Question 4

As a Jew, I can’t see what you’ve "given up" as a Christian.

 

I received the following lengthy letter from a dear Jewish person who has echoed many questions concerning my position which no doubt are common to many Jews. I have posted it here with my reply interpolated in the letter. In an attempt to be perfectly fair, I have posted this person's letter in its entirety first to let them state their case without interruptions. The only changes I have made in the original letter are to accommodate their request not to be identified.  Afterwards, I reply with my comments interpolated in the letter. Be fore-warned. The original letter is quite long. With my reply in the second copy, this page becomes about three times as long as the original letter. I would encourage the reader to not start unless there is sufficient time to finish. Thank you 


Dear Scott,

I hope you can take the time to answer some of my questions. I also hope you can detect an attitude of earnestness, not judgmental confrontation. That is my hope, because I honestly can’t see how you can make some statements, and then build your conclusions from them. When someone questions what another believes, it can come off as criticism. I hope you don’t take it that way because I do want to know how you arrived at some of your claims. I’m not asking these questions to belittle you, but to hopefully get answers for them.

You gave a beautiful analogy describing the unsettling feeling of skating in circles despite heartfelt confidence in “knowing” you were heading in another direction. When confronted with the indisputable physical evidence of your wrong turns, it took your mind a little more time to adjust. Although I think this is a wonderful description, as a Jew, I can’t see what you’ve “given up” as a Christian. You still believe that Jesus is the only begotten son of G-d who is G-d who was born of a virgin, died for your sins so that you may have eternal life, was resurrected, and will return to rule the earth. You even still blame the “misconceptions” of “modern” Judaism on the Pharisees! This is wholesale Christianity, and to paraphrase Hillel, all the rest is commentary. Whether you still feel compelled to observe some form of Biblical “laws” – always to your own interpretation – is irrelevant, in my opinion! You say you are a Jew, but don’t believe any of the most important things that a Jew believes. Is this not sheer Clintonianism, the redefining of common words to a personal definition? It’s easy to call yourself anything as long as you have your own private definition of what that thing is. I would say I believe you have fallen victim to your own definition of sincerity.

As you can imagine, we have reviewed many different sites, each with their own “take” on what/who Jesus really was/is, (from literal begotten son of G-d, all the way to mortal human messiah rolling in his grave over the idolatry he has come to represent) and each site/movement seems to have another name for him. The reason I ask for an acknowledgement of earnestness, is that what I have to say does sound like criticism. So let me say that it is readily apparent that you are truly seeking the truth. In my opinion, however, I have never seen such cognitive dissonance regarding one’s belief system. I know that it must have been hard on you to reject Paul, and you are to be commended for doing so. As the fear of abandoning Paul, which you faced and overcame, caused such a disoriented feeling, I do feel you are actually tap dancing around the inevitable conclusion your own research should have revealed. This feeling, which was prophesied to happen to all non-Jews was not mere “disorientation”, but shrieking that they had inherited lies. To avoid this, I feel you have literally, by picking and choosing, constructed your own religion. You even invented another Book of Life rather than accept what you found! I have seen many sites, from messianic Judaism, to the Netzarim, and, in my opinion, you do win for cognitive dissonance. As I see it, you just can’t give up Jesus. Of course, there is no need to, we are all entitled to our beliefs, and obviously G-d loves people of every faith. But I was talking about those who profess to be “objective”. I guess I echo the other Jew on your site who asked why you don’t go all the way and you answered, “I have”. I hope you don’t consider this an insult, but you are still Christian.

You said:”Yahshua/Jesus was the only man who understood perfectly what the truth is.”

How do you know he understood? You don’t even know his name. Must everyone who seeks some “objective” connection with him devise a different, more Jewish name? I must ask, is this Hashem’s “m.o”? He has, in the past, relied on open miracles, communication through undisputed prophets, and entrusted His Torah to the people who were meticulous in preserving it. So, I MUST ask, why didn’t Hashem see fit to preserve the teachings of His “only begotten son” in any recognizable form? Why is it that those who reject a) Paul, b) son of G-d pagan idolatry c) replacement theology d) all three/combination must REWRITE their own personal copies of Matthew, which disagree with each other? Is it Hashem’s m.o. that you, and this is not meant with malice, but that you have unearthed the truth. Why should Joe Blow from Cleveland have to sift through, deleting and retaining, until he finds something he can live with? Is that something a just G-d should require? This is a G-d who is known for performing miracles in front of 3 million people! Are you telling me He forgot to mention in a clearly, repeated, easily comprehended way that He has a begotten son? It must be debated? I’m not trying to sound like some Jew who is telling you how wrong you’ve got it, and I would know because we have perfect understanding. It’s not that at all. I am hoping you have time to answer some specific questions about what you wrote. You wrote:

“Yet we intuitively know that if one was perfect in doctrine, God would openly endorse that faith with His power as He has in the past.”

I would say He would not openly endorse a particular doctrine with power, but with a clearly written instruction manual, which He has done. Beside the fact that I don’t believe that one should base his belief system, following after his own eyes and heart, and go with what one intuitively knows, “My thoughts are not your thoughts”, this supposition is contrary to Jewish belief. It is precisely this “hidden” aspect of Hashem which allows man to exercise his freedom of choice, which results in him being rewarded by the goodness of G-d. If every time man sinned he was wounded, and every time he prayed the right prayer, the Sea split, man would be deprived of making his own choice. It would be obvious. And here we come to the first difference between Jewish and your thought. You said G-d created the world so that He could get a bride for Christ. Judaism believes He created the world in order to bestow his goodness on mankind and to find a dwelling place in the lower realms. This goodness is defined as attachment to Him. We attach ourselves to him by doing His will. In order for the goodness to be bestowed to be true goodness, it must be earned. In order for it to be earned, it must be chosen. In order for it to be chosen, there must be a REAL choice involved. In order for a real choice to be made, evil and good must both seem desirable, at least on the surface. This can only be accomplished if G-d “hides His face”, after the initial series of revelatory miracles, and the giving of the Torah. Of course miracles do happen today (for all religious groups), but as far as the scope of Biblical miracles, they accomplished what they set out to do.

This leads us directly to the differences between the Jewish and your definition of the Satan. You write,

“When Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he took on the nature of his new father the devil who has long desired to be God.”

You and Christianity believe the Satan is the Adversary of G-d, and in rebellion. Judaism believes that the Satan is G-d’s faithful servant and only does His bidding. There is no question that G-d allows evil to exist.

“I am the Lord and there is none else, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and CREATE EVIL: I the Lord do all these things.” (Is. 45:6)

“Entrust your plans to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. The LORD MADE everything for a   purpose, even the WICKED for an evil day. Every haughty person is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly he will not go unpunished. Iniquity is expiated by loyalty and faithfulness, and evil is avoided through fear of the Lord.” (Prov. 16:4)

Judaism’s ascertain is that the Satan is MAN’s adversary, not Hashem’s. Satan is merely doing the will of his Creator by tempting man, in order that evil may seem desirable, so that man can show his devotion to Hashem by rejecting it. The Satan also can serve as an agent of punishment or the Angel of Death. I ask you, how else could man show his devotion to Hashem? If   stealing/eating BBQ pork/adultery/working on Shabbat were innately repulsive to mankind, then where is the choice that we are COMMANDED to make, that is to “CHOOSE life”? G-d never commanded us to show our love for Him by eating strawberry sundaes! We already want to do that! Although there is an angel known as the Satan, ever since the eating of the fruit, mankind ingested a little of it (the Satan) into our very nature, so that temptation doesn’t actually have to come entirely from without. It is a part of our nature to want the physical. Jews call this the Evil Inclination, which “does battle” with our Good Inclination, which yearns to cleave to Hashem. The choice is ours. During the messianic age, the Evil inclination is not destined to survive, being eternally “rebuked”. (I’m ready, aren’t you!)

To those who say the Satan is a fallen angel, in rebellion against G-d Himself, I ask, when was the fall? I would presume it had to be before it tempted Eve, or it wouldn’t have temped her. All other humans descended from Adam and Eve, so if the rebellion against G-d happened before that, how did the Satan get back in Heaven, chatting with G-d about Job, Adam’s descendent? Following His every instruction. How is it that the Satan performs G-d’s will like any other angel every time it appears in Tanakh? Also, I should say that Hashem chose to wipe out most of mankind during the Flood. He did not change the system, and kept the Satan. He punished man for the choices man had made. The Satan survived the flood. If you are going to base most of your belief system that Satan is in rebellion to Hashem, I must ask, when did it rebel?

You write:

“And the Jew must ask; why were my ancestors dispossessed of the land of Israel a second time and why for so long? The nation of Israel was dispersed because of its sins, like the sacrificing of children to pagan idols, for only seventy years the first time. What could have been done to warrant a nearly two thousand-year second dispersion?  These are painful questions that are seldom asked.”

