Good News According To Jesus

Wanna walk in Jesus’ footsteps? I suggest Nazareth to revisit the annunciation of his coming and to see the synagogue Jesus began his ministry in, then his birthplace in Bethlehem-Efrat, then his main teaching synagogue in Capernaum, lunch at Orthodox tables, then swim in Sea of Galilee before seeing Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre, the Garden Tomb, the Mount of Olives and Mt. Moriah where He will return to. Then celebrate the Feast at least once in your life.

What is the “good news” or “gospel” of Jesus in our life now and today? What is the Gospel video…

The Bible says that God will bless all nations through the seed of Abraham. God chooses to bless the world through his people Israel. The Lord says to the people of Israel in Genesis 12, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Jesus came to us from Israel and the Jewish people. The New Testament says all people can draw near to the blessings of Israel by following Jesus. We invite you to join us as walk in the LORD’s grace, mercy and redemption (geula in Hebrew).

Jesus (Yeshua), the most famous Jew in the world said the most important commandments are  – ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [f] 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. These commands are from Deuteronomy 6:4,5 and Leviticus 19:18, as recorded in the Gospel According To Mark 12:29.

Jesus Speaks Hebrew which is read right from left and looks like this –

And sounds like this –

Jesus also prayed the “bow and silent” prayer like this…

Jesus followed the Old Testament (Tanach) reading schedule. This week’s portion read around the world by Jews is Gen (Berisheet) 42…

The New Testament (Brit Chadash) reading is –

As recorded in John 10, Jesus celebrated Hannukah (feast of dedication). Hannukah celebrates the Jewish defense of their religion from pagan threat. The gift of this victory paved the way for Jesus’ birth and thus Christmas.

Ever wonder what Jesus means when he talks about good news or when he says to make disciples  (not just converts)?

If so, then consider these questions…

Why is Jesus’ real name Yeshua?

How did Jesus pray?

What holidays did Jesus celebrate?

What does Ephesians 2:12 mean that through Jesus we now share in the blessings of Israel?

St. Jerome has said, “There are five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the land of Israel.”

“…Five gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in books and one you will find in the land they call holy. Read the fifth gospel and the world of the four will open to you.”

Bargil Pixner has led countless groups through the country. With his well-founded knowledge of the Holy Land and its history he draws a lively and persuasive image of the times of turmoil in which Jesus lived.

The history of Christianity begins in Israel with the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. After the death of Jesus, the early congregations remained Judeo-Christian until around 130 CE. Since then, the church became mostly gentile in composition. Major divisions within the church started with the early Ecumenical Councils which leads to today’s church as show here…

VOTING LIKE JESUS (pro people, pro life or no abortion, no killing be it the death penalty, no war or being a soldier, fiscal conservative, generous help for the poor etc)

LIVING LIKE JESUS – Ed Dobson

I have a friend named Chet who works at the local UPS store. Whenever I go in to send a package, Chet usually asks a question or two about something I wrote down on the shipping form. I hate the tiny forms and the cheap leaky pens. One day, Chet told me something that has spurred me on to join “the conversation for the journey”. He admitted that he too had bad penmanship but this was only because he was forced to write, from an early age, with the wrong hand. You see, Chet’s parents believed in the age-old superstition that the left-hand is cursed. So whenever they saw their son using his left-hand they slapped it. Chet caught on quickly and learned to do most things, including writing, with his right-hand. Eventually he became so accustomed to using his right-hand that he even forgot he had been born left-handed. Throughout his school years Chet struggled with sloppy handwriting until one day, in a moment of compassion, his father suggested: “Why don’t you try your left-hand?” Unfortunately, by then it was too late for Chet to re-learn how to write with his natural left-hand.

Beginning in the 2nd century, the Christian Church underwent its own hand-slapping campaign. The main focus of this process was the eradication of anything that was too left-handed in its orientation. Although Jesus and all his original disciples were Jewish, the Church labeled the Jews as accursed in the eyes of God. Anything that was deemed too Jewish was expunged from the Christian faith. Some people involved in the early formation of the Church like Marcion, followed this to its logical conclusion, proclaiming the God of the Old Testament to be separate and distinct from the Christian God in the New Testament. By the time of the 4th century, the hand slapping by the Church led to the violent persecution of the Nazarenes, the Jewish descendants of the original followers of Jesus, who were deemed heretics for continuing to observe the ancient rites and rituals of the Old Testament.

I am concerned that the Church has moved so far from the foundations of our faith that we have forgotten our left handed origins. It is impossible to understand what Jesus taught us without an appreciation for the Jewish culture and Hebrew language in which he lived and preached. Even the great Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, who is known for slapping the hand of Jews (see The Jews and their Lies) once said:

“The Hebrew language is the best language of all … If I were younger I would want to learn this language, because no one can really understand the Scriptures without it. For although the New Testament is written in Greek, it is full of Hebraisms and Hebrew expressions. It has therefore been aptly said that the Hebrews drink from the spring, the Greeks from the stream that flows from it, and the Latin’s from a downstream puddle.”

I wonder what image Martin Luther would give for those of us present day Christians who have been limited to the confines of the English translation of our bible? Maybe we drink from the bottled water that translators gathered up from the puddle. Who knows?

