Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
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01-10-2015, 05:23 PM
Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
I have invited NASB to join me here in the boxing ring to discuss various topics within Judaism and Christianity. I will be representing the Jewish position, and NASB will likewise be addressing the Christian position.

Woo Advisory: This is a religious discussion. If woo, religious matters or related topics annoys you, nauseates you or makes you want to smash things, kindly heed this warning and avoid this thread. Tongue

I’ll open the discussion with the following quotation from NASB:

(01-10-2015 04:04 PM)NASB Wrote:  More Jews have accepted Christ as their Messiah in the last 20 years, than in the last 2,000. Sign of the times?

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/05...their-own/
http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/407139.aspx
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jews-reject-Jesus.html
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01-10-2015, 05:44 PM
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
Thread Moved into the boxing ring.

You know the rules.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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01-10-2015, 07:04 PM
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
(01-10-2015 05:23 PM)Aliza Wrote:  I have invited NASB to join me here in the boxing ring to discuss various topics within Judaism and Christianity. I will be representing the Jewish position, and NASB will likewise be addressing the Christian position.

Woo Advisory: This is a religious discussion. If woo, religious matters or related topics annoys you, nauseates you or makes you want to smash things, kindly heed this warning and avoid this thread. Tongue

I’ll open the discussion with the following quotation from NASB:

(01-10-2015 04:04 PM)NASB Wrote:  More Jews have accepted Christ as their Messiah in the last 20 years, than in the last 2,000. Sign of the times?

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/05...their-own/
http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/407139.aspx
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jews-reject-Jesus.html
Hi Aliza, I accept your invitation to discuss Judaism / Christianity. This will be an interesting topic since I consider Christianity a natural extension/progression of Judaism. Looking forward to it.
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01-10-2015, 08:00 PM
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
(01-10-2015 04:04 PM)NASB Wrote:  More Jews have accepted Christ as their Messiah in the last 20 years, than in the last 2,000. Sign of the times?

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/05...their-own/
http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/407139.aspx
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jews-reject-Jesus.html

For 2000 years, the Christians have been wholly unsuccessful at converting the Jews to Christianity. Even though the Jews lived in the land and were threatened with death, conversion or expulsion, the Jews repeatedly chose death or expulsion rather than convert to Christianity. To the Jew, Christianity represents persecution, hate, and misery.

Yet in the last 20+ years, it’s true that Jewish people have been converting to Christianity at unprecedented levels. But is this a “sign of the end times”, or is it merely a logical reaction to a massive and very clever campaign launched by evangelical Christians which specifically targets Jews for conversion?

In 1974 and 1980, two key conferences were held by evangelical leaders to address the subject of converting the Jews by the year 2000, which at the time, was the date that they believed the Christian Messiah was sure to return. It was agreed upon in these conferences that Jews needed to continue to feel Jewish in order to get them to agree to accept Jesus as their messiah.

Jews for Jesus was the answer. Founded by Southern Baptists in 1973, their primary goal was the conversion of the Jews. While J4J has proven to be very successful in their mission, it is important to note that the ONLY Jewish people they have converted have been individuals who lacked an orthodox Jewish education, which is considered to be the gold standard of Judaism. I am including in this assessment, all Jews for Jesus members who claim orthodoxy as their background, including Co-Founder Tuvya Zaretsky, the late founder Moshe Rosen, and the late president, Jhan Moskowitz.

Orthodox Jews, and Jews with strong ties to their communities just don’t seem to be buying what Jews for Jesus is selling, and they never have.

By repackaging Christianity to appeal to uneducated Jewish people, Jews for Jesus has been very successful among our least educated Jews, but I believe that the success has been a result of clever marketing and not a divine sign of the end-times.

It’s also worth mentioning that many of Jews who went to Jews for Jesus have left after being counseled by counter-missionary groups such as Jews for Judaism, which aims to tell the Jewish side of the story. There is currently a resurgence of Modern Orthodoxy, as Jews are learning more about their roots as a direct result of these counter-missionary efforts. As a happy side effect, many Christians are being exposed to the Jewish perspective and are leaving Christianity in much higher proportions than Jews are entering Messianic Judaism.
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02-10-2015, 09:16 AM
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
I totally missed this my first read-through of your introductory thread. I'm moving it over here so we can discuss it.

