Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud


What Can Jews Believe About Jesus?

There are some things Jews can believe about Jesus. We can believe that he was a Jewish man who lived during the first century CE. He was well versed in the ways of the Pharisees, who he often quotes. (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a paraphrase of a statement by the Pharisaic elder Hillel.) He preached a unique message of economic justice, faith, and acceptance during a time of great social upheaval in Palestine under increasingly oppressive Roman rule. He was killed by the Romans as a Jew, crucified like many other Jews of his time.
We can also believe that if Jesus were alive at the time, he would have condemned much of what has been done in his name, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the pogroms of Eastern Europe, etc., etc.
There are other things Jews cannot believe about Jesus.


A Jew cannot believe that Jesus is the messiah, died for our sins, is part of the God head, or is the intermediary of our prayers. Period. Each of these faith statements may be essential elements of Christian faith but they are an anathema to Jewish belief. That is why the earliest Christians, who were Jews, were excised from the Jewish community. Anyone who believes these things is a Christian by faith. Anyone born Jewish who accepts these beliefs becomes a Christian and an apostate. Those who claim otherwise are either innocent victims or conscious perpetrators of deceptive marketing.
Some of my best friends are Christian ministers. (Really). We recognize what we share and share where we differ. That is different than trying to merge the differences in a way that falsifies both religions, which is what the self-named Hebrew Christians or Messianic Jews do.
We Jews allow for a great variety of beliefs. But there are some things that are outside the boundaries of what it means to be Jewish. A Jew does not need to believe in God to be a good Jew. But a Jew who believes God became a man, in the form of Jesus, is not a good Jew. For, to a Jew, God is before and beyond the world and never a physical part of it.
The followers of Jesus, particularly Paul, founded a new religion in his name. They wrote and transmitted a scripture that canonized his story and the story of his followers. They brought monotheism to many peoples around the world. According to Maimonides, this spread of monotheism through Christianity (and, he adds, Islam) was part of God’s plan to spread monotheism.
As Jews, we also believe that God is the Creator and is the God of all the peoples of the world and cares for all of them. One need not be Jewish to be a good person. According to Judaism, the righteous of all the nations go to heaven. We have the most in common with those of the Christian faith, in that we share much of the same scripture and history. Yet we have very great theological differences as well. The best interfaith dialogues are those that look not just to what we have in common, but where we differ as well.



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laura t mushkat

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:16 pm


As a Jewish individual I actually do not know if Peter invented Jesus or not. Or any of the other people who claimed to know him.
I do not see enough proof from people who actually knew him. The New Testament was written long after his supposed existence.
Never heard of non-Christian writings of his time refering to him.
All I know about is when the conversions were started.
With respect to those who believe in Jesus, I think it is possible he is a myth. That he was supposed to be in human form and if he was important there would be proof of his existence, unlike G-d who we accept on faith.
Laura



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Jean

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:42 pm


I am a Protestant Christian. I do not believe, as stated in this article, that Jesus was God; rather, I believe he was the Son of God, and the Messiah. It is my understanding that Catholic’s believe that Jesus was God, come in the form of Man. Please remember that not all Christian beliefs are the same. However, we all, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, believe in God. In that, we are all children of God, and should love one another without prejudice.



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linoscript

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:22 pm


I am surprised Rabbi Grossman says Jews believe God is the God of all people, because the commandment not to worship any other god(s)or place any other god(s) first implies there were other other god(s) from which to choose at the time. And for that matter, in other faiths, there still are. My understanding is that the God of the Torah made an agreement (covenant) with the Jewish people to take care of them if they followed God’s laws. But it did not seem to me that this meant there weren’t other god(s) out there – just that Jews believe in this particular one God, and it is the only God we accept or listen to or care about – the only God for us as Jews. This God is formless, eternal, genderless, and cannot incarnate as a human being – thus, by Jewish definition, Jesus could not be a son of God or an incarnation of God. And according to the Jewish definition (job description) for a Messiah, Jesus did not carry out all of the requirements of that role – therefore he could not have been the Messiah. Clarification would be appreciated.