Without this appreciation of the origins of our faith, I believe that the Church is losing the understanding of who our God is according to His Word and who we are called to be according to His Will. Rather than returning to an understanding of Scripture in its original linguistic and historical context, our present day Church is moving into the feel-good, nature-focused, undefined, unclear, unexplainable, “what have you done for me lately” God who changes colors like the horses of the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. He is the green god for those who believe in prosperity theology, the black god for those who adhere to liberation theology, the white god for racists, the black and white god for the reconciliation movement, the red, white, and blue god for the conservatives and the rainbow-colored god for the liberals. The aforementioned groups have attempted to limit the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God of both heaven and earth. These and other -ologies, -isms, and -tions are desperately looking for ways to label people and contain God.

A number of years ago I was encouraged by my Heavenly Father to “try my left hand”. I decided to go through the sometimes difficult and always humbling process of learning to be proficient with my left-handed origins. There are times when I feel the heat from the flames of criticism when I choose not to bow down to the noise of the label givers who insist that I stay away from my left hand. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego provide a biblical model for standing up for conviction rather than bowing down to such people. Other times I want to complain like Moses that “I am slow of speech” regarding the Hebrew language. However, I keep hearing the voice of Yehovah encouraging me that He made our mouth, and that He is with me.

When some people hear that I am studying the language and culture of Jesus, and that I am reading a Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew, they want to slap my hand. I understand that because of their desire to label people and contain God they are fearful of people like me. So no matter how hard they slap my hand, I won’t be trained like Chet. I won’t let them force me away from the left-handed history culture and language of my prized possession: the Word of God. I have learned to let the Holy Scriptures, according to their historical, cultural, and linguistic context, define God rather than to let social, economic, racial, religious, or gender do the same. I encourage all of those who are not willing to be labeled while on this journey, to extend your right hand of fellowship to reach out to our original family of faith. I also challenge you to “try your left hand” to grasp the Word of God. Remember the words spoken through Moses who also was encouraged to learn to use his original left hand: “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that Yehovah is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other”. Deuteronomy 4:29

Keith Johnson is co-author of A Prayer to Our Father; Hebrew origins of the Lord’s Prayer

On Redemption

This is the essence of the Redemption: the relationship between man and G-d will no longer be based on faith alone, but will also be nourished by a firsthand awareness of G-d’s Presence here on earth. Thus, concluding his description of the uniqueness of the Era of the Redemption, the Rambam quotes the verse, “For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.” The physical setting of the world will not change in the era of Redemption; what will be different is our knowledge and awareness of G-d.

This concept is reflected in the fact that the Hebrew word for exile, gola, shares the same letters as the Hebrew word for redemption, geula, with one exception: geula possesses an alef. The alef stands for G-d, Alufo shel olam (“the L-rd of the world”).

What is the difference between exile and redemption? — The alef, our consciousness of G-d’s presence. All the material dimensions of our present existence will continue in the Era of the Redemption. Our souls will be contained within physical bodies, we will derive our nurture from physical food, and we will live together with gentile neighbors. All these aspects of material existence, however, will be suffused with an awareness of G-d.

http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/sichos-in-english/49/07.htm#t79

JEWISH VIEW OF JESUS AND THE MESSIAH –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism’s_view_of_Jesus

Judaism’s view of Jesus is a very peripheral one. Jews have traditionally seen Jesus as one of a number of false messiahs who have appeared throughout history[citation needed]. Jesus is viewed as having been the most influential, and consequently the most damaging of all false messiahs. However, since the messiah does not take center stage in Judaism, the total rejection of Jesus as either messiah or deity in Judaism has never been a central issue for Judaism.

Judaism has never accepted any of the claimed fulfillments of prophecy that Christianity attributes to Jesus. Judaism also forbids the worship of a person as a form of idolatry, since the central belief of Judaism is the absolute unity and singularity of God.[1][2]

Jewish eschatology holds that the coming of the Messiah will be associated with a specific series of events that have not yet occurred, including the return of Jews to their homeland and the rebuilding of The Temple, an era of peace[3] and understanding during which “the knowledge of God” fills the earth,[4] and since Judaism holds that none of these events occurred during the lifetime of Jesus, he is not a candidate for messiah.

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[edit] Background

Main article: Christianity and Judaism

Woodcut carved by Johann von Armssheim (1483). Portrays a disputation between Christian and Jewish scholars

The belief that Jesus is God, a person of the Trinity, the Messiah, or a prophet of God are incompatible with traditional Jewish philosophical tenets. The idea of the Jewish Messiah is different from the Christian Christ because Jews believe Jesus did not fulfill Jewish Messianic prophecies that establish the criteria for the coming of the Messiah.[5] Authoritative texts of Judaism reject Jesus as God, Divine Being, intermediary between humans and God, Messiah or saint. The belief in the Trinity is also held to be incompatible with Judaism, as are many other tenets of Christianity.

[edit] Judaism’s worldview and Jesus

[edit] Indivisibility of God

In Judaism, the idea of God as a duality or trinity is heretical — it’s even considered by some polytheistic.[6] According to Judaic beliefs, the Torah rules out a trinitarian God in Deuteronomy (6:4): “Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”

In his book A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson describes the schism between Jews and Christians caused by a divergence from this principle:

To the question, Was Jesus God or man?, the Christians therefore answered: both. After 70 AD, their answer was unanimous and increasingly emphatic. This made a complete breach with Judaism inevitable.[7]

Fundamentally, Judaism believes that God, as the creator of time, space, energy and matter, is beyond them, and cannot be born or die, or have a son. Judaism teaches that it is heretical for any man to claim to be God, part of God, or the literal son of God. The Jerusalem Talmud (Ta’anit 2:1) states explicitly: “if a man claims to be God, he is a liar.”

