3

Book Review And Reflection of “What Do Jewish People Think About Jesus?” by Dr Michael L Brown

Dr Michael L Brown What Jewish People Think Of Jesus

In Christian Experience there is no shared national or cultural heritage, and even for some there is no shared “spiritual heritage” according to the claims of some. Though I believe that all believers in Messiah Yeshua have a shared spiritual heritage, not all denominations have that same view, some view others unsaved, some are national and cultural expressions of Christianity that claim the other forms are not as valid as theirs. For example the Anglican Church (The Church or England), the Roman Catholic Church based in Rome, Italy, the Lutheran Church (formed in Germany), and the Ethiopian Coptic Church, have linguistic and liturgical differences based on their land of origin and even political leanings due to the country of their heritage. However since Christianity has formed its identity solely around the person of Messiah as it should there are many divisions that are deeper than blood for some. Since there is no shared spiritual experience (technically there is, its just not acknowledge by all), not cultural heritage, no relational or national heritage shared by all Christians there are many divisions due to a lack of shared foundations. I personal feel that this is in part due to the disconnect from the Churches, Jewish Foundation, and the many years of Jewish persecution. We were to be our Jewish Brothers keeper not tormentor.

There are many issues that completely divide Christian between support for Israel, to support for Palestine, to being Born Again or Awakened to spirituality (as some liberal denominations put it), to whether to dip, sprinkle or immerse (mikveh) in Tevilah (baptism), from belief in coerced predestination (Calvinism) to predestination as foreknowledge (Armininism). Some of these differences carry similar terminology to ancient and modern Jewish dichotomies of religious belief. However there is an easy disconnect, a disassociation, or disfellowshipping act if you will amongst Christian groups over simple concepts of biblical interpretation.
In stark contrast the Jewish people have thousands of years of belief and practice in the light of persecution forging a bond national and in the shared heritage that is undeniable. Christians and Messianic believers can learn a lot about Jewish Keruv from this experience on oneness and unity in their shared heritage. And all believers in Messiah should have a sense of Christian or Messianic Keruv with their Jewish brethren whom we do and should share in common with them as all of Scripture is written in the land of Israel by Jewish believers looking forward to Messiah’s coming or looking back at Messiah’s first advent. To understand the differences between Christian choices and Jewish experience would require walking a few years and miles in the others shoes because our cultural and personal experience along the lines we have experience create great chasms of understanding and major gaps in communication.

Orthodox Judaism has been a mainstay in Judaism since the time of the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Whereas Reformed Judaism is a reaction to Orthodox Judaism seeking to be modern and not shackled to the chains or Religious Orthodoxy. Reformed consider themselves to be progressive and are very liberal, openly accepting LGBT relationships among many other anti-Torah concepts. They accept biblical criticism (that the bible is fallible and errant) and accept Judaism solely as an expression of the shared heritage of the Jewish people. They don’t accept the bible as a divine authority, the believe it is a book written by human men, Jewish men, who were flawed. The follow the Jewish heritage out of a sense of obligation to carry on Judaism in a modern context due to shared identity and because of shared suffering is more important than whether the Red Sea really parted. They are more concerned with equality and social justice than scriptural authority and orthopraxy. Conservative Judaism is a hundred year old tradition that is more moderate, not liberal as the Reformed movement, but not as Orthodox as the Chasid or other branches of Orthodoxy. There is a clear contrast between Reformed and Conservative Judaism.

This is a great time of foundation to help build a dialogue and narrative that both Jews and Christians can come to a common understanding of each other and each others relationship to one another in a way that they are capable of partnering with each other in the Restoration of Israel and preparation for Messiah’s return.
The Reformed movement has sought to be a “world” religion that is less concerned with Orthodoxy and more with “humanity” through the expression of love, care, compassion and social justice. Having been unwittingly chosen to be the “Chosen People” and heir apparent to suffer many annihilation attempts; There has been a rising desire to disconnect from the stiffness of Orthodoxy and a desire to show their humanity whilst connecting with the other world religions in a shared social dialogue around the needs of the less privileged.