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Zoom

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:23 pm


Two responses.
Dear Laura,
Many people accept the germ of the Christian scriptures were written shortly after the events they describe. The final form of those scriptures, that is, when they were frozen into canon, may have been much later.
Dear Jean,
Jews, Christians and Muslims don’t quite worship the same gods. Jews worship God through the rules revealed to Moses. Christians widely believe that Jesus is a high teacher and priest of God. Although Christians believe the Jewish scriptures are inspired by God, they believe that Christians can disregard most of the rules there. Odd, because this ignores one of Jesus’ own teachings, found in Matthew 5:18.



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Hali

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:33 pm


Jesus was a liberal Jew. My mother always told met his, but I didn’t really understand until I started reading and listening to liberal Jews (like Mark Levine and Rabbi Michael Lerner). Ironically, they reinforced my Christian faith because they reminded me where Jesus was coming from. Granted, I don’t believe a lot of the dogma surrounding Christianity, and I understand that the Jewish meaning of “messiah” doesn’t fit what Jesus was doing.
Jesus, and Christianity, have been reinvented multiple times over the past twenty centuries. We haven’t got a Talmud. If Christians want to understand Jesus, we have to learn more about Judaism.
One of my favorite quotations ever comes from the Beliefnet “Daily Jewish Wisdom” newsletter:
“Theology: that madness gone systematic which tries to crowd God’s fullness into a formula and a system!”
- Rabbi Joel Blau, “My Uncertain God,” Menorah Journal, 1924
That pretty much sums up my idea of religion.



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Anonymous

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:53 pm


I am a SDA I firmly believe in the trinity. I beleive in our Lord and Saviour, who said you can not get through the Father but through. This feeling and believe that I have has been and tried true through faithe. I feel that confessing that we all are sinners and we do fall short to his glory is seen today in our society. I feel that we should pray without ceasing, love one another and most of all, be obedient to his words because, in this world that we live in now it makes plan honest since. He coming back soon. I know this in my soul because he lives in me and I love the Lord! (And I happily keep the Sabbath though I am not into Ellen White) I am into the Lords word. Elizabeth SDCA.



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Susan

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:31 pm


Jesus was a Jew. Jews have never believed that God could have a son. They have never believed that the Mesiah would be God’s son. I think that Jesus would be astonished and appalled to find that he was worshipped as God’s son. He certainly wouldn’t have wanted people to worship him or pray to him.
Jesus was liberal on many issues, but he was also conservative on some issues as well. I’m not sure that Jesus fits easily into the liberal or conservative labels as they exist today.



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Dave

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:20 pm


1/ Who is ‘Rabbi’ Michael Lerner. Which rabbinical school did he attend? Where and when did he get his smicha?
2/ The Talmud I believe very briefly mentions Jesus.



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Julie

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:46 pm


Has anyone actually read Isaish 53? Just putting it out there.
How about Genesis 1:26 when G-d refers to Himself as “us” and “our”. And b/c I have been wondering why is the Torah not a complete Old Testament? I do not know if they are all like that but the one I came across was mearly a few scriptures from a Torah.



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ToniG

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:56 pm


Wouldn’t it be something if we actually do unto others as we would like to be done to us. We can never convince others of what we believe or not believe. I am a Seven Day Adventist. I believe all that is taught in scripture that I have read. Beginning to End. The laws have not changed. The MORAL law of God will always stand. Scripture is principle set forth for us to live by to please God. I do believe that Jesus is the Christ. It is not my place to judge another who believe otherwise. Maybe we all need to consider that we have enough personal spiritual struggles in our lives that need to be straightened out. We spend so much time being canterous and unkind to each other that the Almighty must be busy keeping us all from killing each other. I am so sorry for the way we spend time arguing instead of believing that which is good and kind, and pure. Enough so that we may all ask God to help us to be of a pure heart. Treat each other with respect. Leave that which we cannot help to God. That’s why He is God, cause he knows what is right and He WILL fix it!!!