In the 12th century, the preeminent Jewish scholar Maimonides elucidated the core principles of Judaism, writing “[God], the Cause of all, is one. This does not mean one as in one of a pair, nor one like a species (which encompasses many individuals), nor one as in an object that is made up of many elements, nor as a single simple object that is infinitely divisible. Rather, God is a unity unlike any other possible unity.”[8]

Some Jewish scholars note that though Jesus is said to have used the phrase “my Father in Heaven” (cf. Lord’s Prayer), this common poetic Jewish expression may have been misinterpreted as literal.[9]

It should be noted that many well known Kabbalistic mystics called some Biblical figures and Hasidic Tzaddikim “pure Divinity”, “God enclothed in a body of a man”, “first-born son of God” or even just “God”. Such statements caused much anger among the opponents of Hasidism and were one of the major reasons of anti-Hasidic antagonism.

For example, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev wrote that Jacob was an aspect of Divinity and was called “God” by God Himself, therefore it was appropriate to bow to him. [10]. Rabbi Naftali Zvi of Ropshitz wrote that Moses, as well as every true Tzaddik is God, therefore the numerical value of the Hebrew phrase “Moses, our teacher” is identical to the expression “Lord, God of Israel”. According to the Ropshitzer Rebbe, Moses’ prayers were identical to the prayers of Shechina, the feminine aspect of God. [11]. Rabbi Jacob Koppel Lifshitz, who is revered by the Hasidim as a great pre-Hasidic Kabbalist, wrote that Moses was “first-born son of God” and a “God-man”.[12] Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, also made similar statements about his father-in-law and Tzaddikim in general, which fueled the controversial radical trends in the Chabad Messianism [13].

However, such statements are just a part of the general acute emanationism or pantheism of the same Hasidic authors, who believed that God is the only true reality of everything, including inanimate matter. In the contrary, many Christians would consider such pantheistic views fundamentally anti-Christian.

These Hasidic ideas can be compared to similar views of such Sufi masters as Al-Hallaj, Ibn Arabi and Naimi or, perhaps, to the monistic trends in Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism[14]. The major difference from the Christian Trinitarianism is the emphasis of the Divine unity of all beings, which is not limited, in the Hasidic view, to any particular individual or a particular number of God’s aspects. Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz wrote that “they separate, while we unite”, meaning, that while the Kabbalists also talk about multilayer hypostases of God, they emphasize the monistic oneness of all being from the perspective of the supra-personal apophatic Absolute, while the Trinitarian Christians insist on essentially triune nature of God.[15]

[edit] Judaism’s view of the Messiah

Main articles: Messiah and Jewish Messiah

Judaism’s view of the Messiah differs substantially from the Christian idea of the Messiah. In the Jewish account, the Messiah’s task is to bring in the Messianic age, a one-time event, and a presumed messiah who dies before completing the task (i.e., compelling all of Israel to walk in the way of Torah, repairing the breaches in observance, fighting the wars of God, building the Temple in its place, gathering in the dispersed exiles of Israel) is not the Messiah. Maimonides states, “But if he did not succeed in all this or was killed, he is definitely not the Moshiach promised in the Torah… and God only appointed him in order to test the masses.”[16]

Jews believe that the Messiah will fulfill the messianic prophecies of the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel.[17][18][19][20] According to Isaiah, the Messiah will be a paternal descendant of King David[21] via King Solomon.[22] He is expected to return the Jews to their homeland and rebuild the Temple, reign as King, and usher in an era of peace[23] and understanding where “the knowledge of God” fills the earth,[24] leading the nations to “end up recognizing the wrongs they did Israel”.[25] Ezekiel states the Messiah will redeem the Jews.[26]

Therefore, any Judaic view of Jesus per se is influenced by the fact that Jesus lived while the Second Temple was standing, and not while the Jews were exiled. He never reigned as King, and there was no subsequent era of peace or great knowledge. Jesus died without completing or even accomplishing part of any of the messianic tasks, instead promising a second coming. Rather than being redeemed, the Jews were subsequently exiled from Israel. These discrepancies were noted by Jewish scholars who were contemporaries of Jesus, as later pointed out by Nahmanides, who in 1263 observed that Jesus was rejected as the Messiah by the rabbis of his time.[27]

Further, according to common beliefs of Judaism, Christian claims that Jesus is the textual messiah of the Hebrew Bible are based on mistranslations[28][29][30] and Jesus did not fulfill the qualifications for Jewish Messiah.

However, not all traditional rabbinical authorities viewed Jesus in negative terms. Maimonides wrote that Jesus helped to “pave the way” for the future true Messiah, by introducing the basic concepts of Judaism to Gentiles. Rabbi Jacob Emden considered Jesus a righteous man, who brought to light of faith and morality to the world, but not a Messiah. Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh, a prominent Italian Kabbalist, also very positively viewed Jesus and Christianity in general, especially Catholicism.

