My sincerest respect goes out for Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, who's article in Jewish Voice Today inspired me to write this blog. Don't be fooled by his title. This man is a follower of Yeshua (Jesus) through and through. If you ever want to get an Old Testament (Tanakh) view of Jesus talk to a Jew. There's a very famous Jew I try to talk with every day to appreciate this Jewish perspective. His name is Jesus.
Lie Number 1 - Jesus Only Appears in the New Testament
It's interesting to note that about 32% of the New Testament, more correctly called, the New Covenant, is a repeat of what has been said in the Tanakh (Old Testament). The correct Jewish name for the New Testament, btw, is the B'rit Hadashah. Some studies rate the percentage of "old in the new" much higher!
An Orthodox Jewish man will tell you that Jesus is a creation of the Gentile mind, another pagan god. He will say that even the name, "Jesus" is simply an anglicized version of the Greek "Iesous". I would love to use the Greek and Hebrew fonts here but blogger is limited to some degree, font-wise. The man would be correct, in that the name "Jesus" is anglicized, but I would gently remind the man to stop listening to his Rabbi and and actually read the Tanakh for himself!
According to Matthew (Mattityahu)1:21, the Hebrew name Yeshua is really Jesus' given name. He was born in Israel, among Hebrew-speaking people who understood very well that His name Yeshua (Joshua, Jehoshua) means, God saves, or the LORD saves, in other words - Salvation! I can't recommend enough that the serious Bible student must have resources available so he or she can look up the root words in Hebrew and Greek. I use e-Sword. It's free, except when adding some Bible translations, and easy to use. Please check it out! And please, consider giving the man a donation if you download it. He's done a superb job!
Look at Exodus (Sh' Mot) 15:2; The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; Yes, that root word for "salvation" is Yeshua.
How about Psalms (Tehillim) 98:2; The LORD has made known His salvation, He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. Again, Yeshua! And which nations are these? Why, the pagan Gentile nations, of course!
Here's a great one! Isaiah (Yesha'Yahu) 49:6; I will also make You a light to the Gentiles so My salvation shall reach to the end of the earth. Yes, Yeshua again!
Did you know that more than 150 times in the Tanakh the Hebrew word salvation is used and it always translates as Yeshua!
Jesus (Yeshua) not in the Old Testament!?! Are you crazy?!? : ) Of course Yeshua is in the Tanakh, He's all over it! He was the source of it!
Did you folks know that there are Christian Church groups that only use the B'rit Hadashah (New Testament)? Maybe you guys know someone who does this? I have Christian friends who tell me that Christ in the New Testament is different than the God of the Old Testament! Folks, this is nonsense and NOT biblical! Is it any wonder that a Jewish man will say we Christians worship a different and polytheistic god? It is extremely important at this time to make sure we know who Jesus really is and how important the Old Testament is to us!
Hebrews (Messianic Jews) 13:8; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What do you think this means? It means that YHWH IS YESHUA (Jesus)!!! Do we humans fully understand how God can be 3 in 1? No, we don't, but the Word says it's true. More on this later!
Mark 12:26; But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, and the God of Jacob'?
And you have to go and read all of John Ch. 8. Here's an excerpt: John (Yochanan) 8:58; Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." Jesus and the God of the Old Testament - One!
It is foolishness to dismiss the Tanakh and rely on the B'rit Hadashah alone. The two go together hand and glove. Yeshua (Jesus) is very much in the Tanakh.
One of my favorite discussions is when a friend tells me the 10 Commandments are all "done", "completed" and that Jesus gave the only two Commandments that really matter in Mark 12:28-31; One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
My friend believes this supersedes the 10 Commandments of the Tanakh. What he doesn't realize or prefers not to see is that these statements are directly from the Tanakh. In fact, the first part is very famous and will be covered later. It is called the Shema, or Sh'ma. Check out Deuteronomy (D'Varim) 6:4. Then see Leviticus (Vayikra) 19:18. Yeshua was simply repeating the truths He stated already in the Old Testament. God's Law CAN NEVER be abrogated.
Still not convinced? Go and read Isaiah (Yesha'Yahu) 53 and as you recognize Jesus in those verses, have a good cry, wipe the tears from your eyes, and keep reading.
[Note: Hopefully you've noticed I'm introducing many of the original Hebrew words to you, if you don't know them already. Yes, these words have been anglicized over the centuries.]
Lie Number 2 - All Jewish People Rejected Their Messiah
Be honest, we've all heard that the Jewish people rejected their Messiah and paid the price for it, and have been paying the price for it ever since. Right? And because "they" rejected Him we Gentiles inherited Him. Right?
Wrong. It's a lie. As stated above, Jesus is "front and center" in the Tanakh. He was expected to arrive, on time, as scripture states. He did arrive at the correct time, in Israel, as a Jew, born and raised in a Jewish home with the prophesied lineage. He declared Himself Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah. This title, Jesus the Messiah, is much more "biblical" than Jesus Christ. The term "Christ", or the Anointed One, is applicable to Jesus of course but this title, "Christ" was also used also for pagan gods. This illustrates one of the problems when we turn away from Yeshua's Jewish roots - we begin to accept and even use the pagan words.
