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Why Jesus Was Not a Christian

Exploring David H. Stern Ph.D's Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel: A Message For Christians, Part 3.

by
Rhonda Robinson

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December 15, 2013 - 3:00 pm
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JewishChristian

Does it seem odd to you that the hottest debate within the early Church was whether or not a Gentile could become a Christian without a complete conversion to Judaism?

This week’s reading of David H. Stern’s Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel A Message for Christians has brought to mind the obvious, yet seldom acknowledged as important: Christianity is Jewish at its very core.

Stern reminds us that the atonement of sin, the need for a sacrifice to God, is rooted in the Jewish sacrificial system. He goes on to point out how other aspects we typically consider uniquely Christian are rooted in Judaism. For example, the Lord’s Supper is rooted in the Jewish Passover.

Did you know that baptism is a Jewish practice? When it comes down to it the entire New Testament is built on the Hebrew Bible’s prophecies and promises of a New Covenant.

None of this may be new or shocking revelations to most Christians. We understand on a cursory level that these are our roots in general but we have little interest in understanding the culture and heritage of the one we call our Savior.

It has cost us.

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Top Rated Comments   
Most of you folks simply do not know what you are talking about. Never has the oft repeated, " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. ", been proven so conclusively true.
A couple of supermarket selected books and a movie or two do not an expert in Judaism make,
Rather than try to find meaning in Judaism the non-Jew is better served at simply studying the Seven Laws of Noah and trying to live by them.
That will make for a better world if that is truly your goal.


THE 7 LAWS

1
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.

2
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.

3
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.

4
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.

5
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.

6
Respect G-d's creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted - but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.

7
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d's business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No, that would be because of the Rabbinic tradition that Jesus to some extent drew on. But there was something else.

Texts such as the Ancient of Days verses seemed to some to justify a divided or shared divinity, something along the lines of the Canaanite Ba'al/El theology.

The parting of the ways probably came due to the long, difficult struggle to rid Judaism of polytheism and idolatry. There clearly were some Jews who understood the Ancient of Days verses in a way that led them to they look for the expected messianic leader to be a son of God. They saw that redeemer in, among other claimants, Jesus.

Other Jews were more pure in their monotheism. They were the bridge to normative Judaism.

My guess is that such texts could be held in community until there began to be serious messianic candidates, at which both/and was no longer tenable. Hence the rejection of Jesus. Not long after, Judaism and Christianity worked hard to make it very difficult to have a foot in both camps. (Maimonides' Code in fact states that Christianity is idolatry; Christianity has returned the favor in many ways, as in Mr. Malone's ugly comment.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (52)
All Comments   (52)
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Everything written here could have come directly from my Catholic catechism. I am continually surprised when I find other Christians who don't understand either the cultural or the historical context of the faith.

One of my teachers liked to say that there are no such things as Catholic Christians; we're just the original reformed Jews.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A technical note: "ayin ra'ah" and "ayin tovah". The "ah" sound in question was, at the time of Jesus, a glottal sound (and still is, among descendants of North African Jewry); this may account for a mistranscribed "g".

I don't know if that mistake is in the book you reference. If it is, I have less confidence in a book that purports to explain the importance of understanding Judaism... and, in the process, makes a mistake in Hebrew that no Israeli kindergartner would make.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mark v,

I agree. You've not contradicted what Stern's is saying. You've just taken it a few steps deeper. He is a Messianic Jew, and is writing from a Jewish perspective. But yes, it goes back to the beginning of time.

"In fact, aside from the (rather serious) error I've pointed out, I don't see anything in the rest of the article that should be at all surprising new to any serious Christian. Again, this is basic stuff. Christianity 101.

That this is considered new, and (apparently) controversial by some Christians, is troubling."

Christianity 101? Of Course. More like elementary. However you nailed it. The very fact that this IS considered new or controversial is very troubling.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"You've not contradicted what Stern's is saying. You've just taken it a few steps deeper. He is a Messianic Jew, and is writing from a Jewish perspective. "

Au contraire, I have contradicted him. He's flatly wrong. You can't excuse his very bad doctrine because "he is writing from a Jewish perspective". This isn't about perspective, it's about revealed Truth. His is really an anti-Biblical perspective. He is stuck in cultural Judaism, which is not the same thing as the Mosaic Law, neither of which is Christianity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most of you folks simply do not know what you are talking about. Never has the oft repeated, " A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. ", been proven so conclusively true.
A couple of supermarket selected books and a movie or two do not an expert in Judaism make,
Rather than try to find meaning in Judaism the non-Jew is better served at simply studying the Seven Laws of Noah and trying to live by them.
That will make for a better world if that is truly your goal.