I wonder if this desire for a softer more progressive face may have stemmed from a desire to find a way to stop the slights of the Jewish people in the face of extermination and persecution. They do seem takes a cue from the Byzantine Orthodoxy of the Nicene era that became the beloved of the Roman Empire and the Reformation of similar namesake that became the peoples champion against Roman Catholicism in Europe and a foundation for Puritan America. I do not know if this was intentional or coincidental however it has lead to more Jewish adherents and less defamation. The rise of America and the democratic reforms in France in 1776 (visavis the Freemason lead French Revolution) and American Revolution respectively as beacons of Religious liberty have also lead to a rise in religious tolerance and dialogue.

Dr Brown points out that in The Pittsburgh Platform on Reform Judaism it states that the Mission of Judaism is to “solve on the basis of righteousness and justice the problems presented by… the present organization of society.” This is a departure from the almost Amish or Monastic life of Orthodox believers in their set-apart distinct and enclosed lifestyle that is anti-missionary and seems to have the goal of self preservation. Reform teaches one to become a citizen of whatever nation they are in and to fit in rather than stand out, to conform to societal standards however to not fully assimilate without loosing all sense of Judaism retaining a sense of Judaism that is progressive and liberal in a secular world is preferred of complete annihilation by assimilation or persecution for orthopraxy.
Orthodox rabbis in Germany blamed the Reformed movement that started in Germany for the primary cause of the disaster that led up to the Holocaust. They claimed the secularization lead to assimilation, the annihilation of the Jewish identity and abandoning the time honored traditions. Many of these claims are made today about Messianic Judaism, and as Dan Cohn-Sherbok a Reformed Jew notes Messianic Judaism may well become an accepted for of Judaism in this century.

I would say to the Rabbi’s who fight the Messianic movement‘s right to exist that if they want to help maintain Jewish identity for the Jewish people they should join and help the Messianic movement toward a balanced approach of discipleship that doesn’t lead to cultural and Jewish identity being annihilated through “Christian” non-Jewish traditions picked up in the cultural nations that the different denominations in Christianity picked up their heritage from. Long black coats and top hats aren’t exactly an ancient Jewish custom rather a more modern Jewish adaptation within Orthodoxy. There is adaptation in Orthodoxy its just not as flexible, progressive or as growth oriented in the way the message is presented, the style of music or its flexibility towards society around it. Its rigid stiffness is a barrier at times, even their practice of dissuaded disciples is stifling to growth. Therefore Conservative and Reformed are the larger more acceptable expressions of the Modern Jewish identity.

“To this day, Conservative Judaism strikes a middle road between Reform and Orthodox Judaism. Unlike Reform, it considers itself bound by almost all Torah Rituals as well as Torah ethics; unlike Orthodoxy, it consider itself free to introduce innovations in Jewish law, particularly the laws formulated in the Talmud,” Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

In contrast to Reform the Conservative believe only one true Judaism was handed down unbroken from Moshe until today. Orthodox would argue that they alone faithfully adhere to the ancient traditions, which they accept as binding and not optional, also noting that before the rise of Reform Judaism, there was no such thing as “Orthodox.” In other words, either you were a religious Jew or not. Even in Orthodox there are more conservative and liberal views.
For Orthodox the Tanakh and Talmud are inspired and the highest level of Authority for Reform, they accept biblical criticism that the Tanakh is inspired and yet imperfect human product of special in moral and ethical matters. The scriptures help shape our national identity and calling as Jews, but the Torah commands provide guidance rather than governance. Orthodox believe the Oral Torah came from Moshe while Reformed believe that the Rabbi’s should be respected and honored, but their teachings should not be followed in a slavish way. Orthodox believe every aspect of Jewish life is mapped out, when to pray, what prayers to say every day, and every occasion, what texts to study, how to observe Shabbat and holy days, what to eat, family relations, laws of purity etc. Reformed believe the moral ethical commands of the Torah and Prophets should be followed, and a Jewish life cycle (circumcision, bar mitzvah, worship on the Shabbat, celebrating the holy days) is encouraged but not required. Dietary laws and other non-moral laws are a matter of personal choice.