(01-10-2015 04:21 PM)NASB Wrote:  
(27-09-2015 01:31 PM)Aliza Wrote:  Judaism has very little to say about the "afterlife", as our religion focuses mainly on what we do in this life. But to answer your question, we do not believe in heaven or hell in the traditional sense that Christians do. As I explained above, you'll either enjoy the experience (heaven), or you will not enjoy the experience (hell). It's worth mentioning that if you don't enjoy the experience, your soul will only be miserable for a short period of time until past misdeeds are atoned for and then you will enjoy the experience. There is no eternal torment.
Judaism may have little to say concerning the after life, but this is not the case regarding the Old Testament.

Isaiah 50 "He who vindicates Me is near; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me. Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them. Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with firebrands, Walk in the light of your fire And among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand:
You will lie down in torment."
Job 33 "If there is an angel as mediator for him, One out of a thousand, To remind a man what is right for him, Then let him be gracious to him, and say, ‘Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom’ Let his flesh become fresher than in youth, Let him return to the days of his youthful vigor; Then he will pray to God, and He will accept him, That he may see His face with joy, And He may restore His righteousness to man. He will sing to men and say, ‘I have sinned and perverted what is right, And it is not proper for me. ‘He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, And my life shall see the light.’"

The Old Testament paints a clear picture of an afterlife, modern day Judaism, not so much.

Jews DO believe that people have souls, and that those souls go to world specifically for souls after death. I’ve done a little more research on the subject since my post in your introduction thread, and I’ve learned that according to Jewish explanations, souls do not retain their personalities in the afterlife.

After reading through the Job quotes that you highlighted, I believe that you’re trying to point to hell from these quotes, but I don't think this position is supported by the text. The “pit” as mentioned in these quotes doesn’t go into the kind of detail that you’d need to make an argument that it refers to hell. Traditionally, Jews have believed that all souls go to Sheol, and they are not segregated into separate after-lives according to their deeds. I have heard Sheol described as being below the Earth surface as opposed to in the sky, so this description of “the pit” seems to support that idea.

I maintain that the Tanach (old testament) doesn’t go into great detail about an afterlife.

The Isaiah quote was quite interesting. I’ve never heard that section being used to support the idea of an afterlife. Torment, as used in your bible, is a very strong word which could leave a Christian audience with the clear impression that the writer is referring to hell. I think this notion would sail right over the heads of a Jewish audience.

The only problem is that the word torment doesn’t appear to be supported in the original Hebrew. The word that is there is “grief” or “sorrow”. Additionally, “lie down” doesn’t necessarily mean death, and is never taught as referring to hell in Jewish study. More commonly, it's taught that it means that the enemies of the Jews will back off with their tail tucked between their legs.

When these translation discrepancies pop up, Christians like to bolster their position by pointing to the Septuagint. The Septuagint itself is a totally separate discussion, but I did take a quick peek at a Septuagint that I found online, and it used the word “sorrow,” not “torment” in the English translation.

10 Who is among you that fears the Lord? let him hearken to the voice of his servant: ye that walk in darkness, and have no light, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon God.11 Behold, ye all kindle a fire, and feed a flame: walk in the light of your fire, and in the flame which ye have kindled. This has happened to you for my sake; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

The torment and grief or sorrow are different words in Hebrew, and just like in English, they have different meanings. You can check this list for common words that are used in Hebrew. Both grief and torment are in the list. Then compare it to this excerpt of Isaiah that I found which has the English translation side by side with the Hebrew. Look at the last line, second word from left and you’ll find the root word for grief in that larger word (which contains grammatical modifiers).

Okay, between this reply, and my reply about Jews converting to Christianity, I think I've left you with ample material to chew over the weekend. I look forward to your response. Smile
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05-10-2015, 06:56 PM
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
The claim that “For 2000 years, the Christians have been wholly unsuccessful at converting the Jews to Christianity” is one I can’t answer directly. Simply because the first Christians were Jews who converted Gentiles to their Messianic faith. Honestly I’m not aware of any attempts by Catholic or Protestant Christians to evangelize the Jewish people.

In fact it’s with the advent of Supersessionism, starting with the Patristics, where many Christian sects determined the church had replaced the Jews/Judaism. The church in its present state is still debating this topic. Today’s it’s known as Replacement Theology, which has little interest in converting the Jewish people to Christianity.