It seems you are setting up as permission to create your own religion by the presumed failures of the current choices, those being Pauline Christianity or Judaism. The fact is, Jews have never ever ever skirted this issue. As early as the Talmudic period the reason for the second and current exile has been cited as “baseless hatred” of our fellow Jews, among other things. All throughout the ages, it has been acknowledged that we were kicked out because of our sins and that it is the continuation of these sins that has prevented our wholesale return. You are simply in egregious error, and I request that you take this point off of your site, that Jews have hardly ever speculated on this issue. The claim simply cannot be supported. Perhaps you are displaying a vestige of Christian theology that we were kicked out for not accepting Jesus.

You write:

“Despite the fact that the Jews fought valiantly against Greek culture, Greek philosophy concerning the attributes of deity, creation, and time, had made inroads into the thinking of some Pharisees.”

Yes, the key here is SOME Pharisees. These, however, were not the Pharisees who ultimately won out in Judaism. The Chanukah war was in part against these Hellenized Jews, and they did not win. You performed an unintentional sleight of hand by making the claim that some Pharisees were Hellenized, and then making it seem as if these very same apostates gained control over normative Judaism.

You write:

“Paul and the Pharisees have said and done many good things.  But this has become a problem in itself. Having made names for themselves in the eyes of men, we have had a tendency to over-elevate their teachings to the status of "inspired by God", and "infallible". Once this status is generally accepted, few dare to question any part of their teachings. This can have the effect of cutting us off from a portion of the truth if those we hold so high were wrong in any way. This is exactly what has happened to both Christianity and Judaism.”

I presume you are saying that since the Rabbis took over, we have Hellenistic-infiltrated Judaism, (read: not the legitimate interpretation, which Jesus had but didn’t preserve) and Paul sprung from that. I say not so fast. Yes, Hellenism was a problem, and some Jews sought to reconcile Judaism with philosophy. It cannot be overemphasized that this was not preserved in dominant Jewish thought, and Rabbinic Judaism did not invent a new description of the G-d of their fathers. You infer that we have retroactively elevated these erroneous teachings as infallible and inspired by G-d. Nothing could be further from the truth. Never has the claim been made by any reputable Jew that the rulings in Talmud are the “inspired word of G-d”. However, it could be argued that they are the will of G-d.

Let me explain. G-d commanded us to obey the “mishpat” or the rulings. (Often translated as judgments) The Sanhedrin had the authority to make judgments. Were the rulings always correct? No. Were they always binding? Yes. (Aside: The rulings were interpretations and applications of existing laws, not Torah rewrites) As a perfect example I will offer a televised football game. Certain authorities exist, such as referees. Everyone agrees to abide by the rules. Let’s say that a call is made that is erroneous, and is not overturned. It costs a team the game. Let’s also say that the next day, it is replayed over and over again and it is proved that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the call was bad. What happens? Do they play the game over again? No. Do they announce a new winner of the game? No. Does the result stand? Yes. Why? Because it was the will of the person who made up the rules of the game. By agreeing to play in the league, all teams entered into a covenant stating they will abide by the will of the one who created the rules. The rules say listen to the refs.

Similarly, any Jew will tell you that it is possible that we may be doing some things differently than we will be in the messianic age, when all rulings will be made clear. But until a TORAH  RECOGNIZED authority makes this apparent, the ruling will stand. Just as the President of the United States could not overturn the call of an NFL referee, an outside group cannot overturn the rulings of a beit din, because they think they have a better interpretation. Of course, we are talking about interpretation of the Law. Even a halachichly-recognized authority could not make stealing legal – that, too is in the rules.

You write:

“Everyone descended from Adam, except for Yahshua/Jesus”

What is your source for this?

You write:

“It is instinctively driven in the subconscious by motives to absolve and glorify one's self. It is only when we humbly admit to this truth that we might be able to deal with issues of theology and ask the difficult questions without impugning another’s sincerity and conscious motives”

All religions already acknowledge this. The lack of acknowledgement comes from atheists. It is not the mindset of normative Judaism, Christianity or Islam, with the exception of classical, medieval Catholicism. Again, I feel you are basing the “need” to ask the “hard questions” on some form of mea culpa, and that those who do accept, say Judaism’s reasons for things, are doing so out of unacknowledged self-glorification. I feel you are unintentionally saying that pride is what is causing views like yours not to be taken as seriously as your think they should, rather than the heartfelt belief that you are simply wrong.

On your site:

“But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. “

How does this align with the express building instructions in Ezekiel? Why no mention of a Lamb in Ezekiel, with mind-numbing details of the Third Temple. And I must ask, since you did say that you consider yourself to be a Jew, in what way do you see this Lamb? I hope I’m not putting words into your mouth, but if it is the Pesach lamb, and you do believe that Jesus died for your sins, why the association with the Pesach lamb, which has no connection with sin? Why do Christians keep insisting that the Pesach lamb had a connection to sin, when we were commanded to sacrifice the Pesach lamb as a REMEMBRANCE of the death of the firstborn and consequent deliverance from Egypt, and then to sacrifice a SEPARATE sin offering during the week of Passover, which was a goat? (Num. 28:22)

You write:

Yes, I am suggesting that there are two books of life!  And all of those who's names are written in the smaller "Lamb's Book of Life" are also listed in the larger, general "Book of Life". But not all names in the general "Book of Life" are in the "Lamb's Book of Life". 

This is a prime example of what I would call cognitive dissonance. You claim not to believe in replacement theology, but this is nothing more than a more subtle form of displacement theology, as no Jew would be listed in the Lamb’s book. Again, Christians, by whatever name, get the best reward.

You write:

So by the absence of these two in the second list, we must conclude that the difference between them and the first group that was thrown in the lake of fire is that this group must have been those who did at least the bare minimum for salvation by taking courage and believing

This is merely your redo of the Christian doctrine of faith over works, which is now faith (in Jesus) plus works. But anyone who believes enough to perform the commandments already believes enough. Habbabuk said, “The righteous shall LIVE by his faith”. In other words, anyone who takes the time to perform the commandments to the best of his ability is doing so because he ALREADY believes that this is what his Creator desires. Is believing in one’s Creator and following His commandments enough for the better Book of Life? Apparently not - this is another way of saying, believe in Jesus for the ultimate salvation.

About these two books of Life, you say the truth must make sense. But why isn’t the book of Revelations subject to your systematic method of dealing with discrepancies?

You write:

“If indeed there are those who are saved but have no access to the city, who are they? The answer from Revelation is... they are those who believed but did not do all of "His commandments".  Believed what? Yahshua also painted this same picture in Matthew.”

Recorded in Exodus 32:32-33 is this interesting exchange between God and Moses.

"Yet now, if You will forgive their sin-but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written." And the Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book."   NKJV

It is obvious to the reader that there is an inside understanding going on here between God and Moses about a certain "book". No doubt God had told Moses about this book. The question is what, or which book is being referred to here?”

So, you are admitting there is an Oral Torah, but you won’t consult it to find out how to obey the Law. “No doubt G-d had told Moses…” I’m simply flabbergasted with this one. We have the Oral Torah. There is no mention of this book. But there is much mention of how to obey “His commandments”, which you say Jesus commands his followers to do. Can you see how fantastic this must seem to a Jew, and not because I’ve elevated myself to the status of Godlike. You invent, in my opinion, another Book of Life, rather than admit contradictory passages in a book you’ve elected to keep, then invent an Oral Torah to support it. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that your motives are pure, but this is fantastic! Can you see what your are doing?

You write:

There is also the flip side of this to consider. If there is only one book of life, and anyone who's name is not written in it is doomed to an eternity of suffering in the lake of fire, I have a hard time imagining anyone would be willing to make that kind of sacrifice by offering to have their names removed.

The Jewish definition of being left out is obliteration. Some will receive punishment, some removal. However, whatever it is, is only secondary to the primary meaning of the verse, which indicates that Moses felt very strongly in his love for the Jewish people. If they were wiped out, take him, too. His fate was intertwined with theirs. Why is irrational love for the Jewish people so hard for you to believe, which is, to me, the obvious meaning of the text?

“As bad as that was, it was still only three days...,  nothing compared to eternity. I submit that Moses was offering to be left out of the City, the New Jerusalem, the Lamb's wife,  rather than offering to be thrown in the lake of fire. This makes far better sense and I see it as support for the special "Lamb's Book of Life".   

This is sheer conjecture, is it not?

“I am told that "Moses' seat" was the name given to a place in the front of the synagogue from which Moses was read.”

I would like to ask what your source is for this? I have never heard this, and am wondering who told you this.

“In this passage, Yahshua has commanded His disciples to observe what they hear from the mouths of the ones who are literate (able to read), the Scribes and Pharisees, when they read from Moses in the synagogues.”