“Like Maimondes , we are unable to accept a G-d who is essentially, a bigger, and better version of a human being: who operates the universe the way a conductor does and orchestra. As a whole we, embrace the metaphor.” – Reformed

Wow, I believe G-d is more than a metaphor, He is the undeniable create or mankind, the author of history, the Great Almighty I AM and the Great Physician. The concept of G-d who is essentially, a bigger, and better version of Adam (Covenant Man) is an interesting concept being that Mashiach is called the Son of Man in Daniel and we know that Y’shua was both Divine (G-d incarnate) and Man (the Son of Man, the Second Adam). I would love to develop the concept of Mashiach as a bigger, better version of Human Kind in Judaism, as the Mamre (Logos-Word) who took up Sukka (who took up physical form) and Mishkhan’ed (dwelt) with us; the concept of the Angel of Adonai and the D’var Adonai (The Word-Mamre of Adona) who “came unto me and spoke” according to the Tanakh. There seems to be a lot of concepts that Mashiach is somehow divine and humanity wrapped in one. That Mashiach’s spirit hovered over the waters in Genesis and that Mashiach’s spirit parted the Red Sea that His spirit rested upon the forefathers, including Yoseph, Moshe and David. There seems to be an interesting narrative within Jewish thought about our connection to the Divine and the Divine connection to Mashiach that I don’t know if its explored or explained in a Jewish context well enough, citing Rabbinic and other Jewish sources. If Maimondes said that G-d is a better version of Human kind, then how would the concept that the divine can come in Human form since He made us in His image. Or how the Akeidah of Yizchak is the foundation of the sacrificial system and how Why is angels can be understood to appear as men whilst being divine (or heavenly) beings and yet Mashiach who is supposed to be higher than angels and the Son of Man and yet also the progenitor of Creation through the divine Mamre (spoken word). These concept seem to need to be developed more in a Jewish pretext so they can understand concepts that were common in the first century Judaism that was born.

In Orthodox Judaism the human race is created by Elohim and every one battles between good inclination (the yetzer hatov) and the evil inclination (yetzer hara). And that each Jewish person carries the divine spark in them and when it is ignited they will awaken and come into tradition Jewish observance. Whereas Reformed believes that mankind is the product of evolution with great potential and that we even have the ability to usher in a Messianic era. Sin is looked at as are you being a good global citizen and emphasis is put upon social justice and community activism.

Dr Brown compared the differences between Nominal “Christians” and Committed “Christians.” There is some truth to that but there are great chasm between how much a Reformed Jew does as far as Social Justice and community activism that makes the comparison fall short in some ways. And Reformed are way more observant practitioners of their faith than most Committed “Christians.” In my opinion Committed Christians are closer to Conservative Judaism than Orthodox and Reformed are closer to Liberal Christian groups that don’t believe in being Born Again and are more concerned with Social Justice as well. Many Liberal Christians and Reformed Jews have interfaith dialogue along the lines of Social Justice and Jewish-Christian relationships. Reformed Jews are more active even if their faith is only a Historical and Cultural distinctive with a minimalistic view of spirituality. This activism is far more than some Evangelical “Christian” movements that seem to be stuck at the door, they get them in the door but then they have no lifecycles after conversion and many become Christmas and Easter Christians, even though in Reformed many do become High Holiday visitors. I’m not sure the comparisons come across completely, because many times Jewish people still observe on some personal level holidays and Shabbat. There is a sense of needing to go through ones bar mitzvah, be circumcised and other life cycle events even if one doesn’t attend a shul, congregation or what have you.

The acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle within the Reformed movement is a very problematic one. It conflicts with Torah and the Gospels, it definitely is a different philosophy. I don’t see it as something permissible in Torah or the Gospels so I can’t fathom how its justified. It seems to be a dangerous societal diversion and perversion that has found its ways destructively into Judaism. I have no scope of understanding how that’s even plausible. I guess in that way that the liberal “Christian” movement embraces homosexuality and eastern mysticism, they have that in common with Reformed. I have been raised with in an Evangelic, Puritanistic point of view and being Pentecostal and Messianic, it just doesn’t seem possible for one to look at scripture and choose to embrace pagan eastern mystics and homosexuality. I guess I am at a loss as how these things can combine. In my mind its like combining Nitrogen and flame. The two are detrimental to the others existence, the two are implausible with the other. I just don’t get the logic, whatever it is, its unsound, anti-Torah and an abomination; repulsive and disgusting, something that I can’t understand in a religious context.

