Thursday, 20 March 2014

Critique of Judge Not: A response to Yisroel Blumenthal

3 years ago, Yisroel Blumenthal had penned an article under the name of Judge Not which can be found here:

I wish to go through each of the claims he makes and try to respond to them to the best of my ability.

Christianity claims to be the only path to salvation before God. Many individual Christian denominations take this claim one step further with the assertion that this path leads exclusively through membership in their particular church.

This claim is not unique to Christianity. Many religions lay claim to exclusive possession of the way to eternal reward. What is different about Christianity is that its claim is refuted through its own accusation against Judaism. Christianity’s claim to exclusivity is internally inconsistent and self-contradictory – in a word: hypocritical.

The "other" religions do not have the solution to the problem of human sin and man's fallen nature and all emphasise living a certain way before getting right with God. Christianity on the other hand however teaches God declares you righteous when you come to him in repentance and faith and then you carry out good works as GRATITUDE to him, rather than for your salvation.

What does Yisroel Blumenthal mean by Christianity's claims being hypocritical? He explains:

You see, Christianity acknowledges that before the advent of Jesus, the Jewish people enjoyed a unique relationship with God. Judaism does not claim that the path to God is limited to membership in the Jewish community. According to Judaism, any human being who acknowledges his or her debt to the Creator, and lives a life in line with the conscience that God planted into our hearts, will be rewarded by God. But Judaism does claim that the Jewish people stand in a special relationship with God as a chosen nation.

Christianity contends that the Jewish people forfeited this singular standing before God. I will allow Matthew’s Jesus to present the position of the Church.

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:33-43)

The meaning of the parable is obvious. The owner of the vineyard is God, the husbandman is the Jewish people, the son is Jesus, and the “nation bringing fruits thereof” is the Christian Church. According to Matthew’s Jesus, killing the “son” warranted that the kingdom of God be taken from the Jews.

In the context of the parable, It refers firstly to the time of the TANAKH, where the OT Prophets were sent to the people of Israel by God and they were subject to either death or ridicule at the hands of their people and then the Messiah, the Son of God is sent to his people and is put to death by them (Not all I may add due to righteous remnants accepting heeding the warnings of the OT prophets and the Messiah). As for those who bare the fruits, while you can say it refers to the Church in principle, Jesus has in mind his own people. In other words he takes the kingdom from one group of Jews and gives it to another group of Jews, a set of Jews who are eager to receive his message. Any Gentile who comes to Jesus is grafted into the olive tree, only replace unbelieving Jews, NOT believing Jews.

Let us now see how Christianity fares according to the judgement it pronounced against Judaism.

We will note that there are many extenuating factors that mitigate the alleged guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus;

Even according to the biased narrative of the Christian Scriptures, it was not the Jews who killed Jesus, it was the Romans.

The number of Jews that could have been involved in his death had to be minuscule. The majority of Jews that were alive then could not all have been in that place at that one point in time.

Even those Jews who might have been involved in his death could not be considered representatives of Judaism as a belief system. The core texts of Judaism do not preach hatred against Jesus. On the contrary, the Jewish Scriptures that were venerated by the Jewish people of the time, devote more space to the castigation of the Jewish nation than they do in criticism of her enemies.

At least Blumenthal acknowledges that not every Jew was not responsible for Jesus death, this is a point I have hammered home in my 9 articles responding to Uri Yosef on whether or not the New Testament teaches anti-Semitism which can be found in the following archives:

Regarding castigation of the Jewish Nation, that is what Jesus DID engage in as well as the prophets of the TANAKH. The NT does record Jesus chastising his own people, not encouraging hate against them.

The hateful and sinister motivations attributed by Matthew’s Jesus to the Jewish people (- “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.”) is contradicted by John. According to Matthew, the Jews recognize that Jesus is “the heir” and their motivation for killing him was to “seize on his inheritance”. According to John the Jews were motivated to move against Jesus because they considered him a blasphemer (John 10:33), and feared that his activities will provoke the Romans to take action against the larger community (John 11:48).