Surely you don’t honestly believe this interpretation.  It seems you are trying anything to get out of the plain interpretation, that the “seat” of Moses means the authority to rule. Surely you don’t believe “seat of Moses” means merely reading from the Written Law, in the hopes that the (apparently) illiterate listeners will understand how they are to carry out the Divine will. I’ve noticed this trend from all the various forms of Christianity who deny that they are Christian, and suppose themselves to be Jewish. It’s like they believe the Written Law is somehow universal, leapfrogging the Jewish people, direct from G-d to the Bibles in their hands, and want full license to interpret it. They believe, as you seem to, that the people who were so scrupulous and meticulous in preserving the text that was actually given to them, do not know what it means. They believe that whatever mistakes they make in their freewill and free-wheeling interpretations will be forgiven by G-d, because He will see that they “are trying”. (I, myself, believe this.) I would have to say in response to this, that if the Text were really this universal, G-d never would have wasted His time giving it to the Jews. He would have handed it out to Noah. Why is it so hard to understand that the Law was given to the Jews and within this Law was the commandment to obey the ruling of Jewish courts. This appears to be exactly what Jesus is saying.

You write:

“It is the picture of "One" God and absolutely no others as modern Judaism holds. This tradition has its origins in the doctrine’s of the first century Pharisees. Though the Pharisees absorbed some of the Hellenistic concepts of the attributes which constitute deity, they fought valiantly against concepts of many gods. These were prevalent in Greek culture and the Jewish leaders were doing every thing they could to avoid repeating the sins of their fathers which were responsible for the 70 year exile into Babylon. This one they over-killed on!”

Again, I would reiterate my comment that the Jews just didn’t understand the text they preserved for 3,000 years. I feel you are misrepresenting the concept of “elohim” (lower case) in order to fit Jesus in at all costs. I understand the point you are trying to make, which is well-researched, but which is nevertheless irrelevant. You are incorrect in stating that belief in One G-d must mean denial of the existence of other heavenly or earthly “elohim”. Jews have never believed this, before or after the Pharisees. The point Judaism is trying to make is that these “powers” (also an accurate translation of elohim) all come from Hashem.   But the concept that “it is okay to ‘believe in’ other heavenly powers as long as we don’t place them ‘above’ Hashem, their Creator” is the meaning of the actual commandment not to place any other gods “before” Him is erroneous.

You centered on “al”, meaning above (but also “about” or “regarding”) when you should have concentrated on “lifnei”, literally meaning “to my face”, a common biblical idiom for “in my face”, “before me”, “in front of me” or “in my presence”. Since Hashem’s “face” is everywhere, and His Presence is everywhere, everything we do is “before Him”. The purpose of the commandment is that we shouldn’t worship any other elohim (sun, moon, stars, Baal, Jesus, etc.) anywhere, anytime. We should only worship Hashem as He has defined Himself to our forefathers. Our forefathers didn’t know about your concepts of Jesus being inseparable from the Father, which is why it is such a reviling concept to the Jew, even to this very day.

“If your brother, your own mother’s son, or your son or daughter or the wife of your bosom, or your closest friend entices you in secret, saying ‘come let us worship other gods’ - whom neither you NOR YOUR FATHERS HAVE KNOWN - from among the gods [elohim]of the peoples around you, either near to you or distant, anywhere from one end of the earth to the other, do not assent to him or give heed to him, but take his life.” (Deut. 13:7-10)

Jesus is an eloha of the Christians, (and therefore prohibited to us) and if you consider Jesus to be a part of Hashem, then you worship Jesus in some way, shape or form. To me, this shows that Hashem knew people like you would try to tell us that Jesus was somehow wrapped up in Him, and that’s why He devised a way to make our understanding of Him dependent on the understanding our fathers at Sinai had of Him. This would negate the claim of ongoing revelation regarding the identity of Hashem.

But even by your own definition, I feel that you, have in fact, placed Jesus “above” Hashem. You have invented your own religion just to fit him in, and I bet you seldom think about Hashem without thinking about Jesus. You state that he was with Hashem “before Creation”. Is this to say that Jesus was not created? If he was not created, then he was always with Hashem. If he was always with Hashem, yet somehow still able to retain his own identity, then Hashem is not truly “one”. Separate identities require the concept of separateness. Unless you can invent another definition of “separateness” the mere concept requires at least two identities. Two is not one. If he was not with Hashem before Creation, but emerged later, then he is created, and therefore not Hashem.

Please understand what an intense belief the concept of oneness is to a Jew. We believe that before creation, there was ONLY Hashem. Even another concept (of anything) could not exist before creation, since that would require the creation of the category of “concepts”!

I now this e-mail has dragged on and I appreciate your attention to it. As you can see, I took the time to write a huge letter to a TOTAL STRANGER! I think that you would devote so much time to your web site and that a total stranger would write you like this shows that these topics are the utmost in worthiness, and deserving of our arduous concentration. (Again to echo the other Jewish question on your site) People like you and my husband have come so far in accepting Judaism, which I feel in itself is messianic. I just don’t know what kind of pull you still feel toward Jesus that Hashem can’t take over. I know it’s asking a lot for a response to this, but if you have time, I am very interested in it.

Thank you, and wishing you a Happy and Sweet New Year,


My reply

Dear Scott,

I hope you can take the time to answer some of my questions. I also hope you can detect an attitude of earnestness, not judgmental confrontation. That is my hope, because I honestly can’t see how you can make some statements, and then build your conclusions from them. When someone questions what another believes, it can come off as criticism. I hope you don’t take it that way because I do want to know how you arrived at some of your claims. I’m not asking these questions to belittle you, but to hopefully get answers for them.

You gave a beautiful analogy describing the unsettling feeling of skating in circles despite heartfelt confidence in "knowing" you were heading in another direction. When confronted with the indisputable physical evidence of your wrong turns, it took your mind a little more time to adjust. Although I think this is a wonderful description, as a Jew, I can’t see what you’ve "given up" as a Christian. You still believe that Jesus is the only begotten son of G-d who is G-d who was born of a virgin, died for your sins so that you may have eternal life, was resurrected, and will return to rule the earth.

Yes, I retain some similarities with Christianity, especially from your point of view. About the only hard Christian belief I retain is that Yahshua is the Messiah. But I do not believe in the typical Christian concept of the trinity anymore which means I do not believe Yahshua is the Most High or is equal to the Most High. Nor do I necessarily believe that Yahshua died for the specific sins of only the saved individuals anymore as Christianity teaches. His sacrifice was for all mankind in general making it possible for individuals to be saved from eternal death after this life. There is a difference. Specific sins made by individuals still need to be atoned for in one way or another while still in this fleshly body as Judaism continues to teach.

You even still blame the "misconceptions" of "modern" Judaism on the Pharisees! This is wholesale Christianity, and to paraphrase Hillel, all the rest is commentary.

How can my position be considered wholesale Christianity when I am more adamant that Christianity itself is far more off base than Judaism, and is a terribly anemic aberration of the truth thanks to the Pharisee Paul? You should hear the flack I get from Christians! I was willing to take my own bitter prescription and pay the price of rejection from my Christian peers. Can not Jews consider taking half the dose?

Whether you still feel compelled to observe some form of Biblical "laws" – always to your own interpretation – is irrelevant, in my opinion! You say you are a Jew, but don’t believe any of the most important things that a Jew believes. Is this not sheer Clintonianism, the redefining of common words to a personal definition? It’s easy to call yourself anything as long as you have your own private definition of what that thing is. I would say I believe you have fallen victim to your own definition of sincerity.

The "Clintonianism" accusation hurts. Clinton’s use of words is a deplorable practice designed to hide the truth to save himself. I am not trying to hide anything. Everyone must be allowed to put their beliefs in their own words and explain what they mean by them. There is no crime in that. Please don’t try to assassinate my character by associating me with him.

The claim that I make is that I am Jewish in my faith. As far as I know, I am not a physical descendant of Israel. What I believe to be the truth is to be found in the Torah. Jews make this same claim. I see this as making me much closer to being labeled Jewish than it does Christian. The fact that I have not sought to be rubber-stamped "official Jewish convert" by any branch of modern Judaism is beside the point. I live my life before God, not before any man or man made institution. I will stand on my own two feet on judgment day. Also, the fact that I have significant differences with many Jews is not a sticking point either. I have been around the block enough times to know that there is much in-fighting and disagreement between Jews. I have noticed that when it comes to Jews dealing with Christians and vise versa, it is interesting to note that when a Christian is speaking to a Jew, he wants the Jew to think he speaks for all Christians as though all Christians are in total agreement. You appear to be doing the same thing on behalf of Jews.  I do in fact believe the most important thing Jews believe… the Torah. But how the Torah is interpreted varies immensely… even among Jews.