THE 7 LAWS

1
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.

2
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.

3
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.

4
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.

5
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.

6
Respect G-d's creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted - but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.

7
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d's business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One quibble:
Your assertion that Man was forbidden to consume meat prior to the Flood is not backed up by any Biblical verse that I'm aware of (and is opposed on circumstantial grounds by the verses noting Adam's descendants raising sheep), nor does it jive with more secular inquiries into the nature and history of Man.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Your assertion that Man was forbidden to consume meat prior to the Flood is not backed up by any Biblical verse that I'm aware of (and is opposed on circumstantial grounds by the verses noting Adam's descendants raising sheep)"

Not forbidden, but clearly they did not. The raising of sheep does not necessarily imply that the sheep were eaten. Dairy products, wool, sheepskin, and sacrificial animals were all sufficient reasons for raising sheep.

That they did not (which is different from, "were forbidden to") is clear from the instruction to do so given after the Flood. The context and structure makes it clear this was a new thing.

As for secular inquiries, piffle. They start with an agenda, and cram and trim and manufacture the evidence to suit themselves.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, I have to include another, far broader quibble.
One of the descriptions of the messiah (as explained in the Old Testament, sorry, I'm old and don't remember the chapter and verse) was that he was the embodiment of the Law, sent to bring the Law to all peoples.

Christians definitionally believe that Jesus was the messiah, and necessarily have an interest in the Torah--for obvious reasons.
Really, the only debate between Christian sects on this point (and it *is* a major one) is whether the New Testament should be viewed through the lens of the Torah, or whether the Torah should be viewed through the lens of the New Testament.

;) The comment about supermarket books applies equally to Christianity and Judaism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Really, the only debate between Christian sects on this point (and it *is* a major one) is whether the New Testament should be viewed through the lens of the Torah, or whether the Torah should be viewed through the lens of the New Testament."


"The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed."

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Teacher Yakov = You got it! Your comment sets out the beginning of the journey on the road to Heaven!

The New Testament:
John14: 15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Matthew22: 36-40, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” “He (Jesus) said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

In Church, Priests will sometimes say, ‘It’s only one commandment. True love of God will produce true love of our neighbors.’ There is one grapevine and grapes come from the vine.

Jesus Christ is a Jew, both human and divine. There is only one God. Christianity teaches the Trinity of one God. It’s easy to read about it, but it’s a mystery that is believed through faith. ~A follower of Christ is someone that has been transformed.~ The commandments have to be schlepped from the brain into the heart and soul. People become ‘Christ like.’ Christianity explains freewill like this: Without God, I can't; without me, He won't.

God gives >everyone in the world sufficient grace to get into Heaven. God speaks to everyone through their conscience. I’m an Irish-Catholic; I can only speak to suffering as a Christian. That’s why I recommend the works of Roy Schoeman, as he understands both suffering as a Jew and as a Christian. I've only read his book and seen him on television.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm partial to Reformed Christian theology. I make no claims that it's perfect; anytime man tries to interpret scriptures through God's perspective, my guess is we're going to make errors, and have to have faith that they are not crucial errors.

But I think if you were to examine Reformed theology, you would find it is much more "Jewish" than Christianity is receiving credit for.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Jesus was not a Christian because the category didn't exist until after the Crucifixion.

Duh.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The grafted in part has been part of the congregations that I have known, consistently over the years. Thank you for the reminder, however.

Mankind wants to be free to erect its own systems for dealing with God and all things religious. God, however, insisted on doing salvation His way, and it is His choice after all. To bring it about, he needed a nation, a culture, a light to the world to welcome Messiah and to proclaim the truth. He chose Abraham, the Patriarchs, etc. An unbelieving world is scandalized that He would dare exercise His own choice in the matter, without consulting all the rest of us (or at least those of us whose opinions count, don't you know!). The very existence of Jews and Israel is a constant irritant to them. Ultimately, it has little to do with Jews or Israel or their real or perceived shortcomings. Down in the heart, it involves a deep seated hatred of our Creator and Redeemer. But then again, Jesus told the disciples that they should not expect the world to treat them any better than it treated him.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roy H. Schoeman, a Jew by blood, has a book, 'Salvation is from The Jews.' He also has a website. ... Roy H. Schoeman converted and became a Roman Catholic. His books and articles are worth a look as he understands what it is to be a Jew by birth and a Christian by Baptism.