There’s many churches today (Baptist, Calvinist, Catholics, Lutherans etc…) that adhere to replacement theology. If I’m checking out a new church to attend it must uphold a certain standard, some specifics being a love of Israel and the prophetic significance of Israel. Yeah there not easy to find at all…

So I don’t see this as a “logical reaction” or “clever campaign” targeting Jews for conversion. I have no opinion concerning the Jews for Jesus organization, but what I’ve read stated that it was started by a Jew, along with with some Jewish Christians.

Actually, "Jews for Jesus" began as a slogan. In the late 1960s a moving of the Holy Spirit brought thousands of cause-oriented young people to faith in Jesus, many of whom were Jewish. As for our organization, Moishe Rosen officially founded Jews for Jesus in September of 1973. Rosen, a veteran missionary to the Jewish people, was the executive director of the mission for 23 years. He revolutionized evangelistic methods and materials with his creative approach to communicating the gospel, and we believe he was the foremost strategist and tactician in the field of Jewish evangelism.”
http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about-jews-f...ne/history

"Jews for Jesus was founded by Moishe Rosen, born in 1932 in Kansas City, Missouri, as Martin Meyer Rosen. He was given the Hebrew name “Moishe” at his circumcision, and he was reared in a nominally religious Jewish family. When his wife, Ceil, came to know Jesus as her Messiah and Savior, Moishe was convinced that he would be able to prove that Jesus was not the Messiah. He began to study the facts concerning Jesus, and his research became the very way in which he, too, became a believer in Jesus the Messiah."
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jews-for-Jesus.html

"Moshe Rosen, the Jewish convert to Christianity who founded the Evangelical missionary group Jews for Jesus, died May 19, 2010, in San Francisco after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 78. His passing presents an opportunity to reflect on the devastating effect he had on Jewish lives. Born Martin Rosen in 1932 to immigrant Jewish parents, he was raised with a minimum Jewish education in Denver, Colo. He converted to Christianity in 1953, at the age of 21, and in 1957 was ordained a Baptist minister."
http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/art...s_20100525

"Moishe Rosen, who was born Jewish, ordained a Baptist minister and went on to found Jews for Jesus, the largest messianic Jewish organization in the world, died Wednesday at his home in San Francisco. He was 78."
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/us/22rosen.html?_r=0

For me the underlining discussion here is whether or not Christianity is a Jewish faith. By all accounts I’d say it qualifies having a Jewish savior and written text, and the list of Jewish Messianic fellowships in Israel is indeed growing. In which its difficult for me to credit "Jews for Jesus" as the sole instigator.
http://www.yeshuasharvest.org/living-sto...ngregation
http://www.kehila.com/directory
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06-10-2015, 08:07 AM
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
I'm going to break up my reply into two posts. This first post, dealing with historical efforts to convert the Jews, is only to illustrate how prior efforts were unsuccessful, but current efforts have been more successful. Evangelicals such as Moshe Rosen, have studied this history, and have learned from past mistakes. They've come up with new ways to reach Jews. While these efforts are successful when compared to historical efforts, overall, their efforts are largely unsuccessful because 20+ years later, there are 11 million Jews in the world and only up to 350,000 of them are Messianics.

(05-10-2015 06:56 PM)NASB Wrote:  The claim that “For 2000 years, the Christians have been wholly unsuccessful at converting the Jews to Christianity” is one I can’t answer directly. Simply because the first Christians were Jews who converted Gentiles to their Messianic faith.

Early “Christians” were Jews who were seeking to convince other Jews that Jesus was the Jewish messiah (this is totally different from the Christian definition of messiah, which was adopted at a later date.) This idea of marketing the religion to gentiles was entirely Paul’s, and I’ve heard that it wasn’t well received by other members of the group.

(05-10-2015 06:56 PM)NASB Wrote:  Honestly I’m not aware of any attempts by Catholic or Protestant Christians to evangelize the Jewish people.

I’m surprised that you’ve never heard of historical efforts made by Christians to convert Jews. Here are a couple of choice examples:

Example 1
Prior to authoring “On Jews and their Lies,” Martin Luther first made a respectable effort to convert the Jews by displaying kindness, patience, and understanding.

I hope that if one deals in a kindly way with the Jews and instructs them carefully from Holy Scripture, many of them will become genuine Christians and turn again to the faith of their fathers, the prophets and patriarchs.
Full resource

When his efforts to convert the Jews proved to be unsuccessful, Martin Luther wrote a new letter with his recommendations on how the Jews should be handled going forward.