“We see it today throughout the Conservative Movement. Jews who don’t observe Kashrut [dietary laws] or Shabbat [observing the Sabbath] or those intermarried are treated with the same honor and respect as those who are intermarried are treated with the same honor and rspects as those who follow these norms. In too many Conservative congregations, Shabbat and Kashrut are things to be observed in the public arena, in synagogue, but not necessarily by individual jews. In fact, despite all our educational attempts, our members continue to think that Jews who observe Shabbat and Kashrut are ‘Orthodox.’” – Conservative Rabbi Weiss.

Dr Brown goes on to say, “Why then should LGBT Jews be treated any differently if they desire membership in a Conservative synagogue?” Okay this departure from biblical norms is confusing to me, in the like or Torah and the Talmud, I don’t see how this is possible, they have to accept a weakened view of the Torah and Talmud to accept societal norms or the more Reformed view that LGBT is accepted. I can understand one is forgiven if they repent, and that support groups for people to come out of the bondage and addictions but I can’t comprehend and acceptance of a willfully sinful life, whether sex outside of marriage whether Hetero sexual and sex of any kind if one is homosexual is a sin period. All sin should be shunned and turned form. Yes we should show love and compassion however allowing one to live in sin period is not a concept I understand. If Conservatism claims to hold up Torah over Talmud in this area they aren’t honoring the Torah and the Talmud, they denigrate the Torah and Talmud in this position. This is like saying “all scripture is inspired but in this one major area I choose to rebel and do my own thing.” How is this acceptable? I guess my mind that has been trained my Evangelical thinking and study of Torah can not see a way that a cow can be a fish or a fish be a cow for that matter. One thing can not be another and call itself the opposite. You are either rightjust or un-rightjust.
The Reformed movement rejects the Torah outright saying that when Torah says that homosexuality is an “abomination punishable by death. but I don’t believe a loving god could have written such a thing.” this is a rejection of scripture however since Reformed doesn’t hold to the divine authority of scripture and they accept biblical criticism I can comprehend their reject of this as a man’s attempt to make Elohim appear cleaner and more pure than they believe He is. This is bringing Elohim down to man’s level instead of lifting man up to be like Mashiach. We should seek to live set-apart, holy unto Elohim, seeking to live a life of true sanctification, removing ourselves from the sinful state of the human condition whilst remaining in society as ambassadors for a pure, holy, loving Elohim, whom “NONE” can see without purity-holiness. Yes our rightjustness is nothing but filthy rags, Y’shua paid the price to cleanse us from willful and unwillful acts of sin, yet He still says “Go ye and sin no more.” We may sin and fall short, at all times, however our goal should be the high mark of obedience to Adonai.

Today, Reformed Judaism holds the largest number of adherents; which is similar to the state of Christianity there are more Orthodox (Catholic, Coptic, etcetera) and Liberal Christians than Evangelical believers who make up a mathematical minority among all Christian adherents, when you factor out groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon’s, Seventh Day Adventist and other “Cult” groups. In America the Assemblies of God has become the largest single Pentecostal-Evangelical denomination. However America is divided evenly down the middle between Liberal Christians (along with Catholic & Orthodoxy) versus Conservative Evangelical Christians. Even with Pentecostalism being one of the fasted growing movements in the world the number or Orthodox adherents in Christianity most commonly called Catholic number more than 2 Billion. A number we have a long way to go to eclipse, especially in the light of world evangelism, reaching the Jewish people and ushering in the age of Mashiach.

