Sunday 8 October 2017

Is the New Testament hate speech? A look at at Two letters from Jim to David

A while ago on one article I wrote on Anti-Semiticism (which you can find here:, Uri Yosef ( linked to two letters written by Jim of 1000 Verses:

Let's take a look at the letter.

"David, I appreciate that you do not see the NT as hate speech. To many modern Christians, it would not occur to them to hate the Jewish people for the things written therein."

It wouldn't occur to a modern day Christian that they should hate the Jewish people in regarding what the New Testament says about them. Anti-Semitism when one looks into the New Testament in it's proper context would never consider it to be a document of hate speech. Has the New Testament been used as hate, Yes but out of context did many evil men use it to justify hating the Jews.

"Let me explain why I call it hate speech. Even if the words addressed to the Pharisees and other groups were accurate–I do not say that they are–they weren’t delivered to those people. The books of the NT are largely directed to non-Jews. And so the image that is painted of the Pharisee to the non-Jew is one horribly skewed. They have no context. They are left with this image of a twisted people who killed either:

1. God (if you are a Trinitarian), or

2. Their rightful king (if you are a Trinitarian or not)

In fact, the NT tells us that the chief priests and Pharisees had put guards at Jesus tomb
because they feared that his disciples would steal the body and claim he was resurrected. When he was resurrected, the guards ran and told the chief priests what had happened, and they paid off the guards to say that the disciples stole the body (Mt. 27:62-66 and 28:11-15.) From here we see that these men must be totally evil. (If you think back to my answer to you in TYVM, you might realize that this story is absurd. The disciples didn’t even begin announcing the resurrection for another seven weeks.) Here, the chief priests, and presumably the Pharisees, know the truth, but they try to cover it up. See, the story itself is hate speech, because it tells us that the Jew is capable of anything, capable of lying about the resurrection and dooming their own people for self-aggrandizement."

The New Testament documents depending on which one you read was either written to Jews, Gentiles or both (Mark to new believers, Matthew to Jews and Christians on how to live the Christian life, Luke to Gentiles and John to believers). The letters of Paul were either written to mixed congregations of Jews and Gentiles or Gentiles, Hebrews (Some say the letter was written by Paul but we don't know) was written to Jewish believers. Timothy, Titus, Philemon and 1-3 John were written to individuals.

As for the stories in Matthew 27:62-66 and Matthew 28:11-15, How in the world would anyone reading conclude that the Jew is in your own words Jim "capable of anything, capable of lying about the resurrection and dooming their own people for self-aggrandizement."? The stories speak only of the enemies of Jesus, not his friends, which would have had Jews within the Christian ranks, even some Pharisees turned to faith in Jesus in repentance. I hardly think there is a justification for suggesting the story the Pharisees who denied Jesus rose from the dead and ran with a narrative that the disciples stole his body is hate speech.

"I made an unfair exchange in that last sentence. At first I’d been talking about Pharisees and priests. In the last sentence, I made it about the Jews. And it is my suspicion that you will call foul. And you are almost right to do so. But then, read through John. Who does John accuse of wanting to kill Jesus: the Jews. It’s not the Pharisees, it’s not the priests, but the Jews. The constant refrain in John is: “the Jews”. They are the ones antagonistic to Jesus. See, the NT doesn’t criticize the Jewish leadership. It is full of invective, both against them and the Jews at large.

And its not criticism. Not really. Jesus holds them accountable for the blood of Abel. That’s not criticism. That’s antagonism. Imagine if one of my daughters hit the other and took a book from her. And then I “corrected” her by yelling at her that not only is she accountable for that but for hitting the neighbor children, holding her responsible for sibling misbehaviors from other families. This would not be correction. But then, if I published a pamphlet to hand out to other children in the neighborhood, talking about how she assaulted other children, whom she’d never harmed, this would become a crime on my part of enormous proportions.

That’s the NT. It doesn’t merely offer criticism. It tells lies about the Jewish people. It spreads those lies to other peoples. And then those people, inspired by the NT have found reason to evict, torture, and kill the Jewish people."

John doesn't have to use a clarifier. He is referring to the Jews yes but you can tell by the context which Jews he is talking about.

See my articles on the Gospel of John responding to Uri Yosef:

Not every single Jew when John uses the phrase "The Jews" is blasted or hit with "invective".

Because the blood of Abel was brought up, I'll repeating the point I made in the second article which looks at Matthew and Luke:

"Luke 11:39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.

Much like in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is condemning the Pharisees to hell for the spiritual deadness of Israel they have caused, their hypocrisy, their self rightousness and other things detestable to God. But even beyond that, teachers have a responsibility to handle God's word accurately and to not misrepresent it. They are also held to account for what they say the scriptures teach, which is why James in his epistle exhorts his readers to "let FEW of you be teachers".