"What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming.
First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them.
Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues.
Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.
Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb.
"
Full resource
The list continues… such a sweetie pie.

Example 2
Prior to the now notorious expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, a effort had been made to force the Jews to convert to Catholicism. When it became clear that their efforts had not been effective, Ferdinand and Isabella issued their edict to expel all Jews from the land.

"The object of this law was to reduce the Jews to poverty and to further humiliate them. They were ordered to live by themselves, in enclosed Juderías, and they were to repair, within eight days after the publication of the order, to the quarters assigned them under penalty of loss of property. ... On pain of loss of property and even of slavery, they were forbidden to leave the country, and any grandee or knight who protected or sheltered a fugitive Jew was punished with a fine of 150,000 maravedís for the first offense. These laws, which were rigidly enforced, any violation of them being punished with a fine of 300–2,000 maravedís and flagellation, were calculated to compel the Jews to embrace Catholicism."
full resource

Example 3
"Summing up a series of Vatican pronouncements since 1965 that have reversed the church's historical approach to Judaism, the bishops said that the Old Testament covenant between the Jews and God is eternally valid and that Jews do not need to convert to Christianity to be saved."
Full resource

I’m including this last to demonstrate that Catholics acknowledged their efforts to convert the Jews, and only put an official end to it in 1965.
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06-10-2015, 09:56 AM
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
(05-10-2015 06:56 PM)NASB Wrote:  So I don’t see this as a “logical reaction” or “clever campaign” targeting Jews for conversion. I have no opinion concerning the Jews for Jesus organization, but what I’ve read stated that it was started by a Jew, along with with some Jewish Christians.

Here is some literature that is being produced directing Christians on how to share (market) Jesus to Jews. Notice how Christianity is being white-washed here to appear less off-putting to a Jewish audience. Try Googling topics like, “How do I share Jesus with the Jews” and see just how many hits you get. Here are two good ones that I found.

http://www.returntogod.com/WitnessingTips/Jewish.htm
http://www.jewsforjesus.org/jews-for-jes...ng-to-jews

I believe that there is a clear, well-thought out effort being put forth to evangelize to Jews. It is because of this effort, and no other reason, supernatural or otherwise, that Jewish people are converting to Christianity in record numbers.

(05-10-2015 06:56 PM)NASB Wrote:  For me the underlining discussion here is whether or not Christianity is a Jewish faith.

I found something really cute online. It’s the rules to the Roadrunner cartoon show. The rules were established by the creator, and animators were required to follow these rules in order to successfully produce a show that could carry the Roadrunner brand.

Likewise, Judaism has a defined set of “rules” by which people and movements must adhere in order to be considered “Jewish” by the majority of Jews, including the State of Israel. Not meeting these expectations simply means that the religion or individual isn’t Jewish. That doesn’t mean that the religion doesn’t have value; it only means that it isn’t Jewish. Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry don’t meet the criteria for being the Roadrunner, but they are very good cartoons in their own right.

But you asked the question, so I will try to explain what the criteria is that needs to be met, and why Christianity doesn’t meet that criteria. I’ll start with point or two, and we can elaborate from there if you like.

Jesus, as described by the Christians, does not meet the definition of the messiah that the Jewish people had established some 700 years prior to Jesus's birth. He does not meet the basic expectations that the Jewish people had for the messiah.

According to Jewish expectations of messiah:
- Jesus doesn’t meet the personal qualifications to be messiah.
- Jesus did not do what he needed to do in order to be the messiah.
- The world today does not reflect the attributes of the messianic era.
- The Jewish messiah is not G-d.

The Christian people have changed the concept of the messiah, and this is NOT Jewish. In fact, it’s akin to crossing off every rule on the Roadrunner list, changing the characters, firing the staff and hiring all new people, introducing complex dialog to the program, setting it in England, and switching it from a cartoon to a live-action romance that appeals to the 30 – 65 year women and expecting fans to accept it as the Roadrunner cartoon. At some point in the transformation, it ceases to be the Roadrunner and starts being Pride and Prejudice.
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07-10-2015, 08:35 PM (This post was last modified: 07-10-2015 08:39 PM by NASB.)
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
Quote:I'm going to break up my reply into two posts. This first post, dealing with historical efforts to convert the Jews, is only to illustrate how prior efforts were unsuccessful, but current efforts have been more successful. Evangelicals such as Moshe Rosen, have studied this history, and have learned from past mistakes. They've come up with new ways to reach Jews. While these efforts are successful when compared to historical efforts, overall, their efforts are largely unsuccessful because 20+ years later, there are 11 million Jews in the world and only up to 350,000 of them are Messianics.