[edit] Prophecy and Jesus

Main articles: Prophet and False prophet

According to the Torah (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:18-22), the criteria for a person to be considered a prophet or speak for God in Judaism are that they must follow the God of Israel (and no other god), they must not describe God differently than He is known to be from Scripture, they must not advocate change to God’s word or state that God has changed His mind and wishes things that contradict His already-stated eternal word, and the things they do speak of must come to pass.[31]

Additionally, there are two types of “false prophet” recognized in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh): the one who claims to be a prophet in the name of idolatry, and the one who claims to be a prophet in the name of the God of Israel, but declares that any word or commandment (mitzvah) which God has said no longer applies, or makes false statements in the name of God.[32] As Judaism believes that God’s word is true eternally, one who claims to speak in God’s name but diverges in any way from what God Himself has said, logically cannot be inspired by Divine authority. Deuteronomy 13:1 states simply, “Be careful to observe only that which I enjoin upon you; neither add to it nor take away from it.”[33][34][35]

Even if someone who appears to be a prophet can perform supernatural acts or signs, no prophet or dreamer can contradict the laws already stated in the Bible.[36][37] For two thousand years, Jews rejected the claim that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the dogmatic claims about him made by the church fathers – that he was born of a virgin, the son of God, part of a divine Trinity, and was resurrected after his death. … For two thousand years, a central wish of Christianity was to be the object of desire by Jews, whose conversion would demonstrate their acceptance that Jesus has fulfilled their own biblical prophecies.”[citation needed]

Thus, any divergence from the tenets of Biblical Judaism espoused by Jesus would disqualify him from being considered a prophet in Judaism. This was the view adopted by Jesus’ contemporaries, as according to rabbinical tradition as stated in the Talmud (Sotah 48b) “when Malachi died the Prophecy departed from Israel.” As Malachi lived centuries before Jesus it is clear that the rabbis of Talmudic times did not view Jesus as a divinely-inspired prophet.

[edit] Jesus and salvation

See also: Salvation

Judaism does not believe that salvation or repentance from sin can be achieved through sacrifice on another’s behalf, (“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”)[38] and is instead focused on the requirements of personal repentance.[39]

In addition, Judaism focuses on understanding how one may live a sacred life according to God’s will in this world, rather than the hope of or methods for finding spiritual salvation in a future one. Judaism views Jews’ divine obligation to be living as a “holy people” in full accordance with Divine will, as a “light unto the nations,” and Judaism does not purport to offer the exclusive path to salvation or “the one path to God.” Accordingly, the implications of the Christian conception of Jesus massively diverge from the Jewish worldview.

[edit] Jesus’ life

Woodcut of the Crucifixion from an edition of William Whiston‘s translation of Flavius Josephus

While there is no particular view of Jesus mandated by Judaism, some Rabbis have speculated about his life. Maimonides in his Epistle to Yemen writes that Jesus was a heretic who sought to annul the Torah. American rabbi and author Milton Steinberg (1903 – 1949) wrote that Jews saw the historical Jesus as a noble and loving Jewish teacher.”[40] Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (b. 1966) sees reason to believe that Jesus was a rabbi based on some of the statements in the Christian scriptures.[41]

[edit] Authoritative texts of Judaism that mention Jesus

[edit] The Talmud and “Yeshu”

Main article: Yeshu

The name Yeshu (alt: Jeshu, Yeishu, Heb: יש”ו) appears in various works of classical Jewish rabbinic literature including the Babylonian Talmud (redacted roughly before 600 CE) and the classical midrash literature written between 250 CE and 700 CE. Scholars have debated the meaning of the name, which has been used as an acronym for the Hebrew expression ימח שמו וזכרו (yemach shemo vezichro – “May his name and memory be obliterated”). The word is similar to, and may be a wordplay on, Yeshua,[citation needed] believed by many to be the original Aramaic or Hebrew name of Jesus. Due to this fact, along with the occurrence in several manuscripts of the Babylonian Talmud of the appellation Ha-Notzri, which has been variously understood as a person from Nazareth or a person belonging to a group called Notzrim (Guardians, or watchmen) and some similarities between the stories of the two figures, some or many of the references to Yeshu have been traditionally understood to refer to the Jesus of Christianity. Conversely, others have criticized this view,[42] citing discrepancies between events mentioned in association with Yeshu and the time of Jesus’ life,[43] and differences between accounts of the deaths of Yeshu and Jesus.[44]

In all cases of its use, the references are to individuals who (whether real or not) are associated with acts or behaviour that are seen as leading Jews away from Judaism to minuth (a term usually translated as “heresy” or “apostasy”). Therefore, whether Yeshu equates with “Jesus” has historically been a delicate question, as “Yeshu” is portrayed in a negative light, and negative portrayals of Jesus in Jewish literature might incite, or be used as an excuse for, antisemitism among some Christians.

Some argue that there is no relationship between Yeshu and the historical Jesus; some argue that Yeshu refers to the historical Jesus; some argue that Yeshu is a literary device used by Rabbis to comment on their relationship to and with early Christians. Some rabbis[45] understood these references as referring to Jesus and based on them believed that Jesus lived 130 years prior to the date that Christians believe he lived, contradicting the Gospels‘ account regarding the chronology of Jesus.

[edit] Examples

The primary references to Yeshu are found in uncensored texts of the Babylonian Talmud and the Tosefta. The Vatican’s papal bull issued in 1554 censored the Talmud and other Jewish texts, resulting in the removal of references to Yeshu. No known manuscript of the Jerusalem Talmud makes mention of the name although one translation (Herford) has added it to Avodah Zarah 2:2 to align it with similar text of Chullin 2:22 in the Tosefta. All later usages of the term Yeshu are derived from these primary references. In the Munich (1342 CE), Paris, and Jewish Theological Seminary of America manuscripts of the Talmud, the appellation Ha-Notzri is added to the last mention of Yeshu in Sanhedrin 107b and Sotah 47a as well as to the occurrences in Sanhedrin 43a, Sanhedrin 103a, Berachot 17b and Avodah Zarah 16b-17a. Student,[46] Zindler and McKinsey[47] Ha-Notzri is not found in other early pre-censorship partial manuscripts (the Florence, Hamburg and Karlsruhe) where these cover the passages in question.