As you can imagine, we have reviewed many different sites, each with their own "take" on what/who Jesus really was/is, (from literal begotten son of G-d, all the way to mortal human messiah rolling in his grave over the idolatry he has come to represent) and each site/movement seems to have another name for him.

I hear you. I know it can get confusing… even overwhelming. I am familiar with all of them and I would give you my "take" on the pros and cons of each, but I don’t think I should take the time here.

The reason I ask for an acknowledgement of earnestness, is that what I have to say does sound like criticism. So let me say that it is readily apparent that you are truly seeking the truth. In my opinion, however, I have never seen such cognitive dissonance regarding one’s belief system. I know that it must have been hard on you to reject Paul, and you are to be commended for doing so. As the fear of abandoning Paul, which you faced and overcame, caused such a disoriented feeling, I do feel you are actually tap dancing around the inevitable conclusion your own research should have revealed. This feeling, which was prophesied to happen to all non-Jews was not mere "disorientation", but shrieking that they had inherited lies. To avoid this, I feel you have literally, by picking and choosing, constructed your own religion.

From my point of view, I am merely letting the facts take me where they will. And since it isn’t to totally embrace your brand of faith or any other modern form of established faith system, it will naturally appear to you as something new. As I have said in my book, what I believe and promote as the truth is far from anything new or original. What I believe to be the truth is exactly what Yahshua left his disciples with… and even that was older than what was modern at that time. It was pure unadulterated Moses and the prophets. Man, both Jew and Gentile, has an uncanny tendency to make a mess of the truth when he tries to institutionalize it in one form or another. He tends to use the institution for the underlying purpose of promoting himself along with the institution under the guise of promoting God. All I am pushing for is to cut through the fog in both Judaism and Christianity and get back to the oldest most pure form of truth as given to man by God through Moses and the prophets, which also was confirmed by Yahshua.

You even invented another Book of Life rather than accept what you found!

Again, I didn’t invent it. I let the book of Revelation speak for itself. If you will recall, the conclusions I come to concerning two Books of Life, are the only conclusions one can come to where all the concerned passages add up. No other picture can explain all the passages. The others are left with to many loose ends.

I have seen many sites, from messianic Judaism, to the Netzarim, and, in my opinion, you do win for cognitive dissonance.

!! It might appear that way because I refuse to curry favor from any religious institution for no better reason. Everyone I have seen has at least one special interest that is keeping them from a portion of the truth.

As I see it, you just can’t give up Jesus.

Believe it or not, I would if someone would give me good reason to! But no one has come close to giving me a good argument against his messiah-ship. There are answers to all the questions and objections. That is what my work is about. I too have been to many sites of Jewish nature and examined their evidence against Yahshua’s messiah-ship. Rabbi Singer’s site is one example. A few arguments of his are excellent and I would readily stand in his corner against some common Christian interpretations of supposed messianic prophecies. But no argument of his or any other has come close to dealing the nock-out punch to Yahshua’s messiah-ship that would convince me to change my mind. I thoroughly understand (and am somewhat sympathetic to) the Jewish animosity toward Christianity’s messiah. But, the fact is (and some Jews… even Rabbi’s are admitting to it), had it not been for Christianity’s historical treatment of the Jews, Yahshua would not have been written-out of Jewish history. And many of His words would likely have become some of the most treasured passages of the sages in the Talmud! But, thanks to Christianity, finding some way to disprove Yahshua’s messiah-ship has almost become a form of meaningful national pass-time for Jews. Two wrongs don’t make it right.

Of course, there is no need to, we are all entitled to our beliefs, and obviously G-d loves people of every faith. But I was talking about those who profess to be "objective". I guess I echo the other Jew on your site who asked why you don’t go all the way and you answered, "I have". I hope you don’t consider this an insult, but you are still Christian.

None taken. From your point of view, I’m sure that’s how it appears. To Jews, I’m Christian… to Christians I’m Jew. I’m still not ashamed to be identified with Yahshua.

You said: "Yahshua/Jesus was the only man who understood perfectly what the truth is."

How do you know he understood?

Because I believe he is the messiah, I therefore believe what he said. He said he was (embodied) the truth.

You don’t even know his name. Must everyone who seeks some "objective" connection with him devise a different, more Jewish name?

Conversely, I can’t help but notice that you (as do virtually all Jews who reject Yahshua’s messiah-ship) never refer to him by any name other than "Jesus". Could it be that you are afraid to acknowledge his unquestioned Jewish-ness? The English name "Jesus" isn’t even close to the name his disciples knew him by. If you could go back in time and walk up to Peter and ask him to take you to "Jesus", he would say "Who?" He couldn’t even pronounce the English word "Jesus" himself. There is no hard "J" sound in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek! The different Jewish names that you see used by various messianic groups are all longer or shorter versions of the same name. Shortening, to various degrees, a long Hebrew name is a well-documented common practice of the ancient Hebrew language. The name "Yahshua", which I use, is the spelling the more mainline messianic groups use. It is the shortest version of his name, the one that was obviously used by those who knew him, and technically should be rendered "Y’shua". The letter "e" is put in place of the apostrophe as the least pronounced English vowel to make the name more English user friendly.

I must ask, is this Hashem’s "m.o"? He has, in the past, relied on open miracles, communication through undisputed prophets, and entrusted His Torah to the people who were meticulous in preserving it. So, I MUST ask, why didn’t Hashem see fit to preserve the teachings of His "only begotten son" in any recognizable form? Why is it that those who reject a) Paul, b) son of G-d pagan idolatry c) replacement theology d) all three/combination must REWRITE their own personal copies of Matthew, which disagree with each other?

"ANY" recognizable form?! The reason the gospels are less than perfect is in part due to the fact that the people who tend to be much more "meticulous" (but not perfect either) in preserving written truth, rejected their messiah and the record. So a bunch of sloppy record keeping Gentiles had to take up were the Jews left off! But again, I must reiterate, I don’t fault the Jews (especially the generations following the one that crucified Yahshua) for rejecting him.

Is it Hashem’s m.o. that you, and this is not meant with malice, but that you have unearthed the truth. Why should Joe Blow from Cleveland have to sift through, deleting and retaining, until he finds something he can live with?

Your question is posed from the perspective of someone who has subscribed to the ultra-sovereign picture of Deity. Along with Yahshua, Moses, and the Prophets, I do not buy this picture. That false doctrine is something that has crept its way into both Judaism and Christianity, and I will deal with it more in answer to other questions of yours in a bit. But, since I don’t buy that picture, I don’t see myself as anything more than a Joe Blow from Cleveland. That is "Hashem’s m.o." for everyone.

Is that something a just G-d should require?

Yes, and He does! And He especially requires the sifting-through part.

This is a G-d who is known for performing miracles in front of 3 million people! Are you telling me He forgot to mention in a clearly, repeated, easily comprehended way that He has a begotten son? It must be debated?

When Yahshua was cornered about this very same issue by some religious leaders of that time in John 10:31-38, he answered with a "clear, repeated, easily comprehended" quote from the Psalms. Here, the Most High speaks in the first person.

" I said, ‘You are gods (Elohim!), and all of you are children (sons and daughters!) of the Most High." Psalm 82:6

God has many sons and daughters. Yahshua is one of them, he preexisted at least this creation with the Father, and he is the first born. As the first born, the Father loves him as though he were an only-begotten son. According to the Psalm, he is obviously not the only begotten. Therefore I must conclude that the picture of Yahshua actually being the only begotten son is something that has crept into the record thanks to careless, if not outright dishonest, Gentiles.

I’m not trying to sound like some Jew who is telling you how wrong you’ve got it, and I would know because we have perfect understanding. It’s not that at all. I am hoping you have time to answer some specific questions about what you wrote. You wrote:

"Yet we intuitively know that if one was perfect in doctrine, God would openly endorse that faith with His power as He has in the past."

This statement was made in reference to modern religions. When it comes to Yahshua, the Father did openly endorse him with His Spirit and Power.

I would say He would not openly endorse a particular doctrine with power, but with a clearly written instruction manual, which He has done.

Why set aside the fact that God originally set a precedent by endorsing His word (that manual), which He spoke through Moses and the prophets, with power and the "performing miracles in front of 3 million people" that you mentioned?

Beside the fact that I don’t believe that one should base his belief system, following after his own eyes and heart, and go with what one intuitively knows, "My thoughts are not your thoughts", this supposition is contrary to Jewish belief.

It is a good thing Abraham (as well as many other men of God) didn’t have well-established religious institutions to steer him away from the error of doing what he "intuitively" knew was right!

Sorry, but I see the "My thoughts are not your thoughts" quote as taken out of its context, and something that is used by many (both Jew and Christian) as an ever-handy excuse to not have to deal with certain difficult issues.

It is precisely this "hidden" aspect of Hashem which allows man to exercise his freedom of choice, which results in him being rewarded by the goodness of G-d. If every time man sinned he was wounded, and every time he prayed the right prayer, the Sea split, man would be deprived of making his own choice. It would be obvious.