I find these numbers impressive considering there were little to no Messianic believers in Israel or throughout the world. For me this is a "sign of the times" in which we live. I wonder what the number of messianic Jews will inflate too in another twenty years? It's prophetic regardless of the methods or intent of those who chose to witness. It's happening.

Quote:Early “Christians” were Jews who were seeking to convince other Jews that Jesus was the Jewish messiah (this is totally different from the Christian definition of messiah, which was adopted at a later date.) This idea of marketing the religion to gentiles was entirely Paul’s, and I’ve heard that it wasn’t well received by other members of the group.

Paul was a Jew, the first Christians were Jewish, simply because Christianity is a Jewish faith. The writers of the New Testament knew their scripture well. They understood typologies and and the scarlet thread that permeates its pages. I'd pose the question "Why did Jesus expect Nicodemus to understand the concept of being "Born Again?" or "Why could Moses not enter the promised land?" You'd have to have a Hebraic mindset to understand these things. You can choose to answer if you’d like, but I'm not confident you'll fully appreciate the questions.

Quote:I’m surprised that you’ve never heard of historical efforts made by Christians to convert Jews. Here are a couple of choice examples:

Defining historical efforts to convert Jews to Christianity from a Catholic perspective is problematic. I'm a bible believing Christian, in which the Catholic church persecuted and murdered during the Dark Ages. Catholicism is not Christianity, but we can discuss this another time. Your other example of Martin Luther is not without its own difficulties. Martin Luther is one of the most anti-Semitic church fathers you’ll find. He’s probably the single most influential reason for Replacement Theology, and denied the canonization of Revelation because it deals specifically with the Jews. So he tried to convert the Jew and failed, this in no way validates your prior claim of the last two thousand years. Martin Luther was an ex Catholic priest if I’m not mistaken and committed acts of violence and murder.

Quote:I believe that there is a clear, well-thought out effort being put forth to evangelize to Jews. It is because of this effort, and no other reason, supernatural or otherwise, that Jewish people are converting to Christianity in record numbers.

You’ve failed to address the issue of Replacement Theology which permeates the church today. Jews for Jesus is not a popular mainstream Christian movement or organization by any means. Anyways I’ve said this before that I believe the real discussion here is whether or not Christianity is a Jewish faith.

Quote:Jesus, as described by the Christians, does not meet the definition of the messiah that the Jewish people had established some 700 years prior to Jesus's birth. He does not meet the basic expectations that the Jewish people had for the messiah.

According to Jewish expectations of messiah:
- Jesus doesn’t meet the personal qualifications to be messiah.
- Jesus did not do what he needed to do in order to be the messiah.
- The world today does not reflect the attributes of the messianic era.
- The Jewish messiah is not G-d.

Yes, this is a modern perspective of Judaism, which didn’t gain prominence until around 1000 A.D. In fact there was always a strong agreement concerning the Messiah between early Christians and Judaism. I believe it was Maimonides who really influenced the modern perspective of Jewish thought and the considerations of a Messiah, is it Israel or is it a man?

Quote:The Christian people have changed the concept of the messiah, and this is NOT Jewish. In fact, it’s akin to crossing off every rule on the Roadrunner list, changing the characters, firing the staff and hiring all new people, introducing complex dialog to the program, setting it in England, and switching it from a cartoon to a live-action romance that appeals to the 30 – 65 year women and expecting fans to accept it as the Roadrunner cartoon. At some point in the transformation, it ceases to be the Roadrunner and starts being Pride and Prejudice.

Well this will just give us more content to discuss a later date.
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07-10-2015, 09:25 PM
RE: Aliza and NASB's discussion about Judaism and Christianity
I just want to get a few things clarified before typing up a reply to your post. If you don't happen to respond by the morning (about 12 hours from the time of this post), I'll assume some mainstream Christian views and try to make my counterargument off that.

You mentioned that the Jewish concept of Messiah wasn't established until around the year 1000 when Maimonides wrote his works. Can you give me a few examples of what you believe that the Jewish definition of the messiah was during the era of Jesus?

I found this list online... Seems like a decent starting place.
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