Although Notzri does not appear in the Tosefta, by the time the Babylonian Talmud was produced, Notzri had become the standard Hebrew word for Christian and Yeshu Ha-Notzri had become the conventional rendition of “Jesus the Nazarene” in Hebrew. For example, by 1180 CE the term Yeshu Ha-Notzri can be found in the MaimonidesMishneh Torah (Hilchos Melachim 11:4, uncensored version). Although the word Ha-Notzri literally means the nezarene (the one who was born in Nazareth), Maimonides’ reference is clearly intended to indicate Jesus.

To explain the dearth of references to Jesus in the Talmud, it has been argued[by whom?] that

  • The Talmud was subject to censorship. During the medieval period in Europe, Jewish texts were often placed on the Index of Forbidden Books and passages deemed insulting to the Church were expurgated as of 1264 (The entire Talmud was placed on the Index by Pope Paul IV in 1559).
  • Although restoring these passages still produces only a few mentions of Yeshu, the Mishnah, which forms the skeleton of the Talmud, was written at a time when Christianity was first emerging. The Christians were just one, apparently usual, sect with which the authors contended (others included Sadducees, Samaritans, and Gnostics).
  • The final redaction of the Talmud, the Babylonian Talmud was created in Babylonia, where Christianity did not have the same impact as it did in the Mediterranean Basin. As such, it was not perceived of as a particularly notable religion.
  • Although it is generally comprehensive, the Talmud is also prone to instances of self-censorship, particularly in response to controversial Jewish factionalism and the fear of antisemitic reaction (e.g. Hanukkah, a celebration of Jewish rebellion against pagan Syrian-Greek rule, is only mentioned in passing in the Talmud, possibly for these reasons).
  • The Talmud may mention Jesus and Christianity in coded terms, such as min (מין, sometimes translated “apostate” or “heretic”), though this term refers to various sectarian groups. In terms of labeling Christians as minim the adage of Rav Nahman in the name of Rava bar Avuha in Tractate Chullin 13b: There are no minim among the gentiles, i.e., the appellation could only be applied to converts from Judaism.
  • The Talmud was essentially the writing down of the basics of the Oral Law – despite its great size, it is still a very condensed form compared to the knowledge that existed originally, therefore, due to the limited space, only the necessities were discussed that might otherwise be forgotten.

[edit] Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah

Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon) lamented the pains that Jews felt as a result of new faiths that attempted to supplant Judaism, specifically Christianity and Islam. Referring to Jesus, he wrote:

“Even Jesus the Nazarene who imagined that he would be Messiah and was killed by the court, was already prophesied by Daniel. So that it was said, “And the members of the outlaws of your nation would be carried to make a (prophetic) vision stand. And they stumbled” (Daniel 11.14). Because, is there a greater stumbling-block than this one? So that all of the prophets spoke that the Messiah redeems Israel, and saves them, and gathers their banished ones, and strengthens their commandments. And this one caused (nations) to destroy Israel by sword, and to scatter their remnant, and to humiliate them, and to exchange the Torah, and to make the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides God.”

Nonetheless, Maimonides continued,

“But the human mind has no power to reach the thoughts of the Creator, for his thoughts and ways are unlike ours. And all these things of Jesus the Nazarene, and of (Muhammad) the Ishmaelite who stood after him – there is no (purpose) but to straighten out the way for the King Messiah, and to restore all the world to serve God together. So that it is said, “Because then I will turn toward the nations (giving them) a clear lip, to call all of them in the name of God and to serve God (shoulder to shoulder as) one shoulder.” (Zephaniah 3:9). How is this? The entire world had become filled with the issues of the anointed one and of the Torah and the Laws, and these issues had spread out unto faraway islands and among many nations uncircumcised in the heart, and they discuss these issues and the Torah‘s laws. These say: These Laws were true but are already defunct in these days, and do not rule for the following generations; whereas the other ones say: There are secret layers in them and they are not to be treated literally, and the Messiah had come and revealed their secret meanings. But when the anointed king will truly rise and succeed and will be raised and uplifted, they all immediately turn about and know that their fathers inherited falsehood, and their prophets and ancestors led them astray.” (Hilkhot Melakhim 11:10–12.)

[edit] Maimonides’ Epistle to Yemen

Jesus is mentioned in MaimonidesEpistle to Yemen, written about 1172 to Rabbi Jacob ben Netan’el al-Fayyumi, head of the Yemen Jewish community during a time when Jews of that country were passing through a crisis, namely a forced conversion to Islam, inaugurated about 1165 by ‘Abd-al-Nabi ibn Mahdi, and a campaign conducted by a recent convert to win them to his new faith. The context of Maimonides’ mention of Jesus is during a portion retelling the history of those who tried to destroy Judaism 1) by the sword, 2) by controversies, and 3) by both conquest and controversy. The latter category begins with Jesus, and goes on to mention Paul, and then Muhammad.

Ever since the time of Revelation, every despot or slave that has attained to power, be he violent or ignoble, has made it his first aim and his final purpose to destroy our law, and to vitiate our religion, by means of the sword, by violence, or by brute force, such as Amalek, Sisera, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, Hadrian, may their bones be ground to dust, and others like them. This is one of the two classes which attempt to foil the Divine will.