Inside of all Catholic Churches is an image of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are ALL called to >suffer and to unite our sufferings to Jesus Christ. (It's mystery, but through suffering God, brings about a greater good.) It's the mystery of Salvation. ~Christianity is the fulfillment of the promises made by God in the Old Testament.~

May God Bless you! Everyone can get into Heaven through this Commandment, "Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself." It's only ONE Commandment; just as grapes are the fruit of the grapevine, love of God produces love for our neighbors.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"By the works of the law shall NO flesh be justified."

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To understand Christianity, >everyone needs to read and comprehend Matthew25: 31-46 in the New Testament. = In part, =

"Come, you who are blessed by my father. >Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me." ... (because of questions, Jesus said) ... "And the King will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."

To cut to the chase. Jesus Christ establish a Church in the New Testament. It is the fulfillment of God's presence in the nation of Israel. We are all children of God. I'm a Roman Catholic. On the Internet I hear from people that are the 'pope' of their own armchair church. They have a computer & bible and pontificate about the scriptures. I've found it's impossible to converse with the 'many popes of various armchair churches.' As a question Mark v, >what church do you attend & how did you become the person speaking for God?

I just quote the teachings of the Catholic Church. = I'm just a conduit. In fact, anyone questioning Catholic teaching needs to contact THE Pope over in the Vatican.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Stern reminds us that the atonement of sin, the need for a sacrifice to God, is rooted in the Jewish sacrificial system. "

Um, no. Not even close. In fact, it's exactly backwards.

The need for atonement precedes the Mosaic sacrificial system. The need for atonement, a sacrifice, arises from the very nature of sin. Because of this, God instituted the first animal sacrifice in the Garden of Eden, when he clothed Adam with skin.

The practice continued among the faithful from that time forward. The second instance of it is seen in the famous episode of Cain & Able. Abraham practiced it more than 400 years before Moses. It was formalized in the Mosaic system, and then ended, as far as God was concerned, with the culmination of what all of these pre-figured, the sacrifice of Christ, which was ordained before the foundation of the world.

It ended historically with destruction of the temple.

"He goes on to point out how other aspects we typically consider uniquely Christian are rooted in Judaism. For example, the Lord’s Supper is rooted in the Jewish Passover."

Hmmm. I find this statement odd. One would have to be a VERY poorly taught Christian to not know this. This is very basic stuff.

If you are accustomed to churches where this would be a new thought, something of a revelation, then you are attending very poor churches.

In fact, aside from the (rather serious) error I've pointed out, I don't see anything in the rest of the article that should be at all surprising new to any serious Christian. Again, this is basic stuff. Christianity 101.

That this is considered new, and (apparently) controversial by some Christians, is troubling.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Uhm, yes, exactly as she wrote it. The Old Testament is your source, and so it is with the Jews.

C'mon, Mark v, that much is clear. Is it not?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Um, no. If A predates B, then A cannot be rooted in B.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A is the Old Testament, which includes Genesis - your reference.

Maybe you're saying that Genesis occurred before the Old Testament was written, but the fact is you wouldn't know about Genesis if it weren't for the Old Testament.

Otherwise, I have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe you don't either?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let me try to spell this out clearly for you, starting with the statement in question:

""Stern reminds us that the atonement of sin, the need for a sacrifice to God, is rooted in the Jewish sacrificial system. "

Saying that A is rooted in B, is saying that B is the origin of A.

This is backwards. It is backwards in principle, and backwards in chronology.

In this case, B, the Jewish sacrificial system, came far later than A, the need for atonement. The need for atonement, A, came at the time of The Fall, in the Garden of Eden. This is roughly 4000 B.C. Abraham is roughly 2000 B.C., and the Exodus, the first time that it anything could have been called "the Jewish sacrificial system", is roughly 400 years later. So A predates B by about 2400 years.

The need for atonement is NOT rooted in the Jewish system. The Jewish system is rooted in the need for atonement.

It might be more accurate to call it an expression of the need for atonement. It was instituted by God to call attention to a need which already existed. It is not the source of that need.

The need for atonement is the fundamental principle which gives birth to the Jewish system.

It is the foolish pride of some Jews which tries to make the Jewish system the parent, rather than the offspring.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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