All of Yeshua's followers were Jewish, even Luke. The 120 persons in the upper room were Jewish. The 3,000 that came to faith at Pentecost (Shavuot) were Jewish and they grew to about 5,000 - all Jewish (Acts Ch. 4)!
These Jews helped spread the gospel of the Messiah to the world. Over history, one can safely say that millions upon millions of Jews have come to know Yeshua! So, this idea that all Jewish people rejected their Messiah, out of hand, is a lie and can be easily dismissed.
But what about the role of the nation, Israel? Yes, now that's an interesting topic and as we'll find out it connects Christianity directly to it's Jewish roots!
Starting at Acts 9:15, speaking of Paul; But the Lord said to him, Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. When scripture lists a sequence like this, it's a list of most important to least important. So Paul (Sha'ul) was the chosen vessel to spread the gospel to the Gentile. Why?
Let's continue with Paul (Sha'ul) starting at Romans 11:7; What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: "GOD HAS GIVEN THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE AND EARS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT HEAR, TO THIS VERY DAY." And David says: "LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RECOMPENSE TO THEM. LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED, SO THAT THEY DO NOT SEE, AND BOW DOWN THEIR BACK ALWAYS." I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.
And, we must go back to the Tanakh. Jeremiah (Yirmeyahu) 16:19; O LORD, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You From the ends of the earth and say, "Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things."
To summarize, "salvation" (Yeshua) came to the Gentiles to make Israel and all the "flesh" of Israel "jealous" so they may one day obtain their "fullness". God never gives up on Israel, whether it's the physical nation in the middle east or the spiritual Israel of all believers - which is the same! Jesus would not have called Paul as a special apostle to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, if the original twelve had been commissioned to preach to the Gentiles. Then to WHOM were the twelve apostles sent?
Matthew (Mattityahu) 10:5-6; “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and COMMANDED them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the LOST sheep of the house of Israel.”
Strange isn't it? The Roman Church claims Peter was the first Pope and the head of the Gentile Church but the Apostles, lead by Peter, were to go after Jews! BTW, the title of "Pope" did not exist at this time! Do you begin to understand how the lies started?
"Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things."
Lie Number 3 - The Jews Killed Jesus
"Church" history is full of references to those "detestable Jews". You know, those "killers of Christ". Even the mouth of the famous Reformation "father", Martin Luther, was full of invectives against the Jews. Hitler was to later use Luther's words to justify his murder of millions. Imagine, using Yeshua and His teachings to rail against Yeshua's own chosen people! It's madness, but it is exactly what's happened over the last 2,000 years.
Perhaps the most modern incarnation of deception and ridicule to come from the Church is the teaching of Replacement Theology. It teaches that Jews (as a group) have been placed under eternal punishment because of their failure to recognize the Messiah and that the Church has replaced them as the "chosen" people. This teaching is officially called, Super - Successionism and is taught in most Seminaries!
A complete history of replacement theology can be found at Aglow's website, here. Here's a partial history from Aglow's study:
THE ROOTS OF REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
In the first century AD, the church was well connected to its Jewish roots. Before the first Jewish revolt in AD 66, Christianity was basically a sect of Judaism, as were the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.
After the second Jewish revolt AD 133-135 was put down by the Roman emperor Hadrian, theological and political power moved from Jewish believers to centers of Gentile Christian leadership such as Alexandria, Rome, and Antioch. It is important to understand this change because it influenced the early church fathers as Christianity began to disconnect itself from its Jewish roots.
In AD 321, as Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the empire, persecution of Christians ended, but it marked the beginnings of discrimination and persecution of the Jewish people.
By the middle of the third century, it was an accepted belief among most Christians that the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews were God’s method of showing the world that He was finished with them.
THE TRUTH ABOUT REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY:
God’s unrelenting commitment and unshakable promises to the Jewish people has not changed! They are still His chosen people, distinct and unique from other peoples (1 Chron.17:21-22; Ex. 4:22-23; Psalm 147:19-20; Deut. 7:6-7; Rom. 11).
Although they may have broken covenant with Him, He will keep His covenant with them because it is an everlasting covenant (Gen. 17:7-8; Psalm 105:8; Jer. 31:35-37 NIV; Jer.33:19-26 NLT; Is. 54:4-10; Mal. 3:6; Num. 23:19).
While God’s promises, purposes, and blessings are available to the Church as “spiritual Israel,” that truth in no way precludes the truth that His promises, purposes, and blessings are for national Israel. He still has a pledge to national Israel and His chosen people, and He will fulfill it.
If you've read your bible you know that Yeshua gave up His own life. Mark 10:45; For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
And, John (Yochanan) 10:17,18; "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
So, who killed Jesus (Yeshua)? Why, it was YOU and I who killed Him! He had to die to take away OUR sins!
Part 2 of "Lies" will be forthcoming:
- Jesus Christ is the God of Christianity?
- Jesus Began a New Religion Called Christianity?
- Jesus Never Claimed to be the Messiah?