Well, that philosophy may sound profoundly insightful on the surface, but it is perfectly devoid of precedence. Tell me, when the Israelites ("three million" of them) were at Mt. Sinai…all of them having recently seen the "sea split" with there own eyes, and still seeing the smoke by day and the pillar of fire by night, (to say nothing of the manna and other obvious miracles) were they then without "choice" and unable to resist the obvious truth? No! They went right ahead and made the golden calf! Many other examples could be cited from Adam to Judas Iscariot. The sad fact is, evil men will generally become even more evil in the face of obvious truth proven by the power of God with miracles. Thus their condemnation will be greater on judgment day than it will be for those who saw no miracles. This is just. But the good news is that the inverse is true as well. The good tend to get better in the light of God’s power.

And here we come to the first difference between Jewish and your thought. You said G-d created the world so that He could get a bride for Christ. Judaism believes He created the world in order to bestow his goodness on mankind and to find a dwelling place in the lower realms.

Why can’t these both be true and accomplished together? They are one and the same to me. As a bride for His son God bestows His goodness on mankind.

This goodness is defined as attachment to Him. We attach ourselves to him by doing His will. In order for the goodness to be bestowed to be true goodness, it must be earned. In order for it to be earned, it must be chosen. In order for it to be chosen, there must be a REAL choice involved. In order for a real choice to be made, evil and good must both seem desirable, at least on the surface.

So far so good…

This can only be accomplished if G-d "hides His face", after the initial series of revelatory miracles, and the giving of the Torah. Of course miracles do happen today (for all religious groups), but as far as the scope of Biblical miracles, they accomplished what they set out to do.

I think the argument that God is hiding His face to give man free choice is crafted as a sedative, designed to relieve man of any responsibility in the matter. As I mentioned, "Biblical miracles" proved nothing to evil men. They still prove nothing to modern evil men. There are two reasons why God does not work the "biblical" type of miracles today. Actually, there is only one. No one since the first century has risen to beat the first problem so as to have to deal with the second! The first is, no one has gone through the trouble of doing what it takes to become the kind of person God would want to endorse with His power. But history also shows us the second problem. Every time someone does achieve God's favor in this way, evil men quickly put out the light. I refer to Yahshua and the prophets.

Now I’m not suggesting that we should be beating ourselves up with guilt for not being the equivalent of Moses or Elijah. But I am saying that we need to quit singing these lullabies to ourselves, find out what is wrong, repent, and get moving in the right direction.

This leads us directly to the differences between the Jewish and your definition of the Satan. You write,

"When Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he took on the nature of his new father the devil who has long desired to be God."

You and Christianity believe the Satan is the Adversary of G-d, and in rebellion. Judaism believes that the Satan is G-d’s faithful servant and only does His bidding. There is no question that G-d allows evil to exist.

Not all of Christianity believes Satan is God’s adversary, nor does all of Judaism believe Satan is God’s faithful servant. The very Hebrew word translated "Satan" means "adversary"! It is true that God allows evil to exist, and it is true that God uses Satan… and in that sense one might say Satan is serving God. But it is not in Satan’s interest to promote the things of God. Satan is a type of gullible ‘sucker’ in the scheme of things as far as God is concerned.

"I am the Lord and there is none else, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and CREATE EVIL: I the Lord do all these things." (Is. 45:6)

Actually, it's verse 7. This very passage I address in my chapter, "The attributes of Deity". The word "evil" here is a terribly weak and misleading translation. In Hebrew, it literally means "calamity". The mistake should be evident even in the context of the short passage you quoted. First, light is contrasted with darkness, then should not "peace" (shalom… well being) not be contrasted with ‘calamity’? If the word were indeed "evil", God would have said, "I create good and evil". But the picture you seem to paint with this passage is even more out of context when one considers what God is communicating to Cyrus. What God is telling Cyrus is that He has the power to take control at any time and bring about whatever condition necessary for the purpose of accomplishing what He said He would do. This passage is far from suggesting that God is the author and originator of evil. How can a righteous God be the author of evil? It is blasphemous to even suggest such a thing.

"Entrust your plans to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. The LORD MADE everything for a purpose, even the WICKED for an evil day. Every haughty person is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly he will not go unpunished. Iniquity is expiated by loyalty and faithfulness, and evil is avoided through fear of the Lord." (Prov. 16:4)

You’re hitting the classics! Again, this is a week translation. And it’s not just a matter of my saying so. Any Hebrew scholar will tell you that interpreting and translating Hebrew can regularly be quite tenuous. More than one interpretation is often possible… especially in Hebrew poetry as we have here in Proverbs. The fact that there has been continuous disagreement and argument on interpretations of various passages between Jews throughout history bears this fact out. The best tool for interpretation is always the surrounding context in which a statement is made. One of the legitimate possible translations of, "The Lord made everything for a purpose, even the wicked for an evil day" is, "The Lord has prepared all things to answer (Him), even the wicked in the day of doom (judgment)." Notice how much better this picture flows in context with the next sentence, which also speaks of punishment… as in judgment. Also, it should be noted that the Hebrew word translated "purpose" in the passage you quoted is never translated "purpose" anywhere else in the bible! It is usually translated "answer".

Again, to suggest that this passage is implying that God has predetermined the fate of every person before they are even born is accusing God of unrighteousness, and treading on thin ice. Where is the true choice you are pushing hard for in this picture? The truth is that this amounts to absolving ourselves of any real responsibility for our condition, and blaming God for it instead… much the way Adam said, "the woman YOU gave me…". It’s an easy sell doctrine to guilt ridden men… and rampant in much of both Christianity and Judaism. And so the handy false interpretation flourishes.

Judaism’s assertion is that the Satan is MAN’s adversary, not Hashem’s. Satan is merely doing the will of his Creator by tempting man, in order that evil may seem desirable, so that man can show his devotion to Hashem by rejecting it.

Maybe your brand of Judaism, and possibly a majority of Jews assert this, but not all Jews do. I reject it totally because it makes God the origin and author of evil and puts Him in league with the devil. This does not make for a righteous God.

The Satan also can serve as an agent of punishment or the Angel of Death. I ask you, how else could man show his devotion to Hashem? If stealing/eating BBQ pork/adultery/working on Shabbat were innately repulsive to mankind, then where is the choice that we are COMMANDED to make, that is to "CHOOSE life"? G-d never commanded us to show our love for Him by eating strawberry sundaes! We already want to do that!

Yes, absolutely. God allows evil to exist for that purpose. But there is a big difference between allowing evil to exist for a period of time as a testing tool, and the outright orchestration of it! It takes an astronomical leap of logic to demand the later from the former.

Although there is an angel known as the Satan, ever since the eating of the fruit, mankind ingested a little of it (the Satan) into our very nature, so that temptation doesn’t actually have to come entirely from without. It is a part of our nature to want the physical. Jews call this the Evil Inclination, which "does battle" with our Good Inclination, which yearns to cleave to Hashem. The choice is ours. During the messianic age, the Evil inclination is not destined to survive, being eternally "rebuked". (I’m ready, aren’t you!)

Can hardly wait. I fully agree.

To those who say the Satan is a fallen angel, in rebellion against G-d Himself, I ask, when was the fall? I would presume it had to be before it tempted Eve, or it wouldn’t have tempted her.

Obviously.

All other humans descended from Adam and Eve, so if the rebellion against G-d happened before that, how did the Satan get back in Heaven, chatting with G-d about Job, Adam’s descendent?

Part of the misunderstanding is because we tend to interpret "fall" in terms of physical down from up. The term, "fallen angel" is more in reference to his place of authority and favor with God… much the way Adam "fell". But even in the book of Revelation, Satan has to be overcome and defeated before he is physically thrown out of heaven for the last of maybe several times. See Revelation 12:7-12 And a little later in 20:1-3 he is incarcerated for 1000 years. After that, he is done away with forever 20:7-10. In the mean time, he is God’s stubborn adversary who is continually trying to get in His face.

Following His every instruction.

It is Satan’s nature to kill and destroy. He made that of himself. God only gave him permission (as in "allowed" him) to do what comes naturally to him and what he obviously wanted to do to Job all along but God had been protecting Job with a "hedge" of protection. God’s permission was then extended only to a certain point, which Satan had to obey or else. If Satan is God’s faithful servant, simply doing what he was told to do in Job’s case as you suggest, why does he argue and contend the facts with God like an adversary? Would not God just say go and Satan would go?

How is it that the Satan performs G-d’s will like any other angel every time it appears in Tanakh?

I beg to differ. I refer to my previous paragraph.

Also, I should say that Hashem chose to wipe out most of mankind during the Flood. He did not change the system, and kept the Satan. He punished man for the choices man had made. The Satan survived the flood.