Ba’al Shem Tov also known as Israel ben Eliezer founded the Chasidic movement a modern branch of Judaism as of the early 1700′s. Chasidism is a blend of European Mystical Cabalistic rites and ancient Jewish Mysticism according to some. He is believed by some to have used the divine name to work miracles, as even in the anti-Mashiach works of Taldot Yeshu, it is claimed that only through the use of Adonai’s divine name was Yeshua able to do miracles. The similar connections between European Mysticism such as the Knights of Christ, Knights Templar, Rosicrucianism, The Order of the Golden Dawn, German Illuminati and Freemasonry can not be overlooked when discussing the mystical nature Chasidic Cabala, not to be confused with the modern Hollywood-Christianized form of Kabala practiced by Madonna and industry child Brittany Spears, among other famous stars, who also seem to have strong friendships with Scientologist, all who practice Hermetic Cabala. In American the Freemason, Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta, Skull & Bones, and Mormon’s seem to hold a corner on the practice of the Hermetic Cabala rituals handed down from the Zoroastrian Magi through Enochian Magic, spells and incantations through sacred numerology, the use of emblems, the incantation of divine phrases, names, the use of sacred alchemy and astrology as handed from Babylon to Egypt to the Roman’s and to us through Psychics and purveyors of Horoscopes. Yes, I divulge into a realm of discussing magic and satanism, that does include Homosexuality, ritual magic, and the a fore mentioned pagan practices because many are seeking out these forms of religiosity in the face of Reformed, Orthodox-Catholic and Liberal spirituality which lacks the power of the Ruach Ha’Kodesh. Were the Holy Ruach is missing people seek out signs and wonders from magicians and sorcerers, enchanters and necromancers. The rise of satanism and feminism in America has lead to a societal decay that seeks to undermine the freedoms and liberties America’s founders sought to free us from the restriction against religious liberty and the free expression thereof to the monopoly on financial institutions. The consummation of power, greed and wealth of a small group of mystical cabalist has sought to enslave us all as they prepare for the one new world order. Having said that I believe that just like secret societies that seek to establish satan’s kingdom on earth are dangerous so is the cabalistic rites brought into the holy trainings of Torah through Chasidism. It is a dangerous mix of Jewish and pagan idea’s but as was the demise of Catholicism and that lead to the need for Reformation. Thus them believing that Rabbi Schneerson is a Messianic figure isn’t suprising to me, however it also gives me hope that when they despair that Schneerson isn’t Mashiach, if we are wise we can use this as a tool to lead Jewish believers who are looking for their Messiah to faith in Yeshua.

The Oral Torah is the Talmud, the Mishna, the Gemara and the Perkei Avot which is a record of the teachings of the Elders of the Great Assembly, recorded in the second century after the failed Bar Kohkba revolt and the expulsion of the Messianic Jewish community known as the Netzerim from the Synagogues. As a response to the apostolic written record of Yeshua’s oral teaching to the Disciples and the Pauline and General epistles discussion of their Halakhic impact on believers, the need to preserve Jewish identity arose in the face of being expelled from Jerusalem, the Land of Israel and with the Temple Destroyed a need to archive and protect a record of the Teachings of Israel arose. As a post second temple compilation of teachers like Hallel, Shammai, Akiva, Gamilel, and who predated Yeshua and were contemporaries of some of the Disciples they sought to archive the Oral traditions they believed were handed down from Moshe on the Mount of Olives and the Midrash (discussion) about the text and its impact upon the Jewish believers. The Talmud is held up as the authoritative inspired word of Elohim and that the words of the Sages are to be held up above that of the Tanakh as the true and right foundation of scripture. Whereas it may be a contextual time capsule for the end of Second Temple Judaism and Post Second Temple Judaism and of historical significance as to understanding the Jewish mind of that time period. It didn’t find its way into the Tanakh of the Jewish Cannon or the Christian Cannon of Apostolic writings, Epistles and Gospels it can not be accepted as scripture. We may see it as a historically informed commentary much in the likes of Philo and Josephus however it is only a time capsule of information not a divine record of Elohim’s interaction with humanity.