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Scott R.

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:08 pm


yes, I have read Isaiah 53 and Genesis etc. etc. and there are very good reasons why we don’t see the J-man in it. If you come over to Judaism Debate, you can find out why.
Lots of Jews have read the “nt”. We aren’t buying it. I think it’s nonsense. Sorry if that offends, but most of the words I’ve seen here are offensive to us.



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Cheryl Hines

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:13 pm


Julie,
That’s exactly what I was talking about, the scriptural description of Messiah! About Genesis though– at one point many years ago I accepted the trinity on that premise, only to find out the in the Hebrew as well as proper or rather “Old English,” we & our are used in the singular when spoken by sovereignty.



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Julie

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:39 pm


Thanks Cheryl, I always wondered about that.
Scott I only speak of the Old Testament, and the reasons I do so are spoken is Isaiah 62:1 “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.”
So how do you explain Isaiah 53? And why are some Torahs not a complete Old Testament?



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Scott R.

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:47 pm


First of all, the term “Torah” and “Old Testament” are mutually exclusive. We don’t read the “Old” Testament (besides the fact that there is only ONE testament).
Isaiah 53 refers to Israel/the Jewish people (and we are certainly the suffering servant for the world, since we’ve essentially been crucified for the sake of the gentiles).
And we have books called chumashim that only consist of the first 5 books of the bible, as they are the holiest.



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Julie

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:00 pm


And how do you explain Jeremiah 31:31
Where the Lord says He will make a new covenant with the house of Isreal, unlike the covenant He made with their forefathers.



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Scott R.

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:05 pm


What of it? God made many new covenants. None of them invalidated any of the earlier ones.
The problem with the “nt” is we have to believe that god made promises to us but was lying and revoked them. Not only that, but he invented a horrible place called hell and sent all of us there when we wouldn;t trust in his “new” covenant.
Not a very trustworthy god and not one I would give my soul to. Ever.



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Julie

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:14 pm


In the rabbi’s article she says the rightous of all nations will go to heaven. Doesn’t that rule out everyone?



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Scott R.

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:55 pm


Only in your religion. Not ours.



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Julie

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:59 pm


What would someone have to do to be considered rightous?



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Scott R.

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:39 am


If you really want to know, go to the Judaism boards.



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jk

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:28 am


Actually I find all the Jewish debates and debates about who is the righteous and who has a share in the world to come just as morally repugnant as Christian discussion of Hell. On ends in spiritual erasure after death, the other ends in eternal torment, both define the “other” as lacking a connection to God. Both views are more or less morally equivalent.



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Monica

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:35 pm


Scott, the New Testament never says that the Jewish people are going to hell, where did you get that? In fact in Romans chapter 11 (written by Paul, who generally gets a bad rap), it says that “All Israel will be saved”. Paul also tells the Gentile Believers that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people, that we should help them financially, and that we are never to become proud or haughty toward the Jewish people.
It is tragic the those claiming to be followers of Jesus have done such evil to the Jewish people, and especially in the name of Jesus-but they were certainly NOT following his teachings. He told us we would be judged based on how we treated his brothers and sisters, and I assume by that he meant the Jewish people. I believe people calling themselves “Christian” will have a lot to answer for, but especially for how we have responded to the Jewish people.



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Scott R.

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:16 pm


JK,
Do you even have a clue as to who is a part of the righteous?
The vast majority of humanity, that is who.
Monica,
Yet the “NT” says we are of “our father the devil” and has us calling an eternal death sentence on our heads in Matt 27. Additionally, the majority of churches teach we are hellbound. What do you think kids learn about us in Sunday School?