Yes. Man paid for his own choices. But Satan is permitted to continue for a while longer for the purpose of testing man. God’s current role in Satan’s existence is a passive, not a causative role.

If you are going to base most of your belief system that Satan is in rebellion to Hashem, I must ask, when did it rebel?

As you mentioned, it obviously had to be some time before tempting Eve. When that was the bible doesn’t specifically say… as is the case with many subject matters. It is not an absolutely necessary piece of data to posses. The lack of it causes no conflict with the rest of the picture. We simply don’t know the specifics of when Satan originally rebelled.

You write:

"And the Jew must ask; why were my ancestors dispossessed of the land of Israel a second time and why for so long? The nation of Israel was dispersed because of its sins, like the sacrificing of children to pagan idols, for only seventy years the first time. What could have been done to warrant a nearly two thousand-year second dispersion? These are painful questions that are seldom asked."

It seems you are setting up as permission to create your own religion by the presumed failures of the current choices, those being Pauline Christianity or Judaism.

Is that wrong? Some would call it prudent. My motto is; If it’s broke… fix it!

The fact is, Jews have never ever ever skirted this issue. As early as the Talmudic period the reason for the second and current exile has been cited as "baseless hatred" of our fellow Jews, among other things. All throughout the ages, it has been acknowledged that we were kicked out because of our sins and that it is the continuation of these sins that has prevented our wholesale return. You are simply in egregious error, and I request that you take this point off of your site, that Jews have hardly ever speculated on this issue. The claim simply cannot be supported. Perhaps you are displaying a vestige of Christian theology that we were kicked out for not accepting Jesus.

This is interesting, and the first time I have ever heard anything of the sort. It may be a common understanding among Jews as you say, but it has obviously seldom gotten out. But it still doesn’t add up! Only 70 years of exile for sacrificing innocent children to pagan gods, and nearly 2000 years for adults being nasty to each other? That appears to be extremely disproportionate. If I were God, I would have turned those figures around. Or could it be possible the 2000 year exile was for something much worse in God’s eyes than human child sacrifice… like killing the messiah himself? Yes, I’m sorry if it offends you, I do believe Israel’s exile was for that reason simply because Yahshua said it would be.

Now as He (Yahshua) drew near, He saw the city (Jerusalem) and wept over it, saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." Luke 19:41-44

He also prophesied that the temple would be destroyed and that too came to pass. It doesn’t take Pauline Christianity to see or believe this. But having said this, please understand that I—unlike many others today and throughout Christian history—in no way hold this understanding against any Jew of any generation since the one generation that rejected Him.

But first He (the Son of Man) must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Luke 17:25

And even then the guilty ones were not the entire race but only a few who were in authority at that time. All it takes is one evil ruler to destroy an entire nation. If I were a Jew and had some uncontrollable urge for "hatred of our fellow Jews", I’d point it in the direction of Caiaphas and his cronies for what their actions cost the nation. I’d put as much distance between myself and them as I could… much the way that generation tried to distance themselves from the Jews who murdered the prophets hundreds of years before.

"…you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’… Matt. 23:29,30

Then I’d be extremely angry with Gentile Christianity for misrepresenting the messiah, calling me a "Christ killer", and blaming me for Israel’s exile and making the matter much worse! Please understand that I am far harder on modern Christians than I am on any Jew who has lived since that one generation.

You write:

"Despite the fact that the Jews fought valiantly against Greek culture, Greek philosophy concerning the attributes of deity, creation, and time, had made inroads into the thinking of some Pharisees."

Yes, the key here is SOME Pharisees. These, however, were not the Pharisees who ultimately won out in Judaism. The Chanukah war was in part against these Hellenized Jews, and they did not win. You performed an unintentional sleight of hand by making the claim that some Pharisees were Hellenized, and then making it seem as if these very same apostates gained control over normative Judaism.

Again, I beg to differ. Even the winners of the Chanukah war had obviously succumbed to a significant, all-be-it lesser degree, of Greek philosophy. Your concepts of deity, and good and evil, which I just dealt with, are classic examples of the inroads Greek philosophy has obviously made in much of modern Judaism. But the same is true concerning much of modern Christianity thanks to the Pharisee Paul. The biblical support (from Moses and the prophets) for such concepts simply isn’t there, while the support for the contrary is overwhelming.

You write:

"Paul and the Pharisees have said and done many good things. But this has become a problem in itself. Having made names for themselves in the eyes of men, we have had a tendency to over-elevate their teachings to the status of "inspired by God", and "infallible". Once this status is generally accepted, few dare to question any part of their teachings. This can have the effect of cutting us off from a portion of the truth if those we hold so high were wrong in any way. This is exactly what has happened to both Christianity and Judaism."

I presume you are saying that since the Rabbis took over, we have Hellenistic-infiltrated Judaism, (read: not the legitimate interpretation, which Jesus had but didn’t preserve) and Paul sprung from that. I say not so fast. Yes, Hellenism was a problem, and some Jews sought to reconcile Judaism with philosophy. It cannot be overemphasized that this was not preserved in dominant Jewish thought, and Rabbinic Judaism did not invent a new description of the G-d of their fathers. You infer that we have retroactively elevated these erroneous teachings as infallible and inspired by G-d. Nothing could be further from the truth. Never has the claim been made by any reputable Jew that the rulings in Talmud are the "inspired word of G-d".

What do I do with this Talmudic quote then?

"My son, be more careful in (the observance of) the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah, for in the laws of the Torah there are positive and negative precepts, but, as to the laws of the Scribes, whoever transgresses any of the enactments of the Scribes incurs the penalty of death." (Mas. Eiruvin, 21b)

It appears to me that the Talmud places itself not just equal to, but above the Torah!

However, it could be argued that they are the will of G-d.

Let me explain. G-d commanded us to obey the "mishpat" or the rulings. (Often translated as judgments) The Sanhedrin had the authority to make judgments. Were the rulings always correct? No. Were they always binding? Yes. (Aside: The rulings were interpretations and applications of existing laws, not Torah rewrites) As a perfect example I will offer a televised football game. Certain authorities exist, such as referees. Everyone agrees to abide by the rules. Let’s say that a call is made that is erroneous, and is not overturned. It costs a team the game. Let’s also say that the next day, it is replayed over and over again and it is proved that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the call was bad. What happens? Do they play the game over again? No. Do they announce a new winner of the game? No. Does the result stand? Yes. Why? Because it was the will of the person who made up the rules of the game. By agreeing to play in the league, all teams entered into a covenant stating they will abide by the will of the one who created the rules. The rules say listen to the refs.

Similarly, any Jew will tell you that it is possible that we may be doing some things differently than we will be in the messianic age, when all rulings will be made clear. But until a TORAH RECOGNIZED authority makes this apparent, the ruling will stand. Just as the President of the United States could not overturn the call of an NFL referee, an outside group cannot overturn the rulings of a beit din, because they think they have a better interpretation. Of course, we are talking about interpretation of the Law. Even a halachichly-recognized authority could not make stealing legal – that, too is in the rules.

Exactly. And that is what has happened. Here in lies the problem. All of Judaism to one degree or another says, "Here are the rules. If you want to play the game you must abide by these rules whether they are just rulings or not." Suddenly the refs and their calls are put above the truth. And when we see the replays, even the ones who win because of the wrong call don’t feel much like winners. Everyone feels the injustice. We are not in this life for sport. It’s not just a game where the losers can try to console themselves with "It’s just a game". These matters can be as serious as eternal life and death. Knowing that all our forefathers were perfectly capable of error, I can’t for the life of me understand why so many people in both Christianity and Judaism are perfectly willing stake it all on some one else’s call. Come judgment day, every person will stand-alone. No one will be there to take the blame for your errors. Why not start standing on your own two feet now?

I am sure you can see the institution serving aspect and control the Catholic church has on its members in the teaching that if one leaves the church they will burn in hell forever. Can you not see the fail-safe institution-serving aspects of these Jewish philosophies?

You write:

"Everyone descended from Adam, except for Yahshua/Jesus"

What is your source for this?

That quote is not only taken out of context, it isn’t even the whole sentence! The entire sentence reads:

Everyone descended from Adam, except for Yahshua/Jesus, is instinctively driven in the subconscious by motives to absolve and glorify one's self.

Yahshua called himself "son of man" which in Hebrew is "Ben Adam" (son of Adam). There is no reason for me to suggest anything else. Yahshua is a descendant of Adam because he was born of Miriam (Mary) a daughter of Adam. But if you are asking me if I believe in the virgin birth, yes, obviously I do. My sources are Matthew and Luke.

You write:

"It is instinctively driven in the subconscious by motives to absolve and glorify one's self.

There’s the rest of it! Something got goofed up somewhere!