Even the Christians, who accept Jesus’ claims, must acknowledge there was no way that the Jews could have known, before the alleged resurrection, that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Matthew’s Jesus declares that the generation will be given no sign except for his pending resurrection (Matthew 16:4). Thus before his alleged resurrection, the people had no way of clearly and conclusively verifying his claims. (It is in place to note that according to the Jewish Bible, no miracle, not even a resurrection, can justify Jesus’ claims for divinity – Deuteronomy 13:2-6.)

Still and all, despite all of these mitigating factors, Christianity asserts that the Jewish people have had “the kingdom of God” taken from them because they killed someone who claimed to be God’s son.

The Pharisees in John 10:30 interestingly conclude Jesus is indeed claiming to be God, to which Jesus doesn't refute, but actually he goes on to confirm their conclusion, to which they react violently and try to stone him. I have written on this subject in my response to Tovia Singer:

Also with respect to the context of Matthew 16, we read:
16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.[a] 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

The Pharisees were demanding a miracle to get him to prove his claims. Jesus said that the only sign that would be given to them would be the sign of Jonah. Jesus refuses to perform miracles to them because of their unbelief, which is not an uncommon thing for Jesus to do in given contexts. As Blumenthal notes, it is a sign of Jesus' pending resurrection.

However, Resurrection IS actually an exception to Deuteronomy 13 when speaking of miracles and I speak on this issue in this article here:
For the sake of convenience, I will summarise here why the argument on the resurrection by Blumenthal and other Jews doesn't work.
1. God uses the scenario in Deuteronomy 13 as a means of testing Israel. Raising a false prophet from the dead whom Israel is already aware of and has warned future generations about is alien to the TANAKH.
2. A Resurrection would be used as a means of VINDICATION of a prophet, not as a means of using them for testing.
3. Christ exhorts people to return to the Father, not get away. Issues on the Mosaic Law I have covered elsewhere:

Let us now see how Christianity has dealt with the one who is explicitly identified by the Jewish Bible as God’s firstborn son. The Jewish Scriptures repeatedly and openly declare that the Jewish people are God’s children, His firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, Deuteronomy 14:1, Jeremiah 31:8).

I won't dispute Israel is God's firstborn son, the question is, how is the sonship defined? Being God's son can refer to being God's son by adoption, refer to the angels, etc. Israel was given birth to by God spiritually, as God is called the "rock who gave you birth" when Moses spoke to Israel. God throughout the scripture made it clear that Israel is his son and I won't dispute that.

Jesus by contrast is the Son of God FROM ETERNITY. Again, a spiritual begetting, not a physical one. While Israel is God's Son by virtue of being adopted by him, Jesus is the Son of the Father in a unique sense. Hence why in John 3:16 the claim of him being the unique son.

Any way moving on.

How did the Church treat God’s firstborn son?

A cursory glance at Church history reveals that the Church poisoned the minds of mankind against the Jewish people. They oppressed, tortured and killed millions of Jews from the days of Constantine until the holocaust.

None of the extenuating factors that mitigate the guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus apply to the guilt of Christendom in the persecution of the Jew.

It was the Christians and the Church themselves who persecuted and killed countless Jews.

The number of Christians involved in these crimes reach the millions over the centuries.

The core texts of Christianity preach this very hatred of God’s firstborn son, and the greatest scholars in Church history understood the texts to mean precisely what they say – that the Jews are no less than the children of the devil.

The motive that the Church had to persecute the Jews is obvious to every student of history. The Church was attempting to seize the inheritance of the Jewish people. They wanted the blessings that God had promised to the Jewish people, and the fact that the Jews were still claiming those blessings, and the fact that their claim is more credible than the claim of the Church, was a thorn in their side.

The Church was in possession of all of the evidence that is necessary to prove that the Jewish people are truly God’s son; namely the Jewish Bible.