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Roger

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:46 pm


As a messianic jew, I believe what thousands of jews believed in the first century that Yeshua was the Mashiach and raised from the tomb as a signal of resurrection to all those who believe in him as God incarnated…why is it impossible for God to become a man, born of a virgin woman…you must remember that all those jews who accepted Yeshuah as the Mashiach were people who studied Torah since they were kids. The problem with Judaism is that they see in “catholicism” the true christian religion… if you see the Pope and his church you will realize that there is nothing “jewish” that “church”, because of the mixture of Mithraism and christianity from the fourth century, everyone thinks that the Catholic Church represents the Kehila of Yeshua, this is totally false and an assumption. why dont we try to understand why they thought of Yeshua as the Mashiach? Another think…Rashid stated that these jews who believed in Yeshuah were jews anyway…once a jew, a jew for ever… you dont stop being jew just because you believe in Yeshua, as those who believed in Shimon Bar Koba as the mashiach didnt stop being jews, even when Bar Koba died. Once again real jews were those who believed in Yeshua as the Mashiach. Shalom! Baruch Ata Adonay…



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Joshua

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Psalm 2 says that God has a son, and so does Proverbs 30:5.
Secondly, before you start calling the New Testament fiction, you might want to actually check the archaeology. Just a suggestion for the open-minded.
Oh, by the way, Laura, those who actually studied the archaeology have concluded that the biographies of Jesus were written within 20-50 years of His death.



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Monica

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:08 am


Scott, you are aware that what we now call Christianity was originally another sect within Judaism, right? Very similar to the current day Lubavitcher when you think about it.
As for who was being called sons of the devil (in John 8:44), I’m assuming he is referring to a group of Pharisees, as he is so often involved in altercations with them. If he meant the entire Jewish race, then he would have to be including himself. Here he is talking to a specific group of people who had apparently been trying to kill him (see verse 37).
In Matthew 27 the specific Jewish people in the crowd (most likely hired by some corrupt leaders who felt threatened by Jesus) who demand his execution do indeed accept responsibility for his death, hence the statement “his blood be on us and on our children”. That is in no way a license for the “church” to then try to kill Jewish for the next 2000 years.
Scott, I’m 45 years old, I was raised in the church, I’ve been some sort of church about 40 yrs of my life, and I’ve never been taught that “the Jewish people are all going to hell”. And I’ve taught Sunday School, we certainly weren’t teaching that. Now if you’re referring to the Catholic church, I’ve never been Catholic so I can’t speak for them, but I have been involved in a host of Protestant and non-denominational churches and honestly, most didn’t teach anything at all about the Jewish people. The first thing I ever heard (as a teenager) was that Jesus was Jewish, the Jewish people are God’s chosen people, and we are to love them. That message may not be taught in all churches, but it is taught in a significant number.
Scott, please be assured, now all Christians are opposed to the Jewish people-many of us love and appreciate you, pray for you and for Israel, and want nothing but G-d’s blessings for you.



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MacLeod

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:24 am


While my idealism tells me that there are no strangers in God’s world, I have to be honest and say that Christianity appalls me far more than any other religion. No religion except Xianity says that an entire people ‘murdered God’ and no other religion has had a theology that, taken to it’s logical conclusion, leads to the genocide of that people (the Jews). I believe Christianity is the most fundamentally immoral religion in our age. I don’t say this of ALL Christians though, but a great many of them are really twisted in their views of the world and other people.



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Anonymous

posted July 13, 2007 at 5:20 pm


Many of the Romas=ns were non Christians and wrote about Jesus a great deal



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Monica

posted July 14, 2007 at 1:25 am


MacLeod, you seem to be confusing the actual teachings contained within the Christian scriptures with acts by various individuals, groups, and churches over the centuries. The New Testament never once says that the Jewish people “murdered God”-it never even hints at such a thing. Jesus (who was Jewish, as were all the writers of the New Testament except one), said that NO ONE could take his life from him as he was laying it down willingly. And there is NOTHING within the New Testament that suggests genocide in any form. Quite the opposite is true: Jesus actually taught love, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, etc. etc. And I’ve already mentioned that Paul specifically taught that the gentile believers in this Jewish sect we now call “Chritianity” were not to be proud or haughty in regards to the original Jewish members, but were to love them and help them.
Men came along and twisted and perverted what was actually taught by Jesus and his disciples, but true Christianity looks nothing like what was displayed during the crusades, inquisition, etc.