It is only when we humbly admit to this truth that we might be able to deal with issues of theology and ask the difficult questions without impugning another’s sincerity and conscious motives"

All religions already acknowledge this. The lack of acknowledgement comes from atheists. It is not the mindset of normative Judaism, Christianity or Islam, with the exception of classical, medieval Catholicism. Again, I feel you are basing the "need" to ask the "hard questions" on some form of mea culpa, and that those who do accept, say Judaism’s reasons for things, are doing so out of unacknowledged self-glorification. I feel you are unintentionally saying that pride is what is causing views like yours not to be taken as seriously as your think they should, rather than the heartfelt belief that you are simply wrong.

My position aside, would you not agree that pride is the fundamental problem that keeps Christians or Muslims from seriously considering what Jews have to say? Why single me out then?

On your site:

"But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. "

How does this align with the express building instructions in Ezekiel? Why no mention of a Lamb in Ezekiel, with mind-numbing details of the Third Temple.

That’s easy. The Ezekiel account with it’s exhaustive detail is obviously a description of the temple that will be built during the messianic age to come here on this earth that both you and I are eagerly looking forward to. That time period is also mentioned in Revelation 20:4-6 The quote you bring up is a description of the New Jerusalem in the new heavens and new earth that will come after this one passes away. See Revelation 21 the entire chapter.

And I must ask, since you did say that you consider yourself to be a Jew, in what way do you see this Lamb? I hope I’m not putting words into your mouth, but if it is the Pesach lamb, and you do believe that Jesus died for your sins, why the association with the Pesach lamb, which has no connection with sin? Why do Christians keep insisting that the Pesach lamb had a connection to sin, when we were commanded to sacrifice the Pesach lamb as a REMEMBRANCE of the death of the firstborn and consequent deliverance from Egypt, and then to sacrifice a SEPARATE sin offering during the week of Passover, which was a goat? (Num. 28:22)

The Pesach lamb was originally sacrificed for the purpose of preserving life. That is the connection to Yahshua’s sacrifice. His sacrifice made possible the preservation of life forever. All death, both physical (as in the Egyptian first born), and eternal, are the direct result of sin… and so the obvious connection to sin. The sacrifices of the Pesach Lamb and Yahshua deliver from the end results of sin. Therefore it can legitimately be said that both sacrifices are another form of sin sacrifice.

You write:

Yes, I am suggesting that there are two books of life! And all of those who's names are written in the smaller "Lamb's Book of Life" are also listed in the larger, general "Book of Life". But not all names in the general "Book of Life" are in the "Lamb's Book of Life". 

This is a prime example of what I would call cognitive dissonance. You claim not to believe in replacement theology, but this is nothing more than a more subtle form of displacement theology, as no Jew would be listed in the Lamb’s book. Again, Christians, by whatever name, get the best reward.

As I mentioned to you before, this hurts. It couldn’t be more backwards from the picture I’ve painted. Nowhere have I said anything remotely close to, "no Jew would be listed in the Lamb’s book". But what I have clearly said is that those who are outside the city, whose names are not in the Lamb’s book of life and subsequently have no access to the city, will be comprised of mostly Christians! I have stated that Revelation teaches the only way to get one’s name in the Lamb’s book of life is by doing the will of the Father (the Law of Moses). The kingdom is for the Law abiding citizens only. I have also said in other places, and I will reiterate it again, any Law abiding Jew whose heart is right toward God, will fare far better on judgment day than any Law rejecting Christian. That is why I would rather be identified as Jewish (Law abiding). I want my name in that book!

You write:

So by the absence of these two in the second list, we must conclude that the difference between them and the first group that was thrown in the lake of fire is that this group must have been those who did at least the bare minimum for salvation by taking courage and believing

This is merely your redo of the Christian doctrine of faith over works, which is now faith (in Jesus) plus works.

I should probably clarify, or at least qualify that statement. In the book of John, as in the book of James, faith and works are treated synonymously. They cannot be separated. A person will instinctively act (work) according to what he truly believes (faith). You can not have faith without works. James could not be clearer about this. (See James 2:14-18) All faith is measured by the demonstration of works. Therefore, I believe the passage in Revelation (also written by John) refers to those who were not totally faith-less but demonstrated some minimal work to show there had been some faith.

But anyone who believes enough to perform the commandments already believes enough. Habakkuk said, "The righteous shall LIVE by his faith". In other words, anyone who takes the time to perform the commandments to the best of his ability is doing so because he ALREADY believes that this is what his Creator desires. Is believing in one’s Creator and following His commandments enough for the better Book of Life?

By all means yes! That is what I’ve been trying to say. Your take on Habakkuk is far superior to that of Paul’s. See Gal. 3:11

Apparently not - this is another way of saying, believe in Jesus for the ultimate salvation.

As I said, it is enough. But accepting the fact that Yahshua is the messiah is a work (all be it small one) in itself. And I believe it is enough in the Father’s eyes to grant minimum—but not "ultimate"—salvation.

About these two books of Life, you say the truth must make sense. But why isn’t the book of Revelations subject to your systematic method of dealing with discrepancies?

???

You write:

"If indeed there are those who are saved but have no access to the city, who are they? The answer from Revelation is... they are those who believed but did not do all of "His commandments". Believed what? Yahshua also painted this same picture in Matthew."

Recorded in Exodus 32:32-33 is this interesting exchange between God and Moses.

"Yet now, if You will forgive their sin-but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written." And the Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book." NKJV

It is obvious to the reader that there is an inside understanding going on here between God and Moses about a certain "book". No doubt God had told Moses about this book. The question is what, or which book is being referred to here?"

So, you are admitting there is an Oral Torah, but you won’t consult it to find out how to obey the Law. "No doubt G-d had told Moses…" I’m simply flabbergasted with this one. We have the Oral Torah. There is no mention of this book. But there is much mention of how to obey "His commandments", which you say Jesus commands his followers to do. Can you see how fantastic this must seem to a Jew, and not because I’ve elevated myself to the status of Godlike. You invent, in my opinion, another Book of Life, rather than admit contradictory passages in a book you’ve elected to keep, then invent an Oral Torah to support it. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that your motives are pure, but this is fantastic! Can you see what your are doing?

I believe that what God told Moses in private, and what the sages have said are two very different things. You really convolute the argument by tying them together as one. When you speak of these two as one, you simply are not comparing apples with apples from my point of view. Do you think the sages are a manifestation of Moses himself? If you do, you start with a presupposition that won't allow any question. The words of the sages then become infallible and equal to the word of God.

There is also the flip side of this to consider. If there is only one book of life, and anyone who's name is not written in it is doomed to an eternity of suffering in the lake of fire, I have a hard time imagining anyone would be willing to make that kind of sacrifice by offering to have their names removed.

The Jewish definition of being left out is obliteration. Some will receive punishment, some removal. However, whatever it is, is only secondary to the primary meaning of the verse, which indicates that Moses felt very strongly in his love for the Jewish people. If they were wiped out, take him, too. His fate was intertwined with theirs. Why is irrational love for the Jewish people so hard for you to believe, which is, to me, the obvious meaning of the text?

Judaism’s greatest prophet acting "irrational"?! Acting out of great and sacrificial love… yes. Irrationality? No. Sacrificial love gives up something with the hope of someday—maybe in the next life—witnessing the good results of that sacrifice among others and a reward for it from God. It does not offer "obliteration".

"As bad as that was, it was still only three days..., nothing compared to eternity. I submit that Moses was offering to be left out of the City, the New Jerusalem, the Lamb's wife, rather than offering to be thrown in the lake of fire. This makes far better sense and I see it as support for the special "Lamb's Book of Life".  

This is sheer conjecture, is it not?

As I said, "I see it as support…" as in evidence that should be considered. I did not say it is proof conclusive.

"I am told that "Moses' seat" was the name given to a place in the front of the synagogue from which Moses was read."

I would like to ask what your source is for this? I have never heard this, and am wondering who told you this.

Several reference books of mine make mention of this. The IVP Bible Background Commentary by Craig S. Keener is one. But I find it odd that as a Jew you would take issue with this. In context, it is used as support for Moses. I would expect Christians to push for documentation on this one.

"In this passage, Yahshua has commanded His disciples to observe what they hear from the mouths of the ones who are literate (able to read), the Scribes and Pharisees, when they read from Moses in the synagogues."

Surely you don’t honestly believe this interpretation. It seems you are trying anything to get out of the plain interpretation, that the "seat" of Moses means the authority to rule. Surely you don’t believe "seat of Moses" means merely reading from the Written Law, in the hopes that the (apparently) illiterate listeners will understand how they are to carry out the Divine will. I’ve noticed this trend from all the various forms of Christianity who deny that they are Christian, and suppose themselves to be Jewish. It’s like they believe the Written Law is somehow universal, leapfrogging the Jewish people, direct from G-d to the Bibles in their hands, and want full license to interpret it. They believe, as you seem to, that the people who were so scrupulous and meticulous in preserving the text that was actually given to them, do not know what it means. They believe that whatever mistakes they make in their freewill and free-wheeling interpretations will be forgiven by G-d, because He will see that they "are trying". (I, myself, believe this.) I would have to say in response to this, that if the Text were really this universal, G-d never would have wasted His time giving it to the Jews. He would have handed it out to Noah. Why is it so hard to understand that the Law was given to the Jews and within this Law was the commandment to obey the ruling of Jewish courts. This appears to be exactly what Jesus is saying.