The fact that the killing of the Jews occurred from the time of Constantine to the holocaust is prima fachi proof that Early New Testament Christianity was not anti-Semitic in it's inception, even with the repeated misuses of Matthew 23, John 8:44 and other passages by counter-missionaries I have seen.

So, if the Jewish people had “the kingdom of God taken from them” because of the death of Jesus, what happens to the Church for the death of millions of Jews?

Oh, I forgot the excuses. “Those weren’t real Christians, those murderers cannot be considered true representatives of the Church, “real Christians” helped and saved Jews etc.”

All of these excuses, and more are applicable to the Jewish people in relation to the death of Jesus. But Matthew’s Jesus brushes all of these excuses aside and passes his harsh judgment against the Jewish people of all generations. If these excuses are not accepted by Matthew’s Jesus, they cannot work for the Church.

According to the Church’s own judgment, they cannot be the exclusive masters of the “kingdom of God”. If a one time act took the kingdom away from the entirety of the Jewish people, then 2000 years of widespread persecution should have done the same for the Church.

The judgment that Matthew’s Jesus pronounces against the Jewish people condemns the Christian Church and effectively nullifies her theological claims.

Err... The same "Matthew's Jesus" (The description Blumenthal uses for Jesus) says in Matthew 7:21-23 that not every one who claims to be his follower and calls him Lord will be saved and only those who do the will of the Father will be saved. Christians CAN say that those who killed Jews were NOT real Christians and Matthew would fully accept that considering he himself was Jewish, as was Jesus and the rest of the disciples and Matthew is only condemning those who didn't accept Yeshua's claims. The dilemma presented by the Rabbi is simply NOT there. There isn't any excuse on the Christian's part when they tell you true Christians are not anti-Semitic.

I will grant Yisroel Blumenthal this with respect to what he says with respect the replacement of the Jews with the Church, it's garbage. Replacement Theology is a foreign concept to the NT documents. Even Romans 2:28-29 and Matthew 21:43 don't prove that.

Furthermore if God replaced the Jews with the Church, how do we know the same thing wouldn't be done to church with someone else?

The Muslims themselves are replacement theologians, as are many Protestants though not all. Some Protestants who hold to this absurdity of replacement theology include men such as John Stott, John Piper and Stephen Sizer. I am glad that there are Protestants who recognise replacement theology as absurd, namely David Pawson.

Heretical groups such as Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and of course others such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons also hold to replacement theology to varying degrees.

The problem with replacement theology as a whole is how do those groups who hold to such beliefs know they haven't been replaced by another group that came after them?

Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries and the Messianic Drew also make this point that if God has to reject Israel because of disobedience, then the church has to be rejected for that reason too.

However, despite the fact that replacement theology doesn't exist in the NT, this wouldn't condemn the church, as they are grafted into the New Covenant made with the Jews. Both Jews and Gentiles need to be born again to be part of the New Covenant.

Hopefully this article has been a blessing, Thanks for reading.

Answering Judaism.


  1. "Christianity on the other hand however teaches God declares you righteous when you come to him in repentance and faith and then you carry out good works as GRATITUDE to him, rather than for your salvation."

    Actually, that is what Judaism teaches, not Christianity- at least according to Paul's teachings. It is Judaism that teaches that if man sincerely repents of his sins and tries to improve his behaviour- then forgiveness is obtainable from Hashem. Our guide for ethical behaviour is the Torah, and its commandments or mitzvot.

    According to Christianity, if Torah observance were effective for the purpose of
    the remission of sins, then the death of Jesus on the cross would have been for
    naught. However, the New Testament teaches that Jesus was the last a final sin

    Consequently, "the Law" (meaning, the Torah) is impotent, and righteousness
    can only be attained by following Jesus:
    Galatians 2:21(KJV) - I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

    According to Christianity, salvation and remission of sins is through the blood of the dying demi-god saviour.

    It is only by accepting
    Jesus as Lord and Savior that God's "grace" (remember, for Christians, Jesus is
    God manifest in the flesh) returns to mankind – a belief in Jesus "saves" a
    person and provides salvation:
    Acts 15:11(KJV) - But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we
    shall be saved, even as they.

    Paul statements especially in Galatians are so full of holes when you examine the Hebrew bible, it's laughable. Hashem tells us in the Tanach, about the righteous, which include Noah, Daniel, and Job among many others- none of whom believed in Jesus. BTW, what "works" are you referring to? Paul dismisses good works and deeds as being of much worth. Are you following the doctrine of James and the Ebionites?

    1. Hi barry

      You misunderstood my point about the good works, Yisroel's point was that other religions claim to the only way, not just Christianity alone and my point was those other religions didn't have a solution for human sin and dealing with it, In that context I wasn't referring to Judaism. I am not suggesting that Torah observance saves you.

      ""Christianity on the other hand however teaches God declares you righteous when you come to him in repentance and faith and then you carry out good works as GRATITUDE to him, rather than for your salvation."

      Actually, that is what Judaism teaches, not Christianity- at least according to Paul's teachings. It is Judaism that teaches that if man sincerely repents of his sins and tries to improve his behaviour- then forgiveness is obtainable from Hashem. Our guide for ethical behaviour is the Torah, and its commandments or mitzvot."

      Does Judaism today teach a forensic justification before God?

      Also, Read Ephesians 2:8-10 "8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

      So Paul does speak on works, but he makes it clear you are NOT saved by works, but saved for them instead.

      While the Torah itself is good as a guideline, you can't be saved by merely observing it. I have also written articles on whether Gentiles should observe certain ordinances of the Torah or not in other articles, a common issue raised by some Messianics and the heretical 7th Day Adventists.

      I affirm the statement in Acts whole heartily. Also it is incorrect to say Jesus is a demi-god, that falls more into Herculean myth than Biblical truth.

      There is no evidence that the James of the NT taught the Ebionite doctrines, in fact he calls Jesus the glorious Lord or the Lord of Glory.

    2. And no I don't follow the Ebionites, In fact I condemn them as heretical and made this point in my Pauline Conspiracy articles which respond to some of the claims of Rabbi Blumenthal about Paul.

  2. You have missed my point. I am not talking about "being saved". This is a Christian concept based on the theme of original sin and being condemned to hell if you do not accept Jesus as your lord and savior. I am referring to your statement regarding being righteous. Hashem in the Hebrew Bible tells us who is righteous and how to be righteous through His prophets and anointed ones. Paul tells you the Torah is worthless. How does he know? Riiiight...he had his mystical revelation on the road to Damascus. If you choose to believe him-that's your option, but it is just a one person revelation-no different from the revelation of Mohammed or Joseph Smith-you either believe it or not. These scenarios pale in comparison to the national revelation before the entire Jewish nation at Sinai. The covenant made between the Jewish people and Hashem is eternal. God tells us in the Hebrew Bible that the Torah is "a tree of life". Moshe (Moses) tells us through Hashem :" And it will be for our righteousness that we keep to observe all these commandments before the Lord, our God, as He has commanded us." Deut 6:25. You can keep listening and following Paul. I choose to follow Hashem.

    1. Paul doesn't say the Torah is worthless, He calls it good, but makes the point you cannot be saved by it. That's his point, he is not condeming the Torah in an of itself. Furthermore, he checked his information WITH the apostles. Comparing Paul to Muhammad and Joseph Smith is a ridiculous red herring. I could easily say Rabbinic Judaism is like Roman Catholicism because it requires it's adherents to believe in tradition as equal to scripture, but that won't get us anywhere.

      This whole Who is Jesus debate comes down to who is the one being true to HaShem? I'd say believing in Jesus would entail leading to him.

  3. "Paul doesn't say the Torah is worthless"...Really? Here is how Paul describes his heritage, ancestry and purity wrt KEEPING THE MOSAIC LAW:

    Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as RUBBISH, that I may gain Christ Phil 3:8

    Wrt Mohammed and Joseph Smith- I am merely pointing out the similarities which exist among almost all religions (except Judaism) ie 1 or 2 people have a revelation and convince others to follow.

    for example, Buddhist writings tell us that Prince Siddhartha Gautama launched Buddhism after his solitary ascendance through the eight stages of Transic insight; Islamic texts tell us that Muhammad founded Islam following the first of many personal, prophetic experiences; Christian writings reveal that Paul first met Jesus, converted to Christianity, and spread the faith more than three decades after Jesus’ death; Joseph Smith, Jr., and his partner, Oliver Cowdery, launched the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints (the Mormon church) after the two men were visited by angels and long-dead disciples of Jesus; and Sun Myung Moon launched the Unification Church after privately receiving direct orders to do so from Jesus himself. The beginnings of Children of God, Christian Science, Eckankar, Elan Vital, I AM, and Theosophy — in fact, the beginnings of all world religions — are equally unverifiable.

    1. Here's the difference, Paul went to those who WALKED with Jesus, those who spoke with him in person to confirm what he received, whereas the other groups didn't seek Jesus in person. So hardly a similarity.

      In Philippians 3 we read:
      "3 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

      If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

      7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

      12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

      He is saying that his achievements throughout his life, they didn't gain him anything, they were meaningless because they didn't help him seek reconciliation with God. Despite nearly flawlessly keeping the law, he stumbled in one area, covetousness. No where in the context is he saying the Torah is rubbish.

  4. Your translation was "garbage"- no difference between rubbish and garbage.
    Your rationalization about Paul meeting the apostles does not hold water. The picture presented of Jesus by the synoptic texts is one of man (not a god) who was more or less Torah observant and preached of the Kingdom of God. Paul's revelation changed all that - eliminating Torah, circumcision,etc to simple belief in a divine dying-rising saviour who saves all mankind from its sins. And the important point is we are taking about one individual who says that Jesus speaks to him about these matters- you can never verify whether what Paul reports is true or not-it is one person's revelation. Additionally, the descriptions of these events within Acts and in Paul's own letters demonstrate a high degree of variations bringing the whole episode into question. As a medical doctor it sounds to me like Paul had an epileptic seizure.

    1. The translation of garbage or rubbish isn't the issue with respect to Philippians, the point is, it is NOT referring to the Torah as garbage or rubbish.

      There are articles I have written on whether the early apostles regarded Jesus as God, namely responses to individuals such as Tovia Singer and Richard Merrell.

      In my articles on the Pauline Conspiracy, I go through Yisroel Blumenthal's points about Paul ONE by ONE. But I am happy to reiterate certain points here. regarding Paul.

      Firstly, Gentiles not being required to observe certain ordinances of the Torah can be found in Acts 15 at a council, headed by one of the James of the NT interestingly enough. Jesus also in Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45 says he came to give his life as a ransom for many, which would indicate the dying and rising teaching came from Jesus himself. What other reason would he give for dying and rising again? It would seem redundant.

      Paul's revelation by him going to the apostles could be verified by them particularly, because they themselves had walked with Jesus, were aware of what he taught and thus could judge Paul correct or incorrect based on their masters teaching. If what Paul received went against what Jesus himself taught, then the apostles would have to reject him just like the other candidates you mentioned.

      Muhammad and the others cannot speak to the apostles, thus it is very easy to deny their claims when comparing them to Paul.

      Additionally in 2nd Peter 3:16, Peter treats Paul's writings as authoritative as the TANAKH. Best case scenario, the apostle Peter wrote it, Worst Case, another man wrote it. Either way, the early Christians accepted Paul's writings as authoritative, including such men as Ignatius of Antioch, who was a student of John the Apostle.

  5. One more point- Do you not admit that Paul purposely mistranslates verses and quotes verses out of context from the Hebrew Bible to change the original meaning and intent for the purposes of converting his Gentile audience? I can provide a few examples if you wish.