The Tanakh is the Torah, Nevi’im and the Ketuvim, from which the TaNaKH derive’s the Acronym from the first syllables of the of each section of literature as the name of the whole of what the Christian bible calls the Hebrew Scriptures or the Old Testament. The term Torah means “instruction, teaching, law” and according to Dr Brown states it can mean “Instructive Precept, Law.” Nomos is the Greek word used for Law in the Septuagint and the New Testament, the concept of Instruction in rightjustness was carried from the Hebrew to the Greek Scriptures. Antinomian beans Anti-Torah. The Epistles say that sin is Anti-nomian Torahlessness. We should take heed of the Proverb where there is lack of teaching and understanding people “cast of restraint.” Without the moral code of the Torah as a legal codex and a measure for sanctification, including rightjust discipleship and training then one is bound to cast of restraint. We must be founded in and grounded in Mashiach, through faith and working out our salvation through fear and trembling seeking to learn and live His Torah. Yeshua being the Mamre-Logo’s-Word, the active force behind creation working in union with the Father and the Ruach, Elohim spoke and through Him all things were created, thus Yeshua is the pre-existent Torah, and the Torah made flesh. As such the Torah is an expression of His character and nature, being that He is eternal, then His Torah is timeless and have application for the specific groups that Torah speaks to. The Torah makes a distinction between Priest and Sacrifices, between who is a Jew and who is Ethnically a Gentile, between who is a man and who is a woman, between sin and rightjustness. Nomos teaches us how to live, the Jew is called to be a Chosen People to whom Ethnically Yeshua the Mamre-Logo’s gave the Torah as a distinct group called out from the Goyim (Nations) to be a light to the Nations, as Adonai’s Missionary agency to the world. Gentiles are grafted into the common wealth of Israel, they do not share the same obligations or responsibilities in Torah as a Jewish person. One a son a natural heir of the promise through Avraham the other an heir a son of Avraham through the promised seed of Avraham, Yeshua our Messiah, the second Adam who makes us joint heirs and members of the general assembly, the common wealth of Israel and not heirs apparent to any tribe, land or groups, just general recipients of the promises and blessings passed to Avraham and His Seed, Yeshua our Mashiach, the Son of David of the Tribe of Yehudah, our Great High Priest after the order of Melki-tzedek. In the Gospels the way to become a disciple wasn’t through the ritual of conversion to Judaism, the act of putting ones faith in Yeshua as Mashiach began the process in which one was born again and saved (sozo) from a world of sin and delivered unto His Father as a child of Elohim and heirs apparent to the blessings promised to Avraham’s seed. Following one’s salvation by faith through grace one would willfully choose to be baptized (tevilah) in water by immersion (mikveh) as an outward sin of an inward working, as a sign of one’s repentance from dead works and choice to identify with Yeshua Mashiach in His death that produced life for us, for according to the Torah, the wage of sinning against Torah is death, however Mashiach gives life to the dead and promises to resurrect us to life (l’chaim) eternal.  The Masoretic Text the oldest complete is the Leningrad Codex. The term Masoretic comes from the term Masoretes which means “the transmitters.” The Jewish Holy Books are the Chumash, Tanakh, the Babylonian Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud, the Mishnah, Mishneh Torah, Palestinian Talmud, Targum, and Zohar as well as many Siddurs and Haggadahs.

The differences between Judaism and Christianity are many, despite being a first-century Jewish sect and sharing the Tanakh. According to Dr Brown there are a number of differences between Talmudic Judaism and Christianity (New Testament Messianic Faith). Judaism believes Elohim is an absolute Unity, whereas Christianity believes in a tri-unity, that the Father, the Mamre-Logo’s-Word Yeshua and the Ruach Ha’Kodesh are one. Judaism believes for gentiles to worship a tri-unity that is acceptable, however for a Jew that is idolatrous since this includes the worship of Yeshua. Judaism teaches the complete incorporeality (without bodily form) however Christianity focuses less on this since Yeshua takes a bodily form. Judaism teaches that Mashiach will be fully human, there are Jewish traditions that there is a potential Messiah in each generation. This Mashiach will reconstitute Yisrael, fight the Wars of Adonai, rebuild the Temple and usher in the Messianic age of peace.

Christianity believe Mashiach is both fully divine and fully human, the Word incarnate, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the second Adam, who came in the person of Yeshua the Messiah to die for our sins who rose from the dead and sent his Ruach Ha’Kodesh utnil such a time as He will return to usher in the end of the age to establish His Kingdom on earthy and to destroy the enemies of Elohim and bring in the millennial reign of peace. Judaism teaches that every man must battle between Yetzer Hatov (the good inclination) and Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination), but doesn’t believe in original sin. The emphasis is that through the power of repentance that the evil inclination can be overcome. Christianity believes that Adam’s fall infected the entire human race with what I call “separation sickness” (the fatal illness of being disconnected for Adonai, without repentance and faith in the second Adam, Yeshua). The concept of original sin is believed in Judaism just not to the extent that it is in Christianity. The idea of a first fallen and second redemptive Adam is not developed in Jewish but Apostolic writings. The concept that all men fall short and only the blood of Mashiach can spiritually transform a soul is uniquely a Christian concept. Judaism believes in Adonai’s corporate salvation of the nations and people of Israel, they do no subscribe to a concept of being saved or getting saved and there is less emphasis on the afterlife.