The second class consists of the most intelligent and educated among the nations, such as the Syrians, Persians, and Greeks. These also endeavor to demolish our law and to vitiate it by means of arguments which they invent, and by means of controversies which they institute….

After that there arose a new sect which combined the two methods, namely, conquest and controversy, into one, because it believed that this procedure would be more effective in wiping out every trace of the Jewish nation and religion. It, therefore, resolved to lay claim to prophecy and to found a new faith, contrary to our Divine religion, and to contend that it was equally God-given. Thereby it hoped to raise doubts and to create confusion, since one is opposed to the other and both supposedly emanate from a Divine source, which would lead to the destruction of both religions. For such is the remarkable plan contrived by a man who is envious and querulous. He will strive to kill his enemy and to save his own life, but when he finds it impossible to attain his objective, he will devise a scheme whereby they both will be slain.

The first one to have adopted this plan was Jesus the Nazarene, may his bones be ground to dust. He was a Jew because his mother was a Jewess although his father was a Gentile. For in accordance with the principles of our law, a child born of a Jewess and a Gentile, or of a Jewess and a slave, is legitimate. (Yebamot 45a). Jesus is only figuratively termed an illegitimate child. He impelled people to believe that he was a prophet sent by God to clarify perplexities in the Torah, and that he was the Messiah that was predicted by each and every seer. He interpreted the Torah and its precepts in such a fashion as to lead to their total annulment, to the abolition of all its commandments and to the violation of its prohibitions. The sages, of blessed memory, having become aware of his plans before his reputation spread among our people, meted out fitting punishment to him.

Daniel had already alluded to him when he presaged the downfall of a wicked one and a heretic among the Jews who would endeavor to destroy the Law, claim prophecy for himself, make pretenses to miracles, and allege that he is the Messiah, as it is written, “Also the children of the impudent among thy people shall make bold to claim prophecy, but they shall fall.” (Daniel 11:14).[48]

In the context of refuting the claims of a contemporary in Yemen purporting to be the Messiah, Maimonides mentions Jesus again:

“You know that the Christians falsely ascribe marvelous powers to Jesus the Nazarene, may his bones be ground to dust, such as the resurrection of the dead and other miracles. Even if we would grant them for the sake of argument, we should not be convinced by their reasoning that Jesus is the Messiah. For we can bring a thousand proofs or so from the Scripture that it is not so even from their point of view. Indeed, will anyone arrogate this rank to himself unless he wishes to make himself a laughing stock?[49]

[edit] Nahmanides’ disputation at Barcelona

Main article: Disputation of Barcelona

In 1263, Nahmanides, rabbi of Girona and later chief rabbi of Catalonia, was ordered by King James I of Aragon to take part in a public disputation with Pablo Christiani, a Jewish convert to Catholicism.

Christiani had been trying to make the Jews of Provence abandon Judaism and convert to Christianity. Relying upon the reserve his adversary would be forced to maintain through fear of wounding the feelings of the Christian dignitaries, Pablo assured the King that he could prove the truth of Christianity from the Talmud and other rabbinical writings. Nahmanides complied with the order of the King, but stipulated that complete freedom of speech should be granted, and for four days (July 20-24) debated with Pablo Christiani in the presence of the King, the court, and many ecclesiastical dignitaries.

The subjects discussed were:

  1. whether the Messiah had appeared;
  2. whether the Messiah announced by the Prophets was to be considered as divine or as a man born of human parents;
  3. whether the Jews or the Christians were in possession of the true faith.

Christiani argued, based upon several aggadic passages, that the Pharisee sages believed that the Messiah had lived during the Talmudic period, and that they ostensibly believed that the Messiah was therefore Jesus. Nahmanides countered that Christiani’s interpretations were per-se distortions; the rabbis would not hint that Jesus was Messiah while, at the same time, explicitly opposing him as such. Nahmanides proceeded to provide context for the proof-texts cited by Christiani, showing that they were most clearly understood differently than as proposed by Christiani. Furthermore, Nahmanides demonstrated from numerous biblical and talmudic sources that traditional Jewish belief ran contrary to Christiani’s postulates.

Nahmanides went on to show that the Biblical prophets regarded the future messiah as a human, a person of flesh and blood, and not as a divinity, in the way that Christians view Jesus. He noted that their promises of a reign of universal peace and justice had not yet been fulfilled. On the contrary, since the appearance of Jesus, the world had been filled with violence and injustice, see also But to bring a sword, and among all denominations the Christians were the most warlike.

He noted that questions of the Messiah are of less dogmatic importance to Jews than most Christians imagine. The reason given by him for this bold statement is that it is more meritorious for the Jews to observe the precepts under a Christian ruler, while in exile and suffering humiliation and abuse, than under the rule of the Messiah, when every one would perforce act in accordance with the Law.

[edit] Rabbi Jacob Emden’s positive view of Jesus

Rabbi Jacob Emden, one of the most prominent Talmudists and halachic authorities of the 18th century, had expressed a uniquely positive view of Jesus and Christianity, which can be viewed as an novel example of religious pluralism. According to Emden, Jesus was a righteous traditional Jew, who “never dreamed of destroying the Torah”. Similarly, he also believed that Paul‘s seemingly antinomian teachings only refer to Gentiles, who are only obligated to observe the most basic Noahide laws.