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Bruce Ramsey

posted July 14, 2007 at 11:54 am


What can Jews believe about Jesus? That his existence really helps answer and bring meaning to strange passages in the Old Testament, like snake poison rendered harmless as long as Hebrews looked up and saw a bronze snake on a stick being held up by Moses, and, the fact that a spot-less lamb blood had to be put on doorways to keep the Angel of Death from killing the first born of Israel.



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israel

posted July 16, 2007 at 12:16 am


Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Jesus clearly claims to be the “son of man”
Numbers 23:19 G-d is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: when He hath said, will He not do it? or when He hath spoken, will He not make it good?
G-d clearly isn’t “a man that he should lie” nor the “son of man”
So who is the “lier’? I know it’s not G-d.



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James

posted July 16, 2007 at 10:04 am


I find myself wondering if Rabbi Susan Grossman is aware that she can be a Jew by her own definition and yet believe that Jesus believed himself to be the Messiah. That is to say, using the best methods and sources available for historical study, a person — whether an atheist, or a Jew, or a Christian, or a member of some other religion — can become convinced that the Jew Jesus of Nazareth at some point in his life became convinced that he was the Messiah.
That does not mean that he IS (or was) the Messiah, only that he himself came to believe this.
Indeed, the pendulum in present day historical Jesus studies seems to be swinging in that direction. Paula Fredriksen, who is Jewish, concludes that Jesus probably thought himself to be the Messiah. Other excellent contemporary historical Jesus scholars who are in basic agreement with this are Dale C. Allison, John P. Meier, E. P. Sanders, Bart D.Ehrman.



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WhoWalksWithGod

posted July 16, 2007 at 11:57 am


In the book of Daniel , in Daniel’s vision, Chapter 7, there is one who is Called the Son of Man standing next to the Ancient of Days.



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George B Godfrey

posted July 16, 2007 at 7:19 pm


As we sit here to discuss this issue of Jesus was he or wasn’t he is he G_d or man?He says in a round about way that he considers himself a
prophet.Its what was done to his memmorey thats problem.I am a Baptist
though.I have an opened mind on the issue.I try not to look at this issue with blinders on.Jesus was Jewish and I am very proud of that link.Now alot of trouble started up when the bible was cannonized.If
I am not mistaken.Alot of differnt groups of Christians( really the
true christian was Paul and How he preceived Jesus and how Jesus actually was).Them came the Roman Empire involvement(they at the time were trying to keep their Empire alive,so they reinvented Jesus to
Messiah,Son of God,God of God.So on and so forth).So the real question
is not what or who Jesus was.The real question I feel is when The True
Jesus will step forward to show the world a very Remarkable Jew and a remarkable person who did wonderious things.Thankyou George B Godfrey



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israel

posted July 16, 2007 at 8:16 pm


Bruce, um no he doesn’t.



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Clare

posted July 16, 2007 at 9:30 pm


The most striking statement is that a good jew does not need to believe in God to be a good jew. Perhaps you missed something in that statement, but I do believe God becomes quite perturbed in followers who falsely follow him. As a good jew I am sure you are familiar with the the 1st of the ten commandments, do not have false gods before me. I usually don’t get touchy but I believe you missed the mark on this one.



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israel

posted July 17, 2007 at 1:05 am


“son of man” just means a human, nothing cosmic, just that you are a human.



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William Borner

posted July 17, 2007 at 9:50 am


One thing you missed in your discussion is that Jesus was not a Jew because by definition a Jew is someone who believes the Messiah is coming and it is not Jesus. Jesus, however, knew he was the Messiah so therefore he was the first Hebrew Christian and not a Jew any longer.



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NANCY DAVIS

posted July 17, 2007 at 10:37 am


DOES IT NOT SAY THAT THE SON OF GOD WAS MADE OF GODS OWN IMAGE? NOT, THAT HE WAS GOD HIMSELF? THAT HE WAS PUT ON EARTH TO SPREAD THE WORD OF GOD TO ALL THAT WOULD LISTEN?



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James Boswell

posted July 17, 2007 at 11:06 am


William Borner’s above statement flies in the face of John 4:7-10,19-22 where a Christian tradition portrays Jesus as claiming to be a Jew. The Apostle Paul certainly considered Jesus to be a Jew (Romans 9:5-4).
I intend these statements, not as doctrinal statements, but as statements of historical fact. I wish more of us would try to do that.
James Boswell
P.S. I posted a little earlier under “James”



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Megiddo

posted July 17, 2007 at 1:55 pm


aish.com aish.com; check it out!



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israel

posted July 17, 2007 at 5:08 pm


Bottom line, G-d of the Torah doesn’t need a dead son to forgive sins. Nor do I. My G-d can forgive without murder.



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Bill Kilpatrick

posted July 17, 2007 at 8:00 pm


I accept the Rabbi’s points as valid.



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Kathy

posted July 17, 2007 at 10:32 pm


This is a very interesting thread.
I have a somewhat different background. My life partner is Jewish, and we are raising our son Jewish. I’m more religious than my partner who doesn’t quite believe in God.
I was a Christian, and my cousin who was a Christian minister became a “Jewish” rabbi of a church/temple of Jewish folks who became Christians. (My in-laws don’t understand that. And now that I’ve learned so much more about Jewish religion, I have problems with it as well. But to each his/her own.)
But anyway, I find most, if not all, of the rabbi’s posting to be well thought and said.
And to take things a bit further than what the rabbi or others said. I think that Paul distorted much of what Jesus wanted for his church. Paul’s teachings are probably the most significant reason that I left the Christian church and looked for another religion.
Jesus was a good teacher, but I find the (reform) Jewish religion much more inline with my innate sense of how things should really be.
Please note, that I fervantly believe (and will defend) that each person has the right to their own beliefs (and as long as they don’t harm others, it’s all good). Diversity is a good thing.
kathy



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linda leibig

posted July 17, 2007 at 11:21 pm


God-or whatever you chose to cll him or higher light must find it very disapointing that what should bring happyness to all brings so much bitterness and unhappyness-there is a very good saying-if we can.t say something good-maybe it would be better not to say anything!kindness cost nothing.



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Clare

posted July 18, 2007 at 12:52 am


I believe many of the Jewish faith have lost their way. According to what I have studied of the Jewish faith while researching the origins of my own beliefs, I find that the majority of Jewish individuals I know today have become very liberal.
Due to the fact that God established the laws of their religion so many thousands of years ago, it seems to have undergone quite a bit of alteration. God comes across to me as pretty rigid. I don’t know how one justifies modernizing the faith and then expecting to reap the rewards of a promise which has also undergone alterations (New Testament).



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(The Jews and Jesus.)

posted July 18, 2007 at 7:47 am


Hard to understand the Jewish belief system in as much as thay spend so much of there lives banging there heads up against a stone wall
(New kid i=on the block,just waiving a hand.)



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Reverend Gwen

posted July 18, 2007 at 11:19 am


The most misinterpreted part of the message of Yeshua is the misunderstanding of why he was here and what his message truly was. He was a man, a prophet, with ideas that were unique and inspiring and well before a time when people might be able to understand and comprehend. But he was a man. Born the same way we are all born. His divine spark, that which we call spirit, was very bright with him and he understood the concepts of spirituality and universal connectiveness in a more direct and purer way than many before or after him.
But he was not here to save anyone’s soul. He was not here to die for anyone’s salvation. That was happenstance based on the time he lived in. Do not believe for a moment we have moved beyond killing the messenger because of the message (think MLK Jr). And as it has been shown before, martyring the messenger sparks a movement where the message takes a back seat to the life of the messenger.
And the message was the 3 Universal Truths. Unconditional love, unconditional compassion, and unconditional forgiveness.
Unconditional love: love thy neighbor, friend and enemy. And most of all love thy self.
Unconditional compassion: charity, sharing, understanding, celebrating the differences between people, cultures and beliefs. Empathy and sympathy, for when we can put ourselves in others shoes we are less likely to judge and condemn.
Unconditional forgiveness: to be human, by default, comes with challenges. To forgive others, even in the face of premeditated tragedy, is divine. To forgive oneself sets you free.
Regardless of what one believes and who one believes Yeshua was his birth, life and death have concerned mankind for over 2000 years. Whereas he may be the basis of what you believe or you just consider him a myth and legend of the ages I personally think it’s time to thank him for his message and now live the message, not worship the messenger.
Blessings, love and peace
Reverend Gwen



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Melissa

posted July 18, 2007 at 11:29 am


There are lots of reasons I could find to leave the Christian church, like the lack of Christlikeness. I don’t leave because of my relationship with God. We need to love our neighbors and enemies. When you read in the old testament it shows the Jewish leaders hearts were hardened when changes occurred in their “religion”. Their power and authority were threatened and they didn’t like that. I don’t believe they ever got over that and that is why Jew’s don’t believe they need Jesus to be saved. Hey if you are God’s chosen people, why would you need a Saviour? Why do you think the disciples turned to the Gentiles and started preaching to them? It’s a heart thing, the Gentiles were willing to listen. My Uncle was Jewish, but he celebrated Christmas with us and I believe he had an open heart to God’s message.



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Anonymous

posted July 18, 2007 at 1:13 pm


The reason why I don’t believe in Jesus as God or the Son of God is because of the theological implications of such a belief. That God is the most wrathful, if not most hateful God because the God in Christianity comes to be depicted as a God of unequaled violence, since God not only allegedly demands the blood of the victim who is closest and most precious to him, but also holds all of humanity accountable for a death that God both anticipated and required.



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Serious Service

posted July 19, 2007 at 11:27 am


I am glad for this opportunity to post with others about this subject. Over the past year or so, I have been led (I believe by the Holy Spirit) to study history with regard to the period of time between the Old testament and the new testament and the history of Christianity, up to present time. I have been so distressed by what I have learned and I believe that my own christian journey cannot be fully realized without the understanding I am just beginning to get from this study. As a result of this study, I have come to see myself as a the second brother, among a family of two brothers. My older brother is Israel and I am Christian. I see that Israel has kept his position with GOD through history in a way that only his relationship with GOD could sustain, even if he has not always kept his relationship to GOD (like my own christian walk), he has remained a part of Israel and has given the world the greatest of our heritage. I see that I (and the “nations” have been very, very cruel and mean to Israel for a terribly long time, blaming him for the death of my Savior and for being a representative of satan – all lies. I repent of the way I have treated him and I cannot really exercise my faith without being aware of him. I have more to say on this subject, but will post this now.



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Serious Service

posted July 19, 2007 at 11:40 am


Continuing. I know that I love him and I am so grateful to him for keeping on, in despite of all the efforts to destroy him. He and I are parts of the same family – the family of GOD and my own life can never be separate from him. I have concerns about the “members” of the body of which I belong and their attitude and behavior toward our older brother. I have not as yet been able to articulate to them how I feel about this but perhaps I will be able to do so. In the meantime I feel separated from him and that separation hurts me very deeply. I do not have a full revelation of GOD’s plan for both of us, but I do believe HIS word, both OT and NT, and I know that GOD will bring all of us to reconciliation with HIM. My older brother will not be left out.