In Judaism today it is taught that atonement is through repentance, good deeds, prayer and personal suffering as opposed to the Christian concept that blood atonement is essential with Yeshua being the complete fulfillment of the sacrificial system of Atonement. Judaism does teach Tikkun Oam that the repair of the world leads to the Messianic Age and prayers that we may have a part in the age to come however their emphasis is in the present world. Judaism is a deed based religion whereas Christianity is a deed dogmatic faith. Judaism puts emphasis on mitzvot whereas Christianity focused on confessions of statements of faith. Contrary to Dr Brown’s assertion that Christianity puts emphasis on good works and the importance of a transformed life, I disagree, not on the pretext of the truth of the intent but on the reality of the observation of this in practice.

Between the liberal and orthodox as well as a general sense that we are saved by “grace” outside of Pentecostal, Holiness and some Evangelical circles there is no emphasis on good deeds or a transformed life. Though the corpus of scripture does dictate that one is created for good deeds but not saved by good deeds many choose to not observe any deeds. I have enjoyed a life experience amongst the Pentecostal and Holiness branch of Evangelicalism so I do agree it is taught. However a logical fallacy is being held by many adherents that one man has always sinned, will always sinned, and there is nothing we can do, only Messiah saves (which it is true good deeds can not save, only Messiah can). In conjunction with man’s sinful inevitability Grace is taken as a gift that allows one to sin and confess over and over as many times as one wants. Whether by accident or intent the modern age of believers hold the opinion that sin is inevitable and grace the only hope, this is true in essence, however the concepts of working out one’s salvation and the process of sanctification seem to be lost relics of the past. Judaism focuses on Orthopraxy, the deed; while Christianity focuses on Orthodoxy, the creed. Both Judaism and Christianity emphasize a call to be a light to the world. Judaism focus is upon being faithful to the Jewish calling, to live according to the Torah and Rabbinic tradition, praying communally and studying sacred text. Christianity seems focused on making converts by any means possible. One of these focuses is upon getting people to make a decision to lift their hand and say a prayer signifying a desire to identify with their sins and need of a savior. Judaism focuses on making Talmidim who become Shaliach (sent ones) of their Rabbi. For many in Christianity there is a similar focus. Dr Brown states that “Christianity feels a sacred calling to make the message of salvation known… including living a life deeply devoted to the L-rd (and thereby being an example and hastening redemption), and, quite pointedly, sharing the good news.” Dr Brown claims that Christianity has always been a missionary movement. I would counter with a minor correction that yes Messianic faith has always went out and made Talmidim and sent them as Shaliach in its conception the process of discipleship was more thorough than it is now. The emphasis now seems to be on getting decisions over the quality of the discipleship for the convert, thus many profess faith in Messiah yet do not walk out their faith in a personal way other than attending corporate worship gatherings, in a sense they are door mat and dormant Christians. I say this in the context that Yeshua is the door and once inside they sit still at the door and do not check out the rest of the rooms they are taught to give, sit and listen, not learn, grow and go. Judaism has a more comprehensive life cycle from daily prayers, to weekly Shabbat, to festivals-moedim, to life events from birth to death. Christianity has no central point of common unity so some people attend only on Christmas and Easter, others attend meetings weekly, some visit monthly, some church hop, there are no set times of prayer or gathering, there are no life cycle events. In Christianity outside of Catholicism there is no set way to worship Elohim, there is no communal life calendar, there is only individuals and self determination and the hope that Adonai will lead man in his endeavors. The Shabbat is central to Judaism, whereas the Christian Sabbath is flexible and held as generally on Sunday with very few exceptions.