Rabbi Jacob Emden believed that the Nazarene (Jesus) only came to reestablish the forgotten Noahide religion for the Gentiles and thus brought the spiritual salvation to the non-Jews, but didn’t attempt to undermine the authority of Judaism for the Jews. Emden praised the Apostles for spreading those salvific Noahide message through the world.

Emden wrote that, in his opinions, Jesus strengthened the authority of the Torah even more emphatically that the Talmudic sages. At the same time, he taught a proper ethical path for the Gentiles. thus bringing a double kindness in the world. According to Emden’s view, strict ascetic Christian practices rectify the soul of the Gentiles in a way similar to the Jewish Mitzvot that rectify the souls of the Jews.

In his letter regarding Jesus and Christianity, Emden emphasized that he expresses his true opinions and called the “true Christian scholars, who are really great” to recognize the validity of Judaism. Emden shows a good familiarity with the New Testament, which he quotes freely and respectfully. While many well known rabbis respected and quoted Thomas Aquinas and other Christian philosophers, such openness to the Christian scripture itself is unique in the history of Judaism.[50] [51]

ANOTHER GOOD ARTICLE ON THE JEWISH MESSIAH

Mashiach: The Messiah
Mashiach (in  Hebrew)

Level: Intermediate

• The idea of mashiach (messiah) is an ancient one in Judaism
• The Jewish idea of mashiach is a great human leader like King David, not a savior
• There is much speculation about when the mashiach will come
• The Bible identifies several tasks that the mashiach will accomplish
• Jews do not believe in Jesus because he did not accomplish these tasks

I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the mashiach, and though he may tarry, still I await him every day.
– Principle 12 of Rambam‘s 13 Principles of Faith

The Messianic Idea in Judaism

Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of Rambam‘s 13 Principles of Faith, the minimum requirements of Jewish belief. In the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, recited three times daily, we pray for all of the elements of the coming of the mashiach: ingathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service.

Modern scholars suggest that the messianic concept was introduced later in the history of Judaism, during the age of the prophets. They note that the messianic concept is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible).

However, traditional Judaism maintains that the messianic idea has always been a part of Judaism. The mashiach is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, because the Torah was written in terms that all people could understand, and the abstract concept of a distant, spiritual, future reward was beyond the comprehension of some people. However, the Torah contains several references to “the End of Days” (acharit ha-yamim), which is the time of the mashiach; thus, the concept of mashiach was known in the most ancient times.

The term “mashiach” literally means “the anointed one,” and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The mashiach is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days.

The word “mashiach” does not mean “savior.” The notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save us from the consequences of our own sins is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought. Unfortunately, this Christian concept has become so deeply ingrained in the English word “messiah” that this English word can no longer be used to refer to the Jewish concept. The word “mashiach” will be used throughout this page.

Some gentiles have told me that the term “mashiach” is related to the Hebrew term “moshiah” (savior) because they sound similar, but the similarity is not as strong as it appears to one unfamiliar with Hebrew. The Hebrew word “mashiach” comes from the root Mem-Shin-Chet, which means to paint, smear, or annoint. The word “moshiah” comes from the root Yod-Shin-Ayin, which means to help or save. The only letter these roots have in common is Shin, the most common letter in the Hebrew language. The “m” sound at the beginning of the word moshiah (savior) is a common prefix used to turn a verb into a noun. For example, the verb tzavah (to command) becomes mitzvah (commandment). Saying that “mashiach” is related to “moshiah” is a bit like saying that ring is related to surfing because they both end in “ing.”

The Mashiach

The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as “mashiach ben David” (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.

It has been said that in every generation, a person is born with the potential to be the mashiach. If the time is right for the messianic age within that person’s lifetime, then that person will be the mashiach. But if that person dies before he completes the mission of the mashiach, then that person is not the mashiach.

When Will the Mashiach Come?

There are a wide variety of opinions on the subject of when the mashiach will come. Some of Judaism’s greatest minds have cursed those who try to predict the time of the mashiach’s coming, because errors in such predictions could cause people to lose faith in the messianic idea or in Judaism itself. This actually happened in the 17th century, when Shabbatai Tzvi claimed to be the mashiach. When Tzvi converted to Islam under threat of death, many Jews converted with him. Nevertheless, this prohibition has not stopped anyone from speculating about the time when the mashiach will come.

Although some scholars believed that G-d has set aside a specific date for the coming of the mashiach, most authority suggests that the conduct of mankind will determine the time of the mashiach’s coming. In general, it is believed that the mashiach will come in a time when he is most needed (because the world is so sinful), or in a time when he is most deserved (because the world is so good). For example, each of the following has been suggested as the time when the mashiach will come:

  • if Israel repented a single day;
  • if Israel observed a single Shabbat properly;
  • if Israel observed two Shabbats in a row properly;
  • in a generation that is totally innocent or totally guilty;
  • in a generation that loses hope;
  • in a generation where children are totally disrespectful towards their parents and elders;

What Will the Mashiach Do?

Before the time of the mashiach, there shall be war and suffering (Ezekiel 38:16)

The mashiach will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing us back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). He will establish a government in Israel that will be the center of all world government, both for Jews and gentiles (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1). He will rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship (Jeremiah 33:18). He will restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land (Jeremiah 33:15).