Not at all, in several ways. Again, you continue to base your argument on the assumption that all Jews are in perfect harmonious agreement on every interpretation of every passage thanks to the sages. You know as well as I do nothing could be further from the truth. And as soon as that glass ceiling is broken through, you are forced to make the same arguments to your fellow Jews.

Yahshua obviously did not give the Pharisees blanket authority in this passage because he goes on to say;

… but do not do according to their works: for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, Rabbi, Rabbi." Matt.23:3-7

What could these "heavy burdens" possibly be other than the oral traditions? Yahshua specifically addressed the oral traditions of the Pharisees as being a problem. See Matt. 15:2-6 and Mark 7:3-13.

Also, when Yahshua endorsed Moses and the prophets in Matt. 5:18, He said, "one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law." This is clearly an endorsement of the written Law. The oral traditions had not been written down at that time.

You write:

"It is the picture of "One" God and absolutely no others as modern Judaism holds. This tradition has its origins in the doctrine’s of the first century Pharisees. Though the Pharisees absorbed some of the Hellenistic concepts of the attributes which constitute deity, they fought valiantly against concepts of many gods. These were prevalent in Greek culture and the Jewish leaders were doing every thing they could to avoid repeating the sins of their fathers which were responsible for the 70 year exile into Babylon. This one they over-killed on!"

Again, I would reiterate my comment that the Jews just didn’t understand the text they preserved for 3,000 years. I feel you are misrepresenting the concept of "elohim" (lower case) in order to fit Jesus in at all costs.

I understand the point you are trying to make, which is well-researched, but which is nevertheless irrelevant. You are incorrect in stating that belief in One G-d must mean denial of the existence of other heavenly or earthly "elohim". Jews have never believed this, before or after the Pharisees. The point Judaism is trying to make is that these "powers" (also an accurate translation of elohim) all come from Hashem. But the concept that "it is okay to ‘believe in’ other heavenly powers as long as we don’t place them ‘above’ Hashem, their Creator" is the meaning of the actual commandment not to place any other gods "before" Him is erroneous.

We are really closer to agreeing here than you might think. It is Christianity that has placed Yahshua on the same level as the Most High. Yahshua in fact said something very different. He said, "My Father is greater than I." John 14:28 He also referred to the Most High as his God on numerous occasions. Since we agree on the concept of lesser gods, let me ask, is it wrong to honor your parents and hold them in high esteem? They are included right along with the rest of us as lesser gods according to Psalm 82:6. Was it wrong for the people of Israel to hold the High priest to a great place of honor as the person who went before God on behalf of the entire nation… a man God commanded the people to respect? They too could be considered lesser or "lower case" gods. The truth is, it is wrong not to hold in high honor those who God says you should. Yahshua, as the messiah who is prophesied to be both king and priest, is the person who is to be held in the highest esteem by man second only to the Most High Himself. Obeying the Most High by honoring those He has set above us and commanded us to honor is in no way a threat to Him. Honoring and holding another in very high esteem is not in the same league with the worship we are to give the Most High. Christianity has made the blunder of putting Yahshua on an equal plane with the Most High.

You centered on "al", meaning above (but also "about" or "regarding") when you should have concentrated on "lifnei", literally meaning "to my face", a common biblical idiom for "in my face", "before me", "in front of me" or "in my presence". Since Hashem’s "face" is everywhere, and His Presence is everywhere, everything we do is "before Him". The purpose of the commandment is that we shouldn’t worship any other elohim (sun, moon, stars, Baal, Jesus, etc.) anywhere, anytime. We should only worship Hashem as He has defined Himself to our forefathers. Our forefathers didn’t know about your concepts of Jesus being inseparable from the Father, which is why it is such a reviling concept to the Jew, even to this very day.

Yahshua is not the Father and was obviously separated from the Father while on the cross when he said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

"If your brother, your own mother’s son, or your son or daughter or the wife of your bosom, or your closest friend entices you in secret, saying ‘come let us worship other gods’ - whom neither you NOR YOUR FATHERS HAVE KNOWN - from among the gods [elohim]of the peoples around you, either near to you or distant, anywhere from one end of the earth to the other, do not assent to him or give heed to him, but take his life." (Deut. 13:7-10)

I fully agree. Yahshua himself commanded others to worship the Father only.

"Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’" Luke 4:8

"You (Samaritans) worship what you do not know; we (Jews) know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us all things." Yahshua said to her, "I who speak to you am he." John 4:22-26

, (and therefore prohibited to us) and if you consider Jesus to be a part of Hashem, then you worship Jesus in some way, shape or form. To me, this shows that Hashem knew people like you would try to tell us that Jesus was somehow wrapped up in Him, and that’s why He devised a way to make our understanding of Him dependent on the understanding our fathers at Sinai had of Him. This would negate the claim of ongoing revelation regarding the identity of Hashem.

Then we are in perfect agreement on this and I hope we understand each other. You are so right in saying, "Jesus is an eloha of the Christians". That is what I am trying to communicate. I want all Jews everywhere to reject that persona... that image. Erase that picture, forget the name 'Jesus', and meet your messiah… Yahshua.

But even by your own definition, I feel that you, have in fact, placed Jesus "above" Hashem. You have invented your own religion just to fit him in, and I bet you seldom think about Hashem without thinking about Jesus.

If a different person arose who convinced you beyond any doubt that he was the messiah… long promised by Hashem, I doubt you could think about Hashem without thinking of the wonderful provision He has made in that great man. Your aversion to Yahshua is mainly due to some terrible history with Christianity.

You state that he was with Hashem "before Creation". Is this to say that Jesus was not created?

By no means. I believe he had a beginning sometime before this creation. When, we don’t know.

If he was not created, then he was always with Hashem. If he was always with Hashem, yet somehow still able to retain his own identity, then Hashem is not truly "one". Separate identities require the concept of separateness. Unless you can invent another definition of "separateness" the mere concept requires at least two identities. Two is not one. If he was not with Hashem before Creation, but emerged later, then he is created, and therefore not Hashem.

We agree then.

Please understand what an intense belief the concept of oneness is to a Jew. We believe that before creation, there was ONLY Hashem. Even another concept (of anything) could not exist before creation, since that would require the creation of the category of "concepts"!

Where is the scriptural support for this? God created the angels at some time. Nowhere does it say when they were created. God said, "let us make..." implying others were with Him at the time. Some Jews believe He was referring to the angels here. I believe Yahshua was right there at the time as well.
Your statement that nothing, not even concepts, could exist before creation is a perfect and classic example of how Hellenistic philosophy continues in Jewish--as well as Christian--doctrine today. It is straight out of the Neo-Platonic text books.

I now this e-mail has dragged on and I appreciate your attention to it. As you can see, I took the time to write a huge letter to a TOTAL STRANGER! I think that you would devote so much time to your web site and that a total stranger would write you like this shows that these topics are the utmost in worthiness, and deserving of our arduous concentration. (Again to echo the other Jewish question on your site) People like you and my husband have come so far in accepting Judaism, which I feel in itself is messianic. I just don’t know what kind of pull you still feel toward Jesus that Hashem can’t take over. I know it’s asking a lot for a response to this, but if you have time, I am very interested in it.

It is late now and I have spent the last three evenings working on this reply.You said you were seriously looking for answers to these questions and I believe you. I hope I have answered them adequately. You are right again in saying these issues deserve our utmost attention. That is why I am involved in writing the book that I am.

If there were one thing in particular that I would like to reiterate at this point, it would be to please don’t associate me with Christianity. It may be what I have come out of and paid the price for leaving, but about the only thing I retain that could be construed as Christian is that I believe Yahshua is the messiah, and that he is returning soon to begin fulfilling all the prophecies of the messianic age.

It is so easy to see the errors of others. It takes much courage to face the possibility one could be wrong, especially if family or upbringing is pulling in the other direction. From my point of view the errors of Christianity (as opposed to those in Judaism) are the greater problem. I am much harder on Christianity! I sincerely believe that because your heart is tender and seeking Hashem and striving to walking in His ways, as it is now, you stand to fare far better on judgment day than any Christian who rejects God’s Law in spite of the fact that you do not believe Yahshua is the messiah. It is not absolutely necessary you believe at this time. But I ask you to please keep it a consideration.

Be blessed in YHWH,

Scott