What do Jewish people think about Jesus? According to Dr Brown Jewish people don’t think much about Jesus. Most Jews believe Yeshua is either a Deceiver, Rabbi, Prophet, Teacher, or Mystic, they don’t believe Him to be Mashiach. Many Jewish people don’t know Yeshua is Jewish. Many Jewish people don’t realize Christ isn’t a personal name but a translation of the term Messianic or Mashiach. Orthodox believe Yeshua was an apostate Jew, according to the Anti-Christian Polemic work Taldot Yeshu he was an illegitimate child of illicit affair Joseph an Miriam. Some say Yeshua was a wise man, a prophet, a brave figure standing against the tyranny of Rome. Others consider him some type of guru or mystic figure. The Jewish people do not recognize Yeshua as Elohim incarnate and definitely not a redeemer. In the last few decades many a Jewish scholar have wanted to reclaim Jesus as Jewish. They believe him to be Yeshu not as we call Him Yeshua. Traditional Jews expect a literal Mashiach, the son of David who will do many things that Christians believe that Yeshua will do at His second coming. Conservative Jews still expect a literal Messiah, but Reform Judaism, in its classical form has put more emphasis on th Messianic age a better world created mankind as a type of utopian like future.  Jews do not use the divine name of Adonai, they prefer to say HaShem or Adonai in the place of the Tetragramaton. Yahweh is the most appropriate pronunciation however outside of sacred one does not use the name of the divine among things that are common to avoid placing the divine name amongst the common and thus use it in vain.

This book covers many points on such things as what’s Kosher, why do Jews light candles, driving on shabbat, having separate dishes, wearing a kippah, why do women wear wigs to cover their head, to pe’ot, tzitzit, tefillin, mezuzahs, and why some religious men were long black coats. Many bible readers don’t understand why Jews follow Matriarchal lineage over patriarchal lineage. The debate over maternal lineage grew out of diaspora and a desire to maintain Jewish continuity in the face of severe persecutions even rape. Sometimes it was hard to know who the father was. Another question is “are there really 613 commandments in the Torah?” There is no direct number listed in scripture however over times Rabbi’s like Simlai and RAMBAM compiled a listed of the positive and negative commandments. Jews today can only observe 77 of the 365 negative commands, and only 194 of the 248 positive commands due to their being no Temple or practicing priesthood in the temple. Dr Brown shares a portion of the Talmud that summarizes the Torah’s commands saying the Just shall ive by faith. The seven law of Noach were social laws (the establishment of governments and courts of law), to refrain from blaspheme, idolatry, adultery, bloodshed, robbery and flesh cut from a living animal. This made a distinction between the Jewish people and mankind. Accordingly Dr Brown states that by the first century there were G-d-fearing Gentiles who attended synagogues, worshiped the Elohim of Israel and were expected to live the basic requirements without converting to Judaism. The book of Acts refers to these in Chapter 8:27; 10:2,22; 13:26,50; 17:4,17; and in a number of cities the first gentiles to hear and believe the good news were G-d-fearers, (Acts 17:4; Eph 3:6). Then arose a controversy about circumcision in which the Jerusalem council and Paul advised gentiles to not be circumcised; as it was unnecessary they were circumcised of heart not of flesh.

This is a rather in depth book, it covers Jewish History, concepts of the lost tribes, who are Samaritans, Karaites, what correlates a Jew. There is so much that I have studied and known the symbol of the fig tree for Israel; At this point. I feel that I covered some of the major points or the book. It’s a well written book it teaches a lot I’m sure books can be written on the context of this book.

3 Responses so far.

  1. [...] Book Review & Reflection of “What Do Jewish People Think About Jesus?” by Dr Michael… [...]

  2. [...] Book Review & Reflection of “What Do Jewish People Think About Jesus?” by Dr Michael… (paradoxparables.justparadox.com) [...]

  3. [...] Book Review & Reflection of “What Do Jewish People Think About Jesus?” by Dr Michael… [...]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

AboutMe

Parables, Proverbs, Poems, Psalms, Previews, Preaching, Prophecy, Politics, Perspective, Published Articles & Personal Reflection by Just para-DOX and Fam! I […]

Read More

GetConnected

%d bloggers like this: