Saturday, 28 December 2013

Anti-Semitism in the NT? Examining the claims of Uri Yosef 5

Uri Yosef continues to accuse the NT of an anti-semitic agenda in his article and now we shall be moving on to the subject of the book of Acts which had sadly been mishandled like the Gospels. 

As before the Biblical citations are in bold and Yosef's points are in bold italics.

Another thing to stress as was stressed in my article on the Gospel of John, When says "the Jews", it is NOT saying ALL Jews, it is referring to SPECIFIC Jews at a SPECIFIC time and place. Each time it is a different group or it is the same, but nevertheless, it is not condemning ALL Jews to hell. Let us not neglect the fact that the first Christians were Jews, which some Rabbinic Jewish apologists, such as Yisroel Blumenthal will acknowledge.

2:23b Peter tells the men of Israel that they crucified Jesus MLR 
2:36b Again Peter tells the men of Israel that they crucified Jesus MLR 

"Acts 2:23 22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
    Because he is at my right hand,
    I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence.’[e]
29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.”’[f]
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”"

Peter is holding his OWN people responsible for the death of Jesus. Peter himself WAS Jewish, so the charge of Anti-Semitism here makes absolutely ZERO sense. He even extends mercy to his people for putting Yeshua or Jesus to death. 

3:13b-15a Peter tells the men of Israel that they killed the originator of life MLR 

"Acts 3:11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see."

Same as what I said above, No need to repeat what I have said, but even beyond that, read on:
"Acts 3:17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’[a]

24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’[b] 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."

Despite holding his people to account, Peter acknowledges that the people acted in ignorance and now realise that Jesus was sent to them to bring them back to the Father in heaven and bless them. 

4:10a Again Peter tells the men of Israel that they killed Jesus MLR

"8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’[a]
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”"

A JEW, holding JEWS accountable for killing A JEW who claimed to be the JEWISH MESSIAH, is NOT Anti-Semitism. This is utterly absurd. If AN AMERICAN, held AMERICANS accountable for killing AN AMERICAN who is the AMERICAN PRESIDENT, that doesn't mean a promotion of Anti-Americanism. That doesn't work.

5:30b Peter tells the members of the Jewish council that they killed Jesus MLR 

"25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.

27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”"

Peter is telling the story as it is, the leaders of Jerusalem were responsible for the death of Christ, Do I need to repeat that this a JEW REBUKING JEWISH LEADERS?

6:11-14 Some Jews are said to have brought false accusations against Stephen 

"11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”

12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”

15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel."

The point made by Yosef shoots him in the foot, SOME Jews, not all Jews. Luke is recording what happened to Stephen.

7:51-60 Stephen shown as condemning the Jews for betraying and killing Jesus MLR

"51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep."

He contrasts their behaviour with that of those who killed the prophets in the TANAKH. He is not promoting some anti-Semitic diatribe to future generations of people. A JEW CONDEMNING HIS OWN PEOPLE'S ACTIONS AGAINST A FELLOW JEW IS NOT ANTI-SEMITIC. I am basically repeating myself here but come on.

9:1-2 Paul is depicted as planning the arrest of disciples of Jesus LR

"Acts 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem."

So? Jesus said it would happen that the disciples would be persecuted. 

9:23-25 Jews are said to have plotted to kill Paul
9:29b Jewish Hellenists are also said to have tried to kill Paul

"23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews,[a] but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus."

The sad thing is Yosef fails to mention to his audience that they are a SPECIFIC group of Jews that tried to kill Paul, they were specific Jews at a given time. This is anti-Semitic how? Luke again describing what is going on in Chapter 9.

12:1-3a It is said that the Jews were pleased when Herod killed James --- 
12:3b-4 Herod is said to have seized Peter also to please the Jews --- 
12:11 Peter is said to have realized that the Jews wanted to kill him ---

"12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”"

Herod is pleasing A PARTY OF JEWS, not every Jew. Even in verse 11, Peter doesn't have the Jewish people as a whole in his mind as coming after him, but only a party of those people. If I say a particular people are coming after me or to use a fictional example, if I say the Klingons are coming to get me or the Jedi are coming after me, do you mean the whole people or a PARTY among them? A party. 

13:10-11 Paul is said to have condemned the Jew Elymas as a son of the Devil 

"Acts 13:6 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”"

Yosef fails to inform his audience that the one whom Paul condemned as a child of the devil was a Jewish man, WHO WAS A SORCERER. He fails to mention that Paul was condemning a sorcerer for preventing the Gospel from going to the proconsul. Again, A JEWISH DISCIPLE of a JEWISH MAN who claimed to be THE JEWISH MESSIAH is bringing God's judgement on a JEWISH SORCERER. A Jew condemning another Jew essentially. No anti-Semitism recorded.

13:28-29a It is said that the Jews had asked Pilate to crucify Jesus L 

"Acts 13:26 “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people."

Paul is speaking to JEWS in a synagogue and telling them what happened at the crucifixion and after the crucifixion. Notice again what Yosef fails to quote:

"13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”

16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; "

He is speaking to his own people about happened to Jesus, this is another case of Yosef ignoring the context of the passage and reading into the text something that is NOT there

13:39d It is said that Jews cannot be forgiven by means of the Torah ---

"36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    wonder and perish,
for I am going to do something in your days
    that you would never believe,
    even if someone told you.’[e]”"

He is simply saying that the Law of Moses cannot grant freedom from sin and that thanks to Yeshua you can now be set free from the bondage of sin and live for righteousness that is given to them by God. He is not being anti-Semitic here at all.

13:45-46 Jews are said to have spoken against Paul ML 
13:50-51 Jews are said to have encouraged persecution of Paul and Barnabas ML 

"45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

“‘I have made you[f] a light for the Gentiles,
    that you[g] may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’[h]”
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."

Once again, it is referring to a group of Jews not all, In fact it was the LEADERS who stir up persecution within the city itself. Once again it says the Jews, it is referring to the Jews in Pisidian Antioch specifically, NOT EVERY JEW.

I know I have repeated myself but I have constantly have to point out what the NT is actually saying.

I will look at the rest the book of Acts in another article.

Answering Judaism.

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