Olam Ha-Ba: The Messianic Age

The world after the messiah comes is often referred to in Jewish literature as Olam Ha-Ba (oh-LAHM hah-BAH), the World to Come. This term can cause some confusion, because it is also used to refer to a spiritual afterlife. In English, we commonly use the term “messianic age” to refer specifically to the time of the messiah.

Olam Ha-Ba will be characterized by the peaceful co-existence of all people (Isaiah 2:4). Hatred, intolerance and war will cease to exist. Some authorities suggest that the laws of nature will change, so that predatory beasts will no longer seek prey and agriculture will bring forth supernatural abundance (Isaiah 11:6-11:9). Others, however, say that these statements are merely an allegory for peace and prosperity.

All of the Jewish people will return from their exile among the nations to their home in Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). The law of the Jubilee will be reinstated.

In the Olam Ha-Ba, the whole world will recognize the Jewish G-d as the only true G-d, and the Jewish religion as the only true religion (Isaiah 2:3; 11:10; Micah 4:2-3; Zechariah 14:9). There will be no murder, robbery, competition or jealousy. There will be no sin (Zephaniah 3:13). Sacrifices will continue to be brought in the Temple, but these will be limited to thanksgiving offerings, because there will be no further need for expiatory offerings.

Some gentiles have tried to put an ugly spin on this theology, claiming that Jews plan to force people to convert to our religion, perhaps based on their own religion’s history of doing exactly the same thing. That is not at all how Jews understand the messianic age. We believe that in that future time, everyone will simply know what the truth is, in the same way that we know that 2+2=4, and there will no longer be any reason to argue about it. It is much like a situation I witnessed at work once: two computer programmers were arguing loudly and at length about whether it was possible for a user to input data at a certain point in a program. Finally someone pressed a key and they all saw that nothing happened. Now they knew the truth, end of argument. When mashiach comes, theological truths will be equally obvious to mankind, and there will be no reason to argue about it.

What About Jesus?

Jews do not believe that Jesus was the mashiach. Assuming that he existed, and assuming that the Christian scriptures are accurate in describing him (both matters that are debatable), he simply did not fulfill the mission of the mashiach as it is described in the biblical passages cited above. Jesus did not do any of the things that the scriptures said the messiah would do.

On the contrary, another Jew born about a century later came far closer to fulfilling the messianic ideal than Jesus did. His name was Shimeon ben Kosiba, known as Bar Kokhba (son of a star), and he was a charismatic, brilliant, but brutal warlord. Rabbi Akiba, one of the greatest scholars in Jewish history, believed that Bar Kokhba was the mashiach. Bar Kokhba fought a war against the Roman Empire, catching the Tenth Legion by surprise and retaking Jerusalem. He resumed sacrifices at the site of the Temple and made plans to rebuild the Temple. He established a provisional government and began to issue coins in its name. This is what the Jewish people were looking for in a mashiach; Jesus clearly does not fit into this mold. Ultimately, however, the Roman Empire crushed his revolt and killed Bar Kokhba. After his death, all acknowledged that he was not the mashiach.

Throughout Jewish history, there have been many people who have claimed to be the mashiach, or whose followers have claimed that they were the mashiach: Shimeon Bar Kokhba, Shabbatai Tzvi, Jesus, and many others too numerous to name. Leo Rosten reports some very entertaining accounts under the heading False Messiahs in his book, The Joys of Yiddish. But all of these people died without fulfilling the mission of the mashiach; therefore, none of them were the mashiach. The mashiach and the Olam Ha-Ba lie in the future, not in the past.

Biblical Passages Referring to the Mashiach

The following passages in the Jewish scriptures are the ones that Jews consider to be messianic in nature or relating to the end of days. These are the ones that we rely upon in developing our messianic concept:

  • Isaiah 2, 11, 42; 59:20
  • Jeremiah 23, 30, 33; 48:47; 49:39
  • Ezekiel 38:16
  • Hosea 3:4-3:5
  • Micah 4
  • Zephaniah 3:9
  • Zechariah 14:9
  • Daniel 10:14

http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

Rabbi Boteach –

While many Christians will be confused by its assertion that Jesus never claimed divinity and not only did not abrogate the Torah but observed every letter of the Law, they should find comfort in my tracing most of Jesus’s principal teachings back to Jewish sources – this before he was stripped of his Jewishness by later writers, who sought to portray him as an enemy of his people. This is especially true of his most famous oration, the Sermon on the Mount, which is a reformulation of the Torah he studied and to which he was committed.

A small sampling: Jesus (Matt. 5:5): Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Hebrew Bible (Psalms 37): The meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Jesus (Matt. 5:8): Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Hebrew Bible (Psalms 24): Who shall ascend the mount of the Lord – the pure-hearted.

Jesus (Matt. 5:39): But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Hebrew Bible (Lamentations 3:30): Let him offer his cheek to him who smites him…

Jesus (Matt. 6:33): But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

Hebrew Bible (Psalms 37:4): Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Jesus (Matt. 7:7): Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

Hebrew Bible (Jeremiah 29:13): When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.

Jesus (Matt 7:23): Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”

Hebrew Bible (Psalms 6:9): Depart from me, all you workers of evil…

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One Response to “Good News According To Jesus”

  1. Jeremy Rooski Says:

    why did Yeshua come? some reasons:
    – to call Israel to repentance, as had all the prophets
    – to die for the redemption of Israel & the world
    – to heal people, set captives free
    – to show us how to live by his life (not in the sense that we all should be homeless, but re: love, faith, etc.)
    – to teach us about / give us a better interpretation of Torah

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