People like me who are doing this apologetic work are also held more accountable to God much like teachers are, because of the exposition of the scriptures that takes place and those who manhandle the word of God should expect the judgement of God upon them. 

The Pharisees and the Torah Scholars were not handling the bible correctly and thus they were in very serious trouble and standing with God, hence why Jesus spoke out against them in Luke 11.

"We can’t be surprised at this reaction. When Jesus is crucified, the Jews are portrayed as wanting a robber to be freed rather than an innocent man, the innocent man. Even Pilate can see that Jesus is innocent. He doesn’t want to kill Jesus. But the Jews, they are all for it. That story is the very definition of hate speech. It doesn’t at all offer criticism. It paints a picture of the Jew that is so disfigured.

I understand it would never occur to you to look at this at hate speech. The NT is peppered with the word “love”. How could it be hateful?

It is. 

With respect,


Again not every Jew was responsible for the death of Jesus. The New Testament is not guilty of hate speech. The Westboro Baptist Church is guilty of hate speech. The Jews (again not all) wanted a robber free. Do an honest read of Matthew 27 and tell me, where is the hate speech?


I have a friend with whom I have often spoken about why I left the Church, and why I see the NT as untenable. In almost every conversation, he brings up how Jews are merely legalists who don’t really love God. (In his theology, doing the commands of God is not an expression of love, you see.) He sees their religion as wholly hypocritical, all action but no heart. Is this from his vast interaction with the Jewish people? No. I don’t think he knows one Jew personally. I know he doesn’t know any Torah observant Jews personally."

Doing the commands is not an expression of love? The New Testament has numerous points made that part of the Christian life involves submitting to God's commands. The differences being Gentiles are not obligated to follow the Torah although a Jew has the freedom to observe the Torah if he feels it honours the Messiah.

The main point of the Bible is that you are saved not by works but by faith. Justification is by faith alone but faith is never alone, it leads to obeying God because of your love for him and gratitude to him.

"Where does he come by this knowledge then? The New Testament. Now, would he advocate killing Jews or burning their Torahs? No. Would he look for them to be pushed out of America? No. But it’s hard to say he doesn’t loathe them. For him, there is almost no crime worse than being legalistic. And it comes out when you talk to him. There is a disgust with the people who, in his opinion, do not love God and obsess over niggling details. That’s the power of the NT. He has an opinion about people he doesn’t know. And he judges their sincerity, having never observed their behavior."

One can't judge another's heart so I don't deny that Jews who follow the Torah do so because of what God told them on Mount Sinai and they have a tremendous passion for God. But there is no atonement that can deal with their sin and failure to keep the Torah in one area breaks the whole lot. It's like breaking the law of the land by speeding past one camera, insisting you slowed down near others but it's inconsequential because you still have broken the law. But does the New Testament really contribute to that line of thinking on the part of your friend, or is it a misunderstanding of the New Testament on his part?

"This leads to a further error, as well. He is unlikely to listen to the substance of an argument. Instead, he attributes motive to the arguer. He is able to write off their opinion without considering their merits. “You only think that because of motivation x or emotion y.” But he doesn’t address the actual points of the argument. He doesn’t even have to listen to the other person as if they too are a person with an intellect. He can write them off ahead of time. This is a deep error that obscures the truth."

Again the New Testament never encourages writing off an argument. It warns against hollow and deceptive philosophy (Colossians 2:9) and false teaching (Matthew 7:15, 24:24, 2 Peter 2:1-3, 1 John 4:1. These references were retrieved quickly from Patheos): but never does it encourage not listening to the substance of an argument, since we as Christians are called to give a defense for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15)

"He constantly judges the “heart condition” (his words) of the Jew. He doesn’t have to take their ideas seriously. He already knows they’re wrong, because he knows what they are like deep down inside. This makes me very sad for him, honestly. Not so much angry as sad. Because he never really confronts an opposing opinion. He avoids them by writing off other people. And that does us no good. By refusing to take others seriously, we cannot test our own ideas. We cannot rid ourselves of what is false, nor refine partially true.


That's a problem that he needs to deal with. Having challenges to us gets us to think and make a decision.

To give an example of television that's thought provoking, Star Trek (The Prime timeline) itself never forces it's beliefs down your throat but rather gets the audience to think what is the right solution to the problem presented in the episode (Unless it's like Star Trek Insurrection or the like where it tries to hit you on the head with it's message.) Opposing opinions Christians need to challenge them and get them to consider a point and see what scripture says lest we become anemic. Challenge is what produces good fruit whereas no challenge gives rise to complacency (Unless you are in Heaven where opposition is never a consideration as evil has been punished and banished.)

Whatever the case, I don't have much to say on this part of the letter.

That's really all I have to say on these two letters.

Answering Judaism.

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