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Mariam

posted July 20, 2007 at 5:18 am


In the Bible you see an evolution of morality and how we view our relationship with God and one another. The earliest God of the Bible would appeal to a world where might determined what was right. This early God is a mighty force, often capricious, who demands our obedience. He becomes a God of justice and a God of law. Our relationship with Him is about following myriad rules for every facet of life and paying the price, through ritual sacrifice for our inevitable disobedience. But it seems this is not what God wants after all. He wants a relationship with us, not dependent on rules and rituals. He becomes a God who “desires mercy and not sacrifice, a knowlege of God and not burnt offerings”. This is the God I believe Jesus had in mind when he started out as a Jewish reformer. Just as Martin Luther saw corruption and abuse of power in the Christian Church, Jesus saw corruption and abuse of power among the Jewish religious leaders and he challenged that. He challenged his people, the Jews, to focus on what they were really about and what their relationship with God was based on. The Law had become not a way of bringing people into relationship with God but creating barriers among God’s people and between God and his people. The letter of the law had become more important than the spirit of the law. Much the way it is among many Christian groups now. In this sense Jesus was like the other prophets – calling people back into a right relationship with God.
It is clear in the New Testament that Jesus initially saw his primary mission was to preach to his own people but somewhere along the way he came to believe that the message was for the larger world. And somewhere along the way his view of our relationship with God and with each other evolved again. His ideas were radical – not just “do unto others” and “do no harm” – but love your enemy; do good to those who hate you; turn the other cheek; share everything you have with the poor; nothing, not wealth, not family, not success matters as much as our relationship with God.
I don’t believe for a minute that God wanted Jesus murdered. And, of course (!), it wasn’t the Jews who murdered Jesus. Certain Jewish leaders felt that his message was either dangerous, heretical or a threat to their power (or all three). They stirred up a mob of people against him – we see everyday how easy it is to manipulate public opinion towards fear and hatred – and convinced the Romans he was a threat as well. What they did was no different than what many religious and political leaders of various faiths have done throughout time to teachers or prophets who they felt threatened by. They use religion as an excuse to eliminate people who disagree with or challenge you.
The interesting thing is that in some ways Jesus collaborated with his murderers. He made no real attempt to defend himself or escape. It almost seems as if he created his own martyrdom. I believe that in the end he thought this was the only statement left that he could make. He thought his death would be a symbol of atonement – a way of freeing Judaism from its obsession with the Law and ritual sacrifice. It was as if he was saying, “You think God needs a blood sacrifice? Here I am – I will be your sacrifice. There is nothing that now separates you from God.” It was his gift to his God and to his people. People then and now thought he was deluded but I believe it was Jesus’ way of radically displaying the power of redemption – of how it is possible to turn the worst of situations into something eternally beautiful. And he turned out to be right – his death became an incredibly powerful symbol of redemption and new life.
The essence of Jesus’ message – cleaving to God above all else, forgiveness for all, living a life of compassion and love, sacrifice of the things of this world to find our souls, turning pain into beauty, darkness into light, despair into hope is still radical. I don’t think Christians have a monopoly on that message. In fact I don’t think most Christians “get it” at all. But I do believe that message is “the way”, the only way our planet will be saved.



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Serious Service

posted July 20, 2007 at 4:51 pm


Dear Miriam, thank you so much for your very, very beautiful post. I am touched and edified by your words.



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lex

posted July 22, 2007 at 9:49 am


Jesus was an inspired Jewish teacher who obeyed the Jewish law and traditions; he preached against the abuses by the Pharisees and others who had strayed away from the spirit of the law. The first ‘Christian” church was the Jerusalem Church under James. the members still adhered to the old law but accepted Jesus.
What now passes as christianity is a Hellenic hoax perpretrated by Paul and does not reflect the true message of Jesus Christ.



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Julie O.

posted March 17, 2008 at 7:45 pm


I thought I wasn’t a good Jew, ‘cuz I got bad grades in Hebrew school.
And, yes; I do believe in Jesus. Hey, I need all the Help I can
get.
J.O.



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