parable? And how does Brown see its fulfillment forty years after Jesus’ death?

 

The owner of the vineyard is God, while the tenants are the Jewish people. The son of the landowner is Jesus and the murder of the son is the crucifixion of Jesus. In the parable, Jesus tells us the motives behind the murder of the son of the landowner: “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir, Come, let’s kill him and take away the inheritance”. In other words, they identified landowner’s son as the landowner’s son, and they killed him because they wanted his inheritance. To transpose this onto the events surrounding the crucifixion, Jesus is saying that the Jews who killed him knew that he was who claimed to be, and killed him because they somehow thought that by killing him they would take that which belongs to him. Jesus is not done. He tells us that the guilt of the tenants belongs to all of them and the whole lot of them will be punished by having the vineyard taken from them. In the real world, he puts the guilt of the crucifixion upon all the Jews and tells them that the kingdom of God will be taken from them and given to others. Brown sees a fulfillment to this pronouncement in the destruction of the Second Temple and in the rise of the Church.

 

Words fail to convey the evil that is inherent to this parable.

 

How many Jews were involved in the crucifixion of Jesus? – perhaps a handful. Why did they want to kill him? According to the very same Christian Scriptures we have two answers to this question; either because they considered Jesus to be a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65), or because they were frightened of the Roman reaction to his claims (John 11:50). The accusation that is implicit in Jesus’ parable, namely that the Jews KNEW that he was who he claimed to be and killed him anyway – has no basis in reality. The idea that they killed him because they wanted something that belonged to him is ridiculous to begin with. What did he have that they thought they could take? The idea that all the Jewish people are guilty for the crimes of a few, is also immoral and unethical. Yet on the basis of this teaching, Christian Europe decided that all the Jews are guilty of deicide – having committed the sin, with full knowledge of the severity of the act.

 

This lead to teachings of hate and dehumanization that have their roots on this evil parable, but continued to flourish in what Brown sees as an “incredibly prophetic” fulfillment of Jesus’ words. As the Church spread, so did its Jew-hatred deepen – persecution, of every sort, incitement to murder, murder, Crusades, Inquisition and holocaust – all have their roots in this evil parable. And this is what Brown holds up as something we should be impressed with?

 

Just look at the hypocrisy – which is really too small a word to describe two millennia of crime. It was a few Jews who killed Jesus who never believed for a second that he was the son of God. Brown is satisfied with the judgment that all Jews should now lose the kingdom of God. So who inherited that kingdom? Who are the good tenants that Brown is happy to see tending the vineyard as an expression of justice served? The Church! The Church who killed and tortured millions of people who are explicitly identified by Scripture as God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, Jeremiah 31:8). If the killing of one son requires that you lose the kingdom, what does the killing of several million do for you? But for Brown, justice is served. The Jews lost it, and the Church got it – and Brown sees this as an “incredibly prophetic” fulfillment!?

 

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